The favorite present: this baby (she hasn’t put it down since the party) We’ve given it baths, changed it’s clothes 1000 times, fed it, and taken it for a walk in her stroller.
I have to admit that my heart is broken, just a little, because she is no longer 1. I have loved every second of 1.
And 2 sounds SO much bigger!!
Have you ever loved anything so much that you didn’t want one part of it to pass by???
That is her in our family…
We all, including her brothers, ooh and awe over her so many times a day.
She melts our hearts with her batting eyes and little twirls.
My favorite part of ALL is her tiny mommy heart.
She keeps her eyes on everyone and everything, making sure things are running smoothly and everyone is obeying.
She doesn’t mind to tell her big brothers to watch for cars or to slow down when things seem dangerous.
What a precious little gift she has been since God brought her into our family!
We love you forever Miss Estella!
Mommy, Daddy, Roman & Jude
Home + School
(Kindergarten & 1st Grade Curriculum)
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan and Jessie Wise gave me a new outlook on homeschooling. I feel in love with the classical approach. I recommend it to anyone considering homeschooling. I decided to begin following the author’s curriculum suggestions, with the exception of a few personal changes.
We wake up early, have breakfast at the dining room table and read a lesson from this book. Each lesson has a provided song my kids love singing. Some days we print coloring pages that coordinate with our lesson. We place the pages in our Bible notebook so we can look back on what we’ve learned!
Some days we have quiet prayer time and journal prayer request.
2. Reading Aloud
1. We go to the library and choose educational reader books coordinating with topics we are covering in Science and History. He reads aloud to me for about 2o minutes each day.
2. A few days a week, I read aloud from chapter books. We just completed Alice and Wonderland and are now reading Treasure Island.
I used this until 2nd grade and then switched. My son struggled through writing throughout the entire time with did this. He hated it and I discovered we were missing many basic writing concepts that this curriculum was not covering. Now, that we have moved on to something new. He is flourishing in writing!
4. Structured Reading Lesson
I love this phonics approach to teaching reading. My son is flourishing from this technique. We use a magnetic marker board to accompany our lessons. He loves writing the words with markers and creating them from magnetic letters. This book is full of way to reinforce phonics.
I love this book. I was unsure about teaching grammar at his age but he has caught on very quickly with no problem. He actually enjoys this book. It has made Grammar one of his best subjects. In Kindergarten he could tell you the definition of a noun, pronoun and verb and identify them properly in a sentence! I also LOVE the memorization and reciting exercises in this book. We are about to finish up level 1 and starting level 2 a few weeks in to 1st grade.
I am LOVING this program. Wow. It seems to cover everything a child needs to know in order to be a great speller. It is broken down into very organized simple steps and doesn’t miss a thing!
8. History & Geography
We cover a chapter a week or sometimes stretch it to 2 weeks. It is very thorough and gives plenty of outside resources and projects to choose from. My son really enjoys it. We take extra time learning more about the parts of the lesson he is especially interested in like pyramids & mummies!
We are making a lap-book. With each chapter we cut, glue, and add-in several reminders of the information we covered. It has been helpful to display the information in an organized way. We are able to follow the timeline pattern in a more hands-on approach and visualize it better.
WTM suggest covering Life Science: animals, human beings and plants in 1st grade, one at a time. I like her approach. Instead of covering bits and pieces from every topic sporadically, you stay on one topic consistently for 10-20 weeks. The DK books have beautiful graphics and my son finds them very interesting. The only disadvantage is that there is a little extra work on my part preparing lessons. We read about the topic, watch videos, do experiments or related art projects and lap-book through our journey.
(We only teach one of the three Science subjects at once: animals, human body or plants)
My First 1000 Words in Spanish by Parragon Publishing
My kids LOVE learning Spanish. We take it slow and add words to our Spanish Notebook each week or two. No rush in this area. We move on when he fully understands and can use the words or phrases we are studying. We try to use the phrases every day around the house. There are a ton a great online resources with songs and poems to help with pronunciation and memorization.
This is great material. It is user friendly and full of great hands-on teaching strategies. Also, we love simple how-to draw and doodle books.
We alternate hands-on art projects with Art Appreciation.
We practice learning to read music and play the recorder. We also learn about famous composers and listen to their music.
1. Language Arts:
All About Spelling Level 2 & will start Level 3
First Language Lessons Level 2
Winning With Writing Level 3
Writing Strands Level 2
(I combine Winning With Writing with some Writing Strands to supplement. We also print out tons of phonics, grammar and writing worksheet pages and do a couple every day.)
20 Minutes Student Reading aloud! (library books)
I read from a children’s novel each night before bed. (Pinocchio, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Wizard of Oz, etc.)
Saxon Math 2 & will start Level 3
(This is an AMAZING blog with all kinds of resources! I also use her free lap book pages that you can download and print at home.)
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History with Internet Links:
(We use the Usborne website for a lot of resources on games, pictures and videos)
We lap-book each chapter!
5. Science: (Astronomy & Earth Science)
Constellations of the Night Sky coloring book
6. Cursive Handwriting:
Drum Lesson with daddy!
(We also do a lot of science and history projects and How-to-Draw books for Art!)
Lots of scripture memorization and reading Bible Stories together!
Beginning with the nomads, my son and I have studied history through the middle ages. We have examined Islam, Buddhism, Greek gods and goddesses, and Christianity. It has been intriguing to learn how various religions began and where their stories originated. This investigation has given us a much better understanding of the core of each religion. There are so many that ask, “How do we know our God is the real one? How do we know we are right?”
Others are often more devoted and even more passionate than we are as Christians. They follow outward rules and rituals without hesitancy. We’ve seen the daily devotion from those like Muslims who bow towards Mecca to pray five times a day. Some are peaceful with beautiful beliefs and traditions like Buddhist who believe in being truthful, non-harmful and wise. Following a path to an “awakening” seems dreamy and romantic.
Their thoughts are noble, to remain completely devoted to their god or goddesses, or the teachings of their leaders. On the other hand, when you dig deep, you realize that Buddha never intended himself to be worshiped. He wanted to help people live fair and honest lives and to be awakened to a sense of self. His ideas of the afterlife were his own. Good intentions they were, but not actions of a God. He was a man. There was no pre-curser, no follow-up, only him and his ideas. Then, when you look at the life of Mohammed, you ask yourself how one could trust a man who stole and murdered as “the only prophet of Allah.” It is an entire faith based upon the stories told by one man, one who prospered much by the lands he conquered and controlled, then died a sudden unexplained death and left his followers with no guidance.
Christianity is a faith in existence from the beginning of time. The birth and death of Jesus Christ was prophesied by many before His coming. History documents Biblical truths repeatedly. His story is one of love and forgiveness. He is one man that lived a sinless life, leaving us with the Holy Spirit, guidance, testimonies, power, and promises.
I’m tired of weak-mindedness. I’m tired of the lack of commitment and how easily we question our core beliefs. We have all greatly taken for granted our fruitfulness. We, as a nation under God, are broken. “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” Psalm 31:19 God has, no doubt, stored up and released many great things for us as a nation. However, I worry that we have grown lazy and undecided. We expect everything for nothing and how long will this last? Muslims stop and pray five times a day. How many times a day to do we stop and pray to our God? We are idealistic, believing we should accept all religions. How many times have we closed our mouths and hidden our hearts in fear of offending. We want to take the best from each religion, believing that whoever is “up there” will have mercy on us if we are good. Where are our rituals? Where are the things that hold us down and keep us centered: church on Sunday, our spiritualism, our goodness? Are those enough? Is expecting God’s grace and love with no commitment on our parts enough? Where is His power? Jesus walked on the Earth, performed miracles, then left us with the Holy Spirit. We have power in Jesus Christ. There is power to heal and to restore. There is love and wisdom to stand firm and love everyone, regardless of religion, without being persuaded to change our minds.
I say all this because I’m tired of these things in my own life. I’m tired of not being prepared to defend my beliefs. I’m tired of days passing and “forgetting” about God. I’m looking for ways in my daily life to make Jesus Christ my center and my family’s center. I’m tired of being distracted and caught off guard. I would like to have meaningful rituals that remind me why we exist, our purpose, and our future. What can we do daily to help us remember that God is truth and He is all that matters? What Christian rituals does your family practice?
Some days my heart aches for home.
God called us to Chattanooga. This was the place God had been telling us about for so long. He carved the way for transition and peace . We pastor a church here in the city and feel a strong connection to this place. There is so much goodness to come. The things we dreamed about, God is bringing to pass. There is always a certain sacrifice though.
I told my husband last week I was “homesick.” He looked at me surprised and immediately started describing the lack of opportunity for us in our hometown. His lack of understanding lead to my complete conclusion that men are completely different than women when it comes to emotion. And it’s okay, even natural.
My heart aches for these people we left behind, not the place. I said “left behind” like we are now moving on without them, which is not true. But, oh, how it feels that way.
We moved just far enough away to make it difficult for frequent visits. No one is at fault for this. It is the distance, the road between us I contend with. I feel a certain ambivalence towards those miles. They are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever traveled – winding roads, over the mountains and around the vast waters. Then, they change into the lush flat farmland, familiar to my home, for miles upon miles to see. But, they keep us apart. They separate us into here and there. I wish I could pick them up and set them aside.
I miss “come over for dinner” and “stop by on your way home from work” phone calls.
I miss all the talk about absolutely nothing particular.
I miss my kids running to the door when they knock and the loving embraces that only a grandparent can give.
They are the people who care about all the details.
They are the ones who ask about it all. They listen to my rambling words and feel them.
There is an acceptance and love that I crave. They haven’t gone anywhere. They’re always there, just further away and harder to feel. If I’m busy I can ignore it, the longing for them. But, in quite moments it’s always there.
When days go on long, and I don’t know what they are doing, what they are feeling, I feel separate. I feel excluded. Not purposed by any means, just an unavoidable circumstance.
I have them. Not everyone does. I can visit. I have that. Not everyone can.
It’s okay that my heart aches a little sometimes but, I’m thankful all at the same time. I have a father that loves my children endlessly, a sister just like me, and an endearing lovely mother whom I can’t live without.
Love and complete acceptance are vital, whether it is from family or friends. I wish we could all show it to each other better. As a pastor’s wife, I hope I can show this family love to others, in the way I’ve learned it from these people.
BIAC serves those with brain injury, special needs and other disabilities.The camp is on 42 acres in Henderson County, KY and is an outdoor site created to provide adventure activities for those with and without disabilities.
The facility is also used for team building and outdoor education.
The camp has low ropes course, fishing ponds, one mile trails, zip lines, therapeutic horseback riding, adaptive trikes, gardening and arts.
BIAC began after David’s cousin, T.K., suffered a traumatic brain injury while snowboarding in Colorado in 2003 at the age of 25. T.K. was in a coma for three months. David’s uncle, Tim, T.K.’s father, never left his side and when therapy ended, Tim continued to encourage and work with his son. Although doctors did not give much hope for life beyond bedridden, T.K. continued to improve. Tim explored opportunities for T.K. to grow physically and mentally and discovered an adventure camp in Colorado. After volunteering at this camp several times, Tim was convinced that such a camp was much needed and would be utilized in the western part of the US.
That began the long road of prayer, work, donations, research and so much more. Today, this is an amazing nonprofit organization that serves people in an awesome way.
We were amazed at the passion and love found within this organization. Most of all, we loved spending time with family we hadn’t seen in a very long time.
You can find more information about BIAC here:
I love summer mornings on my mom’s farm.
The air is hollow. We rock on the porch and feel the breeze. We talk and watch them run and play.
Beads of dew on the grass and my pulse slows.
Clouds puff up early and the sun melts them away.
Deer prance in the pasture and God finds His way into my daydreams.
Life is moving faster than ever but this time I slow down to see.
Freezing moments of baby smooth skin and loving embraces.
Carefree laughter and a heart full of this very moment.
We embrace what God gives.
Today, it feels like a gift, tomorrow it may not.
What ever the day holds, it is a day given by God, with all things considered.
We believe, hold strong and breathe deep.