Friday, January 28

January Happens...

Hi Everyone,

It's been awhile since I updated my blog, so I thought I'd do a little updating now. December was such a busy month, with Winter piano recitals, Christmas parties, field trips, etc... and then there was sewing, and crocheting, and more sewing and crocheting. It was fun, a lot of work, and it certainly went by very quickly.

January has been a little slower. We have been busy with our studies, and getting back to our normal everyday routine. Hunter is learning to play Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and is doing great! Heidi is only teaching piano every two weeks now, since she moved back to her hometown 2 hours from here. We feel very blessed that she has decided to continue to teach her students, because we really feel that she is the very best piano teacher we could ever hope to have.

I started a weight loss program on Jan. 1 and have lost 11.8 lbs. I am really excited because this is the most I have ever lost in quite a while. Best part of the program is that it is completely free, and I get to enjoy a very nice Bible study while doing it.

Scott and I will have been married 14 years on Feb. 14th. So this anniversary could be considered our "golden" anniversary even though it's not, really. I am thinking in the same terms as golden birthdays, in-case you are wondering where this came from. Scott has planned a very nice trip for us to Starved Rock Lodge for the 13th and 14th of February. It's an all inclusive weekend of dining, dancing, and wine tasting. Now, what could be more romantic than that? I am so looking forward to spending some alone time with my love. He has really been working so very much lately. He was made the supervisor of 2nd shift security at the hospital and is now doing the schedules. This in a sense is not a bad thing, although he generally gives himself the leftover days and leftover hours that no one will fill. He's been working 6 days a week for the past few weeks. I'm trying very hard to be the patient wife, and not complain. If you know me well, you know that this is a task in itself. The extra money has been great though, so I shouldn't be complaining at all really.

I filed our taxes yesterday and realized that this is really the last year we can claim Matthew. I can't believe that he is now legally an adult. In a lot of ways he is much more mature, but I still have some moments with him that I'm sure a lot of parents of teenagers today deal with. Matt is really enjoying the high school this year, and we both can't believe that he has only one more year left before graduation. Wow!!! So much to do before that happens.

Hunter is doing great in 3rd grade, and Ethan also in kindergarten. I am having so much fun teaching the both of them this year. January has been filled with lots of learning. In geography the kids are learning about Egypt (history), Germany (Beethoven--composer study), Wyoming (Stone Fox) ...a book Hunter is currently reading, Georgia and Alabama (MLK study), and Minnesota (we are currently reading On The Banks of Plum Creek). We are done with MLK, and just started Beethoven, since Hunter is interested in him because of the music he is learning in piano. Hunter is nearly done with Stone Fox, and has a few more things to learn about the Shoshone Indian tribe of Wyoming. I use a lot of living books to teach from for two main reasons. The first reason is because I really believe in Charlotte Mason's way of teaching. Secondly, because financially it makes sense for us to use this method. Any book we need is right at our fingertips in the library exchange system. Hunter and Ethan both use a curriculum set, along with all the reading they do. We use K12 for History and Science, A beka for Reading, Phonics, Spelling, English, and Art. Lastly we use Addison Wesley for math. It's a long day of learning each day, and we usually don't get done until 3:30 when the bus drops Matt off from the high school.

Why Charlotte Mason? Well, over the past 4 years that I have homeschooled, I have been reading more and more about Charlotte Mason and her methods of teaching. It's been a growing experience each year we use it. Initially I enjoyed the fact that my kids retained so much more through the use of really good living books, and through their own narrations of these books. Over the years the kids have had the opportunity to read novels or have had novels read to them that I never got the chance to experience until high school and college. Matt was my guinea pig, when we first started, and he read so many books that I only wished I had had the chance to read at his age. When he started high school in the Fall, he was so surprised that a number of books they were required to read, he had already read one to two years ago. In October his English teacher told us that Matt should become an English teacher someday because of his ability to pick up and comprehend classical literature the way he does. Let me tell you, coming from a mom who has little to no teaching experience, and latched onto Charlotte Mason on a whim, I realized that what she has written in her books rings true. The more a person surrounds themselves with great classical literature, the more they become comfortable with it. It's like learning a foreign language. Once you start using it a lot, over time and practice it becomes a second nature. As you can tell I do have an emotional attachment to Charlotte Mason. You could even call it love, if you wanted to. I am very passionate about her work.

I guess I got away from telling you all about January. I get on a tangent about something I am passionate about, and holy mackerel, watch out!

Oh, I guess I was talking about what we are doing in school. In science the kids are learning about the weather and snow... We have done some fun experiments with snow. One experiment we took 2 identical glasses the same size. Filled one up to the top with snow, and the other to the top with ice from the freezer. We recorded which took longer to melt. Then our 2nd experiment was to measure how much water was left from the melted snow, and how much water was left from the melted ice. Then we did a whole long study on that. We even tasted the water to see if there was a taste difference. We have been using thermometers a lot also in science. Recording temps day to day, weather changes, and cloud formations. In math, Hunter is working on adding and subtracting in the hundreds with regrouping, and simple multiplication and division. Ethan is still adding small numbers, and is just starting to learn to read.

Another thing I am passionate about is making school fun. I think it comes from the fun I had working in the ECE classroom. I wanted their day to to be fun! About 2 years ago, I came across a publication called the Mailbox, and one called Teacher's Helper. I have had a subscription to both for the past 2 years, and they are a big part of our library. All the supplementary material is amazing! I can honestly say that I am in-love with The Mailbox!

I am just so excited to have the opportunity to homeschool my kids. This is a great country we live in, with the freedom to be able to make decisions for our own family that we feel are best. I never have to worry about what I read my to my children, and my passion for giving my children a Christian education is never an issue. Almost every morning I do a Bible study with my kids. Right now we are actually using a Beth Moore study called 90 Days with Jesus. It takes us from his Birth through his crucifixion and resurrection. It's actually a an adult study, but I am thankful to Beth Moore for her thought provoking yet easy to understand way of writing. The kids are getting to know Jesus better, and that's the most I can ever hope for in my children, no matter what they become someday.

Our weeks are filled with piano lessons, homeschool PE at LCU, homeschool coop, 4-H (Hunter is vice president this year), and playgroup. Busy, but fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Amy :)