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These Dry Bones

Jesus waved at me from the Old Testament.

 I  know it sounds weird. Just the visual that brings up in my mind is odd.

I wasn’t looking for him. Honestly I was just sitting there in church, sipping on my much-needed skinny caramel latte and trying to clear the cobwebs from my brain because I had worked night shift that night. As in, I got home from work at 7am, took a nap, and was sitting in church at 11:30. Cobwebs.

These Dry Bones~ Ezekiel 37:27

Our church is currently reading through a book called The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People, which is a basic paraphrased retelling of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. I was excited when they first began this book study, because if you have read me for more than a couple of years you know that I’m sort of passionate about reading the entire Bible. I’ve done it, three times, following the Bible in 9o Days reading plan. I love it.

And I failed miserably at it this past new year.

It was with an entirely self- righteous mind that I thought, Wow, how cool! This church might even get an understanding of the whole Bible through doing this book study.

Foolish me. I struggled with the book reading myself. I have trouble reading the retelling, when I’ve read His words through so many times. I already get it. I remember a lot of the details of the Story that aren’t covered in The Story.

It’s been a hard couple of years since we left the church we were at for 17 years.

It has been a spiritual growth process, a shedding of blinders, of prejudices, and stepping outside the bounds of a tightly insulated environment and into The Real World. It’s amazing what can happen in your life when you let go of certain ideals and get down to basics. Like Jesus. Just Jesus.

So I’m sitting in church, and the pastor is talking about Hezekiah and Manasseh and the prophets that were sent to Judah over and over, as God threw them yet another line, wanting to bring them back to Him. He read in Ezekiel about the vision he had of the Valley of Dry Bones, and how the Lord brought them together and put flesh on them, showing him what he was going to do with Judah, bringing them back from the (spiritual) dead.

Back up again, to the previous night, where on my breaks at work I had been devouring Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Spiritual Christianity by Donald Miller. Devouring, as in reading with a pen in hand, underlining passages. This book is so absolutely quotable, and so very thought provoking, I just love it.

I had underlined,

“The entire world is falling apart because nobody will admit they are wrong. But by asking God to forgive you, you are willing to own your own crap.”

Not the most Christian-ese quote by any means, but it hit me. All God wants us to do is own our own crap.

The Valley of Dry Bones has been me lately.

So very dry. Between my night shift weekend job, my VA business, my kids, and getting ready to start homeschooling again, I’m zapped. I haven’t read the Word much at all, but I have been praying and thinking and pondering and wondering where it all fits in again.

God showed me Jesus in those dry bones. That again, this is just a season He is bringing me through. This plan he has for my life is still in motion, and my own growth simply depends on me constantly turning back to Him, the giver of Life.

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Top 10 Must Have Items for Homeschooling

Top 10 Must Haves for Home SchoolingMy must-haves are things that are either no-brainers, or things that I had to figure out the hard way. I consider it a given that a computer and a good internet connection are must-haves these days. Beyond that I have compiled a very practical list that I hope will be helpful! :)


1. Electric Pencil Sharpener- Just TRY using one of those little hand held ones for more than a few days and you’ll be looking for one too! It’s #1 on this list for a reason. Don’t buy a bottom end one; get a middle of the price range sharpener and you’ll be very glad that you did. The really cheap ones chew up pencils like kids eat candy on Halloween.


2. A Laminator- I lived without one for the first ten years we homeschooled, but when I did get one I quickly saw that I didn’t know how we lived without one! You can do SO MANY things with a laminating machine!


3. Laser Printer that Duplexes-
  My black laser printer is my go-to for printing ALL of my black & white documents, especially E-BOOKS! This thing was worth every penny I spent on it and then some.

4. Color Printer/Copier/Scanner- Emphasis on the copier. How many times have you needed just one more copy of a lesson sheet? Having two kids and using master notebook packs or mastered activity sheets, there’s always a need for a copier. If you can afford a color laser printer/copier you would have an unbeatable machine. (I don’t. I have one of each until budget allows. :))


5. Digital Bookmark Timer- Comes in handy for timing lessons and keeping track of time spent reading. We use timers for lots of different things, but especially for my son to help him self-regulate activities.

 

6. Good Pencils- Lots and lots of pencils! Don’t buy cheap ones either. Get the best ones you can so they don’t get eaten by your pencil sharpener.

7. Wiggle Seat- Whether you have figety, busy boys or are dealing with special needs, a wiggle seat allows your child to move and wiggle around easily on his chair without getting up from it. My son LOVES his. Our children’s pastor bought several for those who need them to sit in the kid’s church and Sunday School class.

 

8. Mini Trampoline- A MUST for the sensory seeker. Get that excess energy out or practice math facts and spelling words while engaging those big muscles and gaining sensory input. Can be picked up for under $20 at WMart.

9. Fun Educational Games- Using games to teach or enforce concepts helps cement it in their minds and lets them have fun with school too. You can use anything from Preposition Bingo to practicing times tables with dice, or the multitudes of educational board games available.

10. Composition Notebooks- We use these for everything! We buy at least a dozen every summer when they’re on sale. We like them better than spiral notebooks because they keep nicer.

———————————

55 Moms Share Their Expertise on 103 Topics

Wouldn’t it be great to have a resource you could turn to when you have a question in your homeschool?

  • How can I encourage my tweens and teens to be more independent learners?
  • What should a preschooler be doing for school?
  • How can I make geography practical and fun?
  • What can I do to make learning handwriting easier for my children?

Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

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From the Bees Comes the…

Honey.

Remember our bee adventures last spring? Interesting week, right? We had not one, but TWO swarms of bees in our back yard! We learned a lot from talking with our neighbors and watching them capture the swarms.

Who’d have thought you could just knock a whole swarm of bees into a box? Certainly not me! It was the coolest thing we’ve seen in a long time.

We have also definitely reaped the rewards from having neighbors with bee hives living right behind us. Bumper crops of strawberries AND raspberries. Gallons of them.

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And if you know me, you know I am not a gardener but I LOVE my berries. True, I have been a wanna-be gardener, but never an actual gardener. It probably helps if you don’t mind going outside to pull weeds when it’s 90* outside.

That would not be me.

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As my strawberry bed can attest, I only do it twice a year: At the beginning and after the end of the berry season.

Imagine my surprise and delight when our neighbor Nona and her two kids showed up at my door Sunday night, in the midst of our CRAZY let’s-have-all-our-kids-and-grandkids-over family barbecue, with this…

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The odd shape is due to several of us digging in and eating pieces of the honeycomb. There’s nothing quite like honey straight from the comb, although you have to spit the wax out, unless you really like eating wax. You never know. My husband ate it.

I’m still in awe that a BUG can MAKE something like this! God is so cool. Only He could create something so amazing.

The moral of this story is:  Be kind to your neighbors, and don’t kill their bees when they invade your yard. Bees are good!

categories: Home & Family

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Our Homeschool Curriculum for 7th & 9th Grade

It’s THAT time of year again. You know what time it is.

This is when we homeschool moms either breathe a deep sigh of relief, or swing into full-on panic mode because we put the books away a couple of months ago and….

What do you mean by “school starts in 4 weeks?!”

Oh, but it does.

I’m not freaking out this year though. I decided on the majority of our homeschool curriculum toward the end of the school year last year. I lucked out (quite literally) and was able to purchase most of it all in one day at a curriculum sale in June!

I made a spur of the moment change about a week ago, and decided to add language arts programs that includes literature study, which we have been sorely neglecting. I still need to pick up a few loose odds and ends.

Wait did I say 9th GRADER? I did. High School. Oh my. As a result, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading lately on homeschooling teenagers. I’ll tell you more about it in another post, but suffice it to say I’m not going into this season with blinders on!

 

7gradeD2, our hilarious 7th Grader, the boy whose voice became insanely deep at the age of 11, who prefers to play Black Ops over pretty much anything, who turned out to be a championship wrestler last year, will officially be a junior higher. Eep! He tackles his school work like he does pretty much everything: With a little groaning but a quick determination to get it done efficiently. I love efficient students. :)

Math

Language Arts

Science

*Apologia Exploring Creation With Physical Science and the Physical Science Student Notebook along with co-op class

History

Bible

Undecided! I’m open to suggestions for young teens

Electives

PE

  • Upward Flag Football August- October
  • Wrestling at the Middle School (Oct-Dec.– tentative- he hasn’t decided for sure yet) followed by Junior Wrestling- local league Feb-April

 

9grade

D1, our gentle giant. Just turned 14 and is brushing the underside of 6′tall. Nerdy science whiz, slow to catch on to jokes and innuendo but quick to respond to anyone with a science, Portal, or Minecraft question, his Autism really IS his superpower!

Pre-Algebra: 1 Credit

English: 1 Credit

Science: 1 Credit Physical Science

*Apologia Exploring Creation With Physical Science, the Physical Science Audio Book for processing support, and the Physical Science Student Notebook along with co-op class (Please pray that he can keep up with the class homework! He really struggled last year with General Science at co-op, and I just don’t know if this one is possible for him. We may switch to Biology 1o1 if it’s too much of a struggle.)

World Geography: 1 Credit Social Studies

Bible

Undecided! I’m open to suggestions for young teens

Electives

  • Intermediate Homeschool Band (Clarinet Year 2) 1 Credit Fine Art
  • *Cigar Box Guitar Shop co-op class .5 Credit Industrial Art
  • Keyboard Classroom for typing instruction .5 Credit Keyboarding
  • Media Team Intern- He runs the computer/lights/soundboard for the Children’s Church on Sundays. Now he can get school credit for it! :) .5 Credit Music Technology

PE

  • Swim Team June-August .5 Credit PE
  • Karate, possibly

Extra Helpful for Special Needs

Inspiration Software for enabling them to put together writing assignments and projects visually. Recommended by the neuropsychologist who diagnosed my son’s Autism, and well worth it. They have a GREAT deal on it through Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, which is where I bought it.

Study Skills Help: How to Become A Superstar Student from The Great Courses. I plan on having D1 do this sometime this year (most likely toward the beginning) for .5 credit.

How’s your year coming together? Do you have your curriculum picked out yet?

This post is linked up to the Hip Homeschool Hop!

categories: Homeschooling

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Homeschool Newbies: Considering Homeschooling

It’s the middle of summer. Your 5 year old is happily blowing bubbles on the patio, oblivious to the inner dialogue her mother is having with herself.

Should I send her to Kindergarten? I don’t know. Is she even ready? And what does ready mean anyway? Maybe I should homeschool her. But homeschooling seems kind of… weird. What would my neighbors think? And my mother was a teacher- what will SHE say?! But I just don’t think she’s ready to go to school…

If you’re having that dialogue, you’re not alone.

Homeschool Newbies: Considering Homeschooling

Are you considering homeschooling?

Summer seems to be the time we Mommas do it. Between preschool and kindergarten. Between 4th and 5th grades. Between 6th grade and–GASP– JUNIOR HIGH. We think and ponder and wonder and question and of course, we hit the Internet. That may even be how you landed here.

Let me give you some encouragement, Momma. Homeschooling isn’t weird. Well, not that weird. :) Your neighbors probably won’t care.

Your mother will either love the idea, or hate it. My mother in law was against it, until she saw how great my kids were doing and then she began to tell EVERYONE she worked with–at the school– how proud of me she was for homeschooling.

All of us “veteran” homeschoolers have been right where you are, questioning expectations and choices and wondering what we should do that would be best for our kids. I’m glad that you found me.

Before I share some of my own posts with you, I also want to share with you a series my friend, Terri Johnson from Knowledge Quest, is putting together. It’s a 3-part video series that addresses a few of these challenges head-on and gives help in overcoming them. I wish this had been around 16 years ago when we were first getting started!

It’s just for moms like you, who are getting started or maybe have started homeschooling but are a bit overwhelmed by it all.  The series will cover:

  • Staying motivated and being consistent in teaching
  • Sticking to a schedule
  • Balancing schoolwork with housework
  • Developing patience and controlling anger
  • Getting organized
  • Dealing with life’s interruptions
  • And more!

The first video in the Homeschooling with Joy series is up now and you can watch it any time. Click to watch, “How to Stay Motivated and Be Consistent in Homeschooling”. Enjoy the series! And do provide comments in the feedback area once the first video goes live. Terri is using your feedback to make the content uniquely relevant to those that watch and participate in the Homeschooling with Joy video series.

I’ve gathered a collection of posts from my archives, just for you.

I hope that they will encourage you and give you some insight into what homeschooling is all about. It looks different for everyone. My homeschool is completely different than my closest friend’s, because our families are different and so are our educational goals and outlooks.

Your homeschool will be unique to you and your family.

How We Started Homeschooling Dear New Homeschooler: Advice From a 13 Year Veteran Top 10 Must Haves for Home Schooling Benefits of Homeschooling a Child on the Autism Spectrum  Top 10 Things to Do Before the Homeschool Year Begins10 Reasons I (Don't) Homeschool ~ TheMommaKnows.com    Common Core Affects Every Student~ The Momma Knows The Ranks of the Extreme: Homeschooling High School

And if you liked these, I’d love it if you would subscribe to get my posts emailed directly to you when they come out. Just enter your email address in the little blue bar up at the top of this page.

This post is linked up to the Hip Homeschool Hop!

categories: Homeschooling

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