Friday, May 22, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Rise


When I read today's prompt, this scripture came to mind.  I would guess it was because yesterday I was really having a hard time with my calling.  I struggled to see the beauty in my life. Not because I don't enjoy and not because I do not deem it worthy, but simply because I can't believe it is my life. 

It gets really easy to look around and see all the things that other women have going on, and wonder if I should be doing more.  Creating more.  Being more. When the truth is we are all given a calling, a duty, a ...

This morning I rose thinking of the beauty in this thing called my life.  Right now it isn't as difficult.  Meaning my girls are quite a bit sufficient and don't need me as much physically.  I was reminded yesterday by some dear new friends that "Hey, maybe you should store that energy and enjoy the break because you don't know what is around the corner."  I am taking heed to these wise words.

I know that it is not by mistake or coincidence that my life is serving those in my home and I will rise above the doubt with my eyes on Christ.  He knows the plans for my life. Before I went to bed last night, I stumbled across Psalm 16. 

"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Isn't He amazing to give me exactly the thing I needed right when I needed it. 

Proverbs reminds me that my life is not my own, and that two little girls are depending me for this season of their life.

This post is a part of Five Minute Friday, a community of writers that share their stories each Friday straight from their hearts.

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Homeschool Legacy ~ Forest for the Trees Review

Each year we squeeze in a few unit studies usually during the holidays or in the spring.  I am grateful that this year we were blessed to review Homeschool Legacy's ~Forest for the Trees unit study.  The best part of this blessing is the fact that I didn't have to do any additional planning or start from scratch.

The Forest for the Trees unit study was delivered to me via email as a PDF.  This particular study was ,of course, all about trees, but other topics are available. Some of the Homeschool Legacy's unit studies are also available in paperback

Sharon Gibson, the creator, has done an awesome job of preparing this study.  There are not any stones left unturned.  She includes all subjects with a variety of options.  Due to the nature of this study, she encourages the user to keep a nature journal to store all of the findings and art work created during the four-week project.

Did I mention that I appreciated the fact that this study was only four weeks?  I find that when we have too much information that can be drawn out forever, it actually takes us forever to complete and we tend to lose focus.  Another great part about this unit study is that it could also be expanded if desired because there really is enough projects and activities to help draw it out a little bit longer.  I also found that starting this study awoken my own desire to create a little bit so we were able to include extra projects that fell in line with Forest for the Trees.

Are you wondering which subjects are focused on besides science?  Well, each week follows the same format which includes family devotionals, science, language, vocabulary, research, art, physical activity, field trips, and Stump Your Dad trivia.  Sharon suggests having one unit study day per week to focus only the study.  She also recommends continuing your normal lessons on the other days of the week.  Our unit study day was Wednesday, but our field trips were on a different day of the week.

The family devotional also has a memory verse for the week.  I made posters of the memory scripture to hang up.  The girls and I often found ourselves reciting the scripture at different times in the day.

The literature component of the study was spot on.  Sharon is so awesome that she includes several books each week that can be checked out from the library.  Not only does she include the list of books, but also their call numbers which makes searching for them that much easier.  The books that are included as library choices are often non-fiction.  We also enjoyed the read aloud selection, My Side of the Mountain.  It was recommended to read it in two weeks, but instead we listened to it over the entire four-week period.  I chose to do this because our library did not have the second read aloud selection and neither did Audible.  I am not a huge fan of reading books on devices. The read aloud selections were nice complements that gave life to the subject matter, trees.

We were also encourage to take field trips.  This was perfect for us because we are in a new area, and this lead us to taking our first nature walks.  We visited an old battlefield that has a walking path covered with a variety of trees.  We also visited the Wilderness Station which has quite a few trails. The best part about our field trip to the Wilderness Station was that they have backpacks that you can check out and take on the trails.  Which one did we request?  Trees, of course.  It was the perfect extension to our unit.

We thoroughly enjoyed Forest for the Trees from Homeschool Legacy.  I am looking forward to using it again in the fall when the trees will be a tad bit different. 

Homeschool Legacy Review
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Monday, May 18, 2015

About Motherhood ...

I can't recall ever having thoughts about what motherhood would like for me.  When you don't have the privilege of seeing being a mom played out before you, it is hard to imagine.

Over the years, I have learned that motherhood is truly a gift, and just like any gift you shouldn't complain or disregard it.  When I was younger, I wondered why my mom didn't embrace mothering me.  As an adult, I understand that she had her own struggles and really a barely teenage mom is not the ideal candidate for parenting.  Although she wasn't the ideal parent, I am forever grateful that she saw fit to birth me with her limited knowledge, resources, and abundant pain.

Now that I am a mom, I recognize that it isn't the easiest task especially when there's so  much vying for attention. Although I admit it isn't the easiest job, you will rarely hear me say that it is difficult. This is not because I am special or anything, but because by nature I happen to be optimistic {there was a period that I tried out complaining because someone told me I didn't complain enough; that didn't work out for me}.  I often search for the brighter side of things even when there is pain present. This works best for me.

When I came into motherhood, I was a blank canvas.  Searching.  Willing.  Eager.  Now that I have been a mom for a little over a decade {tear}.  I am so going to miss them.  I have found that these five truths have been the basis of my mothering style and if these things are aligned then we are doing well.

1.  Trust ~ Trust has been key to developing strong relationships with my girls.  I make it a point to not embarrass them or share things that are considered private without their permission.  Part of the reason why this is number one for me is because when I was younger I didn't have the opportunity to build trusting relationships with adults.  I knew the feelings behind not having a safe space.

2. Availability ~ Initially, I struggled with quality time versus quantity.  Now I realize they both are important and play a role.  There are days when just need to be around each other doing absolutely nothing, but there are other times when need to collaborate and explore together.  By being available, the girls know that they can count on me.  This is true when I am working outside the home, in the home, or staying home without any extra responsibilities.

3.  Humor ~  I don't believe that I am a parent who needs to be friends with my children, but ironically we do have a friendship.  Our friendships are built on our ability to laugh and be silly together.  My kids are always making fun of me and it doesn't bother me.  I actually find joy in the fact that they can pull up a video and laugh at something that I did to make themselves feel better.  I hope that they will always have memories of laughing with me.

4.  Discipline ~ So I am the Queen of Lecturing.  I don't spank although I will thump if I need to which isn't often.  But, I certainly do speeches.  They are sometimes long.  I mean from the time we get in the car to the time we get to our destination.  Or from the time they do whatever until I figure out every angle I can hit from their misstep.  For some folks, lecturing may not work, but for us it does.  The girls have told me directly and indirectly that they learn from my speeches.  That the speeches help them.  I don't tear them down, but I do teach them and I am grateful that they see value in it.   I was surprised when one of my girls said, "Go on, I'm listening."  When I was about to cut it short because I didn't feel like giving it at that moment.  I've learned that discipline isn't always comfortable, but it is necessary. It is the reason why I don't have to discipline as much because they have internalized what's right or wrong or what's a good choice vs a not so good choice.

5. Compassion ~  This goes with trust for me.  If I didn't have compassion or empathy, I am almost certain I wouldn't be the mom that I am.  It helps me to remember that none of us are perfect beings and that we all hurt no matter how big or small.  I don't remember seeing much compassion growing up, and I often thought that something must be wrong with me for having feelings.  This train of thought also led me to not look at adults very highly and to see them more as heartless people.  I will admit I am more compassionate towards children because I remember being a child, but my heart has grown to include adults now :)

This post was inspired by Darcel at The Mahogany Way.  Check out her post about motherhood!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Follow

My deepest desire is to follow the Lord without shifting or getting distracted.  I often find this also the hardest thing for me to do.  I do well for months and months, and then something happens.  I start to think about me.  I start to think about all the things that "I" could do if I just jump on to another path. 

Well, I know that what I am doing today,  Being present for my family,  Investing in them,  Working on my heart issues are all things that I need to do and that He wants me to do.  I need to follow His lead.  When I keep my eyes focused on Him and not looking down or around,  I accomplish more than I could ever imagine.  Those accomplishments may not look big to others, but to me they are humongous because I know where I've come from and the parts of the story behind it all.  I may not ever totally get it, but I am working on dropping it all and keeping out it out of my hands for good.  It's not easy, but well worth it.

When it's hard to follow, don't give up. Don't let your eyes and mind wander because you may just miss out on something that is more precious and worthwhile.

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Be blessed,
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy :: A TOS Review

Are you struggling with finding the right pace for yourself and your homeschool?  Not sure what sure of the particular style for your learning environment?  Successful Homeschooling Made Easy may be just right for you.

We have homeschooled for about six years beginning when our oldest daughter was around three or four.  As someone who has been home for the most part, I found the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course relevant and beneficial to my current situation.  I honestly could have benefited from it greatly in my early years of teaching at home too.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy is a 26 week course created for the primary teaching parent.  The course is delivered via email on a weekly basis.  Each week I was met with questions that required me to really delve into my mission, goals, and philosophy as we continue on our homeschool journey.  This is a great motivational program for those who are new to homeschooling, those who are growing restless in homeschooling, and those who may want to challenge themselves to do a little better.

Initially, I wondered if this program could be helpful for me.  I couldn’t identify an area of extreme weakness.  Usually when I am searching out a self-help type of program it is because something is wrong and needs to be rectified.  When I started this program, this was not my case.  We do well with getting our lessons completed and keeping to our flexible schedule.  We are satisfied with our methods and use curriculum or I find projects that both girls mostly enjoy. 

Well, this program was able to help me.  It confirmed my thoughts about our homeschooling journey. The program challenged me to take things out of my head and put it on paper.  This was probably the most beneficial part of the program for me because I have lots of stuff in my head, and I can’t always pull out the good things if I am having a tough moment, but having a written mission and goals are reminders that I can pick up anytime especially in times when my memory doesn’t want to cooperate.  The program was also edifying because although homeschooling is more widely known it can still be a little isolating at times.  It also showed me that I am doing a lot things "right."  The commentary along with the assignments made me feel like someone gets me. 
Each week’s commentary and assignment was delivered to my email like clockwork on Sunday evening.  The first lesson was sent almost immediately after registering for the program.  This gave me a full week to complete the reading and the homework.  By receiving the program in chunks, I was able to digest and not rush along.  I sometimes jump to the end of the book or to the section I really want to read if the process is taking too long which isn’t usually the best idea.

I found it beneficial to print out some lessons, but some of the others I read on my tablet and made notes in a notebook.

I have not yet completed the entire 26 week course, but as of now my favorite lesson was scheduling.  It came at the right moment for me because of our move and the readjusting period.  We weren’t as focused.  I was easily distracted, and this rarely works for our good.   The scheduling lesson help me to reign myself back in and get refocused on actively teaching my girls and being present.  The method was not overwhelming at all.  The author doesn’t attempt nor does she suggest putting too much on your plate.  The method she teaches is logical and sensible.  I am sure it would benefit most new homeschoolers and veterans who are in a rut.

Another thing that I liked about this program is that it doesn't focus only on the academics, but the family as whole.  There is a lesson dedicated to reminding mom not to totally neglect herself.  The charge to homeschool is serious, but it doesn't mean that we can't still work on our dreams.  This program is well-rounded including the basics of homeschooling and plenty of inspiration and motivation.

Check out what other Crew members are saying about Successful Homeschooling Made Easy.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.