Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Confession

I have a confession.  

 (current library books/videos)

I have a tendency to order a lot of books and videos all at once from the library. It's really their fault, putting it all online where I can sit in the comfort of my cozy home and click order, order, order! If only they delivered their books too. You know, like the UPS guy or something. Actually they do deliver, but only to homebound people. This is good information to know for whenever I'm old and gray and unable to leave the house. At least I'll still be able to read. I won't be able to see, but I'll be able to read. 

That isn't the confession part.

(More books, these we own, I need to sell them.)

So, when I click on my account and see that I have 58 books and videos to pick up, I take stock. No, I haven't showered yet for the day. No, I have no car now that we're down to only one. Hubby should be coming home soon and maybe he can stop by the house, pick up my library card and bags and just 'run over' and pick them up? Oh, and maybe since he is going already, he can go ahead and return these 3 bags of 40+ books to the library. Since he's going 'anyway'. 

Here comes the confession.

 (recent thrift store finds)

I call hubby and say 'Please oh please can you go by the library, you know, after you stop by and get the bags and the library card? I'll make the teen go with you, to make it easy.' He agrees most of the time because he's sweet like that. Here's the confession part. I DON'T tell him I have 40+ books to return and I DON'T tell him it will be a massive pile of 58 books & videos for him to bring home. Yes, I'm evil like that.

So he goes to the library lugging the books. He drops down the book shoot. He and the teen lug the massive pile of books from the 'HOLD' shelf to the counter to be checked out and hands over my library card.

'You're homeschoolers, aren't you?' the librarian says with a chuckle.

Should I be offended by this statement?  Hey, at least I didn't have to be there when she said it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Purpose. Conflicted...

Do you know your purpose in life. I question mine all the time. After all, what do I do? Homeschool, mother, be a wife, artist sometimes, blogger sometimes, confidante when needed. And I'm not very consistent with any of them. I always feel like I should be doing something different, something more. I pray about it and what my purpose is in life but don't feel like I have a clear answer from God. Sometimes I think maybe that IS my answer. What I'm doing is where he wants me to be at this very moment. Maybe my purpose feels undefined because I'm not meeting the potential of the purposes I'm purporting to do at the moment. 

The little one an I are studying Romans 12. Verse 1-2 says: 
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

I question my committment to not conforming to the pattern of this world. I eat too much, I complain too much, I'm lazy a lot of the time, I watch too much TV, and its not all gospel TV either. I'm a CSI fanatic and anything close to it. Am I conforming if I watch all this stuff? I profess my hatred of the news and don't watch it but by watching these other shows, isn't that just as bad? Oh, it's my entertainment, I say. Doesn't hurt anyone, I don't let my kids watch it. Then I get to thinking, if I don't let them watch it, why am I? It's like rated R movies. Some of them are so good, but have language I don't care for or bedroom scenes I don't need to see. I don't let my kids watch it, why is it okay for me? Am I a conformer after all?  

And another thought, maybe I'm not hearing what God's will is for my life because I'm conforming? It does say 'be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.'

1. To correspond in form or character; be similar.
2. To act or be in accord or agreement; comply:
3. To act in accordance with current customs or modes.
God calls us to not be like other people. He wants us to be so different in our deeds and everyday life that people will take notice and say 'I want to know what they have and how I can get it.' We live in a flawed world, if I'm doing the same things the world does, aren't I a part of the problem? If I do nothing to fix a problem or injustice in this world, aren't I really agreeing to it?

My problem lately is thinking I want to make changes in how I am and then trying to reconcile that to a whole family changing our ways. Everyone in the family might not be on the same convicted pages as me. Where do I go from there?

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world... This world is selfish, angry, encouraging others to  only lookout for 'el numbero uno'. Our children are pushed into adulthood at young ages by the things they see, the things they hear, the relationships they are allowed to participate in, the situations we stand by and allow them to handle on their own. Our children can not learn to 'not be of this world' if we're not setting the example for them. If not us, who will they be looking to? Other children? Is that where we want them to learn all about life? I think not.  But when I think of all the changes I think I should make, quit watching TV, not be on the computer mindlessly, should be more organized, more of a housewife/cleaner/cook, setting the example for my family, volunteer, mission somewhere, be more involved in my church and my extended family's lives; I get overwhelmed. I mean I don't think we have to step back into the stone ages or into a quaker lifestyle; there must be a happy medium where I still feel like I'm NOT conforming to this world. These verses convict me more than I really care to say.

I got off track here about purpose, which is really pertaining to further verses. Maybe that will be another blog post. I'm feeling conflicted tonight. Okay, off to plan my history lesson (that's a whole other blog post as well.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homeschool Conference with Open Eyes

So I've already signed up for the local homeschool conference. For quite a while I did not go, thinking, 'I know what I'm doing, it's just basically a big SELL fest.' But last year, since I was wrapping up and graduating a teen and would be back to having only one child to teach, I thought it might be prudent to attend again.

I also made the decision to stay up by the conference. Even though it was only 20  minutes away, hubby thought it was a good idea and I could get a couple nights away by myself. So that's what I am doing again this year. I've already booked my nice room. A local friend stays up there every year as well so I invited her to share my room if she wants. It should be a fun time. No kids, nobody to take care of but myself, NO COOKING!

I'm looking forward to classes. This year we tried to embrace the Charlotte Mason way of doing things and we did well for several months. But in the interest of getting more work done (catching up for our less than stellar month of December), we went back to longer times of schooling for each subject. I have still managed to keep in some of the subjects we picked up during our months of CM. We're still enjoying Latin and scripture memory. Writing is doing well. I need more structure in it though so we're learning key grammar things. Basically I just go let her write on her story. 

Last year my favorite speaker was Andrew Pudewa (he has great YouTube Videos here). He was amazing and made me think of homeschool and teaching writing and spelling in a whole new way. I was not able to purchase his writing program but I learned so much from him. I need to pull out last year's notes and relearn what he taught. If you get a chance to hear him, GO! P.S. Just looked up his website and remembered that he reminded me a lot of John Cleese! lol)

I'm hoping this year to see classes on Charlotte Mason and maybe a Grammar/Writing class that isn't all about worksheets and boring assignments. That works for some people, but not us. Plus the little one will be moving into 7th grade schooling. Middle school. I might cry, she is growing up so fast. Not sure what subjects we need to cover or how that will work. So I'm heading to the homeschool conference with open eyes. Looking for new ideas...

I wonder if others attend homeschool conferences still. What do you hope to get out of it?

NOTE: This post is linked up with Golden Grasses' post about Conferences

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I have to do what? Yeah. Chores.

So, as most families go, except for the real annoying ones that have all their stuff together and get their chores done daily... we're not regular in that department. And we fight about it too. Whose turn it is, who is in charge of what. And I have to follow children around and constantly nag nag nag. I told hubby one time that one of MY chores is to make sure the children do THEIR chores. Because really it was a chore. They're easily distracted or they're disobedient. It's a constant struggle.

Lately we've been hearing the comment that 'we' don't work as much as they do, and why do they have to do 'everything' (when it's really one or two chores a week.) Hubby and I laugh at the absurdity of this statement. Children have no clue. But what bothers me about this statement is its said in disrespect. We've had many a grounding, talking to and yelling match about this very statement. I remind them that their job is not to question, but to do. I have also been praying about their attitudes because the constant fighting and instances of disrespect have been weighing on me.

To be fair, they don't always see all the things we do. If they had to do all that we do when they're not looking, they'd faint from exhaustion. I was making a list the other day of what I had been doing all day because I was starting to think maybe i didn't do as much. But I realized I do more things sitting down than physical labor, which is what they look for. 

Here's my recent list:
make grocery list, plan loose menu, organize coupons, read ads for sales, find coupons, plan bills for the paycheck, pay bills online, call insurance about cell phones, car repairs, schedule doctor appts, order medicines, schedule dog grooming, order gift certificates,  homeschool child, research homeschool projects, plan upcoming homeschooling, deal with homeschool paperwork, grade papers, cook food for dogs, feed dogs, walk dogs (several times), throw in laundry, pick up trash, straighten bathroom when I'm in there, replenish toilet paper holder, hang up clothes, make bed,  put up homeschool books after finished, wipe off toothpaste tube, organize bookshelf, make lunch, make pitcher of crystal light, turn off lights (often), lock doors at night, change trash, remind family of chores.  

So, all this wordiness to say, we have a new plan. I know, I had a plan here, but it just didn't work for me. I tried, but didn't make it more than a week or so.  However, NOW we're using My Job Chart. Someone on Facebook recommended it and I'm so glad they did. What made it even more enjoyable was sitting with the little one planning out jobs for EVERYONE in the family (hubby and me included.) That way she sees what we are in charge of on what days. We even worked out what would be rewards for accumulating a certain amount of points from doing her jobs (she opted for dad/mom time, rent redbox, game night, video game time, and movie tickets as her rewards. Some will take awhile to work towards.)

I highly recommend this program. It's free, and she just goes to the computer, logs in and checks off the things she has completed. At the end of the day I get an email telling me who has completed what. We introduced hubby and the sister to it this evening and after a lot of frowning, they're on board. This also helps me be more accountable. She gets all excited about helping me check off the things I've completed.

I'm curious to know how others keep up with their chores, divvy up the chores, etc... What's working, what isn't?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Worry NOT Dolls

The little one and I are studying our way around the world through 7 continents. Right now we're stopped at our own, North America. This study includes books on America, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeans. It's been a very interesting study as I personally don't even know much outside of America.

As we were reading the book: Traditional Crafts from Mexico and Central America we came upon a section about 'Guatemalan Worry Dolls'. Here is what the chapter said: "In Guatemala dolls are made from scrap materials. Children may take them to bed with them at night. Before the children fall asleep, they tell their worries to the dolls, one at a time. It is believed that the dolls take away the problems while the children sleep. Traditionally, about six dolls are kept together in a tiny wooden box."

What an opportunity to talk to my daughter about our faith! I told her "We have no need for 'Worry Dolls', do we? We have a God that meets all our needs, hears all our worries and cares, and especially our fears. " She said "These dolls could remind of us that God is who we can talk to when we are worried." I said "We could name them our 'Worry Not Dolls.'"

I love when opportunities crop up to talk with my daughter. God knows what we need, when we need it.

(To Make: Make the body of a doll with either twist ties or wire (which we used). The book recommends wrapping the wire in paper next. We skipped that step. Wrap yarn around body areas. The book tells you to make a cardboard head, but we didn't like that so we made a loop of wire and wound it for the face. We need to go back and glue the little strings in. The book had dolls made of various wraps: string, yarn, fabric. You could also add hair, hats, etc...)
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