How Does One Keep a God Centered Home Education Experience?

Today marks the fourth day of our home education journey and I’m pretty sure veteran HS moms will laugh and roll their eyes at my “newness” next comment.  The bug has bit!  I am SOOooo excited and so pumped for this year!  Burnout doesn’t even seem possible.  However I am a realist and know that day will probably come before my teaching days are gone.  Without God being the center of my day, everyday, I don’t stand a chance.  From the time I wake up, to breakfast, to lecturing, to planning, to cooking, to going to bed to rising the next morning. Christ is my center and the rock that I am building my children’s foundation.  Here’s how I am doing it presently.

I can’t remember if I have mentioned it before but here’s a list of the curriculum we have chosen to use with our kids:

  • Story of the World (SotW):  We plan to pull our art, language arts, handwriting, literature and other subjects from here.  History isn’t all we will learn though this curriculum.
  • Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day:   We will be pulling art, LA, handwriting, literature and other subjects from here as well.  Think unit study.
  • Saxon and Math-U-See:  My middle son will be using the Saxon because we already had it and Math-U-See for the oldest.
  • AVKO Sequential Spelling: I am using volume 1 with both boys.
  • We will be using several independent bible studies with the boys for their Bible curriculum.
  • PE: We are currently putting our oldest son through hunter’s safety course for the state of Tennessee.  He will be hunting and training for 5 and 10K runs.  Naturally there will be other things but that’s his focus.  For our middle son, he will be taking part in archery and marksman training along with other physical activities.

I am sure there are other things we will be using along the way but that’s a quick run down of our main books.

This week has been amazing.  We actually weren’t supposed to start until this coming Monday but ever since the boys found out we were going to be doing school here at home, they have been nagging me to start right away.  My husband thought we should wait until the 5th anyway but it actually worked out better to start this week due to my childcare schedule.  I have one full time family who was out this week so I only had one to keep this week.  That’s a good way to ease into things, on my side.  And like I said, the kids were more than ready to go!

For History, we are studying the topic of history.  What is it?  Who makes it?  Why do we study it? What is our own history?  Genealogy naturally played a part in this research.  Both boys have been working on a family tree, though our middle son’s tree was much more simple and less involved than our oldest’s.

This is Gage's Family tree of the family in our home.

This is Gage’s Family tree of the family in our home.

This is a picture of the younger son’s family tree that he finished last night right before bed.  The top two pictures are of my husband and I.  Below us, he has himself in the middle, his oldest brother to the right and their 2 year old brother to the left.  He followed a simple family tree questionnaire and then used his best handwriting to make it all look nice.  As an added touch, each of us have a picture under our write up.

Pictures will come of our oldest’s efforts.  He is really kicking some butt on getting his done. He has interviewed his grandparents and one set of great grandparents in order to get the most information he could.  Currently he is typing each person’s bio on the computer.  He will search online (probably facebook and ancestry.com) to get pictures of each person and those will be paired with the write ups too.  As I am able to get pictures of his progress loaded I will post them for all to see.  He has decided once the project is over, he will continue to expand his search throughout the year.  How’s that for the fire for learning burning bright!!

The kids have also been working on getting their History and Science notebooks created.  They will be keeping an ongoing notebook of projects for each so this first week we have used creativity to make them look amazing.

This is the cover page to the Ancient History Pocket Folder project.  He cannot WAIT to get started!

This is the cover page to the Ancient History Pocket Folder project. He cannot WAIT to get started!

This is the history pocket cover that will adorn all of the Ancient History pocket work he does all year.

This is the history pocket cover that will adorn all of the Ancient History pocket work he does all year.

Preparing to work on his science notebook cover page.

Preparing to work on his science notebook cover page.

During our science studies, we have been looking at careers involving animals, preditor/prey relationships, zoonotic diseases and natural selection.  Even I learned something.  Did you know that in Genesis 1: 24-25 it says God created each animal in it’s own kind?  And those animals were created to have a diet of plants ONLY?  Did you know that it wasn’t until the fall (or Adam and Eve’s sin) that animals started eating each other?  Did you know that in Revelations, the Word tells us that that curse will be made right and animals will once again go back to their original relationships (Isaiah 11:6-9) with each other and their diet will be reset?  I mean WOW!  All of that just in chapter one!  WOOT!

We also learned that there is a bunch of science that secular scholars and scientists alike disagree with when it comes to theory on why things are the way they are?  Yea it was not a surprise to me either but it has given us our first two comparisons for our “See the World through God’s Eyes” wall!  On that wall we will be taking what the world says about things and combating it with what the Word says.

Science Chapter 1 gave us our first "Through God's Eyes" wall pieces.

Science Chapter 1 gave us our first “Through God’s Eyes” wall pieces.

Second piece for our "Through God's Eyes" wall!

Second piece for our “Through God’s Eyes” wall!

I just love these teachable moments.  God will provide ways for all of us to see his point of view if we just look close enough and take the time to consult him about it.  My prayer is that this wall proves to be a constant reminder that God had things under control WAY before science as an organized theory even existed and that His view is always the best view to take on.

Today we finished up chapter one in science.  Every chapter ends in an experiment which cements a concept firmly into the kid’s brains.  First they had to gather a little, shall we call it, “pre – experiment data” which included finding the greatest common number of each color of M&M.

The boys are counting their sorted M&Ms in preparation for the Natural Selection Experiment.

The boys are counting their sorted M&Ms in preparation for the Natural Selection Experiment.

This one had the kids creating a habitat (baking dish full of red, yellow and orange tissue paper) for the prey of a “kind” (M&Ms) to live in.

IMG_20130801_163035

IMG_20130801_163025

The idea was that the prey with similar colors to the tissue paper wouldn’t be seen as well and would blend in with it’s surroundings.  The other colors would be picked off and eaten, thus illustrating the concept of natural selection.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the directions closely enough and forgot to crumple up the tissue paper to make it more difficult to find the prey.  As a result their findings were less than supportive of the overall goal of the experiment.  We talked it over though and they understood exactly what was supposed to happen.

Another exciting thing that happened is that my husband found a MAJOR find for the classroom this past weekend.  He arrived home with an amazing shelving unit originally designed for produce display from a local grocery store.  It was sitting behind the store in the throw out pile and was free for the taking.  I wish I could express how perfectly this works for our space.  The original design for the boy’s clipboards was to have them hanging by 3M strips on the half wall by the steps.  Well…the strips didn’t hold as well as I thought they would, but this shelf is amazing.  It has enough room that I can put supplies, books, whatever that the kids need for each subject in with their clipboard.  If they don’t complete a project all at once, they can put their clipboard with their project on it in it’s cubbie along with markers, glitter or whatever needed to complete that project.  *Squeal!*

IMG_20130731_143736If you know my husband and see him around, tell him he did a great job in finding and bringing this home.  It has been such a blessing to us in our learning space.

I was introduced to Currclick.com this week, too.  Man just when you think you have seen all things available to home education families, I find something awesome like this.  There’s free and paid curriculum and supporting activities alike on there.  Not only that, I found free clubs and classes the boys can be apart of online.  If you know my oldest, you know he is a total Lego freak!  He could spend HOURS building, creating, tearing down, exploring and constructing.

 

Jackson sitting in a pile of Lego bricks.  He is totally in his element.

Jackson sitting in a pile of Lego bricks. He is totally in his element.

He amazes me what he can do with little bricks.  He has always been that way.  Anyway, on currclick, there’s a Lego Club!  I signed him up right away and he is off the top excited.  They are given a list of bricks needed to accomplish each month’s goal.  At 3:00 every Monday they sign in and work on the month’s goal.  This month is focused on 3D geometric shapes (Cones, Pyramids, etc).  Last month’s theme was Ancient Greece.  The reason Jackson loves this club is that he gets to build for an art grade.  Why I like it is because it gives him another way to look at his bricks and will spark his creativity to build in other styles and to see the same ol bricks as something new.

Meet his Lego snail!

Meet his Lego snail!

That’s all for now.  Hopefully I will be able to update with pictures of Jackson’s genealogy project this weekend.  Until next time you all, be blessed and praise God.

Cheers,
Andrea

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