Serrefina – 3rd Homeschooler to win Scripts Spelling Bee

Serrefina was the winning word in the 80th Scripts National Spelling Bee. I love to watch this each year and love the prime time showing of the finals – great way to award academics and the combo of ABC/ESPN gives it a true competition feel. How funny to see Mike and Mike as commentators.

The winner was 11 year-old Evan O’Dorney and he was hilarious in that he finds the spelling bee “just a bunch of memorization” and he doesn’t like the spelling bee as much as math and music. Bright and funny, what a combination.


Craft in America – PBS

Okay, I have spent the last 2.5 hours watching Craft in America. This special is on PBS and they have covered many different crafts and crafters in the US. It has been totally awesome to watch and so inspiring. I am in awe of some of the talent that is out there and encouraged that many crafts (blacksmith, glass blowing, wood working, etc.) are experiencing a renewal. One of the couples, the husband suffered a stroke and his right side was affected but he is still crafting and working with just his left side. How touching to watch his determination to continue to work. Okay, my eyes are welling and my brain is in overdrive as I sit and think about some of the projects in my mind.

If you get a chance, definitely check it out.

Homeschoolers – there is additional video online and educational resource guides.

Homeschooling – how I started, what we do and other thoughts

For many this can be a loaded topic, but I do not think that it has to be. 🙂 My friend over at 5 Kids and A Dog, created a meme based on homeschooling. It started with a post from another friend MLBAH and that was prompted by MommyZabs. MommyZabs has also posted a few questions addressing the subject. In the meantime, OnlySometimesClever (I think she is quite clever more than just sometimes) took the topic and ran with it and then Just Enough has linked to that and Bloggerings has added her insight. I share all of that so that if you are remotely considered homeschooling that you will have several wise references in which to start your investigative journey.

Now back to moi….I will combine the meme and questions from MZ into one post.

I have 2 children and the eldest is almost 5 (in July) and the youngest is 3. I always knew that I wanted to stay home until my kids were 5 and then I would return to work. My dh, then fiance, was not keen on stay-at-home moms but God specializes in miracles and now he encourages others to figure out how to live off of 1 income as he thinks it is the next best thing since sliced bread. 😀 I have been home for 5 years and it all started with some health issues with our dd that arose 3.5 months after her birth.

1. Did you always know you would home-school?

Education is very valuable to me and more valuable is learning how to learn. My parents did not go to college yet at the time we were capable of a solidly middle class lifestyle. My grandfather didn’t go to college but he read the newspaper everyday and instilled that in me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. While my parents didn’t go to college they both had common sense and they used that to seek out the best for me. I went to public school but because of my parents and their involvement, I was encouraged to try anything and everything and told that I could be anything that I wanted and I believed it. That drove me and still does as I do not think that anything is too hard or impossible. God did bless me with a brain that took in information like a sponge and as a result I was in honors classes and was exposed to things that other kids weren’t because they were merit based. I had a full ride to college and my parents were very proud and still are and while not initial proponents of homeschooling they both now readily admit how well behaved and smart my kids are, of course some of that needs to be run through the Nana/Pop-Pop filter of they are so cute and can’t do anything wrong. 🙂

2. What led you to the decision to home-school?

As my dh and I looked at the schools in our community, we knew that we were not going to send our babies to public school. Our church had a lot of homeschooling families and I started researching the topic when dd turned 3. I was an eager beaver at that point and would buy all sorts of things that people recommended – good things but things that didn’t work for me. I really started praying that if God wanted us to do this that He would just show us the way. I love reading and had been doing storytime with the kids at the library and decided one day to see what kind of books they had on homeschooling. I was pleasantly surpised that they had a nice selection and I took out a few on learning styles (Cynthia Tobias) and started researching. I figured I needed to know how they learned and how I learned to figure all of this out.

During the same time, my church started a classical education structured school and it pretty much decimated the homeschooling family network at our church as well as the stay-at-home mom network because many of the moms were recruited to work at the school. 😦 The school averages over $6,000 and I told my dh that I thought that was ridiculous for the 3 r’s of reading, writing and arithmetic and they started at the age of 2. I saw a schedule of their day for the 3 year old class and 2 hours was nap/quiet time and then there was 45 minutes for lunch so 3 hours were spent not doing any learning. I really thought about that and how much fun I had being home with my kids and watching their new discoveries and just their inquisitive nature that I really didn’t want to ship them off for 7 hours.

Very important component to homeschooling – husband and wife being on same page if not husband willing to be supportive of wife until without a word wife wins him over. My husband is my biggest supporter. He knows that no matter the current trends that I have researched and prayed and researched and prayed about our purchases before coming to him and he is always wanting to know what I need to make it a success. I think that is very important.

3. What age were your children when you decided to take the home-school plunge?

I started homeschooling with dd was about 3.5 with some easy basic stuff like colors, alphabet recognition and the like. We played, did storytime and took it easy. When she turned 4, we created a bit more structure (if I have none, I am capable of getting nothing done), and started using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and other things that I was finding on the internet. I came up with different scripture for memorization and off we went. Storytime was still 1x a week and we would load up with books at the library. I still didn’t feel completely at peace that I was not doing them a disservice being that I hadn’t purchased a box curriculum set and the like. So, I read Home Sweet Homeschool by Sue Maakestad. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone considering homeschooling.

Now,mind you the whole time I am teaching dd, ds is right there so when he was 2 he knew all of his colors, alphabet/number recognition, scripture verses, etc. so he caused me to do some re-thinking once again. Yes, re-thinking/retooling is a key part to homeschooling. Homeschooling for us is not a thing that we do, it is how we live. I can now turn just about anything into a learning opportunity. That has rubbed off on my dh and he does the same thing. It rubs off on our kids that they immediately start to think about something and then come the questions. At this stage they are naturally inquisitive so encourage that and don’t try to squash it.

4. Did you have any fears? What were they? Were they realized? 6. If you could name one thing that inspired you most to home-school, what was it? 8. Are some of your children easier to home-school than the others? 9. Lastly. Do you feel anyone is capeable of home-schooling? And do you feel every child is capeable of home-schooling? What would be an exception?

I still have fears about homeschooling but I don’t live with a spirit of fear. God has moved me to a place in which I can rest in that this is what He has called me to do and therefore know that He will give me what I need to get it done. This is my inspiration for homeschooling – knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do. It is a sacrifice but as in the Word – obedience is better than a sacrifice. I think that any mom who is led to homeschool can homeschool no matter what her educational background. I say led because if you are not led to homeschool it is like anything else in life, you will not enjoy what you are doing and you will not give it your all. Half-stepping at work will still get you a paycheck but half-stepping at home with the education of your children can have generational impacts far beyond what the eye can see.

As for children, I think all children can be homeschooled because at the core of anything and everything in life is obedience. I have a SIL that was an elementary principal and she would comment how her teachers had to spend 15-20 minutes calming children down. If your child does not obey you at home then he/she will not obey their teacher in school. It is really that simple! Teaching obedience, respect for others and their property, is the responsibility of the parents not teachers.

In terms of some children being easier to homeschool, I would think that if you have a child that has the same learning style as you do then it is easier to teach them because they learn like you and thus your job is easier. However, like Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, Ruth Beechick and Susan Schaeffer Macauley, we should strive to teach via all learning styles not just the dominant. My ds is very auditory, like me, so even if he isn’t looking like he is paying attention, he hears everything that you say and can repeat it back to you. Whereas my dd is more visual/kinetic in how she gathers information and I love how God uses her to stretch me outside of my comfort zone because I want to make sure that she undersands. Is it frustrating, at times, but when she gets it, all the frustrating moments are gone. 🙂

5. Do you know a lot of other home-schoolers in your real-life community? (cyberworld does not count for this question!)

As mentioned earlier, the homeschooling community at my church was decimated but there are few women that still homeschool and I consider them dear friends. Their children are older than mine but they still provide good counsel and serve as great sounding boards. Also, I attend a monthly support group jsut for moms, kiddies are left at home, and our group is on summer break. It is a group of all Christian women and there is a different topic each week. There are quite a few homeschool groups in the area and co-ops and the like and we are in prayer about joining a co-op this upcoming year.

7. How do you choose your curriculum?

Research is key to homeschooling. You will find that homeschool is not as narrowly defined as some would think and that their are anomalies within all of the subsets. I recently went to a homeschool fair for my state and while there were Mennonites, Catholics, Baptists, and a host of others and we all looked different. Nonetheless we were all there with the common goal of giving our children the best. There are choices upon choices for homeschooling and I think defining your educational goals and seeing where they line up (classical, CM, literature based, etc.) will help define your curriculum choices. My advice is to not be swayed that the grass is greener at someone else’s school because of this and that. Each of us is uniquely made as are our children, so keep the uniqueness that is a joy to homeschooling.

While, I could probably go on, I will end here. There are a plethora of homeschooling moms out there and while I do not want this to be a meme, I am going to name a few and if they are so inclined, I do hope that they will share their thoughts and even if they don’t, you have some sites to check out of some awesome homeschoolers – Mother Crone, MuddyBoots, Satisfied Housewife, Classical Reading and Writing (she has authored some awesome copybooks form the classical perspective), From the Narrows, and HiddenArt. There are more, lots more, so tag it and go reading.

Proverbs 30 – what does it say to you!

Everyone knows that the book of Proverbs is full of wisdom and when I am not doing a specific devotional, I often read the chapter that corresponds to the date. As such, today I read Proverbs 30 and I have printed it below with my comments interwoven.

I would love to hear your thoughts and how God ministered to you through this chapter.

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
2Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And I do not have the understanding of a man.
3Neither have I learned wisdom,
Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
4Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son’s name?
Surely you know!

Isn’t God’s power amazing! I love the images that this conjures up – gathered the wind in His fists. Go ahead, make a fist with your hand and imagine, if you are like me you surely didn’t have all of the wind in there, now did you? Awesome, magnificent and mighty is our God!!!

5Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

I am thankful for the periods in my life when my faith was tested because I know that God is truly a shield and while the tests may come, He is right there with me helping me to stand firm. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus!!

6Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

I help lead an inductive BIble study and I am always stressing that God does not need us to add to His word. This passage makes me think of the many false teachers/preachers that are in our midst right now and when the day of judgement comes, they will be proved liars for having added to God’s words.

7Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
8Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
9That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

Most days we are not satisfied with our portion as we want someone else’s portion. God knows exactly what we need and He doesn’t give us too little or too much because He knows the selfish nature of our heart and we will either deny Him and think that we have it all by our own will or we will curse Him because we do not feel that we have what we deserve. What we deserve is death but thank goodness for grace and mercy.

10Do not slander a slave to his master,
Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty.

11There is a kind of man who curses his father
And does not bless his mother.

As a parent, it is important to instill respect in our children. God clearly states in Exodus 20:12 that if we want our days on the earth to be long that we must honor our father and our mother.

12There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,
Yet is not washed from his filthiness.

This was once me! I didn’t feel that I was as bad a sinner as such and such; however God considers sin SIN!!! We often see ourselves in our own mirrors and our mirrors tell us what we want to hear and let us see what we want to see when the truth of the matter is that we are filthy and only God can cleanse us of our filth!

13There is a kind–oh how lofty are his eyes!
And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.
14There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords
And his jaw teeth like knives,
To devour the afflicted from the earth
And the needy from among men.

Arrogance and pride can really hamper one’s walk with the Lord. On a daily basis, we must not think more of ourselves and we must be on guard against that one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy.

15The leech has two daughters,
“Give,” “Give.”
There are three things that will not be satisfied,
Four that will not say, “Enough”:
16Sheol, and the barren womb,
Earth that is never satisfied with water,
And fire that never says, “Enough.”
17The eye that mocks a father
And scorns a mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

Are you the daughter of a leech? You are if your hand is always out waiting in anticipation for people to give you what you think you are owe. The Earth never asks for it to stop raining thus it is never satisfied with water as it could use more. What fire do you know that stops before it has consumed all that it can consume? Once again another parenting reference and this time we are told that if there is an eye that mocks and scorns it will be plucked out and eaten. That’s serious!! From a study perspective, there are a series of 3things/4 things in the upcoming verses. I plan to research further to find out the meaning behind the the 3things/4 things.

18There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
19The way of an eagle in the sky,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
And the way of a man with a maid.
20This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, “I have done no wrong.”

The fourth thing is not understood by many of us – the ways of an adulterous woman. You have to love the imagery of her eating and having a look of total innonence regarding her behavior. Yes, I know it takes two to tango, but women need to own up to their piece of the dance. Suggestive clothing, total disregard for the sanctity and boundaries of marriage, and a sense of entitlement that just because you see it with enough work it can be yours. For some it is a game, just to see if the man will bite from the tree. That question was answered a long time ago in the Garden of Eden.

21Under three things the earth quakes,
And under four, it cannot bear up:
22Under a slave when he becomes king,
And a fool when he is satisfied with food,
23Under an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.

24Four things are small on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
25The ants are not a strong people,
But they prepare their food in the summer;
26The shephanim are not mighty people,
Yet they make their houses in the rocks;
27The locusts have no king,
Yet all of them go out in ranks;
28The lizard you may grasp with the hands,
Yet it is in kings’ palaces.

Oh, to be like the ant and be prepared. I do not want to be a sluggard, Lord help me, help me, help me!

29There are three things which are stately in their march,
Even four which are stately when they walk:
30The lion which is mighty among beasts
And does not retreat before any,
31The strutting rooster, the male goat also,
And a king when his army is with him.
32If you have been foolish in exalting yourself
Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33For the churning of milk produces butter,
And pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.

There is much more to be gleaned from the words in this passage.

The Weekend that was

I have been a blogging bad girl…I haven’t neglected any of you and I have missed you all dearly. 🙂

We headed to North Carolina on Saturday morning (early) because dh had a preaching/speaking engagement. As a prelude to the engagement, the church that he was going to preach was having a neighborhood outreach event so he needed to be there by 11 a.m. He hit me with that surprise on Friday night and he knows I am not the best early person so he was quite pleasant in the morning as he stopped to make sure momma had her coffee and sugar donut fix in order to start the trip. So, with little ones in their car seats and momma happy, we began our 4 hour journey to my in-laws.

I know that you are sitting there thinking – why didn’t she take her laptop. The new laptop has been replaced with yet another new laptop and this one seems to be working much better. I am still not sold on purchases from a computer show but such is life. Either way it wouldn’t matter, because my in-laws live in a rural part of NC so there is no access to the internet and being 85 and 89, they don’t have a satellite connection except for TV. 🙂 My FIL still drives his car locally and he drives this on the street and driveway.
Driving the lawnmower

As dh did outreach, the kids and I headed to the big town area that is 25 miles away and against better judgement, I didn’t go to my normal spot – Roanoke Rapids and boy did I pay, I got lost. 🙄 All that farm land looks the same and my cell phone has spotty service and dh left his phone in the car, so I just did what any woman with sleeping children in the back would do, I just kept driving using woman’s intuition. 😀 Just as I was reaching for my road atlas, I see a nice mail lady and she confirms that I am heading in the right direction and she gives me directions to my destination of Wal-Mart and then the golden arches for lunch. I pull up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and as if on cue, the dc wake up from their slumber and we journey into Wal-Mart for bug spray and a few other items. My dd loves to eat at restaurants, so we dine inside of the golden arches and then head back to pick up dh paying very close attention to the country roads. I must say that the wrong turn that I took led me so far from my destination…amazing. Kind of like life and the path that God has for us versus the path we choose for ourselves.

Of course, I debated about telling the dh because I just didn’t want to hear it being that I snootily told him earlier that I knew how to get there…but, I did tell him and only had to endure 2 remarks. We then went back to the in-laws. Oh, how rude of me, let me introduce you to their neighbors.

And 1 more, so you understand that they live right across the road and are pretty much the highlight of the kids visit outside of Grandma and Grandpa.
Neighbors 3

The kids of course wanted to play as it was way too nice to be inside, unless you are their mother and you are content in the AC crocheting a scarf because you started it on the way down and can’t really put it down knowing that you just taught yourself to crochet. Enough teasing, here is the finished frilly scarf that coils. I used Lion Homespun from my stash and wow was it quick and easy. Crochet is cool!
My cute scarf!

I digressed… 🙂 Here are my bambinos after having removed their shirts because “mommy, it is soooooo hot, can’t we please take our shirts off and run around in our undershirts.” There is only so much of that you can hear before you give in. We do think our daughter has a Michael Jordan thing going on because whenever she is deep in thought/concentrating that tongue comes out, yes, even during homeschool. 😀
What’s with the tongue!
Boy, oh boy

Here is my MIL, I think Tiger Woods better watch out…
She’s on the prowl, Tiger!

We had a great time and God gave dh grace and power to share His Word. We came back home on Sunday night (late) being that we didn’t leave until after 7 p.m. However, it was worth it to wake up Monday in our home and not contend with holiday traffic. My parents came up for the holiday and we had a small cookout with my friend Cheryl joining us. My mom and I with dd headed to Joann’s to enjoy the coupons and I purchased some cute remnants that will become purses and who knows what else. Also, I purchased more fabric to make two patchwork quilt blankets for 2 ladies at church as baby shower gifts. You are wondering, did she finally finish that quilt…drumroll please….

The quilt is done!

There were many lessons learned but that is how I learn so I am glad that I didn’t read anything first but just dove in. Of course, now that I am finished, I may read something or just learn from my mistakes. I like it and I didn’t take the picture too close because I don’t want you to see the mistakes. 🙂

I also found this cute bag for $5 at the thrift store….I love butterflies!
Fly, fly away

Lest, I not divulge everything, I also picked up some yarn last week from Tuesday Morning and it is being knitted into a simple scarf, just no pics yet.

You didn’t think I would end without mentioning NASCAR???? Yes, my darling Jeff Gordon took a nasty hit on Sunday night and it was best that I wasn’t watching being that when I checked out the video on NASCAR, my heart was flipping. You will be glad to know that I have moved into a mother hen role with him now being that he is about to become a dad and I already have a dh and dc. 🙂

There you have it…I have major catch-up to do and some homeschool thoughts to gather….hope you are having a great week!

Homeschooling with teens – positive article

I know some of you are wondering what the kids are learning being that I haven’t posted. Today we continued home economics by going grocery shopping. 🙂

Seriously, we have had a small lull as I have had to get a few thing together and we have been moving at a snail’s pace. I had to provide an incentive for dd to finish the Bob books and that is working. Why a 4 1/2 yo wants an umbrella is beyond me but if that is what takes to finish all 12 books than an umbrella it is. Ds wants an incentive but he is 3 so it is more of I want to be like her and get something, I told him I would think about it (that will buy me about 3 days).

MSNBC has an article about homeschooling during high school. It actually was pretty positive even with the social questions as if being social is the prime reason for high school. Quick, painless read for those that are there and those of us that are light years from there.

FDA approves drug to end woman's cycle

Here is the article for more information.

Growing up, I knew of many young girls (inlcuding myself) that had bad cycles and we would take prescription strength motrin for pain; however, I never thought that I would want my cycle to go away as it is a part of being a girl/woman. Even now, that I can’t have any more children, I still have my cycle because God intended for me to have one and then one day it will go away and that is caused menopause. I am still processing my thoughts on this one, but I must say that I am shocked that this has been approved and will be marketed under the guise of making your life easier by relieving you of monthly discomfort but really it sounds more like population control in that more and more young people can opt out of God’s design for the family – procreation.

Some quotes from the article:

The pill isn’t for everyone, an FDA official said. About half the women enrolled in studies of Lybrel dropped out, said Dr. Daniel Shames, a deputy director in the FDA’s drugs office. Many did so because of the irregular and unscheduled bleeding and spotting that can replace scheduled menstruation.

A study showed Lybrel was just as effective in preventing pregnancy as a traditional pill, Alesse, also made by Wyeth. However, since Lybrel users will eliminate their regular periods, it may be difficult for them to recognize if they have become pregnant, Shames said.

“For women in that situation, I certainly can understand the benefits of taking these kinds of medications, but for most women menstruation is a normal life event — not a medical condition,” said Elson, who researches the sociology of gender and medical sociology. “Why medicate away a normal life event if we’re not sure of the long-term effects?”

Where is our world heading???