Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moments to Remember ~ The Dry Erase Board

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end, these are the moments that keep us going; the ones we need to remember. 
(created by Homeschool Creations)

Jonathan asked if he could write on a dry erase board. He usually just scribbles and draws all over the board. This time, when I looked to see what he was doing, I found him doing this......

Something is sinking in, eh?!?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Traditional Arithmetic: Part 1

I guess I didn't look over my curriculum teaching books very well, b/c I have noticed some things that are in there that I didn't see before. For example, there is a scripture memory plan in the front of the arithmetic books. REALLY? I mean, I knew that there is a place for grades for bible memory verses, but I thought that was part of the Bible curriculum kit, which is separate from the parent and student kits. *slap my forehead*  

So we have begun to use this portion of the curriculum to learn scripture. I was already teaching the children verses on my own, but this curriculum is having the kids memorize 6-verse passages every six weeks. I didn't realize the kids were capable of learning such big passages! So we are currently memorizing Psalm 100. 

The second thing I didn't see in my curriculum lesson plans book is that the writers give reasons for choosing to teach traditional arithmetic. There are seven. I looked them over. I like what I see here. I didn't necessarily choose our curriculum based on its teaching principles. I just knew that it is Bible-based and it's pretty thorough.

So, I just wanted to take a little time here to share why we are using traditional arithmetic. There are seven reasons, but I'm going to share only three of them today. 

(Note: What you are about to read comes directly from the A beka's curriculum lesson plan book.)

1. Traditional arithmetic gives glory to God.
     Do you believe that God created the heavens and the earth? Do you believe that God had a plan for creation just as He had a plan for the salvation of man? God is never surprised by His actions. Our orderly, rational God used mathematics as He created the world and set it into motion. Traditional arithmetic promotes structure and order and shows children an aspect of the order of the real world. It helps children to know more about the character of God Who created them. Children find exactness, preciseness, and completeness in traditional arithmetic, just as is expected in God's world. 

2. Traditional arithmetic promotes absolute truth.
     Do you believe that there is a right answer and a wrong answer? Do you believe that Jesus christ died for your sins and rose from the dead? A Christian answers yes because a Christian believes that in this world of changing social standards, truth remains unchanged and unchangeable. Traditional arithmetic is the mathematics program that promotes absolute truth. In traditional arithmetic, children are not taught to manipulate sets and thus change truth. Instead, they are taught truth as created by an orderly, rational God. 

3. Traditional arithmetic encourages good work habits. 
     Do you believe that a job worth doing is worth doing well? Colossians 3:23 says, And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not to men. More than any other subject, arithmetic requires the stretching of the brain, constant thinking and remembering and complete attention. Just as the body is tired after a physical workout, the mind is tired after a math workout using traditional math.  But also as the physical workout strengthens the body, the traditional arithmetic workout strengthens the mind. 
     C. T. Studd, missionary to Africa, understood this principle of doing a job well and used it to his work with a people who had just risen from the depths of cannibalism. Studd's reasoning is described: 
     Every pole had to be exactly the right length, placed at the right angle, etc; and he had a purpose in it, for the natives must be taught that good Christianity and lazy or bad workmanship are an utter contradiction. He believed that one of the best ways to teach a native that righteousness is the foundation of God's Throne was by making him see that absolute straightness and accuracy is the only law of success in material things.   
(C.T. Studd, Norman Grubb, 
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 
Christian Literature Crusade, 1972, 1974)

(Back to me)

It may take us a little longer to get through the lessons than the plans say and we may have to work harder, but in the end, my children will know absolute truth, precision and how to work hard. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It Seems We Struggle A LOT

All 3 of us have struggled since we started this year's formal school lessons. I have struggled with juggling everything, which is one reason I haven't blogged until now. Adelle has struggled with the load of her work this year...... 

This is not the face of a happy camper. This is the look of not wanting to think and do the work. And when she's not crying and fussing about it, she's just taking her sweet time to complete tasks.

I'm not sure if it's b/c the work load is a lot more this year, if we were just too laid back last year; if it's the difference in curriculum or if it's just the move from first grade to second grade. Nonetheless, we're pressing through.

Jonathan has associated school work with the worksheets. If we haven't done a worksheet, we haven't done school, or so he thinks. That's not a bad thing, I guess. Right now his work is easy. He's sat in on Adelle's lessons and he's really between K5 and 1st grade, but I went ahead and got him a K5 curriculum. Maybe that was a mistake on my part.


So in all our struggles, I have come up with a schedule. We've never followed a strict schedule before and so it will take a little more discipline on my part, but I believe it might be beneficial for all of us. This will be a flexible schedule b/c obviously we're going to have "life" happen and there is one day in our week where we are away from the house more than we're home. School usually goes on the road with us, but it's not quite the same.

The schedule is planned as follows: (I couldn't get my picture of our poster to load)

8:30 - Together: - Devotions, prayer, memory verses
9:00 - Together: - Bible
9:30 - Adelle: Arithmetic & seat work - Jonathan: Independent activity
10:00 - Jonathan: Numbers and worksheet
10:30 - Adelle: Language Arts - Jonathan: Independent activity
10:45 - Adelle: L.A. seat work - Jonathan: Phonics
11:30 - Adelle: A.M. Reading - Jonathan: Free play
11:45 - LUNCH
12:30 - Both: Handwriting
12:50 - Together: History or Science, Music or Art
1:15 - Adelle: P.M. Reading - Jonathan: Independent activity
1:30 - Finish any incomplete work

The bottom line is, we're going to have a goal schedule set before us that we will follow as close as possible and the structure should help us out a bit.

(At least that's what I'm thinking.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

This IS War

I was reminded this morning (how could I forget?) that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. We are all in a spiritual battle - whether we know it or not. The enemy uses anything and everything to keep us from reaching the Lord whilst our souls cry out to God the Father. 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 

This battle rages on and will continue to do so until Christ's second coming and Satan is locked up in the fires of Hell forever. Until then, we must fight.

Galatians 5:16-17 - "But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please."

All believers have the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit as the personal power for living to please God. Walking is a continuous action, or a habitual lifestyle. Walking also implies progress; as we (believers) submit to the Spirit's control, we grow in our spiritual life. The flesh is not simply the physical body, but also includes the mind, our will, and our emotions - which are all subject to sin. The flesh opposes the work of the Spirit and leads us toward sinful behavior, ruinous thoughts and feelings that we would not otherwise be compelled to do, think and feel. 

So walking by the Spirit means fighting in a war between the Spirit and the sinful nature. The connection between verses 16 and 17 indicates that those who live by the Spirit are not neutral in this war. They are committed to fight of the side of the Spirit against the desires of the sinful nature. This inner spiritual warfare is the nature of the Christian life; it is the experience of all those who live by the Spirit. The conflict Paul is describing here is not the moral conflict that everyone feels at some time, nor the conflict of a wayward Christian who is no longer committed to Christ. This is the conflict of a thoroughly committed Christian who is choosing each day to "walk by the Spirit".  Each day the Christian who chooses to walk by the Spirit is engaged in a fierce battle between the Spirit and the sinful nature. 

Ephesians 6:10-17 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, agains the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having everything to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Did you notice that this passage says to stand firm 3 times? Paul calls Christians to take a firm position in the spiritual battle against Satan and his minions and the full armor of God is our defense. The Christian armor is made to be worn and there is no taking it off until we have done our warfare and finished our course. 

We must fight. We must fight with all we have, never growing weary of doing good. All of us, collectively and individually, are in this battle. Don't let the enemy slip in. Don't give in to weariness, sadness, pain and offenses. Go after God with all your might; with all your mind; with all your heart; and with all your strength. 

It is tough. It is tough as moms. It is tough as wives. It is tough as Christians. It is so crucial (and I am so 'preaching' to myself here) that we make sure to spend quality time (daily!) with the King of kings; reading (and rereading) His word and communing with Him. 

Let us turn off the computers, the TVs and the phones. Let's open the Word (our sword) and pursue God like never before. He promised that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

(I wrote this with the help of the Matthew Henry Commentary and the commentary of my study Bible).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Finishing Up 2013-14

It was way too nice to study indoors!
The Lord has blessed us with another successful school year. While we've had several set-backs and some sicknesses, I feel that we have covered enough lessons from this curriculum to call it complete. However, we have a little bit more to learn. 

While we enjoyed the relaxed approach of My Father's World, I feel as though the phonics lessons were a little lacking; a bit too vague. Next school year, we are going to go with to the curriculum we used before, which was A Beka Book. It is a bit more rigid and uses a spiral teaching method, but it's very thorough. We'll just have to make adjustments to the lesson plans a bit. 

With all that being said, we are going to use the month of May (and possibly part of June) to fill in the gaps with the Abeka Grade 1 lesson plan books I just purchased (gently used) from a friend. My goal is for Adelle to receive one phonics/spelling and handwriting lesson in the mornings while continuing to play fun math games, experimenting with some kid concoctions along with fun science explorations in the afternoons from now until mid-June. 

My intentions for next school year is to start Adelle in 2nd grade and Jonathan in K5 in mid-July. Our school years have played out to be year-long with frequent breaks through-out. I expect this school year to follow suit. History repeats itself, right? Not to mention that we are creatures of habit. 


*big smile*

Now, I must think about a bit of a tighter or more structured schedule and how I am going to teach 2 different grade levels, both with a high demand of parental involvement. 

I desire your prayers and will listen to all the advice you can offer! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Growing Them in Truth

I shared the following on FB yesterday and got some pretty interesting remarks:

"It is exceedingly crucial that my children understand that following God is more than just fun-filled activities. Does "take up your cross" sound fun? No, but it's what Jesus said we must do. The sooner my children understand that God is holy (He is HOLY), the better for them. Should they decide to follow Him (and I pray they do!), I don't want them doing so based on some false impression that it's a fun-filled walk."

This is my mission as a mom who seeks to follow the Lord.

One person responded with, "But it's ok to have fun!".

I am not saying that we can't have fun activities and make fun memories. 

One friend understood what I was trying to say and responded with this:

"Cyndi's post is not honing in on fun, but the seriousness of following and serving God. When we are teaching children, we have to be careful of what kind of fun they are having as we try to teach them serious life concepts."

She is hit the nail on the head. Children like to play, having fun and laughing. Who doesn't? But as we seek to please the Lord, we must be careful to be appropriate and to always ask ourselves if we are pleasing Him in the "fun" things we are doing. I am trying to be careful to teach my children to have "appropriate" fun and since we live in a corrupt world, sometimes we can't help to see unpleasant and inappropriate things. 

So what do we do with that? 

We train our eyes to look away immediately and we train our children's eyes to do the same. I know of a family that has a code word to holler out to each other when they see something inappropriate coming their way - whether it be a person with little clothing covering themselves or a billboard or anything that would cause impure thoughts -  when they're out and about. They holler, "Shoes!" And when the other family members hear it, they immediately look at their shoes for a while until it's safe to look up again. I thought that was pretty clever.

Another friend responded to my FB post by saying, 

"So many kids who grow up in church grow out of church because they're taught that it's supposed to be fun. If there is no spiritual maturation process as they grow up, church will get old and cease to hold any relevant place in their lives. When we dumb it down and fun it up, we leave little seed for the Spirit to work in them and they become far more attuned to how they feel than truth."

It's true! I can name one other peer, maybe two, at the most, from my days in youth group that are currently seeking to please the Lord. How sad that is! I do not want that to happen to my children. I pray they come to understand what it truly means to follow Jesus. It's not about receiving wealth, health and material things from God. He takes care of us indeed, giving us everything that we need. If we're completely honest, all we truly need is HIM

My purpose for sharing this is to ask for your prayers for my family in this matter. I know my friends and family already do that and I thank you. I further ask for accountability from those who know me. Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes truth offends. Always truth is necessary and must be kept in our focus. 

Do me a favor, my friends.  Always be honest with me and speak truth, not opinions, to me, even if it may hurt for a bit. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Snow Treat: Snow Cream!

We got a little bit of snow here in the deep south several weeks ago. It doesn't happen very often so we get a little excited around here when it does. 

The beautiful white fluff came a few days after we studied measurement in math. So we grabbed the ruler and measure how much snow we ended up with. 
This picture isn't clear, but it did measure at one inch. 

Then I remembered something called snow cream. I've never heard of this before. You'd think living in the north where we get more snow that I would have. Nonetheless, I remembered people posting about this treat in times past when we were lucky enough to get snow here. 

Google has become a very good friend to me. :-)  I googled the recipe and found a simple one on

You need
1 C. of half and half or milk
(we used milk)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 to 1/2 C. granulated sugar, adjust to your taste

Mix all those up in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved. It took a few minutes. 

Stir in 4 to 6 Cups freshly fallen snow, 1 cup at a time....

....until the ice cream magically forms! 
You know, when it reaches ice cream consistency. 

You can freeze it for a few minutes before serving. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Learning Measurement

I think I've written enough posts about the math in our curriculum that one should know that I am just beyond crazy about it.... and that's coming from a person who grew up hating math. It really isn't my best subject, but I am loving the way our curriculum is making it so fun for the kids.

We had a week of learning about measurements. We started off observing different objects and seeing which ones are shorter and which ones are longer. This was very simple, but the children enjoyed it very much. 

Then we explored the measurement of inches and centimeters. We played the "Inchworm Game" where they measured different objects using inches.

We used our unifix cubes as game markers and placed them on start. Then we shuffled the playing cards. Each card has a picture of an object that can be measured with a ruler.

Then the first player draws a card and uses a ruler to measure the longest side of the object that's pictured on that card. Then the player moves his marker that number of spaces on the game board.

For example, if the object shown is a pencil, the player measures a pencil (one that we designated to use for this game). If the pencil measures 5 inches long, the player moves ahead 5 spaces on the game board.

Each player then takes turns until one player reaches the tail of the worm on the game board. That player is the winner. 

Easy. Right?

Fun? You betcha! 

The children really couldn't get enough of this game, so after we played it a few times, we then played it again using the centimeter side of our ruler. 

We also went around the house measuring different larger objects using a yard stick and non-standard measurements, such as, our hands. We also read lots of library books about the other types of measurements. 

To end our week of measurements, we made a cake where I let the children measure out the ingredients and mix up the batter. 

This was another fun week of math. 
I couldn't be more pleased and the kids couldn't have more fun learning. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Random Things ~ Back to Normal

We're back in our regular routine. Not very much interesting going on, but you know it's never boring with little ones.

1. Math


We are having more fun learning addition and subtraction than I knew was possible.

I made a giant number line out of 12 sheets of regular paper taped together. The kids start at what number I say. Then I give an addition or subtraction sentence. If I say plus, they turn themselves towards the bigger numbers b/c they know that plus means to add and the sum will be a larger number than they started on. Same with the subtraction. If I say minus, they turn themselves towards the smaller numbers b/c they know that minus means to subtract and the difference will be a smaller number than they started on. Then they jump to the answer of the math problem.

The 2nd game pictured here is called Free Fall. I divided a piece of paper by drawing a line down the middle. The kids dropped small pasta shells onto the paper. They wrote down how many shells landed on both sides of the line on the paper. Then you can add or subtract those numbers. Easy peasy and the kids keep asking to do it again and again. 

That certainly beats boring worksheets. I mean, we still have a worksheet or 2 to complete, but playing the math game before we do the paper work is so much more fun!

I love it!

2. Surprises!
The kids know how to put their clothes on hangers and place them in the closet. They usually grab the step-ladder to accomplish this task.  Little Man, who is all boy, decided he was going to get creative and tackle this chore in a different way. 

Yes, that is his dresser in the closet. I hid it in there for I thought he may get the idea to climb on it sooner and more often if I left it out in the bedroom itself. I guess I should find a different place for that piece of furniture.  *wink* 

3. DIY
I am domestically challenged. 


What can I say? 

I discovered how to make your own powder laundry soap a while back, but I just made some of this last week since I've been trying to use up the store-bought stuff I already had. So I'm down to using the last bit of it and decided to make this homemade cleaner. Let me first say that it smells really good. It's super easy, and ya'll know me... it's gotta be easy for me to have success at anything! Ha! 

I'm sure you already know how this works and all (b/c you know, I'm behind a bit), but for the sake of journaling on this blog, I'll share how I made this super-money saver. 

     *1 bar Fels Naptha soap - I've heard you can use Ivory or other natural unscented soap
     *1 Cup Borax
     *1 Cup Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
     All these are found in the laundry isle. 

     1. Grate up the bar of soap
     2. Add the other 2 ingredients
     3. Mix well.

*Secret spoiler*
I know my picture isn't very good, but can you see how fine the powder is? I used my food processor for this project. I washed and dried it and repeated right after I was done grating and mixing. At this point I cannot say that I've used my processor for food yet. 

Hu-hem! Anyway.....

I bought 3 bars of the Fels Naptha (at only $.89, who could resist?) and made 3 batches of this recipe and it fills a one-gallon ice cream tub over half full. The lady on the website I found this recipe on says she only uses 1 Tbs per load of laundry. {Is that enough?} If that is an adequate amount to use, then my bucket of soap should last a little while. Don't you think? 

Anyway. I'm a little bit skeptical (only b/c this is new to me), but I'll try it. So after 2-3 more loads of the store bought detergent, I will start using my homemade powder and will report back how well it actually worked. 

4. Crafting 
I am loving my wreaths! Remember the felt flowers in my last post? Here they are on my new wreath.


That is a wreath form covered in... get this.... denim from an old pair of jeans! 

Clever, eh? 

Maybe not. 

But I have all this denim and wanted to give it a whirl. That is so thinking outside the box for me. LOL 

I've not decided if this wreath is actually done or not. I thought that maybe a bow would be too much b/c of the flowers, but it does seem like something is missing. Do you crafters have any suggestions for me? 

5. Home Economics
My little darlings are learning how to wash and rinse the dishes. Pretty soon they'll be able to do it all by themselves.  


Happy Happy Happy! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Random Things ~ Adventure is Out There!

It's been a few weeks since I've written a "Random" blog post. 

Happy New Year! We had lots of fun this past Christmas/New Year's break.  

1. Traveling Museums: The Columbus Ships


The Columbus Foundation has built replicas of the ships that Christopher Columbus and his crew traveled in on his discoveries in the 15th century. The Nina and the Pinta are traveling museums visiting ports all over the Western Hemisphere. The crew says they have the Santa Maria as well, but it's too big to travel in the rivers. They also told us that the Nina is replicated to the exact size of its original and the Pinta is bigger than its original. Two times bigger I think? Anyway. It is bigger than the Nina. 

These ships were on display down on the coast, so we traveled down to take a tour and learn a few things. As you can see, we went on a cold rainy day, which the crew said was a good time to tour the ships because then it was a realistic lesson of how it really was on those ships. One interesting fact is the original boats and crew members were wet most of the time. The moisture-absorbing salt from the sea water kept the sailors clothes wet, so they welcomed the fresh water rain so they could rinse the salt away. 

This little adventure was pretty interesting and I hope the children remember it. Since these ships are a traveling museum, I hope they come to the coast again. 

2. Creative Door Wreath
I saw this very creative why-didn't-I-think-of-that wreath for the winter months idea online. It's so easy. The internet version I saw had you put 3 different sized wreaths together and add a real hat and scarf to it (stick arms and mittens too). Their snowman wreath fills the entire bottom half of the door. As you can see, mine isn't so big... maybe I should've went bigger? Anyway. So my version is actually 2 different sized wreaths and cone-bottomed basket that when turned upside down looks like a hat over top the face. Instant head! So I attached the wreaths and basket together with floral wire and made the scarf and "hat" with burlap ribbon. I attached red lace with hot glue. And there is my own snowman wreath...  

Maybe I should add stick arms......

3. New Year's Countdown

East Coast Mommy Blog gave me a great way to count down the new year with the children this year: Countdown Bags!  So I put together 8 bags for each child. The kids had a bag to open every hour beginning at 5pm all the way down to midnight. I just used regular brown lunch sacks with a homemade paper clock attached to them.

I'm going to try to remember what the bags contained. It was all simple silly stuff, but the kids looked forward to opening them:

5pm had a construction paper cookie with the instructions "Bake Cookies" printed on it. We then proceeded to bake some giant pumpkin cookies from store-bought dough.
6pm had supplies to make their own party hat, as you can see them wearing in the picture above.
7pm was sand art. I had a little sand art activity that I had purchased for Adelle a year ago that we hadn't done yet.
8pm was a few little party necklaces from the dollar store and 2014 glasses.
9pm was play Trouble - the board game.
10pm was some little blower things and balloons.
11pm were some noise makers (yes, I saved those 'til almost last to save our insanity!)
12am midnight was a cup for some alcohol-free sparkling grape bubbly and a giant pumpkin cookie that we baked from earlier.

 4. Monopoly
I can't really remember a time playing Monopoly where 1 person actually owned half the board, complete with hotels and everything. Good thing he didn't pull that card that said pay so much for each house and hotel. He might've lost then.  Ha! 

5. Felt flowers

I came across these oh-so-easy felt flowers about 6 months ago or so. My good friend gave me a bunch of felt when I asked around back then. I finally decided it was time to try them out. Look how beautiful they turned out! These are going on my next wreath. 

I'm serious guys. I am NOT a crafter. These things that I have made were possible only b/c of the simplicity of them. I have no patience and no talent for anything beyond what an elementary child can do. 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Math Games ~ Restaurant and Store

I just realized that I haven't written about the fun games we are playing to learn addition and subtraction like I had previously promised! 


Better late than never, right?

So a few weeks ago, our curriculum gave us the idea to play "restaurant" and "store" to help the children practice addition skills. 

For restaurant, I served lunch as if we were at a restaurant.  (No pics for this one. Sorry!) The lunch menu had a few selections on it priced from 1 to 9 cents. The "customers" had only 10 pennies at a time to "buy" their meal with. {In the future when we are learning bigger number addition facts, they'll have 20 cents to work with.} So they choose 2 items from the menu at a time. The "waiter/waitress" writes the 2 amounts down on a "guest check", adds them and asks for the payment. The "customer" then gives the payment. Of course the food is served and we all eat. Each one of us takes turn being customer and waiter/waitress. The kids liked that. 

For store, I took items out of the pantry and wrote prices 1-9 cents on each item and set the items up on the counter.  {Now I've been saving food boxes and containers as we empty them so we can play with those.} Again, each "customer" has only 10 pennies. The "customers" go "shopping" choosing 2 items to "purchase". They take their items to the "clerk", who writes up a receipt adding the total amount each customer needs to pay. We each take turns being the customer and clerk. 

Adelle and Jonathan both have fun with these activities. I have fun not giving the clerk or waitress enough money and they have to tell me how much more I need to give them.  {How clever of me!}

We alternate playing these games on different days. 

I love it when the children are learning and they don't realize it!