"'And you've quite given [writing] up?' asked Christine.
'Not altogether...but I'm writing living epistles now,' said Anne, thinking of Jem and Co."
- Anne of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery



I started this blog to help me through the process of discerning the right choices for my family - be they physical, educational, emotional, or whatever.  There are so many decisions to make and today I suddenly found myself very emotional, wondering about one decision in particular.  During a spontaneous crying session, I found myself at the feet of God, with nothing to say but the words that stuck out to me from our scripture lesson this morning:  Abba, Father.  (I honestly didn't hear much else from the lesson, what with two preschoolers to wrangle.  But, somehow, I heard those words.)  I found myself crying for help from my Daddy.  There was a lot of comfort in that - knowing that God is my perfect heavenly Father, that he loves me unconditionally, that I can trust him for everything.  And with the comfort of that trust, I was reminded in a new way of something God has shown me over and over again.  

As I was sitting at the feet of my Father I realized that not only am I worried about making the right decision, I am worried about making the right decision in time.  I feel confident that there is a choice God would have me make in most circumstances.  And I've heard the verse about asking and receiving, so I know that if I ask for guidance I’ll get it.  What I'm concerned about is that I'm on a timetable.  I need to know what it is God wants now.  Right now.  I worry that the revelation will come too late or at an inconvenient time and I won't be prepared - I won't be in control.  

 That’s the key phrase: I won’t be in control. My search for knowing the right answers and my need for answers in my own time is often just a symptom of a lack of faith.  Why do I need to know every step of the right course before I head out?  Harsh honesty tells me it's probably so I can double check my footing - put more bluntly, it's so I can double check that what God tells me is right.  I’m realizing that what I’m actually saying is, “I trust God… but I don’t trust God.”  It’s nonsensical.

 And my ludicrous cling to autonomy leads me to worry: if I demand to be in control, there is a very strong possibility that I will make the wrong choice despite all of my lists of pros and cons and hours of research I pour into decision making.

Worrying is one of my biggest battles.  I’m a worrier.  I have been for as long as I can remember.  But worry is certainly sin.  Sure there is concern, but that’s a different thing.  Worrying, which is my area of expertise, springs from a lack of faith and there is no room for worry in my life. I have had to acknowledge the sin of my worrying over health and safety and every little bump in the night and rely on God to free me from that sin.   In the same way I must also acknowledge the sin of my worrying about if and when God will show me the choices I should make.  There is no doubt.  He will show me and it doesn’t matter when, because he’ll show me at the right time.  The only thing I need to be concerned about is listening and following.

So, no more approaching decision making from the land of worry.  No more checking the clock to see how much more time I have before I have to make that crucial decision.  I know that I need to let my Father lead me, resting in the confidence that he will not lead me astray.


Letter Ee

We are currently using a combination of You Can Read and Raising Rockstars, plus whatever else we stumble across. :)

Captain Silly Wiggles is currently 4 years & 1 month old.
Raising Rock Stars

Our learning this week was centered around John 3:16:
Even a child is known by his deeds.

Song: Every Move I Make & Your Everlasting Love 
Letter: Ee
Number: 6
Sight words: a, see, the, and, is
(I'm still working on deciding how I want to use RRSP & YCR together.  
We stayed with the same unit until I decided what to do.)
Sight reader: Where is the egg?

On Monday we...
1. ...did the Getting Ready for Ee worksheet.

2. ...worked on his cutting worksheet.  This time it was a ruler that he had fun measuring with.

3. ...traced the Ff's on the RRSP worksheets.  He was is a really goofy mood and kept changing grips trying to be silly. He tried writing with each hand, with the end of the marker in his mouth and wanted to try with his toes.  I managed not to get too frustrated and he eventually finished.

4. ...did the Color by Word YCR worksheet.  He did a good job matching the word to the color he was supposed to use, but didn't do more than coloring the actual word.

5. ...played the Clothespin ABC game.

On Wednesday we...
1. ...worked on vocab cards.  He didn't trace any, but we said the words together & talked about the E sounds.  Then he cut them out very carefully.

2. ...tried the YCR sentence search.  He wasn't ready for this worksheet.  He was supposed to circle his sight words as I read the sentence.  Instead he wanted all of the words to be circled.  We'll probably skip these worksheets for awhile.  (Which is fine, because there is more than enough material.)

3. ...tried the YCR word search.  This one isn't for him right now either.  He was very concerned that there were extra letters that didn't have words.  I guess he thought they were lonely? :)

4...tried the YCR word shapes page.  This was his first dot-to-dot and he really didn't get the idea.  We'll practice a little more on some ABC or 123 dot-to-dots and try these again later.
5. ...traced the lines from word to word.  He enjoyed this one and did great with it. He read the word, traced the line, and read the word again.

6. ...put together a number puzzle I found in the dollar section at Target.

On Friday we...
Went to the pool!  It was my birthday and we celebrated with a trip to the pool and then the boys passed the evening with their adopted Grandma while Jeff and I went to dinner and browsed Barnes and Noble. I love bookstores!  I made a valiant effort and succeeded in not going to the children's section right off the bat.  (I did spend most of my time there, though.)

We actually spent two days at the pool and one day at the zoo this week.  Cap learned how to swim without water wings and started going under on purpose!  He went off the diving board after lots of begging.  We let him, but he wasn't too sure about it in the end.

This week was a whole lot of trial and error.  We found things that worked, things that didn't, and ways to adapt things that didn't work.  We also made lots and lots of time to play.  It is summer, after all - what fun is it if you can't throw all the plans out the window and go hang out at the pool?

All of our printables this week came were developed by Carisa at 1+1+1=1. Visit her website for all kids of wonderful resources. You can find her letter Ee printables here and You Can Read Unit 1 here.

The cutting workbook we used is called I Can Cut by School Specialty Publishing.

The most important consideration

I am a Christian who believes that every part of my life belongs to God.  I don't always act like every part of my life belongs to God.  I often hold on to my "independence" like a rebellious teenager.  Still, I believe that God has something to say on every decision I am faced with.  I have no business making decisions for my own life without following the lead of the one to whom I have given my life.  (That doesn't mean I always turn my decisions over to God, just that I know I should.)  I believe that God wants certain things from & for me and I believe that the path he would choose for me is the highest possible fulfillment of my life - his ways are the best.

Jeff and I are reading the book The Call by Os Guinness with a couple of friends.  As I contemplated our discussion last night, I realized that while I have considered God's will for our boys' education, I haven't explicitly expressed the ways I feel God is working through this conversation.  I want to take some time to do that because I honestly believe that what God wants is the most important consideration.

I have experienced calling.  At different times God has revealed himself to me in a powerful way, shown me something about who I am created to be, and called me to action.  I know that I am called to share the love of God with kids.  I know that I am called to minister to the church (universal) which I see as broken in many respects.  I knew very early in my relationship with Jeff that I would marry him.  I experienced it as a call before I even knew much about him.  Those things are an integral part of who I am - to deny them for me would be like denying the color of the sky.  The best way I can think of to describe my experience of call is as an awakening.  There have been moments in my life when suddenly God has shown me some part of myself.  He has shown me parts of myself that have always been there that I didn't notice or understand before the call.  Sometimes it's like having a really fuzzy idea of some truth without the ability to articulate that idea and suddenly it all comes into focus.  Other times it's the experience of a hearing a completely novel idea and realizing that deep down I always knew it was true. It brings peace.  It brings clarity.  

I'm not a very confident person.  I think my biggest struggle is for confidence.  I second guess my self all the time.  I'm usually pretty sure that I can't do something before I even try it.  I hate confrontation and conflict, often because I lack confidence in my abilities or my decisions.   I don't like to claim absolutes because there are few things that I am absolutely certain of. The things I am absolutely certain of coincide directly with my callings.  I am absolutely certain that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do.  I am absolutely certain that God has given me a special ability to minister to kids.  I am absolutely certain that God has shown me ways the church is damaged and that he gives me strength to minister to some of those wounds.  I am absolutely certain that I am called to be Jeff's wife.  Despite my hatred of conflict, I stand firm upon these convictions and am more than willing to stand up for them.  

I'm finding God in our discussion of homeschool.  In fact, I'm finding that God led us into the discussion of homeschool.  Honestly, my intentions were innocent - I didn't seek out this weird/against the norm idea of home education.  It found me.  As I've said, we discussed the idea casually before but never considered that we might choose to homeschool.  Really, this whole conversation came about through a link to a page about nature scavenger hunts and my effort to help my "problem child" better transition between preschool classes.  Now, suddenly we're on this incredible journey that seems to be making each of us a more fulfilled version of ourselves and holds promise for some wonderful life experiences.  

Is God calling us to homeschool?  I honestly don't know.  But I do feel confident that he is leading us in the journey.  He has shown up.  He has revealed things that feel like an awakening - the sudden realization of things I couldn't see, but were always there - bringing peace and clarity.  Though we don't want to make this discussion public until we are closer to a decision, I feel confident about this process of discernment.  I know that, if this is where we are called to be God will give me the courage to stand up for a decision that will be extremely controversial.  Maybe we won't end up homeschooling.  Maybe it will become clear to us that we need to send our kids to public school or maybe that homeschool would be a good fit for one kid but not both.  I have no idea where this is going.  I do know that my eyes have been opened in new ways that will be beneficial for our family no matter where our kids go to school. 


Letter Ff

We are currently using a combination of You Can Read and Raising Rockstars, plus whatever else we stumble across. :)

Captain Silly Wiggles is currently 4 years & 1 month old.
Raising Rock Stars

Our learning this week was centered around John 3:16:
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten son
that whoever believes in him 
shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
A side note that I can add since I'm posting this a few weeks after we completed the unit: both of the boys are really stuck on this verse.  Cap calls it the Jesus verse and it's his favorite now.  Skidamarink surprised me by reciting it last night.  I tried to get him to repeat it, prompting him with "For...". He proudly responded, "five, six, seven!" It was a good chuckle. :)

Song: For God so Loved the World by GodRocks! 
Letter: Ff
Number: 5
Sight words: a, see, the, and, for
(We are going to try spending a few weeks on each YCR unit, 
plus we'll add to that the sight word from RRSP.)

Once again, the sight reader was a hit.  He continues to want to read all of the books at once and then needs a break before jumping into the workboxes. Here he is reading the book from last week. 

On Monday we...
1. ...did the Getting Ready for Ff worksheet

2. ...worked on his cutting worksheet.  It was an airplane with a jet stream behind it.  He had a blast flying it around the house.

3. ...traced the Ff's on the RRSP worksheets.  He was very careful to stay on all of the lines. After he did some drawing on the page. :)

4. ...built some words with Duplos.  I dug out some duplos and put sticker dots with letters on round label stickers. Cap had a blast "building the word".  He got to play Word World! I got the idea for this one at Filth Wizardry.

5. ...played the clothespin number game.  It is the number counterpart to the Clothespin ABC game from 1+1+1=1 we played last week.  Again, big hit.  You can find this game here.

6. ...played a Cars matching game he got for his birthday.  

On Wednesday we...
1. ...worked on vocab cards.  He traced a few.  We said all of the words together, emphasizing the F sound.  Then he cut them apart very carefully.

2. ...Played with the playdough words. (YCR)  He got these out when I stepped out of the room. When I came back, "for" was all done.  Last week he hated them!

3. ...matched up big and little letters with an egg matching game. I got this idea here.

4...played the Cars matching game.

On Friday we...
1. ...colored the verse.  Again he didn't care too much about it.  One of the ways he's become more interested in writing is by using different materials.  I'm thinking we probably should experiment with some different art materials for coloring pages too.  He scribbled on the page a bit and then gladly moved on.

2. ...played with sight words on our dry erase board.  I had a couple of different ideas.  My first idea was to write the sight words on the board and have him erase the sight word as he read it.  My second idea was to pull out some vocab cards and make sentences for him to read.
Cap's idea was to write the words on the board himself.  I really wish I had gotten a picture of this one, but a little Skidamarink absconded with my camera.  By the time I got it back it was too late.  I love that we had the flexibility to throw away the plans and let him adapt them to what he needed.  If I had pushed the issue of doing things the way I had intended he wouldn't have gotten much out of it and we both would likely have been grumpy.  When he changed the game he had fun and actually learned more - he learned how to form different little letters! Exciting stuff!

Although Cap was very eager to learn this week and although I had lot more planned, we didn't do any more boxes.  We had bigger fish to fry - a trip to Missouri to meet our new nephew/the boys new cousin.  Even though we didn't spend as much time in the boxes as we have in the previous weeks, Cap still mastered the material.  

Even more exciting were the ways he initiated more learning into the weekend.  He's taken an interest in the concept of compound words - talking about them all the time and even coming up with his own examples.  We had long discussions on phonics - him wanting to sound out every letter he saw in environmental print.  It's a good thing we drove the country roads as we came home.  We had long stops at many a stop sign while Cap sounded out each letter. :)  The most fun learning experience was when Dad found a turtle on the side of the road.  We took him back to Grandma and Grandpa's house and spent some time learning about turtles through observation.
We had so much fun this week.  It was so exciting to find all of the ideas for making learning toys from things we already have.  The boys love them and they didn't cost a dime!  Cap is very much a kinesthetic learner and all of the hands-on materials were great for him.  It was fun for me too - making things and sparking ideas for more learning opportunities. Still, best of all was watching the boys take a heightened interest in the world around them.

All of our printables this week came were developed by Carisa at 1+1+1=1. Visit her website for all kids of wonderful resources. You can find her letter Ff printables here and You Can Read Unit 1 here.

The cutting workbook we used is called I Can Cut by School Specialty Publishing.


Letter Ii

And another post for today.  I was reluctant to blog about our preschool time after the pictures from the first week took so long to upload.  I guess I've learned my lesson: lower res. pictures and more frequent posting! :)

While Cap still needs a lot of the material in the RRSP program (he still gets confused over a couple letters, has little writing practice, needs to learn beginning sounds) he's really excited about learning to read.  Since he's wanting to prolong our time each day anyway, I thought we would try adding more boxes and mixing in the You Can Read program in with the RRSP stuff we are already doing.  You Can Read is made up of sight words and the more challenging material in YCR is motivating him to learn some of the more beginning stuff. Once again, you can find it all at 1+1+1=1. Can't beat fantastic materials that are free! :)

Captain Silly Wiggles is currently 4 years old.
Raising Rock Stars

Our learning this week was centered around Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things 
through Christ who 
strengthens me.
What an excellent verse for the Captain - his favorite phrase is, "I Can't!"

Song: I Can Do Everything by GodRocks! 
(wonderful scripture memorization resource. 
 In fact, when I ask Ben to tell me this verse he breaks out into song!)
Letter: Ii
Number: 4
Sight words: a, see, the, and, can

Cap dove right back in with the sight reader books today - usually wanting to read the ones from past weeks as well! 

On Monday we...
1. ...did the Getting Ready for Ii worksheet. He had fun tracing some slow and some fast.  Ironically, the ones he traced quickly are the straightest.  Skidamarink got ahold of the paper later and scribbled - he did intentionally match colors, though!

2. ...worked on his cutting worksheet

3. ...played clothespin ABCs.  I found this game at 1+1+1=1, printed it out, and laminated it.  I hot-glued some old Cars toys on to clothespins.  Both boys think it is the coolest thing ever!  In fact, it's gotten so much use I've already had to reattach the cars several times.  You can find it the game here

4. ...worked on word puzzles from You Can Read.

5. ...traced lots of letter Ii's.  He wanted them to have long tops and bottoms and decided to color in all of the letters in the verse.  He was so proud of his accomplishments.  We combined the two letter tracing worksheets into more boxes to make room for some boxes to hold You Can Read materials.

6. ...made a Genesis collage. I cut out various pictures of creation and taped a piece of contact paper to the window.  He placed the items on the paper while we listened to the creation story on The Bible Experience CDs.

7. ...worked a Thomas the Train puzzle.

On Wednesday we...
1. ...worked on vocab cards, with a little break for milk in the middle. He happily traced all of the I's and cut them out very neatly. He's improving so quickly!

2. ...well....we were intending to do an I for I activity, but couldn't come up with anyone we knew who started with I except for a friend from preschool who we don't have any contact info for.  So, we just skipped that one.  Maybe we'll make something for her before school starts in the fall?

3. ...played a counting/number recognition game.  Can you guess where it came from? Carisa at 1+1+1=1 is amazing!  Once again, this one was a hit with Cap.  You can find the game here.

4...made playdough words (YCR). We were trying to build sentences, but it was just too much.  I think we'll go down to two words a week for playdough time.

5. ...colored the verse, which subsequently got ripped...

6. ...put together a video for the What's in the Bible video contest. I blogged our entry here: We're Finalists! (We didn't win, but we will be getting a personalized video message from the WITB crew!) Cap especially loved the stick puppets, which you can download on the What's in the Bible page.

7. ...did the Thomas puzzle again.

On Thursday we...
1. ...did the mixed up fonts worksheet from YCR. He blew me away with how easily he completed it!

2. ...played sight word Bingo. Another hit! (YCR)
Hmm...as I look at his shirt, this probably happened on Wednesday to take the place of the I-I activity... Oh well!

3. ...cut out and taped together his verse. Finally, it fits as a crown! :)

4. ...did the strong man craft. I don't have any pictures because he was getting tired and didn't want to do any more.  Then, while I was putting all of the supplies away he decided to finish it up.

We had a few more boxes that we didn't do.  He didn't feel like doing much on Friday (although he was eager to start in the morning).  I didn't push it.  The stuff we didn't do was egg letter matching, write a story together, and play with his Noah toys on the water table. We can do it another time. :) Once again it was a very good week.  I'm blown away by how quickly he's soaking up information and asking for more!

All of our printables this week came were developed by Carisa at 1+1+1=1. Visit her website for all kids of wonderful resources. You can find her letter Ii printables here and You Can Read Unit 1 here.

The cutting workbook we used is called I Can Cut by School Specialty Publishing.

Letter Hh

Lots of blog posts today as I try to catch up on all the material I didn't post over the last 4 weeks. Here we go... :)

Captain Silly Wiggles is currently 4 years old.
Raising Rock Stars

Our learning this week was centered around Exodus 20:12:
Honor your father and your mother.
We talked about how honoring mom & dad means more than just doing what we say, but doing it with a good attitude.  The first couple of weeks he talked a lot about the verses outside of "school" time.  He was regularly asking if a given behavior was "letting his light shine" or following God's rules.  He hasn't talked as much about this one.  Maybe it's less palatable? ;)  

Song: "Listen Little Ducklings" along with the Veggie Tales movie, Pistachio
Letter: Hh
Number: 3 
Sight Word: and

Unlike the previous weeks, he wasn't really enjoying the sight reader.  He read it once or twice, but didn't ask for it like before.  That's ok, though. It really surprises me that he's taking such an interest in reading right now. We'll go at his pace.

On Monday we...
1. ...did the Getting Ready for Hh worksheet.

2. ...practiced our H's. He was a little antsy and didn't want to do it, so we compromised and he traced 3.

3. ...did a cutting worksheet.  This time it was a tiger hiding in grass. So cool!

4. ...drove cars on the letter H.  I can't remember where I found this one. I know I saw the idea at a couple of sites, but I've been doing so much homeschool searching lately that I'm having trouble keeping it all straight.  I'll do more checking and see if I can track down a site.  Anyway, I cut an H out of cardstock, added start and finish lines and yellow stripes.  He rolled Lightning on a silver stamp pad and raced around the H being careful to travel in the correct order.  He loved it!

5. ...played in the bean tub with Skidamarink.  It's full of red beans, pinto beans and dried peas. Plus I added in some letters and scoops.  I made this last year when Cap kept deciding to clean out my cabinets by dumping stuff on the floor and playing in the mess.  

On Wednesday we...
1. ...did an H for H activity.  He was excited to make a heart with handprints for Aunt Heather. Then, I helped him write his name on the heart.

2. ...worked on vocabulary cards. He traced the letters this time and wanted to color!  As he traced we  said the words together, emphasizing the H sound and then he cut them out. He's getting better at cutting. He thinks it's fun to cut slowly until he gets to the end and then cut as fast as he can!

3. ...traced the Hh on the Verse page.  Once again, he wanted to draw people from his letters.  He made a man with arms, legs and a face whom he named "David H".

4...made some playdough words. We got these from the You Can Read materials at 1+1+1=1.  I've decided to work more on sight words since that seems to be Cap's favorite part of this whole endeavor. :) We combined words and small objects to form sentences he could read...which he didn't care about. At all.  Preschoolers are so funny! At least he learned to roll the dough between his hands to make snakes!

5. ... played in the beans some more.

On Friday we...
1. ...colored the verse.  He spent an insane amount of time coloring and then decided it would be fun to scribble all over it in pencil. 

2. ...cut out the verse and taped it together.

3. ...did the "Honor your Father and Mother" craft.  

4. ...played in the beans some more and filled out his certificate.

I know we did much more this week, but I lost my lesson plan paper in the shuffle of trying to clean out closets and reorganize the house. Overall the week was absolutely wonderful, even if Cap didn't care about the stuff I was most excited about.  He was eager to "do school" each day.  In fact, he wanted to do it for so long that we needed to take breaks in the middle. :)

All of our printables this week came were developed by Carisa at 1+1+1=1. Visit her website for all kids of wonderful resources. You can find her letter Hh printables here: Hh.

The cutting workbook we used is called I Can Cut by School Specialty Publishing.