Sunday, February 27, 2011

Continuing Saga of Scheduling Quandries!

Looking to a new week in the continuing saga of my scheduling quandaries and implementation, I consider the caution of not micromanaging a schedule.  I think of the movie, "See Spot Run" and the carefully color-coded schedule the mom in that movie had for her child... and how the schedule was not followed while in the care of the family friend!

I may not be the family friend, but I have figured out enough with 4 kids (and many of my readers have much more more than 4!) to know the code name for schedule is often disaster!

So I sat down today to REWRITE my plans and realized I was rewriting them the same as they were!

I am so crazy (at least I know it!)

Then it dawned on me... I don't need to rewrite, I just need to do like I have always done (and seem to keep forgetting lately) and use my already well written schedule as a guideline.

No day or week or month is going to be text-book and perfect.  It is nice to have a reference point and move forward form there.  The reference point I put together last week is actually a good one... on a good week!  And we maintained the overall idea of it all week!

I need to remember; a schedule is not a straight jacket, it is merely a sidewalk (even if we cross the street and walk on a different sidewalk for a while!)

A mid-year tally for the 100th day of school in 2007!
I post this, in hopes to encourage all those frazzled moms out there reaching the mid-year muddles (I know some of you are reading this!!)  We are no more perfect than the next mom... and anyone who thinks you should be is crazy!

The important thing:
Love your God
Love your husbandju
Love your kids
and give each of these loves your all... the rest will take care of itself!

I wish you genuine peace in your heart this week :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tid-Bits and Goings-Ons


As everybody pops by to check out this month's review for Gabby Moms and Eternal Encouragement Magazine, "Moments of Encouragement", I wanted to share about some upcoming 'events' in the life of this mom :-)


 We will be doing a website re-vamp over the next week or two ((hopefully!!))  I am planning to go with a more stationary theme (as opposed to seasonal) with the possible exception of Christmastime!  So be sure to keep an eye out if you want to see my new look!  Or subscribe to my blog feed (if you haven't already) because I am sure a blog regarding our accomplished task will be posted!!

You may also notice some slight changes already on my side bars.  My handy-dandy-techno husband made a nice 'button' for our primary missions website, KOGMissions.org  (Stands for Kingdom of God Missions because God has called us to share how He wants His kingdom to be experienced here on earth!)  When I am not writing here at The Faithful Homeschool, I am usually popping up thought provoking tid-bits at KOG. 

Also of interest is a review I am working on for Blog Sneeze.  I am reading the book, "Finding Our Way Again: the return of the ancient practices".  It is a meaty read that already seems to have implications for our ministry.  I really need to set aside more time for this task (it certainly requires more focus than my usual lazy-day-reads by Janette Oke and the rest)!

Lastly, I want to thank so many moms for their blogs out there in cyber space.  Your sharing and encouragement reflect the diversity and insight needed to sustain the path of every homeschooling parent who takes the precious time to read!  There are so many styles to homeschooling and I am the type of person who likes to make sure she is doing things right.... although shortcuts within the 'rules' are always handy!

Reading about other moms' daily dos and adventures in homeschooling has truly encouraged me to step outside of the box of traditional schooling... not just for special occasions, but in every-day adventures of learning.  Kids don't always have to sit at a desk or learn from a text book.  They don't always require notebook paper and sharpened pencil.  Because of finally embracing these truths and letting go of my presumptions and my innate need to please others, the kids and I have had a joyful week of homeschooling and in the process, none of us feel like we got hit by a railroad train... or a bus... or a truck...
... or a Bruck!  Used in our region by the Great Northern Railroad in earlier 1900s!
All three progressed in subjects we have previously been stagnant in, Bible studies for BSF were completed in full... 2 days early (with awesome discussion in the process), and writing skills were rehearsed without tears!!!!  I am so excited and I pray we have many more weeks like this one in our adventures in homeschooling!


I pray you have a lovely weekend and blessed experiences in this wonderful, virtual, homeschool community so time with your kids is more joyful as well!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moments of Encouragement

It is review time for Gabby Mom's and Eternal Encouragement Magazine!  I almost jumped the gun and posted a week early (I was just too excited!)


This month we are considering Eternal Encouragement Magazine's weekly e-newsletter, "Encouraging Moments".  Here I must confide a secret;  I use to receive this newsletter and, when we moved and dropped our email provider, I forgot to change my email address!  I am soo glad to have this rectified because "Encouraging Moments" is truly a fitting title for what you receive... and I have missed that encouragement in my in-box!

So here is how it starts...
You visit Eternal Encouragement Magazine's website (still transitioning from their previous name, "Homemaking With TEACH) at http://www.homemakingwithteach.com/

Then you go to the upper right corner of the page where it says, "Sign up for our e-mail newsletter" and type in your e-mail address.

It doesn't get much easier than that!

You will receive a conformation email and then you can look forward to your weekly newsletter every Thursday!

I get excited when I see Mrs. Lorrie Flem's name in my e-mail menu!  I know that something wonderful and inspiring is about to take place!
It is written to me!  (Look closely, you see "Dear Amanda"... your name could be there too!)

Lorrie usually opens with an article of encouragement not much more than 3 or 4 paragraphs.  It is a quick and easy read perfect for any busy mom's schedule.  Her words of wisdom on marriage, parenting, homemaking, and just being a woman never fail to lift my spirits and give me something to consider and aspire towards.

Updates on speaking engagements, sales, and links to other helpful Eternal Encouragement resources are easy to view and not overly cluttered like many e-newsletters.

My favorite part is Chick Flicks. I like to think of it as 2 minutes with Lorrie!  These are short videos of Lorrie with more encouragement for our hearts.  In her usual sweet and soft speaking style she delivers sage advice and often scriptural object lessons to inspire us in our walk with Christ. 
Doesn't that web page just look like fun?

Each week also contains a guest article on a topic pertinent to homemakers.  Tips, insight, and wisdom on any topic you might find in the world of moms is covered at one time or another.

It just seems impossible to give anything but a positive review to Eternal Encouragement and their products.  In the life of a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom... I can never get enough encouragement and inspiration to keep motivated through each day!  I pray you find moments of encouragement today and every day!



“I am reviewing Encouraging Moments as an official member of The Gabby Moms blogging program for Eternal Encouragement magazine.  I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are solely my own.”  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You can schedule that?!

I am happy to report, my chaos is mostly ordered!  Next step: implementation!

The list method I was doing in my to-do/ta-done journal (as shared in Order From Chaos) was great as a brain dump but it required refinement.  I went into Microsoft Word and printed a daily calendar with itemization down to the hours in each day.

Here I must pause to ponder the fact; days on the Word calendar start at 5 a.m. and end at 11 p.m.  At least the virtual world acknowledges the need for 6 hours of sleep!  My daily schedule recording grinds to a halt by 9 p.m.  Maybe I am just getting old!  (Or just older than being young enough to make it on 6 or less hours of sleep!)

I wanted to share pretty pictures of my new schedule... perhaps another day (can't access the required materials to do so).  Not to mention I would like to color-code.  I'm kinda crazy like that!  But the above picture was a must share!  As I work on time management (you can see my notebook on the couch waiting for my attention!), my two youngest manage their math time on the living room floor with partners.  I am curious... the cats didn't give them the answers, did they?

Beyond all these anecdotes is some insight I wanted to share.

Why do we blog?

Each person's answer may be different.  My answer is simply, to encourage and inspire.

The same reason I write articles on KOG.  But the articles there are to a general crowd.  Here, I really want to reach into the hearts of mothers/wives/homeschooling parents and inspire, transform and just simply share.  At KOG I share about God in our lives; here I share more personally about God in my heart in the hope that His light can shine into your lives.

This is my own little mission out-reach and you are my own private community I love and seek to share with and be a part of.

There is a mom whose blog I love to read (I have not retained permision to reprint so I must be vague!).  Back in November she wrote and article discussiong her need for (and reliance on) a blogging schedule.  Over the years I have written up many schedules for chores, school work, and general time relegation.  But I don't recall ever scheduling my time to blog like you would a job or important chore.

I like it!

Soooo... as part of my ordered chaos I have a schedule for blogging now, with hopes and aspirations to be sharing  almost every-other-day.  I hope this will keep me on track and I trust that God will give me powerful words to share in the more quality time I will have here on The Faithful Homeschool!

Peace and blessings to you this week as you seek to make each detail of each day prosperous and blessed!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Order From Chaos

I was reading an article with tips for bloggers recently.  One good tip was, "blog regularly"!  Is that what this guilty conscious is all about when I am away from my blog too long?!?  I think of at least an article a day I would love to share... then comes the issue of finding time to share it! 

I think all moms, homeschooling or not, can relate to the pinch in schedule for anything beyond house care, hubby and kids!  And so I sit here today to share with you some of my 'game plays' to 'tackle' the issue of time management I am up against.

Followers of my blog know I moved in January.  From a large 3 bedroom house with 2 bonus rooms, lots of yard and lots of space.... to a 2 bedroom mobile with 1 bonus room, very little yard and very little space (did I mention one of those bedrooms belongs to my mother-in-law?)

It is through our service to God as newly-entering-the-field missionaries that we gladly make this sacrifice.  We find, as God trains our minds for our calling, he is also training our hearts and understanding of even the little things.

When to do dishes?
When to do laundry?
Keep everything tidy out of respect for someone else's house.
How to homeschool in our new environment without all of our materials easily accessible?
How to manage and schedule all of the above with respect to someone else's space and schedule and our other extra-out-of-the house commitments (Like BSF Bible study, AWANAS, weekly worship with the missions base, Sunday worship, and our leading of a weekly Bible Study on the Truth Project)

Phew.... hold on, I need a breather!

Ok, I am back!

All this was easily (mostly anyway) managed when I had my own home and space to make rules for and stretch out in.  I feel restricted more often then not now.... but this is where I also see God at work; transforming, humbling, and guiding me to think outside of the box and become a better servant.

We don't know what the years ahead will hold in our ministry.  Our whole family needs to be pliable and ready for new things, new schedules, and new challenges... with a positive attitude from beginning to end!  Praise God, He finds me worthy of this task!

So last night I sat down with my new spiral notebook (having filled the old one) and thinking how ironic it was that I needed to begin a new to-do/ta-done journal in conjunction with my need to articulate a cohesive schedule for our new environment. 

Because another blog tip I received a few months ago was to use pictures often... and I LOVE that idea.... here is an up close and personal look at the rough sketch of my new schedule:
I love college ruled notebook paper... I am an addict!  There is just something about spilling my thoughts out with a black fine point Pentel RSVP pen on crisp white paper with soft blue lines and just seeing my life at least look like it has order!

I still need to take these scribbles and make a nice, neat copy with a few more details.  But it feels sooooooooooo good to have the bones set out... finally after being here over a month now!  There is a glimpse of order coming out of the chaos!

Well, to keep with yet another good blog tip, I will keep this relatively short and wrap it up here!  More another time on ordering my eating habits as well and how I hope it will help my children and their focus in homeschool... and beyond!

May your schedule have order today... or at least feel like it!  God Bless :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Come One, Come All... It's a Carnvial!

Welcome, step right up, have we got a show for you!  The Faithful Homeschool's addition of The Carnival of Homeschooling is about to begin!

When I requested articles on "Winter Weather Homeschooling in Small Spaces" I could not have guessed at the array of submissions that would arrive... and what a blessing each one is!

Check out these 'booths', take a whack at the links, and enjoy yourself with this week's addition of the Carnival!


Organization
It doesn't matter if you are in large or small environments these tips are sure to hit the spot!
Who wouldn't want to learn in such a cozy environment!
 - If your homeschool isn't already organized, Life Nurturing Education (picture above) will inspire you in How the Basket Lady Organizes Homeschool (and more heartwarming pictures on her site!)
I find organizational pictures inspiring!
 - Great planning tips (and pictures like above) from Baby Steps in her article, More on Planning.


Anywhere But Here
Whether outdoors or taking a 'field trip', these ideas are sure to get you out of the house!
- PJ's All Day discusses Library Databases and Free Materials
 - What to do with nation-wide winter storms... visit Play and Learn with Bur Bur and Friends for Creative Ways to Have Fun With Your Child in the Snow



Big Ideas
What products and lessons will you fill your space with?  Check out these reviews, ideas, videos, curriculum and lesson plans... great for any amount of space you have to work in!
- Explore some great videos with Why Homeschool and their article, What Are Some of Your Favorite Ted Talks
From Let's Play Math... is it art or math?  Both sound wonderful to me!

- No matter what time of year, Let's Play Math really knows how to have fun with this neat video and article, Be My (Math) Valentine!
- Homeschool author, Linda Dobson and her website, Parent at the Helm, inspires our teaching techniques with her article, Light Your Child's Learning Fire with Her Interests
- Another wonderful author, Barbara Frank inspires us to consider motivation in, Can you Motivate Your Child to Achieve Greatness
- Share some Valentine's Day facts with the ones you love by visiting Chrysalis and reading her article, What's the Origin of Valentine's Day
Spelling has never been more fun!  Visit Jimmie's Collage to find out!
- Think outside the box with spelling... visit Jimmie's Collage for a great list on 30 Ways to Practice Spelling Words (great for visual learners too!)
- Craft Stew shares some GREAT ideas on How To Bind A Book!
- Here is A Net in Time with some fun ideas on learning in her article Lego Contest and more...
- If you and your children don't already love to read, Sage Parnassus is truly inspiring with A Book List! you will definitely want to check out from the library!
- Tenacity Divine has some great curriculum suggestions in Timberdoodle & Critical Thinking Press, Part 4 of 4
- Having fun learning History without the textbook, check out Blah, Blah, Blog and article, Sing Song Story of the World
Storybook inspired art is always heartwarming!

- Here is a neat project idea and review from Nirvana Homeschooling and The Very Hungry Little Caterpillar (art pictured above)
-  What is better than good curriculum?  Good FREE curriculum.  Check out Beyond the Silver and the Gold as she reviews Learning English Grammar with KISS Grammar - FREE!
- Celebrate Creation and science, find out how by visiting Kathleen's Catholic and reading Science Fairs: Celebrations of Creation


When Learning Isn't Typical 
When a child doesn't learn as "typical" children would, teaching can be a challenge.  See how these homeschoolers found their way with gifted learners.
- Domestic Entropy shares her heart as she explores the possibilities of Asperger's Syndrome in her article, Neuro-atypical?
Homeschool Mo shares Wrapping Up Our Week: February 11 when trying to find the right curriculum and applications for a Dyslexic child


Encouragement for Today
No matter where you are, spaces big or small, encouragement comes best in big doses given frequently!  Check these inspiring, and sometimes silly, stories out...
Diary of 1... what a lovely way to share a book!
- Diary of 1encourages us with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: A Review (I think I need to add this one to my book list!)

- Be encouraged with socializing your homeschooler when you read Not-So-Superwoman's article, Homeschool-A Safe Place
- A fun story from the ever creative Homespun Juggling titled, Bean There, Done That!
- When enough isn't enough, The Thinking Mother shares "I Want Serious Subjects!"


......
Well, folks, the show is over!  I hope you have enjoyed this week's carnival!  Thank you to all who have contributed!  To view previous Homeschool Carnivals, you can visit the archives.

Next week's carni will be Raising Real Men.  You can submit an article by visiting this link.

Help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling by visiting their site, signing up to host, submitting articles, and even posting one of their great buttons on your blog!


Have a blessed week!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recipes for Sickies

It can be so hard when the family is sick :-(  Everyone took turns last week.  I mean, really, why share it all at once... lets spread it out and make it last longer.  Like a good cup of cocoa or your favorite dessert!

But this week we have a relapse.  My husband.  There is also his mom (who we are staying with right now) who is not feeling well.  That icky throat stuff that burns and the sinus pain to go along.  I hate to see them both laid up with the sickies.


Yes, this is my hubby this morning, shoveling... while he is sick :-(  Bless his heart for working so hard.  As you can see by the snow behind his legs, we really got our share of the white stuff last night!  This driveway was completely shoveled before last night!

 As I worked at a home remedy I like to use, I thought of my blog followers and how it might help all of you during the cold and flu season.  I am no expert on these matters by any stretch of the imagination... but I do have little tricks God has led me to over the years that tend to help reduce symptoms and speed up recovery.

Here is what I do:

Honey, honey, honey.  And no, I am not getting fresh!  I keep a lot of honey around.  "Healing Foods From the Bible" just raves about the healing attributes of honey and I agree. I like to mix it with some hot Sweet Dreams tea which has chamomile and mint.  This is soothing for the throat and helps a sicky body to rest.

As the cups of tea steeped today I went to work on my 'Chicken Broth on Steroids' recipe!  What you need:

Chicken Bullion to make 5 cups broth
4 cups water (purified if you have it)
1 1/2 small onions, quartered and sliced in thick pieces
3-5 cloves of garlic, pealed and sliced
1-2 Tbsp parsley
1-2 tsp pepper
and for the really sick patients... 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper!

Plop all ingredients into a stainless steal or enamel pot (if you have them) and bring to a boil on high, stirring occasionally.  Boil hard for approximately 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and let cook for about 5 more minutes. 

Remove from heat and strain so all that remains is the broth.  Serve!  For the tough guys in your house, leave all the goodies in and let them chow down on onion and garlic... it is great for the immune system!

Be well this week! 

(No sickies left among these three... and that is a good thing with all the fresh snow!)


Friday, February 4, 2011

Yes, Definitely Eclectic

This week is a good example of why, when asked about our homeschool style, I say "eclectic"!

Normally we have an order of affairs.  Wake up, breakfast, dress, Bible Study, bookwork (Reading/Writing/Arithmetic), lunch, "specials" (science, history, art, field trips, etc). 

Not this week.

I had a feeling this week would be different when, 3/4 of the way through Monday (typically an unschooling day for us to do big chores and get our minds and bodies ready for the in-depth studies of the week) our lesson plans were not in place. 

It occurred to me, with grocery shopping and menu planning needed, a birthday to prepare for and celebrate on Friday, and our typical out-of-the house day on Thursday... this week would define eclectic and push the term "un-schooling".

As a homeschool mom I am often curious about these situations in other homeschool settings.  If you, like me, are curious how one mom handles a suddenly busy week... read on!

It is not uncommon for us to face weeks like this.  Sometimes (shhhh, don't tell!) I actually look forward to this break-up in our routine.  My kids can self-pace... to a point!  Then they need me at every other turn.  I LOVE to teach and I live to guide them through learning how to learn.  But weeks like this one pull my attention in so many directions I feel like stretched out elastic!  Ick!

So this is what we did:
- NO T.V.  (although, we did watch some old "Beakman's World" for Science!)
- Each kid must read for a set amount of time every day.  I will usually ask them questions about the book they are reading to test their comprehension.  Sometimes, they will read out loud next to me as I am working.
- Math facts are reviewed with flash cards and board games are encouraged that test their brain power!
-- On the math facts note, my oldest is working with fractions right now.  I gave her a recipe book from my shelf and told her to pick 5 recipes and double them!  She actually enjoyed the fractions work on that project!  AND, it is an applicable life skill :-)

Other than these basics, I do take them with me shopping and discuss with them the decisions I am making and the math functions I am performing as I budget. 

Art is always encouraged in our home.  Just yesterday, after returning from the bread store and Costco with large boxes, my 10 year old decided to make a shield from them.  My husband showed him how to find true center and, before I knew it, my son was re-drawing his shield with his new-found skill!!

I have read some great articles over the years about parents who found themselves in situations where eclectic or un-schooling styles became a necessity outside of their norm.  I find peace knowing I am not the only one!  I share this with you today so you might find peace when you find your homeschool schedule out the window before your week has even begun!

Blessings and peace to you this weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Hosting Carni'

The week of February 15th I will be "hosting" a blog carnival.  In effect... I will be a Carny!!  Want to know just what a blog carnival is?  You can visit this handy link.

The particular carnival I will be a Carny for is the Carnival of Homeschooling.

I am excited, but a little nervous.  I have never hosted before!  So to all those considering participating... please be patient with me as I get my feet wet :-)

I would like to aim for a theme.  Old articles or new... just as long as they are from YOU!  Come one come all... step right up and make a submission for.....

Winter Weather Homeschooling in Small Spaces
-23 (at 8 a.m. today!)

That's right.  When the mercury drops and you are on the go or in a small space... how do you homeschool?  I am looking for articles with tips, examples, experiences, and fun stories about homeschooling when stretching out is not an option.  Pictures are always a perk as well!  If possible, keep it budget friendly!

Yes, I am anticipating a ground hog that predicts 6 more weeks of winter!  And as the majority of our country gets pounded with blizzards, I suspect this topic will still be relevant in two weeks!!  However, cold weather or warm... we all find ourselves homeschooling on the go and/or in tight places from time to time.  So those of you in more tropical climates... don't be shy... I want to hear from you too! 

So come on Blog world, wind up those fingers and give me your best shot!  Email submissions to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com between February 9th and February 14th.  Submissions deadline is 6pm, Monday, February 14th... early submissions receive kudos from me as it would be tremendously helpful in having the carnival up and running bright and early February 15th!

May God inspire and bless you as you consider a submission in support of the Carnival of Homeschooling!