Friday, October 18, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ October 18, 2013

We got back to formal school lessons after being off for 2 weeks. In my last post, I mentioned that I really needed to get a schedule for us. We were supposed to implement that this week, but my hubby surprised me by not going to work Monday morning b/c he took the week off. Of course, this threw everything off for me schedule-wise, but we still got our school work done and I was able to get a few more things unpacked. :-) 

We played a couple of math games that my kids thought were fun. The first game was called Guess My Number. One child wrote down a number 1-15 and the other one had to guess what the number was. The first child says higher or lower until the second child guessed the right number. Then they switch so the second child writes down a new number and the first one guesses. This game kept them occupied for about half and hour. 

The second game was called Block Grab. We have a set of unifix cubes that we are using in our curriculum this year. We took them all apart and put them in a pile. One person grabs a handful and tries to guess how many he has in his hand. After you guess, you count them to see how many you actually have. This was in introductory game to estimation and volume. Pretty clever, I thought. 

Adelle and Jonathan had lots of fun with both games. They are both really enjoying this curriculum this year. That makes this mama happy.  :-) 

Seeing my children excited to learn. Jonathan not only asked for his worksheets, but he also asked to practice letter blends. 

Having Papa Man home. That means getting to have an extra movie night. We usually reserve movie viewing for the weekends, but when we're on vacation, we watch an extra movie or two. This week was no exception to that. Having Papa home also meant extra hugs and kisses. 

I'm working on making wreaths for my front door. 
I made a simple fall wreath last weekend. I am no crafter, but this one was easy enough. It's just wire bent into a circle, scrap material cut into strips and then tied onto the wire. Can't get more simple than that! I am looking for supplies (inexpensively) to make more for future seasons and maybe even to give away as gifts. If you're looking to get rid of scrap material, I'll take it! :-)

Mandy, over at Biblical Homemaking, really encouraged me this week with her post about overcoming your heavy burdens. I want to share a quote from her post. 

"When I had been feeling down or overwhelmed or sad, or had a desire to dwell on something that I shouldn't over the past few months, He taught me something that helped me leave those feelings behind and that has, without fail, restored my joy. Every time I think about a situation or want to dwell on something that makes me sad, angry, or upset, I ask Him to help me, and here's what He tells my heart:

'Set your mind of things above, not on thing on the earth.'

'Fix your eyes on me', He says to my spirit. Set your mind on what is good - and the only thing that is truly good is Jesus Himself."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Renewed Strength for a New Strategy

The Dilemma: 
We've been in our new house for just over 2 months now. Would you expect my house to be unpacked and perfectly organized by now? Maybe you don't expect that at all and maybe I shouldn't, but the truth is that I feel like the chaos is eating devouring me alive! 

We moved in and we started school right away. Was that such a good idea?

We usually do school in the mornings and chores in the afternoons. By the time we're done with all of that, it's time to get dinner going and spend time with Papa Man (as the kids call him). So where does the unpacking and organizing come in? I have no clue. We've taken a week off from formal school lessons so I can get some of that done. I did not get very far... or so it seems. So we've taken a couple of more days off (and that's partly to do with visiting the state fair).  

With all that being said, I have been seriously struggling these past 2 weeks. I feel hopeless a lot, my appetite has decreased (not so bad for the weight I'm trying to loose) and if I have a chance to sleep, I'm taking it. Self-pity is taking over and I've given in to the thoughts of "I shouldn't be homeschooling, I'm not creative or active enough. I'm not good enough. My kids need a better Mama (and teacher)."   

All of this has dragged me down, indeed. 

The Plan:
God is so good and gracious to gently call me back to Him and to show me a few adjustments that need to be made. First, He has reminded me that I am His and He loves me no matter what. He also reminded me to stop depending on myself (once again), and to rely on Him. He reminded me to trust, to be confident in Him with ALL my heart, not relying on my own understanding and to acknowledge Him in ALL my ways and He will direct and make my paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6) I CAN do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength! (Phil 4:13)

Next, He has dropped a new plan of action into my mind. A different approach to manage the task of homeschooling and homemaking. I must make it a matter high importance to get up early in the mornings to spend time communing with God Almighty. I cannot pour out His love to my children unless I am filled up with it myself. That comes by spending quality time with Him. This is not only for my children's sake, but it is vital to my very soul. 

How do I undertake homeschooling, cleaning the house and unpacking/organizing? The solution the Lord gave me is so simple, I am astonished that I didn't think of it earlier and on my own! 

The curriculum we are using this year has us doing lessons Monday - Thursday. Friday is set aside for exploring nature and being outside most of the time. Handwriting and reading is the only school lessons we do on Fridays and that takes very little time. Therefore, I can spend majority of Fridays (and Saturdays) working on unpacking and organizing. So we will do school work and chores Mon.-Thurs. and unpack/organize Fri.-Sat. giving it all a rest on Sundays.  Brilliant.  Thank You, Lord!

The next task is to come up with a schedule, a little more rigid than just a routine. We've always had a routine, just not one that sticks to the clock.  My husband has been telling me that I really need to get a clock schedule for us and to stick with it. He means for us to go to bed at a specific time each night, get up at a set time each morning, eat meals at the same time every day, etc....  We've been pretty good about getting the kids to bed somewhere between 8pm and 9pm every night. Sometimes they get to bed earlier, sometimes later, depending on how our day has gone, but rarely later than 9pm. 

I have this "thing" about making the kids get out of bed in the mornings. I have felt that if they need a little more rest, then let them rest. However, I am running into a problem with that. Adelle is more than willing to just sleep to her heart's content... kinda like me. So it's becoming a downward spiral to super laziness. Not ideal. Not my goal. I am seeing that maybe my husband is correct here. So these next few days I will be in prayer about what time we should do what and just how specific this clock schedule will be. My goal is to implement this new strategy come Monday. 

What I am about to say is said a lot, but one can't help it when it's true: 
God is good ALL the time! 
All the time God IS good!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Homeshool Mother's Journal ~ October 4, 2013

What happened to my devotion to God? Do I not believe Him and His word? Do I not trust Him? Did I not resolve to give Him my all and leave the results up to Him?  How can I go for days without spending time with God if I believe & trust Him and have devoted my life to Him?  

We have taken a week off from formal lessons, however, the kids have still been learning just from their natural curiosity. For example, they were playing with the magnet letters and Adelle started to build sentences. I reminded her that we read left to right, top to bottom and then showed her how to put the words in order. She got some spelling in with that little activity that she created herself. Jonathan began to place his letters in alphabet order. If that's not learning, I don't know what is. 

I have spent the week getting the house organized, the school/dining room specifically. I am no good at organizing. I have a difficult time figuring out where and how to store things. It doesn't help that I don't enjoy doing these kids of things. That's not to say that I delight a messy house. 

It's that time of year again to bake, bake, bake! I enjoy baking and giving the goodies away. I don't cook or bake from scratch (most of the time) so I was delighted when I found a pumpkin cake mix at the store last week. I baked it last weekend and took it to our church potluck dinner that we had after service last week. I was disappointed with it though. It had too much cinnamon flavor and you could just tell it came from a box. I think I'll stick to making this cake from scratch like I used to. 

My husband, who is so loving, patient and hard working. 

I just thought you'd like to know. :-)