Sunday, August 28, 2011

School is working. . . and I'm ready for a break!

We have been "back to school" for six weeks now. My oldest took a summer course with Veritas Press Scholars Academy online, and so for three hours, four days a week, our focus has been school.

That said, I am ready for a break.

We will school through next week and then be off till the Monday after Labor Day. . . except for Oldest Child who will begin her next online course on Sept. 7. Omnibus I Primary--ancient history.
Omnibus 1 Text with Teacher CD-Rom
She gets Theology, Literature, and History credits for this course. The summer part of it she has taken has been WONDERFUL. I hope that sense of challenge and joy continues. :)

We all have been working hard, and I have found a sweet little place with the curricula we have used so far. There ARE some changes coming up when we start back, most notably Notgrass' America the Beautiful. I am SO EXCITED about it!
America the Beautiful Curriculum Package   -     
        By: Charlene Notgrass
Other things we've been using:

Story of the World Vol. 4, along with the student activity book.
Story of the World, Vol. 4: The Modern Age, Softcover

I had hoped to get all the way through this one before starting AtB, but it was just too much to move through at that pace. The girls HAVE gotten a lot of history out of it, though. I am putting it aside as a "resource" that we will use to supplement our understanding of world events as we study America.

Answers in Genesis' God's Design for Life: World of Animals
God's Design for Life: The World of Animals
We are moving through this book quickly. I think I wish it was a little more text-heavy in the content, but we've not been taking time to get a lot of the projects done at this point. We are going to the beach during our two week break, and I wanted to do the sections on marine animals BEFORE we go. Lol. That way, vacation becomes something of a field trip! :) I love homeschooling!

I have been pleased with the colorful pages and the Creationist viewpoint of this program, and will likely order the other books to use this year once we finish this section. The girls and Boy have learned a lot already!

C will be doing Apologia Biology this year. I promised NOT to do dissection labs with her, hoping that the microscope labs will be enough. She likes to observe living animals, not study dead ones. At least that's her take on it. For now, I'm okay with that!
Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology, 2 Volumes, 2nd Edition
We have been using Learning about God from A to Z for Bible for the middle girls. It teaches 26 attributes of God in alphabetical order. Keeping them occupied and learning is accomplished by including lots of skits, word games, and color-coding of verses.


Bible for the boy has become Day by Day Devotions for Kids by Karen Henley, paired with the Day by Day Kid's Bible and Reading aloud from a Bible storybook that I had when I was a kid.
Day By Day Kids Bible  -     
        By: Karyn Henley
    
more information about Day by Day Devotions 7-minute character growing devotions for kids
They will all be beginning Latin when we start up again. I purchased Song School Latin for the younger three--to avoid buying three different levels, since they've had NONE so far. Oldest will be doing
Latin Alive! Level One. I hope it is a good thing. She's going to have quite the load this school year.
Latin Alive! Book One Bundle
We have the three youngers working through various levels of First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease. I will also continue using Institute for Excellence in Writing with the younger girls.
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, Level 3--Student Workbook                 Writing with Ease: Strong Fundamentals
                                                 The Student Writing Intensive Level B Student Materials
The two middle girls are still working through their Wordly Wise books and their current Teaching Textbooks levels. I need to order the Algebra program for C very SOON. I hope she will like Algebra as much as I did! The Boy is doing Math Mammoth.

The middle girls are doing choir again this year. We will also be participating in Speech with our local Speech and Debate Club. Both of those meet once a week.

Whew! That's a LOT! It doesn't, of course, all get done everyday. The juggling act has yet to be figured out. Schedules are the hardest part for me.

That's the plan. . .for now.
:)

THAT is what's been taking up my time!

~april




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm still here!

Can it really be almost three weeks since my last post? You know how it is, you get so busy LIVING (and taking pictures of life)that the thought of BLOGGING all that stuff just becomes overwhelming, right?
Last week was my Redhead's birthday. Eleven. Where DO the years go?

We spent the week schooling and cleaning like mad folk due to her party that was coming on Saturday(more on THAT later!).
The party supplies and sundries spread out on my bed Friday afternoon. :)
I am always amazed when we're "mad cleaning" just how messy a family we ARE . . . the act of putting things AWAY seems to be completely unlearned around here. I spent hours Thursday and Friday just picking stuff up and moving it six inches-to-two feet-to-its-PLACE. . . tell me I'm not the only one who has to do this?

Back in the news, our school room continues to develop nicely. I moved one large clutter pile and a table, combining all the unsorted STUFF to a largish messy stack or three in one corner. I suppose that's an improvement. :) It will be really nice once I get everything totally situated--which won't happen until everything I've ordered comes IN, of course. Alas, my "pretty" shelf or two will be commandeered for book purposes despite my best efforts.

Here's the one last "pretty" shelf. . .


I'm referring to the one in the center--above the sweet little "Birds" book--my nature shelf(below)and the milk glass collection (on top) is staying for NOW. :)
Here's an up-close:

This little hobnail vanity jar is one of the last things I purchased on a trip to my favorite shop about three months ago(can it really be that long since I've been?MUST remedy that SOON!). It hopped into my hand and said "I'm going home with you!" before I had even an inclination for arguing with it! Adorable, yes?


I just loved the little glass applicator and the notched lid--and not a chip on it anywhere!

Please ignore my dust, as this was BEFORE the week of the party, when some things actually DID get dusted.

I am now wondering if having to relocate the pretties from my shelf will be enough to make me paint the old vanity that's been needing it for ten years now(can it be that long?). . .
One thing's for sure, time will march on whether I paint or not.

School has been going well; I'm glad to report. THAT is why it's been almost three weeks.

More about that later.

Have a happy week--blessings to you!

~april
linking to Tabletop Tuesday

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today--a week ago

Today  I feel out of words. Out of sorts, even, maybe. Possibly just tired. But out of anything useful to say--I've been reading blogs and doing image searches(trying desperately to avoid Pinterest because I do.not.have.time. to get onto that! ).
It's the time of year when home school moms everywhere are pulling old books from shelves, ordering new ones, and reorganizing schooling spaces. It always hits in August, the need to move and change and look ahead for a better, brighter, more productive year.

I decided a couple of weeks ago(one week into our readjust-to-school-schedules time!) that our "front room," which was supposed to become the piano room, would be the optimal place for our school room--again. We've done this before. But I'm off to bigger and better ideas now! :) See, last Labor Day weekend, my hubby spent three days assembling shelves. . .
Last year's new shelves just for school. . .turned out a tiny bit TOO full. Imagine! :)

Only, the three smaller shelves we designated for school stuff just weren't quite large enough. And there was the issue of the piano being in the way. AND that room has doors to the back porches on both sides, so the large work table in the middle just really didn't make us happy as we had to maneuver around chair legs and table corners to go feed the dog or put the trash out. THEN this summer we put in the pool and built the deck off one of the porches, firmly deciding that the sunroom-on-the-north-side would BE a high-traffic zone. Whew!
So the school stuff had to move.
And there are FOUR tall bookshelves in the front room.
The front room in the middle of the switching/moving process. MESSY! :)

The four bookshelves in the to-be-schoolroom, BEFORE the switch out.

Plus, the space between the tall shelves in the sunroom is PERFECT for wall-mounting the tv, which we did this weekend = happy hubby.

That's what I've been doing. Oh, and trying to finish up "last year" so we can begin anew in September! Getting kids up early, trying to be on a schedule. . .
Our History resources for the school year coming up. A full shelf of American history! I'm excited!
Tired.

It's also the labeling, and sorting, and finding a place for things that makes me tired. I've got boxes and boxes of similar items--school supplies, sewing materials, craft supplies--that have been stashed here and there over the years as we've moved from house to house AND as I've moved things from room to room.
Sorting, sorting

They all need to be sorted so I don't go buy a single other pipe cleaner or wooden bead OR packet of hand-sewing needles!
Four front room shelves, after most of the books are moved in.

The specially-built rolling shelf for our workboxes. It still needs paint, and the boxes need to be organized better.




Plus there's the "buffet" piece on one wall of my room. It's beautiful and matches our bed frame's finish wonderfully, but it's six feet long, takes up most of a wall, collects dust like a static cloth, and is piled fourteen inches high with--deep breath--BOOKS. It is next to where hubby studies for sermon preparation. AT MY DESK.
The buffet. ACK!
My desk. Ack-ack!!

Do you see where this is going?

So once I finish the school room and the craft boxes, the buffet will be next. I think it is moving into my craft area(just off the kitchen--it is the perfect length to go under the high bar from whence the bar stools have been banished). It will efficiently hold MOST if not all of the scrapbooking materials I've got squirrelled away. I'm hoping it will also not collect so much DUST in that part of the house, or at least may be dusted more often. Am I the only one who never DUSTS her bedroom furniture?.

Then we will be deciding on the future of my desk area. To the school room? Remain in my room? Somewhere else?

Don't tell my hubby I've got all this in my brain. Shhhh! :)

Meanwhile, C began her six-week summer class two weeks ago, and is doing that four days a week for three hours--online. It is a WONDERFUL course, with great students and a fun teacher, and I could just SIT and listen, as it encourages my heart so much to hear teens talking about God's truths and our world and developing a view of reality that will serve them WELL as they seek to walk with Him into the future. Amazing.
C's very own school shelf--one of my favorites. She's got some serious books this year! The monkey keeps things in perspective! lol.
And I am blessed.

We had fifth-Sunday sing yesterday. No pianist was there, and a small, small crowd. I was blessed to have my barefoot 12 year old lead five songs a cappella, and to see the support that our church family gave her. That is priceless.

It was a weekend of heavy thoughts for me. Church is often difficult because I don't enjoy being in groups of people that aren't super-close to me. . . it taints the whole experience as I am so stressed over the social aspect most of the time, but I realized last night, somewhere in the middle of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, that God works even through tiny, struggling churches. His holy arm is mighty to save and His hand reaches down and touches us with just what we need, when and where we need it.  I wept from thankfulness.

And this passage comes back to mind, a passage that when I thought as a child and spoke as a child and sat in church on Sundays I often wondered WHY the grownups made such a big deal out of it. Wow. I am understanding it more now.

From 1 Corinthians:

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest of these--the greatest--is LOVE.

So a thanks be to God for His indescribable love toward us. Thanks for being fully known by Him who made land and sky and sea and all that is in them. Thanks for the understanding of my own minutia in light of His greatness, and yet the awesome magnitude of His love for me--for you--for each and every person--that He did not spare His only Son but gave Him freely--
                                           so that one day we can know face to face.  Fully.

Love.
And gratitude.

I'm starting a list, to remind me  on the days when I don't WANT to do what I must. 

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

As with most things that cause me struggle, it is an issue of obedience
Day in, day out, day over again. . . get up, make the bed, cook breakfast, teach the children, cook lunch, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, answer the questions, plan and cook dinner, shop for food and clothes and school books, and be thankful. Four little lives under my watch. Four souls to be shaped for Him, and my own being worked on by His kind hand.  No, this journey into history and math and science and philosophy and literature and just general messy creativity and childhood exuberance is not just for THEM. It's for me too.
I'm thankful.

Blessings to you--may you know Love--and be thanks-full.

~april

Monday, August 8, 2011

Roosters and Roses...

Linking this post to:


Last week I posted about the beautiful red roses hubby brought home and how a cleaning spree ensued, oddly enough. :)

When I heard about a wonderful party that Sheila at Note Songs is having this week all about ROOSTERS, I got so excited, because I remembered that I had spotted, in my desperate search for a fun container to put the roses in, this:
 Leftover from when my FAVORITE yard birds were bitty bitty babies this spring. . . 
Not SO "bitty" anymore!


So I pulled those roses right out of the fridge(where they had been ALL weekend), cut the stems SHORT, and arranged a tiny little vignette with some of my most accessible(as in, not stashed up or away!) little Roos and sweet chicks.

I set it up on a little toile chest at the kitchen end of my sewing cabinet. It's a perfect spot to enjoy the roses from my craft space OR my kitchen/dining area.

Let's zoom in a little closer, shall we?

The three little chicks plate was a birthday gift from Mom and my girls a couple of years ago. I've never used it for ANYTHING(shame on me!). The yellow color is just a bit hard to incorporate into my home, I've found, though it works sweetly enough here. The big yellow chickie came along with the plate. He usually lives  on one of my kitchen shelves.

I think he's wondering WHY there are roses where the food ought to be! 
I had to stick the feeder in a saucer, as it wanted to drip quite a bit.
These little fellas came from Hobby Lobby years ago--back when HL still had  quite a bit of this type of mini glass figures. In our old house I had a smallish shelf above the kitchen table that held ALL my rooster things. When we moved I sold a few, and the rest are more scattered here. :)


These tiny ones were at an estate sale, of all places. . .and they were still in their little plastic gumball machine balls! 
This little wooden Roo collapses if you push the button on bottom just right. With a little patience, you can even make him dance! Lol. I love the green base--exactly matches my kitchen walls. :)
Other chickens and roosters in my kitchen. Two egg cups and a sweet little vase.
(can you tell I can't say "no" to miniature anything?)

Then there's the happy little one who belonged to my hubby's grandmother. Isn't he just the cheeriest thing?

This was fun. If I can ever FIND the cocktail napkins, I will show you them too--they're around here somewhere!

Hope you liked all my little yard birds.
Thanks, Sheila! You're a sweetie!
Oh, I am also linking to Tabletop Tuesday--Marty is a wonderful host!

Thanks to you all for stopping by my little roost!

~april

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Over in the Dollhouse

A couple of evenings ago I peeked in at the dollhouse to see what was going on. It's been quite awhile since I've visited there! I was glad to see the dolls getting settled into their new house. Would you like to visit with me?
Peeking in the upstairs window at  Lili, the youngest sister's, room.

                     We find her reading Mother Goose on her bed. Apparently she's had her trains and dollhouses out too.


Look at all the TOYS! She must love her teddy bears and bunnies, and it looks like she enjoys her tiny tea parties too.  Do you see the butterfly collection on her school desk? Her older sisters take turns helping her with lessons.

 Around the corner from Lili's room, 
 A peek at the corner shelf in the bathroom. It's a room still under construction.
The two bedrooms connect through the bath, so here's a peek into the other bedroom:
Oldest sister Hazel is still working on furnishing and decorating her room, but she's got her dressing table all set up.

There's a lovely lively bird and a fountain in the hallway  by the stairs.

 Downstairs in the kitchen, middle sister Janie and Hazel are preparing tea. 
 Hazel has been washing dishes while Janie arranges the tea tray.



 Oh! I think I heard the doorbell! I wonder who it could be!  Around through the kitchen, passing the china cabinet that holds the "company" tea service. . .


To the entryway where we see an umbrella stand and  lovely statuary by the front door. . .

We have a VISITOR!


Just-in-time for tea! I bet she hopes for cheese and sunflower seed scones! :)

Noname, this is NOT a "bird house!" 

I hope you get to have time for some fun SOON!

~april