Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Drawing Room

Have I ever mentioned that I love my church?  Like seriously, LOVE my church.  There are tons of reasons why I love my church, but right now, the main reason is because of my accountability group.  I know, I know, accountability group sounds kinda like "What have you been doing that you shouldn't be doing?  I'm checking up on you to make sure that you are behaving and doing everything on the good little christian check list!"  But not my accountability group. . . no way!  My group rocks!  Seriously.  There are four of us and our mentor/leader and we have been getting together fairly frequently.  (We try for weekly, but we all happen to have kiddos and be in a very busy season of life - but we try!) 

Anyway, we are working our way through the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  Last week our chapter was about creating intimacy with our Lord.  The author talks about an article by Robert Boyd Munger entitled, "My Heart Christ's Home."  In this article, Munger imagines Christ speaking to him about his quiet times like this:
"The trouble with you is this:  You have been thinking of the quiet time, of the Bible study and prayer time, as a factor in your own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour means something to Me also." 

This thought hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Why, in all my years of "being a Christian" have I never looked at my time with my Lord as something that He cherishes.  Something that He longs for and desires.  Not something that He wants me to do to be a better christian, but something that He wants me to do because He wants to spend time with me.


So we went from there and talked about creating a drawing room.  A comfortable, cozy, inviting place to spend time with the Lord.  We talked about how this should be a relationship and not a ritual and how this relationship is just like any other.  It will need to be nurtured, protected, and loved. 

A lot like a plant.

I mean, what would happen to a plant if we never watered it?

So, on Sunday, one of the sweet ladies in my group brought each of us these plants.  To place in our "drawing room."  To remind us - in the most beautiful way.  She attached to it the most appropriate verse.

See - I told you my accountability group rocks! 
Thanks Lori for putting us together!
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - The First Week

We did it . . . Our first week of school is complete!  Simply cannot believe it.  Well, okay, we only did school four days this week, but whatever - close enough to a whole week!  (We had a birthday party to go to today -  only a homeschooler would have a birthday party on a Friday from 12:00 to 3:00! haha gotta love it!)

So back to the post.  I think our first week went really well.  I had a house full of good attitudes (for the most part) and Dalton even asked THREE times if we could please homeschool next year too.  (I have no idea why he is already thinking about next school year - good grief, we are only four days into this one!)  Also - note to self - remember this post when Dalton is whining about school in say . . . oh. . . a few weeks. 

Anyway, I have already decided that I don't think I am going to like our new grammar curriculum.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I mean "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  I loved what we used last year for grammar.  I just needed some more writing instruction for the boys. 
Okay, I'll be honest.  I will be going back to Growing with Grammar as soon as it arrives in the mail.  Already ordered it.  So sad, so so sad.

Here is a little of what we did this week: 

Our state of the week was Maine.  I love these notebooking pages and these coloring pages!

We are talking about the water cycle in science.  We did a few really fun (and super easy) experiments.  But I totally forgot to take pictures.  I know.  I know.  What is wrong with me?  (Hey - it's the first week back to school, I'll get back into the swing of things . . . hopefully. . . at least by May!)

Didn't really dig grammar - already talked about that.

Math was fun.  (Yep, I said it: Math = fun)  I was really super pleased with how much the boys remembered from last school year.  We are starting off in the middle of the Saxon 3 book so there weren't any real ease you in kinda lessons like at the beginning of most books.  One of our lessons talked about cups, pints, quarts, gallons.  Once again - here comes the honesty.  I couldn't tell you how many cups were in a pint, in a quart, or in a gallon until I did this really fun little craft way back when I was doing my student teaching.  He's called Mr. Gallon (or Mrs. Gallon, or if you have three boys:  Monster Gallon).  Whatever you call him.  He is easy to make and the kids really had a good time with it!

Here are just some random pics of kids doing some school work.  I think it is actually a sheet for their science notebook.

Okay so maybe Drew wasn't loving getting his picture made.  Boys!?!

* On a total side note - I don't know if you noticed or not, but my kids have on the same shirts in these pictures as they do from my post on the first day of school.  These pictures were not taken on the first day of school.  Actually, they were taken on the second day of school. 
 I know that I have a laundry problem.  I love doing it.  I can't stand having any dirty laundry.  It's weird and kinda sad - I know.  Here is what is even more sad.  As I was putting these shirts into their drawers at night, I thought about the fact that if I took pictures the next day (I knew we were doing the math craft) that they would probably have on the same shirt.  So . . . I picked up their other t-shirts and put these toward the middle of their drawers.  I thought I was going to fall out when the next morning not one, not two, but all three of them had dug through their drawers and picked out the same shirt as the day before.  Seriously?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

First Day of School

Today was our first day of school!  Woohoo!  It went great! 

I think secretly the kids were a little bit excited about starting school.  You know - new books, new supplies, all that fun stuff.  I had been hearing, "Why do we have to start school so soon?  It's not even August yet!" etc. etc. etc.  However, all three kiddos had already filled out their math meeting page before they even went to bed!
Here is the dining room table the night before:

Here is a closer picture of the boys independent work.  On their clipboard is the math meeting page, daily oral language page for the week, journal prompt, and math facts sheet.  They also have to answer the "problem of the day" which is written on a white board.  And don't forget about the Explode the Code books.  They do about 3 or 4 pages a day.  It is below their reading level so it is fairly easy independent work but still great review and practice!

Here we are on the first day of school!!!

As you can tell, little man's hair was out of control today! :-)

These pictures are in our dining room.  That is where we do most of our table work and lessons.  Unless we are doing something crafty - we use the kitchen table for that!  But before we get here, we start our day with Bible and History.  We do that in the kids playroom.  It's more comfortable in there. They seem to like sitting comfortably on couches and comfy chairs for these two subjects because they involve alot of listening!  Here is a little area in the playroom with some things (books of the Bible, composer, state of the week) that we go over/discuss every morning.  (P.S.  There is a world map and a map of the USA on other walls in the playroom)

I think the kids enjoyed their first day back at school.  At the end of the day, I asked what was your favorite part of school - It was unanimous . . . P.E. WITH DAD!  I guess homeschooled kids aren't that different than their brickschooled counterparts - everybody loves p.e.!!!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - Last week of summer

This was our last week of summer vacation.  Everybody seems to be interested in why?  Why would you start so early?  Here's my reasoning - my kids are already over summer break.  We ended in the middle of May, mind you.  It is miserably hot outside and they are tired of going to the pool.  (Seems crazy I know, but I suppose it gets boring if you do it enough).  Also, (and hear me tell the truth here) I love starting early and being able to take as many breaks as I need in the upcoming months.  You know those days when the kids just do not want to do school (and honestly I don't want to either)? Guess what?  We just don't do it!!!  I mean, it is so great to be relaxed about that!  Why try to force them to learn on a day when they clearly aren't in to it?!

Anyway, back to our week . . .

I finally finished up all my curriculum (except for science) choices and was able to blog about them in this post.

The kiddos had their cousin, Matt, over to spend the night.  He's the same age as the twins and they always have such a fun time together.  God is so good to bless us with cousin-friends! :-)

I also had the opportunity to have lunch with my accountability group from church.  It's a small group, just four of us and our leader.  We meet fairly regularly and just fellowship, pray, and discuss our current book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  So good.  So good.  The book and the fellowship!

Today, I went to the pool with my friend, Debra, and her daughter.  It seems like all of my friends have daughters.  That's great, except for the fact that I have sons AND my sons just so happen to really, really, dislike girls at the moment (at least my older boys do).  Anyway, she (and my other friends) have started a precious girls club.  From what I gather, they get together and hang out and do some ministry projects.  (The next one is going to a nursing home and painting fingernails, singing, putting on shows.)  Anyway, this got me thinking . . . I should start some club for my boys.  Something where they could hang out with their friends and do some ministry projects.  The boys (and their dads) could help some elderly people with their yards and I honestly don't even know what else - but something!  Any thoughts?  What should it be called?  I remember when I was a kid - clubs were so cool!

That is pretty much it for us this week.  Next week we will be back to the normal school routine. We will be starting out slow and working our way back into a full fledged school day.  By the way, I am totally interested in year round school.  Do any of y'all do that?  If so how? What's your schedule like?

Finally, don't forget to hop on over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what everybody else has been doing this week? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our 2010 - 2011 Curriculum Choices

Finally!  Finally!  Finally!  I have FINALLY decided on all (okay almost all) of my curriculum choices for this upcoming school year.  Good thing since I am planning on starting July 19th!!!!  So anyway, here is what we will be using for 2010-2011 . . .

Last year we used the Beginnings I series from Explorers Bible Study and we all really enjoyed it.  This year we will be using Beginners II: Jesus, My Shepherd by the same company.  I also wanted to use a devotion type book with some real life application.  For this I have chosen The One Year Book of Devotions For Boys.  I hope this works out really well - the reviews for it are great.  We'll see.  This year I am going to try out something new for scripture memory.  We are going to using the Charlotte Mason scripture memory system. 
You either hate it or love it . . . Saxon Math!  So far it is working really well for us, but I'll be honest - I was tempted by Teaching Textbooks.  D and D will be finishing up Saxon 3 (hopefully by October) and starting Saxon 54.  H will be finishing up Saxon 1 and will start (probably around January) Saxon 2.
This has been one area that I have struggled to find a curriculum that really works for us.  No joke I used three, count them, three different spelling curriculums last year.  So, for the upcoming year, D and D will be starting Spelling Power.  H will be using All About Spelling.  I used this last year with D & D. (It was the third one)  Honestly, it is a great curriculum, but the older boys just don't need all the bells and whistles that come with AAS. 
Once again, this will be something new for us.  The older boys will be using BJU Press Grammar 3.  I really like that this switches back and forth between grammar and writing.  This is totally new for us so we will see how it goes.  We might switch back to what we used last year (and loved) - Growing With Grammar.  The only reason we are switching is because GWG doesn't cover any writing and I struggled to find a stand alone writing curriculum that I loved.  If we do switch back to GWG, I will probably use Writing With Ease for the older boys writing.  This was a really hard choice for me!
H will be using First Language Lessons.  I am really excited about this!  I bought this last year to use with D and D, but it was a little too simple for them.  I think it will be just perfect for my little man.
Everybody will be using Handwriting without Tears.  D and D will be using the cursive book and H will be using the print book.  Again, this is new for us!
This is another subject where I am planning to keep using what we used last year.  The older boys will be in Wordly Wise 3000 3rd grade and H will be in Wordly Wise 3000 Kindergarten.  I feel totally obligated to state that Wordly Wise is fantastic - starting in Grade 2.  The kindergarten and 1st grade books are totally useless without the teachers stuff (which is outrageously priced) and even with it - it doesn't offer much.  I am only using it because I already had it.  In my eagerness last year, I ordered both kindergarten and 1st grade.  If I had it to do over again, I would not.  Just my opinion!!!!
Everybody will be using Explode the Code for phonics.  D and D will start the year with book 5 1/2 and H will start the year with book 1 1/2.
As for reading, H will be finishing up Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and using Sonlight Readers 1.  D and D will be using Sonlight Readers 3.  (Please note that these readers are included in our history core that we will be using.  I did not have to purchase them separately!)  I am excited and a little nervous about the readers that the older boys will be using.  They go along with our history lessons so I really hope that the boys find them enjoyable!!
And of course library books!!!  We love the library!
We will all be using Sonlight Core 3.  We will supplement this with History Pockets Native Americans and History Pockets Life in Plymouth Colony.  I am hoping to keep us all in the same core for this year and next year.  After that, I am pretty sure that I will have to split the kiddos up and do 2 different cores.  I am putting that off for as long as possible.  If you are not familiar with Sonlight, it involves a lot of reading.  Alot.  Don't get me wrong, I love it - that's why I keep using it.  However, the thought of doing 2 different cores just about gives me a heart attack.  I'm just sayin'. 
Okay, this year we will be using something old and something new.  We will continue with Maps Charts Graphs for D and D.  And H will start his Maps Charts Graphs.  The new part is Trail Guide to US Geography.  Like I said, this one is totally new to me and honestly, I haven't even gotten it in the mail yet.  So I think it looks really great, but we will have to wait and see if I really like actually doing it!
Um, well, um, I still don't know.  Horrible isn't it?!  I know! I know!  If I plan on starting school in a week, I better get on it.  I just can not decide.  I really like Real Science 4 Kids but for some reason I just won't let myself go ahead and order it.  I also keep thinking about Alpha Omega Life Pacs, but I just can't get comfortable with that choice for some reason. I would love some opinions on this!  Comment away!
Art, Music, Health, Critical Thinking
I hate lumping all these together, but let's face it - this post was getting long.  Real long.  Anyway, here they go in good old fashioned list form . . .
Health - Good ole Abeka (I just linked to the 1st grade book.  The older boys will be doing the 3rd grade book.)
Critical Thinking - Mindbenders
So there it is - our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year.  Well, this is what we are going to start with.  Undoubtedly, I will end up changing some, dropping some, and adding some new ones. That's the way it goes!

I just linked this post up with the Not Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter.  So, hop on over and check out everybody else's curriculum!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

This post is now linked up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  Check it out to see what everybody else will be using this upcoming year! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010


What color are your socks right now?   No socks for me!  Love, love, love some flip flops!

What are you listening to right now?  My husband and kids are watching America's Funniest Home Videos in the other room.  And now that I think about it, the tv is really, really loud for some reason?!

What was the last thing you ate?   A Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bar.  Seriously, only 1 point?!  How is that possible?

Can you drive a stick?   Not if you would like for the car to continue to work. 

Last person you spoke to on the phone?   Tina - She was calling about having little man spend the night.

How old are you today?  31 - for a little bit longer!!!!!

What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?  Easy question - Alabama football!!!  ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!!

What is your favorite drink? Caffenine Free Diet Mt. Dew and like Carrie - I love, love, LOVE Starbucks' White Chocolate Mocha in the winter!  (nonfat but with the whip - I know it doesn't really make sense, but that's what I do!)

Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes

Favorite food?  Does ice cream count? I believe it is totally impossible to eat too much ice cream.

What is the last movie you watched?  Unthinkable - good but disturbing.

Favorite day of the year?  Christmas Day

How do you vent anger?  Well, usually, I can really contain myself and I would probably just talk to my husband about how frustrated or angry I was about whatever the situation.  But, since we have been playing allstar baseball . . . I might vent some anger by plain ole fashion yelling at the umpire.  I'm just saying "might" not at all that I did that because seriously, someone like me would NEVER do something like that! :-)

What was your favorite toy as a child?  My cabbage patch dolls.  Loved them!

Favorite Season? Fall!

Cherries or Blueberries?  Why do I have to choose?  Love them both!

Living situation? Yeah, I'm confused with you, Carrie, ... I'm going to say "married"

When was the last time you cried?  Crying is not something that I do frequently.  I don't know why.  However, I did shed a few little tears (Oh, okay fine - I was crying like a baby) while watching a DVR'ed (is that how you spell that?) episode of Extreme Home Makeover.  The mom had terminal cancer. . .  

What is on the floor of your closet right now? Shoes, shoes, shoes

What are you most afraid of? Snakes! and the dentist!

Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?  Cheeseburger

Favorite dog breed? Not that big of a dog person - I know, I know.  However, I always had a boxer growing up so that's probably my favorite.  We have a mutt right now that I like alright! :-)

Favorite day of the week?  Sunday

How many states have you lived in? Two - Alabama and Florida

Diamonds or pearls?  Diamonds!

What is your favorite flower? um. . . . lily

Did you get an H1N1 vaccine? No - No matter how hard the government tried to convince me that I had to have one!

So I got this from Carrie, whot got it from Amy, who got it from Marsha, who got it from Meredith, who got it from someone but I'm gonna stop with four! ... Come on! You know you want to join in, too!

Celebrate! Celebrate!

Boy have we been celebrating in this house lately!  You might remember from this post that my sweet middle man made the biggest decision of his life a little while ago.  Well, we were able to confirm that decision with the act of baptism this past week.  To make it all the more special, Drew was baptized in the new building that will house our church.  Here are some pictures from his super special moment!
He refused to take off his glasses!  I have no idea why! 
So literally we had to leave right after Drew's baptism to head to the state baseball tournament for my littlest man.  I had already sent him with another team mate so that he could get warmed up and we arrived about 15 minutes before game time!  They won that game and made it all the way to the championship game on Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, we didn't win the state tournament, but we did come in 2nd!  Reason enough to celebrate for me!

As if I needed any more reason to celebrate - I have just about finished ordering all of our school stuff for next year!  Estimated first day of school in the Strickland home . . . July 19th!  WooHoo!


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