"Can we borrow it now?" little Gracie asked, staring at the green CD cover in my hand with the Saxon man and woman on the cover. Inside was Wulf The Saxon on two CDs with over two hours of non-stop audio drama and adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions.
"We have to listen to it first." I shook my head sadly. I hate saying no to little children. Both of our families love listening to audio dramas. My older children grew up on Adventures in Odyssey. We loved hearing our audio friends having adventures at Whit's End. So, I was so excited when I heard about Under Drakes Flag, a G.A. Henty novel turned into a radio show. I listened to it and loved it!
When I was asked to review Wulf the Saxon, I was so excited! Another G.A. Henty book brought to life!
I started listening to the CD by myself, but was soon joined by interested family members. Everyone agreed! This was a great story! More than that, this was a great dramatization of a great story!
One of the most important battles in history, the Battle of Hastings, comes alive in this dramatization. English history takes a turn that will entwine England and France together. We see the story unfold through the eyes of Wulf, a young Saxon man.
This story gripped our hearts. We traveled back in time to eleventh century England and were caught up in the struggle for the throne. Would the Angle-Saxon king retain his throne or would England be ruled by a foreign invader? Of course, Wulf is noble, loyal, and filled with courage whether it's capturing a Welsh castle rescuing his shipwrecked king, or fighting Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
We are studying Africa this month in our homeschool geography co-op, so we kicked the month off with a feast from Africa.
We each chose a dish from a different African country and had a blast trying some very different foods.
"What are you doing?" my daughter Jenny Rose asked me as I stirred a large glob of peanut butter into a pan of soup stock and half-n-half.
I laughed. "I'm making peanut butter soup."
She scrunched up her nose and made a face.
"Do you want to try some?"
"Um, um, I'm not sure," she admitted.
Along with the peanut butter soup from South Sudan, I made Bobotie from South Africa.
What is Bobotie? Well, it's almost like a meatloaf with almonds, dried apricots, and raisins in it. Very unique, yet delicious.
In fact, most of the food we ate was unusual for us. The combinations were unique. It was an adventure!
"When will I be loved?" our hearts cry out when we are young.
We seek our one true love, believing that romantic love will fill us with happiness forever. Then we marry someone who isn't perfect and we are still seeking to be loved and appreciated.
If only our parents had loved us more. If only we had better friends. If only we had a boyfriend or girlfriend. If only our children appreciated us.
Why are we always seeking more?
We had a need inside us to be lavishly loved. Our hearts cry out for it.
We long for words, actions, attitudes from others that communicate love, kindness, warmth, and understanding. We long for others to place high value on us.
There is a problem, though. People are flawed. No one loves perfectly. No one can be our all in all.
When we get together with other homeschool parents, we talk about all kinds of things related to homeschooling:
Why we homeschool.
Our philosophy of homeschooling.
What curriculum we are using.
Our homeschool co-ops and field trips.
How are children are growing in godly character.
All of that is wonderful! I love talking about all those things!
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that love is the heart of homeschooling, it's what motivates us, it's why we sacrifice.
We homeschooling because we love our children. We homeschool to express love to our children. We homeschool because we love God and want to teach our children to love Him, too.
Just as the heart pumps life to the whole body, love brings life to our home and our home school.
Anna tucked a stray hair behind her ear while she balanced her baby on her hip. She stepped on some Legos as she made her way to the changing table. As she passed through the family room, she saw every toy they owned strewn across the floor. She sighed loudly. This was not what she signed up for.
Had she signed up? She sighed again. She had always dreamed of being a mom, having a happy home filled with delightful children in adorable outfits. She had never imagined the chaos, the screaming, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion.
As she dumped the diaper in the trash can and lifted the baby back on her hip, her son and daughter came running up to her.
"Look what I made you, Mommy!" Brandon jumped up and down, flinging a piece of computer paper at her.
"I made one, too!" Rachel grabbed her leg and planted a sticky kiss on her knee.
Minutes later, she was cuddled on the couch with her little lambs. They were explaining the beautiful pictures they had drawn for her.
It was a moment of stillness in the midst of a chaotic day. Anna felt her body relax. She held her children closer.
After 34 years, can you still slow dance with your husband in the living room by candlelight? I think so!
My friend Felice and I just recorded a radio show on date nights and it got me thinking about our romantic dates when we didn't have enough money to go out to dinner or see a movie.
Sometimes we would just bring a CD player to a romantic spot and dance under the moonlight. Other times we would slow dance in the living room with the lights down low.
As time goes on, you can forget to do romantic things because it's easier to go our to dinner or see a show.
I think this month, I'll find some songs on YouTube and slow-dance with my husband in the living room.
Here are some songs that are romantic and fun to dance to. Most of them are oldies, of course, because I'm getting to be an oldie myself.
One of my favorite songs. I sung this to my husband in church ten years ago on our anniversary. Says it all. Not perfect, but definitely happily ever after.
An even older song called Still the One. "Still the One" by Orleans. Can you remember Orleans, anyone? This was popular when I was in high school, or earlier maybe. My hubby is still the one.
I’ve dabbled in art since I was a child. There always seemed to be other interests and priorities which prevented me from pursuing what talent I may possess. One of those other interests was homeschooling my children. As we worked through the years I met a few promising artists who were just not sure where to get training. Art school, after all, is very expensive, right?
This year I was blessed with the opportunity to take an acrylic painting class with the students in our homeschool co-op. I started learning so much after just one class.
However, what do you do if you don’t have access to a professional painter who will teach you or your children?
You go online!
One of our homework assignments was to paint a cherry using the Beginners Acrylic Still Life Course at the Will Kemp Art School. You can read about the project and watch this series of YouTube videos by going to his website: http://willkempartschool.com/beginners-acrylic-still-life-course-part-1/.
This page includes a list of supplies needed, some pictures of the project in process and loads of links and helpful suggestions. I didn’t have access to exactly all the same products and he used but my local Michael’s had acceptable alternatives.
I love to walk alongside the ocean squishing sand in my toes and watching the waves move in and roll back. The white foam dances around my feet, but soon it slips away. I love the sound of the waves as they roll in. It's so peaceful and soothing--the rhythm of the ocean.
When we listen to music, we enjoy the rhythm and patterns without realizing it. We are pulled into the magic of a melody that takes us to a new place, only to come back and do it all again.
I love God's pattern of spring to summer to autumn to winter and back to spring again.
There is something soothing about rhythms and patterns. Devotions times in the morning, walks before dinner, folding the laundry on Tuesday afternoons. They bring order to a chaotic world.
As the unexpected and surprising continually interrupts our dreams and plans, rhythms and patterns bring us a sense of well-being and security. They remind us of the faithfulness of God.
We can create rhythms and patterns in our own lives.
"So what differences do you notice in these TV shows?" I asked my children.
We had just watch six TV shows back to back: Make Room for Daddy, Leave it to Beaver, Dick Van Dyke, Brady Bunch, Family Ties, and Home Improvement.
"In the older shows, they were so polite to each other, but as time went on they became rude to each other."
I was shocked. I was expecting them to notice rebellion to parents or fashion or hair styles. Out of the mouth of babes.
We were studying the 20th Century and watching TV shows back to back from different decades in chronological order as our history lab for the week.
While I wanted to show something to the children, I learned a valuable lesson myself: TV shows can be a great way to travel back in time in history class!
Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy made their debut in 1915 and three years later starred in their own book. Created to look like an old-fashioned rag doll, the toy was an instant success, a reminder of the good old days when the world was turned upside-down by World War I.
Barbie was introduced to the world in 1959, named after the daughter of Ruth and Elliot Handler. She was tall and glamorous, fascinating little girls' hearts everywhere who bought clothes, houses, and campers. Ken, named about Ruth's son, joined Barbie in 1961. I remember playing Barbies with the neighborhood girls in the 1960's.
When we studied the 20th Century, we played with Raggedy Ann during our 1910's study and Barbie and Ken for the 1960's. For boys, G.I. Joe Action Figures were marketed in 1964. I often used friend's brother's G.I. Joe as an extra Ken doll. G.I. Joe is a soldier with very cool weapons and vehicles. Boys love to play with them, but don't call them dolls--they are action figures.
One thing that's fun with Barbie dolls is to see how fashions changed during the second half of the 20th Century.
Even today, 100 years later, you can still purchase Raggedy Ann dolls and Barbies for little girls.
Dolls go all the way back to the beginning of history. Adam probably made dolls for his daughters. Paddle Dolls were found in Ancient Egypt archaeological digs. The Ancient Romans used clay, wood, ivory, or rags to create dolls for their children to play with.
Pioneers and Native Americans made dolls from dried apples or corn husks. During the nineteenth century porcelain dolls became popular. Paper dolls made a comeback too in the Victorian Age. Paper dolls have been popular at various times in history.
Tommy, an only child, smiled politely at the mention of his 51 blue and 3 red ribbons from the State Fair. He confidently spoke a phrase in Latin (one of the seven languages he spoke fluently) which I did not understand. A homeschooling mother interrupted him and "yes," he replied, "I would be glad to tutor your sons in physics and calculus. Oh! No charge! I just want to serve your family."
A lump rose in my throat. If only I had just one child to focus on, to plan studies for, to buy curriculum for. Were my girls missing out because I keep having babies (preceded by difficult pregnancies)? Was it selfish for me to want a big family?
It’s true. There are things my children will miss out on due to our family size, annual income and my limited abilities. But I believe in God's sovereignty. "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). He chose to put my children in our home for a reason and Mike and I are the parents they need to become what God has called them to be.
Large families are a blessing! Children are a gift and a reward. In a large family, members can learn to serve, love, protect and sacrifice for one another. Every person in our family has different strengths and weaknesses that bless or build character in all the other members. Large families are fun! There is lots of laughter in our home. And there is always someone to play with. We are so thankful for our children, God's blessing!
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was blown away when I entered the SchoolhouseTeachers.com world to review their yearly membership.
I felt like I Alice dropping into Wonderland: amazed and a little overwhelmed.
Where would I start?
I wanted to see EVERYTHING! Every photo, every course, every video, and every lesson plan was beautiful and professional-looking.
I decided to investigate high school online classes first. I picked out several courses including Spanish I, an online elective, They Lived for God, and American History: Columbus to 1914 with Socratic Method.
Next, I headed to a focused area.
Since I’m a history buff, I chose history. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. So many choices, so little time.
Focused Area: History
For younger children, my favorite course was American History in Picture Books by Cindi Allison because that’s the way I taught my children when they were little. Using classic picture books like Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac, and The Babe and I by David A. Adler, we explore history by reading picture books and engaging in hands-on fun. I am planning to do this course on Grandma Day with my grandsons.
Delving into Classical Archaeology with Regan Barr, I was excited because so much of what we believe about ancient cultures is based on archaeology, but it has limitations, too. This course doesn’t just focus on history, but how archaeology is used to learn about history and what the limitations of archaeology are. The reading was interesting with lots of color photographs. Review questions and ideas for further exploration were at the end of each unit. My favorite part was digging into Pompeii, a fascinating trip to the past when a volcano explored rapidly freezing an entire city in time. We can also read about it from Pliney the Younger. This material stirred up a greater hunger to learn more!
Remembering my sweet grandsons, I decided to head to the Preschool Playground to get more ideas for Grandma Days.
The 20th Century is an exciting time to study. Would you like to time travel to the 1910s with your younger children?
HIS Story of the 20th Century Lapbook & Timeline is a special gift from Powerline Productions to you.
Jump into the second decade of the 20th Century with me to learn about building the Panama Canal, exploring the North and South Poles, the Balkan Wars, World War I, Trench Warfare, and changes after World War I.
Easy-to-understand reading is followed by fun lapbook booklets to make. There are also beautiful timeline figures to paste onto the timeline pages.
Make a beautiful lapbook and complete a ten-year timeline. In addition, there are history labs and a great book to read: Who Was Ernest Shackleton? by James Buckley, Jr.
Your kids will have a blast!
You can download HIS Story of the 20th Century for Young Folks 1910s Lapbook & Timeline here.
This FREE Offer is good until the end of January. Don't forget to download your free E-book!
Happy History Homeschooling!
Do you like cozy mysteries?
Do you have a kindle?
War of the Roses Mystery is FREE for your Kindle from Tuesday January 9, 2017 until Saturday, January 13, 2017.
Homeschool mom Maggie King is studying the War of the Roses with her children and homeschool co-op--what a confusing time in history! When Maggie discovers a dead body, she becomes involved with another war of the roses that is just as confusing. Join Maggie and her friends and family as they unravel a confusing mystery. Can they bring a killer to justice?
You can download your FREE copy of War of the Roses Mystery here. War of the Roses Mystery is #5 in the Maggie King Mystery series.
new Have you ever bought a new pair of shoes because you are having a bad day?
Is this the best way to comfort our hearts?
Sometimes we spend money to reward ourselves for a job well done, but more often we spend money frivolously when we are struggling emotionally or just worn out from the cares of life.
Unfortunately, when we spend money we haven't budgeted for, it has to come from somewhere. It may postpone something we are saving for like a new house or family vacation. Or it may add to our growing debt. Then we deepen the frustration or sadness we are struggling with.
Hey, I get it. There's something that feels good about whipping out that credit card to purchase things you don't really need. But, like all quick fixes, the momentary delight soon vanishes.
I think we live in a battle zone. We face real pain, real discouragement. But those things are not our enemy--that's just the result of living in a fallen world.
The real enemies we face our satan and his demons who lie to our hearts and through the world we live in. We are bombarded with lies that buying something will help us feel happy. We spend our money on what is not bread--it will not feed our souls.
God has a different plan.