Saturday, February 26, 2011

Planning for the 2011-2012 Homeschool Year

It's coming up on that time again to plan around used curriculum sales and free shipping specials. 

Homeschooling next year will consist of grades 4, 2, and Kindergarten.  There isn't much I plan to change but I love hearing about what other homeschooling families use for their studies.  That's what is both so great and challenging about choosing your own curriculum: there is so much to choose from!

We'll definately be buying from (Language 2 & 4, Letters & Spelling 2, Cursive 2, Arithmetic 2 & 4, and possibly Spelling for each grade).  Last year, I made the mistake of ordering a couple weeks shy of a "free shipping" promotion they offer in the spring.  Since I wasn't aware of that annual sale, I'm waiting to receive an email informing me of the free shipping dates for this year.  It should be soon.

We already have a My Father's World set of books to take us on a historical and geographical journey around the world.  I was excited about beginning this series in Fall 2010 but packing a household with a wee baby and moving to a new place had me prioritizing what I could and had to do.  It's now February and we are basically unpacked.  The past 2 months have given me time to normalize myself/ourselves into a new routine.  The MFW books were unpacked and have pleaded with me to pull them off the shelves at least a few times a week.  I want to!  However, I think we'll stick with the first Story of the World book and CD for now.  It feels like we are still playing "catch up" for all the down time in the packing, moving, temporarily no home, and moving into a new home hours away.

Real Science 4 Kids is a curriculum we have been having hands-on fun with these past few months.  Our older two sons are always wanting to concoct some type of  "experiment" so this is right up their ally.  The only thing I would have changed in my approach to the first book (Pre-Level 1 Chemistry) we are almost done is that I should have gone through the "materials you need" list for the entire book and purchased them all at once.  Instead, I have purchased materials needed in groups of about 3 lessons and it's a nuisance to have to look for these items at the store every few shopping trips.

We absolutely love Apologia's science curriculum, especially since it reflects the truths of the Bible in the design of our created world.  I bought a few different books with their related journals through when they were on sale last year.  (*Sign up at to be made aware of their various homeschool curriculum sales.)  So far, the only one we have used is Exploring Creation Through Astronomy; we all love/loved it!  I recommend purchasing the notebooking journals that are available separate from the textbooks as they contain additional ideas for hands-on projects.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Building Materials

Be it wooden blocks, Legos, Play-Doh, or snow; children love to explore, create, and build.  It's not obvious in the photo, but their underground tunnels travel most of the length of the snowbank.  Not to worry ~ Mommy made sure they added many large holes along the way.  They like all the emergency exits along the backside of their snow fort.

We've been told these snowfall amounts and big blizzards aren't normal for here (which would explain the under-abundance of snowplows).  Although quite a bit of snow has already melt/evaporated, the boys are by no means disappointed or disuaded.  This is the kind of snow that makes us feel "at home"!

When a Dream Isn't Just a Dream

What exactly is deja-vu and when is a dream not just a random picture show?

Sitting on the couch, visiting my parents, the phone was about to ring.  The children and adults were all exactly where they had been in that months' past (or was it only days?) dream.  That heart clenching feeling in my chest and a mouth void of moisture had me acting outwardly composed...but anxious about what was to come.  I knew it would be my mother-in-law on the phone and I knew she had bad news because that's how the dream went.  But it ended when I woke up.  I couldn't remember what the awful news had been.  In real life, it was just a regular phone call.  Life continued and whatever had turned bad in my dream never happened. 

Those not-so-nice moments catch me off guard and take awhile to try to forget.  No one else is bothered by it because they have no idea you knew it was about to happen... even if "it" doesn't end the way you dreamed it would.

That's not to say that all deja vu moments from dreams leave a bad taste.  Often times, you are just living every day life when you suddenly know what is going to happen next.  Sometimes it's fun to live in events you know will happen as they unfold.  Then, the moment passes and you are left trying to remember just how long ago it was that you *knew* this would occur. Interesting how our minds and subconscious work.

Last night I dreamed that someone close to us died in a boating accident.  It was so real and I woke up sick.  It's those dreams that can haunt you.  You know the person, the event, but not the time.  Not real though...just a dream.  But, when is a dream just a dream and when is it something your mind will pull up again in said moment of its occurance?  Is it a reflection of past or future events? 

My brother-in-law was killed in a car accident over 10 years ago.  Is this newest dream a memory put into a new situation with a different person?  So many questions with no real answers.  Tell you what though.. It sure puts a bee in your bonnet about the urgency to tell those you love about the salvation that only Jesus offers.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 10:9-10 "If you declare with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

So, why dream dreams that come true... but not always all the way true?  Maybe it's a reflection of what could have happened if someone in the stream of living had made a different choice on any particular day.  How often are we in a hurry and red light after red light blocks our path to get somewhere we need to be by a set time?  Physical red lights or metaphorical red lights.  When that happens to me, I may feel a moment of frustration, but I always consider that God was either protecting us from something or moving us through to where we needed to be (for our benefit or that of someone else). 

God knows the plans He has for us.  We just need to KNOW that; reflect on it daily and give our dreams (plans) to Him so He can mold them into where He wants us to go ~ who He wants us to be.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."