Category Archives: Home Schooling

First Day of School Treasure Hunt Clues

On Thursday of this week, we’ll embark on our 9th annual Treasure Hunt to kick off the first day of school! Normally I come up with around 10-15 clues that rhyme…but that felt quite daunting with three girls, each having their own tailor made hunt to conquer…which would be a total of 30-45 little ditties. Whew. I love to write, but you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere!

This year I decided to utilize the greatest treasure of all as the trove of clues for my students…the KJV Bible. Each girl will get 12 of their own clues, which involve looking up a scripture reference, and zeroing in on something in the verse that has to do with the next clue’s hiding place. And the treasure at the very end? Why, this year’s new school books, readers, and supplies, of course! For weeks now, we’ve had mysterious packages arriving in the mail only to be whisked away by “mommy”, contents unknown…so many surprises, the girls can’t WAIT for the great “reveal”! Sometimes along the clue route, I’ll leave surprises. Could be a stick of gum, an eraser, a fun pencil…once it was an alarm clock!

So here’s what this year’s clues look like for my 11 year old…I put some clarifying notes in parentheses for your benefit, not hers!, kind of a teacher’s edition, if you will! *wink*

One last tip, each girls’ clues are color coded, so if they trip across someone else’s clue, they know to ignore it if it’s not “their” color. I try to do a mix of clues both indoors and out. One year we had all outdoor clues, and did it in the pouring rain! (Soggy clues lend a bit of difficulty to a treasure hunt!)

Treasure Hunt Clues 2011, for 11 year old daughter

First Clue: Matthew 7:17. What is this verse about? (trees) Go out the back door, and take a right. Follow the driveway to the first one in sight. (on ground by tree at bottom of driveway)

Second Clue: Zechariah 14:21, third word. Where do we keep ours? (Pots)

Third Clue: Acts 19:19, the eighth word in this verse rhymes with darts. Find the word, and find our stash of supplies. Remember, they are not where they used to be! (Arts drawer, we reorganized!)

Fourth Clue: Genesis 3:12. You want words number 13 and 16. Put them together and think small, dark red and sweet—what a treat! Go look here quick as a wink! (Bing Cherry Tree)

Fifth clue: Look up Exodus 37:17: Count the words, count 22, where these things are stacked, you’ll find your next clue! (Bowls)

Sixth clue: Psalm 18:28. Hm, we have several of these in the living room! Happy hunting! Hint!! It’s under and out of sight! (Under a living room candle)

Seventh clue:  Judges 5:14, fourth word from the end of the verse. We have some in a drawer. (“pens” in phone book drawer)

Eighth clue:  Genesis 2:8, seventh word. Go there. Look everywhere. You’ll find a clue by something red. (In garden, by tomato plant)

Ninth clue:  Leviticus 14:6. 5th word.  Where do we sometimes feed these pretties? (taped to hummingbird feeder)

Tenth clue:  Daniel 4:15, 4th word. We don’t have too many of these, but one big one for sure! (by big stump near hammock)

Eleventh clue: You are so close. Time for a cloozy.  Isaiah 10:14. “Gathereth”what, exactly? Hope the one you find is not oozy! (near an egg in chicken nesting box)

Twelfth clue: Ding! Ding! Ding! FINAL clue!!!  Three different verses contain three different words, put the three words together, in order, and go a-hunting for your treasure!  1. Proverbs 26:11, 3rd word. 2. Job 39:12, last word. 3. Psalm 118:22, last word. Put them together and follow the clue! (dog barn corner)

Well, that’s it folks. Hope your first day of school is a blast like ours!

Proverbs 2: 1-5,

1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Remember, if you desire to tweak these for your homeschoolers, the words and their sequence found within the verses is tailored straight from the KJV Bible.

And MUMS the word, folks, till sometime Thursday! My 11 yo must not catch wind of this blog post!

Fraction Formulas

Ever wonder which fraction problems need inverted and multiplied, or which ones call for finding the least common denominator before you can do anything else? Keeping track of the procedures used for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing these fractions can be tricky for grade schoolers (and their parents!). Here’s some help!

But first a plug! We love our Professor B Math! It’s a contextual way to learn all aspects of math from a practical viewpoint in the least amount of time possible, and at your own pace. In spite of being a straight A student, I never learned math this way in grade school…and consequently, I feel like it’s finally making sense to me these past few years of teaching Professor B’s methods to my children.

So my daughter is learning ALLLL about fractions and we got the coolest fraction “tips” in today’s lesson.

Here you go for the next time your child is stumped as to which procedure to use for which fractional operation…

Know the code:

f=fraction, MN=mixed number, LCD=least common denominator

When the first formula says “f+f = LCD then add” it’s a short hand way of saying: “fraction plus fraction equals finding the least common denominator, then adding the fractions”

Okay…for the formulas:

  • f+f=LCD then add
  • f-f=LCD then subtract
  • fxf=reduce (if possible), then multiply across
  • f (divided by) f=invert and multiply
  • MN+MN=LCD then add
  • MN-MN=LCD then subtract
  • MNxMN=set up fraction, then multiply fraction
  • MN (divided by) MN=set up fraction then divide by fraction

If you drill your children on these formulas, and keep a “cheat sheet” taped to the inside of their mathbooks, eventually they won’t have to think very hard about which formula applies to their various fraction pursuits!

Gotta love it!

Professor B says whatever you do, if you learn your fractions backwards and forwards algebra will be a lot less intimidating!

Hope this helps some harried mom out there with her child’s homework!

It’s not too late to decide to homeschool…

I saw this in the Miami Herald, and had to post a link. It makes a mommy want to cry…

We’re starting classes Monday–beginning our 8th official year of homeschooling. I’m working on our kick-off, the annual treasure hunt clues that will lead my girls to their new curriculum and literature books for 2010-11. How thankful I am, for these ‘thousands of hours’ with my sweet kids! I shudder to think of all we might have lost if not for homeschooling!

For instance, homeschooling is the perfect healing ground for family relationships. It’s a *must-adapt-and-get-along* atmosphere. If you were to pull your children out of public school today, would all the cats hit the fan? If so, it reveals the sad state of the relationships and habits  in and of the family.  Siblings can get along and even more, be best friends.  Children can love and respect their parents and genuinely seek to further God’s glory along with the family unit.  I might even go a step further and say that the Biblical model for educating our families looks a lot like homeschooling!

Maybe homeschooling is an option for you?

Why Homeschool? A Christian’s perspective.

oldkitchen

This morning as I slipped and slid my way to the chicken house over ice and snow, hurrying to get my morning chores done, I realized how cool it is that I was excited to get back to the house, back to my hot cup of black currant tea and my 9 year old and her ‘highest common factors’ math worksheets.

[Even if you don’t homeschool, you can imagine with me how it might be hard to be excited about math! *wink*]

But I was. It’s my dream job, one that I never would have taken on without God’s pressuring me to do so!  Sometimes I even marvel that in His perfect plan, our finances have never allowed for us to afford private school tuitions. I’m sure I would have caved and enrolled my firstborn at the first opportunity if so. And we would have missed out on this awesome family bonding adventure! And spent so much time on the road, carpooling. Ugh.

I know some of you might be saying “Ugh” to the homeschooling lifestyle, as you read this! Never fear, I’m not here to condemn, just to reason. Please be forewarned though, the following might require a little blindfolding of our cultural prejudices and misconceptions…here is a little of what led my husband and I to choose to home educate.

As a young Christian parent, Deuteronomy 6:5-9 was unsettling to me, when I thought about trying to raise godly children according to this kind of standard. How can you (paraphrasing here) “diligently teach your children to love God with all their heart, soul and might, when you sit and when you stand, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you rise up…” That’s a tall order no matter what your lifestyle!

Then, too, my husband and I were surrounded by homeschooling families with bright minds, genuinely loving relationships, and sincere hearts for God. What an advertisement, right there.  God spoke to us in many ways, nudging us in the home educating direction, and I’m so glad we listened! He used scripture, videos, Christian family radio, among other things. We were surrounded by good reasons!

Now, this many years later, when I think about all the religious lies being taught in public school, it breaks my heart. Evolution IS a religion, and it IS an unproved theory. In fact, more and more tenets of evolution have been proven wrong in the last fifty years, yet it is still taught as a fact in public schools, in museums, in zoos, etc.  Wasn’t it Hitler that said, “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it?”

What bothers me the most about this, is that if you lined up the basic teachings of evolution with what is taught in God’s word, they are complete opposites. Satan at work, no doubt. It takes a lot more faith to believe that we all came from rocks than to believe that there’s a significantly intelligent engineer behind this universe. In fact, if you really want to be scientific about it, the proof is all over the place. Maybe I’ll go into that in another post.

Guess what God had to say about evolution and public schools, way back in the early church age?

“They did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Romans 1:28

Well, in 1963, God was no longer welcome in public schools. And evolution moved right on in.  Interesting that as a result, in the 30 years following this switch off, there was a 500% increase in violent crimes, 400% increase in the divorce rate, 400% increase in illegitimate births, 300% increase in single parent homes, 200% increase in teenage suicides, and a 75% drop in SAT scores.  (Heritage Foundations 1993)

Even more scary, is that studies are now relaying the appalling news that75% of all children raised in Christian homes who attend public school will reject the Christian faith by their 1st year of college.

Excuse me? NOT on my watch! God forbid.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 says,

“God will send them strong delusion, that they shall believe a lie.”

[For instance, believing we came from a big bang, billions of years ago?]

Some more heart-sick things to consider…from opposite poles of humanity so to speak:

“I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.” –Martin Luther

“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.” –Adolph Hitler

I know this is hard stuff, remember, I said you might have to shed some prejudices to get through this with me…

If you are still here…bless you, I hope you get where I’m coming from.

I know many people who say that they could never homeschool their children. That’s true for some, yes, but not true for the majority of Americans. Yes, it has to be a husband-wife-God decision, but even single moms have pulled it off. I even know of a single mom with cancer who kept homeschooling through it all. Homeschooling is a passionate movement, and yes, it takes dedication.

I haven’t always wanted to hurry inside and snuggle on the couch over math problems with my 9 year old. Every good thing is going to come under attack by the enemy. Nothing worth doing is  easy. Yes we’ve had our struggles, but God has been so faithful in all the ways that really matter.

If I can ever be of assistance to you on the subject of homeschooling, drop me a line!

Feel free to air your honest and respectful thoughts in comments. :O)

January Planning

09houseSnowGot a yen to organize thy household? Well, step right up. There’s nothing wrong with a little “New Year’s” motivation…and with single digit temps and snow everywhere, there’s not much to do outside. Wish you could see the curvy path I’ve tramped through the snow to the chicken barn each morning and night the past two weeks…it’s not quite a tunnel yet…*smile*. The chickens won’t even venture forth in this weather. They peek out at the bright snow and blink.

So, I’ve been having fun printing off a slew of great organizational helps at donnayoung.org this morning. For instance, her month-on-a-page household planner would be a great way to track monthly bills and “mental notes” in a binder from one year to the next. Need a greeting card registry, or a telephone number chart? How about refills for your yearly planner? She has several sizes and choices. She also has chore charts for kids, homeschool planners of every kind. We discovered her site this past fall, and have really been blessed by her generosity. Everything there is free, AND, it’s a Christian website!I personally like her “checklist” for a semester at a glance–it’s all on one page and what a way to see how much you’ve accomplished and how far you have to go!

So how is your New Year shaping up so far? Cold like mine?

Blessings,

Mary

The Dying to Self Series

stretchingA situation with a dear loved one had me reviewing my blog for the series of posts I did on “Dying to Self”. I thought I’d repost the links for them here, in case anyone else is wanting a refresher.

Here’s a quote from my first one titled, Exploring Dying to Self:

“The path toward humility is death to self. When self is dead, humility has been perfected. Jesus humbled Himself unto death, and by His example the way is opened for us to follow. A dead man or woman does not react to an offense. The truth is, if we become offended by the words of others, then death to self has not been finished. When we humble ourselves despite injustice and there is perfect peace of heart, then death to self is complete. Death is the seed, while humility is the ripened fruit.” Alice Smith

In another one, Dying to Self in Marriage, I share a list of ways we all feel entitled. Taken from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Lies Women Believe:

“Today it is assumed that,

  • you have a right to be happy
  • you have a right to be understood
  • you have a right to be loved
  • you have a right to a certain standard of living, to an equitable wage, and to decent benefits
  • you have a right to a good marriage
  • you have a right to companionship and romance
  • you have a right to be treated with respect in the workplace
  • you have a right to be valued by your husband and appreciated by your children
  • you have a right to a good night’s sleep
  • you have a right to have your husband pitch in with the household chores

And most important, if any of your rights are violated, you have the right to protest. You have a right to be angry. You have a right to be depressed. You have a right to take action. You have a right to insist on your rights!”

Lies, indeed. No freedom there.

In The Sting of Dying to Self, we are reminded at what great cost our sins and selfishnesses are to our relationships, and that it all adds up to DENYING God by our DEEDS, even when we profess Him from our lips…we see how important denying SELF is. It helps us proclaim Christ.

Titus 1:15-16,

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him…”

In Are You Willing? we see through the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 50:4-9 how the process works:

It’s a process. If you start applying it at the beginning (vs 4) by committing to reading God’s word, and from His word/prayer learning His will for your life (vs 5), practicing being obedient (vs 5 and 6), getting in the habit of bucking this world system in favor of doing right (vs 7), coming back to God to fill you up because suffering is part of Christianity (vs 8 ), and getting to the point that this process is second nature. All your priorities fall in line because of your continual desire to put God and His ways first (vs 9).

And finally, in Grace for the Weary, we see more Messianic prophecies, like this from Isaiah 42:3 and more,

“A bruised reed He (God the Son) will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.” Isaiah 42:3 (parentheses mine)

Have you ever felt like a dimly burning wick? This post takes the topic of callings, in particular, our family’s calling to homeschool. But I think it applies to whatever your particular “burn out” may be. Get your vision back and go for it!

Be sure to check out these older blog posts for the great scriptures alone. There’s a wealth of encouragement there for every problem known unto man.

Would love to hear your thoughts on dying to self. :O)

Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child

sleepy1Upon marriage, my husband and I were polar opposites when it came to reading. I came from a family of readers and writers…the TV was rarely on in our house–we didn’t even own a VCR until the 90’s. My parents have a vast library, yes, a real room lined with bookshelves floor to ceiling, of fiction and non-fiction titles reflecting their great love of the written word, and I’ve had a lifetime exposure to it. I’m sure my ‘bookish background’ is one of the main reasons grammar, spelling and writing were such an enjoyment to me in my K-12 years. As an adult, my reading has self-educated me on many topics of interest, as I gather resources to make smart decisions for my family. Whether on nutrition, herbal remedies, homesteading, homeschooling, organic gardening, autism, ADHD–books hold the key to educating yourself…yes, the internet is a great tool–but you have to be serious about reading there too, in order to filter through to the right information. TV can teach, but it doesn’t compare. You’d have to watch hours and hours of educational programming to replace the pages of a single book.

So not only do we want our children to love reading to succeed in school…we want them to love reading to excel in life!

My husband agrees with me. In contrast to my childhood, his didn’t hold any special emphasis on reading. Neither of his parents had any interest in reading for enjoyment, and whether indirectly or directly, my husband also had no desire to read. He spent many quality hours outside riding ponies and being daddy’s helper, but his indoor hours were usually spent playing, drawing, or watching favorite TV shows. It took my husband several years of marriage before he gave reading for enjoyment a chance. He still would rather thumb through a magazine, but he sees the value of reading, and wishes it didn’t come so hard for him to sit there and *want* to read.

#1 reason to read aloud to your child to promote a love of reading:

God’s Word. An adult that has never learned to love reading, will have a really hard time sitting down to read the Bible and make sense of it. This is SO sad. In this whiz-bang modern age of ours, most children are conditioned to fast paced TV, video games and constant action…sitting for an hour in church puts them to sleep or drives them crazy, why would they want to read a black-and-white book with no pictures? If they love to read anyway, they’ll be more likely to open the Bible and reap the benefits of a real relationship with their Creator.

More Reasons

  1. Reading is a gentle activity that keeps brains engaged and imaginations soaring, while promoting problem solving, concentration, wonder at a number of fascinating people, places and events.
  2. Reading provides background knowledge on a number of topics. Between the covers of any book you can experience life in any country, on the moon or under the sea, as a mailman or a scientist or a factory worker.
  3. Reading builds vocabulary. This is a biggie. No explanation required!
  4. Children who love to read become naturals at writing stories of their own. The rich language patterns they’ve heard from childhood read-alouds translate naturally, as does proper story structure. Clauses and conjunctions and modifiers and all the strictures of the “printed word” aren’t a big hang-up, because they’ve been exposed to well-written sentences from a very young age.

Conclusion:

Reading, as I tell my kiddos, builds “strong brain muscles”, whereas, watching TV builds “fat pig muscles”.

Disclaimer:

I’m not advocating a couch potato lifestyle here. In fact, the polar opposite lifestyles reflected by my husband’s and my upbringings had both positives and negatives. Hubby was raised actively, in a hard-working family. He was probably handing tools to his daddy from toddlerhood on up. As a result, he’s able to fix anything, build anything, create and problem solve pretty much anything. Don’t give him a manual to read, he doesn’t need it!

I’m much more likely to want to while away an afternoon with a good read. Definitely was accused of being a bookworm as a young girl. So many good books, so much time out the window never to be recaptured.

So try for the happy medium. A love of reading isn’t always easily instilled, but it’s becoming a lost art in these days of fast food living.

Promo:

If you’ve ever wanted to see just how much wealth you can find in one children’s book…check out a book such as “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack, and read it to your child every single day for a week. Learn about China, the Yangtze River, Ducks, bouyancy, water safety, houseboat life, consequences of disobedience, awesome artwork, etc. And if you need direction in how to go about reading in this way, check out Jane Claire Lambert’s Five In A Row series. Volume 1 covers everything you need to know to enjoy “The Story About Ping”, among many other classics.

Happy Reading!

I Love Homeschooling!

The old-fashioned way of doing things grabs me. Not that I don’t appreciate modern conveniences, but yeah, you just might catch me utilizing a washboard for kicks. And I’d absolutely adore an outdoor kitchen fitted with an enormous antique white stove like great-grandma’s.

I was thinking that about myself this morning–my tendency of appreciating the old and reliable things of my life–as I scrubbed my stove-top with comet. We’re one of the few families left still cooking on a stove with four detachable burners. I still have a phone with a cord on the wall. We don’t do TV, video games, etc. Obviously, we have internet, but even at that, it’s dial-up!

Is there something wrong with that? *Wink*

Maybe that’s why homeschooling brings me such joy. It’s the way things used to be, back when our country was a youngun’, before women went out for careers, before the government mandated preschool. (Okay so maybe it’s not mandated, but the age of compulsory school attendance is getting lower and lower.)

We’re getting our first full week under our belt and I’m increasingly thankful for the freedom I have in this country to choose how to educate my child. What a gift! It’s right up there with the best of God’s blessings. No material comforts we’ve sacrificed compares to what I’m getting back in terms of relationships with my girls.

Here’s a few things I’ve loved this first week back…

First Day’s Treasure Hunt

treasurehunt2We ALWAYS do a treasure hunt to kick-off school. Here the girls are at 7 a.m. raring to go. This year’s hunt was complete with a total of 27 clues, split 3 ways for 3 girls. Each girl found treats along the “trail” of clues with their names attached…things ranging from mini-candy bars to alarm clocks and each girl’s hunt ended at the horse barn, in the tack room…at a big box of this year’s new school books. True treasure, we remind them every year, is what you keep stored in your heart and mind. And, yes, they do get extreasurehunt4cited to see what new books mom’s ordered for their learning enjoyment!

Here is my oldest trying to find the yellow clue taped in the top right-most roosting box.

We had clues in the garden beneath a cherry tomato plant, beneath the stone walkway to the garden, under a shovel in the sandbox, in the “dog barn” on a pet’s gate, on a post by the horse pen, in the play house, down the hill in the barrel of chick feed, in one of the sheds on the seat of the four-wheeler, and so on.

Memorable note about this year’s hunt–we did it in pouring rain! Yup, soggy clues, wind-misplaced clues. What an adventure under blackening skies! And hot chocolate all around once we arrived back in the house for breakfast!

Making Bubble Snakes

bubblesnakes1FUN! While waiting at an orthodontic appointment last week, my oldest and I both read the same Family Fun magazine at different times, and don’t you know, we both zeroed in on the same fun activity to try at home later.  I’d determined to gather the things necessary w/o telling any of the girls, and my oldest daughter pulled it off before I could. We cracked up once we realized we’d both intended on doing the same activity without any consultation whatsoever. And that’s another fun thing about homeschooling. My older girls are all about putting fun things together for their sibs to enjoy.

Bubblesnakes4Here’s what you need for some Bubble Snake fun of your own!

  • recycled plastic water bottle with the bottom half cut off
  • a square of toweling
  • a rubber band
  • blowing bubble solution, dishsoap or best of all, bubble bath

bubblesnakes2To assemble, rubber band the piece of towel to the bottom of the plastic bottle. Get the towel damp-to-wet. Put a thin layer of dishsoap or bubble bath in the bottom of a small bowl and dip the toweled end of the plastic bottle in it. Blow through the drinking hole and you get these lovely snakes! Magical fun for an hour at the very least! And then again when Dad gets home to see!

More of a recess activity, but we counted it as Kindergarten science because we experimented with all of the above soaps to see which worked best! Mr. Bubble!

Such fun catching the floating bubble snakes…you should have seen our lawn afterward…bubble snakes galore!

Other Highlights

For the first time ever, thanks to a generous homeschool-mom friend loaning me her FIAR books Vol. 1-3, I’m using Five In A Row with my Kindergartner, a wonderful many-faceted approach to all school subjects via the premise of reading the same classic literature for “five days in a row”.  This week, we’re reading The Story About Ping. Each day, after reading, we tackle a unit study about some theme in the book, whether it be ducks (Ping is a duckling that gets lost in the Yangtze River in China), China, the beautiful crayon and colored pencil drawings of Kurt Wiese, etc.

Yesterday we were discussing the copyright page, and what makes a book a classic. The Story About Ping was written and published in 1933. A classic is a book read by many generations, so I tried to home in on that fact by asking my 5 year old if she knew who was born in 1934, the year after Ping was written. (her grandpa)

She leaned forward, eyes huge and completely serious. “God?”

Obviously I’ve failed to impart the eternal aspect of God to this girl.

But giggles aside, we have been having so much fun with Ping. Found all sorts of neat helps at homeschoolshare.com for a lapbook on the study, and youngest and I were having such a great time that her older sisters had to come to the table and get involved as well.

Last but not least, my oldest and I are enjoying such a cool friendship. Yesterday after school was done, after we’d helped out at the CSA farm for a couple hours, when we were back home and I had a messy house to deal with for company coming the next day…my younger two vamoosed outside to escape me putting them to work, but my oldest volunteered herself for duty. Her only request? Christian music. Loud.

So while we were cleaning the DJ comes on and tells about how Maria Chapman’s “House of Hope” opened in China recently, and how 700 orphans are living there now…and of course, anyone who knows about the tragic death of little Maria (Steven Curtis Chapman’s little adopted girl from China) would be moved to tears to hear the story behind why this orphanage is called “Maria’s House of Hope”. My daughter and I paused with our dustcloths and bawled happy tears together.

Moral of this happy ramble…

If you love having fun and spending time with your kids, if you want to be there when they learn to read-when they lovingly and patiently help their younger siblings learn to read, if you want to impart what’s most important to you (God, morals, character, family), there’s no easier way to do it than homeschooling.

I pray we have many more years of freedom to parent our children the way we choose in America.

And long live homeschooling!

On the Homeschooling Bulletin Board…

This is a “scrapbook” post for all our family and friends who couldn’t make it to Homeschool Presentation Day this past Saturday! What a great time we had, celebrating all our students’ accomplishments this past school year. I especially appreciated the Christian thread woven throughout the performances, from guitar solos of “Jesus Loves Me” to a cappella renditions of favorite praise songs…and of course, classical piano pieces, amazing and convicting dramas…plenty of budding talent and a great time of being with others who relate tobordercollietalk and appreciate the unique approach of this lifestyle.

My own children were involved in two group skits, yes, even our four year old was tickled to have two lines all to herself! Our 11 year old daughter did a fabulous talk on Training Border Collies, not leaving out a single detail of all the points she’d labored over in practice the week before. She’s come so far since last year’s talk on ornithology (she’s a huge bird lover), exuding confidence and audience rapport…which is especially exciting to her mother, who does much better in *behind the scenes* scenarios! Here she is with her neon green poster board which represents pasture…with cattle and a Border Collie velcroed at crucial points to be used in illustrating various stockdog commands such as “Come by” and “Away to me”…she finished her talk so winningly:

Now you can see why Border Collies are my favorite dogs. First, because they save so much time. Second because they make such great companions. And third, because I happen to own one.

And if you want to own one, see me after refreshments!

(lol, she was so cute saying that last line, wish I knew how to put her talk on youtube! Btw, part of the reason it’s so cute is that she really does  raise and sell Border Collies, and has for the past 3 years)

walkthru2Then the three girls did a ten minute presentation on the first five books of the Old Testament, courtesy of their Grandpa’s teaching them his Walk-Thru-The-Bible this past school year every Friday morning. My oldest prompted her sisters through each book, sharing chapter titles, highlights and easy ways to remember key events and places the Israelites stayed as God moved them through these books. We used a big map of Old Testament lands to trace the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua.  The funny/embarrassing moment during this presentation came when our youngest decided–in a fidget–to remove her button up sweater and twirl it around her shoulders and head maddymadelynneskit1and in the air above her…finally our oldest snagged the wayward sweater, amidst giggles and blushings, and they got back on task.

Here’s my middle daughter (on the left) performing “Pray Continually” with a good friend…

And my oldest and youngest daughters performing, “Middle of the Road” with another friend…

skit1But the best part of the evening was the grand finale…a skit done by my good friend and her husband and three kids about the importance of being a good witness when under conviction!

Two more weeks of school left! We’re excited about summer doings which for us will include one day a week working at Farmer John’s CSA farm, tending our own garden and the *big* chicken project–raising 150 chicks to sell as laying hens in the fall. VBS is approaching quickly…as is an Awana Awards Camping Trip to a nearby lake…

May will be over before we know it. What’s up next on your calendar?

A stopping place for your child

Today’s my Thursday at Writer…Interrupted. I’m musing about the incredibly delicate balancing act we mothers with “side-interests” face. Hope you come over there and share your thoughts too.

On other fun topics, it’s about baby chick time again! And my original flock of 25 is fine and dandy. Spring must be in the air, as egg production is bumping up even without my daily dosing of their feed with cayenne pepper!

My 4.5 year old is reading! And loving it! All this after discovering she could spell with the kindergartners and first graders at our homeschool co-op’s practice spelling bee. She did so well we dusted off the early readers we had laying around and she’s addicted.

I’ve ordered some beautiful copywork books from queenhomeschool.com, and can’t wait till their arrival! Also have a fun music book on its way from playbyear.com. Fun, fun!

What’s new with you?