I've Come Full Circle

After all the time spent trying to determine the right curriculum to use for homeschool, I'm back where I started. The program I intended to buy would've cost about $450 plus we needed to buy another computer (one was not going to work with two boys). I started looking at the cost and thinking this was a bit more than I was ready to bite off. Besides, something inside wasn't really clicking for me.

I picked up a wonderful book called "Homeschooling Methods" by Paul & Gena Suarez. They're the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Their book goes through the various methods used in homeschooling. They give a brief summary of each method and then various people in the world of homeschooling offer contributions to further explain each method.

As I read Jessica Hulcy's contribution (she's the co-author of KONOS), I realized that we already have what I really want for our family - and it's in the KONOS currciulum. Additionally, the Lord showed me that I need to add a bit more structure and focus more than I've been on the academic side. The other piece that's been missing is godly character training. Not that KONOS doesn't cover it, but we've not done what we should with it.

While I've ended out pretty much with the same conclusion regarding homeschool, I have a different, and hopefully better, perspective.

First of all, it's a tremendous blessing, opportunity, and privilege to homeschool my boys. My ultimate responsibility in training them is to lead them into a life of godliness. They can have all the academic knowledge in the world, but if they don't know the Lord and how to follow Him, it will be worth nothing.

Secondly, I cannot expect the boys to have discipline and responsibility if I'm just flying by the seat of my pants, changing the plans on a regular basis, and have little consistency in my parenting.

And last, but not least, I want us to grow together as a family. I want to see our relationships flourish, not suffer and die from poor choices and bad attitudes.

Following Thanksgiving, we'll begin anew. Our new unit will be on electricity and simple inventions. This is something the boys are very interested in and we'll even be able to tie in their Boy Scout merit badges - engineering and railroading (model trains). My oldest wants to create his own electric train engine.

Thank God that He always gives me do-overs!


Thirteen Things About Me

1. I am madly in love with my wonderful husband. We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year. It's been an amazing adventure and I look forward to many more years of fun and excitement together!

2. I love being a mom. Even though my boys present me with numerous challenges, I love them immensely and wouldn't trade being their mom for anything.

3. I have been a born-again believer in Jesus Christ since March 18, 1990. I accepted Jesus at Calvary Chapel Nederland (a tiny little church in the mountains in Colorado).

4. I am addicted to Dr. Pepper.

5. I have a continual internal battle going on between my organized, AR side and my lazy, procrastinating side. I have to laugh when people think I am organized and have things together. I try very much to be like that, but then my LP side likes to throw that all out the window. I'm forever seeking balance . . . but I only see it as I go flying wildly past it on my way to the other end of the spectrum.

6. I am a Scrabble junkie - along with my Mom and sister. Of course, it's hard to be a Scrabble junkie all by yourself - it's pretty boring.

7. I am a former night owl. I used to be able to live (quite successfully) on just a few hours of sleep a night. However, as I've gotten older, my body disagrees and requests more sleep. If I don't comply, I have to pay the price. At first I felt ripped off by not having as many waking hours in my day to accomplish whatever I thought I needed to do. I've learned to get over it and at least attempt to get a good night's sleep.

8. I would love to be a photographer and a writer. I don't do too bad with a camera, but would love to learn more. I'm not even sure why I want to write, but I just like to. Probably because I love words, I love to read, and I'm a closet editor of everything (of course, now that I've said that, someone will be kind enough to point out my errors, no doubt! LOL!).

9. My favorite food is Mexican.

10. I am a recovering control freak.

11. Most every morning for breakfast I have an iced chai latte and a brown sugar mini bagel (toasted with butter).

12. I am miles behind on scrapbooking, but now that I have a dedicated space, I am able to get more done than I used to.

13. I just entered the digital age last week when I got my very first digital camera! But that still doesn't mean I'll be giving up film any time soon.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Time to Change Course

I've come to a significant fork in the road regarding homeschool. We have been using KONOS, which I think is a wonderful curriculum. I used it last year with my oldest son who was in 6th grade. This year he's in 7th and my other son is home with us and in 6th. I was really looking forward to my younger son joining us in all the cool, hands-on things that KONOS offers.

We've diverged somewhere along the way between what I envisioned and the reality of the first 2 1/2 months of school this year.

First (and this is no surprise), my boys have very different learning styles. Not only that, they don't like the same subjects in school. While unit studies can be a fun way to learn, we've wandered too far to the unstructured side and it has not been a good thing - for them or me.

Secondly, the boys don't really have the boundaries in their lives that they ought (courtesy of their parents). Sometimes, though, you just don't realize how far things have declined when you're in the midst of it. Fortunately, God is gracious and merciful and does not leave us in an unhealthy place when we actively pursue Him. We need to focus more on godly character development so that we can live productive lives that please the Lord.

The result? We will make a shift to more focused academics (new cirruculum) and at least part of it will be done independently on the computer. There are a couple of reasons for this. With the boys not interacting very well nor liking the same things, it is very distracting and disruptive for me to teach them both together. In addition, if I work with one while the other son does something else, the second son will usually sneak off to play. The program I'm looking at will lay out exactly what is coming up for each son and he will know what's on tap for the day, week, etc. My hope is that this structure will help them (and me) as we'll all know what's expected for the day.


I Am Chinese Food?

Wow - I've really neglected this blog recently. It seems that the more I intend to do something, the more I don't!

While over at A Chelsea Morning, I was checking out Barb's entry that claims she's French food. Of course, she didn't agree with hers either so I don't feel so bad.

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

Besides, I personally enjoy Chinese food very much! I don't much think of myself as exotic though. Ordinary probably fits better. So people think they've had enough of me?!? Hmph! Oh well - if you have nothing better to do (probably because you've had enough of me) you can find out what kind of food you are!

Well that's my big and exciting blog for this week or however long its been since I've posted. Guess I'd better get cracking! In the meantime, go have some Chinese food.


It's Snowing!

Not that it's the first day of snow this winter, but it's the first beautiful day of snow! Absolutely gorgeous! The boys' Scout meeting got cancelled, enabling us to enjoy an evening of Scattergories and fresh-baked cookies. While blog-hopping tonight, I came across this cool website where you can cut out your own virtual snowflake. That seemed rather fitting for today.

I made two snowflakes at Make-A-Flake, but since I barely know anything about html, web pages, and blogs, I have NO idea how to get the link from my snowflakes into this blog. Phooey! I did email them to myself, but there they sit.

I'll have to settle for a couple of amazing frost pictures from last winter. Looking at the detail is just so incredible! God is an awesome artist!!

"I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works." Psalm 146:5


My Clog, My Dog

I had wanted to have a blog for quite some time before I actually started one. So earlier this year, I started journaling in Word the things I'd write if I had a blog. It's true, I was a blogger-wannabe.

Since it was on my computer and not out in the real blogosphere, I figured it would be a Computer Log - or CLOG. Even sillier is that when I would open the file, the letters are so small that the "cl" looked like a "d" so then it was my DOG! Even if no one else finds it funny, it definitely made me laugh every time I opened it!

FYI - here's my real dog!


Time to Regroup

Hard to believe that it's been 9 days and I haven't posted a thing! Prior to blogging, it was amazing how many things I could come up with to blog about. Now time is zipping by and I've written nothing.

The past week turned out to be not-so-great and I spent little to no time at the computer. After spending quiet time with God, prayer, and talking with my dear friend, Jenny, I decided that this coming week would be dedicated to regrouping. Homeschool has gotten off-track, things around the house are a mess, the biz is scattered, and the financial side needs to be attended to. This was supposed to be vacation week anyway, since my Honey was taking the week off and Son #1 has a birthday on Friday. However, Honey got a new job and this will be his last 4 days with the current employer. Since his last day is Thursday, he gets to join us for the birthday day!

I will get rolling with some regular posts this week - school plans for the next unit, learning to FLY, etc.

Until then, blessings!


Strife & Holiness

A few weeks ago, I was really struggling with the strife between the boys and me during homeschool. A couple of days escalated beyond strife and into intense friction, yet afterwards there was tremendous compassion, kindness, and a genuine love between brothers. Is this the only way to see good behavior? Does the pain have to come first? Do feelings have to be hurt in order for tender care to be found?

It’s very difficult to homeschool when one or the other son balks at most everything I say. If there’s not balking, then certainly there’s serious bunny trailing (okay, they come by that one honestly!). If not balking or bunny trailing, it’s, “Can we play Game Cube?” “Can we watch Wallace & Gromit?” “Can I do clay?” or “Can we go to the park?” Often times, it turns into full-on refusal and defiance. Instead of being able to work on the task at hand, I have to do battle with at least one son. The other son quickly runs off to freely play with something – anything – while I’m stuck in a small skirmish! Oh yes, they’re learning SO much!

On Tuesday of that particular week, there was so much (it felt like too much to me) to be done – household chores, a trip to the credit union, go to the grocery store, check some accounts online, as well as do homeschool. The boys got up and played very well together (pleasant surprise!), so I continued working on other things, assuming we’d get to school later in the day. That didn’t seem to materialize. So around 4:00 p.m., we headed over to Garden of the Gods for class photos, physical activity, and our first letterboxing adventure.

Things went well for awhile, until ClayGuy started relentlessly mocking his younger brother’s fears. Unfortunately, some of it was kind of funny and I made the BIG BAD MOM MISTAKE of laughing! Oops! This did not help Z one bit. He was very hurt and upset about this. So I made ClayGuy quit, but the damage was already done. Of course, the fact that I had already been telling Z that he needed to lighten up, quit worrying, and let me be the mom didn’t help either. So now we had one very sad 11-year old who wouldn’t be consoled by his brother or me. ClayGuy attempted to apologize, but Z would have nothing to do with him.

When we returned to the van, ClayGuy decided that now no one wanted him and he wouldn’t join us. He scrambled down a brushy area and around the backside of some rocks. He clambered atop the rocks and waited. Z was desperately trying to locate his brother and wanted me to help. I was just irritated with ClayGuy for his little game. We began the hunt and Z found him on the backside of the rocks. We headed for the van, but ClayGuy still claimed that no one wanted him, so he may as well stay there. Meanwhile, Z is in the van and has started to cry. I’m in the front seat, angry. I rolled down the window and barked at him a couple of times before he finally decided to come along. By now, Z is completely devastated and will not stop crying. At last ClayGuy begins to gain some compassion and sympathy for his brother, comes and sits with him, and puts his arm around him. For the remainder of the night, ClayGuy is the best big brother on earth. He tells Z how he won’t ever leave him and even if he’s not with him, he’s never far away, and he will always come back. He even asks Z, "Who will never leave you nor forsake you?" Yep, GOD! (His word does NOT return void!!)

We ultimately spent three hours at Garden of the Gods. Yes, there was physical activity – walking around and some climbing, and there was the lesson of compassion and the opportunity to love one’s brother. How do you put that into an educational portfolio? Yet, isn’t that a much greater lesson than knowing how to multiply fractions or diagram a sentence? Will it benefit the score on a standardized test? No. Will it make him a better human being? Absolutely! Was God pleased with the way ClayGuy treated Z that evening? I think so. I know I was!

These are the things I must document, because it’s precisely on those days that I feel as if I’ve accomplished NOTHING in the lives of my children. Yet they are learning things – not the tangible, provable things of life, but the holy, important things of God.


Veggie Tales & Big Idea Productions

I always wondered what ever happened to Big Idea Productions and the very talented and creative folks there. In our house and my sister and her husband's, Veggie Tales were very popular! Our fun was enahanced by the fact that my brother-in-law worked for the company that produced licensed Veggie Tales clothing at the time. We still even have a few prototype shirts around that never made it to market.

I finally got to read about what happened with Big Idea at Phil Vischer's new site, Jellyfish.

I look forward to the creative and fun things that will come from Jellyfish!


Is It A Breadstick?

Last year we were studying Sculpture and Pottery. On our way to the local art museum, a moment of spontaneity hit – the Art on the Streets program exhibits various sculptures throughout our downtown area. Instead of the museum, we opted to do a “Sculpture Walk.” The assignment? My son, with notebook in hand, would write the title, the artist’s name, what material he thought was used for each piece, as well as something of interest to him. We photographed each sculpture, eventually including my son in the pictures.

As we reached the end of our walk, we came upon this particular piece from the backside and my son thought it looked like a breadstick, so he promptly “took a bite!” We had no idea what it was supposed to be until we got around to the front.

It’s called “Nun More Happy.” (This also provided an opportunity to discuss puns.)

Once the film was developed, my son created a small scrapbook. Each layout included one or more photos along with the information he wrote during our walk.

Our Sculpture Walk turned out to be loads of fun and it gave him (and me) a new appreciation for sculpture. Since they rotate the Art on the Streets, we may have to do Sculpture Walk II this year!

This post is my entry to win a camera in the "Share Your Favorite Lesson Plan" Contest sponsored by Sprittibee and Academic Superstore.


I Finally Did It!

Well, I finally did it - I am now officially a blogger! I've pondered about a blog name for the longest time (probably the main reason I haven't done this sooner) and POOF! this one comes out of thin air. It's not even close to my other choices, but it very appropriately describes my life. I don't know if I ever complete anything without venturing down at least one BUNNY TRAIL.

If anyone should care to read this blog (besides me), you'll find that I'm all over the place - probably on a bunny trail that led off another bunny trail off another bunny trail, etc. Who knows how I got where I am? Fortunately, God has the master plan to ALL my bunny trails and He never loses track of me. For that, I am very grateful. Not only that, but He also shows up on my bunny trails quite regularly. Being the awesome and amazing God that He is, He brings along whatever I may need for the journey at that particular moment.

I look forward to coming back to my entries and seeing the great things the Lord has done along the bunny trails.
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