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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Oh, if I could only impart the wisdom of Dr.Seuss into the mind of my 7 year old struggling reader. Oh the places he would go!

 He loves the idea of reading but he detests the process, the work, the decoding of words, the making of sentences. He loves stories and living inside stories, it is where I find him most but they are the kind that already live inside his mind, no words neccessary.

How do I teach him to read, this boy that lives in the stories? It is one of the things I admire about his childhood, his passion for stories, for the story. Is it just the age? Or is it something else, something deeper that I can not see and that even he can not understand?

 I wonder if he sees the words differently than they are written… if they appear a little backwards and displaced? I know this is possible, this reading disease called dyslexia.

Or it could just be that this wild soul just needs a little more time to mature in the world of words and reading. I am thankful though, the stories live on in him no matter if he can read or not.. because stories are apart of who he is, because he is surrounded by them and by those who do read and who love to read. He is a lover of books and one day I know he will be a lover of words, a lover of the Word which gives life to all other words.

If you have any encouragement or insights for this mommy-teacher I would embrace them with much enthusiasm!

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Today was our third day back to school in this HOPE-filled 2012. Since we were suppose to be in Costa Rica right now, I had other plans for our little homeschool. I had to re-evaluate our “plans” and make some quick decisions. I am very pleased with how these last three days have gone, very peaceful… not perfect but peaceful, as it should be.

I thought I would share some pictures of our school days and a few commentaries behind the moments captured…
Our days have been full of color and coloring, on paper and on hearts. I am trying a new schedule and a new perspective, it is working well so far. I have made 9-3 my intentional daily school hours… 6 hours of my undivided attention, hours of Momma at your service. I am really striving to live in the story with my characters, to be apart of the learning and the playing, to learn how to live life well and make a mess with out worrying about the clean up part.

Oh, toys, toys, toys… strewn across the home, a path made in joy by the little one year old who finds learning where ever he goes. A mess of joy, this is the life.

 Math is fun around here, crazy I know! Amaris loves her Horizon’s K math worksheets almost as much as she loves the color pink, can you tell? I love her love for learning, she just might pass her less enthusiastic big brother up if he is not careful.

Which leads me to a question… what do you do with a reluctant reader? A fear of words? How can that be, it is inconceivable considering his parents passion for all things word-y and book-ish. Any suggestions? We just moved from 100 Easy Lessons (which wasn’t so EASY with this child) into BOB books because it was just to painful to continue on.

I realized yesterday when I looked over at the chair where Eli and Amaris were doing reading lessons that I am not the only teacher around here. Don’t tell him that though 😉 I also realized that we do school on top of laundry? Whatever works, right?

That is my skirt getting all wrinkled under those reading lessons, wrinkles worth ironing later.

Baby Einstein anyone? I did the unthinkable and let Josai watch a “movie” while I did math and phonics with his brother and sister, gasp! Well, he loved it and we will probably make it a once a week blessing… I can only allow myself once a week though.

Josai and all his cuteness, as I find him often about the day. Soaking in the life in life. He brightens my day!

I know this is the last picture but it was really the first picture from the day… last shall be first and the first shall be last, right? Well, this is a picture of our morning bible reading. We are just simply reading a proverb to the date and then discussing it. It has been very fruitful. I love the interaction and the daily gems we find from each morning’s reading.

Homeschooling these 4 wild souls is an adventure, one that I am grateful to be on. They are my life.

A little reminder to end on… “We learn not for school, but for life.” Seneca

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We started back to school yesterday, our lives are slowly in some ways getting back to normal. Our homeschool is on a bright path into the future and I am excited about my children’s education and not to mention mine, which got me thinking about what education is in our home. I found these thoughts, education in our home is not just found in between pages of books, but in between the pages of our every day lives. Learning through the art of life.

Charlotte Mason expresses this in one of her famous most widely known quotes:

 “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

I am loving as a mother cultivating an atmosphere of beauty, art, and a deep love for learning, a discipline that loves to follow closely behind knowledge, and a life that naturally creates opportunities for exploration and growth.

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Today is our first unofficial day of homeschool. We sat down this morning and went over all of our new curriculum, ideas, calendar notebooks, chores, and expectations for this new year. It will be a short year in some ways. I spoke grace to them and tried to be enthusiastic and not to overwhelming with details they care nothing about.

It isn’t exactly what I had planned for the day, but it is what we are doing. I didn’t get to finish everything I wanted to for our first day (which was actually suppose to be last week). How could we start with out having a traditional first day of school, equipped with a our GIANT cookie and pictures? So tomorrow it is! Tomorrow we celebrate our first day of school, the right way!

Also, I am currently working on moving to a new, prayerfully permanent home. I am hopeful that it will be set up by the end of this month or sooner!

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It’s that time of year again… a kind of a Christmas for homeschooling moms and some wacky kids, like mine ;). School is about to start up again, where as most probably already have all their curriculum in and already planned out the whole year for the procrastinators we are just getting started! After a long summer of working through thoughts and future plans here are some of my thought on our curriculum choices…

Our curriculum choices for homeschool are not based on our familes personality but on faith, understanding, and love. We decide what curriculum to use first and foremost not on which one we “like” but on which one has a correct biblical worldview for our family, I know this can be different from house to house. I personally have come to the point where I realize after years of homeschooling that my children need a firm educational foundation to stand their minds and hearts on and this matter’s I believe because education is a life, it is truly a way of life. We do not fit education in over on the side of daily life… we blend it right in and it becomes our way of life. Our faith is naturally and intentionally ground up in our curriculum choices. My poor children have been tossed to and fro like chaff in the wind from one curriculum to another based on what we liked or didn’t like for so many years, or what did “work” or didn’t “work” for us… which usually just meant it was either easy to use and adjust to our personalities or it was just to hard to adjust to for us… it just didn’t work for us. Not to say we can’t or don’t try to blend in what we like or what works for us but it is not the deciding factor all the time. There comes a point, which is now that we have decided to just be content and make things work for our family. I realize now that I have not been building a solid firm educational foundation for my children by always being discontent, looking for the perfect curriculum for our family. Switching grammer on my 10 year old for the last 6 years has not been fruitful for him… nor myself. Always having to familiarize myself and my son to a new way of learning one subject every year can not be good, I am convinced.

So with that said we, my husband and I together have decided to settle on a curriculum spine, our educational back bone. From this point forward we will be commited to following Veritas Press with a few minor exceptions. For our family, we feel confident in their suggestions and in their statement of faith and worldview… because that matters more than you might think. Remember, education is a life.

I mentioned here about the rather large purple elephant that is present with us at this point and so I have factored it in our decisions for our 2011-2012 homeschool year. I will not be starting any new curriculum with Eli, my 4th/5th grader because he will be going into a spanish language school in Costa Rica next year. I will just be finishing up our curriculum from last year that we didn’t finish. Also, it is still undecided whether or not our 1st grader will attend or not as a full time studen to the school or not, so that is still a possibility.

So here is what I am waiting for to arrive at my door it pretty brown boxes delivered by the pretty brown truck very soon…

1st grade… Horizons 1, which I know is not VP’s choice but it is ours. Horizons is a little more kid friendly in the younger years than Saxon so here is an area where we make a change for something to work for us because after years of trying Saxon it just wasn’t a math curriculum we feel we need to do again, also for math some fact music (to add in a little fun), Shurley English 1A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp, again not a VP suggestion but one I feel confident will be a great Christ centered curriculum to follow, a huge list of literature book by VP along with their First Favorites Guides, Fine Art Primer books from VP for art and a collection of music books for our music study. We will continue to listen to a composer for 6 weeks or so appreciating their gift as well as an artist. We could not afford the Discoveries in Music or Discovering Art from Calvert School suggested by VP for this year nor were we sure how I would use them in Costa Rica practically considering the transition and lifestyle down there. I am still researching art curriculums but we will be using Drawing with Children for sure.

Kindergarten… Horizons K, Phonics Museum K, VP Kindergarten booklist and guides, Big Picture Bible Timeline, Read Aloud OT Collection, We Sing Bible Songs and Drawing with Children for art.

That is the basics. Veritas Press is working on lesson plans for me which is a new thing for me, I usually just make my own. That will be a huge blessing. I am anxious to get a feel for all of our new books and our new school year. I know we will not have it all in by this coming Monday but we will just start with whatever we have, get our feet wet first.

It’s Curriculum Week at the Not Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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Breathing Busy

We are busy around here, breathing life into art… or art into life, which one comes first? I wish I had more time to post my thoughts on it all but sometimes the second hand speeds to the rush of time and we are forced to scurry close behind… so until things slow down I hope to post some thoughts on our homeschool backbone and join the “Not” Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter!

Breathe life, the Life into your home today, for…  “In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28 Remember in all that you live and move in today, He is not far from each of us… He is near so rejoice and dance in His presence…

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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We are at the table this morning, filling white… with color and words and expressing God with our brushes and fingertips.  We are painting our thoughts… blending reality and art. My thoughts are on homeschooling, as are so many other stay at home mothers during this time. The school year is here already for some, coming for others. Our homeschool year is quickly approaching like a freight train and I feel like a car stalled on the tracks of life. I am not even near ready for it to hit us August 8th. This last year’s failures are following to close behind me, painting black storm clouds over us, reminding me that we didn’t finish near where we wanted to and my 10 year old will be going into a Spanish school in Costa Rica next year. I am just using this year to catch up and finish his 4th grade year, I have 4 moths to prepare him. I have a lot of fears for this coming year, fears that I know will melt into the reality of grace and knowing He is sovereign over all things, even my failures as a homeschooling mom.  We are right where we are supposed to be and will continue to persevere in the light of His truths.  I hear these words among my fears and chaos… we are always right where we are supposed to be, where He has us. We make mistakes and fail in our goals but He is never the less always faithful and steadfast in His love for us. I have no worries. I am His, we are His.

Tomorrow I am piling in a car with 3 other ladies, mothers who are on this love journey of homeschooling and advancing the kingdom from the inside out, headed west to a homeschool conference in Houston, Texas. There we will find encouragement, strength, fellowship and laughter… much needed during this time of inner chaos.

Curriculum isn’t cheap. Life isn’t cheap. Education is life. This school year I have found it hard to be frugal with our new spine, our homeschool backbone as far as curriculum is concerned. How do you homeschool on a small budget… diligence and patience.  I have searched high and low and have found much of what I needed a lot cheaper with these two companions by my side. Next week is the beginning of the 3rd Annual Not Back-to-School Blog Hop which I hope to participate in and hope to maybe see you there as well? I love hearing what the Lord is doing in other homes, although I enter with my armor on from envy and discouragement… emotions that can quickly attack us if we are not prepared and content with where He has us even in our homeschool decisions.

Now it is raining outside as colors and life continues to rain inside… and new creations have begun at the table sculpting with solid paint-dough…

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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