Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A School Day

Yesterday Jarrett laid on the couch while Shane did his schoolwork. Jarrett is not feeling well, he has a fever, and is complaining his throat is scratchy.

Here is Shane finishing up a science experiment about density.

We studied Georgia O'Keefe  art and then Shane drew his own picture full of flowers. See how the wind is blowing the leaf away? There is a storm coming.

Jarrett woke up from his nap and wanted to do art too.

Here is their memory work for the week. There are seven subjects and a column of vocabulary words. We also covered pre-algebra, listened to early American history through LibriVox, penmanship, reading and chores. LibriVox is a free recording of books online.
I will fit in grammar, spelling, and writing the other days of the week. The day was little thrown off by taking a cat to the vet to be neutered. 

Some days we do not get to all the subjects. It just depends how to day goes. It is hard to juggle schooling with running a business and a house. I see the dust piling up on the furniture.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

About Challenge A (7th grade) With Classical Conversations

Hi Everyone,
I know Shane is not in 7th grade yet, but it is wise to prepare myself before he gets to Challenge A. Both Carissa and Nathan completed Challenge A. Brian has been the parent that does Challenge with them. I have very little involvement with Carissa and Nathan studies. The Challenge program is from 7th-12th grade. We have been extremely pleased with the Challenge program. We have seen our children cry out in frustration because of how hard the program can be and we have seen them blossom because they pressed on through the difficulty. Just because something is hard does not mean you quit. We have seen exceptional growth spiritually and academically in Carissa and Nathan.
Parents know what their children are capable of doing. We just need to encourage our children to strive for excellence in all things. I mean in excellence in character too.
Challenge has a Christian world view, so all subjects stem from Christian thought. We are not only cultivating the mind but also the heart. What is the point of being intelligent without Christian character? To me it is meaningless. Children have to know who is the creator of all wisdom and knowledge and take responsibility for knowledge.
Here is a blog post from Home Grown Learners. Mary home-schools her children and is involved with Classical Conversations. If you are interested in what our kids have learned or what Shane will be learning, then read Mary's blog post. Read what she has to say about Challenge A here:
Here is another blog that talks about the writing program we use starting in 7th grade.

 “Christian education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts and the four sciences so that, in Christ, the student is enabled to better know, glorify, and enjoy God.” [CiRCE]
You are probably asking what are the seven liberal arts and four sciences. Well go here and find out.http://www.circeinstitute.org/resources-what-classical-education/definitions-terms
Here is an excerpt from Home Grown Learners post:

I want to share in the hope  it will help others - and to document the most exceptional year of our home-school journey thus far.
Challenge A can be a shock to a child's (and a parent's) system. I cleared our schedule of anything that wasn't absolutely necessary so we could focus on having a productive school year. I knew going in that this year was going to require a lot of ME, the parent. 
The Challenge program is technically a drop-off program, but that doesn't mean you can CHECK OUT if you are the parent. You must stay involved, learn with your child, and be there to guide them through this year of maturation, increased independence, and a new found wealth of knowledge!

Confession: In the spring of this past year (towards the end of Challenge A), my husband and I had some moments where we wondered what it would be like if Anna attended a private, Christian school.  We even went so far as to go to an open house at one school close to our home.The buildings were beautiful. The teachers no doubt were wonderful. The extracurricular activities were available and enticing.

When we arrived home I asked my husband what he thought. His comment to me, "It all looked good, but I was just so DISAPPOINTED in the curriculum. It seems so watered down compared to Classical Conversations. I think Anna would be bored to tears if we sent her here." I was relieved, because I couldn't have agreed more. 
In this moment it was confirmed to me that we are on the right path - a path that, God willing, we can stay on until both of our children graduate.

Seventh grade is a pivotal year for homeschoolers. Children are maturing, hormones are raging, and subjects are getting difficult to teach.

PLEASE don't lose heart. Classical Conversations is in the business of equipping us to educate our children through high school. You have a community of support (locally and nationally) to help you on your journey. It is SO worth it.
At the end of the day, you will know that your chief goal is to "Know God and Make Him Known" -- and isn't that the best gift we can give our children?  

I hope you enjoy her blog post as much as I did. I am preparing myself for Challenge A. I want to be the best teacher/student for Shane and Jarrett.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Braces Off

Shane got his braces off yesterday. He is so happy to have them off.

He has straight teeth now. He has to wear a retainer at night though.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


This is a cute picture of Shane and Jarrett at a 50's diner. Sometimes it is hard to believe how fast they grow up. They wear the same size in clothes and are 3 years apart. One is slim and the other has a stocky frame. Both are very affectionate and love to give me hugs & kisses. I will miss this season of childhood someday.

Shane is officially doing pre-algebra. He loves math! It comes easy for him. We focus on many things in our house, but all children have a natural bent towards something. I did have a hesitation with him moving along so fast in math. I sought counsel, everyone said to have him progress at his own pace, even it it means starting algebra in elementary.

His brother Jarrett is the same with math. He is almost half way through his math book and is doing extremely well with multiplication. Jarrett loves reading and I think he is a natural at reading poetry. I plan to cultivate this and maybe someday he can recite a poem in front of an audience. Our homeschool group has a Poetry Out Loud contest every year.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reading Books

Here are some books I have read during the Christmas break. This was my first time reading any books from this author. I must say that I was really impressed with the historical aspect of these books. I enjoy history and these books really captivated me. There is some romance, but it does not consume the whole book. I have recommended Where Courage Calls to my sixteen year old daughter to read. I have to warn you, the books are not to the TV series. I feel that When Calls the Heart offers more history about the people and the surroundings.

You can go here to read reviews about Where Courage Calls. You can go here to read the reviews about When Calls the Heart.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Eight is Great!

 Someone recently turned eight in our house.

 Presents wrapped in cats. Jarrett loves cats. We have three cats and Jarrett loves them all. He says that when he gets his own house, he will have a house cat. One of the cats meows for Jarrett to come outside to hold him. The cat loves attention and kids are the best to give attention.

Some presents he received for his birthday.

Jarrett requested that his sister make him a three layer chocolate cake. His request was granted. He surely enjoyed eating this cake, and so did the rest of us.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Look What Brian Made

Yes, finally I got the shoe rack I have been wanting. I just had to a wait a few years, but I finally got it. Brian recently made this for us. There are 5 shelves, but you cannot see that bottom shelf in this picture. This rack is in the mud/laundry room and right next to the back door. Our previous plastic shoe rack hardly stored any shoes. It is so nice to reduce the clutter. Do you spot all the mud and snow boots? Yes, we wear all of these shoes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year

Can you believe it we are in the year 2015? Time is going by fast. Here are some pictures that I will be mailing out to friends and family. I am late in getting them out in the mail.

We will be celebrating Jarrett's 8th birthday soon. Carissa & Nathan will be returning to classes on the 5th and Shane & Jarrett on the 12th. Shane gets his braces off later this month. Shane and Jarrett are very excited to travel to California later in the month.

I am very happy that I have lost some weight since taking these pictures in October. It has been a slow process since I began in October. I have not been very diligent in any particular diet other than eating more raw vegetables, fruits, and juicing. I have reduced my sugar and bread intake. I still indulge in chocolate. I could never give it up. The secret is to eat dark chocolate. I eat the chocolate that is extremely dark and almost bitter. I love the stuff! I can't stand milk chocolate anymore because it is too sweet. My favorite is chocolate covered espresso beans. Oh ya!

Anyway, here's to a blessed 2015! Cheers :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dinner Last Night

Carissa made Chicken Pot Pie last night for dinner. It was so filling that we only ate half of it. We ate the other half today for dinner. The crust was so delicious. She used refined coconut oil in the crust. You don't get the coconut taste when it is refined. This dish is a new family favorite. Her lasagne is so delicious too.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Raw Chocolate Pudding Pie

Here is the raw cookbook that I found this recipe in. I love this cookbook! The reason why I love is because I can still indulge in chocolate and don't feel guilty. There are many great recipes in this book. This is definitely going on my "to buy list" for books.

Here is the chocolate pudding pie I made. The crust is made of:

raw walnuts
pitted dates
cocoa powder

The pudding is made of:

cocoa powder
agave nectar (you can use honey, maple syrup, date sugar, or stevia)

I know, can you believe it? It is made of avocados. You don't even taste the avocados. This is a very rich and feeling dessert. You don't have to feel guilty because it is made with great ingredients. I plan to make other recipes from this cookbook and I will let you know what I think of them.