Flashback to the early 1990s! I was a young mom, interested in homeschooling, who noticed all of these amazing well-behaved children who respect their parents. I wanted children like that!
As time went on, our family thrived with homeschooling. However, my children squabbled with one another. They were not perfect. Sigh.
Comparing Ourselves to Other Families
Over the years, I met so many moms who did so many cool things. I discovered homeschooling children who could compose symphonies, translate Dickens into Latin, and win prizes at debates. My children didn’t want to stand in front of a crowd.
My kids are amazing, smart, funny, … and flawed. Face it. We are just an ordinary family who loves Jesus. And that’s okay. We don’t have to be The Incredibles with Super Powers.
To enjoy and appreciate my children for who they are, I had to ditch comparing them with other children. You see I don’t know what goes on behind the front door of the child who can recite Bible verses in Hebrew or the six-year old who can read Jane Austen, so I will never have the full picture.
I do know this. No family is perfect. Jesus was perfect, but even His family wasn’t.
When I stopped looking at other families and started zeroing in on my own children, I could appreciate their gifts and live with their flaws.
My oldest daughter was a reader and a nurturer. I gave her plenty of books and opportunities to love on her younger siblings and other little ones in church. She quietly served in the nursery and babysat.
Julianna was a strong leader so I provided opportunities for her to manage projects like getting us out the door for a field trip when she was younger and planning the details of our vacation when she got older.
I looked for their strengths and capitalized on them.
Cultivating their strengths became a major focal point for me after I read a business article that said that successful peoples put 70% of their time cultivating their strengths, 25% learning new things, and only 5% of their time overcoming weakness. Wow! I had been really focusing on overcoming all their weaknesses so they could be like the other homeschooled kids I saw around me or maybe like that ideal kids I saw in my mind.
Now, homeschoolers put a lot more time in learning that 25% so I didn’t use this as a formula, but it certainly got me thinking about cultivating strengths which built their confidence, rather than making them feel over and over like they didn’t measure up.
Are you ready to hear about Art of the Northern Countries, Renaissance to Realism, K-3 Vol. 5 from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.?
I'm so excited to tell you about this beautifully illustrated easy-to-use homeschool art curriculum with a focus on monoprint and relief printmaking methods, watercolor, and charcoal. We used the book and the DVD.
This volume, and the rest of the set, is a wonderful way to introduce young children to the wonderful world of fine art!
We had an amazing time with this book on Northern Artists. We looked at Bruegel, Durer, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Millet, and more. I love these artists!
We tackled printing assignments and charcoal assignments.
My grandson is 4 years old and he was glued to the DVD for every lesson we watched. He was fascinated and remember the directions clearly. Of course, I love the way, Brenda reviews the lesson briefly, but thoroughly at the end of the lesson.
Both printing with ink and charcoal can get messy, so we covered the working area with newspapers. This worked perfectly.
I will tell you about our charcoal lesson. I worked with my grandson Rusty and two friends ages 16 and 12. My grandson is four.
Our hero and heroine receive a treasure map. With great bravery, they set out to cross raging rivers, climb high mountains, slay fierce dragons, and keep their fellow adventurers committed to their noble task. Forsaking comfort, sleep, and disposable income, they live the adventure to seek the treasure of a lifetime.
Who are these heroes? Why you and your spouse, of course.
While you are battling a fire-breathing dragon after a sleepless night awake with a sick child, you can wonder if the treasure is worth it.
Our own adventure began in the late 1980s when home education was still thought of as quirky. We were unlikely treasure hunters with Mike in seminary, barely two nickels to rub together, living in student housing.
With our eyes on the prize, we plunged in. The creator of Sing, Spell, Read, and Write was a professor at Mike’s graduate school so I went to her workshop and purchased the kit. Copying, coloring, and laminating the letter pages, I made a border in our small dining area so that Katie Beth could see them while she ate her breakfast each morning, waiting for her to show interest in those letters.
Meanwhile, we read beautifully illustrated, well-written picture books by the ton, played at the playground, planted a garden, went strawberry picking, made jam, and explored the nearby woods all with baby Julianna in tow. We loved to sing in the car, talk to cows through the window, and make silly animal sounds while we did their peculiar walks.
“Maybe I should read, Mommy,” Katie-Beth urged as I struggled to keep my eyes awake. I was pregnant again and oh so very sleepy. Could I teach Katie-Beth to read and potty train Julianna with a brand new baby?
We faced other challenges like blending the letter sounds while we were learning to read. It just didn’t come quickly for any of my children. Patience was the answer to that dilemma.
We faced the raging river of teaching something I didn’t understand myself. After praying for an idea, I went to the children’s section of the library and checked out books on the topic. After some quick reading, I understood enough to confidently teach a third grader. That came up over and over, until I learned to relax and learn with my children. After all, learning is a grand adventure!
I was so excited to receive a digital subscription to CrossWired Science, a homeschool online science curriculum for homeschool families, Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.
I was give a choice between two global topics: Sound and Fluid Dynamics and I chose Fluid Dynamics and boy was I in for a surprise. We were having so much fun that I didn't realize we were learning so much. I say we because I learned so much, too.
Now, I had two strikes against me going into this review. One, I am not a techie person and two, I had to leave two quite often during this review and stayed in places where we didn't have internet.
The first strike didn't matter. This online science curriculum was so easy to use. Even I could figure it out. Secondly, though I would have liked to progress forward using the program every day, we had to do it in spurts. That was fine because whenever we finished a video and took the short quiz, we wanted to see another one!
The videos were highly entertaining and fast-paced. Information was shared in an easy-to-understand way that just made sense. And it was fascinating stuff. We learned about sinuses, airplanes, birds, why dogs drool and cats sip, hummingbirds, carburetors, box fish, and penguins. We read books, tried experiments, and went on field trips. What fun! There were constant reminders that God is our Creator!
But while we were having fun, we were learning about aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, Daniel Bernoulli, Bernoulli's Principle, Vortices, turbulent and laminar flow, Orville and Wilbur Wright, fin types, swim patterns, bird feathers, insect flight, dolphin hydrodynamics, kingfisher hydrodynamics, penguin hydrodynamics, how animals drink, caves, Mt. St. Helen, air foils, and so much more. It was amazing!
A book from YWAM Publishing? I was so excited to get to read Heroes of History: Douglas MacArthur What Greater Honor by Janet & Geoff Benge. As all their books are, this was such a fun read.
YWAM Publishing has two series that I am trying to collect: Christian Heroes:Then and Now and Heroes of History. This biography is part of the Heroes of History series.
I have always wanted to learn more about Douglas MacArthur and I was so excited to read this biography, What a fascinating life!
Douglas' father Arthur MacArthur was a highly decorated military man who had been thrilled to meet Abraham Lincoln as a young man. His mother Pinky reminded him every night, "You must grow up to be a great man like Robert E. Lee." Interesting that God brought his parents together from opposite sides of the Civil War to raise a man that would live honorably in peace and in war.
Douglas grew up in the late 1800s riding horses, moving place to place wherever his father was stationed, and eventually ending up at West Point. His momma moved to be close to him for the four years he attended West Point and when he graduated, he left the podium to embrace both his mother and father. His love for his parents was deep and demonstrated by the inner call he felt to live up to the heritage his father had left him.
I was fascinated by his love and concern for the people around him throughout his life. He had tremendous wisdom, especially in dealing with the Japanese people when he occupied Japan.
When I finished the book, I was satisfied. It more than met my expectations. I learned more about World War I, World War II, and the Japanese occupation than I even imagined. As a history lover, this book will have a place on honor on my bookshelf!
Being very impressed with Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), I was excited to review Fix-It! Grammar Book 1: The Nose Tree from IEW. Since I have never used IEW's grammar program, I elected to start with the first book in the series.
What a delightful way to learn grammar!
As you do your grammar lesson, an enchanting tale about three down-and-out soldiers unfolds. The story contains a dwarf, magic, a crafty princess, and apples that make noses grown long.
As we worked through the lessons, we were immediately intrigued by the story and it was a great motivation to complete each lesson since more of the story would unfold.
Just as I appreciated IEW's writing curriculum, I was thoroughly impressed with their grammar curriculum.
I received the Teacher's Manual and the Student Workbook to review. The Teacher's Manual includes a download link for the Student Workbook E-book so you can just buy the Teacher's Manual and print out any pages that you need. That's a great bargain for big families.
I could probably use the student workbook without the teacher's manual because the directions were so clear, but, of course, the teacher's manual includes the answers and clear teaching instructions, as well as the student workbook E-book. So, purchasing the Teacher's Manual is definitely a wise choice!
I'm excited about some of the new trends this spring.
I really like the bright colors and find some of the textures quite interesting, especially the crochet dresses.
Okay, some of the feathers, fringe, and giant ruffles are a little over the top, but it's fun to see bow blouses back. They were popular when I was a teenager and college student. Oops I just dated myself.
As a Christian woman who wants to be fashionably modest, I found some trends that appeal to me like the boxy jackets, monochromatic outfits, longer skirts, and over-sized vests.
I've gathered some photos to give you a taste of what's in this spring.
If you're like me, it's time to go shopping in your own closet. I'm sure to find some of these things that have recycled back in style from years gone by. Hey, I may be able to dig up some neon clothes from the 1980's.
Fashion Trends for Spring
All the Gospels in the New Testament devote several chapters to the last week of Jesus’ life.
After all, there was so much going on that final week when Jesus took the sins of the whole world on Himself and died for us.
Satan thought he won, but he lost! Jesus rose from the dead on the third day!
When Holy Week and Easter roll around, I want my children to learn about and celebrate everything!
Besides being real history, this week is foundational for our faith in Jesus.
So, let me give you a birds’ eye view of the last week of Jesus life and ways to celebrate with your family.
Dinner at Simon's House
Starting on Saturday, Jesus dined with Simon the Leper in Bethany. Bethany was where Lazarus, whom he had just raised from the dead, and his sisters Mary and Martha lived. Anyway, while Martha served, Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus feet and wiped them with her hair. Jesus said that she had anointed Him for burial and commended her.
Family Fun: Give one another foot rubs
(Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-9)
Triumphal Arrival in Jerusalem
On Sunday, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people were so excited, they worshipped Him, as well as spreading cloaks and palm branches on the ground for Him to ride over.
Family Fun: Dress up and act out the Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem
(Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19)