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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Own Nature Show?

Well, I guess technically I couldn't do a nature show since I killed the animal of interest. Yes, I did...and all of the children were there to witness it!!!Patrick and his cousin were crossing the back yard on the way to the grandparent's when I heard them scream, "snake". It was lying right out in the open..they almost stepped RIGHT ON THE THING. My first thought was that it was the same harmless kind we have been seeing....black with yellowish green stripes down it. Well, it wasn't. It was a different kind and I just couldn't be sure that it wasn't poisonous. Of course, ALL 7 kids had run out there by that time...curious as they are. After debating on whether to kill it or not, my friend went for the shovel. After three tries, I finally caught it in the middle. So picture this if you will. The snake starts CLIMBING the shovel handle and STRIKING at me. I didn't know how far it could get with what body was not pinned under the shovel, but I had my body as far away from the handle of that shovel as I could without letting go. I was afraid that if I let go, it would come after me. It was hot out there...had started raining, and I was sweating like it was the end of the world!! My friend finally had the sense to run back to the shed for the AXE. (Let me remind you at this point that the kids are all watching and screaming...very dramatic). She comes back and saves me....took her a couple of tries to hit the head, but it was a goner after the first swing of the axe.
I'm sorry to say that it was only a chicken snake...the others that we have been seeing around our decks are grass snakes. I just didn't know if it was poisonous and couldn't leave it out there. I feel pretty sure that this will be one of my children's earliest memories.....me with that shovel and the snake crawling up the handle striking. My friend with the axe saving my life and everyone sreaming like the world was coming to an end...all over a chicken snake. "sigh" I do wish we could sometimes rewind our lives to watch. I guess this is what happens when you live in the country. We have seen no less than 10 snakes so far...3/4 of them on or around our decks. I think it is time to put some more moth balls out. Evidently, I am a lot more successful with chasing the things away than I am at killing them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

We Are Finished!!!

I am now officially able to say that I am not a newbie at homeschooling anymore :). It seems like yesterday that we spent our first day schooling, and now we have made it through the school year. I feel good about what my children have learned and especially about the time that we have spent together this year....quality time. Without a doubt, I know my children better than I have in a long time. I know what motivates them to learn and what method of teaching each of them responds to the best. I know which subjects they love and why. I know which subjects they don't like and how to get them through those. I have experienced the excitement in their eyes when they learn new things and have been there to comfort them when they felt defeated. Yes, there have been days when I felt defeated too. Thank God for Jeff who has been there for me like a rock through this year. He has encouraged me by being there when I needed him and for praising me constantly for what I am doing. He thanks me for teaching his children and has trust in me to give them what they need. He will never know what this means to me. I am encouraged simply by the fact that he wants me to teach his children...what a wonderful responsibility he has entrusted me with.
I have a lot of decisions to make and planning to do for the next school year. I have ideas about what I want to do for most subjects, but need to make some final decisions and order what I need. I pray that I make the right choices so that next year can be productive and, most of all, fun! Now.....time to enjoy our SUMMER BREAK!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Game Ball

Carter has waited patiently to receive a game ball. He is always so happy for anyone else who gets one, so I couldn't wait for him to get his own. He reacted exactly as I expected him to....VERY excited.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's Hard to Believe!

My niece is a married woman! Wow! Where does time go. Jessica was born the summer after I graduated high school. She was my oldest sister's firstborn...she was my pride and joy. She was my first real experience with how it felt to love a child. I am so happy that she found a wonderful young man to marry. He is good to her..he is a good person. They had a beautiful, elegant wedding. I had to pull out some pictures to help me remember her as a baby. Here is Jessica and me in 1987.

Here she is as a bride. My twin sister is in the black dress...I am in green.

This is Vicki(twin sister), Lori(Jessica's mom), and me. We can only hope that all of our children end up as happy as Jessica is now. It is hard to let them go, but it is a lot easier knowing that they are with someone who loves them and makes them happy.

Friday, May 19, 2006


The boys took their standardized tests with the homeschool group this week. They tested from Mon. through Wed. Madison missed the tests because of the fieldtrip. It was a decision that we had to make. We decided that we would not make her miss such an awesome opportunity over testing. I figure that if the boys tests where they should be then I can feel sure that Madison is getting what she needs as well. They will test once a year, so it won't hurt her to miss this one.
Testing went well. The boys seemed to feel good about what they knew. We will have to wait 6 weeks to see how they did. I really need to see that they are on track. I know in my heart that they are learning what they need to, but will feel so much better about it if I see that their testing reflects it. I put as little pressure on them as possible. They had so much pressure in public school to do well on the IOWA and LEAP that I wanted this to be a more positive experience. They were very relaxed, while at the same time seemed to take it serious. It was a fun, positive experience for us all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Baton Rouge Field Trip

Madison and I got invited to join the 4th grade public school class for their fieldtrip to Baton Rouge. This fieldtrip was the only thing she regretted missing when we made the decision to homeschool, so it was a blessing to be invited to go. First, we went to the Myrtle Plantation. The kids got to hear a wonderful story on the history of the place as well as take a tour of the bottom floor of the house.

Next, we went on a swamp tour. We had lunch on the grounds and then went on a nature walk. We all got on a boat for a tour of the swamp and some wonderful hands on experiences with the animals. I got to hold a baby alligator....I was the only parent who would volunteer in our group :). It was a bit unnerving to see the alligators loose around us on the nature walk. I didn't expect to be so close to them.

Our next stop was the Governor's mansion. It was beautiful. The children got to hear a history of the place and have a small tour of some of the rooms.

Finally, we made it to the capitol. They were in session and we got to sit and watch!! Woo hoo....we got to see a new law passed on the sales of adult video games to minors...it is now a felony in our state! How exciting to see such a useful bill passed!

We stopped to eat on the way home...McDonalds and Burger King, of course. It was a long day, but really fun. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to go.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend at the Lake

Jeff and I took the kids to the lake for Mother's Day weekend. We rented a cabin at a camp that we enjoyed last year. The weather was beautiful. There was a pool for the kids to swim in when they weren't fishing off the pier or in the boat with us. Carter was very excited to catch his first Bass...almost as excited as Jeff was :)! The fish weren't biting as much as we thought they would be, but we had a great time fishing. Madison got up at 5:30 both mornings to go out fishing with Jeff. Carter went with them one morning, but Patrick and I both preferred to sleep in! I love getting away with Jeff and the kids....just being away from our everyday obligations. I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mommy's Toys

I took this picture of Carter last night after he fell asleep. The little brown bear in his arms was mine when I was a child. Vicki, my twin sister, and I both had one. We would wind them up every night and listen to them while we were falling asleep, much to our older sister's dismay. The bear now belongs to Carter. I had a little stuffed dog named Muffin that was very special to me growing up. I have given him to Madison. I gave Patrick a homemade pillow that was given to me as a baby. These were things that were sitting in my hope chest storing old memories that meant something only to me. Now, my children are making memories with them. They truly seem to appreciate these gifts. They take care of them. Madison took Muffin to school for show and tell when she was in Kindergarten. Patrick took his pillow to Kindergarten to sleep on at naptime. It means a lot to me that they love their gifts. I am happy that these items will hold special memories for them one day just as they do for me!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Homeschool Fieldtrips

We have been so fortunate to have access to a wonderful Christian homeschool group in our area. I never dreamed that there would be so many opportunities available for my children through a local group. It is like a little school...the children just don't learn together. Almost anything that a child could be a part of in the public school is offered on a smaller scale through our group. We have an organized sports association, Kindergarten/Highschool graduations, Science clubs, Debate, talent shows, field days, many field trips, monthly meetings at the skating rink, Science/Social Studies fairs, a yearbook, etc. etc. etc. It just goes on and on. We have met so many wonderful new friends through this group. I also continue to involve my children in activities that give them opportunities to be with their friends they had in school. I know that at this age socialization isn't as big an issue as it will be when my children get older, but I am trying to help establish a strong bond with friends now that I would like to see them with later...when they begin to pull away from us to form their own relationships. I know that, ultimately, the decisions will be theirs, but we want to influence them as much now while we can.
Our group has met for some wonderful fieldtrips. I want to share some of the pictures from these meetings. They were very educational, fun, well-planned fieldtrips. The children even commented on how the experiences were so different than any other fieldtrips that they had ever been on.

Spear throwing demonstration at an ancient Indian community

"Hands on" experience at the zoo

Christmas party at the skating rink

Lapbooking Class

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tis Now

When my
Weary children are piled upon the den floor
Satisfied from a full day of play
Tis Now that my heart is full of them..and so much more

Their father is home
His presence filling not only the room from which they lay
But the entire house that he protects and guides
Tis Now that my heart is full of him at the end of his working day

My body is tired from teaching my children
Watching and guiding each step that they make
Stepping back when they need some space
Tis now my heart is full of the responsibility I am pleased to take

Even if
Tomorrow may not hold the blessings of this day
For each day is a new beginning...separate from the past
I sit here with the peace that comes from a Heavenly Father
Tis now my heart is full of His grace that I daily grasp

That as a growing "woman to be"
I often skipped AHEAD in the novel of my life phases
To peek at the fulfilling chapters that I now live
Tis now my heart is full as I mark the pages

Certain that
In time, I will flip back to them as we grow
Pulling them from the recesses of my memory
Tis now I live them. Tis now I Know!




Thursday, May 04, 2006

We Are Ready!

The weather has gotten so nice that it is hard to sit inside and do school work. I let the kids take a noon break one day to swim with their cousin. It was very hard to pull them back inside to finish their work. I really have to make a point to have everything finished with them before their neighbors and cousins all get home from school. They all love to get together in the afternoon to swim and play. Yesterday, we had 7 kids here to swim. I took the snowcone machine out to the pool and let them all make their own. They loved it! I may not have as much time to keep my house the way that I want it, but I love homeschooling and I love having a houseful, or yardfull, of kids at the end of the day. I want my house to be a place where my children and their friends want to be. I love being surrounded by them!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I probably do more writing with my children than most people because it means so much to me. I want to teach them how to do it, while at the same time give them enough space to grow to love it on their own. They each have a journal that they write and draw in sometimes. I let them use this to write without the constraints of correct form or spelling. For writing assignments, they use the 4-square method. It grows with them, allowing them to use it for paragraphs or papers. Some feel that it limits a child, but I feel that it gives them direction as well. When they understand how to put a paragraph or paper together, I will let them try it without the 4-square grid.
One thing that Madison is struggling with is paraphrasing. I let her do some research for her last paper, and now that she has all of the information in her 4-square she has to learn to paraphrase it. She is usually able to copy it right from the 4-square that she has created with her own words. It is so much more difficult for her to read someone else's words and rewrite them. I am going to search tomorrow for some paraphrasing activities for her online. It seems so simple, but I know it can be a complicated concept for some to grasp. I do not want this to turn her against writing, as she has really started enjoying it. I do, however, feel that it is time to introduce her to it.