Friday, July 29, 2016

Our school weeks 2-4 and a little encouragement

As children go back to school we will be in the middle of our school week 5! The kids and I both have really enjoyed My Fathers World Creation to the Greeks so far. We are learning about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his family, the Tower of Babel, and ancient Egypt. We have made a cuneiform tablet, pyramids, and a reed boat. We have learned about the Fertile Cresent and all its glory. God sure did take care of people long ago who didn't worship Him. We are also learning some interesting fundamentals of art, how to draw pyramids and other 3D shapes in art. We are really loving our art program. It is called God and the History of Art. We have learned about Vivaldi in our music. We are learning the Books of the Bible from the Old Testament. Freedom Kids on YouTube puts this to song and makes it very easy to memorize. For science we have been learning everything you can think of about light. We do an experiment before every lesson and the kids just love that. We have a very STEM minded household here. 

We have also been learning so,e very valuable lessons in our Language Arts. Noah is doing Communications in Grammar this year. He is also doing Esssentials In Writing. He needed a lot of work on this part of his Language Arts. No spelling for him this year as he has pretty much mastered that. For math he is doing Teaching Textbooks 7. The program for Grade 7 is more on real life situations. He will have a mock checkbook and we pretend he gets paid and pay bills, buy groceries, and do what grown ups do. I hope this will prepare him for real life. We are also watching the election process and discussing it together. He seems very interested in that. Next week he starts Rosetta Stone Spanish. He does a separate science from Sarah and Caleb. He is doing Apologia General Science this year. I think he likes it. We have always liked Apolgia Sciences. They make it so fun. He also participates in Sarah and Calebs science because he just wants to. 

Sarah and Caleb do Language Lessons For Today for their grade level. Sarah does Essentials in Writing. She is doing well with sentence forming. When all is said and done I think she is going to be an amazing writer. She has a hard time processing her thoughts and putting them on paper however, she has did well under the instruction of Essentials in Writing. She is writing more complex sentences and they are very impressive. This is a DVD program with a workbook to go with it. The lesson on the DVD is short and to the point but filled with lots of information. Caleb still does phonics. He is in Explode The Code Book 4 and he is doing very well.  He has used this from the very beginning and I can't say enough good things about these books. There's no twaddle or busy work. It seems so simple and to the point. I wasn't convinced when someone told me their children learned to read by just doing these workbooks but I can say now that he is in Book 4 that this is very true for Caleb too. I fully intend to use Explode the Code with Hannah. For Spelling I am Rod and Staff Spelling by Sound and Structure for Sarah who is 5th grade and Caleb who is 3rd grade. This is really the first time we have used a separate spelling program and really liked it. We tried Spelling Power which is recommended by My Fathers World for upper elementary and it just didn't work for us. Rod and Staff is a more structured and somewhat independent Spelling program. It's exactly what we needed!!! I'm so happy that I found it. I will definitely be using it for Hannah as she moves forward in school. Sarah also uses a Teaching Textbooks 5 for her math. She has begun to like math pretty well. At first there were tears and I questioned whether this was the right program for her but she is the type that resists everything at the beginning so I've started just making her do what I have. Noah has done Teaching Textbooks since 3rd grade I believe. Maybe 4th but anyways I already had Grade 5 and so Sarah is stuck with that. However with Caleb he is doing Living Math Lessons. It's a workbook and it's a very gentle, real life situations math program. Some would say it's very weak however, I say that it works for us because he needs the good foundation of math. We have Grade 3 of Teaching Textbooks when he is ready. I'm thinking I will start him in that in January 2 days a week and we will still so the Living Math 3 days a week. I will reassess at the end of the year.

All in all so far it has been a good year. I want to encourage new homeschoolers and those who may not have found their place, It has taken me to last year to really find what fit well for us. In that I found that some of my kids will adjust to whatever we have however some need specifics. I have finally settled upon mostly Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. I don't really have time to get into that but it's a more relaxed approach to teaching. At first glance back when my now 7th grader was in 2nd grade I thought that it was way too relaxed and a crazy style of teaching. What I didn't know is that it's not the traditional way of learning but it's learning all the same. It's just in a different, very different way than what I was used to. So with that said don't focus on what others are doing. You can glean off other homeschoolers because Lord knows I have but please do what is best for YOUR family. All family dynamics are different in some way, shape, or form. School is going to look different for you than it is for me. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you and apart from all the other advice you get take the Lords leading into consideration the most. I completely hand over my year to God. I ask Him every morning to help me teach the kids the way HE wants me to teach. On some days that's not even what school is to some.

Just know in the end that there are going to be struggles whether you send your child to school or if you teach them. I learned this very valuable lesson when my defiant 1st grader who I thought refused to learn to read because she was just hard headed. I sent her to public school. My battle continued. It just switched from morning to afternoon. It went from her fighting me as the teacher to her fighting me through homework. This lasted only a week and I told her we wouldn't be going back. What's the point? She is now in 5th grade and is a very good reader. She reads ALL the time. ALL the time! I figured out that she just wasn't ready at 6 years old to read. She wasn't ready until about 7 1/2 or 8 actually but let me tell ya, when she got ready she skipped forward a few grades. It was hard! But what would have been harder is for me to have left her in public school and her be labeled as slow. That's never removed from someone's mind after they've been labeled that. She knows now that there was a struggle but she also knows that she persevered and she is above and beyond her peers now. Not only did this grow her but it grew me too and it solidified my goal and the calling to homeschool that God has placed on my life.

So mamas I pray that you have a good homeschooling year. There's nothing like teaching your sweet child to read and that first book that they sit down and read to you and knowing that you with the help of the good Lord taught this child to read. It's an amazing feeling. I pray that all you mamas who are teaching your children have an amazing year and don't grow weary in well doing because the benefits of pressing onward are great! 



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Shabbat Weekend Part 1 of 3

On Friday we started preparations for Shabat. We are studying the customs of Jesus' people the Jews. This was an optional activity to do and a lot of work but I decided that it would be worth the effort. A lot of preparation has went into this weekend. On Friday at sundown is when Shabbat starts so during the week and especially on Fridah preparation started. We are supposed to cook for all weekend on Friday. I didn't quite get that done. I'm not used to doing this so I cooked more than usual but not for all weekend.

Friday we started our day by starting the process of making Challah bread from scratch. What a job! But what fun! I just wouldn't want to do this EVERY Friday! We took lots of pictures so I will most share that way.
Our ingredients for Challah Bread

Sarah helped me mix it and knead.

And Hannah helped too.

Caleb too

Noah too. He's actually really good at kneading dough. He wanted to do it like the pizza makers and roll it thin and twirl it up in the air. Ha!

For Challah bread you braid it. The braid represents folsed arms.we are celebrating Shabbat which translates "rest".

The loaves are ready to go in the oven.

This was our table setting.

There are lots of blessings in this meal. Lots and lots of praying. Dad of the family leads prayer over the children laying hands on them.


And Noah. I wasn't able to get a picture of him praying over Caleb but he did. Then he read some of Proverbs 31 over me. 

We all drank juice from the Kiddush cup. It represents joy.mwe also broke bread and passed around for everyone to have a piece. It's not be be cut because the bread represents Christ's body on the cross being broken for us. It was not cut.

We all washed our hands and the blessing was said.  And finally we ate. And there was a blessing after too.

This was an amazing experience to have with my family. I am so glad that My Fathers World sees the benefit of doing this to know what customs that Jesus celebrated. It certainly reminds you that God is on the throne and that we shouldn't let God ever slip out of our minds. Our Sabbath is not over yet. We still have certain things we are supposed to do today so there will be more blog posts on there.

If you got this far thank you for reading. God Bless!

Friday, July 8, 2016

School week 1

We have thoroughly enjoyed Week 1 of My Fathers World Creation to the Greeks! Tuesday we got a late start due to being out for fireworks. When we got home on Monday night Daisy our Boxer puppy had an upset tummy so I was left cleaning up after her. In addition to her being sick Larry had to wake super early the next morning to go back to work so he didn't help with getting Hannah to bed. So I was up until 1AM getting everyone situated and cleaned up. Daisy is fine now if you're wondering. She decided to drink rain water from Hannahs sandbox and it up settled her tummy really bad. She was fine the next morning, however I wasn't so fine. I felt like a zombie. I'm just not a late night person. I usually am heading to bed about 9 and I'm up at 4AM on a good day. So going to bed at 1AM is not something that I do on a regular basis. 

Tuesday around 10 we started school. I let the kids sleep In as well. This was not our plan however we continued to push through and we did school into the afternoon. I was ok with that. What fun is homeschool if we can't be flexible, right? Right! I say that but I have a hard time when my schedule is messed with and this was our FIRST day! I had thoughts of defeat and doubting whether I should start the kids so early. Then I reviewed in my head why we started now to begin with. One reason is because it is so hot outside during late morning and afternoon hours that we would rather be inside anyways so I wanted to be productive. Another reason is because we have a vacation planned for a week in September. Starting now gives us some room on our calendar to be able to do that. One other reason would be because I don't like chaos in the house and that is what happens when we have no structure around here. We get finished with History, Bible, Art, Music, and Science around 11:30. We have lunch. Hannah naps from 1 to 2:30 while we do Language Arts and Math if the kids didn't finish before lunch. Some days they are motivated and some days they need to just take a break and do it on the afternoons. If they are done with everything they get free time while Hannah naps. Also they finish up any chores needing to be done. As you can see this gives structure to my day.

Now on to our first week. Well I have left off Friday because I am going to give a special blog post for our weekend. We are doing something very special with our school and I am so excited about it. For our History, Science, Bible, Art, and Music we are reading through Genesis. We are starting with Creation and learning History chronilogically through the Bible and learning about the events and people as we go! We will be learning the books of the Bible this year which is something that I had the privilege of doing when I was a child when I was in Bible Drill. For Science we are doing Science in The Beginning where we study each of the 7 days of Creation for a few weeks. Sarah and Caleb only do science lessons twice a week. Noah has a 7th grade General Science that we didn't start this week but he participated in Sarah and Caleb's science this week. We talked about what reflection is and how without light there is no color. Without light there's just darkness. If we have Jesus in our hearts light reflects off of Jesus onto us and then bounces off us onto others if we let Him. Great lesson! We did two experiments on which I didn't get any pictures. I will do better next week. We went into a dark closet and used a mirror and flashlight and saw how the light shining into the mirror from the flash light bounced off the mirror and onto the wall and we learned the word reflection. The next experiment included a candle and a CD. We learned about how the rainbow isn't a rainbow without light. Without light we don't have color. We held the CD behind the light of the candle and tilted it and named the colors we saw. Because the CD has a shiny surface it reflected all these colors. We also learned that there is a certain order of colors in a rainbow and an easy way to remember. We met Mr. White Light and his nickname is Roy G. Biv. This is a made up person but it is an acronym for the order of the colors of the rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue. indigo, and Violet. This was new to me. I had no idea there was a certain order of color in a rainbow. Who knew?! 

With History we read a few pages from Dinosaurs of Eden. We learned that the the Bible tells us a lot about dinosaurs but they were not called dinosaurs in the Bible. We read the first chapter of Genesis and a few verses or Chapter 2. We also read Journey Through a The Bible which has a lot of pretty pictures of the days of creation. For our student sheet this week, the kids drew a picture of each of the days of Creation and the box was numbered and written in Greek. We also learned the Greek work biblos. It means book.  The kids had to write sentences with this word as well as write the word and meaning every day. I think it stuck. LOL! I didn't get pictures of these in particular but I got a picture of everyone sitting at the table doing their student sheets.
These are my precious students! Hannah was just hanging out because she can. LOL!

In Art they learned about a woman who dove into shallow water, broke her back, and was paralyzed from neck down. She turned her life over to God and ended up being an artist. She drew with her teeth! They also learned that art starts with the very basics of lines. They drew horizontal lines on a piece of paper. It sounds so simple however two of my three students are perfectionist so it wasn't so simple for them! They couldn't use a ruler. It was strictly drawing a horizontal line as straight as they could. Here is a picture of them drawing with a pencil like the lady who ended up being an artist after she couldn't use her hands. This was a lesson in frustration. They were instructed to draw a butterfly and they were to copy it from the book.

Caleb-There was whining from him but he persevered and did well.

Noah-7th grade- No complaining from this guy. He just did what he was told. No questions asked and actually said he enjoyed the lesson.

Sarah-5th grade Sarah enjoyed this lesson too.

They also still practice handwriting. This year they are using Pentime from Rainbow Resource. Noah and Sarah are doing cursive and do very well. Caleb is transitioning from print to cursive this year. They usually do Pentime outside. I do require them to do this daily.

So I guess that about wraps up our Week 1 besides our special weekend I have planned. Be looking for another post soon. I will probably get to it next week sometime. I enjoy sharing our weeks with all of my readers. I do hope you enjoy reading and getting a little glimpse into our school life. If you got this far without me boring you, thanks for reading!

Independence Day 2016

July 4th wasn't anything special this year.  We just hung out around the house all day doing the norm.  Larry was off so we enjoyed his company.  He is working off from home during the week again and we all miss him terribly, especially little Hannah.  She is his shadow pretty much the whole time he is home.  I love that they have such a sweet relationship. She and Sarah both are daddy's girls.  We wanted to go to Wild Adventures to enjoy the water park and watch the fireworks show but we didn't really want to fight the crowd.  Having four children and one being a toddler who is very independent made me a little nervous to go when there is such a crowd to be expected.  We are planning to go when schools are back in session which is one reason we started school on July 5th this year!  So with that said, we decided to stay local and go to the local fireworks.  We can see them from our house but not quite as good from here as we would like.  We rode down to the stadium and sat next to the playground with some friends and watched them.  I enjoyed myself.  It was nice and relaxing.  The kids were able to play with their friends and I was able to talk with my friends.  Perfection!  Here are a few pictures from that night of these sweet, special people.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Getting Frugal Part 2

Today I did my first homemade dried fruit. Well not dried fruit I don't guess but it's banana chips. They are super yummy and a big hit with the kids. All I did was slice two bananas into thin slices, dipped in lemon juice, and put on a cookie sheet sprayed with coconut oil nonstick spray. You can use any nonstick spray. We use coconut oil since it has proven health benefits and the other leaves an aftertaste in my mouth after eating the food cooked with it. I baked at 200 degrees for 2 hours, turned them, and baked 1 1/2 more hours. With four kids + my bonus kid for the summer these are eaten on all afternoon and will probably be gone by supper time. This is quite okay. It costed me hardly anything to do these. It was certainly less than a box of cookies that's not healthy anyways or less than a candy bar for 5 kids. There's a little prep time that goes into this but it was minimal. It took me 10 minutes to slice, dip, and get in the oven. 

Going in the oven

This is them after two of the five kids got a hold of them. They won't last long.

My next project will be dried peaches. I will let you all know how that works out and if it's a big hit.

Getting frugal

Being a one income family I am always looking for ways to save money. There are some places that I just refuse to cut corners. Others I don't cut as much as some. I have been buying healthier snacks for the kids and in doing so I have found myself in awe of how expensive these things are. I got on Pinterest to see if I could find ideas of how to do dried fruit myself. This is a favorite amongst the kids in my house. Now some snacks that are healthier are not much more but then there are some that are. I had some bananas going bad yesterday. I had 5 of them. I used 3 for some Honey banana muffins and the other two to make some banana oatmeal cookies. Both were DELISH! The cookies only had four ingredients. Two were optional. The muffins of course we're from scratch so there was a bit more involved but not anything I couldn't grab out of the cabinets. There was NO sugar added to neither and there was no sweetener actually. The ripened bananas and honey sweetened the muffins up and the chocolate chips sweetened the cookies up. Here are some pictures.

Above is the delicious Honey Banana Muffins

The toddler approved! 😬

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Summer break is here!

Summer break has actually been here for about a month for the Gooden children.  I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Well most of it.  There's always moments where I think "what in the world am I doing?"  I'm so not cut out for this.  This is true however with His mercies new each morning, I have hope.  He is with me every day.  He is there to guide me.  Without God's precious, gentle hand guiding me I would not be able to do what I do.  Summer break comes with its challenges.  During the schoolyear we have a full morning of doing school and sometimes that goes into the afternoons.  With summer break going I only require the kids to do Math.  They are doing well with Language Arts so I am not requiring them to do this through the summer.  This usually takes them about 45 minutes to do.  They are usually motivated enough to get on up about 8 and get everything done.  So by 10, there is chaos as to what they should do.  Of course I encourage playing outside, leisure reading, or creative work.  This does not always happen.  It depends on the day.  But if I hear "I'm bored" that drives me nuts.  The older two have actually learned to NOT say that because they know I will put their bored selves to work!  Haha!

I will push through this summer break though and I will enjoy it.  It's wonderful to be able to just be mom to my kids.  I can work on spending some one on one time with each one and finding out what their dreams are.  Not that we don't discuss this during the schoolyear but I'm more focused on this part of their lives during the summer.  We will start back the week after Independence Day and I actually can't wait for that either.  I will enjoy each day up until then with them though.  Life is so precious.  Each child is so precious and special.  They each have such different qualities.  I can't wait to take them to Wild Adventures and other places that I've been dreaming about taking them.  Some of those trips will be in the fall when most children are back in school.

Happy Summer Yall!!!!