Our Homeschool Curriculum: 2017-2018

Our Homeschool Curriculum 2017-2018

Homeschool “Christmas” in May

As we’re coming up on the summer, many homeschool families have already been busy selecting, ordering, and planning their homeschool curriculum for the upcoming school year.

Our Homeschool Curriculm 2017-2018

Box Day!

I fall into this category; let’s face it, I love looking at anything that has to do with books and learning.

Changes Happen

For the last two years we have been involved in a Classical Conversations Community, and while it was a great fit for a while, I realize with the changes happening in our family, it is no longer going to be feasible for us.

This led me to look at other curriculums that were better for us during this season of life.

After much prayerful consideration, and hours of researching different possible curriculum packages we decided to continue with CC memory work during our morning routine, and begin My Father’s World: Exploration to 1850 as our spine.

There are so many great books included in this session of the family cycle–which, by the way, I absolutely adore how MFW has a cycle that includes the family–and knowing I don’t have to add anything to it, because it is all included in the package, gives me an extra little pep in my step.

My eldest loves to study history, so it is great to see how excited she is to dive into learning about the early years of our country. She’s equally excited about delving into Botany later in the year. It’s going to be a great experience for our family, and will really focus us on things we might otherwise skip.

I personally am excited about the read-alouds and the book basket. These are things we have always done in our homeschool, but this time I don’t have to search for books that coincide with our studies. MFW has done that work for me. *Inserting a happy dance here*

Go With the Flow

While technically being new to MFW we should begin with Exploring Countries and Cultures, we decided to begin during the time period we’d be studying in CC. We’ll then continue on with 1850 to Present. Our plan is when our eldest is in eighth grade we will study ECC. This will bring my son (who will be entering second grade at that time) into it at the beginning of the cycle.

Our Curriculum 2017-2018-Kids-Wellofaith.com

One more reason to love homeschooling. I get to decide what would work best for my children, because I know them and understand them.

At least as much as anyone can understand their children–especially with “tweens” and “threenagers”.

We’re officially finished with school for the year, but since we are year-rounders, we’ve just moved on to something new and exciting. We’ll officially begin MFW the first Monday after the Fourth of July.

Until then I’ll just (im)patiently wait to begin. 🙂

If you’re a fellow homeschooler, what curriculum have you chosen for next year?

 

Blessings,

Sare Signature

 

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The Words We Use

An Invisible Weapon

As a child I remember hearing the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

The problem is, words can hurt.

They can leave scars no one can see.

Unlike sticks and stones, the damage done won’t leave visible bruising to the body; Neighbors, friends, family, and teachers won’t see the injuries.

That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there.

It doesn’t mean the wounds aren’t real.

Words are the invisible weapon that can do lifelong damage and never heal.

It is not what goes into the mouth the defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. –Matthew 15:11

I’m Going to Be Real With You

My children have these unseen injuries, and I’m the one who caused them.

How’s that for real?

the-words-we-use-hurt-bear-wof.c.jpeg.jpeg

I can try to rationalize the circumstances when I used words as weapons against the little people God has entrusted me with; it won’t make a bit of difference.

The fact is, I made HUGE mistakes.

I spoke in anger and frustration instead of love and respect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

My tone caused as much damage (if not more) than the words I used. Maybe I could pat myself on the back and say, “Well, I’ve never called them names.” That means nothing when I know I’ve bruised and battered them with words of indifference.

Instead of praising them for their imaginations and efforts, I’ve asked, “Why would you do that?” Instead of saying, “Thank you for trying to help”; it’s been, “Look what you’ve done.”

These words have hurt them time and time again.

Realizing this now, tears at my heart. I’m bleeding from each of the wounds I caused my children.

The Words We Use--wellofaith.com

I swore I would never treat my children the way my siblings and I were treated when we were growing up. I swore my kids would never have a reason to question whether they are loved.

Yet, here I am.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perversness in it breaks the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4

When my children acted out, I wondered what was causing them to misbehave. I never stopped to consider it could have been my actions and reactions leading to their outbursts. That my words, said in frustration, anger, or disinterest, might have led them to lash out in search of some sort of control.

This family the LORD has blessed me with deserves more than that.

I Can Change

My children will not grow up questioning my love, or remembering only the harshly spoken words.

I will not be the reason their self-esteem suffers, or they turn away from God and family. I will not push them away with my own actions.

Our Heavenly Father knows my sins. He knows my heart, and my weaknesses. He trusted me to raise these children, and I will do my best, and when I stumble I’ll turn to Him.

I will control my words–both the words themselves, and the tone of my voice. I will focus on praise; on building up my children into strong, mature, loving, adults. I will do my best to let them spread their wings, to make mistakes, to be helpful, to explore life, and be the people God created them to be.

Most of All, I Will Pray

I’ll pray for guidance.

For patience.

For understanding.

I’ll pray for a kind tone and a joyful spirit.

I’ll pray for a million questions from my three-year old, so that I may show him through actions and words that he matters.

I’ll pray for my daughter to try new things–even when they involve me sitting back and ignoring the mess, because I want her to see as well as hear how proud I am of her, and how much I believe in her.

Finally, I’ll pray for each and every one of you who have faced these same problems. Those who have hurt their friends, families, and loved-ones with weapons so powerful they can damage people indefinitely.

Heavenly Father, 

I pray today that you help each of us control our tongues. That we may build one another up in this world. That we use our words to soothe and encourage, not to draw blood. Give us pause when we speak, that our children will not be a casualty of our sinful ways. 

Amen.

 

If you feel led, please share this post so it may remind others they’re not alone in their struggles with the words we use.

 

Blessings,

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Our Family’s Bible Verses: 2017

Our Family Verses 2017-- WellOFaith

Making a Prayerful Decision

This year we’ve been having a few problems with our children’s behavior towards each other.

My husband and I realized this wasn’t completely on them, but fell on us as parents as well. Their behavior reflected on how we treated, acted, and reacted to those around us.

We prayerfully decided to choose two verses for our family to not only memorize, but to truly take to heart.

The Lord wants us to place His words on our hearts and carry them with us–remembering them and understanding them.

Place the Lord’s Words on Your Heart

Our Family Verses 2017-1--WellOFaith

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Titus 2:7a

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

One Step at a Time

Every morning we recite these two verses together. So far, both of my children have them memorized.

I on the other hand still need to look at them.

I’ll blame old age. 🙂

We will continue reciting them each morning for the remainder of 2017.

Currently there is still much work to be done, but I know as long as the words are there for my children, in time those words will make an impact in their lives.

And in mine.

What verses do you return to again and again when your family is having problems?

 

Blessings,

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How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper

New Moms Make Mistakes

Nine years ago when I became a mother I never expected to become the kind of mother I am today.

When my eldest was born everything I’d read said to sleep-train. To place my child in a crib in her own room so she could learn to sleep on her own.

She did great, and we never had a problem.

Not So New Moms Make Mistakes Too

When my son was born nearly four years ago we continued on as we always had,  but this time there was more difficulty.

He displayed a need for more contact and more connection. Where my eldest slept in the bassinet beside my bed in the hospital, my son wouldn’t sleep without being in my arms.

Sadly, instead of realizing his needs and accommodating them, I stubbornly trudged ahead. I had college classes beginning three weeks after his birth and anxiety clawed at me. How would I manage the requirements of school if he insisted on being held all the time?

Looking back now, I realize how the choices I made then affect our family everyday.

How I became an Accidental Co-Sleeper --WellOFaith

You Can Teach an Old Mom New Tricks

Last year, when my youngest was born, things were different.

I had drastically changed in the three years since my son was born. The Lord had softened my heart and shined light into the dark corners.

The military base house we live in only has three bedrooms, and the age range is so wide between my children I quickly realized there was no place except our bedroom to place her.

A bassinet was placed on my side of the bed, within quick reach, since we were trying to breastfeed.

After her birth I had severe anxiety, and holding her in my arms was the only thing that calmed me. Feeling her heart beat, and her breath against my cheek slowed the panic that clawed at me. Often this would lead me to fall asleep, content with holding her, and knowing she was safe in my arms.

Years ago I would have made sure she went to bed in that bassinet and slept in that through the night. I would have loved her, snuggled and fed her, and then put her back to bed.

Like I mentioned, I’m no longer that mother.

Returning her to her bassinet started happening less and less frequently.

One night as I snuggled her beside me, and buried my nose in her downy soft hair, I realized I’d been missing out on something amazing. I had been so concerned about suffocating my babies while I slept, that I had denied us both the love and connection we needed.

I had become a co-sleeping parent, by accident–or by His design. Something I never would have considered before.

My prayer that night was one of wonder and thanksgiving. The Lord had blessed me with another little girl, and in doing so, had opened my heart to something new.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

As she has gotten older she has slept in her crib off and on. Each night after she falls asleep between us, we’ll transfer her to her bed. Most nights she will still end up in bed with us again.

Now that she is bigger and takes up quite a bit more space, because she sleeps like I do, our snuggles in bed aren’t always as comfortable or relaxing.

What those nights lack in comfort, they more than make up for by filling my heart with happiness, peace, and the knowledge that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

God has once again changed me. I may be continually sleep deprived, but I’ve got a different kind of connection with my youngest than I ever imagined possible. She is just as independent as her older siblings, but she is happy snuggled against me as she drifts off to sleep.

I’m not sure how things will be as she gets older, but I know this is the path Our Heavenly Father has placed me on.

I will walk it in faith.

Did you co-sleep with your children? What is a memory you enjoy from that time?

Blessings,

Sare Signature

How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper--Wellofaith

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

 This post contains affiliate links. Please click here for our full disclosure

Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable;  when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day.  It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

Sare Signature

Homeschooling: The Right Choice for Us

We know that at this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. I don't pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is our great calling.

This post contains affiliate links. Please click here to read the full disclosure. 

People who’ve known me my entire life were surprised when I announced that at the end of my daughter’s first grade school year we were removing her from public school (PS), and beginning a new journey. We’d decided after a lot of prayer, discussion, and consideration that we were going to travel on the Homeschool Highway (which, by the way is an excellent book).

Our Reason

Many won’t understand this, but even more people will. As a parent it is our responsibility to do what is best for our children. In our case, we felt that included removing our daughter from the questionable curriculum, associations, and experiences she was having in the public school system. As a first grader she had become far more worldly than any six year old should be.

She and I had many discussions about what she wanted from her education, and honestly, neither her father nor I felt she would receive that in the public school environment.

Where public school is not necessarily *EVIL* and works well for many people, our goal was to allow our daughter the freedom to become so much more than we are. We wanted her to have the freedom to become whoever and whatever she wanted to be.

Where We Are Now

Not much has changed since we made the decision to pull her from public school. We knew then as we know now that during this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. She is thriving, as is her brother who has joined her in a life of continuous learning. We’ve been on this journey for three years now, and it continues to bring blessings to our family.

I don’t pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is still our great calling.

Have you made the decision to homeschool your children? What was the deciding factor for your family?

Blessings,

Sare

 

When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.

When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew it all, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate. Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus. My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans. My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

Before the birth of my youngest my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound. The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches, and it was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months. Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the LORD has created, and to truly appreciate it helped to relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me to understand something about myself.

I’m not a perfect parent. In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me. I might have thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent. Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it. Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with three beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous. Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, and cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys. It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have. Our eldest is only nine, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago. Yes, she can play outside without constant supervision, but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored. This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car (see, anxiety). I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children. We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can. Have some people lost their way? Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge. There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen. Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.