Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Curriculum

I thought it would help you get to know us, if I shared an overview of our approach to teaching/learning. I'll share our curriculum choices in another post. Work with me, because this is all new to me and I have to figure out how to do it - you know...when will I have time, what should I share, etc.

We try to maintain a Biblical worldview in all that we teach, but our approach is like a smorgasbord; a little bit of Classical, a little bit of Charlotte Mason, a little bit of a few different things. We like literature based things, a lot of art and hands-on activities and we also enjoy computer-based learning.

I have been inspired to try many things shared by other moms and educators. However, it's important for me to remember that just because something looks great or fun, it doesn't mean that I have to try it THIS YEAR, or even at all. What works for one family (or child), may not work for mine. It's important to be prayerful in your choices and ask God to guide you. I know first hand how easy it is to get caught up in the search for the right teaching/learning tools.

I've made choices based on works best for each of my children individually. I'm OK with the fact that our "learning menu" seems to be a smorgasbord that combines the flavors of all-you-can-eat and fast food with fine dining! Hey, all that matters to me is that they eat well and grow strong!

Even though we have curriculum plans for each year, we make adjustments as needed (i.e. if we find that something TRULY ISN'T WORKING, we won't struggle through it just because it was a choice at the beginning of our "formal" learning year and I'd spent our hard-earned money).

I plan to share the details of our journey, especially with B4FIAR/FIAR as we complete each book. I am also planning to share some Homeschool Highlights that will include projects/experiments, field trips, fun things, etc. My goal is to do this weekly, but I AM new to this amazing arena, so bare with me while I work out the kinks! You will be able to find curriculum related posts under the "Blog Topics" link, "Curriculum", located on the left side of the home page.

If you have questions about how (or why) we use anything, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be happy to share what we're doing. Likewise, if you're using something that we're using, I'd love to know how you incorporate things in your family.

Lastly, I want to encourage you in your homeschooling journey. I know that it can be overwhelming at times (I've cried and doubted my ability to actually do this many times), but know that God is there to guide and strengthen you. And if that isn't enough, there is a virtual community of Moms (and Dads) who freely share a wealth of God-inspired information, inspiration and motivation to help you along the

Whether you choose an all-in-one curriculum, an online school, or a customized plan, leave room (in your mind that is - you know how we can sometimes get stuck in our decisions and plans, at least I've been guilty of this) for adjustments. Some things are figured out through trial and error, but a little research and feedback from others (you know those product reviews/testimonials that we read, but rarely make - I am getting better at sharing my experiences, though. Yeah, God is working on me!) can help minimize the error part.

OK my Friend of FAITH...dig in and enjoy YOUR journey. Be patient and savor the process. Training up a child is like taking a long train ride on the journey of your life.

Our Journey

I decided to share the story of our homeschooling journey - you know, how I got to this point - actually blogging about it. Not because I wanted to bore you with the story of my life, but because I believe that our testimony is not a testimony until we share it with someone else. It is my prayer that, as I open the windows to my family, someone will somehow be encouraged or inspired to either start their journey, resume their journey or continue their journey. That journey doesn't have to be homeschooling; it's whatever God has called you to do or be.

Our homeschooling journey began 5 years ago when my sons were entering the 4th and 2nd grades. I had become frustrated with their public school experience as a whole (even though they had some great teachers and experiences that they will never forget) and the Lord had begun to convict my heart about taking more responsibility for the training of our children.

Slightly intimidated by the call, long story short (this part of the story anyway), I prayed about it and proceeded forth. Three weeks after I made one of the most important decisions of my life, I became extremely overwhelmed! Yes, it had only been three weeks and I hadn't even gotten started! In fact, the kids still had about 9 more weeks before they'd be out of school!

What happened, you say? Well, I found out that I was pregnant (with my now 4 year old daughter)and immediately thought, "Lord, HOW am I going to do THIS?!" Start homeschooling AND have a baby (my son would be 8 by the time the baby was born and I would be 37 - that's 3 years from 40 people!)? I wondered if maybe my "timing" was off, but nevertheless, I took hold of my FAITH, upheld my commitment and proceeded forth. I am so glad I did!

Things always work out for good, when they are purposed for God and I'll tell you why. I'll try to keep it short without baffling you in by briefness. My pregnancy was challenging in the beginning and it was nice to have the flexibility of homeschooling, especially after the baby was born - no need to drag the baby to the drop-off/pick-up line at the school - Now THAT'S a blessing - taking a newborn baby in and out of an elementary school isn't my idea of giving kids a head start.

As if a challenging pregnancy weren't enough, during my pregnancy, my mom (my BFF and poster child for FAITH) began to have some health challenges and when my daughter was only 3 months old, she suddenly (as in had a massive heart attack in our kitchen) went home to be with the Lord. Did I mention that I was homeschooling at the time?

It was homeschooling that enabled us the opportunity to deal with our loss without the added pressure of having to "get it together," because the kids had to go to school. It was homeschooling that allowed my kids to have even more quality time with their Granny during what would be her last year with us (in the flesh, that is). It was homeschooling that allowed my mom to actively participate in their education (she enjoyed the fun stuff we did). It was homeschooling that allowed our family to grieve without guidelines (you know you can only miss so many days of school when you lose a loved one); we were able to take some time and digest it all (I think we're still digesting it all). It was homeschooling that allowed me to see that even in the middle of great sorrow, God's grace really is sufficient.

I'm sure that you can see how God has extended His grace on our family and wrapped us in His loving care. I didn't even bother to mention that my daughter was diagnosed with a (curable, In Jesus' name) heart condition, when she was only 2 months old, which we're still believing God for a healing - all in the midst of homeschooling!

Our journey continued and a year after my mom's passing, we relocated out of state. And again...homeschooling made the transition a whole lot easier! It's so nice to be obedient to God, even when we don't quite understand the call and even when "life" (or death) happens. When we're obedient, we can rest assured that His promises for our lives will be fulfilled.

It has taken me 5 years to TOTALLY embrace the freedom that comes with homeschooling. Freedom from being locked in a box - my Thinking, my Actions, my Spirit and ultimately my Kids! Being in that box was making motherhood (AND marriage) a TASK that at times I didn't think I could handle. Heck, some days I didn't even WANT to tackle the task, because it had become just that, a TASK!

My brain (and spirit) was becoming blocked in a box - limited by past experiences (how I was raised, educated, relationships, etc.); what I've heard (people's opinions and observations); and what I was feeling (overwhelmed, frustrated, discouraged, etc.). I needed to break out of that "box," so that God could build me into the woman that He created me to be, which is an ongoing process.

I had to be reminded that in order for me to successfully walk in purpose, it was going to take Bold, Outrageous FAITH! It has NOTHING to do with what I know (or think I know), how I feel or what I see, but EVERYTHING to do with what I believe.

I now realize (even more) that homeschooling is not just about training and educating our children. It's about preparing and positioning our family (as a unit)for purpose, which ultimately brings honor and glory to God. I like to think of our journey as Family-Schooling. We're all learning; We're all growing. All to the glory of God!

My dear Friend in FAITH, embrace YOUR journey! There may be detours, road blocks and bumpy roads along the way, but stay the course! Stay focused on your destination, knowing that God is with you every step of the way!

Introducing Homeschooling by FAITH

I'm really glad that you're here! I'm super excited that somehow you found my tiny, little piece of the "blogosphere."

I created this space as a way for me to share our family's Homeschooling experiences (I like to call it Family-Schooling) with others. It's nothing fancy, but I hope that you can feel the love that's wrapped within the pages of each post.

I can't really tell you WHAT to expect to find here, because I'm going to let the Lord use me as He will, because I want to keep my motives pure and my heart humble. I do know that I want to keep things light and fun, but purposeful. I can't afford to get "caught up"! I know too well that time escapes you when you're surfing the net, especially the amazing Mom/Homeschooling blogs! Lord, help me! Any-who (my friend Nichole has me saying that,lol)...

I'm a writer by gifting and a talker by nature (trust me, you'll find that out soon, if you haven't figured that out already, lol), so expect random conversations, inspirations, information and just plain old REAL STUFF that hopefully you can relate to. Oh, by the way, God has a tendency to talk to me in acronyms, so be on the look out for divine revelations and inspirations. Sometimes serious and sometimes funny, but always God-inspired!

Are you wondering about REAL STUFF? Well, REAL STUFF is Realizing that Everything ain't Always Lovely and Sometimes Things Unravel and you have to Fight to Focus. REAL STUFF! You know...the piled up laundry that seems to have taken over your family room (even though you have designated laundry days AND a laundry room); the gourmet dinner that turned into cereal and frozen pancakes, because you planned meals for a month, but didn't buy groceries for the week; the date night that turned into disaster, because you just had to talk about what was on your mind; the car broke down and totally blew up your know, REAL STUFF!

So, thanks for stopping by. I would ask you to stay a while, but there's not much here yet! (Ha!) So, check out what IS here and come back again soon! Subscribe by email, so you'll know when there's something new! I hope I made you feel welcomed!

Blessings and FAITH!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Curriculum 2011-2012: K4/K5

These are our curriculum choices for Victoria (K4/K5)

Victoria is 4 1/2 years old. I've chosen things based on her individual needs and what SHE'S ready for right now. I'm guided by her enthusiasm (or lack of) and her interests. If something seems overwhelming, we'll put it aside and come back to it when she's ready. Likewise, if she's breezing through something, I'll let her roll with the flow and move on. She is a beginning reader, who loves drawing, coloring and cutting/pasting - ANYthing artsy, so Before Five In A Row/FIAR supplements are great for her. Some of the things listed below will be used as supplements that we pick and choose from. Victoria is always asking for more, so I have to have plenty prepared to choose from.


Time 4 Learning
- covers language arts, math and science

Before Five In A Row
- covers Bible, language arts, science, math, social studies and art

Note: We will be using a variety of supplements with Before Five In A Row, including things found at Homeschool Share, preschool packs from Homeschool Creations and wonderful inspirations and ideas found at Delightful Learning (Michelle was my inspiration for Before Five In A Row!). There are many resources out there for go-along activities, but these are my favorites! I plan to share our Before Five In A Row/Five In A Row experience, including the how, when and where of it all! Please be patient with me; I'm new to this so I'll have to figure out a system for sharing.


Bible Stories
AWANA (Weekly on Wednesdays)
Little Keepers At Home
*Character Education - Still deciding... may "develop" something, not sure.Really want to do something a little structured, BUT SIMPLE.


Explode the Code 1 & 2
All About Reading Level Pre-1
All About Spelling Level 1 (Going to TRY this out. May need to delay.)
A Reason for Handwriting Book K
Language and Thinking for Young Children
Language Lessons for Little Ones


Singapore Earlybird Math Kindergarten A & B


Singapore Early Bird Science
Seasonal Science
Nature Study
(along with the boys)
- Handbook of Nature study and other resources


Cantering the Country (keeping it simple though; her brothers are doing Trail Guide to U.S. Geography and she WILL want to be involved, hence, we'll be cantering along with them)
Little Passports
Expedition Earth (to go along with Lil' Passports)
Evan-Moor Beginning Geography (Something else we're TRYING OUT! We'll see! I think she may like it; Can always take it slow.)
Introduction to African-American History (Compiling my own -PRAYING about it. I will share later.)


Meet the Masters Online (with the boys)
Mark Kistler Online: Lil' Marshmallows (This is a fun supplement.)


Still undecided.


Winter Basketball Cheerleading

Well, I think that sums it up! We will use a variety of supplements and note that some things listed will not be used in their entirety. If you would like to know about how we're using something, please leave me a comment or feel free to email me. Likewise if you're using something that we're using, share your plans or experience with us! You can always email me too!

Wow! It looks like so much more when typing it out! I'm glad we don't start until the week AFTER Labor Day, because I am SO NOT prepared, YET!

Blessings and FAITH!