Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Unexpected Unschooling

Our homeschooling style would best be described as Charlotte Mason meets Unit Studies, with a dash of traditional. We love our My Father's World curriculum, and ,Lord willing, have no plans in the future to switch. 
My love for my curriculum was kind of thrown out the window when due to a medical crisis, we had an unexpected month and half of unschooling, right after an already extended Christmas Break. I spent a lot of time wondering worrying how far we had fallen behind, and if we could ever “catch back up". Our time off from our preferred curriculum has taught me a lot of lessons; the main being that our previous five year of homeschooling has taught my kids to love learning, and Mommy not “teaching” won’t hold them back from that love.

Below is just a small list of what my kids been doing  during unexpected season of unschooling, all without ANY guidance from me (I am sure more was happening that I did not see) : 
  •  Reading...A LOT
  1. “CodeBusters Club” books series, then spent multiple days making up codes and creating decoder wheels
  2.   Classic Books read- “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and "Journey to the middle of the Earth"
  3.   I Survived” Series, great living book historical series 
  •  What the outcome of “Tree Girdling” looks like, and rationale behind the practice (at in-laws tree farm)
  • Identifying dry verse fresh deer tracks (at in-laws tree farm)
  • Composed an original worship song on the piano
  • Used a Math-themed library book to make create a scale from thread, a ruler, and Styrofoam cups
 This post is not intended to compare advantages of traditional versus unschooling (please refrain from commenting with judgment against either), but to encourage anyone who has been FORCED to take some time off of your preferred style or curriculum.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Trading Fancy for Freedom

A little late, but on January 12th we celebrated TEN YEARS in our little 900 sq foot bungalow. If you’ve known me long enough, you’ve heard me complain about my “tiny” house….and you’ve probably heard me say how I also love my house. I am a walking contradiction, this house is my constant battle to learn contentment. Every time I think I have it, it slips away, and I get to learn it all over again. I have no right to complain, but I do. All. The. Time. I complain about not having a dining room. I complain about the ugly carpet. I complain about the tiny living room & the sketchy neighbors.

I have had a love/hate relationship with this house, but it is my manna. My every morning reminder than God provides.

Yesterday, in homeschool we studied the manna God provided the Hebrews in the desert. I tried to describe to the boys how the food of Egypt was no more nourishing than the sweet honey-flavored Manna God provided, it was just fancier, with spices and variety. As I read the Egyptians' groans over missing the food of Egypt, it was easy to judge them. How could they not be content with the simple manna, when fancy food of Egypt came with the high price of their freedom?

Then it hit me right between the eyes, how many times have I given up my freedom for “fancy”? My want for fancier clothes, house, or cars could easily lead us into slavery of debt. A want for a fancier, more exciting life could also easily lead me into slavery to sin, seeking pleasure and identity in anything other than the simple & nourishing life with which God has blessed me.

I’m pretty sure if the Hebrews read my post comparing manna to my little house, filled with a variety of food and all the creature comforts of the modern world, they would probably throw up a little in disgust. I am spoiled beyond belief, almost disgustingly so. Lord, never let me forget the miracle that is my home, my marriage, and my family.

Lord, never let me give up my freedom for the fancy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

How to Make Money from Decluttering

 Decluttering has help me stay organized, changed how I spend money, and given me a peace of mind that comes through living more simply. 

When you begin your quest to delutter, know that it will be a time investment.  Living simply does not come easily for me by any means (seriously, I am not an organized person), but the effort has been well worth the investment  Thankfully, I have found that my time investment not only pays in peace of mind, but can also pay in actual money. 

In the past 3 weeks , I have sold $225 worth of items from basement, which paid for the two new heavy duty shelves, and new storage tubs I bought before the whole process began.

Tips for making money from Decluttering:

1.) If it's worth less than $10, donate it.

REMEMBER, price to sell, or your storing of items to sell is just adding back to the clutter!!!! Price using garage sale prices, if you would not pay more than $10 for it at a garage sale, then it isn't worth it!  Do not be blinded by what you paid for it, that is a one of the biggest obstacles to decluttering! 

I have tried every different online selling site, and anything under $10 is just not worth the headache to me. My time is also money, and the time scheduling pick ups, tracking who is coming when, and storing items until they are bought, is NOT WORTH IT.  

2.) If it's worth less than $20,
do pick up at your house ,or within a few blocks, if you don't know the buyer.

If pick-up is at my house, and I don't know the person, I always schedule it for when my husband is able to be home. I don't sell on Craiglist anymore, only Facebook marketplace.  I love being able to look at some one's profile before setting up a meet, my children's safety the most important thing, and I am not inviting a stranger to my house in the middle of the day when my husband is not home.   I have public library only 3 min from my house, so I do meet-ups there if a stranger can not meet at my home in the evening. 

If over $20, I will travel a little father than the library. I recently drove half hour (only 10 miles, but through busy section of town) to sell something, but it was a $75 sale, and worth it.  I ran errands at stores near the meet-up while out and about. 

REMEMBER, price to sell, or your storing of items to sell is just adding back to the clutter!!!! Price using garage sale prices.

Monday, November 7, 2016

They will know we are Christians. ....

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you ___________________." John 13:35

Let's fill in the blanks with actual markers I have been told prove you are a "real" Christian in 2016:

  • vote
  • vote Republican
  • "defend" your political party
  • share a political views on Facebook
  • don't share political views on Facebook
  • share a Christian post on Facebook
  • don't share Christian post on Facebook
  • sings hymns 
  • sing modern worship
  • homechool your kids
  • send your kids to private school
  • send your kids to public school to share their faith
  • wear Christian shirts
  • don't wear Christian shirts

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

John 13:35
New International Version
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
New Living Translation
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
English Standard Version
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Berean Study Bible
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."
Berean Literal Bible
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another."
New American Standard Bible 
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
King James Bible
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."" 
International Standard Version
This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
NET Bible
Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples--if you have love for one another." 
New Heart English Bible
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Every person will know by this that you are my disciples, if you shall have love one to the other.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pride by any other name....

We dress up pride. We give it acceptable names, fancy names even; hard-headed, stubborn, strong-willed. We parade our dressed-up pride down the red carpet, praising it for it's pretty clothes, seeing a virtue instead of a vice.

Sometimes we dress down pride, giving it the humble clothing of a vulnerable name, insecurity. We pity or miss seeing pride, as it slips by us in a understated, quieter outfit. We adorn it as mask, a hoodie to hide our face, as we excuse seeking our value in other's opinions of us.

Pride is assigning decisions and opinions to others, based upon my ideas or feelings...
they love me,
they hate me,
they love me.....

Pride and insecurity are married, two sides of the same coin.

Pride by any other name smells just as retched.  The smell steals your peace, and replaces it with false assumptions and lies about who you are...who others are....who we are together.

2 Corinthians 2:15
"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

4th grade- Creation To the Greeks

We are in our 5th year of homeschooling, using My Father's World Curriculum. My twins are in 4th grade, and we are doing Creation to The Greeks in the MFW family cycle. 

 Below is how we are organizing Creation to The Greeks, and other subjects, with workboxes (adapted from Sue Patrick's system).  We are working on some 3rd grade math, 5th-6th grade English...you know how it is when going at your child's real rate of learning. 

  • Workboxes- holds all individual subjects, also storage of History & Root Words notebook
  • Agenda Board- directions for individual subjects
  • Hanging File Organizers- Student Sheets organized by week
  • Teacher Binder-With 5 folders 
  1. Math Folder for one boy
  2. Math Folder for other boy
  3. Timeline pieces & schedule for Draw & Write Through History (found in CttG Facebook group)
  4. Root Words- index cards and notebook pages (found in CttG Facebook group)
  5. Printed Materials for Piano Practice
    Homeschool Room (other half is my office desk)
Agenda Board and most of our supplies.  Each boy has a pencil box in his desk with basic supplies.
The left 3 cubes are for school books & Bibles. My teacher binder is stored on top of shelf.
I store our student sheets by week in a hanging binder.


Together Time

We sit on our couch, or do experiments in the kitchen for most together time subjects. If one of these subjects has a notebook page, I send the boys to their desk to finish it, then it is stored in a workbox.
  • History Reading, Activities, & Note booking
  • Science reading & experiments
  • Root Words
Cuneiform Writing in Sugar Cookie dough,
during History Together Time

Each child has subjects in different order to allow one-on-one time with Mom in Math and Language Arts. There is also a TEN MINUTE BREAK card, usually in Box 5.
  1. History-where they store their completed student sheets and History notebook
  2. Root Words- index card or sentences 
  3. English- Language Lessons for Today, Grade 4
  4. Art- Draw and Write Through History *
  5. Spelling- Spelling by Sound and Structure.  We choose this curriculum because it is more independent work than suggested Spelling Power, with a test each Friday.
  6. Writing- Writing Stands, Level 3*
  7. Math-Math U See, supplement with Life of Fred* 
  8. Typing- We use Typing.com.  Each boys does 5 screens a day.
  9. Spanish- DuoLingo for now, but adding Rosetta Stone soon.
  10. Piano- We use Hoffman Academy,  if there is a video to watch, it is on the Agenda Board. I they have a music worksheet to do, it is in their box.
 *Specific assignment on agenda white board

Individual Time

  • Reading- Read for at least 20 minutes from Book Basket. My kids are book worms, so I don't have to remind them much to read, but I do check to make sure they are reading from  Book Basket.
  • Daily Chores-All chores must be done before screen time
  • Read-Alouds are done as Bedtime story with Dad

You might be interested in my other  Posts:

Monday, August 1, 2016

Crockpot Soup Fall Freezer Meals

My favorite thing about fall is it is the season for soup!
  Below are three easy to assemble Crockpot Soup Freezer Meals.  

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

Makes one gallon bag, serves 4-5

O       Freezer Grade gallon sized Ziploc bag
O       sharpie

O       1 lb (about 2 cups ) chicken breasts, fat trimmed
O       1  tbsp dried minced onion
O       1 15 oz. can ((1 ¾ cup) pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
O       1 15 oz. (1 ¾ cup) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
O       1 15 oz (1 ¾ cup) bag of frozen corn
O       1 can undrained rotel   tomatoes  (optional for more spice)
O       1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
O       1 packet Taco seasoning (use only 1/2 packet for less spice)

Day of cooking
O       2 to 3 cups chicken broth

To freeze:
1. Label Bag with instructions.
2. Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and freeze flat.

To Serve:
1. Thaw overnight in fridge.
2. In Crockpot, add chicken broth, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Shred chicken in crock pot once cooking is done.
4. Top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or tortilla chips.

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

Makes one gallon bag, serves 4-5
O        Freezer Grade gallon sized Ziploc and small Ziploc
O       sharpie

O 24oz jar of pasta sauce
O 1 lb (about 1 ½ to 2 cups) ground Italian sausage- cooked
O 1 tsp Italian seasonings
O Sea salt and pepper to taste
O 1 15oz can (about 1 ¾ cup) of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
O 2.5oz of chopped fresh baby spinach (about 3 cups)
O 4 cups of chicken broth (add day of cooking if won’t fit in bag)

Day of cooking
O 5 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces, OR 1 ½  cup pasta of your choice

To Freeze:
  1. Place all the ingredients except lasagna noodles in labeled freezer bag: 
  2. Put noodles in small Ziploc bag, store in dry pantry. 

To serve
  1. Thaw over night in fridge
  2. Cook for 6-8 hours on "low" setting in slow cooker.
  3. Add noodles and cook for an additional 30 minutes. OR cook pasta separately according to package and add to soup when ready to serve.
  4. Top with freshly grated mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheeses and serve with a side of garlic bread. 

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Makes one gallon bag,  serves 4-5

O Freezer Grade Gallon sized Ziploc bag
O Sharpie

O       1 pound (about 2 cups) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
O       2 cans-15.5oz ( about 3-3.5 cups) of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
O       1- 4oz can of chopped mild green chilies (half a can if want less spicy)
O       ½ bag of 1 lb bag of frozen corn
O       1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
O       1 tbsp dried minced onion
O       2 garlic cloves, minced
O       2 teaspoons ground cumin
O       1 tsp dried ground oregano
O       1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
O       1/4 teaspoon pepper
O       1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Day of cooking
O       2-3 cups chicken broth (more broth makes it less chili and more soup like)

To Prep
1. Label your freezer bag.
2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients except broth.
3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your freezer.

To Serve
1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.
2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your Crockpot and add 4 cups of chicken broth.
3. Cook on “low” setting for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.
4. Shred chicken and serve with sour cream, cheese.  Cornbread or tortilla chips are good side.