Wednesday, July 27, 2011

P is for Planner

Planning out the homeschool year can be terribly overwhelming. However when you are planning out your new homeschool year there are a few things to keep in mind. When you know what to plan for the homeschool year and have a good Homeschool Planner then you will be well on your way to being a more organized homechooler.

Some things to keep in mind when planning out the school year:

180 School Days – Every state has it's minimum days you will need to homeschool per year, and typically it is equivalent to the states requirement for public and private schools. In my state 180 days is required, and we are also required to keep an attendance record showing that they attended 180 days of school throughout the year. The great thing about homeschooling is typically every day is full of learning, so I wouldn't get too caught up as to whether you are having a formal lesson each of the 180 days. Field trips do count as a school day as well! I like to use an attendance record to determine a start date, and end date. I also make time for make up days for any sick days we have.

Vacation Days – Keeping in mind how many days your state requires for homeschooling, and using an attendance record to get an idea of how your school year will go, you will also want to keep in mind vacation days. Some homeschool families like to go along with the public school schedule for vacations. For our family we typically schedule in our own vacation schedule to meet our families needs. Typically we only take a week off around Christmas instead of two weeks off, etc. Planning out your vacations in the beginning of the year and doing a rough draft, or plotting, of lessons and field trips will help you to feel a bit more organized when it comes to planning your homeschool year.

Keep it Simple – There really is no need to plan out every single day of lessons when you are first planning the basics of your homeschool year. I like to jot down what lessons we plan to do for the weeks, however that's only to make sure we cover all the lessons within our curriculum. Another thing to remember is be flexible. Planning out the school year in advance in my opinion is a necessity, however realize life happens and more than likely things won't always go according to plan.

Make Time for Fun – I like to schedule field trips for the year before we begin school. You can find a lot of field trip ideas online. I like to go through our curriculum to see what we are studying and plan field trips according to the curriculum. There are also a lot of great learning attractions around where we live and we like to utilize those facilities every year as well!

When you are first planning out your homeschool year planning the basics is really all that is needed. Field trips are really the only “lessons” I plan when jotting down our schedule. For me planning out the school year is a necessity, and it really helps that I can easily do this using an attendance record. Once the year is all planned, I then have an attendance record ready to use throughout the year to record days attended school, and days absent. It's really quite simple when you have the right tools. :)

The Homeschool Planner
About Heather:
Heather Bixler is a Christian Stay at Home homeschooling mom of three awesome kiddos ages 13 yrs. old, 7 yrs. old, and 6 yrs. old. Heather is the founder of Christian Stay at HomeMoms and recently launched The PrintableHomeschool Planner. She is married a Firefighter, and also a work at home mom. Every bit of time is truly precious to Heather and she has learned over the past 5 years of homeschooling that being organized is truly the best way to manage her time. That is why she recently launched The Printable Homeschool Planner in hopes that it will also help other busy homeschooling mamas manage their precious time as well. You can follow Heather on twitter at hbixler03 or @homeschoolplann, and you can find her on Facebook too!

What Love Is

It was last minute and my heart was overjoyed to be a part... to know prayers were answered.  A friend of mine for many years was married in a last-minute ceremony by a justice of the peace on Thursday.  Far from the fanfare her and now hubby were planning for in October.  Instead it was simple, us, them, and two more (not including the robed judge). 

Tears were stuck in my throat.

This is love, I thought.  This is just the beginning.  Will they know it is still love when they fight and argue and notice a twinge of hate and frustration?  Will they know it is still love when times are hard and no one can seem to do anything right?  Will they know that love prevails?

I handed them their first wedding day card, scribbled inside words God gave me to share; reflections and understandings from my years of wedded bliss and un-bliss.  The Hope that has always brought be through.

"Read 1 Corinthians 13 regularly, live it daily..." I advised.  I meant it.

When our hearts or bare and raw what is it that gets us through?  Not him, not her, nothing of this earth patches the broken.  Nothing of ourselves can pull us through.  Only HIM, only His love and hope and strength. 

[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  - 1 Corinthians 13:5, 7-8 (TNIV)

At dinner I quietly shared my greatest hope, my largest goal; to keep no record of wrong.  For it is those records that puncture an already hurting heart.  It is the records that mask and cover over the blessings and the joy of now with the hurt and discouragement of the past. 

Love is now, love is not then.  It is ever growing, ever increasing, ever moving and drawing us to better.  Love is not a feeling, it is a Being.  We must always remember to keep that Being close, to let it fill us up... even when we don't feel it... we must always remember it is there.

May the hope of love fill you this week, may the presence of the Lord ever remind you.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Multitude on Mondays #231-265

Simply sharing today a multitude of miscellany gratitude...

- First and most is my gratitude to Henry Cate at the launch pad for Carnival of Homeschooling... his advice brought me back from Error Land!  I couldn't post from about Thursday on last week because of Blog errors and problems... he pointed me in the right direction and I AM BACK!  Thank you Henry.

- I missed being here, but I believe God used the time to give me some unplanned R&R (Something I had been praying for... funny how prayers get answered sometimes!)

- Starting in on lesson plans (How will I contain myself until August 29th?  I love lesson plans!

 - No matter where we are, my kids can find fun and enjoy each other! 

 - A church committed to a plan.

 - Hot days and cold glacier water!

 - Jesus is our life-preserver... I'm so grateful my kids are saved from the inside out!

- He looks tough, but he is all soft and gooey on the inside ;-)
- Sitting on the hill with my hunny, watching the kids play and talking about hopes and dreams and plans.

 - Nuthin' like studying on a beach towel sitting in the sun!

 - Snack time at the beach, usually a messy affair (I know the wild life loves us for it later!)

 - There is something about a wet raft, water drops, beach towels and summer sun.

 - Did I mention beach towel?  When I was young I use to lay on the soft sun kissed material spread over a bed of grass or sand and dream of a future just like this one :-)

 - The BEST picture of the summer this past week!  It was good to see them laugh and have fun in a water fight... years past tears would have ensued after such a shot!
- Laughs and screams of joy, water splashing, sounds of summer and youthfulness will never fade in the vessels of my memory.

 - A Japanese Puppet show forgotten but not missed.  Exposing the kids to art in its many forms blesses our souls and minds.
- Even Ashley, at the 'old' age of 13 wanted to go and watched intently. 
- Youthfulness holding on

- Invited to be part of an impromptu ceremony. 
- An old friend gone through so much heartache, to finally find true love and happiness... yes, I cried.

- I may not have my garden this year, but what a blessing to watch someone else's grow!
- She is still small enough to be outgrown by a tomato plant (she will always be my baby girl!)
     P.S. She and the plant are wearing matching colors ;-)

- It was a stare down, makes me giggle, gonna miss that boy after graduation, so will his siblings
- The silly ways they entertain each other while waiting.

- After trouble and strife and a near death experience, a family comes to Jesus and takes the plunge.
- Being there through it all and knowing what this truly means to each one... yes, I cried again.

- Holding hands and heading in.  Stage 4 cancer threatens one.  I watch and wonder if this is the time for her to be outwardly cleansed before she ascends.

 - The prayer afterward reminds me of a year before when my husband and children did the same.  Our journey until and the adventures ever since.  My heart prays they will know mighty miracles in their 'new life'.

 - My favorite little Indian boy always a part of our lives.  His name should mean 'joy'.
- Knowing my children are always anchored when good God-filled friends are around.

 - My 'little' boy graduates next June.  Seeing this picture Ashley took, he looks like the sweet 7 year old I remember... not the 17 year old ready to move on!
- I couldn't sit on the beach this day, but knowing they had each other to look out for and hang out with.  I was thankful for their time to just be blessed!

- Something about her makes my heart smile

- Oldest to youngest, and they still run and play.  I wonder; when he is home from college, will he still have that youthfulness about him when his brother and sisters are around?  I feel blessed that he does as a Senior... most won't give the time of day!

- Psalm 27 today, it helped the healing process in my heart.

Be blessed in multitude this week! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You are SO worth it!

For those who follow my blog regularly, you know my husband and I are working on vision development for our ministry.  I have been reading a book on the topic in order to gain some direction and insight.

I finished it yesterday (my heart is so glad!)

In wrap up, the author discussed being an example and encouraging your team through personal struggles of esteem and self-worth.  I was encouraged by what I read... I think we all struggle at times with those feelings.

Our self-worth, our consistent performance, our feelings of inadequacy or guilt all hinge on our feelings about self and worries about what others think.  I have learned through the years of battling an eating disorder and self-esteem issues; in order to gain self-confidence my worth lies with Christ not man.  But this book added dimension to that thought...

True value. 

"Our value does not depend on our abilities to meet certain standards, whether or own or others', but on what Jesus Christ accomplished at the cross... we already have his righteousness or perfection not through what we do but what he has done for us at the cross.  The standard has already been met, and we now are fully pleasing to our Father.  In effect, to attempt to meet certain standards for our self-worth is fruitless, because the standard has already been met through our justification.  We do not need to strive after what we already have."  (Vision for Ministry in the 21st Century p.164)

It is like painting a room that has already been painted or getting married twice on the same day to the same person!  Why?  When it is done, it is done.

Human kind is not perfect, this we know for sure.  But Christ is.  When He died for us he did not die twice... just once to cover ALL our transgressions.  When he died he did not die for self, he died for love.  It is like all we give up as parents or spouses, not for self, but for love.  Love of our children or spouse, love of Christ. 

To deny this simple truth is like making your husband's favorite meal out of love for him and having him push it away and say he doesn't want it, not realizing how much love we poured into that meal for him.  Hubby doesn't mean to hurt your heart, but heartache comes. 

God does for us out of love and when we don't walk in confidence with His love, we are saying we don't want it... we hurt the very heart of God when we don't realize how much he wants us to have... not because we deserve it (we don't) but because he wants us to have it as the result of His great love.

There is no greater love then the perfect love in Christ.  It is yours, self-confidence and value of self-worth are yours... just accept them.  Say your sorry when you screw up, don't beat yourself up, don't loose hope, we all make mistakes, that is why Christ died.  Love Him as He loves you and love yourself why your at it... because He loves you not because of what you do!

God Bless you as you walk in love today.

Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

O is for Occasions

"Your life is an occasion, rise to it" the popular phrase goes.  I think of Mr. Magorium when I hear it now and his tender advice to Mahoney, who does not want to let go of her dear friend.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Widescreen Edition)

I love Mr. Magorium because he is so carefree and fun loving.  The only thing he takes seriously is his death, and even then, he handles that with a great deal of lightheartedness.

I'm not saying we should be insensitive or oblivious to life's expectations.  However, I feel all humanity, especially homeschooling parents and children, need to have a healthy measure of optimism and out-of-the-ordinary adventures.  We need to rise to the occasion of life and live it, love it, enjoy it.  Youth... and life in general... does not last forever.

When I am feeling overwhelmed and under-relaxed I try to overcome by remembering each moment as an opportunity to rise to the occasion of my life and teach my children to do the same.  Whether learning or playing, our outlook can be one of joy and excitement and outrageous fun in the simplest things...

Now we wait.... "No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime."

May you rise to the occasion of the life God has blessed you with and find joy in teaching your children to do the same!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays #206-230

Simply sharing today a multitude of miscellany gratitude...

- Jazz and Blues in the park this week
- Kids brought to-dos while we listened.  Watching them grows my heart
- With help from a library book, Ashley's art has another growth spurt
- I love how she loves to draw

- Thinking on art, I am reminded of beautiful pictures of farm life.  I know it is a rough life, but it is a life that draws us to His creation.  I can't be there, but I can go there in my dreams and heart.  (Do you think God gives patches of farm in heaven?)

 - She is developing a love of reading.
- I love seeing the pages resting in her lap, her eyes and finger follow the words, soaking up the stories that make us who we are.  This one is about bravery, perseverance and a great rescue.

 - Being a pillow.  Look closely, you see my lap and side.  I love being a pillow while he reads!

 - She wears her hair like mine!  I never told her to... she just does.

 - Where picnic blanket meets grass protection and adventure all in one.

 - Backpacks laying in the grass... time to relax and take a load off.  Adventures with our feet up!

 - Sitting under an umbrella of leaves

 - I always hear, "It's not the journey but who you travel it with."  So true :-)

 - Peaceful setting on the path

 - Hairpin, isn't that so symbolic of our own lives at times?  Much more easily maneuvered with God at our side.

 - It use to be nothing but bog.  Not it is pond and park.  Like our hearts bogged down with sin, Christ grooms us and gives us a place for the Spirit to play and rest... a place much more worth looking in on.

 - He looks on, the baby geese have grown so much this year... big as ducks they are!  The funny thing: my how much he has grown this year!  Shooting out of all the clothes I bring home from storage!  Yet he is still tender enough to stand and wait and watch.

 - Because I do.  And sharing with a dear friend this week reminded me how important this short word is.

 - Broken wing?  He came to us.  So many children these days chase these creatures away.  I am grateful for the soft hearts my children have to reach out and care. 

 - Coming together, the process has not been easy, but we feel the Spirit leading and made some progress this past week working through vision, development and the daunting prospects of 501(c)(3).
 - Words of truth hidden and revealed.

- Heartbreak because it reminds me I'm alive.

- Praying and aligning my will to His.

- Hoping, without hope we just are.

- Peace after letting go.

May you have a simply wonderful week with multitudes of blessings!

Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below