Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nature Explorers Club~Arroyo Seco Trail

It was the first meeting of the Nature Explorers Club! I wasn't sure what to expect being as this is the clubs first year and I'm organizing it. I warned everyone far in advance that they would all be my guinea pigs! Our group, which mostly consists of fellow homeschooling CCPCS familes, met up by the Rose Bowl Aquatic center. I read them "A Seed is Sleepy" by Diana Hutts Aston. Warning: Prepare to wait awhile to allow giggles to subside after reading about "naked seeds"! I knew the kids would get a kick out of that part. After a brief overview of the safety rules, we were off and headed up the road to the trail head. The hike was a very easy and family friendly trail. Roundtrip was a little over 1 mile (thanks Dane!) The kids had a great time-stopping along the way to point out seed discoveries. Did somebody say "naked seed"? Diego was kind enough to point out the dog seeds and horse seeds along they way! Oh yeah, and naked seeds. Though I may not be plant and tree savvy, I hope that these outings will accomplish one thing in the kid's hearts-to develop a great love and awe of our Creator who is very involved in the lives and ways of ALL His creatures. (Luke 12:6;Psalm 139:15) At the end of our hike, we worked on a page for our nature notebooks. Next month's theme: Trees! Can't wait!
Gotta start 'em young
A wild cucumber! (

Hunting down those elusive lizards!
What's that on the tree?
It's just a little guy!

Plug your nose!
Bag o' seeds

More seeds!

What'd you find???

I think that grasshopper has seen better days!

If you take the time.....
to slow down....
you just might find.....
Really Cool!
It's always okay to get a little silly :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teach Your Kids How To Pray Thoughtfully

"I've encouraged my kids at different times and in different ways to pray thoughtfully. It's easy for our little ones to just repeat the same prayer that they do everyday or copy what they've heard us pray without any thought. I really want them to understand the power of prayer and to take full advantage of it with earnest, heartfelt communication with the Lord.(Proverbs 15:29)  It's an amazing thing to have complete and total access to the God who created and sustains the whole universe and all within it and yet we tend to take that privilege for granted. We can come boldly with full confidence knowing that God hears us and desires to grant to us our petitions, according to His sovereign will.(Hebrews 4:16; John 14:13; Mark 11:24)
  Recently, I stumbled on a great article in a home school magazine that addressed this very issue. The magazine was Home School Enrichment and the article was "Prayer Basket Devotions" by Wendy Dellinger. In the article, she explains a great resource that I immediately applied for our prayer time at home. It is amazingly simply yet incredibly effective and my kids just love it. They now approach prayer time enthusiastically!
What the author implemented as a prayer basket, I have turned into our prayer jar. All you need is 5 different colors of contruction paper and a jar. Each color of paper represents a different prayer category: Countries, Ministries and Missionaries, Family and Friends, Prayer Requests, and Godly Characteristics. Discuss with your children each of the categories and come up with ideas of what to include as you write them down on little scraps of colored paper designated for that category. (For example, we write all ministry and missionary prayers on red, prayer requests on orange, godly characteristics on purple, friends and family on green, and countries on blue.) Fold up all the little pieces of paper and put them in your jar. Then, during your prayer times, each person gets one folded paper of each color and prays for those specific things. It has been a true blessing to our family and I have seen God's hand in it from day one! For example, one of our good friends was going on a trip so we wrote her prayer request for a safe trip on orange paper. Every day following that, one of us "heppened" to get her prayer request! This system has helped us is many ways. First, it has helped us to be diligent with our prayer time. Second, it helps us to remember specific requests that we have promised others to pray about. Lastly, it encourages us to pray for people and places that we ordinarily wouldn't think to pray on behalf of. I pray that you and your family will find this helpful and encourage you and your children to develop a prayerful heart!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some homeschoolin' fun!

This week in Apologia Astronomy, we are learning about the sun. We learned how sunspots are cooler than the temperature of the sun (but still a scorching 7,000 degrees!) and that the more sunspots the sun has, the hotter our weather here on earth is! For fun, we concentrated the sun's heat using a magnifying glass and melted a hershey's kiss. Yum! The kids liked that one.

The Story of the World took us to Scotland where we learned about the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Now that could be the making of a novella! Locked up by your power hungry husband, who later on is mysteriously strangled to death in his garden. Of course, all eyes and accusations are on you, the bitter wife, making  you just as popular in the polls as Obama is now! You run for safety to your cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England, but she is beyond paranoid being as she has no heir to inherit the throne and you are next in line! She locks you up for 19 years fearing you are plotting her death, which seems to be confirmed as true when spies intercept your outgoing letters that seem to lean that way! After 19 years of accumulating numerous dogs and birds (think animal hoarders style), you are finally executed by the very one you had run to for refuge. Talk about drama! The kids made a "tartan" representing their clan (remember, we're going for a Scottish theme here!)

In our yard, the kids stumbled upon this strange mushroom growing in our grass. Very alienesque! The kids were more brave than I-I wasn't going to get near that slimy looking thing!

And what day would be complete without having first row seats to Monster Bug Wars? Looks like you don't want to mess with a wasp, no matter how tiny it is, if you're a spider!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bringing in the Sheaves

A common response I get from people when I tell them I home school is usually something like, "I could never do that....I  don't have the patience....I wish I could, but I just don't have what it takes." Although I truly sympathize and understand where these women are coming from, the bottom line is neither do I! I could never do that, I don't have the patience and I don't have what it takes. Notice all those statements emphasize and are focused on "I."  I definitely don't have what I need to faithfully serve my children in this capacity, but Jesus does and He freely gives! (2 Peter 1:3)

We would't dare approach any ministry at church with the idea that we are serving God because of our own abilities or talents, and yet we so often approach homeschooling with that mindset. (2 Corinthians 3:5) The bottom line is that homeschooling is a ministry, and as with any ministry, God does the calling and equipping. We come poor and empty and he in turn fills us and gives us all that we need to perform our service for Him. (1 Timothy 1:12).

God supplies all we need to fulfill any task that He calls us to. As obvious and simple as that sounds, we are in constant need of reminding. (Philippians 3:1) We quickly get run down, overwhelmed and discouraged when we lose sight of Him who performs all things for us by the power of His Holy Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6) How suddenly our calling can become a burden if we allow it to.

Remember, God is standing ready to supply the guidance (Psalm 16:11), wisdom (James 1:5), patience (Revelation 2:3) and love (1 John 4:8). It won't be easy, but it will be possible (Matthew 19:26). It will require sacrifice (Romans 12:1), diligence (Romans 12:11) and obedience (Isaiah 1:19), but to those who do not grow weary, a harvest is promised! (Galatians 6:9, John 15:16, Psalm 126:6).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Give up, Ben-Hadad!

We finished our first week of school! A long week, but a successful week! Not only that, but we finally got to use our timeline :) Charles V was the first "entry" and Sammy got to do the honors.

I have to say that I am really enjoying the overview of history we are getting with the Story of the World. I especially love the suggested library books that go along with it so you can delve deeper into whatever historical event or people interest you. The extra activities also make it so fun and interactive. To wrap up week one in which we learned about Charles V, Philip II, and Spanish conquistadores, we played a great game called "Steal the Spanish Gold".
One player is the pirate and the other is the Spanish.  On a paper, the Spanish player designates a certain amount of it's 12 daubloons between it's 6 ships. The Spanish player tries to get all 6 ships across without taking too much loss from the pirate. The victor of each encounter is determined by the roll of the dice. The game ends when either the pirate steals all the gold or the Spanish ships get across to "Spain". As you can see by the pics, the kids had a blast playing this game and I had a blast watching them! More funny to me than it would be to you is when Sammy (who was the pirate) yelled out upon approaching one of the Spanish ships, "Give up, Ben-Hadad!" which was NOT from our history lesson but rather our bible lesson from this morning. He quickly realized his error when Alyssa started laughing at him. (Although later it was me laughing at her when, during our science lesson, she said the 7th planet was "Urine".)
Pay up! The pirate won this roll of the dice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11

Ever since my children were tiny, I have desired that they would know God's word. As I began homeschooling my son, I was even more convinced that I needed to be diligent in this area of scripture memorization. I found that memorizing scripture wasn't very difficult for me or my children, but retaining those precious morsels in our memory was a whole different subject! We would memorize a scripture, move on to the next one and find that we had forgotten the one we had just finished! All that changed when I stumbled on (or rather was led there by a faithful God who honors the desire of those who seek to know Him more) to an excellent scripture memory system. I have gladly shared this system with all who ask. I find that there are so many moms that have the same dilemma that I had with my kids. The solution came in the form of a index card box. My children and I now  retain ALL scripture that we memorize.
The system is easy to put together and utilize. All you need are a few simple things-an index card box,  tabbed dividers (you can print some out @,index cards and a bible! All this info can be found at, but I've included it here for your convenience.The first step is to label your dividers.  Label the dividers and put them into the box in this order: 

1 divider — Daily 
1 divider — Odd 
1 divider — Even 
7 dividers — Days of the Week (Sunday, Monday, etc.-Though I only do Monday-Friday)
31 dividers — Numbered 1-31
Next you're going to want to use the index cards to write down any verses you and your family already have memorized. It's okay if you have none-you will be amazed at how much you are going to know within a short period of time! Make sure you use a different card for each verse and label the top of the card with the reference. Put those index cards behind the numbered tabs, but make sure you spread them out evenly. After doing that, you need to write down on the index cards the verses you want to memorize. Put one verse (this is the verse you will begin memorizing) behind the "Daily" tab. When you start this system, you won't have any cards behind the Even, Odd or Days of the Week tabs. As you memorize scripture, these will fill in. Now the fun part!  Each day you will say together the verses behind four dividers: 
Odd or Even 
Day of the Week 
Date of the Month
So if today is Tuesday, the 3rd, you will say the verses behind Daily, Odd (because 3 is an odd number), Tuesday, and 3. The next day (Wednesday, the 4th), you will say the verses behind Daily, Even, Wednesday, and 4. Keep in mind that only the verse behind Daily is a new one that you are memorizing; all the others are just review.
Lastly, when your children have memorized the scripture behind the Daily tab, you will move that scripture to either the Odd or Even tab, that scripture to one of the Days of the Week tabs and that scripture to one of the numbered Dates of the Month tabs. Now you can start memorizing a new verse, yet in a month you will have reviewed every memorized scripture at least once! What a wonderful way to equip and nourish our kids with God's word!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Why is that tape there?"

"Why is that tape there?" Yes, that's the first thing my husband said when he saw the timeline. Though I was glad he didn't bust out his level and point out how crooked my lines were (which I totally expected and was prepared for), that single question did point out how little the hours of forethought, tons of preparation and excess of caution helped me. The planning, the prepping, the agonizing over each detail and still I messed up. Okay, so I admit it-the longer this project went on, the less cautious I became-and I messed up. And not just once. Luckily, I was able to cover up my mistakes rather easily and although not perfect, it is our timeline. Now, Lord willing,  my babies can spend years filling these crooked lines with me by their sides making history more tangible and creating memories that I hope will last all their lives.
Not only that, but this near disastrous experience has reinforced two simple but powerful concepts about my walk with the Lord.
#1-God does not grow weary while dealing with us, like I grew weary making this timeline! Like me, He sees what He wants us to become. Unlike me, He has the patience and mercy to see the work through to the end without becoming faint or hasty (Philippians 1:6).
#2-While I made a quick fix and covered up my errors, the Lord is transforming me from the inside out as I uncover my faults and present them to Him with repentance. The change in me is real, not just a cover up of all that is imperfect (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Scary Sight

    A wall scary you ask? How can this be so? Though this may look like an ordinary wall to you,  I see  an entirely different picture. Take a good look at this wall and you will notice one thing- it is completely empty. That is where the terror lies! Let me explain.
    For a couple years now, I have been playing with the idea of  making a historical timeline as we study history. How to create this, nonetheless, has eluded me. It seems simple enough, but for some reason I have put it off time and time again.  This year I have decided I will be paralyzed by fear no more! The first step was deciding what type of timeline we would make. I looked at countless websites before I finally made my decision. Would it be on the computer, in a notebook, contained in a scroll? No, my friend, none of those will suffice. Confirming my family's suspicions that I am homeschool crazy, we will take up yet another wall in our humble little home with our adventures in learning.  I will have it no other way.
    Now, deciding how to perform this is where the anxiety stems from. I have the supplies, the timeline clipart and even an awesome history curriculum to go by and yet they are all sitting in a little pile sad and untouched. Today, however, is a new day! A day that I will conquer this empty wall and our dreams of what history can be with the aid of a timeline will come to fruition.

Let's call this an "accountablity blog"

Some people start a blog to show off their mad cooking skills, some to stay connected with friends and family, and others just to express their thoughts and opinions about life in general. While this blog may fall into 2 of those 3 categories (here's a hint, I won't be posting about "how you too can make a successful turducken!") it's main purpose is to keep accountability as far as my homeschool journey is concerned. There will be no clever wording, no dramatic details and no attempt to keep the reader hanging on every word. If it does manage to encourage and inspire my fellow homeschooling moms, glory be to God alone! That being said, please pay no regard to grammar and sentence structure(you know who you are)! Some of you may just want to close this page now and forget you ever saw it in the first place!