2010-11 Year in Review: Bible

Our school year will be finished at the end of May. Then Ella has some testing and then we're DONE! On to summer vacation! We have no big going-away plans but all sorts of gardening and backyard plans, and we're looking forward to more playtime, more outside time, and more freedom to our schedule!

For the next several posts, I plan to do a "Year in Review"~ looking back at what we've done and making notes on how it went. This is largely for my own benefit: to remind myself what we did and how it worked, but I'm going to post it here in case it is of interest to you. (I also plan to put together a list of our favorite books we've read this school year, including a list of Ella's recommendations.)

First up: Bible

We read through Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible for our Bible time each morning, and we all loved it. This is the first year I used this and I'm so glad I did.

In previous years I have used Hurlbut's Story of the Bible For Young and Old (which I also love). I actually found a copy of this at the thrift store last week (79 cents! Hardcover!) and was thrilled.

Quick comparison of the two: Vos' is less reading for each chapter, Hurlbut's is longer and more thorough. When we read Hurlbut (last year and the year before) I had to stop mid-chapter and continue the following day. Or maybe that was just because the kids were all younger. At any rate, I rarely had to do that this year. Other notes: Hurlbut's has direct quotes from the Bible, while Vos' does not (to my memory. If there are, they are very few.) For the ages of my kids- and having the two little ones with us at the table while we were reading, Vos' was perfect for us. I plan to continue to use both- alternating from year to year.

Mark reads the Bible (NIV) with the kids in the evenings (most nights) before bedtime. They began this a few years ago and are now in the book of Proverbs.

Next post: Memory work (catechism, Ten Verses cards, theme passage, sign language, Apostles Creed, review)

Mighty to Wave

Song 1: Mighty to Save

Mighty to wave
forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
He is mighty to wave
He is mighty to wave
forever... (repeat, several times)

Song 2: I Shall Not Be Moved

I shall not be moved
Like a tree, planted by the water...

Grateful: Monday, April 18

{snippets from my journal: One Thousand Gifts... and still counting!}

1462 | Audra, in her pink tutu... twisting her hips and watching her skirt twirl

1463 | Audra, who is indignant if I happen to call her "baby girl".
"Mommy: I'm not a baby. I'm Audra."

1464 | the delight of Isaac, who finished his chore today in time for the timer! (Hooray, budders!)

1472 | Tonia's posts on peace: here and here.

1477 | Mark's friendship with Andy and Erik, and their weekly breakfasts together.

1488 | That Isaac (7) always takes my hand when he's walking beside me.

1489 | The cheery bouquet of daffodils Mark brought me. And the bouquet of lilies and freesias he brought at the same time~ all because I'd said a few days before that the only thing our living room seemed to be missing was some spring flowers (thinking I couldn't wait for them start blooming in our yard so that I could cut some and bring some in!)

1492 | Brisk, early-morning walks (and talks) with my mom.

1500 | Your faithfulness, oh God~ in helping me find things! (papers we needed for taxes: lost, then found!)

1502 | Audra's face... and hands... and legs... after about 15 minutes of finger-painting!

1503 | The sound of someone mowing their lawn (Spring!)

1506 | Waking up to the song of the birds each morning

1507 | Getting to meet Sandi, from A Mother's Musings~ someone I've been friends with online for *years*... (We met for breakfast, and talked and talked and talked...! It was such a blessing to meet her!)

* * *

Nature study with Mark: Spiders!

I've mentioned before that Mark is the go-to guy around here for nature study.. A couple of months ago, they studied spiders. ~shudder~

I'm still getting over the fact that things like this were sitting on my kitchen table:

Sure. It may look tiny. But it was quite large, I promise you.

The first thing Mark and the kids did was head outside with spider-catching bravery and find as many spiders as they could, then they brought them inside and examined them, talked about them and drew in their nature study notebooks. For my part, I stayed very, very far away from all these goings-on.

Mark had drawn some spider images and written some questions on the dry-erase board:

I contributed question #7, which was:

Are they gross and creepy?

No greater measure of your worth

Dear readers,

I was so encouraged by this when I read it the other day, so I wanted to start off this week by sharing it with all of you, in the hopes that it would serve to encourage your heart, too:

In Genesis 2:18 we find the first and clearest statement of why God created the woman:


There you have it- God created the woman to be a helper to the man- to complete him, to be suited to his needs. Her life was to center on his, not his on hers. She was made from the man, made for the man, and given as God's gift to the man. Her relationship with her husband was the first and primary sphere in which she was to move and serve. Her husband was responsible to work to provide for their material needs. She was to be his helper and companion in reflecting the image of God, taking dominion over the earth, and reproducing a godly seed.

Together, they were to populate the earth with future generations of men and women who would love God and seek to fulfill His purposes in the world. The woman was uniquely designed and equipped- physiologically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually- by her Creator to be a bearer and nurturer of life. In a multitude of ways, she was endowed with the ability to add life, beauty, richness, fullness, grace, and joy to the family unit. There is no greater measure of her worth or success as a woman than the extent to which she serves as the heart of her home. (italics mine)

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe...And The Truth That Sets Them Free

Did you hear that? You, dear mother, have been uniquely designed to add life, beauty, richness, fullness, grace, and joy to your family. There is no greater measure of your worth or success as a woman than the extent to which you are serving as the heart of your home. Blessings to you today, as you love and serve your husband and children and bring glory to God in the process!

Five Minute Friday: If you met me...

I saw this whole Five Minute Friday idea awhile back on The Gypsy Mama and thought I should try it sometime...

She provides a "prompt", you take it and write on it~ but only for five minutes.

Today's prompt is: If you met me...


If you met me, I hope you would feel like I was easy to talk to. I think we'd laugh. I hope I would be a good initiator of conversation; that you would feel cared for and encouraged. I would probably say at some point during our conversation: "I'll pray for you about that". (And I would mean it.) I hope that I would be a better listener than a talker. (But that's pretty iffy).

If you met me you would hear me talk about Mark and my kids, because I love them so much. We might talk about books we've read, homeschooling, adoption, parenting, and maybe even Survivor-- if you watch it, that is.

If you met me, I hope you'd like me.


(Was I supposed to not edit that? At all? Because if so, I cheated a little. I figure I earned some editing time due to the fact that for the first two minutes I just sat here, staring at my cursor.)

Changing my mind about our history selection

Last week I scrapped our history book for the rest of the year.

When I began homeschooling Ella in 2007, I was drawn to the Charlotte Mason method, specifically: living books, habits, picture study, narration, nature study, and the Book of Centuries.

As we proceeded through that first school year, I was trying to edit the Hillyer text and incorporate biblical history into our readings, and I became frustrated with all the work that required of me.

We switched to Mystery of History (Vol. 1) , and it suited us well. I really liked the simplicity of having one book to read from and I appreciated biblical history weaved into the text.

I purchased Volume 2 for this year and we plowed ahead. We have two months left and we'll be finished with that book.

The readings this year are waaay longer than they were in Volume 1. There is a lot of information packed into each lesson, and while it is very thorough and I appreciate that, it has been drudgery at times. I try to edit it down as we go, but that's difficult to do as I'm reading. I recognized this at the beginning of the year, and I went through the Mystery of History book and noted where I could replace a particular lesson and read from other sources, and we have done that from time to time.

Last week I pulled out our Mystery of History book and turned to the lesson. On the top of the page I had handwritten a note about reading from Our Island Story for that particular lesson, which was about William the Conqueror. I began reading.

This is what I noticed: my kids gathered around me and were captivated by the story. They were wide-eyed, curious and engaged. I kept reading into the next chapter. They actually *thanked* me. I read the next chapter, too. They were so full of the story and we talked about all we'd read and they all had things they wanted to say and by the days end, Mark and I had drawn up a whole new plan to finish out our year, using Ambleside's recommendations.

I had all of the books already, because I'd started down that path. But somewhere in there I had forgotten the power of a story to engage their minds. In a season of babies and very little time for planning, I opted for ease. (And honestly, I can't say I wouldn't make the same choice again.)

But I'm freezing that moment in my brain: those three eager faces, hanging upon my every word as I read the story of William the Conqueror~ and I know it would be a disservice to go back to more of a textbook-format. That day we read twenty pages, because they were asking for more. They narrated it very well to Mark at lunch. Their retelling of it was so much more than I'd been hearing from our Mystery of History readings.

I am so grateful to know my children well: to know how they learn best and to be able to make changes based on that knowledge.

I don't want to be down on Mystery of History. It is a very thorough text and I am truly grateful for what we have learned from it, but we're all excited to be digging into our new (old) history picks, and I plan to stay the course.

"Snacky lunch"

My kids have dubbed this kind of lunch a "snacky lunch", and it is their favorite kind of lunch, by far. Basically, what it means for me is that either we don't have any leftovers, I don't have any inspiration for figuring out what to fix, or we're running late and I need to get something on the table, and fast.

Hence, snacks. For lunch. Whatever can be dumped into a bowl with little or no prep from me.

On the table this day: trader joes' honey dijon pretzel pieces, cheese sticks, trader joes' snap pea crisps, strawberries, and homemade sweet potato chips.

Other things we've eaten for a "snacky lunch": fruit leather, string cheese, crackers, sliced cheese, sliced deli meat, peanut butter, apple slices, carrots, banana chunks, orange slices, pistachios, craisins, chips, olives, and that's all I can think of right now- though I know there's more.