Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 2

The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week...

I managed to escape the bite of the dreaded flu bug.  2 out of 5 isn't horrible odds...  I'm just glad that Jeremiah and Rachel are feeling better now, and that hubby, Caleb, and I were able to stear clear!

In our homeschool this week...

Caleb worked on place value (tens and ones), counting by 5's, nickels, and perimeter.

Jeremiah continued with simple addition and began learning to count by 10's.

Rachel is working on colors.

Five True Dog Stories was our read-aloud for the week.

Places we're going & people we're seeing...

Prior to the flu outbreak, we enjoyed a playdate with friends at KidsPlace on Monday.  Tuesday, we enjoyed "Cows Don't Fly" a production by the Lexington Children's Theatre. 
Due to flu, the kiddos missed out on bell choir, HYPE at the YMCA, and cousin Josh's birthday party.  They were definitely going stir crazy by the end of the week.
My favorite thing this week was...

After being invaded by sicklies and being quarantined in my home, my favorite moment was my escape on Saturday for some "ME" time!  Thanks to my sweet hubby for manning the fort.  I headed to scrapbook and have lunch with friends.  Laughs, yummy food, and even some productivity... PERFECT!

What's working/not working for us...

My distracted child... certain school activities Caleb must do in isolation.  He simply can't focus if the other kiddos are working on something in the same room. 
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

A definite advantage to homeschooling...  there aren't absences due to illness.  Jeremiah felt pretty rotten a couple days, but all wasn't totally lost.  Yes, we did take it easy, but we were still able to cuddle up and read.  At his best moments, we even pulled out the Math workbook. 
A photo to share...

Uncle Adam and Auntie Val got Jeremiah these gigantic CARS pictures to color.  He was nice enough to share with Rachel and Caleb.  It was a great quiet, relaxing activity for one of the days they weren't feeling to well.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bitten By The BUG :(

Oh yes... some of the Wells' have been bitten by the BUG - the dreaded FLU BUG :-(
Jeremiah started to feel bad Tuesday evening, Wednesday he really felt rotten and ran a fever, we headed to the dr. on Thursday.  She confirmed the flu, so we came home to quarantine ourselves and pump Tamiflu into our bodies.

Thursday afternoon, Rachel woke from her nap exhibiting oh-so-similar symptoms.  She had been bitten by the bug as well.  Unfortunately, it bothered her tummy a bit as well.

Saturday night and all are fever free and seem well - very excited to get out of the house and head to church in the morning!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Play Date & A Play

I can't believe I forgot the camera and didn't even grab my iPhone, but I have no pics of the kiddos playdate on Monday.  Even though you can't see for yourselves, I can assure you that they had an excellent time.  We met the Vaught gals, Kelsey, and her Grampy, Ya-Ya, and Aunt Jane at KidsPlace.  The kiddos climbed, slid, bounced, and had a blast. 

Working up quite at appetite, we hit CiCi's Pizza Buffet.  Kiddos loaded up on veggies and ranch, cheese and pepperoni pizza, and the Macaroni and Cheese pizza.  Of course, brownies and cinnamon rolls topped off our meal.  A delicious deal all the way around... this playdate & lunch cost us $22 total :-)  See... I am getting more coupon saavy!

Following Monday's playdate, it was fitting that on Tuesday we saw a play.  This was another first for my kiddos.  We joined others from our M-I-N-D Homeschool Group at the Lexington Children's Theater to see a production of "Cows Don't Fly and Other Known Facts." 

Jeremiah especially was having a hard time comprehending that we weren't going to see a movie...  the concept of live actors was lost on him.  However, once the show started, he loved "George - the pig."  He would just cackle.  Caleb was completely engrossed.  At first, I was afraid he wasn't feeling well because he was so stoic.  I later realized that he was so intent on not missing a thing.  He's crack a smile, but his eyes darted from character to character as not to miss any of the action.  Rachel enjoyed the characters' singing and the comical dancing of Gertrude the cow.

I believe our theater experience was very positive.  I've ALWAYS been a fan of LCT.  They perform such quality, enjoyable shows.  I look forward to taking my little ones again in the future.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 1

Sue at The Homeschool Chick is hosting The Homeschool Mother's Journal. I've decided to join in this endeavor and will be linking up weekly. In the future, I'll most likely post on Friday/Saturday in retrospect of the week. Those of you who know me are asking, "Why add something else to the plate?" I'm hoping that in fact this will help some understand why homeschooling is that right choice at present for our family. From my former life as a public school elementary music teacher, I know I have some colleagues who think I'm nuts. Quite honestly, I'm guessing some family members feel the same and are just slightly more cautious in how they let that be known. Oh well... maybe in giving more attention on the blog to the goings-on of our homeschool days others will better understand. If not, in the end, we aren't seeking to please people rather an audience of ONE!

Warning... as I'm thinking ahead to my first answer, my writing won't always be 100% related to homeschooling. I've told other I'm not a homeschooler with a capital "H" because homeschooling doesn't define who I am - it is simply what Jon and I believe to be the best for our family right now.

I am so much more - most importantly a child of God.

In my life this week...

  • My heart has absolutely been pierced by learning more and more about Human Trafficking, Sexual Slavery, and How to Better Protect Orphans from such horrors. As I've researched, been astounded by statistics, read more and more, and listened to webinars, I've been overwhelmed with a righteous anger. In response to something Tom Davis said on a webinar I listened to, I do believe God may just be "wooing and calling me to act."
  • Sanctity of Life... most often the focus is on the unborn child. I've been very struck by a current movement to preserve the sanctity of all life: the babies in the womb, the orphans, widow, elderly, people with special needs, and victims of human trafficking and genocide.
In our homeschool this week...

  •  Caleb is working on place value (tens and ones).
  • Jeremiah just began addition.
  • We completed our Magnificent Moon DNG.
  • We "rowed" Katy and the Big Snow.
  • Peter Pan was our read-aloud for the week.
 Places we're going & people we're seeing...

  • Dance lessons resumed, so Rachel was thrilled to be back in class.
  • Our Five in a Row co-op met for the first time this semester, and we really enjoyed being back together with our friends "rowing" Katy and the Big Snow.
  • We saw the whole fam... Spaulding's and Wells' joined together to celebrate Jeremiah's birthday.
My favorite thing this week was...

celebrating Jeremiah's 6th birthday. This marked another first for my Ethiopian cutie, and he couldn't have been happier. He's watched his siblings have parties, he's had Christmas, but finally, he had his very own special day. He is a priceless gift, and I'm so blessed to be his Mom.

What's working/not working for us...

Organization and Lack there of :-) We are finding that with 5 people in our house we need organization. I, who has always been incredibly organized on paper only, find that I am "craving" order. I find myself incredibly stressed at times just by my surroundings. Jon and I are making a conscious effort to really work on creating order out of our chaos. This began by relocating some shelves and purchasing new ones. Our school stuff, for the most part, has migrated to the dining room, and the boys' room has some new storage options for books and toys.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

Thoughts: I need to establish a morning routine. I LOVE our flexibility, but in order not to focus on one child's schooling in exclusion of another's, I need to start the day together. We began with doing our Bible lesson first thing, but lately, I have been squeezing it in "here and there." I don't want to be hit or miss in this area. I'm thinking of doing Bible, calendar, weather, etc. to start our days.

A photo to share...

 The Birthday Boy!

Magnificent Moon DNG

Is there really a man on the moon? 
Is the moon made of cheese? 
The REAL facts are in the Magnificent Moon DNG!
With the abundance of snow and wintery weather, stir craziness may be plaguing your home.  Moms, it is highly likely that you have at least for a few moments wished you could send your kiddos to the moon, but I promise this is one adventure that you are not going to want to miss!  The beauty of the Magnificent Moon DNG... Amanda Bennett has done all of the legwork for you.  No NASA clearance is needed.  All you need to do is get strapped in your computer chair, start the countdown 10, 9, 8..., click HERE, download, and blast off!

In all seriousness, this comprehensive study is what every busy homeschooling mom needs.  It is designed with students K-4th grade in mind.  It is bursting at the seams with engaging activities, fantastic graphics, exhilerating video clips, informative websites, creative lapbooking components,  colorful notebooking pages, and a stellar list of recommended resources.  While this study is intended to be a week in length, with the amount of educational material provided, the study could easily be extended.

While learning about the moon, kids really feel like they are cracking a secret code as they venture into a world that is virtually unknown to them.  In the process, they truly begin to grasp and understand the vastness of God's creation.  The Magnificent Moon DNG really is a great study!  Take a peek at an overview of the week and sample pages below. 

This week, my boys especially were enthralled with astronauts.  What exactly do they do?  Why do they wear those cool suits?  How do they travel?  We had a lot of fun answering these questions, and our discussions sparked a lot of imaginative play in their free time.  That is how I know they are learning!
Caleb and Jeremiah - aka Astronauts

Another lesson this week...  looks can be decieving.  At one phase, the moon appears to be a perfectly round, flat circle.  The kiddos were amazed when we began to look more closely at the moons surface.  With a few found household objects, we created a quick and easy moon craft to illustrate this new found knowledge. 
 Caleb has buttons, Rachel glue and a circle cut from a paper plate, and Jeremiah foil.

Rachel showing off the Magnificent Moon they created! 

While our moon is cute, we know it is not an accurate map of the moon.  However, lucky for you, there is a fabulous giveaway taking place right now on the DNG blog.  Two National Geographic Moon Maps are up for grabs.  It is so ridiculously easy to enter this contest.  Don't miss your chance... enter HEREThe winners will be chosen by random drawing soon after 9:00 pm EST, on January 28, 2011.

Since you have a chance to win such a wonderful moon map, you are going to want to purchase your Magnificent Moon DNG right away.  $7.95 really is a tremendous value, and you can make it yours in mere moments right HERE!  However, I would be remissed if I failed to mention the Cabin Fever Fun Pack.  This pack is sure to be the cure for the winter doldrums.  It includes four DNG studies:  Magnificent Moon, Winter Wonders, Expedition Canada, and Hoppin' Popcorn.  Best of all, this fun pack which usually retails for $28 is currently on sale.  Through 1/31/11, the Cabin Fever Fun Pack is available for just $20.

Finally, see what other blogging homeschool families are saying about Magnificent Moon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WEBINAR: Help Wanted: Protecting Orphans from Human Trafficking

The Christian Alliance for Orphans is hosting a monthly series of webinars to provide knowledge related to adoption, foster care, and global orphan care.  These seminars are presented by experts in the field as well as local churches with effective orphan care ministries.  You can view past webinars  HERE

If you can, definitely plan to participate in the webinar offered tomorrow.  As I've blogged about earlier, human trafficking is not a thing of the past.  It is taking place here and now.  Not only does this take place in countries abroad, but it has been reported in all 50 states.  Orphans are easy prey...  your help is needed!  Protect those unable to protect themselves. 

Help Wanted: Protecting Orphans from Human Trafficking

Panelist: Tom Davis, Children's HopeChest; Dave Wayman, Woodmen Valley Chapel

Date: January 19, 2011 2:00pm EST

As part National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, gain an overview of the global human trafficking problem, its impact on orphans, and what orphan care ministries, churches, and motivated individuals can do to make a difference.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It is estimated that there are 27 million people enslaved around the world.  At the missionary convention in November, I was introduced to a couple of organizations that are working in this field.  Also, a long-time fan of Natalie Grant's music, I want to share her organization with you as well. 

I encourage everyone to visit the websites below, learn more about this issue, and become a voice for those that have none.  Of the 27 million, most are women and children and many are sexually exploited.  This is NOT ok!!!!  Honestly, I knew little about this issue until I really became immersed in the adoption community.  Orphans are some of the most vulnerable people and easy prey for those who profit through human trafficking and the sex slave industry.  The thought of one of my children living such a tragedy is more than I can bare.  The thought of ANYONE forced to live such an existence is sickening.  PLEASE become aware, become an advocate, DO SOMETHING!  Get to know some organizations working in the trenches and how you can help!

Rapha House is currently located in Southeast Asia but has set a goal of global expansion.  This organization specifically reaches out to and rescues young girls who are enslaved and sexually exploited. Rapha House operates several safehouses and group homes and takes on the ministry of loving and healing these young ladies.  I encourage you to follow their ministry, like them on Facebook, purchase some of their products, and/or make a donation towards their redemptive, kingdom building work.

STREETLIGHT invites all to partner with them to become modern day abolitionists to eradicate child sex slavery.  While at the missionary convention, Jon and I sat in on a session led by StreetLight.  We learned about StreetLight's Life House in Phoenix, AZ that houses female domestic minor sex trafficking victims.  It is equipped with teachers, counselors, medical professionals, etc.  This allows the young ladies to heal in a safe and loving environment.  Again, get to know this organization.  Remember Human Trafficking is not just a problem in other countries, but something that has been documented in all 50 of the United States.  Unfortunately, it is global.  We cannot ignore it any longer.

The Home Foundation was founded in 2005 by Christian singer/songwriter Natalie Grant after she spent time in India's red-light district.  She saw children for sale on the street.  After educating herself on the issue, she began The Home Foundation with the mission of eradicating human trafficking both domestically and abroad. 

One other thing you can do is help support the Home Foundation by attending Woman of Faith!

Women of Faith is a weekend conference with wonderful Christian speakers, comedians, worship leaders, and the fabulous music of Natalie Grant.  It promises to be a weekend of spiritual renewal.
How can you support the Home Foundation through your attendance?

Whether you are registering online or calling in, use the code : HOME

And The Home Foundation will receive a percentage of your purchase price.

With using this code you will also receive $10 off your total purchase!

It’s that easy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

B90x - Week 2

Week 2 of the Bible in 90 Days begins today.  I'm enthused, energetic, and excited... and behind :-(  I've learned a few things this past week.  I was on top of my reading and even a tad bit ahead going into Saturday.  There were a few things going on during the day, but I intended to complete the reading in the evening.  Then, we lost power.  The power outage lasted 10 hours, so while the kiddos slept, my hubby and I babysat candles, gas logs, pipes, etc.  This put a kink in my reading plans, but I enjoyed chatting and cuddling under a blanket with my hubby.  In fact, some of our chats revolved around some of the characters I'd been reading about in Genesis.  Anyway, Sunday was catch-up from Saturday, and it has trickled over today.

Moral of the story... EXPECT the UNEXPECTED.  Therefore, when I can, read ahead!  I've also identified the kiddos naptime as "the ideal" reading slot in my day.  I'm completely uninterrupted and have plenty of time to complete the day's assignment.  Thursdays will always be the tricky due to YMCA and no nap, but I always know ahead of time and can plan accordingly.

Now for the REAL lessons learned.  Reading through Genesis and Exodus in Week 1 has been somewhat like a stroll through memory lane.  Familiar characters from Sunday School flannel boards of days gone by peppered the pages: Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob & Esau, Joseph, and Moses & Aaron.  In my reading, I was repeatedly focused on a recurring theme - God's faithfulness.  As the Israelites strayed and oftentimes seemed so fickle, God remained the same.  What comfort we can take in that the God of the Old Testament is the God of today!!!!  As he redeemed Joseph from his pit-dwelling, rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh's tyranny, provided quail and manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, etc. so he does for us each and everyday.  I know He lifts me up, saves me from my sins, and provides for my every need.  He is forever faithful!!!   

B90x Week 2 has me reading in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  I know the third book of the Bible often does people in as they try the year long Bible reading plans due to all of the laws recorded.  However, Not only am I praying it is not a difficult read, but that I will glean much from the words of God contained therein.

WINTER WONDERS... and more headed our way?

The week after the holidays, where we all strive to bring order and routine back into our lives after weeks of celebrating and merry chaos, wasn't 100% a success.  We didn't manage to get Math in everyday, and in fact, both the boys cried our first day back on that task.  Jeremiah worked some on his letters, and Caleb read 3 books on his own.  Still... we were operating less than par as we had to constantly fight the Christmas/New Year's mentality.  The kids didn't know what to do when we actually stayed home 3 whole days, but Mommy did ~ Amanda Bennett's fantastic Winter Wonders DNG!
An overview of our week long study is bulleted below. 

■Day 1: What is Winter?

■Day 2: Science Secrets of Winter

■Day 3: People and Places of Winter

■Day 4: Time for Tips and Treasures of Winter

■Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Winter

As the entire download n go line, Winter Wonders DNG is tailor-made for K-4 students. Within the study, there are stunning graphics, embedded links to websites and video clips, lapbooking components, and notebooking pages.  An extensive list of recommended resources are provided as wells as some "just for fun" suggestions. 

Take a quick look at some of the activity pages included.  All of these are prepared and ready to go - just click print.  Hence the name, download n go!  No false advertising there... these studies are busy-Mom-friendly, entertaining, educational, and economical.

No shocker to my blog followers, but again, I was so pleased with the reading list that accompanied Winter Wonders.  Of course, this study could stand alone, and it would be more than substantial.  However, adding some great literature, only heightens the DNG experience. 

We took a trip to the local library to make our selections.  We checked out some non-fiction books about polar animals, hibernation, and weather.  Then, we cleaned out the picture book section.  We are a Five in a Row family, so it was great to see the book we will be "rowing" next Katy and the Big Snow on the reading list.  (Courtesy of Winter Wonders, my kiddos will have some prior knowledge next week - yay!)  Not only does Amanda Bennett include classics, but she adds some fun, recognizable characters as well...  that silly Curious George.  He always keeps my little ones entertained.  Best of all, my Caleb is an emerging reader, and for the first time, he was able to read a book about our theme on his very own.  Snow Joe by Carol Greene was read repeatedly this week, and this Momma couldn't be more proud!  Way to go Caleb!!!

The animal junkies at my house loved studying polar animals.  Although, the were bitten by the racin' bug and became completely enthralled with the dog sleds.  We watched many videos of dog sleds.  Jeremiah wanted to know if we could do that, so I told him he'd have to visit Daddy's cousin Terran in Alaska to do that.  He asked if it took longer to get there than going to Mamaw and Papaw's.  When I said yes, he decided he'd stay home.

Studying Snowflake Bentley and snowflakes was a highlight of the week.  In fact, the children were completely enamored with the pristine, large flakes on the van windows yesterday.  The drive to church morning wasn't as hectic as some because they were discussing their great finds.

The kiddos had so much fun at Make-a-Flake creating their own snowflakes online. Because these snowflakes are in cyberspace... truly there was "virtually" no mess for Momma to clean up :-) Yeah, I know, corny joke, but on a serious note, the little ones got to practice their mouse skills. After a few clicks of their own, they were able to lay claim to these beautiful snowflake masterpieces.

Rachel's Snowflake

Jeremiah's Snowflake

Caleb's Snowflake
Bundle up and stay warm!  According to our weatherman, more snow is on the way.  My suggestion:  Make the most of the next blustery blanket of white and study Winter Wonders DNG with your little ones.  A small investment of $7.95 and you have EVERYTHING you need for an incredible week of fun and learning.  Don't let the winter weather pass by without this great study.  Read honest reviews written by homeschool parents, and learn how they remedied the winter blahs with Winter Wonders DNG.  Purchase HERE.  While you are there, be sure and check out all the other fabulous DNG titles available.  Undoubtedly, you will find one or twenty that peak your interest.

Monday, January 3, 2011

B90x - no mistake, it's a B not a P!

While becoming physically fit is definitely a goal of mine for the New Year, I'm quite confident that P90x would be a very daunting challenge to start.  Instead, I cut down my caloric intake and did some Zumba in my basement today.  Sadly to say, any inkling of coordination I may have gained from my Zumba stint months ago has been all but lost.  Oh well...  2011 - time to get my reggaeton, cumbia, meringue, etc. on.

Yes, dropping weight and getting healthier is something great to strive to accomplish.  However, how empty life would be if that was my only focus!  I don't want to focus my life on LOSING, but on FILLING UP!  What better way to be completely filled than to bury myself in God's holy word.  I have found two wonderful ways to do just that!

First, I have decided to participate in Beth Moore's Siesta's Scripture Memory Team. In doing this, I have committed to memorizing 24 verses of Scripture in 2011.  If you recall reading about my 101 in 1001, scripture memory is a long term goal of mine.  Now, with the help and encouragement of my online siesta sisters, I believe, I will be successful in this task.  In case you are wondering, my January 1st verse is Psalm 55:22 NIV "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken."  In light of recent circumstances and my deep heartache for those I hold dear, this verse has spoken comfort to me.  Knowing that God is My Sustainer has really helped me through difficult times. What better reassurance when the going gets tough than to have this arsenal tucked away in my brain? 

Second, Mom's Toolbox is hosting The Bible in 90 Days, or B90x as many refer to it.  This challenge is pretty self-explanatory... I have committed to reading the Bible in its entirety in 90 days.  I am a Bible college graduate, I have studied portions and sections of the Bible at length, I have grown up in the church, I married a minister, etc., so why do I want/need to do this?  So often, I lose the BIG picture.  I want to take this short time to totally engulf myself in who God is!  I want to see the connections between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.  I want to remind myself that He is the SAME yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I want to read the covenants and promises He has made and bask in His glory knowing that He is who He says He is and is always faithful to do what He says He will do!  I desire to bathe in the fact that I have a God in Heaven who has CHOSEN me, who has ADOPTED me, who LOVES me, not because of who I am but because of WHO HE IS!!!!  Doesn't it sound wonderful?  It won't come easy as the daily reading takes an estimated 45 minutes to an hour and a half each day, but really, is that too much to give to the ONE who gave all???  Pray for me as I complete this challenge, and I hope you consider joining me!

Voices of the Faithful - Review

Voices of the Faithful is a daily devotional authored collaboratively by missionaries representing the far reaches of every corner in the world.  These servants share their stories of faith, triumph over trials, amazing miracles, and the love of God for His people.  Each day's reading is uplifting and encouraging.  To accompany the inspiring stories, a Scripture verse and prayer are also written. 

As an added bonus for this big fan, Beth Moore penned the book's introduction as well as writing an introduction revealing each month's theme.  As always, Moore's genuine, conversational, loving, thought-provoking voice oozed from every word.  Her writing has a truly special quality that is so inviting to readers. 

Understandably, the format is designed to be a quick, manageable read each day.  However, I would have loved to have been able to read expanded, more in-depth and detailed accounts of several of the stories shared.  Still, I know God used the brief excerpts to touch my heart and will surely touch others.  I would recommend this devotional to others... especially those who desire to read of great faith and/or have a sincere heart for missions.

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.