History narrations

One of my goals for this school year-- well, for every school year- was to be more diligent in history narrations.  It has really been a good thing for all of us, and and here are a few things I like about it:

1. It requires that I know what they're reading, so that I can know if they are narrating well.  And I have found that I love reading along with them as they're learning these things.

2. It requires me to stop and truly pay attention.  No mmhmm-ing while I'm busy doing something else.  I have to really tune in to what they're saying.

3. My kids- especially my boys- LOVE it.  They get to have my undivided attention and talk and talk and talk.... ;)  (In fact when I first handed out their history lesson plans, Isaac read weeks ahead, which is a lot of reading.  I finally told him that he needed to stop, because I really didn't have time to listen to him narrate for that many hours.  ;)

I think doing history narrations has its challenges, too, the main one being that it requires quite a bit of that listening time on my part.  If all three of my kids are doing history on the same day (and they are, twice per week), and they are all reading from a few different books, that equates to a lot of narrating. 

One of the ways I addressed this is that I've assigned drawn narrations for one of their books (The Story of the Greeks).  The chapters/stories are fairly short and easy to narrate with a single picture, so I printed off some of these free printable pages.  Now instead of telling me all about this book with their words, they get to do it through drawing, which they love.  :)  Win-win.  :)

Some of Isaac's drawings


Thank you, friends, for your kinds words and emails from my last post.  You're all so very sweet.

In my journal the other day, I listed some things I was thankful for in our homeschooling day, so I thought I'd list them out, here, too...

* * *

4802 | being able to sleep in a bit today (thank you, Peter Pan, for entertaining the kids.)  ;)

4803 | morning hugs from Audra

4804 | Bible time with the kids over breakfast (reading about Moses)

4805 | getting outside for playtime and Nature Study and- when I called them in, they asked for extra time outside because they were having so much fun playing whatever game they'd made up out in the yard together.  [Time given. ;)]

4806 | storytime with the kids on the couch, all the kids, all gathered around.... that sweet coming together that reading provides. 

4807 | the All Kinds of Kisses book that Adelia chose for me to read, a book about farm animal mommies snuggling and kissing their little ones, and in which I announced that she would be getting kissed every time I read the word "kiss".  So I tried to smooch her for each page and she hid beneath the blanket and giggled, and all the kids along with her.

4808 | Audra (6), telling me about the movie Peter Pan and how "that girl was acting all fancy and stuff" toward Peter.  (I believe we would call it flirtatious but I loved her description!)

4809 | the sounds of the kids practicing piano

4810 | a good day of math for Ella~ no tears!

4811 | Clipboards!  how well they've taken to them, and how great it is that they are working more independently.

4812 | Spelling with Isaias

4813 | Mark home for lunch

4814 | dinner in the crock pot (pork roast)

4815 | Mr. Putter & Tabby books, because we just love them.

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**Still counting up those "thousand gifts" in my journal.... :)


On Sunday I noticed a family lingering around after the service, so I walked over with Ella and introduced myself and peppered them with questions.  ;)  The woman said this was their first week, then told me her name and the names of her kids.  I asked her if they knew anyone in our church community, and they did, and she mentioned they knew some people from various homeschooling circles.  Great!  So I asked about homeschooling, and she told me of their involvement in MP3 (in case that's not a familiar term: MP3 is a partnership with a local public school, where homeschooled kids can take some classes at the school), and how her eldest was now in public high school.  So then I turned to her eldest and asked him how the transition had been for him from homeschooling to public school.  He said it had been pretty good, and then his mom said, "I think a lot of people think homeschoolers do it the 'old way'; that they're at home all the time in their kitchen!  But our kids have had so many different learning environments that the transition wasn't really a big deal for him."

I don't know this woman at all, nor her story.  And she doesn't know us at all.  She doesn't even know that we homeschool.  But her description of the type of family who stays home and schools in the kitchen?

Um, that would be us.  :)   It's just me with the kids, some books and the kitchen table, folks. 

Her statement stung me.

And Satan knew it.  I was plagued with doubt for the rest of the day and in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep.  I kept turning her comment over and over in my mind and questioning: Are we doing ENOUGH?  I've been battling it ever since.  I know his accusations well, and this is right along the lines of where he likes to prod me.  I compared and fretted and doubted and feared:  Are we doing enough?  Will my kids be ill-prepared for college/"the real world" (whatever that is) because we aren't MP3ing or because they haven't had "various learning environments"?  Most of their learning happens right here in our home.  With me.  Once a week we have a piano teacher come in.  They're involved in a weekly program at our church and so I guess you could call that a different learning environment but their daddy is there for half of it so it may not count.  (Because yes, I was counting.)

If you're logical like my husband, you would say, "Enough for WHAT?  They're going to be fine."  Case closed.  ;)  And I know they will.  And I know it's dumb.  Satan is dumb.  But I fret.  Not about future academics.  But about whether they'll be able to make friends and whether they'll be grounded and secure in Christ.  Will they love GOD?   I just want them to grow up and love Jesus.  That is my heart; my greatest desire and prayer.  I just want them to love Jesus. (*tears*)

I've been battling these thoughts and praying on and off about it since then, and God ever so gently but clearly reminded me this morning that HE is their keeper.  And I am not.  It is not on me or any environment that we may provide to get them to a certain place with Him.  May I never find solace in our ways or values or methods, but in HIM alone.  It is ALL HIM.  It is all His work in them. And I can entrust them to Him because He is trustworthy.

(photo from 2007)

I will faithfully do what He has given me to do.  By that I mean that I will love and seek God.  I will love their daddy and encourage him.  I will love my kids and encourage them and pursue relationship with them.  And I will instruct them about God and His ways.  I will pray for their hearts to be tender and responsive to Him.  And I will keep on entrusting them to Him.

That is my offering.

In our home today....

Here's what's happening in our home today:

Hope you have a wonderful day! ~Stacy

History and Journaling, all in one post.

Hello friends,

Happy Friday to you.  :)  On Friday mornings my beloved mom takes the kids for a couple of hours so that I can have some time to myself.  (What I look forward to on Fridays is the quiet.)

Often I'll just stay home, clean the kitchen, make myself some coffee, and sit with my Bible and journal.  Sometimes I run errands.  Today I went to the bank, then dropped a bag of clothes off at the consignment store, and then drove out to Old Navy to make a return.  Then came home to clean the kitchen.  :)  I printed out some schoolish things I've been meaning to,  and now I have some time here to write.  :)  (Oh!  And I finally snapped some pictures of my journal so that I can show you a bit of it....)

First: History.  This year Ella and Isaac are both doing Ambleside Year 6.  I've recently decided to read what they're reading, so that I can track their narrations better and learn for myself, too.  We're currently reading Augustus Caesar's World, The Story of the Greeks, and Genesis: Finding our Roots.  I find it really hard to read history without taking notes of some sort, so in a blank journal I've been taking notes and doing some drawn narrations as I go.... really simply, like this:


And here are some snapshots of my journal.  I haven't been cutting out many (any?) things out of magazines like I used to, (mainly because Barnes & Noble stopped carrying my favorite magazine)  but I'm having fun nonetheless:

first page of my current journal
on a day when I took the kids down to Boulevard for nature study & cocoa
I even documented our bout of influenza!  ;)

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Saturday happenings

Thank you, sweet friends, for your kind comments on my last post.  I felt so encouraged.

I was thinking this morning about the way that I write here on the blog; how I always sort of imagine that I'm talking to you as if you were actually *here* in my home, sitting on the couch with me,  chatting, kids running through and interrupting every four seconds.  ;)   The things I write here are the types of things I would talk about.  Things like: "I made this really yummy recipe for dinner last night!"  Or "We've been doing this new thing in homeschooling, and it's really working."  Or, "We totally revamped our chore system...(and then I'd show you)"   Or we'd talk about Jesus and what we're reading in the Bible and I'd tell you what I'm learning.  Or we'd share prayer requests and I'd tell you my struggles in parenting and ask yours.  Or I'd tell you what we're planting in the garden this spring.  You know.... as if we were having a conversation.  Because that's what I'd really prefer, honestly.  I think that's what's tricky about blogging for me-- that it's a "conversation" that feels so one-sided at times. 

(By the way, Hannah Joy- my friend texted me this morning and said she thought that after your sweet comment I should keep blogging if only for just YOU.  ;))

Today has been a good day.  On Saturdays we get to "sleep in".  So this morning I got to sleep until 8:26, when Audra (6) came in to snuggle under the covers with me, followed by Adelia (7) a few minutes later.  These girls just recently had their birthdays and I'm still sort of stunned that our youngest is now six.  I love them so much and I am grateful every single day to get to be their mommy.  Even the days where I get the "Mommy!  Mooooommeeeeeee!" so constantly that I am weary of it, or have a tendency to reply with a sharp or exasperated "WHAT?!"  I try to remind myself that I love being called mommy; that someday their voices won't be echoing throughout the house and oh, will I miss that.  I will miss them so much.

After a bit we got ourselves up and out of bed (by that time Ella (13) had also joined us), and they all went to make their own breakfasts- which is a welcome part of our Saturday morning routine, and then they all headed to clean their rooms- another thing we do on Saturdays, and a habit I'm glad we started because now they just know, and they do it.  While they were all eating, I hopped on the stationary bike for 20 min (my foot is mostly better, but I'm still using it), and then showered.  Then while they were all occupied in their rooms, cleaning, I made myself breakfast and rested for a few minutes with my Bible.


(My current favorite spot in the house, and there was even a patch of sunlight streaming in through the window onto the couch!)

Recently I read this post by Carmella.  Her blog Assortment is one that I like to read because her family lives simply, in a small house, with a few things.  Her words and photos inspire me.  I dream of living more simply, always, but the act of doing the things that that kind of living requires, such as: getting rid of stuff, making decisions about what we actually need (not just what we'd like to keep in case we need it someday...), not bringing in new things, and having a home or a place for everything we own?  Those things are the challenge for me.

Anyway, one of the things she encouraged in this article was to envision your essentials by packing for a two-week trip.  Just last month I had the opportunity to fly to Indiana and visit my friend Michelle.  I packed for nearly a week away, and had the thought as I looked at all my clothes tucked into my suitcase: I really hope the airline doesn't lose my luggage.  Because these were all my favorite clothes, and the things that I wear most often: my cozy pair of jeans that fit perfectly, my gray boots that I love and go with everything, my favorite yoga pants, etc.  My luggage did happen come home with me, but when I read her words I realized that dwindling my clothes should be easy if I look at it that way-- what would I bring?  What do I wear most often?  So today I decided to start with my closet.

I grabbed some empty laundry hampers and labelled them and went through my closet and drawers and the bins beneath my bed (I keep off-season stuff under my bed in bins), and finished with 3 huge garbage bags of clothes to get rid of.  HOORAY!  It feels so good.  :)

I hope I can attack other areas of my home, too, but this was a good beginning.

Happy Saturday to you!


Checking in...

Dear friends,

I *think* a lot about this little space over here, but have not been very faithful at actually coming here.  To write. 

Here are my conundrums:

-Most of my kids are at the age where they don't really want me to write about them on the blog (or share pictures) anymore.  I used to write a lot about them, so I'm left (mostly) without at least that particular topic to write about. 

-Very few people comment anymore (and thank you so much if you do!  It is so gratifying to receive a comment and know that someone read these words.)  But it can be discouraging to write posts and then... wonder if anyone is even reading, and if not- why am I writing here?  Might as well just write in my journal, ya know?  But then I have been blessed so much by the blogs of others-- particularly in my early homeschooling years, that I want to be a blessing in any way that I can.  Then again, there are so.many.other wonderful blogs out there that maybe there's not much of a need for that anymore?

-It's been a painful year.  I don't really know what else to say about that. 

Anyway.  Just thinking out loud here.  :)  Perhaps some of you may have checked in and wondered... and I wanted to let you know I'm still here, pondering this space. 

And in real life?  Just loving my wonderful husband and kids, doing school, making meals, doing laundry and tidying the house... thinking lots about spring decluttering, and so thankful for the green I'm seeing outside and the warmth and promise of spring. 

Much love to you,