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Laura
Follower of Christ. Wife to Adam. Mama to Joshua (9), Abigail (8), Esther (7), Hannah (6), Noah (5), Joseph (3), Peter (2), James (9 months), and Blessing #9 due late August. Soli Deo Gloria!
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Adam and Laura

Adam and Laura

Joshua Addison

Joshua Addison

Abigail Lauren

Abigail Lauren

Esther Rebecca

Esther Rebecca

Hannah Ralene

Hannah Ralene

Noah Evans

Noah Evans

Joseph Patrick

Joseph Patrick

Peter Edwin

Peter Edwin

James Emil Robert

James Emil Robert

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our School Year

Joseph amuses himself by pulling everything out of one of the school cabinets and hiding in it.

I thought I'd give a quick overview of what we are using for school this year. It's been a while since I did a post like this, and we have changed a good bit since then. We are very pleased with what we are using now, and we plan to stick with it! Joshua and Abigail are in 2nd grade this year and Esther is in 1st grade. Abigail and Esther are technically "ahead" of where they would be if they went to school, but they were both ready and are doing wonderfully. Formal kindergarten is not required in Georgia, and at this point we really pretty much ignore it. The younger children pick up so much from listening to the older children do school, and they seem to be ready for 1st grade around age 5. Of course all children are different and some of them may not be ready at that point. That is perfectly fine, and we'll just accommodate as we go.

Scripture Memory: We are still using the Scripture memory method that my friend, Jennifer, shared with me. We just finished Proverbs 6:16-19. I chose a short passage in hopes that Noah would pick up on it. He did pretty well, but he's not quite ready to recite things himself yet. We'll just keep plugging along and he'll get it soon.

video


Catechism: We are memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism using these CDs. This is a wonderful way to memorize! Each question is a short song with a simple melody and guitar accompaniment. I wondered if the children would have trouble reciting the questions and answers after learning to sing them, but that has not been a problem at all. Catechizing our children is very important to us and is something that we also work on during our evening family worship times. Of course they will be able to grasp more and more of the meanings as they get older, but having your 4, 5, 6, and 7 year-olds recite the questions and answers is wonderful. They will always remember them and we pray that God will increase their understanding and insight as they grow in Him. Here is one of the questions that we have worked on recently.

Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
God, having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life,did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

Spell to Write and Read: We have used this from the beginning and it is working very well for us. It really helps that my mom has tutored with this program and knows it inside and out. If I have any questions or need advice, I just have to pick up the phone and call her! After using it for a couple of years now, I feel like I have a good handle on it. It is very logical and focuses on spelling. As the children learn to spell, they learn to read. They may end up reading a little later than if we were using another program, but they end up having a great understanding of why words are spelled the way they are. (For example, the word "like" is spelled with a "k" and not a "c" because "c" says /s/ before e, i, or y. Bam. There you have it. No more guessing!) It makes a lot of sense out of the English language. Joshua has really taken off with reading in the past few months. It was a chore to him before, but now he wants to read everything and he is trying to teach Hannah . :) Abigail started reading well a long time ago and is reading long chapter books on her own now. Esther just started reading and I'm amazed at how well she is doing with this program! Of course, it helps that she has been observing Joshua and Abigail for quite a while now.

Esther was so excited to get 100% on her 3rd spelling quiz!


Cursive First: We use this for beginning handwriting. It's great and I'm sold on children learning to write cursive before manuscript. More on that here. Hannah will be starting Cursive First shortly. She just turned 4, but she has great pencil control and she is constantly begging me to give her more school to do (besides her tracing books and a few other things that I give her to do)! I bought the I Can Write books (which are very inexpensive) this year, as well as the Classically Cursive books. Classically Cursive books are a little more expensive, but you can actually make unlimited photocopies of them and they are great for giving children extra handwriting practice. There are four books (Bible Primer, Ten Commandments, Shorter Catechism, and Attributes of God) and I love the fact that they are based on Scripture.

About halfway through last year we started using Veritas Press and I love it! We do not use everything that they recommend, but we do use most of it.

Saxon Math: My mom used this when she was homeschooling and I remember enjoying it and learning a lot from it. Saxon uses a lot of review, which is great for the way that my children learn. They, like me, do not have photographic memories and a lot of review is necessary for mastery. Saxon also has a way of explaining concepts that are helpful to me as the teacher, and that also seems to click with the children.

Genesis Through Joshua: This is Veritas Press's Bible for this year. We are loving it so far! The children learn a timeline using these cards and a song on CD. They learn key events in Scripture, where in the Bible the event is found, and several important facts about each event.

Old Testament and Ancient Egypt: History goes hand-in-hand with Bible. Again, the children learn a timeline with cards and a song. Some of the Bible cards and history cards are identical, which is very interesting as they are able to see how the Bible IS history and is not a completely separate subject.

Latin: We are using Prima Latina and everyone thinks that it is great fun! I was concerned that it would be confusing for the children to learn Latin while they are still trying to learn English grammar, spelling and reading. But it hasn't been a problem at all. A few weeks ago at church Noah was walking around saying "hello" to everyone in Latin. I didn't hear him, but one lady came up to me and asked what he was trying to say. :) We were at the park last week and there were some Mexican children playing on the playground. Joshua quietly told the girls not to talk to them because they speak a different language and wouldn't understand what they were saying. Esther thought that they must speak Latin, so she went right up to them and said "Salve" (hello)! She couldn't understand why they gave her a blank stare. :)

Noah does not like to be left out! He enjoys tracing books, mazes, puzzles, and coloring.

Institute for Excellence in Writing: We haven't gotten too far into this yet, but it is supposed to be wonderful. I have heard nothing but good about it, and I do like the little bit that we have done. I'll have to give a more thorough review after we get a little farther into it.

Literature: We used Veritas Press's literature last year, but decided not to order it this year. Most of the books were more like everyday fun reading material, and a lot of the projects were just busy work. In my opinion. :) I have started watching the Teaching the Classics seminar and I believe that we will eventually use this. It basically teaches you how to study any book, and it goes hand-in-hand with Institute for Excellence in Writing. I'm not in a big hurry to get started with it though. We are reading so much with the other subjects and I honestly don't feel like we have time to add something else right now. How much do 2nd graders really need to study literature anyway? I think that just reading, and lots of it, is enough right now.

Draw Write Now (Book 1): Art is not a huge priority to us. If one of our children shows interest in it later on, then we can look into it more, but for now it's kind of extra-curricular. I like the Draw Write Now books because they are easy to teach and the children love them. They can also be used with Institute for Excellence in Writing and the children learn about different animals while they learn to draw them and write about them.

That pretty much wraps up our plan for school this year. There are also many hands-on, outdoor type learning opportunities around here...indian mounds, state parks, caves, the aquarium, mountains, etc. We are looking forward to doing lots of exploring!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rice


I learned a great rice cooking tip from my Mom a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it. I don't know about you, but I often forget to start cooking the rice so that it will be ready in time for dinner. That is partly because I use a rice cooker, which takes around an hour and a half to cook brown rice. Of course I can cook it on the stove top, which takes less time, but it is much more high maintenance that way. I'm constantly having to check to make sure the burner isn't too hot or not hot enough, or to make sure that there is still water in the pan and it's not burning to the bottom. It never turns out that well for me on the stove top either. It's dry, and it's even dryer when it's re-heated the next day.


My new favorite way to cook rice (when I forget to put it in the rice cooker) is to boil it like pasta. Put a bunch of water in a pot, add a few cups of rice, and keep it at a rolling boil with the lid off for 30 minutes. Drain the water out of the pan, cover it, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Your rice will be nice and fluffy, and better yet, will be still be soft and fluffy when you reheat the leftovers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Godly Seed

"We talk to our children when they lie down and when they rise up, we speak to them of who God is and how he relates to his world - that is how we develop a Christian worldview. It doesn't come from reading worldview books, going to worldview camps, or taking worldview classes. Our children will adopt a Christian worldview as we talk to them about God and how he relates to everything. That's how we raise up godly seed."

R.C. Sproul, Jr.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Pregnancy Update


My last pregnancy update was quite awhile ago, and I had no baby belly to speak of at that point. I do now, though! I'm feeling rather large for 24 weeks. I have not been to the doctor since we moved, but I do have an appointment scheduled for next week. The practice looks promising. There are 2 doctors and 2 midwives and they appear to be fairly hands-off. It is in another city about 30 minutes from where we live, but my labors are long enough that it shouldn't be a problem when the time comes.


I have been feeling well and have thankfully had no problems with this pregnancy besides my ever present varicose veins. I have gained a total of 8 pounds. That doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it is pretty typical for me to gain most of my weight in the third trimester. I know that it's coming. :) I have 16 weeks left, but I have a feeling that they will fly by, especially once we hit Thanksgiving. The time always goes by so fast over the holidays!

The picture doesn't show off the size of my tummy very well, but I like it anyway. We went to a local state park last weekend and I was wind-blown and cold! Joseph wanted to show off his big belly too. Well, actually it was Adam that thought Joseph should pose for a belly shot. I love the "what on earth are we doing?" look on Joseph's face!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Giveaway!


Laura at The Muncks Quiver is having a great giveaway! You can enter to win one of two things. The first is a cute tote bag (handmade by her daughter, Rebekah) filled with school supplies. I won one of Rebekah's bags a while back and I LOVE it! I use it as my crochet bag. I also bought two smaller tote bags from Rebekah...one of which I had monogrammed and gave to my Mom as a gift, and one of which I kept and use for coloring books/crayons when we go somewhere that might involve some down time. All of that to say that her bags are wonderful!



The second option is a beautiful pair of earrings made by Amanda. I love the little blue butterflies on these! For information on how to enter the giveaway, go here.

The Munck girls are obviously very talented, and they are hosting a giveaway on their blog as well! It's an adorable pink apron. You can go here to enter.


Monday, September 12, 2011

July in Pictures: Part 2

At long last, here is the second installment (and last, since it is the middle of September) of my July in Pictures series.

We enjoyed a visit from my sweet friend, Emily, and her mother and three children! We had a great time, though I did not do a great job of taking pictures. Emily has much better pictures on her blog!

All 9 children in one picture!

Emma loving on Zion.


This little cutie is just about to be a big brother!


We took a day trip and visited my Grandmother. We always have a great time with her, and the children enjoyed exploring outside during this visit.

She has the biggest hydrangeas I think I've ever seen! I took a picture of Noah beside them so that you could see how big they are.

Great Grandma and Esther

Swinging on the swing set that I used to play on when I was their age! :)

Looking for fish in the creek.


And just because I think it's cute, here's a picture of Joseph admiring his new haircut!

Friday, September 09, 2011

16 Months and Walking

Joseph decided that it was time to walk a couple of weeks ago. Joshua and Abigail both walked at 15 months, and Esther, Hannah and Noah all walked at 12 months. Joseph was pushing 16 months. :) He's a little guy...19 lbs at 15 months and still wearing 12 month clothes. He is starting to grow out of his 6-12 month pajamas though, so that is good!

Joseph is a snuggler! He loves to be in Mama's arms and he loves playing with his Papa. He tries to do everything that his older siblings do. One of his favorite activities is "cool" (school). He thinks that the wall is his place to draw though, so we have to be careful to keep all writing utensils off of the floor. :) I think he's starting to grasp that it's not acceptable. If he finds a pencil on the floor he will usually hand it to me.

I took this video of Joseph walking this morning. He's starting to lose the cute wobbliness already!



Monday, September 05, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, I didn't exactly plan to take a month off of blogging. That's just how it happened. I have to admit, though, that I enjoyed the break. It has taken AT&T much longer than we anticipated to get our internet hooked up. We moved three weeks ago today and the latest story from them is that they'll have it up and running on September 15. We'll see if that happens! Meanwhile, we are able to get on the neighbor's wireless access. It is unpredictable though, and I have to use Adam's laptop. My blogger password and all of our pictures are on the desktop, which does not have internet. I just dug around and found my password this morning though, so at least I can do a little blogging here and there until everything is worked out.


The move went well and we are all settled in our new home. We have started school and are really enjoying it here so far! Our neighborhood is very quiet and we have a great backyard that the children are enjoying. Now if it would just get a little cooler!!

A lot has happened in the last month and I have several posts planned. I suppose I should also finish my second July in Pictures post since it is September! I'll work on getting all of that done as soon as I have access to my pictures. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with your blogs as well!