Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bible Reading Challenge

For the past 21 days I've been following a plan for reading my bible through in 3 months.  The idea was introduced to me by my mom.  Ever since I started the challenge I've been hooked and cannot wait to reach my goal. 

My mom shared with me a seminar taught by a woman named Judy Reamer called "Divide and Conquer".  She presented a method which was taught to her by Philip Green; a man who read the bible 15,000 times through in his lifetime!  You can find this method here, but in a nutshell, the plan I'm following is reading 15 pages a day.  The method she recommends is actually dividing up a jumbo print bible into 4 equal sections, which would all equal the size of the New Testament.  There are instructions on how to do that here but I chose not to do this method.  She explains how to remove the cover, cut the sections and rebind each section with a manilla folder.  The idea behind this is that the entire bible doesn't look like such a daunting task---before you know it you're halfway through each "book" and therefore you might be more apt to finish the "book" if you see the progress you're making.

As I mentioned, I decided not to use this method because it would mean I'd be buying another bible (I have so many) that I would end up cutting up. So, I'm using my regular print bible. (*Side note: if you go to her website you can actually order them already divided and rebound for you and even buy them as a gift set for someone).  She brings up in her seminar that not everyone is comfortable with cutting up a bible, and that's ok.  Only do what you're comfortable with.  The point of the matter is getting people to read their bible. So many times we start out our BREAD charts at the beginning of the year and just end up fizzling out of the routine (at least this is the way it is for me...).

A couple of suggestions: 1). Read at the same time every day.  This has helped me a lot to establish the habit.  A lot of days I get busy and before I know it I've forgotten my bible reading.  This is how I got in the habit of reading at night.  I have my bible sitting right on my bedstand- which serves as a reminder each night as I'm getting ready for bed. 2). Read at a fast pace.  Not speed reading, but quickly.  This isn't meant to be your bible study time (that's reserved for a different time when you can slow down, reflect and take notes).  This is just strictly reading time.  3). Start in the New Testament.  I chose to do this simply because I've read Genesis 4 million times in the past! Ok, slight exaggeration. 

My goal isn't just to be able to say "I read my bible in 3 months" or "X amount of times" but to get the Word of God in me. If you can commit to reading the bible in 3 months, than that would be 4 times in a year. By the time you've read the bible through just a few times, she says you'll be amazed by how much you've retained: it will affect the way you think, feel, act, etc.

If 15 pages is too much to commit to there are other schedules to follow with 5 or 10 pages a day, completing the bible in 6 months to a year.  Of course, the time frame listed is going by a jumbo sized bible- so if you're using a regular sized print you will finish sooner, or you can read less pages.  I plan to implement the 5 page a day schedule for our homeschool bible reading. 

It's been exciting for me, and each time I go to church something I've just read about is mentioned or taught on and a thrill runs through me. I know it's God's way of *winking* at me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nature Journal

I won't write about pulling my hair while trying to organize, locate and grade papers for Jenna's classes, or the number of times I had to confiscate slowly deflating balloons that were releasing horrible whining, squawking sounds during class time. Instead, we'll focus on the orderly, peaceful, Charlotte Mason-y side of things.

Today we got to do something fun. As I mentioned earlier, Jared is taking a Botany class.  One of his assignments today was to make a nature journal, including his first entry in preparation for his class tomorrow. We're using Apologia's Botany textbook which gives all sorts of suggestions for making a journal and what to include: songs, scriptures, similies, metaphors, thoughts/reflections, descriptions of flora and fauna, notes, sketches and drawings, etc. I think this is something he could really get into as he develops his own style for keeping his journal, since he enjoys reflecting, nature and drawing.

So, I did a little spying (shhhhh) while he sat out in the backyard observing nature and recording what he found.  I couldn't resist.

This melted my heart.

This is the journal we created with regular computer paper, scrapbook paper, pieces of a cardboard box, twine a hole puncher and modpodge.

The Recordings

Happy Homeschooler

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hot Air Balloon and A Read Aloud

As we were wrapping up our school day I glanced out the window and this is what I saw:

I'm not fond of flying in airplanes...but a hot air balloon ride is definitely on my bucket list.  I can only imagine the view from up there. 
We are wrapping up our second week of school and things are going smoothly, *knocking on wood, crossing fingers and toes*.  Our Homeschool Co-op started this week, which adds a nice diversion to the week.  The kids are both taking classes.  Jared's classes are botany, PE and writing.  Jenna's classes are general science, speech and the great artists.  It was nice to see some friends that they made last semester, and even nicer that our friends over at Absolute Hodgepodge joined up with us there.
One of our read alouds with Sonlight, The Golden Goblet has become a highlight of our day.  I love the books Sonlight chooses for their history & literature!  Jared and I usually save our read alouds for last and we can't wait to curl up and read together.  Not only are we learning but creating warm, lasting memories.  We came across this poem the other day which pretty much sums up the cozy, warm feeling of reading a good book together.
When Mother Reads Aloud
When Mother reads aloud, the past
Seems real as every day;
I hear the tramp of armies vast,
I see the spears and lances cast,
I join the trilling fray;
Brave knights and ladies fair and proud
I meet when Mother reads aloud.
When Mother reads aloud, far lands
Seem very near and true;
I cross the desert's gleaming sands,
Or hunt the jungles's prowling bands,
Or sail the ocean blue.
Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud,
When Mother reads aloud, I long
For noble deeds to do--
To help the right, redress the wrong;
It seems so easy to be strong,
So simple to be true.
Oh, thick and fast the visions crowd
My eyes, when Mother reads aloud.

Jared read that one aloud to me.  When he finished and closed the book, he had a smile on his face because he could relate so much to that poem.  I'm so thankful to have the privledge to be home with my kids!  Not every day is roses and sunshine, but days like these make every struggle and hard work all worth while!

Monday, September 10, 2012

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...BLAST OFF!

After days of preparing, last minute online ordering and cramming, day one of Homeschooling 2012-2013 is now under our belts!  It was a full day for both kids and the teacher.

We are doing a few new things this year, mostly with Miss Jenna.  We have switched to the BJU Grade 8 Distance Learning kit.  This isn't what I would have chosen since I'm more of an eclectic homeschooler, but it's what looks like might be the right fit for her.  She was busy from about 9:30 to 3:00 and enthusiastically finished all of her work without so much as one complaint.  She was even highly entertained by the fact that the videos were slightly outdated, which gave her a good laugh (sorry, BJU!).  She said, "MOM...these videos were taken back in the 80's or something! The teacher has highwaters on, and the pictures are really old!" She also decided that since some of the teachers were longwinded in their classes that she would watch them in a faster speed.  I think it's nice that you have the option to do that (I actually did that during the teacher's orientation...shhhhh.....). Or, she discovered for greater entertainment, if you watch them in slow speed they look and sound drunk!  It's going to be a fun year, I can feel it in my bones!

I'm able to satisfy my eclectic itch with Jared's curriculum.  We're doing a little of this and that- but mostly sticking to what we've been doing.  He's very excited about studying Ancient History right now.  We did a lot of reading today, but it was interesting to him.  We're also going to try woodworking and wood carving at his request.  I plan to order some tools for his birthday next week.  We now have a shed out in our back yard, and Dad wants to turn it into a man cave/woodworking area for him.  Woodworking is something that's "in the family genes" so I find it facinating that this is something he became interested in on his own and I really hope he develops a great interest and skill in this area.  I think it's a valuable skill for every boy that he'll use for the rest of his life. 

Along with homeschool prep, we have been in the midst of moving, unpacking and settling into our new place.  What a huge project that was!  Even after heavy purging, donating and dumping of loads of junk I was still unprepared for the amount of STUFF we had to move. Downsizing to a smaller home is no easy task.  But, we have the hard part behind us and have begun nesting into our new home.  Here is a short tour of our humble abode:



Office/Library/Jared's School Room

Jenna's School Room

We have been quite busy chasing off groundhogs/plugging up tunnels, cutting back trees and doing lots of yard & house work.  We've had some great family time as the kids have been pitching in and we have a nice neighborhood for long bike rides.  I'm now looking forward to the cooler fall weather and starting up our first fire.

~The End