Humanity

I imagine most of you have seen the news story about the events last weekend in Waco.
Nine men lost their lives. Countless others were injured.

Photo by Peachy Weasel
photo courtesy of Peachy Weasel

 

As I read story after story, I couldn’t help but think.
Each of those men belonged to someone.
He was a son.
Maybe a brother, or an uncle, or a father.
Or husband.
Certainly, a friend.

Chances are, I would not have approved of their life choices.
Chances are, they wouldn’t have approved of mine either.
Does that even matter?
Does that make either of us any less valuable?

We are the same.
We are mean.
We are selfish.
We are timid.
We are stupid.
We are weak.
We are ugly.

We are different.
We are kind.
We are generous.
We are bold.
We are smart.
We are strong.
We are beautiful.

 

Maybe we should stop looking for reasons to alienate.

Maybe we should start seeing the reality – the humanity.

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And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

This week we wrap up Week 23 of our curriculum for the school year. It seems like this school year is flying by faster than the others. Maybe its because I feel like I finally figured out what I am doing. Maybe its because we are really enjoying the Eastern Hemisphere Core from Sonlight.

Now that we are in the last quarter of this year’s curriculum, it is time evaluate our next steps. After much talk and prayer, Hubs and I still feel that homeschooling is the best option for our family. So, we make plans for the future.

And this is where I freak out. Have you seen the future?!? It is scary! So many unknowns. So much pressure. So many decisions to be made.

It seems that the choices made in the 8th grade can to set him up for success (or further challenges) in high school and beyond. Then we need to figure out when should he do Chemistry? What year would be best for Pre-Calculus? What foreign language to do? When???

Then to wonder…..does this mean the end of having Woody & Tigger do certain subjects together? {sigh} I hope not.

And then to wonder…..how much is all this gonna cost? {gulp}

It seems odd to me that I should ask my 12 year old what he wants to pursue for a lifelong career. I mean….he’s 12. He’s not sure what his favorite food is this week, let alone a career choice. For a lifetime.

Regardless of how ridiculous it seemed, I put on my “academic adviser” hat today. I quizzed Woody about what career choices he might enjoy. We discussed the educational requirements for each one, and generally set his course.

 

SONY DSC
photo courtesy of picjumbo

So, here I sit mapping out a high school trek. High school. Let that sink in.   H i g h    s c h o o l .  My sweet little boy.  High school. I think I may faint.

We have a long way to go, but at our current pace, we’ll be on the other side of those mountains before I know it. But until then, as Robert Frost said, there are miles to go before I sleep.

 

What have been your biggest challenges regarding high school planning? 

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2015 Goals

I’m not one to make resolutions for the New Year. However, I have learned that I don’t do well, or rather, don’t do anything beyond my comfort zone, if I don’t make goals. I don’t want to fritter away something as precious as time. I want to be mindful of where I am spending my time and energy. I want to work toward betterment personally, as well as, for my family.

goal

So here are a few of my goals for 2015 including updates for January.

Scripture Memorization
2 verses/month = 24 verses/year

January Verses

  • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16
  • Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. ~Isaiah 60:1

Home/Hospitality
Try at least 2 new recipes per month. (24/year)

January recipes

  • Nadine’s Filipino Chicken Adobo – an out of the ballpark home run! We all loved this one. I’ll share the recipe in February.
  • Chicken Pot Pie – a winner for the kids. It’s not something Hubs would like, so I made it when he was out of town. I tweaked this recipe to suit what we had on hand. The kids are still talking about it. {wink}

Reading
2-3 per month = 30 for the year minimum
4 marriage books/4 parenting books
Finish some of these books on my “To Read” Shelf

  • Make It Stick (nonfiction)
  • You Are Not So Smart (nonfiction)
  • Writing Habit Mastery (nonfiction)
  • Freakonomics (nonfiction)
  • Mistakes Were Made (nonfiction)
  • Happier at Home (nonfiction/biography)
  • Year of No Sugar (nonfiction/biography)
  • Making Good Habits (nonfiction)
  • Love & Respect (again) (nonfiction)
  • You & Me Forever (nonfiction)
  • His Needs, Her Needs (nonfiction)
  • Boys Adrift (nonfiction)
  • The Teenage Brain (nonfiction)
  • Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child (nonfiction)
  • The Book Thief (fiction)
  • The Lightning Thief (fiction)
  • Wild (fiction)
  • Mom’s Night Out (fiction)

January books

  • Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say (nonfiction) finished 1/21
  • Miracles and Massacres (nonfiction) finished 1/22
  • The Age of Edison (nonfiction/biography)finished 1/30
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming (fiction) finished 1/1

Writing
Let go of perfection.
Your story matters.
Do your best, then click “PUBLISH.”
There is an edit button for a reason.

One Word
I also selected my One Word for the year. The concept is, “Choose just one word. One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.” 

My word was selected to focus my attention on light. To seek light, to be light, to reflect light – therefore to SHINE.

Can I tell you how excited I am about Dayspring’s new line? It goes right along with my word! And, oh my, how CUTE!  Now to drop hints to Hubs…

And now, even though I’m certain there are eleven-teen errors. I’m gonna click “PUBLISH” anyway.

What about you? Did you make resolutions or goals? Did you stick with them?

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How Did You Get Your Kids to Love Reading?

My boys LOVE reading. They go through books at such a rapid pace. Thankfully, I have a couple of things working for me. One, they will read the same books multiple times. Two, they will read each other’s books.

Reading how to home school handles on home schooling 31 days
The “Love to Read” campaign began when my boys were about 6 & 8 they liked reading. However, it wasn’t something they would ever choose to do if they had free time. I didn’t want to bribe them, or pay them to read because that had the wrong motivation that I wouldn’t be able to continue long term. That’s when I remembered a tip I had filed away.

The tip was one I learned from a friend in high school. He shared that he was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was younger and didn’t really like reading. His parents, in an effort to persuade him otherwise, allowed him to stay up as late as he wanted, as long as he was reading. Well, it worked.

The details of how we implemented it in our house can be found here.

If you try this in your house, I’d love to hear about it!

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Tell Me About Book Club

The Kids Book Club was started by that favorite homeschool blogger I mentioned in this post. She started the ball rolling, and a few of us have picked it up and carried it forward after she moved back to Las Vegas.

how to home school handles on home schooling 31 days
Book Club started with about 8-12 kids in each of these groups:

Girls 6-8; Boys 6-8
Girls 9-11; Boys 9-11
Girls 12 +; Boys 12+

There was also a 5 & Under group that was just for siblings of the older groups.

The organizer would collect a $5 family supply fee + $2 per meeting fee. This made it about $20 per year for one child. The funds were distributed to the leaders each month so they could purchase supplies or snacks for the following month. One or two moms would lead each group. So in ways, it was similar to a co-op. Only we just did one “class.” We met the fourth Friday of the month for one hour during the school year. (Taking off for November and December due to holidays.)

The years before I was the leader, the boys read several of the Wishbone series books. Both of my guys really enjoyed those, but they were sometimes a bit beyond their comprehension. Thank goodness YouTube had old episodes of Wishbone.

I volunteered to lead the Boys 6-8 group for a couple of years. It was a fun time. One year I lead the boys through the “Incredible Journey” books by Connie Lee Berry plus “The Enormous Egg” by Oliver Butterworth. The next year we read the first 7 “Imagination Station/Adventures in Odyssey” books. (For the record, “The Enormous Egg” was the hands-down favorite of moms and boys, alike!)

*I should note, with a large age gap between 6 and 8, we knew there could be a difference of reading ability/comprehension. So the moms in the group agreed that if our children could not read the book by themselves, we would read it aloud.  This allowed all of the boys to have knowledge of the book when meeting for book club.

Each time we met, I had several activities planned to coordinate with the book.

  • Something for them to do while we waited for everyone to arrive – puzzles, coloring sheets, butcher paper to color or write on, and once I taped the butcher paper to the underside of the table to mimic “cave writing.” Because waiting quietly in a seat until it was time to begin, did not work for boys!
  • Talk about the book, talk about what life is like wherever the book was set, talk about what kids their age do for fun wherever the book was set.
  • A craft.
  • A snack.
  • A science experiment, if applicable. (The Incredible Journey books all had a quick science experiment in the back of the book that correlated to the story some how.)

As an example, for the “Knights in New York” book, they were able to write “graffiti” on the butcher paper that was over the top of the tables as they arrived. For our craft, the boys built skyscrapers out of toothpicks and mini marshmallows. As a snack, we had apples to represent The Big Apple. The science experiment with pennies and vinegar showed how corrosion changes the color of copper ( i.e. the Statue of Liberty.)

I didn’t have much experience with the other groups. I know some of the girls groups read the Gooney Bird Greene books, and the American Girl books. Because we met in a church facility, we were asked to steer away from books with magic and such, however if given the opportunity, I think the Magic Tree House Books would lend well to a book club for both boys and girls under 10.I think the older boys read Chuck Black’s Kingdom Series and The Knights of Arraethtrae Series. Last year, the older kids combined boys & girls. They read a specific genre each month, then when they gathered they discussed their book and gave reviews to the others.

This year, the groups look a little different. Both of my guys are in a 10+ group. They will be reading whatever book they want each month. Then at the meeting they will give a review and share if they would recommend the book to their friends. The boys are excited about sharing some of their favorites, as well as, learning about new books they’ll want to read.

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