"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blessing Others: Homeschool Materials

I have been homeschooling now for six years!!  I can hardly believe it!  And, along the way I have accumulated an excess amount of "stuff".  Much of it has been gifted to me.  Being that my husband was a teacher and is now an assistant principal I have been given a lot of his stuff and other homeschoolers have shared their stuff.  Once my husband was no longer teaching there was a lot of his teacher stuff that came home with him (ya know... because teachers buy a lot of their own supplies). I have a large home and a large room that we have dedicated to homeschool stuff.  There was "plenty of room for it all".  Now, we are trying to simplify and are even wanting a smaller house.  So, our house is for sell and we are trying to have it ready to show whenever necessary.  The only problem is the formal living room of our home looks more like a schoolroom or teacher supply store.  I am a visionary person, but even I have a hard time seeing it as a formal living room... & and I remember what it looked like as a formal living room.  So...  The purging must be done.  

So, I have decided to give most of the stuff away.  I could sell it but it is nice to be able to bless others with some of this stuff.  There are some things I will be selling like curriculum books, also... so I can have some spending money for this year's curriculum.  

The local homeschooling ladies are going wild for these chalkboard and dry erase boards.  I even kept a couple of small ones and I had all this to pass on.  Can you say "excess"?  It is nice to pass on this blessing.  

And, who wouldn't want these filing cabinets?!  Well, this lady that has more where those came from (yes, I am embarrassed).  Not only am I blessing others God is convicting me of living in excess.  And, since I am being transparent here... This stuff is holding me back from being a good mother and wife.  I have already wasted many days this Summer fretting over what to keep and what to get rid of.  Where is the joy of spending time with my family?  Wasted... On worrying about organizing "stuff".  So, guess what?!  It's time for the stuff to go!!! Wooooo hooooo!!! 

I want to encourage you today to do the same.  Purge.  And, not just purge but give.  Remember being that new homeschool momma and wanting stuff you did not have funding for?  Well, if you have excess like I do pass on some blessings. 
*** I got rid of way more than this.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Caden's Strange Illness & Fasting

This boy gave us quite a scare this month.  He went 14 days without eating food.  The only thing he consumed in that time period was water, a few ounces of milk, and juice from juice boxes/pouches each day.  

On any normal day we have to slow him down on the eating.  He does not miss a meal.  One day we sat down for lunch and moments later he was having a panic attack and screaming out for help. He was screaming out prayers to God.  He kept saying he was choking and could not breathe.  

I thought maybe his throat got a scratch on from something he swallowed.  We waited to give it some time to heal.  By day five of him not eating we went into the ER.  They could find nothing wrong  and basically treated him for inflammation of the throat.  

A friend that is a pediatric nurse contacted me after hearing his symptoms and said she believed he had a virus called gingiomatitis.  All the symptoms matched.  The interesting thing is that once a child is traumatized and thinks they can not swallow they sometimes will simply refuse to try.  He went FOURTEEN days without food.  Finally, through tears, pleading, begging, and threatening to spank him I got him to taste some applesauce.  He only ate a little, but later asked for more.  That night he ate a burger.  Clearly this eating thing was in his head mostly.  

Almost two weeks have passed since I got him to go back to eating.  He is just now (in the last couple of days) stopped making excuses not to eat.  It has been a long road.  He lost a lot of weight but I am so thankful we can move forward and I can finally say he is well.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Living The Dream.... Yet, We Want to Move

This is our
Dream House.

We are living the dream.

The first time we saw this house we were thinking that this house was straight out of Southern Living magazine.

We knew this was the home that we wanted all our children to bring our grandchildren home to visit us at.  And yes, our oldest was only eight months old when we moved in here but we still had that vision.

But now, we have it listed for sale.  It is still our dream home.  It is the home that we still think is amazing and beautiful, full of character and charm, full of room to roam the spacious rooms.  

But our dream is changing... or we think.  I truly am not trusting God to work this out.  I think we need to simplify our life.  A big and old house like this can come with a lot of upkeep and we are raising five children.  We want to pour our time into our children and not into things.  This amazing home is a thing.  I will admit... my heart is not settled on this completely.  I have to go through a mental checklist an remind myself why I am doing this.  

It comes down to this... how can we give our family the best life?  I think that is by simplifying.  I think we need to get rid of a lot of the stuff we are holding on to and cluttering our lives with.  And, I don't think that will happen with just getting rid of the stuff within the walls.  There are many projects we still want to do here and we have been doing projects for the 12 years we have lived here.  We did a temporary remodel of the kitchen years ago on a low budget.  We want to do another remodel.  We want to pull up the deck and concrete that and put stone around the bottom perimeter of the house around the deck area.  We would love to have a carport or garage for our cars and a place to keep the kids bikes and outdoor toys.  And we want to remodel the master bathroom (maybe).  These projects don't have to be done, but they are things we will do if we stay here.  

Our thinking is that if we get a place with more land our children will have room to roam the land and we could have them in a safer area.  We could downsize our square footage and have less to maintain for day to day cleaning.  Our utilities would also be lower.  We also like the idea of the kids being on one level of the home. 

We think this will be a worthy trade off.  I truly believe that simplifying our life this way would be honoring God.  I don't know what God's will or plan for us is, though.  That is what we want.  If we are supposed to stay here then, we will.  If not, I trust that He will work it out.      

Crossing Off My To Do List... Countdown to Summer Update

We are still chugging along with our "school year" at the Swafford house and we are counting down to the lazier days of Summer.... which don't seem like they are going to be very lazy.  Sigh.  So, I thought I would share my To Do List here.  This just has the big stuff on it.  If I listed everything this would never be ready to post.  In fact, I actually wrote this post a few weeks back and have gotten some things done already.  As time goes I will post updates and I will add those things in colors to make the new things more obvious.  This might be fun to see.  

Updates for 6/10/2014 are in Blue.
Updates for 6/13/2014 are in Green. 

Finishing off the current curriculum...
- Savannah 
        - Math
- Sierra
        - Math 
- Caden
- Sahara 
- Sienna

Assessing ordering for next year:
.... I have sort of let this go for now.   I pretty much know my plan but need to tweak it some more.  I think I will spend more time in July doing that. 
- Savannah 
- Sierra
- Caden
- Sahara 
- Sienna

Organizing Books & Supplies:
- Individual Crates (Mobile School)
- Storage of Past Materials (This will be done after we complete more of our year.)

Planning Getaways:
- Schlitterbahn Trip (trying to determine a date)(waiting to know for sure when Cody's year is up and about whether we move this Summer)
- THSC Convention
       - Register for convention
       - Hotel Reservations
- Camping (if we move, we might be doing some extreme camping... lol... Yep, camping might be in the yard of the new home!)

Registering for Summer Activities:
- Bible Bee (decided to hold off on this activity due to cost... maybe next year)

Vehicle Maintenance:
- Van Oil Change
- Van missing piece
- Bus Tires
- Tahoe Oil Change, tune-up

- Buying the other house (in the works)  (It seems the house we made an offer on has a contract on it.  The listing was not removed from the market.)
- Selling the current house (listed)
        -We have been deep cleaning every room one room at at time and purging in a major way.  We filled one room with boxes of stuff to completely get rid of.  We also rented a storage building for things that we want to keep or that we think we might want to keep.  We need some of these things out of the house to make the house look better for showing.  Complete the other rooms.

       -Put down trim that we was difficult to find that has needed to be done for several months.     
       -Extra mowing and outdoor shape-up
       -Decluttering the deck. Stripping the deck.  Staging the deck (in the way it is supposed to be arranged but that we are always moving).
       -Yard sale for purge items
       -Replace the door to the shed that has a hole in it

Monday, June 9, 2014

O Give Me Some Figgy Pudding... Figs

Okay, so it is NOT Christmas season and I don't really know what Figgy Pudding is, but...
Hello figs!

I grew up eating these little gems when my grandmother made them as preserves.  They were dark and syrupy and to be honest I always thought figs were brown on the vine.  Of course, they do turn a tan color but I did not realize the that brown color comes from cooking them.  I also did not realize that you can just eat them straight off the bush.  They are incredibly sweet and tender.  No one at my house truly has come to appreciate them, but I hope to see that change as this season's figs begin to ripen.

Do you like figs?  If so, how do you like to eat them?     

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Surprises on the Vine!

We had a week of good rain, so I have not been out to this little area of raised beds lately.  Somehow I missed that there were tomatoes growing!  This was a nice surprise..... 
Roma tomatoes

I do need to get out there today and do a little watering, though.  That rain has now ceased.  I can hardly wait until harvest time!  Thank you Lord for the surprises you give us each and every day. 

A Sample of.... Why We Homeschool

I started this little series on my personal facebook page because there seem to be so many people that don't understand why we homeschool.  I thought I would share some of that stuff here.   Here is a little sample:

 People wonder why we homeschool. And, they are quick to assume we don't like public school. Of course, my husband works as an Assistant Principal in public school. The irony in that is profound (from both viewpoints... Haha). So I thought I would share some pictures that show why we homeschool. #1. This is Caden coloring. Look close... "Cc Compassion"... As they color we talk about the picture and how we can show compassion to others. We can instill biblical principles while teaching the ABCs.

This is a coloring book page. You may think of it as busy work but it is way more. This is when we take time to really talk about the biblical principles and the scriptures that back them up. This can also used as a copy work verse and in doing that the child learns to write neatly, proper sentence structure, spelling, reading, etc..

Individualized Learning.... Copywork tracer page that I make with a highlighter and the child traces... See how this can be used in beginning reading to practice sounds, etc.. We typically will read the page three times and then trace. I put these in a notebook and we do the read the same sheets for a few days a trace on the third day. I will add to this book daily so they are reviewing old information and adding new each day.

Teacher of the moment!!! Cutest teacher ever!

This is a page from a 4th grade math textbook by Rod & Staff Publishers. There is a sweetness and saturation of biblical content that I have not seen anywhere else. My kids are not fond of all the reading problems but I am in love. Be still my heart... Bible meets math!!

This is a page out of one of our language arts books. There are several biblical examples throughout this page.

This is a reader we use. I love this beyond words!!! All of the stories in it are Bible stories are stories that point back to God. The premise is that we learn to read for the purpose of reading our Bibles.

I get to be with him all day long!!! Yes, even though he has a hard time focusing and takes forever I still get to be the one he spends the day with.

 Q-q-quiet... This is a good lesson because they are rarely quiet!

Savannah skimming the cream off of our raw milk to make butter. 

 One-on-one math with Momma in the kitchen... because someone gets easily distracted and needs constant refocus. Constant. Siblings being best buds in the background.

Homeschool friends can spend the night on a SCHOOL NIGHT!!!  This rarely happens but when a family needs some help we can adjust our schedule and help.  (They are having a jalapeno eating contest.)

 Schooling with real life turtles! Sienna, 3

Spelling Tests can be done on Monday. This isn't our norm, but life happens. We chose to hold off on some things on Friday to help a family out in their time of need. I love that our choice to home educate gives us this freedom. We can rearrange our schooling schedule to fit. In all honesty I intended to do Spelling Tests on Saturday, but I forgot. So.... given a little more time it really will be a true test of whether they really learned their words.

This is a sampling of what I have been sharing.  I have many people try to understand and ask me questions.  Some will understand and some won't.  That is okay.  I have many that even thinking of switching to homeschooling and have private messaged me to get information on how they an get started homeschooling.  I think the only way people are every going to understand our choice is to let them see a little of it.