The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. Psalm 16:6

Sunday, September 28, 2008


My sweet sister-in-Christ, Kim, posed a request in the comments section for more homeschooling-related posts. So, this one's for her. (Just so you know, when I say "you" in the following post I'm talking the collective "you" - all 15 people who read my blog, not just you, Kim :-)

I always second-guess myself when it comes to posting about our homeschooling days. Here are my reasons:

*I don't ever want anyone to think I have it "all together" because I don't. It is very easy (as you can see by the plethora of homeschool websites and blogs) to write about how you intend to homeschool. It is quite a different story, with a houseful of sinful individuals, to implement said plans. As long as everyone acknowledges that my days never go exactly as I plan, and sometimes don't resemble the plan whatsoever, we can proceed :-)
*Also, God has given me five unique individuals to parent the best I can. The way I teach them can, and probably should, be at least a little different from the way you teach your unique individuals. I won't compare my kids to yours and vice-versa. This can be excruciatingly difficult in the homeschooling world, but necessary.
*Lastly, my oldest is only in the 6th grade, so I am certainly not a veteran at this. I so enjoy the encouragement and wisdom I receive from those who have run the full race and finished on their feet!

OK, caveats aside, I will now regale you with our newest, and perhaps most beloved, change. For years I have planned "Fun Fridays." You know, saving art, music, projects & nature study and having a delightful and relaxing Friday to really soak up all of the wonderful beauty and culture that makes an individual "well-rounded." I use that term loosely, because if you ask 10 people what a well-rounded person looks like you'd probably get 10 different iterations. But nonetheless, I wanted a day in the week reserved for the fun stuff. And what better way to end a hard week than with the fun stuff? Here's the problem I was having. Mama can be just an itty-bitty tired come Friday, and she may no longer think those things so important as they seemed on Sunday afternoon when she was planning, thereby letting them slide. In other words, Fun Fridays were not happening.

Enter new idea. Why not do all the fun stuff on Mondays when we're fresh? Let's call it Funday!

So this is what we now do, and boy, what a dunce I am for not doing this sooner! We still begin our days the same as any other: family breakfast at 6:30, devotions with Daddy, personal Bible reading and chores done by 7:45. Then we do our daily Memory Page (which I will expound on in a later post) and practice our instruments. By 9:00 or so we are ready for the fun stuff. Here is what I have scheduled for tomorrow:

  • Mozart unit study - reading and listening
  • election unit study - I'm not sure if this is more for my kiddos or me! The electoral college is not easy to grasp!
  • letter writing - pick a friend, any friend
  • Diagramming - OK, so we are all geeks and actually look forward to this!
  • picture study - up this week: Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer; oil on canvas, 1872. We use A Short History of Art to get some background on the artist and the time he/she lived.
  • music lessons - At least for the time being we have a teacher coming who teaches Nicholas piano, Gretchen viola, and Lillian violin.
  • Scripture memory - We work on this every day but spend more time on Mondays. We are currently memorizing Genesis 1 as a family.
  • Hymn study - we are currently memorizing My Jesus, I Love Thee
  • Recitation - My children have memorized over 40 poems using IEW's Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization Weekly recitation is a fun way to hone in our recitation skills and practice what we have learned.
  • Nature study - take a walk and record something in your nature notebook
  • History - OK, I know that's not really an extra, but we like it a lot, so we do it on Fundays.
  • Lots and Lots and Lots of Reading - We are currently reading some Andersen Fairy Tales. My kids are learning that Disney has kind of distorted the whole fairy tale concept :-)
  • History projects and Science experiments - tomorrow we'll be doing a Byzantine Mosaic from Story of the World Volume 2.
  • Proverbs Copy Book - Each of the older children has a fancy bound sketch book that they are copying the Book of Proverbs into, about 4-5 verses a week.
  • Personal endeavors - My kids like making movies together. Lillian loves to bake. Gretchen likes to lock herself in a room to read. Nicholas LOVES to draw. Gabriel likes to talk to anyone who will listen. Kurt likes to escape and destroy. Fundays allow plenty of time to follow our interests :-)
If all of that gets completed in a timely way with out grumbling and complaining, everybody gets a turn on the X-Box. Life is good.

My hope is to constantly be shifting what we do so that our Fundays never become dry and boring. I hope to spend some time doing some fun geography units, maybe add in journal writing, I don't know - whatever strikes our fancy.

That's one of the definite perks of homeschooling that I love so much!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Found My Ticket!

Now this is one ticket I can firmly throw my support behind. I mean, how many times has he saved my hometown? Surely, he's the best choice for the country! Just the way he can clear those L.A. streets of traffic whenever he needs to go somewhere. Clearly he's a remarkable man.

(My friend Karen ventured into political blogging, so I thought I would add my .02... Heh-heh.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

And how much more should we express our gratitude to Him who gives all good things! Life has been happening around here. One foot in front of the other. I am in the cross-hairs of His grace. And I am grateful.

(19) love covering a multitude of sins...because there are so many...

(20) Two girls, clad in jammies, serenading the family with an after-dinner recital.

(21) cooler days...breezes blowing through open windows

(22) the words of fellow sisters in Christ - some known - many never met, who stretch me and bless me (see sidebar)

(23) curly headed toddler hugging Mama's knees

(24) Siblings with the same goofy sense of humor...enjoying one another

(25) chubby hands grasping well-loved choo-choo's... the same choo-choo's grasped by chubby hands which are now nearly man-size - amazing how the time races

May you see the goodness in all the little things.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Beaches and Cowboys and Birthdays

It's been a bit of a ghost town around these here parts, and for that I am sorry. It has not been on account of a lack of bloggable moments. On the contrary, there has been so much going on around here that I have been stymied by indecision and a general overwhelmed feeling. So here I go in an attempt to get you all up to speed in one blog post. I hope you're in a comfy chair :-)

O.K., first off. We visited the beach a couple of weekends ago with our wonderful friends, the James'. It was our first trip to the Malibu beaches and it was absolutely beautiful. Every time we visit the beach I realize that it is my favorite place to be...the smell, the sounds, the sights. I just love all of it.

Next, Gustav left us for his yearly jaunt as a cowboy. Off he went to the Rocky Mountains with his dad, brother, brother-in-law, and best friend for a number of days on horseback. We always breathe a sigh of relief when he returns, as he mentions the urge to go feral before each trip. Here is my favorite cowboy pic of my husband. I've shown it before, but, without women on these trips... Well, let's just say none of these fine men thinks to take pictures.

And to finish up last week we celebrated the birthday of our sweet Gretchen Patricia. She has entered the world of double digits, and is thrilled that she now gets to stay up as late as Nicholas. Ah, it's the small things in life, you know. Gretchen, as many of you know, had a rocky start to life. Colic, dairy allergies, and almost constantly blocked tear ducts made her an incredibly unhappy newborn. We used to measure the amount of time crying each day in hours, and there were many days that I would just leave the house when Gustav came home from work for a few minutes of quiet. Add to that the fact that Nicholas was only 16 months old and, well, I'm actually amazed that I lived through that time period with my sanity intact.

But now we have this sweet and thoughtful young lady who is maturing by leaps and bounds (not to mention the vertical growth!) I am privileged to be her Mom, and I thank God for blessing me with her.

We had a great day at Knott's Berry Farm celebrating her birthday. We finished up at the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. What a special day for a special young lady.

Here is Kurt responding to to the call "Volcano!!!!" (For anyone not familiar with Rainforst Cafe's dessert called the Volcano, it is always announced by all of the staff shouting "Volcano!!!" at the top of their lungs.) I had never ever seen him put his fingers in his ears before. This was a first...and so funny.

What a gift, these small people. God is good that He has seen fit to bless me, not only with a redeemed cowboy of a husband, but also with five unique, interesting, adorable little people to love. Praise Him!

I promise my next post will be less chaotic than this one.

No, I don't.

You'll all just have to wait and see.