September 21, 2006

Blogging Again

It has been over a month since I last blogged anything so I thought I had better get back into the habit again. I have been busy, very busy, and just felt like I didn't have anything valuable to say. I have been studying and have finished another wonderful book. Here is just a brief review in case you are looking for something new to mediate upon.

I just finished Arthur Wellington Pink's fascinating book entitled, "Holy Spirit." I found it used at my local Half Price bookstore and picked it up for under $5. I was looking for his book, "The Attributes of God," which is listed on the House of Education booklist as a suggested devotional/study. Well, I couldn't find AOG at the store so I purchased this other book. My, oh my, what a life changing book. If you have ever wondered about the working of the Holy Spirit and felt as though you didn't quite understand his role, his gifts, and his mercy, then this book is definitely a "must-read."

Pink's book is not a quick read, so bear that in mind. I spent about three weeks reading it, roughly a chapter or partial chapter (on the most meaty ones) a day. The chapters are deep and thoughtful and encourage serious mediation. I was actually sad when I got to the last chapter in the book -- just the thought I not having something to think upon each day was difficult to even consider.

But, the goodness of God, made the study all the worthwhile. I learned how to worship the Spirit and how to keep from grieving Him. I also learned about the Spirit's gift of grace and realized just how empowered I am as a believer in Christ. If you are unsure of your relationship with God the Father; His precious son, Jesus; and His dear sweet comforter, consider reading this book today. I can guarantee you it will change your life.

I found Pink's "Attributes of God" online and have just printed it out for my next study/devotion. You can read this book or his "Holy Spirit" only through the following website:

Pink's Archive

My encouragement to you is to consider spending as much time as possible in devotional study (and Bible study, of course). I was never one to read very many devotional books but over the past 6-7 months, I have given it more time in my day and it has radically changed my heart, my mind, and my desires.

Blessings to you!

September 1, 2006

Year 7

Yes, we are getting ready to start our Year 7. We are using Ambleside Online for our curriculum and are anxious to begin a new year. We found AO quite by accident and have been blessed beyond measure by it's thoughtfulness and dedication to excellence. This is a free curriculum for followers of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy and teaching method. This is our second year homeschooling and our 3rd AO level. DS is flourishing beyond measure, loves school, and has become quite a voracious reader. He spends an average of 1.5 hours each day reading classical literature, history and historical fiction/biography, and natural history and science. He also does bible, math, french/latin, poetry, Shakespeare, current events, music and art appreciation, and much more. AO is a true liberal arts curriculum.

Year 7's focus is the Middle Ages and this is my favorite time period. I cannot wait to begin.

Binder Method

Last winter, I decided to change our organizational method for tracking and planning our homeschooling. I would say that as a new home schooler the most difficult aspect of the whole process is planning, organizing and then tracking each child's progress. In our case, we have only one child home schooled, so it is not quite as complicated a process as trying to coordinate several children in multiple grades.

House of Education Year 7

Prior to our change in methodology, I was using Excel and planning our year in a spreadsheet format. This actually worked really well for us and gave us a weekly chart to follow. I had each day planned out with lessons and we simply checked them off as we completed them. The main problem I ran into with this system was that if for some reason we got off the schedule, say due to illness, then I would have to update the rest of the year to reflect each change. This became a real chore and so I went searching for a more flexible method to use.

A couple of mom's on my home school list (for Ambleside) shared that they used a binder system and instead of tracking weekly assignments, they simply read or completed the task, and then checked it off. This allowed more freedom in the schedule and there was a hard and fast date that each assignment needed to be completed. I liked this idea so I printed their emails and created a binder based off of them.

Tabs for each subject

This is my binder and I use it to store everything we need for the entire year. My son had a binder too and I placed all his papers in it but after a short while, it got too full. We are using instead a plastic storage bin with hanging files. I file all his papers into tabbed hanging files after I have checked them.

This system worked so well for us that we decided to continue to use it this year for 7th grade. I am comfortable with the freedom it provides and DS really likes to be able to complete his subjects on his own time frame. He is very independent and studious so that he is able to work on his own. I am really proud of my son. He has transitioned to being home schooled so well and is an excellent student.