Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who's On First?

In another room, they are working together on a science vocabulary crossword puzzle and an all out screaming match breaks loose:

"BB, what is 13 across, the soft part of the feather?"

BB: "Down"

"No, it's across."

BB: "I know it is. It's Down."

CB: "BB it's 13 across! What is the soft part of the feather!"



BB becoming more impatient: "I TOLD YOU THE ANSWER. IT'S DOWN!!! DOWN! DOWN! DOWN!"

CB hollering across the house: "Momma, will you tell BB to quit trying to trick me? He keeps telling me answer is down but the answer has to go across."

Please note: The soft part of the feather is called the "down".

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Brothers Bond Believe

A year and half ago, our boys started asking questions about salvation in Christ. We let them talk to our pastor and decided that they didn't quite yet have the understanding needed to make such a life changing decision public. If you are aware of how it works in most Southern Baptist churches, once you've decided to live your life fully and wholly for Christ, you make that decision public. Hubby and I take this decision from our boys very seriously as we don't want it to be just an act of human routine or expectation but instead an act of obedience to God.

For the past year and a half, our boys consistently asked questions and expressed that they wanted to be baptized. During this time of spiritually growing, their questions became more complex and their understanding became more obedient. We discussed that we don't make these kind of decisions haphazardly but rather with full understanding that our lives are to be lived for His Glory. And during this time we have talked about how living for Christ is more than just walking down an aisle and being baptized...while these actions are so very important as they are ways of letting fellow believers know of the life you have chosen to live, these acts alone are not what makes you a Christian. We've discussed that how we actually live our life is what makes us Christians, a life that is to be obedient to Christ.

JB and I never wanted to push our boys to make this decision just to satisfy us, we didn't want them to make this decision just to copy what a fellow friend did, we didn't want them to make this decision and not fully understand what they were doing. Sure, they still have questions. They can't give you deep theological answers. They aren't some sort of young apologists waiting with abated breath to defend their faith with some deep theology. No, instead, they have the simple faith that God wants us all to have...Our salvation to Him is through Him and not of ourselves, it's not because of any good works we do in hopes of improving our chances of salvation, it's not because we must follow this long list of rules or else be kicked out of His loving arms. No, they understand, as much as a child can that it's because of a relationship with Christ that they live their life according to His will and to glorify Him.

So it was with great joy that we watched our boys walk down to the front of our church and express to their fellow believers, that they have decided to follow a life glorifying God. Last Monday night, they asked on their own effort, if they could talk to us. They wanted us to sit down and listen to them. I honestly I had no idea what they wanted to talk about. "Momma, Daddy. We are just ready to be baptized. We know Jesus lives in our hearts and we want everyone else to know it." Well, we felt like it was was God's time through them. I prayed all week that if they weren't ready that God would somehow let me know or at least confirm to me that they are ready. I got that confirmation during the week and I have no doubts our boys fully understand what they did this morning.

JB and I will continue to help them grow spiritually. It's our number 1 parental responsibility. We are just so overwhelmed with joy that this step has come to fruition and look so forward to watching our boys grow in their life of Christ.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brother B: "Momma, Pappaw and I saw a walking cane that had a sword in it. If you twist the top off the cane, you can pull out a sword. I told Pappaw you could really hurt someone with that sword if they try to get you. He said you could also hurt someone with that cane and not have to use the sword. He said you could just beat the hell out of them with the cane."

Me: "He said WHAT? Pappaw said WHAT!!!????"

Brother B: "you know, you can just beat the Devil out of someone with the cane."

Me: "Did Pappaw say 'hell'?"

Brother B: "No mam, but he said Devil and that's the same thing."

Friday, January 9, 2015

Just Do It!

Nike had it right.  Sometimes you just have to do it, especially when there is no motivation.

Sometimes it's not about motivation but rather 'just doing it'. I'm really not motivated to get up early and get my day started. So, I have to just make myself do it. And I'm definitely not motivated to exercise once I'm up. And it's hard for me to sit down long enough to read and study my Bible.
My goal isn't necessarily to wake up at the same time every morning but instead, just waking up earlier than what I am used to.

My goal isn't to work out for a certain amount ...of minutes in hopes of reaching a pinnacle by a certain date but instead just working out as much as my body will let me. Monday that was 15 minutes, yesterday it was 10 and this morning it was 21. I don't know what tomorrow holds.
My goal isn't to read so many chapters of my Bible but rather to just read my Bible. Each day it has been different but each day I've learned something new.

I am learning that setting pinnacle goals typically ends in disappointment for me. I work better on a 'just do it' type of mentality. There are days my body will just not let me do as much as I want in regards to exercising. There are days that time just will not allow me sit and read my Bible for long periods of time and there are some nights that keep me awake more than allowing me to sleep negating the efforts of waking up at a set time before the sun comes up. So for me, sometimes the goal is to "just do it" and be victorious in just doing it instead of disappointed from not doing it a set way for a set amount of time to reach a predetermined limit. Just get up earlier, just exercise, just read...just do what my body can do and take it as a victory. So far, I've been victorious 3 days....3 days are better than none.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Homeschool Curriculum, An Overwhelming Candyland

There have been several of my friends along with many others who have expressed interest in homeschooling.  All for various reasons and concerns with most being the same we had and still have. 

Speaking from experience, one of the most overwhelming aspects of homeschooling is trying to figure out the curriculum treasure map.   I like what a dear friend and fellow homeschooling mother described it overwhelming candyland.  I hadn't thought of it that way but it so very true.  It can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned and experience homeschoolers and a candyland for those who enjoy researching the 100s and 100s of available options of curricula.  I have a love/hate for curricula.  I love looking through all the pretty catalogues, websites and brochures seeking the perfect curriculum fit for our boys.  But I hate that it can be overwhelming.  One must consider cost, intensity, the material, how it's taught, if your children will thrive with it, and not to mention that homeschooling as a vocabulary all of its own with all these curriculums having abbreviated names. As homeschooling as grown and is becoming more of an acceptable option for many families, well, so has the curricula options.  I don't know this from experience but I've read from many seasoned homeschooling families who can attest to this growth. 

In an effort to help give some of you a starting point, which is all I needed when attempting to look at curriculum, I'm listing a few below.

Please note: I am speaking in regards to my experience.  Every homeschooling family has a different experience and journey to be where they are.  Please do not take my experience to be the same for everyone. 

1. Please, please be aware that there are homeschool curricula that are Common Core aligned.  This means that some publishers have written or re-written their material to align with Common Core State Standards.  If you are leaving the public school system to homeschool due to Common Core, you must be aware of this.  Below, you will find a link to an exhaustive list of curricula that will inform you if the material is Common Core: explicitly aligned, correlated, coincidental or independent.  The link will send you to a site that will say Common Core project.  Scroll further down the site and you will see the Master Lists.  When you click on the list you need to research, it will pull up as a PDF file.  The file will give you the definitions of explicitly aligned, correlated, coincidental and independent.  I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with these definitions if you are looking for Common Core free material.  This list was compiled and is always updated by a seasoned homeschooling mom who was a former public school educator.  She is featured as a speaker to many homeschooling conventions, radio shows and writes many articles for homeschooling publishers.  She is my go-to person when I have a question about curriculum.  I trust the work she has done in creating this list.  She is a strong advocate to rid the public school system of Common Core.

2.  When researching the option of homeschooling, you need to recognize how you think your child learns best.  There is curriculum out there that benefits the hands-on learner, there is curriculum out there that benefits the literary learner and the learning disabled.  What, you think that just because your child has a learning disability, you can't homeschool?  Well, I'm happy to tell you, that there is curriculum specifically for learning disabilities.  However, I don't know much about them but I've read testimonies from families who are thriving with their use.  I have a child who learns best with a more hands on approach and one who can read it and remember.  My hands on child learned his math facts with a bean bag.  Yes, a bean bag.  We used games that allowed him to learn in a more competitive driven manner.  My other son...he could remember his facts by simply writing them 5x each.  Anyway, I digress but my point is you really need to understand how your child learns best in order to get the most out of your curriculum. 

3.  Homeschooling can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be.  There are many free resources as well as expensive resources.  There are families who have to be extremely frugal and then there are those who need not follow a budget at all.  Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to either. 

4. There are boxed curriculums and then there are what I refer to as subject curriculums.  Boxed curriculums generally sell every subject and all the material you need it as one order (box).  It contains everything you need or at least a link to find what you need if they do not provide it.  Some of these boxed curricula will be multi grade level.  This means the same material can be used for multi grades all in the same year.  For example, if you have a K and a 2nd grader...the material is created in such a way that you have one set of lesson plans for your K and another for your 2nd grader.  You aren't necessarily having to buy a K curriculum separate from your 2nd grader.  Of course, there may be a few items you will need to buy separately but as a whole curriculum, they can use the same. 

Subject curriculum is what I refer to when you kind of piece together your curriculum subject by subject.  Each subject may come from different publishers.  This is the approach I used this past year (our first).   One reason is bc of the way my boys learn.  In public school as with some curriculum, the approach for Language Arts is to combine: Reading, Grammar, Writing and Spelling into one.  This approach overwhelmed my boys, especially the one who struggles with Spelling.  I decided to teach each of these language art aspects separately.  Last year in 2nd, the writing standards in Common Core was just too overwhelming for my boys.  They just weren't ready to write as analytically as they were expected to write.  After thorough research and advice from homeschooling moms who used to teach, I didn't even use a formal writing curriculum this year and just focused on Grammar, Spelling and Comprehension.  We will begin a more formal writing curriculum next year which will be on a 4th grade level....which is when most 'experts' recommend introducing children to formal writing.  My reading, spelling and grammar curricula are separate from each other allowing me to teach each subject at the pace each of my boys need.  Another words, I did not choose an all in one ELA (English Language Arts) curriculum. 

Cathy Duffy has written several books that are reviews on curriculum.  Her books come highly recommended. 

Okay for the main reason I am writing this post...a list of curriculum.  Please know that I can't possibly list all the curriculum options out there.  There are too many and I don't know them all.  As I mentioned, the link above will take you to a list with most all in the world.  (She is currently working to have a list available categorized by subjects). The only reason I am listing any curriculum bc I remember just needing the names of some to have a starting point.  When I would read about one from a trusted blogger or friend, I'd write it down in my curriculum notebook to research.  The ones listed below are just the ones that seem to be the most often used and/or mentioned but remember, not limited to.  Keep in mind, every child is different so the ones below just may be what works for you and that is okay.

Heart of Dakota (HOD) (boxed)...preK and up

Sonlight (SL) (boxed)..preK and up

A Beka (boxed and online and DVD based) (will probably use this for cursive and grammar next year) preK and up

Bob Jones Press (BJ) (I use this for our reading and grammar)

My Father's World (MFW) (boxed)...preK and up

Apologia: science and apologetics(I use this for science)

Answers in Genesis (AiG) (science, some history, bible)

Mystery of History for history (MOH) (I will use this next year when we start formal history lessons)
Tapestry of Grace (TOG) (boxed)

All About Spelling (AAS) (Spelling)...(I use this)

All About Reading (AAR) (Reading)

Sequential Spelling (SS)  (Spelling)

Alpha Omega (AOP), this publisher offers several different curriculum options.  Some are boxed, some are DVD based and some are online based:  Horizons;  Ignitia ; LIFEPAC;  Monarch;  Switched-On Schoolhouse; Weaver

Five in a Row (FIAR)(kindergarten curriculum)

Before Five in a Row (BFIAR)(preK)

Teaching Textbooks: math.  (I use this) begins at 3rd grade

Institute for Excellence in Writing: formal writing (I will use this next year)

Rod and Staff (may use this next year for grammar)

Saxon (math)

Singapore (math)

Life of Fred (math)

Math U See...the earlier editions are not CC aligned but I think they have since aligned some of their material with Common Core

Spelling U See

Beautiful Feet

First Language Lessons (FLL) grammar

Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL)

Friends and Heroes (Bible, Biblical History) I'm considering this next year

Classical Conversations

Christian Light (boxed)

Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool

Well, these are just a few.  Hopefully they will give you a starting point to research and familiarize yourself with the different types. 

I'll be posting some links soon to some websites and I hope to compose a list of books that are frequently mentioned that have helped others in their homeschool journey. 

You will notice at the bottom of each blog post, there will be a 'homeschool' label.  You can click on that label and it will bring up all the post I have labeled homeschool. 

Good luck in your research.  It's an overwhelming candyland!