Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Living with CONFINDENCE in a CHAOTIC World {Review}

As the introduction unfolds in this book, the Author, Dr. David Jeremiah, excellently describes how effected everyone has been by the current economic, financial, environmental and moral catastrophes of the last few years. Globally there has been a new era descending over the earth. One of Chaos. To be honest, I wanted to stop reading right there. The reality of where we are headed as a Nation and Globally is both unsettling and nerve-wracking. But in continuing through the rest of the book, Dr. Jeremiah's scripture filled reminders of how we as Christians are to live in times as these were Calming, Constructive, Challenging and Convicting.

Dr. Jeremiah has provided some practical, scriptural reminders of who and what we are to Center our lives around. I found this book full of Biblical truth and scripture urging us to live according to the Word of God in these times. Expect this book to be full of highlighting, underlining and scribbling moments. What I loved as well was the integrated real-life situations with Living-Word examples to back up the concepts of the book. I also thought this books was very well researched and very current. The author highlighted many of the current events causing chaos and strife in lives across the world. For anyone in these days, whether you've lost your job, had work decrease or been affected by natural disaster, this book is a solid and positive source of encouragement for a very bleak and depressing World.

Disclaimer: I recieved this book for free from BookSneeze in return for my honest review and opinion! You can too! Visit the link below for more information!

I review for BookSneeze

Monday, August 16, 2010

First School Days

The scientist

The newest Student in the house

Today we started off the first of many school days in the 2010-2011 school year! Of course I stayed up way too late trying to make sure everything was ready, and it wasn't. But I wasn't disappointed, why? Because I have a new mantra....High goals, low expectations.

My Class of 3 waiting for Mom to stop snappin pics and start teaching!
What in the world does that mean? It means I have goals of keeping everyone on track and on time, completing everything planned every day, cramming loads of knowledge into the kids and enjoying the process. But what is realistic for me to expect? The reality of teaching a First grader, a K4, Tot-school with a 2 year old while nursing and loving a 3 month old is that diaper explosions and interrupted naps will throw us off schedule. Some lessons will take longer than allotted for or not go as planned cutting into other time, and there will be enough frustrations, disobedience, complaining and tears to go around. So with that in mind, I will determine to accomplish my goals, but when things go haywire as they oft do......I'll have expected that!

With that being said, Today actually went unexpectedly well! We ate lunch 15 minutes late but ended 30 minutes earlier than scheduled! Don't ask how....I dunno. And even with Liora waking early and snack messes and phone calls.....the kids had a great time getting back into things....and in all honesty, so did I!

How we do it:

1. I use the workbox system by: Sue Patrick. It's amazing, I'll tell you why. All the student work is organized into workboxes (each subject having it's own box), this way materials for each subject are located in the box~you prepare them the day, night or morning before school. They help with scheduling, planning and organizing all your materials! You can use just about anything from shoeboxes on a shoe rack to what we are using this year~ plastic drawers purchased at Walmart (see photo below). In short, each child is given a schedule and (I call them "tickets") with clip art images of each subject. Each drawer has a number that corresponds with their schedule, in that drawer is everything they will need for Math, Spelling! It also helps the kids know what they have finished and what is coming up!
Here is a close up of the boxes, full of supplies and finished for the day~you can see the kids have added their "tickets" to the box as a sign they have worked on that subject.

2. We are including Gracia in Tot-school this year. Okay maybe that is a fun way of saying, I am trying to include Gracia and have some fun/educational activities for her to do so she'll be less of a distraction and be part of the fun! It's only fair, besides she's just-turned-two-going-on-four anyway!

Lapbooks that add fun AND learning in one folder!

3. I've written out a schedule for myself and all four kids (including potty breaks~okay I'm kidding about that) in order to make sure everything gets done around here. It may sound restrictive and totally un-fun, but it's actually kind of  freeing. And along with my "low expectations"....I know we might not always make it everyday, but at least there is a plan!

4. I've written out a daily subject list. I won't do every subject everday (Bible, Lang Arts and Math are everyday)~ Thursdays are special Science Experiment Days, Tuesday and Thursdays are Art......That way I have a little leeway each day, and each day is a little different.

5. Sneak in the fun. Any subject can have hands on activities involved, and at these young ages I think that is a must. There are great websites and blogs out there to glean great ideas from! Like Confessions of a Homeschooler and Homeschool Creations. Include art projects or activities from Making Learning Fun. It does take time and effort to add a little pizzaz to your current curriculum if you aren't happy with what you've got or your child seems a little bored. But it's SO worth it. It really is.

We are making Observation Journals here....colored cardstock, Nat Geo Mags, glue stick and I get to use my laminator AND my Binding machine to finish them off!

6. I'm starting circle time with the kids this year. I've found some great printables from both Homeschool creations as well as 1+1+1. These are talented, dedicated homeschool Mom's that have made tons of free printables for you to download and use! From lapbooks, to filefolder games to great ideas all around! USE them!!! Our circle time will include Awana verse review time as well as "discussions" from Ellie's Calvert curriculum and some of the components of what I've found. I think it's a great way to start off the morning right!

Our circle time and reading~aloud nook
7. Use your Computer! My Mom blessed us by leaving her desktop for us to use. I am going to convert it into our school computer, making a little "computer lab" for the kids. Whether you use Starfall (a free phonics and reading site) or pay for Click n Kids (an awesome phonics program, you can find 40% off coupon codes for! ) or buy educational CD's from Walmart......use your computer! I have found this is an excellent way of teaching the same subject to 2 kids at once. One day Jonah will start off on the Computer with a Click n Kids lesson while I give Ellie some one-on-one time with phonics or spelling. Then they switch! It's Ellie's turn for some computer time and Jonah and I have some one-on-one time!

The dark little area on the right hand side is our computer lab! All in one room making it easy for me to help both kids at once!

8. Teach the same curriculum to as many age groups as possible. For Language Arts and Math Jonah and Ellie work with different curricula. But for all of the other subjects we are using the same across the board. that means for Bible, Science, History and Art we are learning the same things together. I have opted to stay at Jonah's level for all of those subjects. Ellie may not grasp all of of the concepts, but there is no harm in being exposed to a little higher level. In fact I have found that she does really well learning right along with us, neither of the kids is bored, it's a win~win!!!

I really do have high hopes for this school year. I am such a teacher at heart, I can't help but to jump right in and over do it......yup right in over my head as usual. But I'm also not afraid to let go of what doesn't work and try new things that just may work. Hopefully you'll find a few helpful hints in this post, Happy New School Year to YOU!!!

These are some happy faces (sorry they are dark, I don't have photoshop running 100% to lighten them up yet!)
Dramatic Ellie~kins

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving on and Moving Up!

I haven't shared all the details on here in full....but we are moving!

No not the blog, our family is officially moving! It's a longish/shortish sort of story....it begins like this:

My parents have lived here in Hawaii for over 35 years, but they both love the mountains, taking road trips and seeing more nature than cockroaches and mongoose. Around 7th or 8th grade we started taking Skiing trips to Angel Fire, New Mexico where my parents bought a small condo. We would return every year to this small, cozy little town for fun and adventure and snow! Something we are a little short of here in the islands. It's a place they've dreamed about living for quite some time now and finally that dream is becoming a reality.

They found a house they love, one they can create anew as their own. They've worked over the last year to get it ready for them, the final push coming with the movers taking away their treasures and us piling up ours within their house.With that there came the question of whether to sell their home or keep it, and thankfully they've decided to keep it, and let us live in it, potentially own it somewhere in the future~those details are yet to be finalized. Keeping the house also allows my brother to remain here, working for the family company. It gives my Parents a place to come to when they travel back and forth from NM to Hawaii on Business or for visits.

It's been an emotional and stressful journey trying to pack up us and move in to them. I've been spoiled with having my parents live so close for so long. Through all my pregnancies and babies being born. The good times the bad times. All of it. So with the moving in we teeter on happiness and sadness, excitement and exhaustion all at once.

For the last two weeks we've been trekking back and forth, slowly transitioning our lives from here near the coast, to the middle of the island. It's been rough to say the least. The realization of just how much JUNK we really own is overwhelming. Then deciding between what really is Junk and what is loved and treasured junk is exhausting! Further more packing, hauling, unpacking is well........draining.

But this morning  I was reminded by

Philippians 4:8

 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This move, though difficult, tiring, exhausting.....is incredible. It's a HUGE blessing for our family. A chance to start over financially and be debt free, and chance to spread out in a home that actually fits our growing family. A place where we are closer to our church family and friends. A fresh start at reorganizing and purging what we've crammed into this little home. THAT is what I need to focus on now and in every situation. There is good even in that which is difficult. Though sometimes it's hard to see the good, hard to focus on the truth, hard to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It is there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gods {LIVING} Word

Sometimes I honestly glaze over the fact that God's word is living and active. Given to us for encouragement, teaching, rebuking, wisdom.

I've been reading through Ecclesiastes and found this bit of encouragement for my tired, stressed out soul.....

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.
(even the activity of packing and moving and unpacking)
A time to be born, a time to die
(all my babes have been born in this house, making it a home~now it is time to move that home to another house)
A time to plant and a time to harvest
(we've planted our lives and memories here, in this humble little home and now it's time to take what we've grown and move on)
A time to kill and a time to kill
(well, we do have weeds to kill before we try and sell this place!)
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild
(removing photos from walls, taking apart furniture, to be re-placed and built again in a new home)
A time to cry and a time to laugh
(very vivid memories of both of these...both crying and rejoicing over moving our home and life)
A time to grieve and a time to dance
(parts of us are very sad to leave our first home together and the memories we've made here, but we are dancing for joy at the new memories we'll make in our new home)
A time to scatter stones and gather stones together
(we've spread out in this house filling every available space, now we gather our things and head on to scatter again)
A time to embrace and a time to turn away
(we are now embracing a new life, a new town and new memories and turning away from this past)
A time to search and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to throw away
(okay I had to laugh at this one.....we are in the process of throwing away and donating a LOT of stuff right now!)
A time to tear down and a time to mend
(again we are "tearing down" the way we've done things/stored things etc in this house only to mend and fix in the next!)
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up
A time for love and a time to hate
(let me just say I have formed a love/hate relationship with moving and have a whole new appreciation for those in the military!!)
A time for war and a time for peace.

I realize this is not what Solomon had in mind when he penned these popular words. But they were so comforting to me when reading this and comparing them to the events going on in our lives right now.....God is so good!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home Decorating ideas

I know I haven't been around in a while. We are in the {crazy} process of moving....which I will eventually go into. I've been dreaming of a few different home decorating/creative projects for a while and today was able to finish a really really quick one!

The fridge at the new place has wood panels instead of metal so we can't put any photos or art work up with magnets, so I am improvising! For an area by the doorway I am making a little "command center", which I'll photograph when we are actually moved in and set up. But for now, here is a little project on making your own little bulletin board.

Here is what you will need:
  • Cork board tiles (cheapest at Wal-mart in the office/school section~$6)
  • High heat glue gun (and some steel fingers to go along!)
  • material (I went shopping in my own material bins and used what I had)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
 Placing the Cork board on the wrong side of the material, cut around the board leaving about 1 1/2 inches as a boarder. Hot glue each corner first.

After all 4 corners are glued (not shown in this photo) Add a liberal amount of hot glue and glue down one side. (I also used my metal ruler as a press to keep from burning my fingers!) Next glue the exact opposite side gently pulling the material to pull out wrinkles. Then glue remaining edges.

That's it! I like using different but coordinating materials. You can mount them together like this, or with a little space between them. Add push pins and you are done!

I have more home decorating ideas that are pretty cheap that I'll hopefully be doing in the next few weeks. I'll share what I do!


Related Posts with Thumbnails