Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time as a Family

Probably my favorite thing about homeschooling is that the girls are able to spend time together. Our oldest always comments on how cute the baby is and how much she missed out on when she was in school. I like the time we have together as a family.

Honey pot Ants and Oobleck

We have found some great documentaries at the library, and one was about ants. The girls were fascinated by the honey pot ant that uses members of the colony as living food storage. BBC made a whole documentary about them called Empire of the Desert Ants in 2011.

We also made Oobleck with cornstarch and water, and with soap. It was very fun, but very messy.

Trusting in God during these Miscarriages

In August, we found out we were expecting again, only to find out at our 8 week ultrasound that we would miscarry. Then, in October I found out again that I was expecting. It made the previous miscarriage easier, because I thought maybe God just scrapped the first model for a better body for our baby. I also felt that this one was a boy (a strange thing in a house with 5 girls).

I was taking a test every week, and three weeks went by with positive results. My heart started hoping again. Then, I took another test and it was negative. I was devastated, and cried a lot...and listened to Lauren Daigle's "Trust inYou" song on repeat. A friend shared a scripture that has really helped me: Hosea 11:3-4 "Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down and fed them."

I know God is a tender parent, and hurts when we are hurting. Just as I scoop my baby up in my arms and kiss her cheeks when she tumbles, God is seeking to comfort and strengthen me. I have felt my heavy heart lightened and my faith increase. I know that someday God will wipe away all the tears from our eyes (Revelations 21:4) and all will make sense. This picture of Ryan cradling his daughter warms my heart... I am sure God is even more tender to each of us.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Enjoying Nature

We have relished the autumn weather and took several hikes up the mountains. I feel the girls are more rejuvenated when they get some healthy exercise outside. We found different leaves, several galls, birds' nests, and interesting mosses. They were so happy to pick snake grass, catch grasshoppers and throw rocks in the river. John Muir, who helped convince Teddy Roosevelt to structure the national parks, said "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
I feel this is important in schooling too -- children need time outside, being able to run around... more than 15 minute recess.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Effort to Journal Record our Homeschooling Journey

Hey. This is my attempt to keep track of what we are learning with homeschooling, and see if any of what we've done is helpful to others.

We decided to home school this last summer, after our oldest finished first grade. I'd become disenchanted with the public school system -- our daughter's impression of school was that she had to spend a lot of time with her head on her desk waiting for other students to finish their worksheets. Recess was always her favorite part of the day, and it hurt to think that was only 15 minutes of being outside each day.

We chose to do year round homeschooling, making learning a part of our every day routine. Though I do not always get in all that I want to, I am still pleased enough with the results that we are sticking with it. These are some of the things I like about homeschooling:

1- I get to be with my girls. Some parents sound so relieved to send their kids away from home for a little bit, but I found it more stressful actually. I liked to make her home-made lunch, so I was always having to get up and make sure that was made, and then I missed her during the day, and when it came to pick her up, it was always right when someone needed a nap. It's easier for me to have them all home -- noisier, but easier. I love being involved in their education, because then I can remind them or tie things in later when we see an example of something we've learned.

2 - I get to incorporate religious learning into their day. I try to have a morning devotional each morning where we read from the scriptures, and I've been amazed at how well the girls have been able to memorize scriptures even at a young age. I've picked short scriptures that I feel have helped me, ex. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7. I love being able to answer my children's questions about God and life right there, because they crop up during every day activities.

3 - My kids get to have a lot more time outdoors. When your eyes are looking for learning experiences, you'd be surprised how much biology is right in your own yard. This summer we've found a horntailed woodwasp, a tiny green cuckoo wasp, a cicada just emerging and pumping up its wings, a yellow finch that flew into the window and died, ant colonies, worms, swallowtails and more.

4 - I like that my girls have more time to learn homemaking skills. I've known to many people in college who cannot do their own laundry, keep their rooms clean, cook decent meals, or balance their finances. It is my hope that my girls will have all these skills well established when they leave out home.

5 - There is more time for art and music lessons. Our daughter's school only had art during the fall, and then no funding for it to continue. My girls love to draw and paint, and play with play-dough. I feel that creativity is an important part of education, and time is needed to do those things.