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?

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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,

Sare Signature

 

 

 

Joy?

Since my word for 2016 is Joy, I’ve spent more than an average amount of time contemplating what Joy is, and why I need to focus on these particular three letters.

While there are several good words out there I could learn from during the next twelve months (Love, Forgiveness, Understanding, Patience, etc.), they’re not the ones chosen.

Joy.

Such a small word, yet one with so much power behind it.

What is Joy? Is it just a word, a feeling, an action? Are we naturally born with it, or is it something that has to be learned? What does it feel like?

Will Joy teach my heart to feel lighter when it physically feels so heavy? Will it bring a smile to my face when I want to cry? Will it change who I am so drastically that I’ll look in the mirror and wonder who the glowing, happy, smiling person is?

For these first eight days of 2016, I’ve taken stock of each moment throughout the day to see where the Joy might be. Sometimes it seems to be obvious (I say seems to be, because honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever truly noticed Joy the way others have); other times I question if I should consider that first bite of chocolate chip cookie as something worthy of such a powerful word.

I have ended up with a lot of questions.

Is there a gauge for measuring Joy? Is there a wrong way? A right way? Does it come from the inside only, or from outside forces as well? Is it hereditary? Can I share it with others? Once I have it, does it stay with me forever, or do I need to keep searching for it?

As this week comes to a close, I rest my questions at God’s feet. I’m sure throughout the year He will answer several of the questions, while helping me grow and change.

My prayer is that the LORD will use Joy to help me strengthen my relationships, not just with my own family, but with those who are still searching for answers only He can give.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 

–Romans 14:17

 

Sare

I’m Struggling

I knew when I started this journey it wasn’t going to be easy, but somehow I didn’t expect it to be quite so difficult either. My love and Faith in God isn’t wavering–it’s growing deeper and stronger– but I’m floundering. For every step in the right direction I take, I seem to take a hundred steps back the way I came. I don’t want to be the person I was. I didn’t like her much then, and I’m really not a fan of her now.

Why is this change so hard?

The struggle to be a better person, a nicer person, a more caring person it is real. Being selfish is easier. Being selfish is what I’ve always known. In my heart I can see myself going out of my way for others, joining groups to help the needy, being available to help at a moments notice, and always giving of myself. The reality is nothing like that.

My reality has me shying away from groups, and anything that takes me out of my comfortable and set routine. Where I was drawn to be involved a year ago, now I find myself pulling away, putting up invisible boundaries and refusing to cross them.

I want to be able to minister to others, to share my testimony, but I don’t know how. Do I even have a testimony anymore? Can someone as selfish, angry, and negative as I seem to be, really have a joyful testimony of our LORD to share with others?  I’m at a loss for what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m desperate and feeling lost and lonely. I turn to the LORD at every crossing, worship Him with gladness, but still I feel like I’m sinking deeper into some dark void, and I don’t know how to get out.

This year’s One Word is Fellowship– a word I know I’m supposed to learn from. The LORD has a plan, and I just don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’m failing Him. Four months into the year, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t done a whole lot in moving forward with Fellowship, it almost feels like I’m running away from it instead.

Again, I feel like I’m in that dark pit.

Prayers would be appreciated.

Sare

Why I’m Saying ‘No’.

When people hear about homeschool, they tend to ask the question that every homeschooling parent rolls his or her eyes at. “What about socialization?”

Let me put this in perspective for you. First, as the saying goes, “I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my children.” Second, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know I find true discomfort being ‘social’. You also know that I ignore that idiosyncrasy for my children’s benefit.

Obviously we're an un-socialized family.

Obviously we’re an un-socialized family.

My children, but especially my seven year old daughter, have no shortage of socialization. They’re social with children at church, at Awana, at our local homeschool meet-up, and at various play dates. They interact regularly with both children younger and older than they are, as well as adults.

People who have never educated their children at home have a hard time understanding just how many possibilities there are to make sure children get adequate time with others. In fact, sometimes there are just too many possibilities. There is such a thing as too much socializing. Not just for the moms, like me, who find socializing to be more exhausting than manual labor, but for the children as well.

God has called us, as parents, to raise our children, to teach them, and to train them. While that does include spending time running around outside, or playing “Narnia” (feel free to insert whatever imaginary game your children currently find interesting–this seems to be my daughter’s favorite this month) make-believe with friends, that isn’t the only thing. We need to spend time together at home. Our children need to see what it means to be a family. This includes responsibilities,like chores and actual school work. After all, those bathrooms don’t clean themselves.

Normally, we don’t have a problem balancing socialization with our at home studies. Keyword there is normally. This week is anything but normal. In fact this is a week where socialization is threatening to take over our lives. With that in mind I think a cave far away from people sounds delightful. This is where the sometimes magical word, ‘no’ comes in. For both my want of a cave (no, Sare, you can’t run away to a cave), and for adding anything else to our already packed plate.

It’s okay to say no.

In fact, children whose parents say no don’t appear to grow up with extra arms or an uncontrollable need to brush their hair with eating utensils (I’m looking at you, Ariel). At least, not that I’ve ever seen.

Repeat after me: It’s okay to say no.

You’re not a bad parent if you do. Ignore that guilt. Your children will survive if they don’t get to hangout with Susie Q tomorrow. Especially if she already hung out with two other friends this week. Children need downtime as much as they need socialization. Sometimes, I think they need it more.

I’m saying no, because there is so much on our schedule this week we haven’t had a chance to enjoy each other. All our time together feels rushed. We ARE rushed. I homeschool my children, because I want them to have every opportunity to excel and to thrive. I don’t believe a person can really thrive when they are so busy they don’t have a chance to breathe, or process what they’ve already done.

So, I’m choosing to embrace the word no, and I’ve decided I will not feel guilty about it.

At least not too guilty.

In what ways have you embraced ‘no’?

Sare

God’s Garden

I view my relationship with God much the way I imagine the relationship between a gardener and their beautiful garden. I say imagine, because honestly most of my life I’ve had a black thumb and couldn’t keep a cactus alive. Recently though, I’ve managed to care for a bamboo plant and an aloe plant. Much to my joy and amazement they’re both thriving. I see these plants as a direct representation of my growth with the LORD. The more I grow and thrive, the more my plants seem to as well.

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Now, I’m assuming any good gardener would know something about pruning their flowers (I haven’t gotten to this stage with my own plants, and I probably should since the Aloe has multiplied and outgrown its home). As a glorious and blooming flower in God’s garden, I’ve been pruned on several occasions. Many of those times I didn’t even realize happened until much later. A few of them, however, were painful.

When I was in high school, I had my whole life planned out to the very last detail. There was no question in my mind about who I was, where I was going, and who I would be in the future.

Do I even need to say that God was in no way involved with these plans? No, I didn’t think so.

I joined the National Guard at seventeen with the intention of the U.S. government paying my way to a degree in Criminal Justice. I was going to be the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles Police Department, and I was going to make a difference in the world.

Fast forward a dozen or so years to this moment, and laugh with me.

Between the year 2000 and 2015 the LORD did some serious pruning to this little flower. Not only did the National Guard and I part ways early on, but so did my plans of being a homicide detective (let alone the youngest one). Not only did God cut away those plans, but he made a few more snips to dreams and experiences that at seventeen I hadn’t even thought of.

When I was in my early twenties my high school sweetheart and I divorced in a less than amicable fashion. Snip. Before I had time to truly come to grips with the knowledge that I had become a statistic, I was devastated by the loss of my son. Snip. This was a turning point in my life. A turning point that at the time looked like it was leading me down a dark and dangerous path. Snip. Snip.

People grieve in different ways. Some turn to God, some turn to counseling, and some turn to other more destructive means.

I was the latter.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:15-18

Looking back at my choices brings me powerful guilt and shame. It makes me wonder how God could ever have forgiven me, or for that matter how those choices shaped me into the person I am today.

The answer is easy to know, but not always easy to accept.

God loves me (and each and every one of you). All those painful moments, those late nights, those heartaches, and bad choices; the destructive actions, the selfishness and bitterness, the hate and anger, and the reveling in sin and discord those were little bits of me that needed to be snipped away so I could grow into a healthy, happy, and God-honoring woman.

“How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you!'” Isaiah 30:19-22

I’m not a homicide detective, the U.S. government didn’t pay for my degree (in fact I’m not quite finished with my Journalism degree yet, and it’s likely I’ll be paying it off until my children graduate college), I don’t live in Los Angeles, nor do I have any desire to EVER live there, unless that is where the LORD sends me; and if I’m making a difference in the world it is through the raising of my children to be good people who love the LORD and help those who need help.

Every day God continues to prune me. Each day I grow a little brighter, a little healthier, and a little stronger, because the LORD is snipping away the old parts to make room for new growth. I am a beautiful flower in the LORD’s garden, and I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

In what ways has God shaped you?

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

The Well-Trained Mind

Homeschooling is a very new adventure for my family, and everyday we find something new to learn about it. We spent a month working on a unit study of volcanoes and working on a lapbook of them. That seemed to work well. During that time my daughter also worked through Life of Fred Butterflies for her math. We snuck in grammar and history through various things, but I just didn’t feel it was solid enough for us.

So I did what I do.

I read.

At the beginning of this journey I did a lot of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with the homeschool highway. While reading I noticed people talking about “The Well-Trained Mind”, and it didn’t sound like anything I was interested it.

Until, after days of praying for a better way, I was.

So I bought the book and read through the chapters dealing with the Grammar stage. This is the learning stage my daughter is currently in. Then I borrowed the book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I was floored. This is it. This is exactly what I was looking for, but didn’t realize it.

It’s the Classical Approach to learning, and it is what I know in my heart we need. At least for this season. I’ve prayed about it, and like with the knowledge I needed to homeschool, this feels right.

On Monday, we’ll be beginning our first official day of learning in the Well-Trained Mind. We’ll learn from FLL and from Story of the World Volume One. We’ll continue with Life of Fred, and all our reading we do. We’ll begin learning about animals as outlined in TWTM, and we’ll continue to spend time with our Lord.

This is just another step in our learning process. It may not be forever, but it is for this season. I’ll continue to turn to God with my questions and problems, and he’ll continue to guide me along this path for as long as is right.

Do you homeschool your children? If so, what approach do you use? Please share with us in the comments below.

May God Bless You All,

Sare