Well, the summer schedule is officially over, and we have moved on to our regular schooling schedule. This was our first week back and it has been full and interesting. The kids have been excited all week and have been putting forth great effort. I have been busy trying to keep up with our new schedule and making sure I don't fall behind in the logistics: checking work, filing papers, creating lists, and preparing for the next day.

I must say that each day has not gone exactly as I've planned and I am learning that is okay. There are 2 bits of wisdom that I have purposed to begin the school year with:
  1. Feel free to chose motherhood first. Life happens right in the middle of our schooling ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Although my children need to be well-educated, they also need correction, training, love, cleaning, nurturing. . . and the list goes on. So, when a dirty diaper, cranky toddler, or poor attitude interrupts our school plans, I choose being a mom. And I'm learning to make that choice freely, without hesitation, without frustration that our school day isn't going as planned, and without worry that we're going to fall behind. I'm not perfect at it yet, but I am intentional about applying it.
  2. Try again tomorrow. This three-word sentence is so encouraging. It echoes the promise of Lamentations 3:22-24. . . . God's mercies are new EVERY morning. So long as God graciously gives me tomorrow, I know that a fresh, new, heaping portion of MERCY will come with it. Literally, every single day this week, there has been something that I did not get to do that I wanted to do with the kids. But, I knew I could walk away from the end of the day knowing I tried and that, God willing, I get to try again tomorrow.

Baby J: 5 months old
Upon entering our 3rd year of homeschooling, I've taken this summer to reflect. In our first two years of homeschooling, I was pregnant with #4 and then with #5. Because of a new baby's impending entrance into our family, I had this "squeeze-in-every-thing-you-can-because-you-don't-know-when-you're-going-into-labor" approach to homeschooling. Looking back on that, I'm realizing, pregnant or not, that is a sure way to frustration and burn-out--trying to squeeze in every lesson I can. The Holy Spirit is teaching me to calm down on purpose, and to accept that I can't "do it all" and that is okay. If I could do it all, then when would I ever depend on the Lord for what I need? So I am grateful for my new "two-step" approach. :)

Here are some pictures from our week, including a school room tour and some interesting insects we found outside.

Welcome to Chelmont Academy:
Our one-room, stand alone, school room.
The pictures will go to the left from this door,
all the way around the room.
Calendar/U.S. Map
My sweet kiddos/World map
Curriculum shelf/Library book basket

TV/Preschool corner

Preschool corner w/ cute little toddler :)

Mom's desk/printer/computer
(I obviously didn't clean up before taking the pic.
Real life, ladies!)

Art supplies/puzzles/games
(This is just to the right of the door.)

1st grader (JR) working on his time line

5th grader (SJ) reading in the atlas.

3rd grader (TM) reading in a history book.

Toddler toes (JD) and JR's timeline.

Praying Mantis we freed from a spider's web.

Weird-looking cocoons. . .

. . . .with strange caterpillar-like creatures coming out.
Insects just aren't my thing! LOL But my kids insisted on pictures, along with
daily checking to see what's going on.

Edited to Add: To our surprise, these aren't cocoons or caterpillars. They are bag worms, a type of pest,
that are having a grand old time eating up dwarf spruces!! (Disgusting!!). If you want to
know more, check out this post!
Taken outside of the school room on our 1st day.
They were happy to be back in the school room, since
we'd been schooling at the kitchen table since Baby J was born.
How are things going in your homeschool so far? What lessons are you learning already?

Happy schooling!!

Linked with:
What Joy Is Mine

Welcome Home Wednesdays


School Days: My Two-Step Approach

by on Friday, August 30, 2013
Well, the summer schedule is officially over, and we have moved on to our regular schooling schedule. This was our first week back and it ha...
I Am Ruth: A Story of Loss, Love and Redemption

by Brenda Duff and Kenneth Berg
published by New Leaf Publishing Group
Many know the story of Ruth, of her misfortune, of her devotion to Naomi (her mother-in-law), and then of the blessings God poured out upon her life. But, in this beautiful retelling of a familiar passage, there is depth, Jewish history is explained and background information is given. By doing so, the author rounds out the story, giving us insight to the reasons why Elimelech left Bethlehem for Moab, why Ruth clung to Naomi, why Boaz gladly welcomed Ruth to his fields.

The author weaves the tale of God's love for His people throughout this story. The book is beautifully written and illustrated with amazing photographs from the Holy Land, closely located to the regions where the story took place. One of the things I like best is that after each section of the book, the actual Biblical text from the book of Ruth, is presented so the reader can refer to Scripture for themselves. I enjoyed reading this book; it was fresh, beautifully written and Scripturally sound.

I received this book, through New Leaf Publishing Group's book review program, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

Book Review: I Am Ruth

by on Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I Am Ruth: A Story of Loss, Love and Redemption   by Brenda Duff and Kenneth Berg published by  New Leaf Publishing Group   Man...
The month of July was hard, Ladies!!
Was it the heat? No.
An over abundance of mosquitoes? Nope.
Too many trips to the pool with my kids? Not at all.
It was exercising 5 days a week on my husband's workout plan!!!

Since I've had two babies within 15 months of each other, I have a bit of "pudginess" to loose. Nothing drastic like a 100 pounds, but just enough that I did not feel comfortable with myself. Just when I had 5-7lbs to lose before returning to pre-pregnancy weight after having JD (#4), we found out I was pregnant with Baby J (#5). So naturally, I had some work to do. ((And let me just say, having children in my 20's is SO different from having them in my 30's! I'm just not "shrinking back" like I used to!))

I had become a bit discouraged with the results of exercising on my own. I couldn't get a consistent routine going, Baby J was waking at night due to reflux, and I was just plain old tired and a wee bit stressed. So one day, I asked my husband to help. You see, my husband (allow me to brag on him just a bit!) was a star football athlete in college, has a coaching minor, and is our family P.E. teacher. He had helped me lose weight after our 3rd child was born and it was a TOUGH routine. That was 6 years ago and I still remember the pain, so initially I didn't want to go to him for help! :)

Oh boy, was he ready for me! He asked me to commit to 4 weeks of his exercise program. I had the more difficult workouts on Mon., Wed., and Fri. and lighter workouts on Tues. and Thurs. My harder workouts were timed and it involved running. . .lots of running. And jumping jacks. . . lots of jumping jacks. I completed a series of various "football drills" as I like to call them: things like run down to the end of the yard, touch the cone, run back, touch the other cone, repeat the entire series again, all in under 30 secs; and then do that whole thing again 4 times! There were gassers, power-trains, plyometrics, lunge walks, mountain-climbers and the like, interspersed with crunches, flutter kicks and push-ups. Is anyone feeling my pain yet?!?!

To the athlete, that probably seems like the norm. For the tired mama who has never played organized sports a day in her life, it was H A R D!!!! But, my family rallied around me to encourage me. My oldest daughter would keep my time with the stop watch, while my other children would shout, "Go, Mommy!" I wanted to QUIT so badly, you just don't know. But, it was a time for me to strengthen my resolve and tell myself what I always tell my children: Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it can't be done.

So, I pushed my self. I cried--literally, every other day. My knees ached. My legs were sore. I cried some more. I hated it. Seriously. I had to spend extra time in prayer so that I would not take my frustrations out on my husband. I knew he was helping me. I knew my kids were watching me, I knew I had given my husband my word, and I knew I wanted to be in better shape. So, I stuck with it. Five days a week for four weeks straight.

I am SO glad that is over!!!! I am SO happy with losing some extra pounds. But most of all, I am happy for the lessons learned:
  • When I ask for my husband's help, I must be receptive to the help he offers, even if it isn't my ideal choice.
  • Just because I have children to tend to doesn't mean that I can't exercise.
  • Just because I have children to tend to doesn't mean that I don't have time to exercise.
  • Just because I have had 5 children doesn't mean that I have to be an unhealthy size. {{You don't know how many times I've been told that I look great, for someone who's had 5 children. What is that supposed to mean?!}}
  • Just because I'm sleepy because of the baby doesn't mean that I can't exercise.
  • I have to make it a priority and be consistent, even with 5 children!

I realize that I found myself in a rut because I began to use my children as an excuse for not exercising and taking care of myself like I should. At the end of the day, no matter how many children the good Lord blesses us with, it never gives me an excuse not to care for myself and be diligent with exercising for overall health.

What now?
I am exercising on my own 5 days a week, every morning in the 6 o'clock hour. Some things my husband showed me, I continue to do; other things he showed me, I have discontinued, as quickly as I possible. (LOL) But, so far, so good. I am feeling good and I am thankful for the results.

**NO pics are posted because none were taken! Just not quite comfortable sharing exercise pictures with the world!**
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