Friday, October 25, 2013

Graduation Week

The last week has revolved around Rose's graduation party. 
 It has been a very full week.

First, company, 
all of the most lovely kind.  
The finest young ladies and men graced our home for 7 days.

Second,  the party.
After a speech and a time of prayer for Rose, 
the more rambunctious headed outdoors for the Virginia Reel and many more lively dances. 

 The next day was more practical. 
 The boys were overdue for a trim, and Gabe got his first big boy haircut.  
It's kinda sad, he is growing up so fast.

Since it was daddys' day off,
the boys, (newly trimmed) went out with him for a while to gather yet another cord of wood. 
 That makes 8 cord, and 4 to go.

Tuesday we took a truck load of company on a hike up the mountain.


It has been a big, wonderful week. 

Congratulations Rose!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When Learning Isn't Easy

A reader brought up the subject of children who do not take to learning easy,
 and since I have had three of these, I thought perhaps this would be a worthy topic.

Not all children learn to read at age 5 and are doing multiplication tables at 8,
 this I know first hand. 

As a young homeschooling mama,
I was embarrassed when my child couldn't read like the other children of the same age.
 I felt pressure to get the child up to speed for what the government and my friends  expected.
This caused anxiety and impatience in our school.
The results were not very pretty.
Some of my ugliest days were homeschooling moments when overly frustrated with a slow learner.
Both child and mama were in tears, the morning ending with raised voices
 and a child sent off to "just be done then!"
These are very sad memories.
Days I wish I could wipe away from memory.

The Lord used this difficulty to sanctify me, thus producing patience that was sorely needed.
Remember, one does not develop good character through ease. 
 It is the bumps we grow on.
My husband calls it a "character building opportunity".
The Lord uses difficulties to grow us up.
Indeed, I learned more through my child's inability to learn
than I ever would have if things were easy.
For one thing, I learned that one child's speed is not every child's speed or aptitude for learning.
  Some children just need more time.  

If that is the case, there are two options,
 neither of which will be a quick fix:  
 One would be to put the problem subject away for 6 months and then try again. 
 This would be my recommendation for a young student. 
Two of our boys did not read until they were nearing 10, even though phonics were began at 6. 
 Every fall we would begin again, just like the first time,
 and if, after a  few months, they were still struggling to sound out the alphabet,
 the phonics book was put away,
 and other subjects were read aloud for them. 
 They eventually did read, and read well, devouring book after book. 
 I just had to be patient and wait until that portion of their brain was ready and it all clicked.

  When our daughter could not do simple multiplication after her third year working the problems,
 we tried option #2;  we just kept doing it,
 in every possible way..  flashcards, drill sheets, audio, music and dancing, hand signs,
 rhyming, using rice and sand as manipulatives... you name it.
  Eventually, after much repetition of all of the above, the tables were mastered,
 but it was a long process.

When learning doesn't come easy, one of the most important things to do is 

  Losing your temper, patience, and/or emotional sensibility is never productive or worth it. 
My deepest regret in life is that I did not learn this for many years.
But, praying for the wisdom to know whether to put the subject away for a time 
or try a different method, is worth while!  
Praying is  so important, 
and the Lord is so faithful to answer the broken pleas of a home schooling mama.
(read psalm 86) 

"If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
 and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."  James 1:5

"Trust in Him at all times, ye people, pour out your heart before him:  God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62: 8

Learning will come, but likely not in our time frame.
Let go of expectations.
Speak words of affirmation and encouragement.
 Practice patience.
 Pray for wisdom.

Blessings to you in all your homeschooling efforts, 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Log Home Tour part 7: Master Bedroom

Welcome to the Providence Lodge Home Tour!
Today I will reveal my very own bedroom.

Here is the room where I have had to be very innovative in decorating. 
 Here, too, is the room that STAYS clean.  Oh happy happy happy!
And then, this is the room that reflects me the most.

My personal style is very romantic. 
 I also adore the white on white, or white with cream, 
which is really not practical for a large family, thus, I have held it (mostly) to my own room.

I LOVE my room. 
 I love waking up to it,
 going to sleep in it, 
just walking in to put my laundry away is a delight. 
 It is clean, earthy, pretty, and did I say clean?
I like the spacious feeling from being slightly under furnished.  
White walls and frilly accents pared up with rustic logs is very "me."
Brian says, "whatever makes you happy honey". lol 
That's our wedding picture on the wall.  Almost 25 years ago!

Here is a closer look:

This is my little sitting area that I like to snuggle up in when a quiet moment presents itself. 
 I keep my 1,000 gifts journal here in the basket 
and a few inspirational books I am working my way through.
  Yes, those are real branches holding up my thrift store curtains. 
 That was born out of impatience to wait for actual curtain rods.
  I have always had an affinity for twiggy things, so these branches are perfect.  And free.
The chair  was a once in a lifetime Goodwill find, and very comfortable.

We had planned on adding a gas fireplace to our room, but haven't gotten that far yet. 
 So when the little candle fireplace appeared as an anniversary gift from a thoughtful husband,
 I was quite overwhelmed.  What a guy! Perfect for the candle-holic in me!

Below, a desk from my dad's old office,
 now an out of the way place to study, do bills, and write letters.

The bed side of the room looked a little vacant,
 and we had cut all these branches to try over the windows, so,
 I ended up screwing them to the wall for an over the bed tree.
...much to my liking.

I would love to show you my super organized master closet and bath, but it isn't a reality quite yet.
  There are three rooms in the lodge that are unfinished, bare sheet rock,
my bathroom/closet being one of them, so that tour will have to wait.

I hope you  are enjoying the home tour. 
 Next we go up to the third floor to discover the children's rooms.
Stay tuned for upcoming part 8 of the Providence Lodge home tour! 

Blessings to all y'all!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our School Schedule this Fall

Well, we finally did it.
  With the pig in the freezer,  most of the canning done, a winter wood pile of good size,
 and nasty weather upon us, we started our fall school schedule.  

I have always found it interesting and inspiring to find out how other families organize their school day, 
so I thought it may be of interest to share with you how things are going in our neck of the woods.

The first day went fairly well, 
so that is a good sign to me that this year's more creative schedule is going to work. 
 This is possibly the first year I have ever planned a huge break in the middle of the day,
 but after our first day, I think it was a positively Providential idea.  
With children 14, 12, 9, 7, 4 and 2 involved,
 (Rose is graduated, working part time as well as involved in ministry, 
so she is not home a lot, therefore, I did not count her) 
here is how it worked:
7am wake up! > Coffee, tea, snuggles and chatting.
7:30 dress and chores > Rose: milk goats. Joe: feed and water outside animals, bring in firewood. Jim: Breakfast. Ben: fold and put away laundry. Bethany: tidy her room and living room.  Mama: read to littles.
8ish Breakfast > Jim is the breakfast cook. Daddy reads our Bible chapter for the day at table.

8:30-9:30 Math > Joe, Jim, Ben and Bethany. (We are using Life of Fred.)
I put Jim (aka Extra Energy Boy) on the Pilates ball at the table, so he can bounce away while he works.
Gabe and Olivia are at the table with us.  Today they did pattern blocks and puzzles first.  Olivia played "Family" with a dinosaur for a daddy,  a tiger for a mama, and five horses for children.   So, umm, I don't know what that means.
9:30-10:30 Grammar/Phonics > Joe grammar, Jim Spanish, then switch at 10 am.  Ben phonics, Bethany copy work, then switch at 10 am.  Gabe and Olivia played at the table stringing beads.
I bought a small tub of animal beads at Micheals for a very reasonable price.  They were thrilled with them.

10:30-11:30 Science > Today we just got materials and journals organized.  Joe, Jim, Ben and Bethany have Nature Journals Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday Joe has biology and Jim astronomy, Ben and Bethany have science with me.  Gabe and Olivia played with various math manipulatives and did a little painting.
11:30-12:00   Balancing the Sword (Bible) > Joe and Jim.  The rest of us went downstairs and made lunch, set the table, put wood in the fire.
12:00- 2:30 Free Time!!! > Mama started some laundry, checked her email, had a cup of coffee, puttered about the house, the children went out, but then it began pouring down rain, so they came in to play, then it got sunny, so I sent them out and not 5 minutes later it was raining hard again, so they came in.  lol.
2:30-3:30 Quiet Time > EVERYONE lays down. No audio books, no lights on. F.O.B = Flat On Back.  It is wonderful.
3:30- 4:15 History > Joe and Jim.  Smaller children play when they wake up. Ben went out to ride bikes and chop down small trees. Mama reads to Olivia "You and Me Little Bear" for the 11th time today.
4:15-5:00 Bible Quiz > Joe and Jim study time. Bethany and Olivia watched a movie. Gabe went out to join Ben.  After that, adding Joe and Jim, their play turned into the usual battle For Narnia!, swords drawn.
6:00 Dinner > Rose is the dinner cook, except on Mondays. After dinner, Jim does the dishes, Joe sweeps the floor, Mama milks the goats, daddy reads to or plays with the littles.
8:00pm Story time > We are currently reading Dragonquest, by Donita K. Paul.  We read the first book, Dragonspell, this summer, and even though I am not a fantasy fan, it was a great book full of analogy to the Christian life, making for good discussion with the older children.  The children loved it and begged for more.
After story time, it is off to the land of Nod.

I love love love the routine of the school year, 
the sameness of each day, 
being together all day, 
seeing the delight of discovery on the children's faces while learning,
 having to drag them away from the school table for lunch, 
and that big contented sigh at the end of the day that says, "yes, this is what I was made for."  

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...