Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Might Be a Homeschooler...

if you have a frog as a centerpiece on your kitchen table. And if your trifle bowl spends more time holding wildlife than trifle.

Andrew found a frog in one of the buckets that we use to collect rain water. We observed it for a while, looked up frogs in the Handbook of Nature Study and discovered that he (or she) was a Southern Leopard Frog. The boys made some very good observations and drew them in their nature notebooks. I was very impressed. Their observation skills as well as their drawing skills have improved quite a bit over the last year.
We kept the frog inside for an hour or so while we enjoyed watching him and then took him outside and let him hop away. It was a nice, impromptu nature study.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Newest Librivox Recording

Hurlbuts Story of the Bible Part Six is now complete! I read story 31 and this has been my favorite recording so far. Probably because I read it without errors on my first try! This is a wonderful story Bible. I'm working on burning it to a CD so the kids can listen to it as they fall asleep at night. I hope you enjoy it too

Friday, July 25, 2008

S.E. Homeschool Expo

Whew! I'm exhausted. Today was the Southeast Homeschool Expo which I attended with my wonderful (and very patient) husband and all three children. I was a bit apprehensive about bringing Nathan as he is very independent and doesn't take kindly to being forced to hold my hand. I'm happy to report that he did very well and we had a great day. I am so thankful that Andrew agreed to come with me. He notices and investigates things that I would probably pass right by. He sees the boys with a different pair of eyes and his insight has been invaluable to me. We found several things that were new to us, and we were also able to get a clearer picture of some other products that we had just glanced at previously. We've got quite a list of "wants" going, the hard part is prioritizing. There's only so much we can afford to do right now. Our top picks (I would welcome feedback from anyone who has used these):
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Ebaru violin package
Lego Robotics
Membership to Atlanta History Center
Championship Chess Home Study Package

It was also nice to have the boys there and to get their opinion on different products. I think they really enjoyed themselves. It did make for a long day though, so I think it will be an early bedtime for me tonight!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Have A Dress!

O.K., maybe it's silly to be so giddy over a dress (two actually!) but I can't remember the last time I owned one. Let me explain. First of all, as the mom of three boys, sometimes my femininity seems to get lost among all of the super heroes, car noises and various (loud) bodily functions. I have a new appreciation for all that my dad put up with living with my mom, my sister and me. Secondly, although we went to the store to pick up a couple pairs of pants for Alek, my precious husband encouraged me to try on a dress. The first one didn't work (it never does) so he and the boys proceeded to bring me dress after dress until we found the right one. (Try not to be too jealous, ladies!) Turns out we actually found two. And I get to buy new shoes to match! Now although I have several skirts, there's just something special about a dress. And there's something extra special about having your husband and three boys help you remember you're a girl. So maybe it's silly, but it's nights like this that remind me just how blessed I am.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Being Controlled

Andrew just informed me that he was out talking to a neighbor today and Andrew jokingly told him that he should talk to a mutual acquaintance and ask him to keep his woman under control. Our neighbor said something to the effect of, "Man, you're the only husband in our part of the neighborhood that can say he has his woman under control." Now, I have to admit, my first reaction was to be a bit offended. I don't really like to be thought of as being "under control". It's that rebellious spirit in me rearing its ugly head. But as I thought about it a bit, I realized that it is actually a compliment. I am obviously doing an O.K. job of being a Christian wife if my neighbors notice that Andrew and I work together and that I submit to his authority. My neighbor's understanding of control is flawed, however. It is not really Andrew who controls me, it is my love for my Bridegroom, Jesus. He has placed my husband in authority over me for my good and the good of my family. And for the good of others around me who see our example and may gain a better understanding of the triune God. Though Andrew and I are equal in worth and value and have an equal voice in our marriage, I choose to defer to him as God has called me to. And although Jesus and the Holy Spirit are equally God, they happily defer to God the Father in all things. I wish that I could say that I always submit to Andrew's authority and never try to usurp his position. But, alas, Eve's curse is still in effect and I do have an independent and rebellious streak. But God has begun a good work in me and He is faithfully carrying it on to completion. I've grown in this area considerably since I've known Him. And today I'm glad to be known as a "controlled" woman.

Goings On

Honestly, there hasn't been much in the way of "goings on" this week. And sometimes that's a good thing. This week, however, it was kind of depressing. We found out that our prospective buyer couldn't get approved for enough to buy our house. Andrew had a rough week at work. Our open house on Saturday brought in a whole 0 (yes, that's zero) visitors. I did create a lapbook on plants for Noah, but ever since I have been plagued by insecurity and the feeling that my work isn't "good enough".

But in the end, I know that none of it matters. My God is sovereign. Not only is He perfectly holy, majestic and almighty, He is also my Abba, and He loves me with a fierceness and a tenderness that defies understanding. Nothing is more important, or more precious, than that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Future in Publishing

I have, at last, heard from "the publisher" regarding the production of several lapbooks to go with the history curricula that they publish. I did not receive a definitive offer because they are meeting next week to discuss several big projects, of which the lapbooks are one. They did share with me their "vision", so to speak, and it sounds quite a bit different from what I had intended to produce. They are thinking about something very simple with minimal graphics. Those of you that have seen my Gratitude lapbook will know that that is not my style. I really envisioned doing something with a wide variety of mini-books and fun, colorful graphics. There are a few reasons why I want to go this route. Most importantly, this is the style that my children enjoy. We've done lapbooks that we've purchased from other companies, but the simple, black and white mini-books do not inspire my children. Getting them to complete the mini-books is like pulling teeth and when they are done with the lapbook, they don't ever want to pull it out and look at it again or show it to anyone. One of the things I love about a good lapbook is that my kids love to show it to friends and family or look at it themselves and they get a good dose of review. The simple, black and white ones just don't look as impressive and my kids don't feel as much a sense of accomplishment when they complete one. Secondly, there are other companies that market the black and white lapbooks. I can think of only one company that puts together a fun, colorful lapbook and I think there is more of a market for a product that is in color. The last reason is just my silly preference, but I really prefer to buy one package of white cardstock and print everything on that, rather than have several colors of paper to print on in an effort to liven up a lapbook with black and white graphics. I realize that colored ink can be more expensive, but with colored graphics a person still has the option of printing in grayscale and foregoing the colored ink.

The bottom line is, I don't have any desire to produce a product that my own children won't use. So if the "minimalist" approach is the one that this publisher intends to take then I may rework the books that I have done so that they will be the perfect supplement to any history curriculum and go out on my own.

I would love to hear the opinions of those who have used different types of lapbooks. What are your preferences and what would you like to see? What kind of a product would work best in your situation?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Selling the House

Good grief! Just when I thought things were going to slow down a bit, they have actually up and gone crazy. We have finally decided to put our house on the market, so all of my time seems to be spent cleaning and tackling all of those little projects that we've put off over the years. Rather than pay massive realtor's fees, we have chosen to go For Sale By Owner. That way we can price the house a little more aggressively than our neighbors and hopefully have an edge. The reason for the big push to sell is that we have found the house of our dreams. (O.K., it's a realistic "house of our dreams". I'd rather be buying a 20 acre piece of property in southern Oregon and building my own house, but that's a whole 'nother dream.) This house is a foreclosure in a great neighborhood with a big yard and a bunch of trees. You can take the girl out of Oregon but you can't take the Oregon out of the girl; I gotta have my trees. There is at least one other family who is interested in the house but they haven't put an offer on it yet. We're hoping to get the house sold and beat them to it, but we realize it is in God's hands and that is just where we want it. He knows whether or not it will be good for us and He is sovereignly in control of all of it. What a wonderful feeling it is to rest in that truth!