Time to Get Serious!

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Toward the end of each school year, I write a long list of assignments they must complete to be finished for the year.  They have the option to complete all of these in a week or so (if they work pretty hard), or take the recommended three weeks to complete it.  They also, could take longer if they desire, moving their school year into the hot, perfect for swimming months of June and July.  I give them this choice for them to work on their level of self-motivation. During the rest of the year, we go through most of the work together, so I know where they are and what they are reading and learning.  But at this special time, they have the option to finish early and savor the first sweet hints of summer.  This is not about speeding through and not digesting what they’ve read.  They have to be able to narrate the story to me.  Many times, I read the books too, because they are very entertaining and I always learn something.

What do you do to finish the year strong? Post a comment!

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I see myself

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In her, I see myself-
older, more frail somehow
a different shape than me,
but me nonetheless.

She’s lived a different life
than I have,
but in some ways the same.

I don’t recognize this person;
she’s not tilting her head back
with laughter
or trying to play tricks
on my husband
just to hear him scream out
like a girl.

Praying those days come back soon,
when I can enjoy them from a whole
new perspective.

Just Watering Dirt

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Last spring, I planted 4 square foot gardens in my backyard. The area had plenty of sun, the soil was perfectly ready for anything I could throw at it. Since it was my first time with a vegetable garden, I decided to order seeds instead of buying plants. Though this was probably a mistake, God taught me so much during this process that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I also began composting to provide quality fertilizer for my garden down the road.

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At first, my garden was nothing but dirt. Little seeds were making their way to the soil’s surface, but I couldn’t see that. I just watered dirt. I watered dirt faithfully, knowing that anyone who casually walked up wouldn’t have understood, but I knew in my heart that exciting things were going on under the surface. This reminded me of being in a counseling situation or witnessing to someone. We see no change, we just keep on watering the dirt, until one day – Bam! There’s a tiny sprig of hope coming up out of the dirt. All that watering has done something! If you’ve been praying faithfully for years and see no change, please know that things are happening! You just can’t see them yet! God is faithful, and your prayers are not going to waste!

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Composting is weird. Garbage goes into a box, and something that gives life comes out. What?? Not sure of the science here, but all of it reminds me of the great exchange that Jesus made for us. We give Him all of our garbage and He makes something out of it. In fact, our garbage only leads to death; He is causing life to issue from death! No one else can do that! In fact, if I let my brain go a step further, He made us from dirt (death), and only He adds life to all the dirt from which we are made. If He didn’t do that, we are all just death walking around. Nothing that is put into that container comes out the same way it went in. It is dramatically and radically changed!

I wish I could say that I grew some amazing vegetables and I’m snacking on my homegrown radishes right now, but I can’t. Something very horrible took place about 2 months after I started watering dirt. My plants got to a certain height and just – stopped. As I was, with extremely limited knowledge, trying to access the situation, I noticed that the ground in my planters was very hard. Very hard. I grabbed my trusty hand rake and went to town. A week later, nothing. I became pretty sure that the ground was too hard for the roots to grow adequately, so the plants themselves were stunted. Boo. I heard a memory verse in my head, “Break up your fallow ground…”. Looking up the rest, I found “Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.“ Hosea 10:12.

Fallow means “dormant, inactive”. The Lord desires for us to have hearts that are ready to receive His word. Ground that is too hard is like a heart that is hardened to Him – there’s no way for water to get down to the seed, and the seedling can’t fight to grow in soil that is too hard to stretch out in. We have to take an active role and prepare our hearts to receive the seed that the Lord is planting, so that it will grow in due time and make more seeds to plant elsewhere.

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So, here I am, a year later. Spring is upon us. I’m ready. I’ve been cold for far too long this year. My gardens are barren. I’ve uprooted all of the dead plants – all of the stuff that was meant to feed us only for a season. I had more success in my garden than I initially thought I would. Most importantly, I am wiser about what plants I can grow and what it takes keep them alive. The Lord has shown Himself faithful and true. This year…I’m thinking flowers.

Oh my Goodness….I’m SO Organized!

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NOT that this has NEVER happened before….but with schooling, it’s rare.  I’m pretty organized usually, but this is, well, incredible.  It is early July and I am staring at all of my books for NEXT YEAR!  What???  You may ask….  How??  Well, I can give you a super spiritual answer and say that the Lord was very clear and unusually early with His answer to “what do we do next year?”.  Or, I could just show you a pic of my books (all organized by the date we will read them), and say “Wowweeee!!”

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So, enough of that.  I know what you really want are some pics of people eating watermelon at our house on July 4th.  It’s what we all demand…

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Caycee.  Note the style at which she comes at the watermelon.  Nice approach.

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Sophie.  It’s weird how my iron work on the wall look like her antennae.

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My mom.  Cuz that’s just cute.

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Sydney.  My child for sure.  Check out the crossed-eyes and flared nostrils.  She’s ready.

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Trevor.  Our friend from small group.  He thinks this whole thing is funny.  It’s not.  It’s VERY serious! This is watermelon-eating, people!!

In the Weeds

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Sophie-girl with a shovel in the back 40

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So pretty. Getting ready to have a birthday!

2-2012

Well, we have moved, gotten all settled in, figured out how to take care of the pool, the well, and the septic system, and now spring has sprung!  Well, at least the weeds of spring….they are popping up all over my 1.1 acre, and that’s A LOT of ground to cover with weed killer!!  Makes me think of God trying to weed stuff out of my life.  As I am squirting the weeds down, I am being ever so careful to not hit actual plants.  I notice also that good stuff and bad stuff can grow out of the same place.  Hmmmm..

Ok, so we are thinking that next year we will consider putting the kids into a 2 day a week co-op type program.  I am thinking about one that is just down the road, that I have never heard of, and where Sydney would be the highest grade they have.  I am also considering one that I have heard of that has lots of experienced people teaching and is a bit further away.  And so here are the complexities that come along with homeschooling….knowing when to give away some of the reins to someone else, and how to do it.  Praying to see God’s best for my children in all of this…..

To Add or Not to Add?

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11-2010

Wowwee!  There are lots and lots of things to choose from in the realm of curriculum!  It is a beautiful, amazing world, full of possibilites…..but can also be COMPLETELY overwhelming to a homeschool newbie like myself.

When I strode into my first homeschool bookfair, I thought there’d be about 10 things to choose from.  I’d buy the best of the ten choices and be on my way.  Little did I know, I’d manage to find my way to the door hours later with a pounding headache and little to no idea of what I’d like to use!  It’s important to know that you absolutely do not have to buy anything when you go to these bookfairs – they are all on-line and appreciate your business either way.

I spent time looking over all of the literature, reading on-line reviews, and praying over my decision.  I ended up choosing a very good curriculum for our family and still wander from it from time to time, just for fun.

So now, I keep adding things and moving things around and massaging every detail.  Day to day doesn’t look too different from last week, but sometimes it is.  I am adding a keyboarding program for Sophie, who really hates writing.  I know that she will have to write sometimes in life…..or will she???  I am changing up math for the 3rd time.  Math has been difficult for me to get a bead on, but I think this new program is going to be IT (I always think that!).

All of my changes are relative to the things I am learning about my children.  As I learn more, I change things up to suit them and we keep on a-movin!  After all, isn’t that exactly the reason why I began homeschooling in the first place?  I wanted to zoom in on their special-ness and nuture it.  I wanted to make sure that they didn’t have to put up with the frustration that goes with a teacher who goes too slow or too fast for their taste.  All-in-all, they are better for it.  I am still adding and taking away and massaging, but I am also learning.  I am learning all about the special gifts that God has given my girls, and the special gifts He has given me by allowing us the time to do this……