Monday, October 31, 2011

Planting Seeds

When I taught middle school, one of the classes I taught was a character education class.  It was one of my favorite classes to teach.  We spent quite a lot of time talking about bullying.  Bullying was and is a pet peeve for me.  I hate bullying.  I abhor it.  I have seen peers completely tear down other peers and that cuts me sharper than any knife. 
Character is something that can not be taught in a nine week course.  It just can't but, you can plant seeds.  Seeds will sprout, take root, and grow.  Not only did I teach a nine week course on character education, I took any opportunity to incorporate character education into my regular classroom.  I talked to my students about issues that were real to them.  I listened to them and sometimes interjected my thoughts into these conversations.  I wanted my students to know just how much power their words and actions had among their peers.   My students would tell me things they observed, things they had heard, and even things they themselves had done or said.  I learned so much from these conversations and carry a great deal of that knowledge with me today.  Sometimes those same students would come to me with situations even after they were no longer in my class.  They would tell me things and seek advise when they felt they need adult intervention.  I can not help but think they did this because they knew Mrs. Hill would listen.  I wanted them to know that my door and ears were always open.  Middle school can be some tough years.  Kiddos are really coming into their own during that time and they are trying to find their place among their peers. They are forming their own individual opinions.  It is a very impressionable age.  Sometimes I would get so frustrated and just want to throw my hands up. There were times when I felt like it was impossible to make a difference.  I wanted so badly to make a difference.  I wanted to really teach these children as much as possible.  I loved my job and loved those kiddos. 
I love my job now and love teaching my kiddos.  I now have the opportunity to teach character education 24/7.  I realize that a great deal of the character education I teach now comes from observation...  Observations made by my babies.  They watch the way I handle situations and learn how to deal with their own situations based on my actions.  I am planting seeds constantly.  It is sometimes just exhausting.  I wish that I could say that I handle every situation gracefully, but I do not.  Every second I spend with my sweetlings is an opportunity to teach them good character.  I want them to know and understand that their words and actions affect others.  I want them to know that they and they alone are ultimately responsible for their actions.  Some of these lessons are taught the hard way through trial and error.  Some of these lessons are taught through bible lessons and some are taught through conversation.  Those lessons that I learned while teaching in middle school drive a good many of my objectives for teaching character in my kiddos. 
Yes ma'am and no ma'am, yes sir and no sir, please and thank you, treat others the way you want them to treat you...these are all great starting points.  But, they are just that...starting points. 

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This is the big picture.  You reap what you sow.  If we sow seeds of regret, bullying, disrespect, sorrow...we will reap the same. 
It is my goal to sow seeds of good Godly character in my children. 

Much love,


Tomorrow is Halloween, just in case you were not aware already.  We will have school tomorrow. Although, with the excitement level here, I am not sure how much we will accomplish.  I still have to finish LR's and Amelia's costumes.  They are going to be Jessie from Toy Story.  Then, I have to make Jay's costume.  He is going to be a royal knight. I bought a sheet and am planning to make him a cape.  I am pretty sure we will have some sewing lessons tomorrow.  Who knows, I might even let the boys give the sewing machine a whirl. What am I planning to do to tomorrow?  We will do our bible lesson and take the tests that we did not get done Friday.  We also will whip out the mental math books and make that work up.  Then, I thought that I would let the kiddos try their hand at painting with acrylic paint.  I want to let them draw and paint a Jack-o-lantern.  It is not a holiday for us but it will be a more relaxed day than normal.  Honestly, I do not think I could make them sit and do school all day if I tried.  I guess if you can not beat them, you join them.  Lucie Rose and Jay are still not feeling 100% and now Amelia has caught their crud.  I am sincerely hoping Cooper avoids the mess. So, because we have the luxury, we are kind of taking it easy.  Tuesday will be business as usual. 

Much love,

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Exodus 16:4
4Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

We spent the day today picking up pecans.  Actually, this is the third Saturday I have picked up pecans.  Today, while picking up pecans it occurred to me that this could be what the Children of Israel might have felt like. God provided for His people daily by way of manna or bread from heaven. They had to go out each day and pick up what God had provided for them.   As I picked up, I noticed something.  I would spot two or three pecans and bend down to pick them up.  As I picked them up I would find several more in the same area that I had not seen while standing.  One of two things was going on here.  Either my eyesight is bad enough I just didn't see them or God was providing as I went along.  I'll just believe the latter if you don't mind, thank you!  We actually had a really stiff wind today and were literally picking them up as they fell. Once you get out there and start picking up, it is not really that bad.  I felt so blessed that I had pecans to pick up. The boys didn't feel as blessed as I did. Lucie Rose thought it was great to pick up a pecan or two, especially when mama was filling her bucket.  She is convinced she picked up the most.  Amelia Claire was great during our little outing. 

One thing that has been a huge adjustment for our family is going from two incomes to one, especially with an extra little person. I will tell you that I completely felt at peace turning in my resignation, knowing that I would be able to stay home with my sweetlings.  It was a decision that was made through much prayer and soul searching.  I feel like God had been leading us in this direction for some time.  It was certainly a step of faith and one that we knew would not come easy.  Once you become adjusted to two incomes, it is not easy to voluntarily give that up.  It has been a sacrifice for all of us.  We are making it from month to month but there is certainly not much room for extras.  That is okay.  We had too many extras anyway.  We ate out way too much among other little things like that.  I really have not missed the little things.  I would say the kiddos miss them more than Jamie and I.  They do complain from time to time and we have to just be honest with them.  We tell them that in order to be able to have the privilege of homeschooling, there are things we have to give up.  It is not an easy thing to admit to your children that we just do not have the money for that right now.  Somehow though, I think that it is important they know those, sometimes tough, life lessons. 

I will also tell you that there had been a great deal of guilt on my part since staying home.  I feel like there should be some way for me to contribute financially.  I try to make sure to be conservative while grocery shopping, while still making sure my family eats well and has a few little extras.  That has been my little way of helping out.  This has been a real struggle for me though.  Jamie is an excellent provider for our family and I am so grateful to him.  As grateful as I am,  I still would like to make financial contributions just to relieve him from some of the stress.  So, when my daddy called and told me that the pecan trees were loaded down at the farm and we could pick them up if we like, I jumped on it. I thought I even had the boys on board and excited and I did...until they actually had to pick them up.  I have also had the opportunity to help my mama on the side some.  She owns a tea room here in town and also caters.  So, on weekends I try to help her when I can.  It actually has been very nice to be able to help out some. 

To be able to homeschool is an answer to prayer and such a blessing.  God's provisions for my family...His also a great blessing.

Matthew 6:26
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Much Love,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the Field

Today we went on a field trip to the...field.  Seriously, we went to a field, a field full of pumpkins and sunflowers and corn and so much fun.  Today was field trip day.  I love field trip days.  The kiddos were so excited to get out and go. Not to mention that they didn't have to take their spelling tests or vocabulary tests.  They didn't have to do mental math today.  They didn't have to learn about helping verbs and the like.  It was a day of fun learning.  I also got to take some pictures of my sweetlings in a beautiful outdoor setting.  I love a good photo op and this was a good photo op. 
Okay, this one is not from the field trip, but isn't she a doll baby?

Still not from the field trip but too cute!

Look at those beautiful backgroung colors.  Look at those beautiful babies!

I loved, loved, loved this process chart.  Thinking we might have to borrow this idea!

Gorgeous! I love the colors of fall!

He wanted to make a Jack-o-Lantern face!  He is a hot mess!

She's a hot mess too!

This one cracks me up!  The really look in distress!

Much love,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Debunking the Mythical Homeschool Stereotype and Mondo Favor

When you think of homeschool, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? 

  • Non-schooling
  • Weird, mal-adjusted children
  • Militia like
  • Schooling in PJs
  • Control freak parents
  • Unsocialized children
Come on, you know you have thought this before.  I certainly have. These thoughts and misconceptions come from ignorance.  I do not say that to be snarky or mean.  I say it honestly and sincerely. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information.  In general, homeschooling is not an acceptable practice.  Sad isn't it? I will say that the homeschool stereotype had changed some for the good in recent years.  Yes, there are those that homeschool for the wrong reasons.  There are those that use homeschooling as an excuse to skip on school.  Those, however are few and far between.  It seems that those are the ones used to form the public perception of homeschooling.  People do not want to talk about the norm.  That is no fun and rather boring. 

My kiddos are not weird, at least, I do not think they are.  They are certainly not mal-adjusted. We do not school in our PJs.  We have a set schedule and stick to it. I am certainly not a control freak. There is no militia here (even if my boys are obsessed with guns and hunting).  And, my kiddos are social butterflies.  They love to be around and interact with others.  The misbehave...the whine...they fuss with one another...they are incredibly smart...they amaze me...they make me crazy...they make me happy...They are typical children.  Everything about them is typical.  Everything about them is extraordinary. They are mine and I might be a little biased and that is alright, because they are mine. I love them without end. Amen.

Why did I choose HS'ing?  I found myself giving my best to other peoples children and having a short fuse with mine.  I didn't like it at bit.  I wanted to give my best to my children.  They deserved it and still do.  I knew that if I could spend the majority of my day educating other people's children and loving it (which I did), that I would love it that much more to be able to give that to my babies. I do!  I love teaching them.  I love it when they teach me, because they do.

We have school at our house.  It starts at a set time and ends when we finish all I planned to get done in one day.  We get up, get dressed, and go to school.  Because we are at home and only have three and a half in our classroom, it is less formal.  My children are however, receiving a formal education, as are most homeschooled children. 

Tell me what your conceptions of homeschooling are? I am curious to know what you think about it.  It is not for everyone.  Even if it is not for you, what are your feelings on other's who choose this path?

Also tonight, I have a mondo favor to ask of you.  I have an unspoken prayer request that I would like to ask you to pray with me about.  I can not share anything about this request out of respect for others.  This is something that I have prayed about so very much and I would like to ask you to take some time out of your day tomorrow (technically today) to pray about with me.  There are no life threatening illnesses involved and Jamie says be sure to let you know we are fine (relationship wise). This is a very real and very big request. Please pray for God's grace in this request.  Thank you in advance for your prayer. 

Much love,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I forgot to title my post!

So, math...I was uber picky about the curriculum I chose for math. Uber is my new favorite word.  It's a nifty little word.  The little things in life make me happy.  Kind of like the little things in life that drive me crazy.  For example: The daily changes that Facebook seems to make always throw me for a loop. There I go on the downward digression spiral.

Anyhow, when choosing a math curriculum I wanted something that would challenge my kiddos and provide them with all of the skills they needed to be math geniuses.  I had heard great things about Math-U-See but felt that the boys had such a different foundation that I would not see the success I wanted to .  So I chose this.

I really, really like Singapore Math. Each grade level comes with two textbooks and two workbooks.  Take Cooper's books for instance.  He is in third grade. He has a 3A textbook, 3A workbook, 3B textbook, and 3B workbook.  We simply used these books last year and I found that this was not enough practice for them.  So, this year I also purchased these.

Except that I purchased them in the specific grade levels for my fellas. Fridays are mental math days.  Let me tell you, the boys lurve this (tongue in cheek). I am also really thinking about purchasing this.

I am undecided about this one though because, there are lots and lots of word problems in their text and workbook. Singapore Math loves a good word problem.  Some of them are quite challenging.  In fact, I have called or emailed my sweet hubbie with one or two of these problems, only to be told that he would have to get back to me.  I love the challenge factor with these books.  I am not crazy about the lack of instruction these books provide.  Jay is working on divisibility right now and these books have nothing to say about divisibility rules.  I had to pull that in extra.  Those few simple rules make divisibility soooo much easier.
When I was teaching math, I went to a workshop for Singapore Math.  I liked it then and having used it for an entire year, plus this year so far, I still like it. 
What I add to the mix
I open each math lesson with a math warm-up.  Generally, this warm up is multiplication practice, fact families, or the such.  Sometimes we pull out the flash cards and sometimes I put 10 problems on my handy dandy dry erase board.  The kiddos love to write their answers on the board.  The also have to put them in their math journal.  Math journal you say?  Yes, math journal I say. We keep a math journal on top of what we already put in our notebook.  Vocabulary terms, warm-ups, and the like go in our math journal. I also intend for the boys to put together a math vocabulary dictionary this year, complete with terms, definitions, and illustrations.  Coop-bug loves, lurves, loves to illustrate.  It is a release for him to draw.  So, I let him any opportunity he gets.  It provides something concrete for him.  Like me, he is a visual learner.  Jay on the other hand is a very auditory learner. Fact is, he is very auditory himself, VERY auditory!  I am pretty sure Lucie Rose will be a visual learner also with a tendency for the kinesthetic. She needs to manipulate things right now.  She needs a lot of hands on but that could just be her age. 

Math is certainly one of those things homeschooling parents need to be picky about.  If you are uber ( ;) ) picky like me, you should check out the Singapore Math program.  If you are not impressed, do not stop there though.  Check it all out and see what is available.  You need to be happy with your choices. 

Uber love,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Knock on Wood

Totally not gonna be boastful anymore, although, I was not trying to boast.  When I typed a week or two, maybe three, ago that we have not really been sick since homeschooling, I meant it.  It was true.  It was a fact I was proud of.  I guess pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall, right? And fall we did.  In the past week or so we have had an abscess and root canal, broken arm, and tonight Lucie Rose started running a temperature.  Not just a little temperature either.  Before I even realized she was sick, her fever jumped to 102. Her little soccer team party was tonight and I noticed she was just sitting there not participating.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed the tell-tale signs of fever...glassy know the drill.  I felt of her and she was hot, really hot.  I asked another mom to give her a feel and she agreed that she was really hot.  So, I did what any responsible mother would do.  I loaded her up and came home.  Bless her little heart, by the time we got home, after a pit stop to buy Motrin, she was miserable and crying.  Totally not feeling like mother of the year right now.  This coming after thinking Cooper was just being dramatic and discounting his broken arm for about 12 hours.
I spend 24 hours a day with my sweetlings and I am supposed to know them better than I do.  I am supposed to catch these things before they get out of hand, at least, so I thought. 

So yesterday, I really struggled with the patience thing and thought we really had a better day today.  I tried the love'em into obedience thing.  It seemed to work. 
Today, I struggle with not knowing my babies as well as I thought. 

Just so you know, everyday is not peaches and cream in the homeschool arena.  Some days do not even come close.  I still wouldn't take anything, anything AT ALL for being able to do this.  I completely feel like this is God's will for our lives.  Even when our faith is being tested, my resolve stays the same.  I'm just gonna have to pray harder and let my JOY outweigh all of the other stuff.  Trust me, next time I make a statement such as my kiddos have not been sick that much since beginning homeschooling, I'm gonna knock on the old proverbial wood. Having sick and hurt babies is NO FUN!  It breaks my heart when my babies do not feel good.  I just want to make it all better right away.

The upside to this is, I can be here to care for them and love on them and take them to the doctor and make chicken soup and and and and...The world does not stop turning.(Yes, I know this is a run on sentence.)  

Much love,

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Must Have Wish List!

Proverbs 15:18
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Today, I did not have much in the way of patience and tonight, I am kicking myself.  I have been looking back all evening thinking to myself, "Why didn't I say this or do it this way instead?"
I guess we all have those days from time to time, but that does not change the fact that I feel rotten about not having more patience.  Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully, I can do it better. 
Jamie's favorite saying is, "I asked God for patience and he gave me boys."  God's sense of humor is ever so evident some days.
Are there any words of wisdom out there for me on how to achieve more patience.  I know the bible says that love is patient, so maybe I should just practice that.  Love my babies into obedience, right? It is worth a shot for sure! So,maybe tomorrow when I feel my patience slipping and my frustration rising, I should just think warm fuzzy thoughts and issue hugs instead of harsh words and stern looks. Hmmm, I might be on to something here.  I'll give it a shot and let you know how it works for me. 
Much love,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Must Have in Exta Bulk

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

It is so difficult sometimes not to be anxious but I fully believe that if we pray during those times God takes on our anxiety and walks through it with us.  Whether it be taking a test, finishing a project, or other deeper life changing events God will walk us through them if we supplicate, or humbly pray. I want my kiddos to know that they can always pray and seek God for any reason.  I also want them to know that this prayer needs to be done with a spirit of thanksgiving. 

I think our word this week will be supplication.  Let's just see where it will take us and how many ways we can use it. 

Much love,

My boys love weapons!

Weapons of all kinds...They are enthralled with guns, knives, swords...You name it they love it! I think it is a boys thing.  It has to be right? I just hope LR and Amelia do not follow suit.  Boy, do I hope they don't!!

Weapons have their place, but in a homeschool...Yep, in a homeschool.  We have a sword or two in our little classroom.  They are sharp and easily wielded.  We even have sword drills in our classroom.  Now, I promise you we do not don our camo and act like a little militia.  Really, we don't.  I promise.  I teach my kiddos how to use these weapons.  I want them to know how to properly use them. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yes, the Sword of the Spirit is a definite must have in our homeschool.  We use it daily.  Who knew? A weapon in a school. 

Much love,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Must Have in Bulk

It seems that some days we use this tool all too much.  Jay in particular hates it when I whip out the old eraser.  It means he has to do it over.  It frustrates him.  Coop does not get as undone when he has to use his eraser. 

Some days my poor table is covered with little specks of eraser shavings.  I know on those days some hard lessons have been learned. 

I am thankful for that little red tool. It means that there is a second chance on the horizon.  It means that the opportunity to correct a wrong has been extended.  How awesome would it be if people came equipped with an eraser.  Second chances do not come as easily in life as they do in school.

Some days are made for these erasers.  I think if I were to buy Jay this eraser, he would disown me as his mama and teacher.  It would be his undoing.  Cooper would just look at me and refuse to except this lovely little gift.  He doesn't make big mistakes.  Just ask him and he'll tell you so.

There have certainly been times in my life when I so wished that I had been equipped with this type of eraser.

There is a lesson to learn here.  Erasers do exist in life.  It is a simple, yet so complex word...forgiveness. This was our word of the week a few weeks back. 

Matthew 6:14-15
14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Erasers are a must in school...maybe in life also! 

Much love,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Must Haves

coffee brewing tips from dunkin. wow

So, today I am going post my first of a few must haves for homeschooling. Some things just are a must...somethings you just do not skimp on...

Most of you probably know what a coffee snob I am.  Not just any cup of joe will do.  It MUST be DD and it MUST be fresh ground.  Some days are turbo days and some are regular coffee days.  Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the iced coffee.  I do like a frap every now and then especially during the summer.  For the most part, I want it hot with a splash of cream or hazelnut creamer.  In fact, I just finished a smooth and tasty cup or two. 

Thank you Dunkin' Donuts for keeping my little homeschool running smoothly!!

Much love,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We had a boring old school day! Not sure about you, but I am a huge fan of boring! It took a little while to motivate the boys to get back to business as usual but we finally did.  We stayed home all day today and just enjoyed a little normalcy! I actually got to sit down on the couch by 9:30 tonight and share a little time with Jamie and Amelia.  It was nice to say the least.

What happens when life throws you a curve ball and disrupts your normal flow? Well, you just have to go with it.  When you homeschool it is even more difficult to maneuver around those curves. That is when you take a little help where it is offered. 

Last school year we had a wonderful, amazing curve thrown our way.  Amelia was born a month early, thus throwing us a curve that had to be dealt with.  She was born in the height of tax season and for those of you who have been reading my musings for a while, you know that tax season is Jamie's ubber crazy time.  He works lots of hours.  Since I had a c-section with Eli, I had to have another with Amelia.  Recovering from major surgery, loving on a new baby, dealing with the everyday and three other sweetlings was more taxing than normal.  We put school on hold for two weeks.  When we did get going again, it was tedious.  I am so thankful for my church and the wonderful members who stepped up as well as amazing family and friends.  The Sunday before we began school again, a precious member of our church approached me and said that she would like to help us get rolling again in school.  She taught middle school math for more than 30 years.  She was just what the doctor ordered. I honestly am not sure I would have made it through that first week without Mrs. MaeBeth's help.  She was a God send! She came in a few mornings that week and took over the schooling for me.  That allowed me to be able to take care of our new bundle of joy, hang out with LR, do some laundry, and sweep some floors.  All things that needed to be done.

There are times in homeschooling when we need to take a little (or a lot of) help.  Although us mothers would like to think we are super human, we are not!  It is difficult to give up the reins sometimes, but for sanity's sake it must be done. I am pleased to announce that through the curves, with the help of others, I maintained my sanity. 

Even this week in the midst of the insanity in my household, I'm maintaining people!  Couldn't have done it without my mama though!
Take the help!!! Then you too will be able to say

Much love, 

What do you delight in?

“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

I am again tired tonight.  Jay, Amelia, and I spent the day in Montgomery yesterday because Jay had to have a root canal on that lovely little abscessed tooth.  We came home and Lucie Rose had the late soccer game.  Then there was supper to fix and baths to be had.  I just thought I was tired last night.  But tonight, tonight I'm weary tired.  You see Cooper fell during a game of two hand touch at LR's soccer game.  He favored his left arm all night and woke up still in pretty good pain.  So, we did some school while waiting to hear back from the phone nurse at Southern Bone and Joint.

Three years ago he broke his humerus and dislocated his elbow after falling from the trampoline.  This was once again that same arm.  So, I just called his orthopedist.  They wanted to see him at 1:20 in Dothan, no less.  Dothan and Montgomery are both an hour from our house in opposite directions. Bless my mama, she kept Coop and LR yesterday and today she kept Jay and LR.  We went down and had his arm x-rayed.  Sure enough it is once again broken.  He is wearing a cast from upper arm to his finger tips. Then, we had the late soccer game again tonight.  Again, there was a late dinner and bath time for all of the kiddos.  They are finally in bed and I am finally sitting down to blog.  It is 12:04 am.  I'm a zombie! Honestly, I fear I will read this again tomorrow to find it made little sense. Such is life, right?

Needless to say, very little schooling has been accomplished in the last two days.  I have tried to motivate the boys at least to get a few things done so we do not have to much catching up to do.  It has been hard to say the least. The beauty of homeschooling is that tomorrow we will maybe sleep in a little and then pick back up where we left off. We have some 4H projects to complete.  So, I am thinking we will for sure do bible, math and reading.  Then we will work on 4H.  I am not stressed out per say, just tired.  I am ready for some boring!!! Not a huge fan of drama!

Homeschooling was and is a true desire of my heart and I am truly delighted in my Lord that He has allowed us to be able to do this.  I know He will provide all of our needs. Please pray that Jay's tooth heals nicely and that Cooper's arm will also heal and cause as little pain as possible.  He has already expressed discomfort from the cast as well as pain from the fracture.  He was blessed in that it was a minor fracture and the weather is cooler making the whole cast thing so much more bearable.   Jay bounced back very quickly from a root canal which I am not sure I could do. They both go back in four weeks for follow-up appointments.

Prayers are so appreciated for our family right now.  Thank you in advance and know that I am praying that somehow, someway our experiences in homeschooling and life have blessed you in even a small way.

Much love, 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Encouragement

I wanted to post something to encourage tonight.  I came across this poem and just loved it.  I hope it encourages you to keep on keeping on. We will soon begin a poetry unit in reading.  I am so looking forward to seeing my kiddos try their hands at writing poetry.  I might give it a shot also!

A Poem for YOU,
Homeschool Mom!

Another lovely day,
another clean slate!
Another day to work on
an already full plate.
What will we do first?
Reading, Writing, Math?
What if something unexpected
 shows up in our path?
Another lovely day,
another quandary arises,
How do we teach these children
of different shapes and sizes?
Shall we follow Book A, or Idea B,
or the voice of the "pro?"
Can we follow our hearts
on which way we should go?
Little Suzy wants to make
a pattern for a doll,
but she's "behind" in algebra,
and can't spell much at all…
And little Johnny is working
on a project made of wood,
but what about his "social studies?"
And other things he "should"
Grandma needs some help,
but our workbooks are a-waiting!
There are other shut-ins
with a visit anticipating.
And what about that neighbor
with the baby on the way?
Can our "studies" suffer
if she needs our help today?
There are many things that pull us daily
this-a-way and that,
And we can get so sidetracked,
that our accomplishments fall flat.
The path is bright and our feet will go,
if only we will pray,
And listen to the voice of God,
who leads us the right way.
Relationships are more important,
inside our homes, and out,
and how we treat each other
is what homeschooling is about.
It's not wrong to be good spellers,
but if we lie and cheat and steal,
And if we hate our brother,
good grades are no big deal.
So dear homeschool Mom,
don't worry and don't fret;
If little Johnny can not read
as well as you think, yet.
Little Suzy will learn her math,
while baking for the neighbor,
and friendships formed inside your
home will strengthen, so don't waver!
If you will pray and seek His face
for each question on your heart,
And read His word, and know His
you will know right where to start.
Don't be tossed to and fro
by this world's ideas and plans,
Listen to your Lord,
your lives are in His Hands.

© 2006 Nancy K. Baetz

Much love,

Cartographic Memories

Lucie Rose has become enthralled with maps.  She is just certain that if we have a map, we can go anywhere.  Her friend Kara moved away a few months ago and she told me the other day that we needed to make a map to Kansas because she wanted to go visit her.  She was asking Jamie about Heaven the other day and he was talking to her.  At the end of their conversation she looked at him and said, "Well Daddy, where is our map to Heaven."  She knows that Eli lives in Heaven and she wanted to go visit.  She thinks that if we have been there before, we do not need a map.  If it is a new place we should just get a map and go. 
Cartography is the art of making maps.  Oh how I wish that we could just make a map and go places sometimes. I would love nothing more that to just take out a map, mark all of the places we would like to learn about or see, and go.  What a load of lessons that would be.

Homeshooling, teaching, even parenting makes us cartopgraphers.  We make maps in our kiddos minds.  Maps that will be a guide for them all of their lives.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

As parents we have a responsibility to our children to provide them with an accurate roadmap to this thing we call life.  As a homeschooling mama, my responsibilities are 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Part of my responsibility, a huge part of it, is teaching right from wrong, correcting them when they do wrong, and loving them through the no so fun parts of life. I always love my children and one of my least favorite parts of being a mama is correcting bad behavior.  It must be done and some days it seems it must be done over and over again.  Classroom management in a homeschool situation is still challenge from time to time. I'm learning what works and what does not work. I recently learned with Cooper that if I send him to his room for 10 minutes he will come back to class a different person.  He does not like to be set apart from what is going on.  I never would have figured that about him because he typically does not mind a little alone time.  But, for whatever reason it just works for him.  Jay, well I'll have to get back to you on that one.  Different things work on different days for him.  One thing I started to provide some motivation for both boys is to give them bucks for good behavior.  If they are at school on time, they get a buck.  If they keep their area clean, they get a buck.  If they complete their work in a timely manner with out whining, they get a buck.  You get the picture.  When they get 250 bucks, they get to go to the treasure chest that is Wally World.  250 bucks sounds like a lot of work, I know, but they have lots of opportunities to get bucks. Their reward will be worth their efforts.  Am I bribing them?  Probably, but it is also a life lesson.  When they are gainfully employed, they will be paid for their work.  I have no problem with it.  It works for us. I like to try and use positive motivation although sometimes that is not possible.  Sometimes I have to be the mean old mama/teacher. Sometimes their daddy has to provide reinforcement.

Correction is never fun but sometimes necessary.  I want my sweetlings to have every opportunity available to them in life.  They need a map to these opportunities.  It is our (Jamie and I) responsibility to provide them with this map.  This is certainly one of those things I bath in prayer and ask for God's guidance in.  I am not a great cartographer.  My Father is the best.  His steady hand will guide my shakey hand in making the best map possible for my children. 

Oh, and Jamie's answer to Lucie about the map to Heaven was...

The bible is our map to Heaven.
Much love,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today we remember...everyday we remember

Today I am stepping away from my 31 days of Homeschooling to blog about my sweet Eli and so many more gone too soon.  Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  It is a day we ask the world to stop and remember what never leaves our minds or hearts...Our sweet babies.  There is not a moment of any day that I do not think of my sweet baby boy.  I miss him so much sometimes that it physically hurts. He was not meant for this earth but he was meant to serve a great purpose.  He was given to us for such a brief time but made a huge imprint in our lives.

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7:00pm (in my time zone) in memory of Eli and all of his heavenly baby friends. The thought is that if you will light a candle in your time zone at 7:00pm there will be a continuous wave of light around the world in memory of these precious little ones. If you know someone who has lost a baby, let them know you are thinking of them today.  I promise you they will be so honored that you remembered their baby. 

My fellow BLM friend, Katy sent this etched glass candle for Eli's first heavenly birthday.  It is etched with Elijah. Tonight I remember  Eli and all of the precious little ones in heaven.
Much love, 

One Room Skool Hizzy

What is that you might ask?  Well, it is a modern day one room school house or rather a one room school room or something like that.  My friend, Amy, told me the other day I had the Little House on the Prairie school house/room going on. Okay maybe, but I can promise I will not wear a braid twisted up in a bun or wear a calico dress. No looking glass will hang from around my neck. If you think about it, we do have a one room school house/room. I love our little school room.  It is quite cozy. I do not have it just like I want it but we will get there.  We have plenty of time.  I school multiple ages and ability levels in that little room formerly known as our dining room (sometimes still used for that purpose).  I guess you could say it is a multipurpose room.  Weren't all school rooms in days of long ago.  Those rooms were used for schooling, church services, town meetings. Lots went on in those rooms and lots goes on in our little room.  Yet again, I catch myself digressing. Its not about the room so much as what takes place in the room.  We all have learned so much in that little room.

The boys are on a pretty equal playing field as far as academia.  Lucie Rose is just beginning to understand this school thing. For the boys, we purchased formal curriculum.  They are both working on the same things in Social Studies, Science, Bible, and Reading. Wordly Wise, Grammar, and Math are from the same publisher but different grade levels.  The one on one that I am able to give them is amazing compared to the one on one I was able to provide when I had a class of 25-30. I honestly think that was the most frustrating thing about public school teaching.  I knew that there were so many that just needed that extra time and that time did not exist.  I can give that time now. 

Lucie Rose does not have a formal curricula.  I bought much of what she does from Target and Wal-Mart. Target had some wonderful beginner books, flash cards, and games on their dollar isle before school started this year.  I stocked up.  I also was able to go online and find some printable things for her. She is working on colors, shapes, numbers recognition, letter recognition, letter sounds, tracing, rhyming, opposites, and just a host of other little things like that.  I plan on starting her on the ABeka phonics once she gets her letter recognition and letter sounds down.  She seems to be soaking it up pretty well.  She loves, loves, loves to be read to.  I will read her a book and then she will take that book and sit and retell it to her dolls.  It is so cute. Who said kiddos do not learn through play? She plays school and that is really the time that I can tell what she is learning. She loves to write on our new dry erase board.  So, I will write her letters and numbers up on it and let her trace them or copy them.  She does pretty good with that.  Her learning comes in spurts though. She will school for a little while and then she will play for a little while.  Sometimes she takes a break and watches one of her shows that she enjoys.  Her attention span is pretty short right now.  She really loves the hands on activities. I found that she likes to take spaghetti noodles and break them up to make letters with them.  (Mental note: Buy some round noodles. She gets frustrated when she can not make some letters with straight noodles.)  Sometimes we get the glue and glitter out and make bling letters.  She thinks that is pretty cool but does not like to wait for the glue to dry.  She gets her patience from her daddy.  That's my story and I am sticking to it! I also have found that if I keep her busy with activities, I have more time with the boys. Keeping her busy has seemed to help with my disappearing laundry detergent as well.  For those of you who have been reading for a while, you may or may not remember her little escapades last year.  She was constantly getting into things.  Let's just say she likes to help with the laundry.  I found quite a large amount of detergent in my dryer one day last year.  She was so stinking proud of herself that I couldn't get on to her.  She was just trying to help after all. She keeps me on my toes most of the time.  I have noticed fewer pop-tart trails although she did eat almost an entire family size pack of cookies one day last week.  Little stinker, she was sneaking them and taking them to her room while she was "playing".  I discovered what she had done when Jamie got home and went to have a little snack. There were no snacks left.  I should have known what was up because of that darned ever present chocolate ring on her mouth.  I guess I am just so used to seeing it, I overlooked it.  She also gets her sweet tooth from her daddy.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!!!

Schooling multiple age groups is not as difficult as I had imagined, but it does take some work.  I have often said that I'm not that great of a multi-tasker.  I'm learning the fine art of taking on multiple projects.  Perhaps when I get a little more experience under my belt, the cookie monster will not invade my pantry.  Some days I just get completely undone with the enormity of it all and when that happens, I just take a step back and go have a cookie myself.  Then I call Jamie and he cheers me on from the sidelines.  We all need a cheerleader now and then don't we? PuuuLeeeze don't tell him I called him a cheerleader.  That would not be cool. 

Seriously, It is not all that hard.  You just have to plan and be ready.  You have to have a game plan, put on your game face, and go with it. 

So that's waz up in our one room skool hizzy round here! Waz up in yours?
Much love,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The School of Life

Sometimes life provides the best learning opportunities.  This week has just reinforced that for us.  We have been so busy this week it seems.  Jamie was complaining about our hectic week tonight and I was tempted to join in.  Then I stopped and thought, "Ya know, we're gonna miss this one day." I voiced my thoughts to my sweet hubbie and he stopped and thought about it and agreed.  It doesn't change the here and now and certainly doesn't negate our weariness.  And tired I am.  We had two soccer games tonight and just the thought of coming home at 8:30, eating dinner, bathing and getting everyone to bed was a little daunting. However, I wouldn't have missed because if I had, I would have missed my sweet Jay scoring his first goal.  His first goal was the winning goal for his team.  Now, that did seem to negate the weariness.  He is on cloud nine.  His mama is too! I am especially proud of him because he played soccer tonight with and abscessed tooth.  Yep, bless his heart, he woke up about 1:00am Wednesday morning with a tooth ache and I gave him an Advil and put him back to bed. When he woke up yesterday morning his face was slightly swollen and progressively got worse.  So, off to the dentist we went. He began a round of two different antibiotics yesterday. When he woke up this morning it was worse. The entire right side of his face looked like he had been punched repeatedly.  His eye was even just about swollen shut.  I called the dentist and asked how much swelling we should tolerate and was told that if it affected his eye we should go to the ER.  I kinda freaked out at that point but calmly told the receptionist that his eye was almost swollen shut.  She put me on hold and went to talk to the doctor.  When she came back, she told me to just watch it and if it swelled any more at all, I should take him to the ER.  That made me more than a little uncomfortable.  It did not swell anymore and did finally start going down some.  I gave him the choice of staying home tonight and not playing soccer and he was pretty incredulous that I would suggest that. So, he played.  He played the best game of his life.  I am so proud of him.  Perseverance was the lesson of the day.  This time, I was the student and Jay the teacher. I love that boy to pieces.  He makes me so proud.  Sure hope his face and tooth are better tomorrow. Monday, we will go to the endodontist and see what we have to do about that tooth.  I'm pretty sure he will tell him that he played the best game of his life with a fat lip, sore mouth, and sore face. Did I mention that I lurve that kid, because I do.
Tomorrow, I will teach the lessons but today Jay was the teacher.
Much love,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let me check my calendar!

It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks...
Helen Keller

I have heard so many people say, "I admire you for homeschooling.  I just couldn't do it."  My initial response is "Why?", "Why, couldn't you do it?"  If the desire is not there then that is certainly a valid reason.  If the spouse is not on board, I get that for sure. 

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart.  It is work...time consuming, frustrating at times, rewarding to the utmost.  It is a true labor of love.  However, it is not impossible if you and your spouse have the desire and will power. 

Just needed to say that. 
Changing gears completely on you, tonight I want to write about the awesomeness that is

Freedom to schedule your day in what ever way works best for you and your kiddos. I lurve(Jennifer language for REALLY love) that I can change it up if I need to.  When I was in a classroom, there was very little flexibility and that means the classrooms my kiddos were in had very little flexibility.  That is bad for many reasons.
1. Reteaching, not happening unless lots of kiddos don't get it.
2. Miss a day and get a little behind. 
3. Miss a few days and get a lot behind.
4. Do not have time to complete in class. Take it home.
5. No such thing as an impromptu field trip.
6. Play dates...after school or on no school days. (Kids need to play. Kids learn when they play!)
This list just keeps growing as I think about it, but you get the picture.  I love that I can customize the education my children get to suit their needs.  I love it! If one of the kiddos is sick, they take the day and we pick up where we left off the next day or when they are better.  Speaking of which, sick days are rare around here anymore.  When we were in school and preschool, we were sick at least once a month it seemed.  When one got sick, we all got sick.  
That all being said, I need structure.  My boys, specifically Jay, need structure.  Our day is structured.  The point is that if we deviate from that structure, we just pick right up the next day and keep on keeping on. 
Structure with flexibility is a major, major perk of schooling at home.  
Here is an example of a typical day around our house.  
8:00 am     Breakfast, get dressed.
9:00 am     School begins
                    individual bible time and group bible time
10:00 am   Math
11:00 am   Language Arts
                    Wordly Wise, Grammar, Reading
12:30 pm   Science/Social Studies
1:30   pm   Lunch
2:00  pm   Finish up any work not completed. Pick up the house.
3:00  pm   Out to play, get ready for soccer games/practice, etc...
Library day is Thursday. 4H is once a month and coop meets once every other week, aside from field trips. We do not attend every coop.  It just depends, if we are caught up with school we go.
Rarely do we school until 3:00, but is does happen from time to time. We are typically done by 1:30 and sometimes sooner.  I try to make all of our appointments (dentist, doctor) for the afternoon.  I do have to take breaks in here to feed Amelia, put her down for her nap and include play time for her and Lucie Rose.  Luckily, Amelia typically naps from 10:30 until 1:30.  Lucie Rose is schooling with us this year and while the boys are doing independent work, I work with her.  I intend to blog about schooling multiple age children another day.  I do let the kiddos take bathroom breaks as needed and we also take a break around 11:00 provided we are in the school room and ready to go at 9:00.  If one of the boys finishes an assignment before the other one is ready to move on, they read a library book or draw.  Cooper loves to draw.  I try to incorporate art in and sometimes we just have art days. One of the kiddos favorite art days last year was when we made a wooden block nativity.  That project actually took one day and part of another.  
Structure keeps me in check and keeps the boys in check.  Not all homeschool situations require this type of structure.  The way we do it is just that, the way we do it.  It works for us.  Others homeschool differently.  As long as children's needs are being met, you school the way that is best for you and yours. That is the beauty of homeschooling.

Structured flexibility.  I like it and I love it.  It works for us!

How about you?  What works best for you?

Much lurve,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things Happen in Threes

Have you ever heard that statement?  Sometimes it certainly seems to happen that way doesn't it? I actually just wanted to share three things with you tonight.  It has been pretty boring around the Hill house and honestly, I hope it stays that way.  I like boring.  Boring is good. It only took me 3 (in a muffled voice)7 years to figure that out.  Actually, I have known that for a while.  Now, I embrace it fully. 

I digress! When I taught, it did not take the kiddos long to figure out Mrs. Hill liked to digress if they provided a digression worthy topic.  I had to really, really focus to not digress on those occasions. 

Yet still, I digress. (Ever wonder where Jay gets his ADHD from?  I think my mom is ADHD. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Where was I?  Oh, I remember...I want to share three really neat websites with you for tonight's blog post.

The first website is a really great site for planning.  The web address is  I actually signed up for this site a long while back.  I signed up because my aunt and her hubbie worked on the graphic design for this site and asked me to try it out.  At that point is was always going to be free.  Now it is saying they will begin charging for this site.  I have no idea what kind of pricing they will have.  I will try to get the skinny and let you know.  Regardless, it is a really handy site for planning purposes.  It is designed for teachers to be able to communicate with their students online.  It is still a great site if you are only planning for one, two, three, or more children.  I like the calendar that this site boasts.  You can choose between and daily, weekly, or monthly calendar.  It is handy dandy to have.  Give it a look see.

The next website is a totally free and cool website for creating chore charts for the fam-jam. This site can be found at
     My Job Chart is the free, easy to use, online chore chart and reward system for teaching, organizing and motivating your kids to Save, Share and Spend responsibly.
My Job Chart makes it easy for parents to assign chores and more motivating and meaningful for children to fulfill them.
My Job Chart facilitates fun, engaging, hands-on learning for kids on the ABCs of prosperity including saving, sharing and spending.
My Job Chart gives parents the satisfaction of seeing their kids gain the foundation skills of a strong work ethic and financial responsibility.
My Job Chart takes the struggle out of instilling a strong work ethic in kids.
Not my words here...I actually just copied and pasted the words from the intro to this site.  Have to give credit where credit is due, ya know!

The last thing I want to share is a link to my favorite homeschool blog.  Why am I sharing this link?  Well, today's blog post was on the science curriculum we are using this year.  I was totally going to blog about this awesome curriculum, but she scooped me.  Darn, I've been scooped!  There are also lots of really great comments you can read with links and other information to boot.  You can read about only the coolest science curriculum ever here.

Much love my blog peeps,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not Feeling the Love

Do you know what one of the single best things about homeschooling is? 

CONTROL baby!  (Insert Dr. Doofenshmurtz laugh here.)

That's it...That one little word.  Who doesn't love it?  (Again, insert the evil Doof laugh. I love Phineas and Ferb but that is another blog post for a different day.)

Seriously, I am not at all a control freak.  Really, I'm not.  I do, however, love options and choices.  One of the great things about options and choices is, if something does not work, it can be changed. That flexibility is a definite perk of homeschooling.

Last year we used ABeka Language Arts curriculum and I thought that I would be way more impressed than I was.  Cooper was in second grade and Jay in fourth grade.  Cooper went through his second grade book by November and I ordered the third grade book for him.  He was done with it by late April.  He needed a challenge and there just was not one in this curriculum.  Jay finished his fourth grade book by mid May.  It was enough of a challenge for him. 
Last summer, when I began looking at curriculum, I went on a search for something that might offer Cooper the challenge that he needs.  I decided on a Harcourt book for both of them.  I went back to third grade with Cooper.  He is flying through this one also.  Jay is working at a steady pace through his. 
What I am learning about Coop is that I am going to have to supplement and give him some extra challenges on my own. 
What I add to the mix
I start each Grammar lesson with a daily warm up.  I give them three sentences that they have to correct.  They have to determine what is wrong in each sentence and make the appropriate corrections.  I mix this up sometimes as well.  One warm up was a friendly letter that they had to correct.  Another warm up assignment was to write a paragraph with a given topic sentence.  I can not let them get too comfy with things.  Change is good folks. 
Tomorrow we will begin working on an essay for 4H.  They will have to research a topic and write an essay based on their research.  This will be a great challenge for Cooper because he does not particularly care to write. 
This year, I am also going to introduce him to the types of writing (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive) and he will have to write with a given prompt.  Jay had already met with these but he will do these assignments also.  Practice leads to perfection.

English has been one of those things for us that I have had to play around with to find just the right mix.  The great part is, I can play around a bit.  That's just my prerogative as teacher. I have...wait for it

If I am not particularly feeling the love of something, I can and will find something I do love. 

Has there been something you have not loved if you homeschool?  What to you use for Grammar?  Do you love it? 
Much love,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First day of school jitters

I can totally remember those first days of school.  I was a bit nervous, a bit excited, a bit apprehensive, excited(Wait, I already said that didn't I.), dreadful.  So many emotions all rolled into one.  We would go shopping before the first day of school and get our new school clothes. We would get our school supplies.  I would have my wardrobe picked out for at least the first week of school.  Each year I felt bigger, older, more mature.  I thought I was the bombdiggity when I started high school.  No one had ever been there before class.  We were first timers. It was so easy to get up and get moving on those first days of school.  Excitement was a grand motivator in the beginning of each school year.  That excitement wore off pretty quickly and then I had to literally drag out of bed unless we had something special going on that a field trip or somethings. 

It is not much different when you homeschool.  The excitement of a new year is still there.  We still go shopping...just not for as much.  We order books and boy, the day those arrive is a special day.  We stock up on supplies to get us through a portion of the year.  This year in preparation for our school year, I wanted Jamie to build a divider for our school room.  I wanted the divider to be made of white board on one side and bulletin board on the other.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  The kiddos got in on the action and helped him build it. 

It is not quite finished in this picture.  Jamie had to go back and add a 2x4 in the center to stabilize it.  Please excuse LR's hair.  It had not been brushed when she jumped in the picture.
Our School room is open to the kitchen and the living room.  I wanted a way to close it off from at least the living room.  I like the way it turned out.  When it is not in use, we just fold it and put it against the wall.  It is a great addition to our little school room. 

Everyone was excited to begin this year.  I bought a basket for each of my kiddos to put their books in when at the table.  They have a cubby in the school closet that they get put up in when not in use.  I bought a small trash can for each one.  Each book basket and trash basket are specific colors picked out by my sweetlings.  I wanted some way to keep our school area as clutter free as possible.  I had each person's books and supplies put in their place for the first day.  I had our schedule all figured out and we went over the schedule first thing.  We got up, ate breakfast together and got started.  It was a great first day.  For first days of school, I would say it was very productive.  It really is kind of neat how excited everyone got in anticipation of the first day of school.  I mean seriously, who does not love the smell of new books.  The thrill of opening a new pack of crayons or markers is so intrinsic.

The first day of school is always an exciting time.  Here are a couple of pictures from our first day in August.
I'm digging the stitches above Coop's right eye! A souvenir from vacation.

Much love,