February 28, 2008

Learning to Wait

I have been in one of those "wait" modes for a couple weeks. The Lord is doing something in my life right now and has told me that I must wait for Him to make ready His plans for me. I am not good at waiting; in fact, I am pretty lousy about it. I mean, I can wait for a bus, a movie to begin, or even a night out with my DH; but I cannot wait for what is "unseen" to take place. Somehow, the waiting for that which is not known or seen, is what gives me the most trouble. The Lord has been gracious to give me a heads up and to let me know a little of what He is doing -- just enough to whet my appetitite and cause me to "look up" and pay attention to Him.

I was just praying over this "waiting" bit this morning. I likened my waiting to a man sitting in a pool of water. The water is calm all around and the temperature is comfy, warm, and very satisfying. Then, all of a sudden and without warning, a child jumps in and makes a huge splash. It sends waves rippling all around and disturbs the peaceful pool. This is how my "waiting" normally goes -- except for the fact that I am the one causing the waves to ripple around (my antsy frustration at work). The past couple of weeks have been especially troubling to me and it seems as though not just one child has jumped in, but a whole passel of them. They not only jumped in, but they did cannonballs and the water has not stopped splashing and spilling over the edges. My calm pool of submission has turned turbulent and it no longer affords peace.

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10

The solution, I know, is to stop making waves! It is as easy as that -- just sit still and know that God is in control. Oh, how hard it is to sit, even when it is nice and peaceful and comfortable!

Lord, please help me to sit still today and to KNOW that you are God and that you have everything under control in my life!

February 24, 2008

Via Cruces

You have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand cavilling at it. This night Jesus bids you submit your shoulder to His easy yoke. Do not kick at it in petulance, or trample on it in vain-glory, or fall under it in despair, or run away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was a cross-bearer; He leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if He carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The Via Crucis is the way of safety; fear not to tread its thorny paths. Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with to-morrow's sun, you may go forth to the day's cross with the holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the Crucified. I am relatively new to blogging technology, but have to say that I am coming to appreciate it's sweetness each day. I have learned how to read via RSS and am loving it!

This power-packed gem came free to me from Crosswalk.com and is today's daily dose of Spurgeon. I use My Yahoo as my RSS reader and each morning I am greeted with the news headlines I choose (Fox News, CBN, Focus on the Family and various Christian services). It is great to be living in the 21st century and to be able to use technology such as this for the service and glory of God!

You can also purchase Morning and Evening Devotions in book form through Christianbook.com.

February 17, 2008

Spring Break

Spring Break 2008

My nephew has come to visit us this week. He lives in Northern California and is on spring break. His dad asked if he could come for the week and stay with my parents and they said "yes!" Of course, how could they say no! The news of a visit brought forth shrieks of delight from my son, who casually asked if he would have to do school. I said "no!" Yes, just one of the blessings of home schooling -- we can start and stop whenever we like and no one can tell us otherwise! Thanks be to God for providing liberty and freedom to choose to home educate!

We have a lot of cool plans for the week including a trip to the movies (National Treasure 2), a visit to the Arizona Science Center, dinner at Organ Stop Pizza, golfing and go carting at Cracker Jax. My son has planned several home movies and spending a lot of time gaming (he has figured out how to play his computer game in multi-player mode on my computer -- without installing it on my system!) He also hopes to record some music as my nephew plays guitar and they will "jam" a bit.

We may try and get out to see some of the Cactus league pitching practice -- if the weather holds. Cactus league doesn't begin until March, but often you can see the pitchers and catchers warm up and run their practices (and get autographs).

My week should be light too and I hope to be able to enjoy some of these trips. Ah, spring break! How fun, indeed!

February 16, 2008

Family Fun

Dad, Josh, Mom and DJ
February 16, 2008

My nephew (in the Leigh Football sweatshirt) came to visit my parents this week. He is a freshman in high school (and a football player!) and was on spring break. His Mom (a school teacher) and Dad (a counselor) didn't have the week off so they sent him to spend the week with my parents. It was really nice to have him here to visit us and gave my son a reason to ask for the week off too! Our spring break will be next month when my SIL and family come to town for Easter. Oh well...just another blessing of home schooling!
We had a great time visiting and enjoyed getting to do some fun things (golfing, movies, Organstop Pizza). I took this photo with my son's awesome digital camera. It turned out nice of the four of them.

February 15, 2008

Spring is finally here!

Spring in Arizona!

While much of the country is still recovering from this winter's heavy snowfall, we are experiencing a beautiful and bountiful spring! The wildflowers that cover much of the Arizona desert floor are coming into full bloom and the profusion of color is beyond match. Spring in AZ is the best time to visit -- temperatures are slowly warming up (expect to be in the upper 70s this week) and sunshine is plentiful (though today is rainy!) Our winter rains have done their job and the flower show is spectacular.

Pizza and Pipes!

Organstop Pizza - Home of the world's largest Wurlitzer Organ!
My parents took my son and my nephew to the Organstop Pizza parlor today. It is home to the world's largest Wurlitzer organ. Actually, there is a lot more than just the organ...there are other musical instruments hooked together so when the organist plays a song it sounds like an entire symphony. My son loves to go here and enjoys the music and watching the organist play (his words - He is amazing!) If you are ever in East Mesa, Arizona, plan on stopping by. It is a great family pizza restaurant with awesome entertainment thrown in!
Go early - they get very crowded!
Organ Stop Pizza
1149 East Southern Avenue
Mesa, AZ 85204

February 13, 2008

Dinosaurs in the desert!

Dad took my son and nephew down to the Arizona Science Center today to see the Dinosaur exhibit. We love the fact that my dad volunteers at the CARL Amatuer radio ham shack (2nd floor) and has earned a family membership. We get to go to the science center as often as we like and only have to pay to enter any special exhibits. We also like that each visit counts as a field trip and can earn science credit. I told my nephew that he was getting science credit for going along -- he laughed and told me that he was on spring break! Ha Ha! I suggested he write me a short paper to tell me all about his visit -- he just said "nah!"

Still fun to see animatronic dinos in the desert!

February 7, 2008

Year 10 Ideas

My Y10 plans have changed...again! Nothing shocking on this front...I always change my plans and I constantly review our program and tweak it (without end). In fact, I consider myself to be a frustrated planner/scheduler. Maybe it is because this is a weak area for me OR maybe I am actually quite talented in this area and it is just my drive for perfection that sets my head swirling?? I tend to think it is the latter and that my perfectionist tendencies are really to blame. Thankfully, after 4 years of home schooling I have learned to let go of some things. I have "settled" on some points (example: how we do school each day) and have stopped nitpicking my curriculum choices and my reading lists.

I also realize that there is NO PERFECT CURRICULUM and that every choice I make will have a positive and negative aspect. We will not like every book we read; we will not enjoy every course of study. This is just LIFE and it is NORMAL. Somehow I do think many home schoolers get caught in the "we need to be perfect" trap and they stress over making sure everything they do "counts." For those of us whose children were in the public school system and faced criticism from family and friends for choosing this route, I think the need to "count" is even more pressing. We need to feel as though what we are doing matters and that there is some "proof" to show that we actually can teach our children at home. In reality, we know that we can do this and that our children are learning quite a bit, simply from being within the family and from having the benefit of individualized instruction. But...there is still this nagging voice in the back of our minds and we find ourselves become over-achievers just to turn it off. Oh well, I know this is how I feel some days...I am sure there are many others who feel the same.

So, back to the plans. I have clarified our pathway for next year and feel confident that I have everything planned out. Our course of study is here as is our Y9 (1oth grade) program. I have also decided (just today) to stop equating my son's grade with his year in school. He will be in 10th grade, but he is not doing 10th grade work. I have decided just to use the level names in HEO -- hence -- HEO Y9. It doesn't really matter that he is a 10th grader, he will be reading the Y9 booklist. Confusing I know...but it does make more sense. There are many students in House of Education who are reading other levels (7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or even 5, 6). They are not "doing" sixth grade, they just happen to be reading Y6 books.

Oh well...I will post some of my book choices later on, but for now, I am working on finishing up my 40-week assignment chart. I want to have a full year of assignments written down and ready to go when school begins next fall (yes, I am a classic over-achiever!)

February 5, 2008

Politics and Mike Huckabee

Ok, I did it. I actually put my faith on the line and added a political blog sticker to my blog! Ugh! I am probably one of the most a-political people I know and try very hard to refrain from any sort of political discussion. I just don't like them and I don't like what happens to people when they start to discuss politics. I am conservative and I am a Republican, but I don't really wear either label well. I am first and foremost a passionate Christian and as such my allegiance is to Him alone. I do follow the news and I do care about issues that affect my family, my home, and of course, our business. But, I really do not care that much for the whole political thing. I believe firmly in the providential hand of God upon the events in our world. I am not a providential leaning Christian by any means (aka, believing the God has special plans for America and it's restoration). No, I believe in the sovereignty of God and in His complete and careful control of our world and the events that take place. I believe that the person God chooses to be President of our United States will be the person He chooses (for His reasons). It may be Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama. It may be John McCain or Mike Huckabee. God knows who is next in line and it will be as He determines.

Although I am trusting the outcome of the 2008 election to Him, I still believe that as a citizen of the USA, it is my right and privilege to vote in the primary and up coming general election. So with that said, I cast my vote today for the man of my conscience, Mike Huckabee. I don't know if he will win the Republican nomination or not -- the pundits say that John McCain (of my state) is the more-than-likely candidate come convention time. I am not so sure, but we will just have to wait and see.

After I voted, I decided to go all out and show my support. BTW - my dear DH voted his conscience too and chose Duncan Hunter. This is the first year in almost 25 that we have not voted for the same person! I guess we are just getting more comfortable in our own skins and are willing to choose the person we like best.

Our Weekly Schedule

This is a run-down of our weekly program. The basic design hasn't changed since 2005. It is a pseudo-CMish schedule, which basically means that it does account for CM subjects, but doesn't really follow her idea of variety (alternating subjects and days). My son prefers to do his reading in his own timing so this schedule is more of a guide than a firm must-do list.

View in PDF Format

You can see our actual reading schedule, here. I am planning on our Y10 and you can see some of my ideas here.

February 4, 2008

Snow dusting the desert

Courtesy of Star/Republic

It's not much, but it is a little bit of the "winter white" to remind us Southwesterner's that it is supposed to snow in the winter time. When the rest of the nation is blanketed in the "white stuff," and most of our out-of-towners are from northern climes, well, we just like to show off that we "too" can "go white!"

Actually, the cause of the winter weather is a very deep dip in the jet stream and a low pressure area that is sitting over the top of Arizona (oh, did I feel it this morning. I am one of those people who get pressure headaches whenever we get a low pressure area coming through our state.) I just checked the weather news and we are under a freeze warning, but will soon return to our normal sunny days and warmer weather.

February 3, 2008

Singing the Psalms

I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. ~Psalm 36:6

In Psalm 105:2 it says to "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works." I love reading the Psalms and do so every evening before I get into bed. I try and read them aloud because there is something about "hearing" the Psalms that makes them all the more special (more powerful). In the Bible, we are encourage to sing the Psalms. This is sort of an old-fashioned practice that most Bible or non-denominational churches do not do. Only the most conservative churches still sing hymns and psalms each week. I think it is a shame that Christian's no longer follow the Lord's guidance and sing psalms to Him as a form of worship and praise. We favor popular Christian-rock, hip songs with a beat, that deal more with personal experience, than with worshipping the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many of the contemporary Christian songs, especially those that are written around an old hymn or a psalm. I also love many of the contemporary songs that lift the name of the Lord and give us the opportunity to really worship Him.

I was thinking about singing the other day. I sing all the time, from the moment I get out of bed until the time I go to bed. I tend to sing while I do house work or other sort of mindless chores. Usually, I sing psalms, mostly without even knowing that I am doing it. I learned how to sing psalms when I first became a Christian. I attended a Lutheran church where we sang Psalm 51 before every communion service. I then attended a Disciples of Christ church where we sang Psalm 100 and Psalm 5:1 before every sunday school hour. Then throughout my growing up years, I learned a number of other psalms thanks to many wonderful artists like the Gaither's, Sandi Patty, and Kathy Troccoli. My husband and I have been long-time members at a large Bible church in Scottsdale, one that is well-known for it's impressive worship orchestra and choir. Over the past year or so, the Music Ministry department has started to incorporate more hymns and Psalms into worship. I wish they would do it more often, but I guess they feel they need to provide a 'balance' for the various members, many of whom, are new believers.

Recently, though, I have become more interested in learning how to sing the psalms properly. I found a link to this website while browsing the internet last week: Crown and Covenant Books
They have books for singing the psalms as well as CD recordings of the psalms so you can listen to them and learn them. I have added this link to my wish-list of purchases for our next school year.

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised:
so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
~Psalm 18:1-3

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
~Psalm 51:10-12

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King,
and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
~Psalm 5:1-3

Oh, let us forget not to sing to the Lord, to tell of his wondrous works and to give Him praise with our hearts and our lips!

February 1, 2008

Teaching the Trivium

Dawne S. blogs at Oneroom HomeSchool and is teaching her two little ones using a classical Christian approach (Teaching the Trivium and The Well-Trained Mind). She also uses the Ambleside Online curriculum like we do, but follows a 4-year history rotation instead of a 6 year rotation. She gave out her link to her 4 year cycle (for years 1-4) on our AO home school list today. I popped over to check it out and was really impressed! This Mom has done a super job -- I think her book choices and scope and sequence ARE great (good job!) I have always been interested in the same thing -- rotating on a 4 year cycle but never thought I could come up with a reading list that would work for us. Dawne's plan is very doable. Here is her program (a PDF download) just in case anyone might be interested in doing something similar. Thinking...hmmm....how about doing a similar schedule for Y9-12? Oh, I might just have to give that idea a whirl!

8-23-08: Dawne seems to have removed these pages from her blog. I am sorry for the broken link!