We are entering the part of the year in which all I want to do is snuggle up by the fire and read books as I admire the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree.
Alas, we don’t always get to do what we want.
So we are still getting up and doing our home school gig. I give pep talks to all of us on a regular basis– “Three weeks, kids. Three solid, strong weeks of school and then we get a big Christmas break. We can do it. Let’s just push through and keep plodding along with what we’ve been doing. Before you know it, we will have our break!”
Since we completed our 30 Days to Understanding the Bible book, I was contemplating what kind of Bible study I wanted us to do together at breakfast to start our school day. I decided that I had been enjoying and learning so much from my daily Proverbs that I would do that with the kids. I shared with them how I read the Proverbs that coincides with the date of the month. I ask God to point out verses for me to focus on, and He does. I write those down and then I write out my prayer on the other side of my journal–prayer relating to the verses I read.
After I read the chapter from Proverbs, each child focuses on one verse and tells what they think it means for us. We have had great conversations! These moments are such amazing reminders to me as to WHY I home school. These unhurried times in God’s Word with connection being made to our own lives and what God’s Word says are absolutely priceless. It is what I value more than any other thing about home schooling. And I do enjoy other parts. But this, this is the main thing. I am not in control of many choices my kids make or will make. I cannot determine what they will be when they grow up or what kind of character they have as they work their job. But what I am responsible for–pointing my kids to Jesus in all things–I pray I am doing well. I have my doubts about any of my kids loving science since I might groan any time anything about science comes up and just go ahead and let me jump off a bridge rather than helping with a science project. BUT, fostering a love for God and His Word is woven into our days. Thank the Lord for His gracious work in my life that allows me to know this is the most important work of my life.
I know you’ve heard the quote, “The only thing that is constant is change.” That is so true and has become more and more personal with each passing year. This year we stayed in Charlotte for Thanksgiving and had my sister and her family, my mom and dad and Josh’s dad here. We had a great time, and I was so happy to have them in our home.
I talked to Aunt Pep earlier this week and we reminisced a little about Thanksgiving past when Deb (Josh’s mom) was here. We would always do a craft together, work on a puzzle in their home, and just have a great time. I remember Thanksgivings before kids, though barely. And I remember the constant busy-ness on holidays with young kids–especially at my parent’s house when there were 7 kids 4 years old and under! And I can even reach back in my mind to Thanksgiving as a kid…always at MeMe Rhodes’ house for Thanksgiving lunch, sitting at the kid table with Bentley. MeMe’s dressing and million dollar pies. And Thanksgiving dinner at my other MeMe’s house with many cousins and chaotic togetherness. But now things are different. Some of the people that have sat around our Thanksgiving table are no longer here on earth. And all of us who gather together are older. And now we live farther away from most of our Georgia family. We have grown, matured, and experienced so much as a family. Change is inevitable. It’s also sneaky and often shows up uninvited.
So even though we missed many of our family members this Thanksgiving, we did enjoy time at the table with family we love. We enjoyed the beautiful weather. We sat by the fire and had s’mores. We shared stories and ate too much, too! I am thankful they all made the drive to Charlotte to be together. We have usually been the ones to drive year after year, so this change was a welcome one….and was very much appreciated!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, of course. Ruby enjoys it the most of any of us.
These two boys played the entire time, non-stop football and games.
Irvin is always a trooper. He brings so much good food with him!!
Marcy and Jesse enjoying the fire.
A beautiful sunset Wednesday evening!
I loved catching bits of time with my sister…I feel like I don’t get to see her or talk to her very much. I loved seeing her kids and watching them play and hearing their stories. And I am glad my parents or Irvin didn’t have to do most of the work at their homes (though I know traveling is not easy!). And I am thankful my home wasn’t only filled with us five like it was last year…though last year’s Thanksgiving was perfect and just what we needed then…this year’s full house was perfect and just what we needed now.
And this evening we decided to pull out some Christmas decor. I wasn’t totally in the mood, but I am glad we did it!
I seriously cannot believe it is this time of year again. Wow.
Last week I had just finished folding all of Josh’s white undershirts that he wears every day. They were nicely sitting on the bed, and I was about to leave for Wednesday night church. The whole day had been full of laundry and cooking and cleaning and schooling and more laundry. I was tempted to leave the folded shirts on the bed so that Josh could see them when he got home and recognize this clean stack of shirts as a representation of all of my work from the day. And he could put them away and be thankful for a wife who does so much around here. (Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks these things at times.)
But as soon as I had those thoughts, I picked up the shirts and marched them to their proper place in the closet and said outloud, “You see me, Lord. I don’t need to leave these out for Josh to see. You see me. You know every step I take, every bit of work I do around here. You know and that is enough for me.”
And it really is. I am not saying that I always feel seen and noticed. But the truth is that God is always with me— my constant companion and friend. If there is any truth that I have experienced throughout our move to a new place, this one rises to the top. God sees me and loves me and is always with me. I hang on to this truth many days. The result is that I spend more time in The Word. I spend more time in prayer. The intimacy factor grows stronger when He is all you have.
As I was reading Matthew 6 each day this week, what stood out to me was an intimacy factor in any Believer’s relationship with God.
When you GIVE, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (v4) “so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done is secret will reward you.”
When you PRAY, don’t use meaningless repetition just to be seen and heard by men. But instead, (v6) “when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
When you FAST, don’t put on a gloomy face so that you are noticed by men, but (v17-18)) “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
So much of God’s work in my life is done in the secret places. Not on social media. Not on a stage. Not with an audience. And I am thankful for the hard places that foster intimacy with my Father who “knows what I need before I ask Him (Matthew 6:8).” What a comforting truth.
Well, we are two days into November, and I feel the need to write a homeschool update. No need to even read this if you aren’t interested in the day to day stuff of the Dorminy Academy. This is one way I choose to keep records of our school days. You know, in case someone comes to my door and asks me what exactly I am teaching my kids.
Today I feel thankful and right on track with our schooling. Last week I was googling local private schools and schools online with teachers for every subject. Good days and bad days. That’s how it goes with most things, but at the end of the day, I know God has me right here in this house with these kiddos, teaching them the best I can or finding help for them to learn something I am not equipped to teach. Things might get more “real” when we enter high school next year, but for now, I am going to enjoy this season of life.
READING. Our fun color-assigned paper chain is growing as each kid adds the book they complete to the chain. Mack has read Danny Champion of the World and is currently reading Wonder and finishing up The Hobbit. Molly has read Wonder and Things Not Seen. Ruby has read Anne of Green Gables, Wonder, and When You Reach Me. We are all going to read LOVE THAT DOG beginning in a couple of weeks to coincide with a new addition to our family. More on that later.
Jury is still out on if we will have a book club party when we are done, but I did save the article I read on the book club.
We continue to use BraveWriter to lead discussions and give us passages of copywork each week.
This year we added a more structured grammar program called FixIt Grammar; each kid is in a different level and are able to read, edit, label parts of speech and rewrite the sentence correctly. By the end of the year they will have rewritten a whole story in their binder and learned an awful lot along the way!
Spelling with Phonetic Zoo continues to rock along, and I am anxious to see if the younger two have improved scores on the Woodcock-Johnson test in May.
MATH. Ruby is enjoying Math with Mr. D online as she conquers Pre-Algebra. She seems to thrive with the online teacher in the subject of math. As I have said many times before, Saxon for 8 years straight just about did us in. I am thankful this is working so far! Molly and Mack are both still in Saxon books doing well. Mack is a stinker and likes to have me right there with him, prodding him along the entire time. I try to walk away to switch laundry or start lunch, but it doesn’t usually work out very well. He follows me, telling me a very important story that he has been meaning to tell me. Gracious, that boy. Molly likes her paper to be perfect, so if I try to write something on her paper while she is still working…you know, to TEACH her how to do something in math…she gets all kind of upset. Tells me to write lightly so she can erase what I write. Picky, picky. But all in all, math is rocking along.
This was taken last week while Mack was doing his math (and taking breaks to talk to me). The kid has it made.
HISTORY. We are using Beautiful Feet curriculum for Early American History and Modern History. We are reading live books and journeying through the 1400’s . We just entered the 1500’s this morning. We have read about Columbus all throughout….Isabella and Ferdinand, Vasco Da Game, all the Henry’s and more! It is a totally different way of studying History than our previous curriculum, but I think we like it. I plan to add a Geography unit in January. Until then, we will keep on keeping on with Columbus and the Americas. We also add movies that help us understand what we are studying in history
Honestly, they don’t usually love the movies as much as I do. But if I throw in some popcorn, they stay with it.
SCIENCE. Girls are reading Apologia’s General Science book and using their journal for notes and activities. So far, so good. This is a subject I am encouraging full ownership in, and they seem to be taking well to it. They tell me what they read about and learned afterwards. Works for me! And Mack is enjoying his Tinker Crates that arrive each month, as well as science videos here and there.
MORNINGS. I suppose starting with this one might have been smart, but whatever. In the morning we all gather at the kitchen table to eat breakfast and read a chapter from Understanding the Bible in 30 Days book. It provides for great discussion! Then, we usually watch a video from the Bible Project that goes along with what we read in Bible. After that, we watch CNN10– a ten minute news show for kids that they all enjoy and look forward to each day. After that, we may read a chapter from a biography of Paul Brand or listen to a podcast from Grammar Girl. Honestly, they do not like to listen to Grammar Girl, but I love it and I think it will grow on them. She isn’t boring to listen to, and we usually all learn something new! During this morning time is when I will add Geography in January. So by 10am we have done quite a bit all together before spreading out to dive into other subjects.
EXTRA STUFF. The girls are enjoying the home school choir they joined in September. They perform in November. They all wear matching long dresses and black flats–the girls aren’t too hyped about the outfit, but I think they will look beautiful and fancy. During the two hour practice, Mack and I read The Hobbit, throw football, go to a park or to get shaved ice and play checker. It’s a weekly date we both enjoy!
Twice a month they all go to The Blacksmith Guild at church with other home schoolers to learn about leadership, the Bible and do some service projects together.
Molly helps lead worship on Wednesday evenings for youth. I am so proud of her for jumping out there and doing it. She loves playing the guitar and singing. She even bought herself one of those drum things you sit on. I am sure there’s a technical name for it, but that description will have to do.
Mack wants to play basketball this season, so we are working on that. And he is in Awanas on Wednesday evenings. Speaking of Wednesdays, the night sky has been so beautiful when we leave church. The view of the city is awesome. Go Hornets!
The kids love church, and I am so grateful for that! We had the interns over and a few other friends to play games and hang out. They are a great group!
And today Mack and took some time to paint outside. There are so many beautiful colors out there to take in! Molly told someone, “Oh, look at that pretty tree!” And then immediately she said, “Oh no. I sound just like my mom.” haha! Cracks me up. And makes me proud.
Here are some other sketches I found that Mack did. He is always drawing something. Usually something about UGA football, but this time it was superheroes.
That’s the update! Sometimes we get bored. Sometimes we are intrigued. Sometimes the kids fuss and fight. Sometimes they get along like little angels. Some days we don’t get everything done I had hoped. Other days I surprise myself with our productivity. There is a loose routine, but not a schedule. We know what direction we are headed, and we just have to keep plodding along day after day, making progress. June will be here before we know it, and I want to be proud of all we have accomplished and all we have learned, as well as the ways our relationships have matured and our bonds have strengthened. Happy Schooling!