The Need for Quiet

Thursday, August 27, 2015


(side note: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago; It happens to be raining today but not non- stop;)

It's been raining... for two weeks straight. To say we are getting stir crazy would be an understatement. I love rainy days when we are all snuggled up comfortable and dry inside, falling asleep to the steady sound of the rain hitting the roof, getting things done around the house... but I am ready for the rain to stop! (Though we are thankful not to be in a drought)

The noise level has been at an all time high as the kids have been running around crazy as all kids do who have been cooped up all week. Though I appreciate Diego and the Wild Kratts keeping the little ones entertained, they are really getting on my nerves. I love my children but they seem to think I am a couch as they climb and bounce on me. When they are not suffocating me they are making messes; neverending messes.

Though I have gained a tolerance for the noise level in our home, I have desperately been desiring quiet. To be alone with my thoughts; to think and concentrate without being disturbed. The introvert in me is trying hard not to crack. Try as I might, it is getting harder and harder to find any solace in a little house with 7 people. A couple of hours alone to lesson plan, read and write sound like pure bliss. I had planned to go out this morning to do just that but the rain decided to come down even harder; flooding the streets.

I was so disappointed but was able to get a little time to myself (though not undisturbed) locked up in my room. The rain finally stopped and I was able to make it out to Panera's. It really wasn't that quiet there but I was thankful to have some time to myself. It's amazing how much you can get done in a short amount of time when you aren't being pulled in a million directions! (Thanks honey!)

I could have used a whole weekend to myself but I decided I better come home. Shouts of "Mommy!" welcomed me as I entered the door. The house was a lot messier than when I left it and the questions and the cries of hunger started right away but I am always glad to come back to the ones I love.

Though it's nice to have time to myself in peace and quiet, I am thankful for the cacophony that is my life as a mom. The noise and the constant demands only make me appreciate the times of quiet and peace even more. Being loved and needed is what we all desire and crave. It brings meaning and purpose to our lives. It drives us on and motivates us. Though I often desire more quiet than I get, I prefer the chaos of my precious crazy little ones to the silence of being alone(as in not having a family.)

I know there are many other mama's out there wishing for some time to themselves; a few moments of pure silence. (Especially if you are a SAHM or Homeschool) We all need it. Even Jesus got away from the crowds and withdrew to desolate places( Luke 5:16) On the days when the quiet and the alone time never comes it can be overwhelming and exhausting. When those days come, let us hide ourselves in Jesus and find true peace and quiet in him. He is able to restore us and refresh us even in the midst of the pandemonium that is everyday life.

Have you had a hard week? Are you ready to run out of the house and escape the noise and the constant demands? I hope you get some quiet and time to yourself but if not, cry out to God and ask him to quiet and restore your soul as you care for the needs of your family. He is able meet all your needs; giving you his perfect peace and rest.

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

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Our First Week Back to School

Friday, August 21, 2015


As you might have noticed, I have had homeschooling on the I brain for the last few weeks. I have lesson planned, organized and cleaned our school room, prayed and set goals and picked a verse for our year to hold on to. I have to admit that I have felt the most prepared this year than any other year of homeschooling.

If this is your first year homeschooling or you are still struggling to find your rhythm; take heart! It gets better! Planning and prepping has gone a long way in helping me get to this better place. I am finally giving in and catching on, try to fight it though I did.

I love reading how other homeschool moms go about their days. Their schedules, routines and how they teach multiple students. It always inspire me in areas that I am struggling with to know how other moms handle their challenges.

Though I shared more in detail how our first day went, I thought I would give you an overview of  our first week in case you have been struggling to make the transition back to a full routine. I have to say the biggest challenge I had this year was in my mind. I worried and wondered how in the world I was going to give each child the attention they need without feeling like my neck was being wrung around and around. But as always things aren't as complicated in my mind as I make them out to be.

Monday
Monday went pretty much as I planned...not according to plan. I honestly was dreading it and though there were many circumstances beyond my control I kept making excuses to put off what I knew we needed to be doing. Couldn't I just write about homeschooling instead of doing it?? Alas no, it must be done. It wasn't the best start but it truthfully went better than I imagined. I had anticipated the boys not listening and complaining about having a full day of school but in actuality they did so well. I am so glad they proved me wrong. I always need to be reminded that children thrive off of boundaries, routines and schedules(with some flexibility thrown in) contrary to what we often think.

Luke was one of my biggest worries but as you can see he jumped right in and is already reading and writing;P

Tuesday
We had the best possible school day I could hope for. It made up for all the mishaps and imperfections of Monday. I think a lot of it had to do with me getting up early. I always feel more prepared for the day when I get up early, exercise, have my quiet time with the Lord and get breakfast started before the kids get up. As moms, we really do set the tone for the day. It's not always possible to get up early for some of us and sometimes we don't get as much sleep as we would like but when we start the day right (at least with a good attitude)it can make all the difference.

Ellie officially started Kindergarten and we are doing a unit study on the Sun and how it is like Jesus, "The Light of the world." This girl loves school and has been so much fun to teach and learn with!

Wednesday
After having such a great day Tuesday it was only natural that something would go wrong the next day. Ellie started complaining in the morning that her tummy hurt. I never like to hear that anyone's tummy is hurting. It usually means the dreaded stomach bug. Many times though it just means a #2 is due. I was hoping for the latter.

As the morning progressed and we finished breakfast I was taking a much needed bathroom break when I heard screaming. Ellie had thrown up...all over herself, the couch and the floor. I tried to get myself out of the bathroom as quick as I could. I found poor Ellie covered in her breakfast. I got her a bath and spent the rest of the day cleaning the rug and couch covers. Thank goodness for my washable couch and rug! Though I hate the stomach bug, we have had it so often that it doesn't phase me as much as it used to. I waited for her to get sick again and for her brothers to start hurling but thankfully that was it. I never like to see my babies in pain, so I was very relieved she was okay.

Amazingly enough the boys had a very productive day of school and the house got a good deep cleaning.

Thursday
Ellie was back to her normal self to my relief but I was still holding my breath waiting to see if someone else got sick but somehow we were spared. ( Unfortunately we all got the stomach flu the next week...it was horrible.Those nasty bugs really like us for some reason)

The kids and I really enjoyed starting some of our new books and doing some fun games and experiments this week. We started a unit study on China for Geography, watched "Wild China" on Netflix, labeled the map of China and the surrounding countries and learned to play Chinese Checkers.

I am happy to say we stayed on our target all day and got done with school by 1:30! Since the boys exceeded my expectations(Oh, me of little faith) I took them to the skatepark as a reward.

Friday
On Fridays I had planned for us to do a field trip, nature walk or art project. Naturally we went to the Beach! We had a great time soaking up the sun, cooling off in the water and as always finding cool sea critters and shells. We have been also doing a unit study on the ocean so the kids have become very knowledgeable about the water from studying and exploring for themselves.

I can't believe I am saying this but we even did school when we came back home and finished before 2:00. I know...crazy! After we finished our school work Judah said, " Usually when we start school again it's really hard and I don't want to do it but it hasn't been that hard this time and it's fun. I think it's because we did school in the summer." I can't tell you how hearing this made my heart swell. It wasn't easy for me to convince them that it would be worth it to do some school through the summer. Well this confirmed that I made the right decision.
                             
Summary

Once again God has answered my prayers above and beyond what I could ask or imagine. I am so excited for this school year and I know it can only be explained as a supernatural act of God. I love that I have the amazing privilege of teaching my children at home. I don't take it for granted, but lets be honest...it is not always easy or fun. It is however worth it and doable... when God has called you to do it.

How was your first week back to school or homeschool??

Was it harder or easier than you thought it would be?

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Our Homeschool Essentials

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Since we started homeschooling way back when Israel was going into Kindergarten( has it really been that long???) I have come to realize that you don't necessarily need a lot of extra doo dads and thing ama bobs to effectually homeschool. Of course there are some things that are essential to making your homeschool run smoothly and effectively.

We have slowly added to these things over the years as we have had need of them. Somehow most of our supplies that are so vital to doing anything, often end up missing and broken. Which leaves me frustrated and fuming when I can't find what I am looking for. To remedy this I have decided to take matters into my own hands and put all of the supplies that go missing or broken in one container. I have hidden it in a secret spot, to be only opened and administered by me. So far this method has worked wonders. I now know where all the pencils, sharpies, glue, scissors and tape are! This is such a tremendous feeling for me. Really. You have no idea. Or maybe you do!

Here are a few things that I have found to be extremely helpful and essential to our homeschool. Most of these you probably already have in your home and may seem obvious. Chances are there are some of you out there who didn't know they needed them...that is till now.

Electric Pencil Sharpener

I finally bought an electric pencil sharpener this week! I knew something was missing in my life! It was this. I can't tell you how nice it is to have sharpened pencils! This little machine has made my life so much easier. No wondering where the pencil sharpener is, no complaining students saying they don't have a sharpened pencil. The kids have been obsessed with it. As soon as we got it, they went right to work sharpening e v e r y. s i n g l e.  p e n c i l.  in our home! If you have had the same dilemma with pencils like I have, you need an electric pencil sharpener in your life!

All In One Printer

It wasn't too long after I started homeschooling that I realized we needed a printer. Many of the books I have allow for copying so that I can reuse them for future students. There are also so many resources online that you can download and make free copies from. It is a no brainer. If you don't have one, go get one now. They are very affordable and don't take up a lot of room.You need a printer. End of story.

Ink


Of course you are going to need some ink to go with your printer!

Printer Paper

Of course to go with your printer you are going to need some paper. My kids draw all day so we have invested a lot in paper. To me it is a investment that is well worth it. We use so much paper that we buy it in bulk and it is cheaper that way.

Pencils


We have gone through a lot of pencils in the 6 years we have been homeschooling. I discovered quickly that the cheap ones I was buying were not saving me any money. These Ticonderoga pencils been worth their weight in gold. We can't go back now and neither will you once you try them.

Stapler

If you want to attach papers together...you need this. That is all.

3 Hole Ring Punch

This little doo hickey has come in so handy. We put a lot of our school work in binders and you need this to do so...obviously.

World Globe


So much of what we learn centers on Bible, Geography, History and Science and wouldn't be possible without a globe. I found mine at a garage sale but it is starting to fall apart. This one is so affordable that I will be replacing ours soon with it.

World Map


What I said above but with a map also. I am so thankful that we had room to put one up in our school room. It is the focal point in our room and makes it feel like a real school room. Not to mention we use it almost every day!

File Holder


Staying organized has been key in helping me stay sane. I love having these file holders to keep all my loose papers categorized and organized.

Binders


We have been using binders to store all of our paper work. The kids all have their own and it is so nice to have all their school work in one place for when we are evaluated at the end of the year. They each have one also for all their art work.

Art Supplies

Water Colors

water color pad


Sketch Journal


We recently started a nature journal. The boys love these sketch books! They feel like they are making a real book. I got one for myself also!
Brushes


Kids Paint


Brushes


We love any form or medium of art in our home. There isn't one day that goes by that someone is not drawing, painting, or creating. So having the right tools on hand for my little artists is very important.

Of course there are other things that I could add to this list but these are what I have found to be the most necessary along with a willing spirit and humble heart...

What are your homeschool essentials? 

Anything I should add to my list?

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Our Imperfect First Day Back to School 2015/16

Friday, August 14, 2015

Monday was the big day. I planned, cleaned, organized, prayed and tried to mentally prepare myself as best as I could. There were still plenty of things I wanted to do before hand but I knew I couldn't postpone it forever. I have shared before that we decided to homeschool through the summer but we really weren't on a strict schedule. It was nice to not be in a rush and do what we were able. Of course I had much grander dreams of what we would accomplish but I am very happy that we were able to maintain somewhat of a routine.

Our first day back to a full school schedule did not go at all as I had planned, but does it ever?  I have to say that I it really helped me to write down my goals for the year, pick a theme verse and keep in mind why we are doing this and cover our homeschool in prayer ahead of time. Though it might not have been the best day it wasn't too out of the ordinary for us.

The Morning
I didn't get up as early as I had wanted and it wasn't too long before little bodies were strewn all over me as I tried to have some quiet time. Judah offered to make breakfast(blueberry breakfast cake) so I gave him the recipe and he went at it. Unfortunately it wasn't till after he started making it that we realized we didn't have any eggs. Our chickens are usually good layers but these hot days have been getting to them also.

I had not planned on stepping one foot out of the house except to do laundry and said no at first. Judah was so disappointed that tears started forming in his eyes. I couldn't handle seeing his little heart break, especially since he was being so sweet in wanting to make breakfast for us. So to Publix we went. It almost went off without a hitch except for Ellie having a melt down in the check out line because I wouldn't let her get any candy. I know, I'm so mean. She cried all. the. way. home. and for almost a half hour after we came home. It was not how I pictured her first official day of Kindergarten.

She finally calmed down, we had our long awaited breakfast and Bible time. It was getting so late that I let the kitchen stay in the sorry mess that it was. We had to get going. By now it was 11:00. Not the early start I had hoped for.
                                                                       
Noon
Since we had breakfast so late we didn't stop for lunch. I gave the boys reading and math to do while I worked with Ellie. I have to say I am really happy with how this worked out. I was so worried about how I was going to be able to focus on her and the boys, but I was able to do all her work with her. She loved it and so did I!

During this time Simeon was busy pretending to be an Artic wolf and Luke went back and forth playing with Simeon, to getting into something, to coming to me wanting to nurse.

Luke was starting to get really tired so I tried getting him to sleep. Getting him to go to sleep without nursing has been one of the hardest things. Most/some of my babies would eventually go in their bed at some point and fall asleep on their own. Luke is in a class all his own. There was a point when I would lay him down and he would cry a little bit and then go to sleep. Then one day out of the blue he started making himself get so upset that he would throw up. I would immediately come and get him. Since then every time I have tried to lay him down he has thrown up every time.

Guess what I tried to do Monday?? Yep, I tried to lay him down in his bed. How dare I?  Luke must have thought I was crazy because not only did he proceed to make himself convulse, but before long he was spewing his breakfast all over the bed, the floor and myself. Just so you know I have talked to our pediatrician about this and he said that Luke is doing it on purpose. I was shocked at first. My baby? Make himself throw up? It wasn't long till it was confirmed when I found him sticking his hand down his mouth; forcing himself to regurgitate. These little kids are smart I tell ya.

Homeschooling with little ones is hard. Nap times have always been a life saver but this crazy kid has thrown me for a loop. After I cleaned him, myself and the floor; I finally managed to get him to sleep. Cue Angels singing!

Afternoon
By now it was 2:00 and the kids and myself were hungry so we rustled up some food and then got back to the books.
I gave Ellie a project to do by herself while I did Language with the boys. During all the kerfuffle with Luke, the boys and Ellie played Scrabble and Checkers. Simeon switched from being an Arctic Wolf to a Dinosaur. It was getting late so we finished up with a writing game, reading narration and some copywork. We didn't get to Science and History but I stuck with one of my goals of not rushing. It wasn't the ideal school day but it was a start, though it would have been nice to have a do over! I can tell that by keeping the kids doing some school during the summer, really went a long way to help us all have an easier transition.

Monday wasn't perfect, but you know what? That is okay. I am not perfect, my kids are not perfect and we don't live in a perfect world, but we do serve a perfect risen Savior!  God was so gracious to us and gave us a nearly perfect rest of the week. I still had reluctant and disobedient students, lots of messes, some temper tantrums and unfinished work, but what else would you expect from an imperfect homeschool?

How did your first day go??

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