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Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Day in the Life: Curriculum 9th grade

Curriculum. The big word. A question that many homeschoolers get asked often, and ask OTHERS often. "Hey--what do you use?". The picture above is only a partial view of the 3 bookshelves currently overtaking my bedroom. I use 'bits' and 'pieces' of things, and from time to time, actually use ALL of something. This post is just to discuss the things we have used and what seems to have 'worked' so far. Change is always on the horizon. I believe in continuity, but I also believe in meeting certain goals we have set. Above all, I am reminded of our school's 'verse' when making curriculum decisions.

Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (bible gateway)

9th grade:

This year was PANIC year. I have a high schooler and I have only been homeschooling for 3 years! I want him to get into college, I'm worried about SAT/ACT scores, I want him to.....(fill in the blanks here). I took my focus off the WHY and put my focus on the HOW. Big mistake (think Peter stepping out of the boat, taking his eyes off Jesus, and looking at the STORM). As I felt the Lord whisper to me why we were doing this, I realized that in my panic I had made many mistakes. That is why things just were NOT working this year. 

We started the year off using a Unit Study approach mainly for History, hoping to keep me sane and keep my kids on the same time period. Did it work? NO. Their age difference made finding books, not to mention scheduling everything, very difficult. I LOVE this method and applaud everyone who is able to make it work, however for MY family and our lifestyle, things kept getting 'missed'. They were having trouble retaining some of it too.

Worrying over that and high school, I put my oldest into a 'classical' unit studyish type program. Major bomb there too. Again, I applaud ALL those who go this route--it will provide them with a good solid education, but it just didn't work here. Not classical education, just the program we used. I had to edit FAR too many 'Bible' associations and 'rationales' for doing what the author of the curriculum called for. As a matter of fact, I found myself editing so much that it just wasn't worth it. At all. Nor did I want to use any of the book selections for my younger crew at their age. All is well though-he was able to obtain 1/2 credit in this History and his comments were "Hey--I learned--it wasn't a waste. I love to learn and anytime I can, that is great!"

Soo--what did we find that did work with this child and mom's comfort in teaching? The VERY thing I swore I would never use. Don't judge me--I didn't get it at the time (lol). We switched him to Abeka for World Geography. He LOVES it and is doing really well!! We also switched to Abeka for their full Language Arts--Grammar/Comp, Poetry/Spelling/Vocab, and Literature. This child devours books--his book list for this year alone is huge and includes readings in Norton's Anthologies. However, he LOVES Abeka's Literature. We just give him extra books to read to satisfy his love of reading. 

For next year, we will probably be using ALL Abeka, or a mix of it and BJU with him. He especially enjoyed their math when he tried some of it last year.

Do we have it all together? NO. We are trying to seek the Lord not only yearly, but daily, in our pursuit of homeschooling and the plans HE has for each of these kids.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Day in the Life: January 25th, 2013

Hey y'all! The Mosaic Review Team is gearing up for reviews this year, so I thought I would start a series of posts about how our days go. The good, the bad, and YES! Even the ugly! While I am thankful for this opportunity to learn alongside my children, and take God's call to heart, there are days that don't always go off so well. On verse that stays with me even through those days is:

Galatians 6:9~ And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

And another that keeps me going:

Colossians 3:23~ And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men.

Today actually started off really well. Isn't that how it goes sometimes? The kiddos were moving right along and getting their work completed. We even had a lot of fun between! This has been an awkward year to say the least. Bad curriculum choices and strong willed children don't mix well. However, I am blessed. I see how hard many have it with teenagers, and I am blessed beyond measure by mine. That said, mine are the main ones I see--ha ha!

We have been striving really hard to work on responsibility, maturity and most importantly, having a servant's heart. To 'walk our talk' so to speak. To show the world the love of Christ. We are using two things in our school which are quite new, but ones we are enjoying. The first is going to be used for all of the children (ages 3, 5, 12, 14). I got this idea from The Duggar's--yes, that sweet adorable family on TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. Michelle has such a beautiful heart and I have devoured both books they have written. Many of their convictions are different than mine, but I enjoy their parenting style, love for the Lord Jesus and servant minded mentality. We are using this for character qualities, which is shared on their family blog.

The second item is for the boys alone. We are starting with this one first, Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz. We also have Created for Work by Bob Schultz on hand to go through next. The last two years, we have studied a lot in the book of Proverbs as well. Two other highly recommended resources that my oldest did last year, are both books by the Harris boy's: Do Hard Things and Start Here. The name of their site is: The Rebelution-it has been a tremendous blessing. Finally, another one they have been working through this year is Courageous Teens--along the lines of the movie Courageous (which we love!).
It is my prayer to:
Proverbs 22:6~ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV).
Does this mean my boy's won't make mistakes? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But it does mean that they know the right way, the only way--Jesus. That means that I have tried to give them the tools to raise them as godly men, fathers, and husbands who can spiritually and financially lead their own households.

NOW for the fun stuff! The 'fun' part of our day:

This is my 6th grade 12 year old's rendition (mom forgot to buy the proper supplies), of a Digestive System Amusement Park. The last two years we have used Apologia Science in some form or another and we LOVE it! This project came from their Anatomy and Physiology textbook. He finished Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures last semester, so this one was next. These books are very enjoyable and he loves the conversational tone she uses! Definitely a keeper here!

The girls made snow globes! My little one was begging to make one yesterday. Last night, on a last minute run to Wal-Mart, I was able to find a kit just for making these. She was so surprised!! The older girl isn't much of a picture taker. Haha!

Hope you enjoyed getting a little 'peek' into what our day TODAY looked like. Tomorrow? It could be different and that is the Beauty (and the Beast--haha) of homeschooling!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Open MY Eyes, Lord

II Kings 6:17~ And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NKJV-italics mine).

Open his eyes that he may see. What was it that Elisha wanted his servant to see? Go back to verse 15: And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"

Have you ever felt this way? Surrounded? Locked in, eyes focused on the army (trials, circumstances, and battles of life)? Ever feel like hope is some faded four letter that MAYBE you held tight to once long ago, but you have become battle weary, or as in the servant's case, the battle looked bigger than you? Friends, let me tell you. I have been there. I AM there. When it seems that the enemies are surrounding me. When it feels like hope is fading. When it feels like there is NO where to go because no matter WHICH path you take, an enemy is blocking it.

The Holman KJV Study Bible says this about these verses (and 13-14): The Syrians sent a major expedition to surround Elisha in Dothan, about 10 miles north of Samaria. A supernatural view of Dothan showed the servant that, contrary to what his unaided eyes told him, military leaders were not in control of coming events. A greater force was present, unseen but potent, ready to fight on behalf of the righteous.

As I was studying this chapter, the Lord brought two verses to my mind.

John 10:10~ The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV 84)

1 Peter 5:8~ Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV 84)

I NEED my eyes opened. Not to see the battle. Not to see the enemy, but to see, as Elisha's servant did, the surrounding of God's army around me. Maybe you do too.
Psalms 34:7~ The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. (NKJV).

Do you see that sweet sisters in Christ? He not only surrounds (encamps) around them, but He DELIVERS them!! Fear is 'yare' (yaw-ray') in Hebrew. It means to 'be afraid, stand in awe, fear'. To 'revere' God-to recognize the power and position of the individual revered and render him proper respect. (Strong's New Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Red Letter Edition: Hebrew, Greek and Aramic Dictionary).

My prayer for you is that God will open your eyes too. That He will surround you with His army. That:

Exodus 14:14~ The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. (NKJV)
Joshua 10:25~ Then Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight." (NKJV)
Psalms 18:17~ He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. (NKJV)

Fight the good fight of faith sisters!! (1 Timothy 6:12). Be STRONG in the Lord!!

Jennifer Newsom, OBS Group Leader

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dipping in the Jordan River

Captain Awesomesauce? Dipping in the Jordan River? These are just a few of the interesting things we are discussing over at Melissa Taylor's On-line Bible studies this week. This was actually the title for Chapter 9 in the book Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick. The question was "What is the Jordan River in your life? What is the one thing about which you would say, "I will do anything God asks me to do-as long as it is not that"?.

There was a period in my life, 3 years ago, that my sons and I were discussing the Bible. My youngest, (wanting brownie points maybe?), said that I should teach others. I said "Oh, no! No way! I am too afraid to mislead someone or not handle God's word correctly." I believe I even 'tossed' a little, "Please God, no" prayer there too. Uh-oh. Fast forward 2 years and I began 'leading' an on-line women's inductive Bible study. That lead to starting my own Facebook group for inductive study. And, finally, here--to Melissa Taylor's OBS-leading a small group on Facebook. It really scared me at first. Honestly. All of it. Especially when, much later, I found out it was connected with Proverbs 31 Ministries. They were kind of a big deal to me-they were so full of the love of Jesus that they amazed me. Meanwhile, back at the ranch-previously in our study, we had discussed 'burning plows' and 'dropping nets'. I had felt the Lord tug on my heart for a while to let go of the group I had originally started-WAY before Greater. Then, during the study, I learned my 'Greater' was at home and this OBS. To put my heart and soul into them. To rely on Him for the strength to do them, which so easily leaves me. During that time, I actually took on a co-leader in the other group. A trusted friend--one who was steeped in knowledge (granted by God) of His Word. As we started up another study, my heart just wasn't in it anymore. I was doing it and this OBS at the same time. I keep feeling the need to step down from the other group, and so, by God's grace, I did. I still stay in contact with them--they are precious friends--but since I stepped down, that group has taken a new direction and BLOSSOMED under the current leadership. I thank God for that and wish I would have listened sooner.

Then, while reading this chapter, the question was poised again, except in a different manner. What is my Jordan River? I didn't even hardly have time to ask, when I felt 'control' dropped into my heart. If you have read any of my blog, "Our Story", maybe you can understand a little. So many decisions were thrown at me--SO many things (even as a nurse) were out of my control. I am a true Type A personality, and, I lovingly say, with a tad of OCD thrown in the mix. I NEED structure. I NEED organization. (said in a squeaky voice). For the last 3 years....EVERYTHING has been out of my control. We were temporarily relocated for my husband's job, which has stretched from one year, to working on 2 1/2--I am not complaining (actually, yeah I am)--we found an amazing church and some awesome friends, my husband is finally on dayshift, we are 12-15 minutes from his job vs. over an hour at home, and he is serving in the church--helping with gym time at AWANA. Praise God! Now for the control part--they keep changing EVERYTHING on us. Our housing, our pharmacy plan, his job description, his hours.....and, they wait until the last minute for everything. They asked us to stay until August, but our original move out date was December 20th. Without him signing paperwork, we HAD to leave on the December date even though we had 'verbally' agreed to stay. They kept saying the paperwork was coming (for months). Guess what?!? It came 2 WEEKS before we were supposed to move a family of 6 out!! There are other situations as well going on that I can't 'fix'. Well, ouch, when I felt that spoken to me, I thought....yeah, that is me. And I wanted to cry--so hard. I have been this way almost my whole life--how can I change? Then, I happened to remember that our next OBS is called Let.It.Go: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith. I had to laugh!! Don't tell me our Lord don't have a sense of humor! Or that He doesn't provide help and godly people to come alongside of you to help you. So, here is to taking that 'dip'--however, I feel I need an 'immersion' not just a 'dip'. Wink wink.

Love y'all,
Jennifer Newsom,
OBS Group Leader