Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Randomness That Is My Life!

Well, here we are... the end of November. It feels like these last few months have just flown by!! Something I'm learning with homeschooling is that you can't take a break with planning for even a minute or the holidays and specific dates that you want to be teachable dates sneak right up on you! I found myself still putting together Thanksgiving material ON Thanksgiving!!! While I have to say that it was interesting to have it all fresh on the brain when we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families, it would have nice to have had time to dig a little deeper BEFORE the turkey came out of the oven!! :)
All-in-all I have a great list going for next year's first semester lessons, but sadly this year has been a bit of a tester year for us. Well, I say sadly... Braydon is loving it. When mom doesn't get it together in time, we chalk it up to early prep for next year.
I don't have a specific topic for today's entry but I do have a couple of neat stories for you. I'll start with the funnier of the two.
A couple of weeks ago we were in the car and Braydon (getting together his mental Christmas wish list) says to me "Mom, can I have a Pocket Rocket? Cuz I wanna ask Santa for one but I know he doesn't get you things that your parents won't let you have."
It was too cute! Partly because he thought ahead enough to get permission before asking Santa but mostly because of his innocence!! Now is about the time (if he were still in public school) that he would begin to doubt the story of Santa, but hopefully being homeschooled we will be able to hold onto the magic a little longer!
The second is more a quick thing I wanna share rather than a story:
As I have said before. Now that we are homeschooling I see so much of Braydon's creativity coming back that I'm ashamed to say I didn't realizing he was loosing. Well tonight as I sit preparing lessons for tomorrow he comes into the office that doubles as our classroom and sits down at his desk. He opens up his History folder and takes out some research that I had printed out for the unit we are planning to do on Greek Mythology. Then he begins to do his own research on the laptop (using MY printouts only to help him with spelling). After a few minutes he is writing his own rendition of the struggle between the three brother Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. WOW!!! Just out of nowhere he decides to do a little writing!! Of course I am elated because I myself LOVE to write and have always hoped he would too, but I am even more impressed that he is WANTING to research and write just for entertainment! I remember a time after high school when I would get interested in something I saw on TV, begin researching it at the library and the write a research paper on the subject JUST FOR FUN!!! I thought I was the only person in the world crazy enough to do that... but here I sit, almost 20 years later watching my son do the very same thing!!!
God has blessed me so much this year with this adventure Braydon and I are taking together!
I am so thankful to be able to experience these things with my child AND to get to encourage and aid him as he begins to figure out what he enjoys, what he is good at and what he excels in!
We serve an awesome, loving and powerful God and I hope to raise my son to be just as in awe of his Father as I am!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mapping Made Easy!

Now this is what I call learning about Geography and how to make/read a map!! We are studying about Kansas this week and the lesson came with these little single page maps to label as you go through the lesson. Well I decided it would be SO much more fun to make our own map to label with the lesson. So that's just what we did. We used 3 different transparencies of Kansas, one for the state itself with major cities and the capital, one showing rivers and lakes and another showing railways. Now we are going to work on a legend and continue labeling what the lesson calls for. We have had a blast and his retention of major parts of the state is amazing!! So much more effective than those silly sheets in his book that were difficult to understand anyway!! Not to mention, look at that face! He's having the time of his life. BTW this overhead thing also led to another (self driven) art project. Homeschooling has done amazing things for his creativity and desire to do more and learn more!! God is so good!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Fun!

So every year we have a tradition in our family to share some Halloween fun with our friends and family. When we first started it, 5 years ago, it was called Phantom-ing; but now people are calling it Boo-ing. Regardless of what you call it, it is a blast and we love the entire process. What you do is put together treat bags for 2 or more families with a poem and picture, leave it on their porch, ring the doorbell and RUN! The picture is considered the "phantom" and is to be placed in the window of the house so that other participants will know that family has already been hit. It's kinda like a fun chain letter. Once you have been phantom-ed you make copies of the letter and pictures and then put together bags for YOUR friends and family to leave on their doorstep.

Braydon and I spend all day in the kitchen baking cookies and other treats, bagging them all up, decorating bags and attaching the poem/pic. Then we're off to get our sneak on!! Braydon LOVES to deliver the bags, ring the bells and run like mad. I enjoy driving the getaway car that sometimes almost "gets away" before Braydon gets all his limbs back in. And Randy usually just sits back and gets a good laugh at it all... but this year Randy got a REAL taste of the action!

This year, just a few hours before we were to leave, Braydon hurt his foot riding his rip-stik. He was a trooper though and tried the deliver the bags but his foot just wouldn't let him. So, guess who got to be the "ding dong ditcher" for the night... You guessed it! RANDY! I have to say this was one of the absolute funniest years every!!! Randy is not the most stealthy person we know and he also lacks a little in the agility department. None the less, he ran, rang, tripped and jumped his way through the night. I'm so blessed to have a husband that is such a good sport. Not only did he join in the fun, but he allowed us to MAKE fun of him as well!

So to all of you out there who have never had an adventure like this one, it's not too late to start! I have attached the letter and picture we used this year for you to download and then the bag contents are just left to your imagination! Remember, it's suppose to be anonymous so just sit back and enjoy listening to your victims try to figure out where the delightful little treat came from!


Phantom Letter

Phantom Pic

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day Two thru...???

Ok, so I missed a few days between day 1 and now but I have to tell you it has been amazing!!! We are doing lapbooks, some copywork, scripture memorization and alot more! I can honestly say that I am watching a transformation in my child that sadly I didn't see taking place when it was going the other direction. My child is getting his imagination back!!!! He is expressing a creative side that I haven't seen for quite a while now! For a brief moment I felt guilty that I wasn't as observant when that imagination was fading away but then I stepped back and decided to give myself a break on this one, he was growing up and it seemed like a natural step. I mean after all, as a mother we are given MORE THAN ENOUGH CHANCES to feel guilty about something we think we did wrong right?? Well I am learning that God doesn't want me to feel guilty, he wants me to learn from these mistakes. So that's what I'm doing! I am teaching myself to be less dismissive and more aware of the changes in my child. And let me tell you it is SOOO rewarding. I know things like picking out shapes in the clouds don't really seem that big at all, but when your kiddo starts doing that again after several years you realize he didn't stop because he was getting to big to do it, he stopped because his creativity wasn't being nurtured!
Please don't get me wrong, I have MANY friends that are public school teachers and love each of them and their efforts to teach children very much, but as a mom who has been given the opportunity to stay at home and teach her child I am learning just how much my kiddo was missing out on! It's difficult to grow your creativity when the state mandates your education. you see putting MY CHILD in school 8 hours a day was exhausting to him. After all day of being taught state required activities that are not specific to each child's needs he was too tired and numb to really be the child God created him to be. I know that God has amazing things planned for Braydon and I feel very strongly that those things will rely heavily on his ability to think outside of the box! I am so grateful each and everyday that I have this opportunity. For those of you following me who also homeschool your kiddos and are starting to get frustrated now that summer is over and school is in full swing, remember how lucky you are! Don't spend time being angry at your children for their lack of interest, HIT YOUR KNEES and thank God for what He is allowing you to do! And then ask for help! This is only our first month of homeschooling and I have been like a needy kid with God this month. But I will tell you he is providing in great detail! I am receiving encouragement, instruction and resources like crazy!! It's amazing how God blesses you when you are doing something he has called you to do!!!
Another change I have seen in my child is his attitude... THANK GOD!! LOL Seriously though, not only is he less argumentative but he is much more attentive to those around him especially his momma! I am watching him begin to grow a servants heart and it pleases me so!!! Yes, he's still the typical "I want" & "can I have" child but now he is beginning to see the needs of others as well! And his is showing is love and appretiation for me more too. We all know how easy it is for our children to make us feel obsolete, so its very nice to have them make an effort to show you they enjoy time with you and they appreciate what you do for them; and that's what I am seeing in Braydon. He is showing me each and everyday how lucky he thinks he is to have ME as his mom! I am SOOO blessed!!!
But back to the "school" of homeschool, we are doing a Genesis lapbook right now and I have put together some really neat resources. I will be uploading some of them this week. Please know that they are things I created based off of other ideas and tweaked for my kiddo and what we like to do. I would love for you to enjoy them as we have or use them as your starting point for something completely original for your child.
Until then, have a blessed day and always thank God for what he has given you. And if you can't find anything to be grateful for then start by thanking Him for your life and His love for you... I promise your eyes will be opening to the blessing you have received!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day Number One...

Hey there! Today was our first day of homeschooling and as I promised, I am here to report on how it went. Well, I can't say that I was blown away and that everything went smoothly. It was definitely different and I'm afraid my expectations for how terrific it would flow were a little outrageous. I saw clouds and rainbows and heard joyous melodies as I planned for today and while there WAS rain outside I'm afraid rainbows were just not in the cards today.

Before I go much further (especially for those of you possibly seeking encouragement from this blog) I want you to know that while I thought today was all about teaching my child, God had other plans. You see I woke up this morning feeling blessed and confident. I had a nice quiet time with my Lord in the cool breeze of an overcast morning. I started some laundry and waited for my kiddo to wake up. After all that is a PERK to homeschooling right?? :)
Well, the first couple of subjects went well and he was eager to get started, but as the morning moved on he grew a little less agreeable. Don't get me wrong, he never got frustrated, but I could tell that all of the reading (because we were trying to catch up on what we missed yesterday) was starting to wear him down. In all of my planning out every minute and finding supplemental material to go with our curriculum I forgot the real reason were we doing this. I forgot that this was about letting him explore the things he loves. After realizing there was no way we could cover two days of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, reading, journaling, copywork, history, science math, art, blah, blah, blah I thought to myself why are we trying to cover all of that anyway?!?!?! The purpose here was to help my son gain a closer relationship with The Father and along the way teach him what he would NEED to know but really work on the things he WANTED to know! Not to mention, by the time we got to the Bible lesson we were both over this day! I don't want to teach my child that God gets our leftovers! I don't want to box God into a time slot on a lesson plan. Man did I really miss it!!!

WOW! God really got my attention today and in a big way! So tomorrow, the lesson plan goes out the window. Oh I'll keep doing one to have a basic handle on what we are going to work on and to appease my yearning for structure, but I am NOT going to stress over what doesn't get done! So what if we don't complete each and every spelling list between now and summer? And who in their right mind wants to force a child to sit through THREE, count them, THREE spirals designated strictly for writing? WOW WOW WOW! Today was a huge eye opener, I might as well have sent him to public school this year!!! No, this is not what it's about and NOT how we are going to approach this.

So for those of you reading and learning right along with me... I learned on my first day of homeschooling that ANY DAY can be a flop! Even if you have an extraordinary vision and wake up KNOWING it's going to be the best day ever!!
I also learned that God will provide what I need and give me the words to say to allow my child to understand and learn, but I have to rely on Him! Today I thought I had it all under control and then MY Teacher had to remind me of my focus and set me back on the right track.

Thank you Father for never leaving my side and for setting me straight countless times without fail and always with a gentle hand!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Follow" me to great resources!! hahaha

WOW WOW WOW!! I logged on this morning to 8, count them 8 followers!!! YEAH!! Thank you guys soooo much! I will be visiting each of your sites sometime today!!!
So I'm entering this contest to win free homeschool curriculum and part of the contest rules are to visit the site giving away today's prize, well let me tell you I was in for a treat!
I am still awaiting approval for my login but the surface material you can access before you are approved is VERY helpful to a new homeschooling mom.
They have a section that breaks up several popular homeschooling methods and explains how they work and the purpose of each. I loved that!!! It was GREAT to be able to compare them all right there in short easy to understand descriptions!
Thank you Curriculum share for offering this tool!
I will tell you guys a little more about this site once I get complete access. As a homeschool mom on a budget I'm excited to see what I can find!!!

If you wanna check it out just click on the link below. Enjoy!!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Renew, Reuse, Recycle?

So as I told you guys earlier, I was not planning to start school until after Labor Day. However, my kiddo is way excited and ready to start now! So I'm thinking that tomorrow we will go get our library books for the next couple of weeks and ease into some of the "extra" stuff I had planned for the first week that I was worried was maybe overkill. HA

We DID start on our first Character Ed lesson this last week though. I had not planned to start early but after we bought the buckets he was so excited that I just couldn't say "no". You see The Donner's are becoming a "green" household. I have never been much for recycling as I am a product of my generation and we by nature are a lazy people... But in the last few years my priorities are changing, as they usually do after you have children, and I'm worrying about the world my son and my son's children will be inheriting from us. Easy and speed have become such a necessity for our lives that what we leave behind is not often given a second thought. Originally I was just diligently praying that Christ would return before my child reached adolescence but I am now realizing that I should take responsibility for my big fat carbon footprint.

So we bought our boxes (recycled plastic no less) and started sorting our trash. I have to say it has been more fulfilling than I EVER thought it would be. And Braydon is PUMPED!! Everything he picks up goes to the recycle bins... even some things we are ready to part with yet... :) But the bottom line is that he is learning the importance and living it out. It's not something we just talked about and thought we could fix later. We are taking an active roll in keeping our little place in this world clean.

Now, if Disney would stop showing those commercials that drive my child to insist that I buy new light bulbs, I would be much happier!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mom's Household Journal

Ok so I started something new this month...
For those of you who know me well, you know I have a LOVE of office supplies. Ok, so it's really a sickness, a disease, an addiction!!
Trying to get the most positive benefits from this disorder I am plagued with, I started a new project. This journal (which is actually a 3-ring binder) houses anything and everything that is my life. I have an area for my calendar/to-do lists, a monthly menu calendar with categorized grocery list, my homeschool curr. and some things we can study when we're on the go, and my current bible study/Life Group lesson plans/Prayer List. It has really come in handy as I've had everything I need at my finger tips no matter where I am.
Aside from the organizational genius that is my Mom's Household Journal, it also appeals to my desire to create and use fun pics/clipart, as well as my longing to carry around a 3-ringer binder like did in school. Ok, so maybe that's more of a longing to be young and in school again, OR if we want to get REALLY deep, maybe it appeals to a need to always be learning...
Yeah, I think I'll go with that!! Makes me sound more stable as a grown-up, right?
Regardless of the quirks behind it, I am really feeling on top of my game right now!! Which is good since we will begin homeschooling next week. At least I have it all together for now... Ha!
No seriously, I am really excited about next week! I have thrown myself into this like nothing I have ever done! Something about knowing that I will be bringing education, the study of God's word and the importance of being a godly man to my 8 year old is empowering! I feel for once that I am making a difference in the world! I am SO grateful for that feeling of purpose!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our New Journey... or at least my short trip to insanity!

So yesterday as all the school busses drove past my house and the kids around our block began walking to school...
We had no clue because we were asleep!! That's right, Braydon and I are homechooling this year. I say Braydon and I because quite frankly as I am preparing lessons I feel like I'm back in the 3rd grade. It's true that you NEVER USE THIS STUFF WHEN YOU GROW UP!!! Just kidding, I know the things I learned in school were important but I have forgotten most of it and I'm having to "refresh" my memory a bit... LOL
Anyway, this year is going to be an exciting adventure for us!! I can't wait to get started. You see I don't believe that school should start until after Labor Day so in MY school it won't! :) But next week when it does it is going to be amazing!! I'm so excited to get to not only teach my child, but to watch his face as the gears in his head start working. He is so creative that you never know what will come out of his mouth next, and I don't wanna miss a second of it!!! I want to be here for every single AH-HA moment he has, and especially when it comes to his Bible studies! I want him to have the opportunity to be in the Word EVERYDAY! I didn't realize how important that was when I was young and feel like I missed out on SO MUCH! I'm now re-learning all of the things they taught me at church and VBS with a different understanding of it all... an understanding that I am delighted to get to pass on and share with my son!
So, as we take this new adventure together I am hoping to find time to blog about it regularly! I want everyone to get a chance to experience a little bit of the joy I am!