Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite Season is Here!

In the picture above you see the girls with their cousin Ariana (back, left side).  We were visiting at Ariana's house where also Grandmom and Granddad Short live.  The girls had spent the night so that Alpheus and I could have our home to ourselves to celebrate 12 years of married bliss! <3  Yes Alpheus and I were married in my favorite season.  I just love the trees changing colors and the cool weather that isn't freezing, but is nippy enough to wear long sleeves and enjoy hot chocolate!

Another reason that I love fall is celebrating the blessings of God in the harvest.  I love the fruits and veggies that are coming in just now. Apples are my favorite and though I don't like pumpkin as a food, I enjoy this colorful fruit as decoration.  We also enjoy studying about the Pilgrims in November and remembering their faith as they traveled to a new land.  We love chasing leaves as they fall or just walking on them.  This year we won't have as many to rake since we cut down so many trees in our yard, but we have plenty blowing over from the neighbors yard to make a pile for the girls to play.  I love having a warm fire at night and we hope to have a fire pit this fall to burn some of the bark from our trees just to enjoy marshamallows and hotdogs "on an open fire."

Another thing we love about this time of year is celebrating Reformation Day!  We have been teaching the girls the history of the church since the time of apostles.  It is so interesting to see how God kept His Word spreading to the uttermost parts of the earth and the transformation of the Holy Spirit on the lives of people from hundreds of years ago, especially to the time of Huss, Luther, Zwingli, Tyndale, Calvin, and others.  What a precious gift these men gave to us to have the Bible in our own language, to be free to all to understand and follow, instead of being kept to only a few learned men.  To think that most people for many years had no idea what the Bible actually said.  What a lesson to us to take our freedom of reading God's Word seriously!  May God reform and revive America by His Word this year.  This is what we celebrate on October 31 for on that day in 1517 Martin Luther wrote 95 Theses of objections which is seen as the official beginning of the Protestant Reformation!  Some time we plan to use this program to teach about the Reformation. 

This year we enjoyed traveling back to Florida for a week.  The girls always looked forward to the church's fall festival and so we try to go back around that time of year!  The week was filled with so much fun and fellowship, that even though it was HOT and not at all like FALL, it was a true blessing.  I will post more pictures as I can to record the blessings of that week. 

Until then, may you have a happy fall celebration!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Homeschool Lesson Today: Perseverance with a side of PE

Here is Mary happily riding her bike with training wheels.  On the right is Sarah struggling to persevere as she learns to ride without them.  This is actually her second time learning.  How can that be? Well her first time was late last fall and sad to say, we hadn't gone since.  There is no where near our home to ride and so we must hook up the trailer to Mater (Daddy's work truck) and I have to take the passengers in the van, so it is a two parent operation.  We are going to be more diligent in getting Sarah the practice she needs to keep her skills this time.

It hurts me when my kids struggle to learn things, and in this area I feel particularly helpless.  For those who may not know, I never learned to ride a two-wheeler myself.  Similar situation - our home for most of my life was not conducive to beginning riders, especially if they were timid.  If you enjoying learning to ride by the roll yourself down this grassy hill method, then you, like my twin brother, would have learned at my house.  I didn't.  Anyhow,  I leave these lessons to my darling husband and he is a very good teacher, thankfully. 

Today was hard for Sarah though.  She was struggling.  She had moments of tears and frustration and wanting to quit.  But Daddy and I team tagged, giving encouragement and helpful hints, and just waiting patiently while she fought to rule her fear and try again.  In the end she did persevere.  In these last shots you will see much smiling and happiness.  Her perseverance paid off!  Our perseverance as her guides and teachers paid off.  It would have seemed easier to let her just wait until she was "ready" and not push her to try again, but I know that is only a temporary pause before the task must be faced again.  It was a good lesson for everyone.  Mary saw that once Sarah faced her fear she was able to accomplish her goal.  Mary also saw that when it is her turn, Mommy and Daddy will do all we can to help her not give up! 

Sarah trying again!
 Looking more relaxed and starting to like it!
Daddy giving Mary a ride
 Lydia's turn now - hold on girl!
Sarah is picking up speed and has come over to join us because she is not so scared now.
Lydia was having a ball and giggling!
Loved watching all the girls having fun!
 Daddy coming around again with Lydia!
Getting ready for the high five!
High Five!  So glad I got the shot! :)

 This girl gets an A today! :)
 Keep smiling girl - you're next! :)
 Daddy coming down the hill with Lydia - she giggled and  laughed the entire way!
Once you have learned how to ride, the Virginia hills can be fun!

Btw, I rode a three wheeler when I wasn't taking pictures.  Lydia rode in the basket in the back!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dads and Homeschooling

I have many favorite blog sites I visit, but I must admit that homeschooling mothers with four or more children interest me most. I am sure it is because I can relate to many of them. A few months ago, 2 of my favorite blog ladies joined with two others to give a multi-SAHM prespective on life in large homeschooling families. I love these Thursday posts. Today's post was on how fathers lead/participate in homeschooling. Here's a link to one post and you can find the other three from there if you desire.

I am so thankful God gave Alpheus and I both the desire and vision for homeschooling our children. We have been united in this since we were preparing the nursery for Hannah's birth! Since I was a middle school teacher before marrying, Alpheus was quick to trust that I was prepared for this in many ways. However teaching your own children starting at birth is very different from public school and we both had much to learn. Most importantly we both learned that God had equipped us for this in many ways. By leaning on God's Word we were going to be able to do this, even when I dreaded teaching them to read or do basic math facts. Alpheus' support in each phase of this journey has been so crucial and a blessing!

Financially he has sacrificed to make sure I can stay home with the girls. It is one of the most important reasons we can homeschool. He carries on his shoulders the burden of finances so that we can be daily with our girls training them in God's Word and the many other lessons of life that are important. This has sometimes been a great leap of faith for him as God leads us into less financially secure callings. I am thankful that Alpheus perseveres and God always sees us through with His wonderful provision as a reward for Alpheus' commitment!

In the early years, Alpheus was always anxious to look at the day's work and praise the efforts. He has also acted as father/principal to encourage our girls to have good attitudes and work ethic on difficult days; and even carrying out discipline if he was available. Being a united team as parents is so important to creating an atmosphere that is positive and gives the children definite boundaries.

As the girls mature, Alpheus has made more suggestions on curriculum, especially on Bible instruction. During family worship times in the evenings he will discuss with them what we are studying in Bible class. This is wonderful accountability and review for the most important lessons we are teaching in our home! He is also supportive and encouraging for all subjects we are doing. The girls love to tell Daddy when they get a good math grade or show Daddy the picture from art class or narrate for him the main events from the history story. Currently they are all memorizing scripture for Bible class at church and a poem for the term. They are so excited about "performing" the poem for Alpheus during exam week! This term we are using a book Alpheus bought the girls for Christmas last year about dinosaurs. Whenever I say it is time for science the girls get so excited and can hardly wait to finish the term to make their lap books and dinosaur egg models. They know it will be something they can share with Daddy.

I am so thankful for all that Alpheus does to lead us on this homeschooling journey!

Our principal swimming with us on the first day of PE for this year!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick catch up!

Alpheus and Eva
Sarah, Mary, Lydia, Hannah

Wow, I can hardly believe that I haven't posted here since March. The year is just flying by! Things are about the same but small changes have been really good!

For my husband, the church is continuing to grow slowly but in God's time we are sure. God has given us precious church family and though the months of late have had their share of difficulties, they have also been sweet times of leaning on God and His Word for all our problems and questions! Alpheus is still doing side construction work, but as work has dropped off and the temperature too, we are hoping he can give more time now to the church.

I am still homeschooling and loving it! The girls are getting so independent and their material more to my personal taste. I love learning or relearning all over with them! I have recently had an increase in children in my classes at church which is so rewarding too! The biggest change for me is having a pool memebership!! Yes, thank you darling husband! I may not be losing weight as fast as I hoped, nor going as often as I should, but it is wonderful when I do get to go!

The girls of course are loving that too! Hannah is nearly 11 and getting so tall! She is probably not tall for her age, but she is getting close to me, so I imagine she will make it at least a few inches more than me! Hannah's drawing is continuing to get better and I hope to help her get some lessons in the spring. For now, she is enjoying watching Bob Ross on PBS and teaching herself. She is also excited about taking sewing lessons soon. She mostly wants to sew doll clothes! I think it is precious that she still wants to play with dolls!

Sarah is approaching 10 and becoming quite the reader and writer. She takes wonderful notes during church time and enjoys helping me write lists for school or home needs. She is very sweet to her baby sister who is her roommate. She is also developing and excellent memory and loves to memorize poems and Bible verses! She is the word lover like her mother! She also loves to memorize songs and sing them all the time. It is a blessing to hear her singing hymns when she is playing.

Mary is half way between 7 and 8. She is doing great in school and still enjoys playing with Lydia whenever she is not doing chores or school work! She is my snuggle bug at this age. She enjoys that she is still small enough to sit on Mama's lap! She may be the shortest one and reminds me a lot of me! She is also growing in leaps and bounds with her writing skills and has learned to spell quite a few difficult words! She and Sarah are the fish! They love to be under the water as much as above it when we go to the pool. She also loves to braid hair and has learned to do her own. I keep telling her she has to learn so she can cut all of our hair for us!

Lydia is between 3 and 4 and learning so much each day. Her speech has always been delayed but has been getting much better recently. Several people at church have commented that her speech is much more plain now. Yes, I am doing much less interpreting! LOL She is learning to dress herself and brush her hair (at least four in the front lol) and loves to play with anything she can get her hands on. She entertains herself very well for the most part. I guess that is because she has so much time on her own while we do school. She is doing preschool activities about twice a week and without real lessons has learned to count to 12 and recognize 1-10 and about half the letters of the alphabet. She also loves swimming and any kind of running and jumping off of things especially!

I feel very blessed to have my family and I thank God each day for their love and presence in my life!