Friday, August 31, 2007

Our Homes (with children in them)

I read this poem this morning and wanted to share it.

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there;
Ours boasts of it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.
For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors;
I should apologize I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children,
And we played & laughed & read;
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to
Choose the one job or the other;
I want to be a housewife...
But first I'll be a mother.
-by Cindy Jacobs

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Really cool animal sounds

I am reading "Little House in the Big Woods" to the kids. Today we read chapter 2 and there was a story about a panther that was screaming. The kids were wondering what that sounded like. So, (thank you Lord for the internet) I got online and found this cool site. It'll almost scare you just hearing them. There were lots of other animals on there as well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Free Copywork

wanted to share some free copywork links with you. I like to use these when I'm in a hurry and don't have time to dig through something they are doing to find something to copy. Some of them are also good if you are looking for something to memorize. Some of these sites also have free alphabet practice sheets. I hope you find them helpful.
Check out this blog for tons of resources about every subject. Scroll down in her blog for lots of copywork links.
Some of these sites also explain why copywork is important and what your children will learn from it. So, even if you are not yet doing copywork you might want to check out these sites.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Everything by Lifehouse

Check out this awesome youtube video. It gave me chills. My kids have been learning about temptation, so I'm gonna have them watch this later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Things I Should Have Done

I just thought I would share with you some weaknesses in our previous homeschool years that we are now going back to correct. I hope this helps you not to make the same mistakes that I did.
Sight Words and Spelling. We did a lot of phonics. I thought if they learned phonics that they would learn to read and spell. While phonics is very important, they still really need to learn sight words and have spelling. You can use spelling curriculum or you can use words they have misspelled or didn't know in their reading. I recommend using sight words as spelling words while you are learning them (kind of kill 2 birds with one stone). Do an internet search for Dolch word lists and Dr. Fry's instant words.
Dolch -
Dr. Fry -
Math Memorization. I thought if my children understood the concept and had lots of practice everything else would fall into place. I do think that learning the concept first is key, but the definitely need to memorize addition and subtraction facts, skip counting (by 2's, 5's, 10's, etc.) and multiplication tables. Work on memorizing this stuff and test what they know by doing timed math drills. I like . I started by having them do a sheet and seeing how much time it took them, then having them try to beat their own time. I think this is a less intimidating way for them to do it.
I also wish I would have had them do more creative writing and copywork. I had them do their handwriting workbook and that was it. So now we are really working on creative writing. They are doing a lot more writing this year.
I wish I would have had them read aloud to me more often. KH reads very well. KG reads lots of words very slowly and I have noticed the more I have her read aloud to me, the better her reading gets (Fluency).
I really am focusing on catching up in these areas before we move on this year. Of course that's part of the beauty of homeschooling. If we get behind or spot an area of weakness, it's not too hard or time consuming to catch up.
I hope that helps.

Finding or Losing Faith

"So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17
I found a great website . It has daily devotionals and all kinds of other good stuff.
I'm always looking for ways to get deeper into the Word. Like using my concordance, lexicons, dictionary, etc. On this particular subject Lara uses a Thesarus to look at opposite words. It is very eye opening. I hope you find it helpful. Follow this link to this devotional .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Good Word

I wanted to share with you a really good word from LeslieN ( ).
She has a daughter with Downs who has had many health problems and is facing her best friend and neighbor for I think 18 years moving out of state. What she has to say really touched me. Be sure to visit her blog.
"I find myself reflecting on so many things. It seems that every place holds a memory - from our homes to roads we've travelled, times we've shared and places we've been. Memories keep flooding my mind - many of them from long, long ago. We've watched our children grow up - and had planned on doing it until we were old. *sigh* We've done a lot of growing up ourselves. I really don't understand God's plans. That is true for much of what has happened over the last 8 months though. Don't get me wrong - I can see good that God has wrought through this. I am thankful for the ways that He has blessed me in the midst of this time. I just wish that it hadn't all been like this.
I remember hearing a speaker (Sally Clarkson) talk about her daughter going through a trial and hearing God ask her if she would rather her daughter be deep and godly or shallow and happy. Yes, we all want deep and godly. Yet most of us don't want to walk the path to get there. Who would? While I think we do look back and are thankful for the path and it's results, but it is still hard to walk it. I also remember my not so godly response as I turned to Catherine after hearing that question and said that I was voting for some time of shallow and happy. This was in March - I had been through a very difficult last three months and heart surgery was still looming in front of us. I didn't want to be shallow. It just seemed that happy came with no worries or cares. I wanted happy - but is that really what I wanted?
Or am I looking for joy? Something much deeper and richer than just being happy. Something that isn't a result of the circumstances of my life, but rather is a result of God in my life. Yes, I think that's it. I want joy. My sweet Eliana Joy is a good reminder to me of that. I'm guessing that she will continue to remind me of so many things. That she will continue to teach me many things including what really is important. Lessons I thought I had learned, but clearly not to the depth that I needed.
I know that through all of this, that God desires good for us. I only wish that it were not so very different from the good that we desire for ourselves sometimes. Doesn't that sound awful?! Like a small child demanding my own way. I know that God can use this for good in us - but why does that so often involve pain?
I remember many years ago when Catherine and I were doing a Bible study together. I think at the time we had only 2-3 young children between us (We have 10 now.) and we weren't yet neighbors. We were talking about people that had a deep faith and how so often it seemed that this came through trial. We both observed that we really hadn't had much happen in our lives in the way of trial. We both desired a deeper faith - but honestly didn't want to go through fire to have to get it. We wondered if this was wrong - to want the benefits without the work. I don't think it was wrong to want it that way - it's just a natural response. We all long for a deeper walk with God. I wish that it could come without having to be broken. Pain leaves such deep marks - holes even. Maybe though we can't have joy without having the holes that pain causes. Maybe joy can only flood into our spirits when there is room. Room that can't be made on our own. Perhaps the happiness that comes with being shallow is because there is no depth for the joy to pour into. I'm not sure. I pray that I would leave myself open to God - to flood my heart with His joy, peace and love.
I am abundantly blessed and yet my heart just aches. I have joy and hope in the One that loves me. I know that trusting Him does not mean a life without pain - even Jesus had much pain in His earthly life. I know that loving and serving Him does not mean a life without heartache and sadness. Jesus experienced this too. I am thankful for a Father that loves me so very much. I can't imagine walking this road without Him!"
With love,
I hope that touches you the way it did me. It really made me think. Do I want to be happy and shallow or deep and godly? What am I willing to go through to get to deep and godly? What a powerful word!

Kids Room Cleaning Zones

I read this on a website yesterday. I think it may have been . I decided to try to implement it. I think my kids will be less overwhelmed. It breaks their rooms down into different zones that they clean each day.
This is what I came up with for my 9 year old twin girls shared bedroom:
Monday – Laundry – Take all of your dirty clothes downstairs and sort them. Put away clean clothes (ask Mom if you’re not sure where they belong). Take out any clothes that you know don’t fit or are torn and give them to Mom.
Tuesday – Dressers – Clean off the top of dressers. Straighten drawers.

Wednesday – Toy Boxes (Barbie box, Dress up box and toy box) – Remove any toys that are broken and bring them to Mom. Take out anything else that doesn’t belong in them and put in the correct place.

Thursday – Bed – Clean out from under the bed. Put anything that doesn’t belong in the correct place. If your covers are messed up, then remake your bed correctly.

Friday – Chifforobe - Straighten drawers and shelves. Remove anything that doesn’t belong and put away. Make sure the door will close.

Saturday – Floor – If you keep up with your other chores daily and keep up with minor daily maintenance, the floor should be easy. Place dirty laundry in baskets; throw away trash, put away toys, clothes and shoes.
Bench – Make sure throws and pillows are where they belong on the bench. Fix canopy over bench.

Daily –
Keep a trash can with a bag in it at all times. Throw trash away as soon as you see it. Empty trash as soon as you see it is full.
Always put dirty clothes in the basket as soon as you take them off.
Put away toys and books as soon as you are finished using them.
Make your bed as soon as you get up.
When you leave the room and when you first come back in pick up what you see is out and it will not get messy.

This is for my 5 year old sons room. Of course someone will have to read it to him and help him implement some of it.
Monday – Laundry – Take all your dirty clothes downstairs. Make sure your clean clothes are in thebasket so Mom can put them away.
Tuesday – Red Toy Box – Make sure there is nothing in there that does not belong, if there is, then put it away. Take out broken toys and take them to Mom.
Wednesday – Blue Toy Box - Make sure there is nothing in there that does not belong, if there is, then put it away. Take out broken toys and take them to Mom.
Thursday – Beds – Clean out from under and behind your beds. Put everything where it belongs. Ask for help making up your beds.
Friday – Trunk & Dresser – Clean off your trunk and dresser. Put everything that is on them away.
Saturday – Closet – Make sure there is nothing in there that does not belong, if there is, then put it away. Straighten it up so it looks nice.
Daily –
Make your bed every morning before you come downstairs.
Put your dirty clothes in the basket when you take them off.
Put your toys up when you are finished playing with them.
Every time you leave your room and when you first come back in pick up whatever you see in the floor.

Who knows, if I find this works well for them, I may try it in my own room. I definitely feel less overwhelmed when jobs are broken down into smaller tasks for me. It makes it seem more attainable than to think I have to have the whole house done all at once or even that I have to finish the whole room at once. Besides, if we implement this and follow it, the rooms shouldn't really even get very messy

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Parenting Just Isn't Easy

I just want to share something that is on my heart about parenting. Ok, here's the major revelation...........It's not easy. Shocked aren't you?
Here's my point. Yes, there are people who are just naturals at it, but they too have bad days. You know we even think it should be really easy to have a close relationship with our children, that we should know them better than anyone else does just because we carried them and gave birth to them. Here's the problem with that concept. It doesn't take into account how busy we are, especially as homeschooling mom's. You know, I have recently shared with you that I am having to work on winning my children's hearts, because at some point along the way I began to lose them. I know why it happened. It happened because of busyness and responsibility. Between, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, bill paying, errand running, training, disciplining, mothering, wifing (don't think that's a word, but you know what I mean), laundry, refereeing, etc. I began to lose their hearts. Does that mean I wasn't being a good mother? Of course not, they are very well taken care of. All of their physical and spiritual needs are met, just not their emotional ones. So what does that all mean? It means I have to work at it and that's ok.
My point is, don't look around at all the "supermom's" who seem to have it all together and measure yourself. For years I felt insecure in my role as a mother. I felt totally inadequate. I had a messy house, depression, problems in my marriage (my fault) and major anxiety, but my friends thought I was "supermom". They said they would never have guessed what I was actually going through. From the outside our marriage seemed to be working better than just about anyones (I do have an amazing husband, Thank you Lord), my children always looked so cute and were so well behaved and I always seemed so put together and like I had it together. Obviously, looks can be deceiving.
Just don't let the enemy make you think, that because it doesn't all come so naturally and that you acutally have to work at it and don't always get it right, you are not a good mother. I don't know if that was clear or not or if anyone needed that right now, but I felt like it was what the Lord wanted me to share.
Just remember that God blesses obedience and sacrifice (and He knows our motives), and obviously if you are home with your children you are sacrificing and being obedient. Don't let the enemy steal the peace and security that comes from the Lord!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sharing About Anxiety

Pretzel Family

Aug. 8, 2007 - Finally Shared!!
I had the opportunity to share my testimony about the Lord freeing me from anxiety with a young friend. I didn't get into a really detailed conversation about my past, but I shared the major stuff and all of the things that I had to do in order for the Lord to free me. I shared about releasing control and trusting the Lord. I also told her that praying about it and claiming a few verses was not enough for me, the only way that ever worked was if I prayed, claimed and read the Word all the way through. What I mean is I couldn't just say a prayer and repeat a couple of verses and have it immediately go away, but if I stayed persistent and prayed, claimed and read without ceasing until the anxiety was gone, then I felt peaceful. Then I felt victorious and it would always be a longer stretch of time before it would happen again. I had to do that so many times and I had to remind myself that at least for a while the harder I fought with the Lord's help the harder the enemy was going to fight to keep me in that bondage. I hope to one of these days be able to sit down and spill it all and really share a detailed testimony of what the Lord has delivered me from. For now though I'm just excited that God gave me the words when I didn't think I had them and even though it was all coming so fast, it still made sense to her.
So, please continue to pray that I will feel more and more confident about sharing. Because, I feel that so many women (mom's especially) are secretly fighting this same bondage.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Capturing Your Child's Heart

Here are some things I already knew that were reinforced and some new things that I learned at the homeschool convention about capturing the hearts of our children. The speaker was Christie Berry, see more from her at .
- The only person I can change is me. If I don't have their hearts I need to evaluate what I am doing.
- Get involved, do what they want to do and make sure my heart is in it. They will be able to tell if it's not.
- What behaviors do I see in my child that I don't like are behaviors that I have taught them?
- If I am not obedient to the Lord my children will not be obedient to me.
- If we want to encourage them to change, we should court them and encourage them.
- Don' react to their misbehavior, respond to it instead.
- Let our children see us learning from our mistakes and always say we are sorry and admit our faults to them. If we are not real with them, they will not be able to relate to us.
- Pray for them, pray about how to parent them, pray for there future, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!!!!
- For every negative word you say to them, they need 10 positive ones to make up for it.
- It will be easier for God to win their hearts if I have won it first.
- We should work on having their heart before our focus is on education. They will be much easier to educate if they love and respect us because they know that we love and respect them.
I hope this is helpful. Some of it was convicting for me. I will definitely be working more on this now. If we don't win them while they are young it will be much harder to do it later.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dyslexia (might be a bit controversial)

One of my twins has been diagnosed as dyslexic. She was the 2nd one born and the one who had the most problems in the hospital. They were born at 27 weeks. We began having behavioral problems with her when she was about 3. By about age 4 I knew something was not right. She would not pitch a fit if you told her no or disciplined her, but you could tell her to go get her shoes and it was the end of the world, she would scream for sometimes a couple of hours. So, I began to think that she was frustrated and could not explain to me why. Well, to make a long story short, after a lot of testing and pushing people to help me figure out what was going on, she was finally put into speech therapy with an auditory processing problem. Her speech therapist told me then that she was pretty sure she was dyslexic and at age 7 we had her tested and it was confirmed.
So, we have struggled a lot with reading and math all of these years. Many times I have felt ill equipped to teach her, but thankfully have been reminded often that our state does not recognize it as a learning disability, so the teachers here aren't equipped either.
Anyway, this past Sunday we had one of the Pastor's from our parent church preaching. He preached about God not being the author of confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says "For God is not the author of confusion , He is the God of peace". While we were at church I was applying this to myself. I have lived the last several months in a very confused state about what my beliefs really are. My husband and I have been really searching the word to make sure that we know why we believe what we believe. We have different church backgrounds I grew up baptist, he grew up episciplaean and then became baptist as a teenager and now we are at an inter-denominational church. So, we wanted to make sure our beliefs were based on the truth of the Word and not just what we had been told from the pulpit. That's why I thought the sermon was for me.
Well, I can't tell you exactly when it happened. But, I know the Lord told me I needed to apply that to my daughter and stop calling her dyslexic, because by doing that I am speeking that over her. And He told me that I should start praying to break the spirit of confusion over her.
Okay, here's my disclaimer. I am not saying there is no such thing as dyslexia. I am also not saying that anyone is causing their child to be dyslexic. What I am saying is, this is my personal conviction for my child right now. I am sharing it with you to give a different perspective. Ask the Lord if it is for you. If it is great, if it isn't that's ok, too.
Anyway, I feel now like I need to treat this as if she were sick. I would be crying out to the Lord for her healing and not embracing a diagnosis. Maybe this will really help someone else. I don't know I just know that this is what I felt led to share.
Here is my prayer for her:
Lord, I ask that you will break the spirit of confusion that is over KG, I rebuke the devourer and remind him that he has no place in the mind of my child, for she is Your child first and You will protect her. I pray for clarity for her, that she will see clearly and understand everything that is placed in front of her. That her eyes and ears will be opened to things she has never understood before. I pray for peace in her mind and a calming of her frustrations and I proclaim her the healed of God. Thank you Lord for the cross, Your blood and the healing it offers. Thank You for Your promises. I praise You, Lord and thank You for what You are already doing in her and what You will continue to do. AMEN