Keeping Dad in Our Homeschooling

For most homeschooling families I know, it's the mama who's in the day-to-day trenches, juggling homeschooling with housework and diaper changes and attitude adjustments--sometimes the kids' and sometimes her own. At any rate, one may wonder where Dad fits in when he's usually gone to work all day. Well, here are the ways my husband (affectionately called "Husband") is involved in our homeschool.

1. Husband is Head of the Home
First and foremost, as a Christian family, we follow God's design for marriage and family. Simply put, Husband is the leader. While he may delegate much of our home life duties to me, I operate knowing that he is the head, even in our homeschool. So, tough decisions need to flow through him. Huge changes in our curriculum? He should know about it. If one of the children is struggling with a concept, I seek his guidance on it. If I'm dealing with the same character issue, day in and day out, I ask for his help. At the end of the day, God gave these children to us, and Husband's opinion is not only highly valuable, it is vey much needed.

2. Mix Work with School
Lately, my husband's job has afforded him the opportunity to work more from home. On those days, he'll set his computer up at the table right in the midst of note books and flash cards and he works side by side with us. Although he is busily taking care of his work duties, just having his presence in the home during the school day is always a blessing. Plus sometimes, he'll surprise us with donuts before he starts his work day (yummy breakfast!) or he'll get pizza on his lunch break. . .can't beat that!

3. Talk About Homeschooling Regularly
Besides asking the kids what they did in school or how their day was, Husband and I regularly discuss the kids' progress in their schoolwork. After using public schools for 3 years, we are entering our 5th year of homeschooling. We have gotten used to "how we do school" and are realizing the truth in the adage "homeschooling is a way of life." That being the case, we discuss our children as whole individuals (spiritually, mentally, educationally, etc) throughout the course of normal conversation. So school is not some separate topic that my Husband is not aware of.

4. Let Him Influence Your Schedule
In my head, I'd like to think I run a well-oiled machine in my schooling schedule. (A mama can try, right?) Of course, we certainly have our share of toddler meltdowns, babies up at night, and older kids who are slow-moving in the mornings. But, generally, we have a natural ebb and flow to our days. Husband knows that and he is really good about supporting the daily goals I've put in place.

However, when my husband is able to take some time off of work, we adjust our schedule to coincide with the precious time we have to spend together as a family. Even if we don't take an actual vacation, but just take a day trip to a town a few cities away, it is worth the day of missed school work. There are also times when Husband just senses that we need a break, even if he's at work. He'll call and say, "Babe, no school today." I've learned that if he can see that we need a break, then we must really need one. So, I take it without stressing and without any guilt. And you know what? It's always been beneficial in the long run because burn-out never looks good on a me.

5. Daddy Teacher
Just because Mom is the primary teacher doesn't mean a few subjects can't be saved for Dad. In our home, my husband teaches 100% of our children's Physical Education. It is so freeing to not have to think about Math and how to teach catching and jumping-jacks, too! He has a list of various sports drills the kids practice each day, and then on the weekends, he takes them to a field behind our house for class. They have a stretching and warm-up routine, and they learn all sorts of sports fundamentals: track, soccer, and baseball, plus basketball and football for the boys. This is right up my husband's alley, as he played football in college and has a minor in coaching. So, brainstorm with your husband on what he feels comfortable teaching, something that he would enjoy. My kids get a kick out of Daddy being their coach!

6. Include His Ideas
I try to incorporate my husband ideas. Sometimes he has ideas that just work for the kids or that I may not think of. After all, he is their father and knows them just as well as I do. In our very first year of homeschooling, I was teaching the kids Ancient History and we were talking about how farmers would use a "shaduf" to water their crops. He sat in on the lesson and got up and made a make-shift shaduf using some pencils and an eraser. Once I was finished talking about it, he showed the kids how his shaduf worked. They loved it! Five years later, we all still remember him doing that.

Lately, my husband has added a twist to our math and our catechism. In Math, once a week, the kids are required to choose a problem and explain how they solved it in written form (literally writing out the words). The problem must be one they previously got wrong and have since corrected. They get to choose which one they will write about. Also, we are learning catechism as a family so the children have a firm foundation in our doctrinal beliefs. However, Husband said in addition to memorizing the answers, the children must also be able to put those answers in their own words, according to their understanding/ability. As you can see, Husband is not one for rote memorization alone. He wants the kids to be able to explain concepts for themselves. This has been great in stretching the children's thinking and encourages them to pay closer attention to instruction and discussions.

These are just some of the ways my husband is directly involved in our homeschooling. I'm sure there are others and I'd love to hear them! How do you include your husband in your homeschool?

***Originally posted HERE on 9/16/2015 at Our Homeschool Forum.***


Why You Can't Curse Me With More Kids

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants,
All around your table.
-Psalm 128:3
I was talking to my husband one day and he told me about a conversation he had with a friend who had "wished more children on us." He said that a bit of sly laughter followed this person's "wish." So Husband asked me why do people do that--"wish" more kids on us? I told him it's not really a wish, as in a blow-out-your-birthday-candles-and-make-a-wish kind of wish. Rather, it's as though people are trying to "curse us" with more children.

Sounds strange, doesn't it? But think about it. Tell me if you've heard any of these, because we sure have:

"Some day, you'll have a child just like you."
"Pregnant again? Hmm! Maybe it'll be twins." (Then, when it wasn't twins. . . )
"Maybe next time it will be twins, then you'll stop!"
"Y'all just keep on having kids. . . " (I'm thinking, what else would we have?)
"You have six now; maybe you'll have even more." (Gasp! The horror!)

My husband and I, we like our kids!
Yes, of course we love them, we've loved them from the moment we knew they were in the womb. Without question, the love was there. But we actually like our kids, enjoy hanging out with them, playing and laughing with them, and experiencing new things together, teaching them what they should know.

And even more than that, we believe the Word of the Lord is true:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate." -Psalm 127:3-5 (NKJV)
Check out the same passage from The Message translation:
"Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
    you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep." -Psalm 127:3-5
And then there's this beautiful verse:
"They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, And their offspring with them." -Isaiah 65:23
And of course there are these verses, as well:
"But did He not make them* one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth." -Malachi 2:15 (*husband and wife)
"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord." -Psalm 128:1-4

So "cursing" us with more children is like cursing us with breathing air. We will gladly welcome any child God gives us, just as we welcome our next breath. We are thankful for the blessing of children.

Hard work?
Yes, indeed; you better believe it!

Worry free?
Uh, no. . .

Worth it?
Absolutely. For sure. Without a doubt.


Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

August 24, 2015

I am SO grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children. My husband and I don't have all the answers, but we are honored that God has granted us this calling. We are not perfect, but we are committed to raising our children for the Lord. So, we count it a blessing to be able to do that as we educate our children each day, right here at home.

Scripture Memory
Teaching Hearts, Training Minds
Foundations 1: Preparation for Christ

Math U See

Language Arts
First Language Lessons
Rod & Staff: Building Christian English Series
Writing with Ease
Writing with Skill
Reading lists found at Ambleside Online and also here.
Spelling Workout
Vocabulary from Classical Roots
Cursive Writing

Story of the World (Middle Ages; Modern Age)
The Mystery of History (Ancients)

Science in the Beginning

Kid's Health: free site with a myriad of health resource categorized by grade and topic.
Flag Football

Teaching Little Fingers to Play
Flute Lessons
Music and Art Appreciation: via Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool: a free, full online, Christian education, or you can use it for specific subjects only.
Crafts and Handiwork

The Fallacy Detective
Building and Thinking Skills 

Foreign Language
Prima Latina
Latina Christiana I
Spanish: free, through our local library, online

Typing.com: A free site where I'm able to manage all of my kiddos' progress.

Happy Schooling!

I'd be happy to answer any questions about our curriculum, if you're looking for a personal opinion. Have you found all of your curriculum for the school year?


Book Review: NKJV Foundation Study Bible

As a young girl growing up, I learned the Bible in the KJV. That was the version that was read during our church services, it was the version my parents taught me from, and it is still the version I "hear" in my mind when I recall Scriptures I learned as a child.

But, for my own family, we are using the NKJV during our family Bible study. I wanted the kids to have a NKJV so they could follow along when I read aloud. The nice thing is that the language of the NKJV does not differ so much from the KJV that I can hardly recognize the verses. The introduction states it this way:
"The full text of the New King James Version is used, in a format that shows paragraphs, poetry, and other special formats. Based on the time-honored King James Version, the NKJV is preferred by many Bible readers for its unparalleled accuracy, beauty, and clarity. The NKJV uses up-to-date English while maintaining the literary quality of the KJV."
This is precisely right and is the reason I requested this Bible for my oldest daughter (almost 13 years old), who is maturing in her faith more and more. She is ready to have a Bible that digs a little deeper, providing her with some background and explanations on the passages of Scripture she's reading.

This Study Bible has a complete listing of the Old Testament and New Testament books with the accompanying page number, and abbreviations as well. There is an introduction to the features of the Bible, as well background and history of the biblical text.

Each book of the Bible begins with that book's name, author's information, timeline dates, key verse and theme. I really appreciate the timeline dates being included because we teach Biblical history as a part of history in general, that the two are not separate and occur on the same timeline. All of history begins with Genesis 1:1 which states, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Within the text, there are subject headers to aid the reader in study, as it highlights what the upcoming passage will focus on. Also included are theological notes on specific verses, which highlight various things from historical background to doctrinal truths. For example, the subject header for Genesis Chapter 1 (and part of Chapter 2) is: "The History of Creation." The theological footnote for Genesis 1:1 explains Creation:
"Biblical revelation begins with a simple, strong, and sublime affirmation. Instead of arguing the existence of God, it declares that the very existence of the universe depends on the creative power of God. The world we live in was created by God and belongs to Him. His absolute ownership requires our faithful stewardship of all things."
In the New Testament, the words of Jesus Christ are printed in red, which is a preference I've come to enjoy in my Bible reading. Located in the back of this Bible are an index to the theological notes by topic and by location, as well as color maps of the land in Biblical times.

This Bible has been a great addition to our study time. It is not overwhelming by interrupting the reader with lots of bells and whistles, such as charts or character profiles. It is straightforward with an easy-to-follow formatting.

**I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Chelmont Academy: First Day in Pictures

For the last few weeks, I've been preparing hearts and minds to let go of our lazy relaxed summer schedule to return to fuller school days. Our official start was on Monday and I just kept snapping pics of these sweet kids. (I know, I'm biased, but they really are sweet!)


Almost got them to all look at the camera. . .
Son in the red hat is crying because we're too close to the tree. :)

The kids thought I needed a sign and a picture, too.
They're so sweet!


Oldest sister making funny faces and the other two giggling...

Back to work, while oldest is still smiling at whatever it was they thought was hilarious!
We stopped for ice cream, cookies for the littles, and free iced coffee for Mama!
Waiting to pick up medical record forms for Fall Soccer....
Bored and sleepy
Still happy from eating cookies
These two went with me to a homeschool meeting later that evening.

Our day was full, it was fun, and we are blessed. When I think of it, I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach my children at home, so they may learn the ways of the Lord.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
-Deuteronomy 6:4-9


Hot July Has Come and Gone

We are in the thick of summertime. The air is heavy and sticky, and it is just plain old hot outside!! My oldest daughter is enjoying the weather immensely because this is her favorite season.
My little ladies. . .
Kids #1 - #4 are swimming twice a week this summer and they are having a ball and are progressing nicely. My oldest son is now swimming with his sisters in an hour long class and he feels cool because he's with the "older" kids. And, the 3 year old is conquering his fears and is learning to blow bubbles and put his face in the water! :)

This is my 4th born. . .y'all remember when he was born??
Time flies!
And. . . guess who's 8 now?!?!?
He was so excited about this birthday, because that means he'll be old enough to take an introductory music class at the University in the spring. Also, he thinks he'll be tall enough to ride most of the rides at Six Flags! Every where he goes, he's telling people, "You know, I'm 8 now!"
Green icing face!
Home-made number 8 cake. . .

. . . with green icing, requested!
We are trying to cross off some things on our Summer Bucket List; we're getting there. We had friends over for The 4th and created a sort of impromptu "splash zone" in the back yard for all of the kids: water balloons, squirters, super soakers, and the good ol' garden hose. Cheap fun!!

We went to a very small local farm, which is an old favorite for the kids. We haven't been in a few years, so I think it was first time situation for a couple of the little ones. This particular farm is located in a huge park, with walking trails, camping grounds, sports facilities and more. So, we also stopped by the Nature Center to see a few rescued animals and then finished up the day with a carousel ride. Fun, fun, fun!

She was able to get the chicken to "talk" to her

The peacocks would not spread their feathers for us.

Pig in the mud. . .my youngest son was terrified!

The boy wanted his picture take with the pig. . .who was on her way back inside the hut.
Totally uninterested in taking a picture.

Carousel ride at the farm. . .
I cut one of my daughters out of the picture--oops!

First carousel ride--totally happy!!

First carousel ride: one terrified, one not so sure why the other one is crying...
We've made home-made ice cream from a few simple ingredients and one of them was Kool-Aid!! No special equipment required! We made grape and watermelon flavors and guess what. . .it was delicious and we'll be making more! My husband says it reminds him of Italian ice more so than ice cream. Whatever you want to call, just know it's good and it's something fun the kids can make. (Check out the recipe here.)

I have been chugging away at planning for the coming year, purchasing curriculum, and dreaming up ways to conduct our regular school schedule. I'm in prayer over my homeschool, as I want to do what the Lord wants concerning educating these precious children. Homeschooling is certainly a labor of love. I hope to share my curriculum choices and such with you all soon.
No Idle Bread Preschool
Can't believe August is already here!! What ways have you been enjoying the summer???


Longing for Jesus

It's on my heart more and more...
Craving, hungering, thirsting after what is righteous.

There is so much evil in this world, spiritual darkness, wickedness lurking . . .
It sickens me, saddens me, breaks my heart.
Because what I'm learning is the more I align my thoughts with the Word of God, and the more He works in me, the more sensitive I become to what is not like Him.
Granny called it "higher heights and deeper depths. . . going deeper in the Lord." (We understand that as sanctification.)

I am not perfect, of course I stumble, but by His grace, I want to please the Lord, to obey what He commands, to live where others want this, too.

And I ache for a place:
Where I can raise my family and the love of Christ is abundant
Where we're not odd because we whispered prayers of gratitude before a meal
Where the commands of God are reflected in the laws of man
Where I'm not ridiculed for Biblically submitting to my own husband, or for having all these kids, or for staying at home to keep my house
Where I see people actually loving each other as themselves
Where I am readily encouraged by my neighbors to wholly follow the Lord
Where I can live in community with other believers, worshiping together, witnessing together, sharing life with each other, helping each other
Where that older woman is lavishing her wisdom on the next generation of wives
Where younger women humble themselves and take heed to that wisdom
Where men are men, not slacking in their duties of prayer, provision and protection, honorable and strong. . .
Where is that place? Where are those people?

And, as I mull these things over with my husband, as our hearts rage and grieve over a sin-sick world, as we discuss the future--how to raise up these children of ours for the cause of Christ--the Holy Spirit whispers: it's Me, it's Me.

I realize it's not just about finding like-minded mamas for lunch and play dates, it's less about twisted laws that promote and celebrate sin, it's not really a little protected community where all is well. . . It's Jesus that my soul wants. I'm longing for Him.

The reality is, there is nothing that this world can offer me that will soothe my achy sorrow, or fulfill this deep, deep need for true Life and real Love. It's Jesus. That's Who I'm longing for.

I understand now why my Granny used to sing, "This world is not my home, I'm just a stranger, I'm passing through. . ." I didn't get it as a little girl, but now? I feel like I'm yelling at every turn: "Oh, just give me Jesus!"

Or, in the words of John:
". . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)

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