Even before my children were born, I was a curriculum aficionado. I had read The Well Trained Mind and had strong opinions about many facets of home education. I still collect curriculum catalogs as if they were going out of style. Thus far, having three children, six years of age and younger, I have not had to spend much for their education. I have definitely sampled quite a few math curricula with my eldest, from Singapore, to Horizons, to Spectrum, to ACE. If anything, she will hopefully be well rounded after trying so many approaches! (In my overzealousness to home educate, I started her with book work at 3 years of age. Needless to say, she doesn't care for it as much as her four year old brother does, who I was much more relaxed with.) Our favorite part of home education is ample time reading a plethora of books together. Looking back on these first six years of educating my children, it is a blessing to think of the relationships that we have formed and bonded through, when reading books. My best buy, so far, has been Phonics Pathways , an all-in one, no frills approach to teaching reading. It is chocked full of spelling rules and allows me to use precisely as much time as I deem necessary, towards phonics instruction for the day. This book, a mere $11 (used), is a treasure to me, and will serve as an invaluable resource in my homeschool. Spiritually, two resources have been the most influential with my children: Teach them to your Children and Alice in Bibleland stories. Teach them to your Children is arranged alphabetically and teaches character traits and bible verses, through 26 stories. The Alice in Bibleland stories beautifully retell many Bible stories, in poetic verse.
So far, I have enjoyed piecing together my children's curriculum. Now that my eldest will be starting first grade in the fall, I am trying to decide whether I want to continue down this route. Money has become an issue, as well, so my husband and I are trying to make wise decisions without spending a lot of money. Currently, these are my homeschooling plans, as written. I have been excited about Galloping the Globe for a very long time now. It is a complete unit study for K-4 and the book is $20 at Rainbow Resource. The units focus on missionaries who have lived in the various regions of the world. My heart yearns for my children to mission oriented, so I feel that studying this way, for the year, would be a blessing.
By the time I factor in various recommended materials and a math program, etc., the price is close to what I would pay with a packaged curriculum. The curriculum packages that I am most drawn to are Heart of Dakota and My Father's World. Both of these look like biblically-based, Classical/Charlotte Mason geared curricula, which is what I prefer. My question for you is this:
If you are used to hand selecting your own curricula, have you ever purchased a package deal and then regretted it?
What has been the single most influential curricula choice that you have used with your children?
Please pray for me as we make our final decisions about curricula for this fall! (Please also pray that God would direct us to a good deal on it.) I know the most fundamental thing is forming strong relationships with my precious children. I just want to enjoy learning right along with my little blessings! I thank you so much for your input! Many blessings to you!
Graphic courtesy of ArtDaddy .
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Posted by Christine at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Bringing activity bags to church helps keep my two, eldest children quiet(er) in church. (My youngest, who is nearly two years old, is still needing quite a bit of training. Two year-olds can be a lively crowd, let me tell ya!) I have found that when my children's hands are kept busy, they have an easier time paying attention to the sermon.
The following are a few possibilities to pack in a church bag:
Yarn for Finger Knitting (no needles required!)
Homemade sewing cards
Christian coloring books
Notebook (for copywork or sermon notes)
Preschool Activity Bag (one activity per church bag)
Snacks (Avoid anything that is crunchy or messy. Raisins or other dried fruit works well. )
Church bags definitely make keeping my children with me in church, much more feasible. They definitely work for me and my family!
If your children have church bags, I would love to hear what you pack inside!
Posted by Christine at 7:57 PM
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Babywearing is such a blessing to mothers , as it gives them time to complete many tasks while bonding with their children. As a way to encourage appreciation for babywearing, Nurtured Family is graciously hosting a giveaway on my blog, of the newest addition to the SlingEZee family, the HAVA Baby Sling. The HAVA Baby Sling is comfortable, lightweight, and stylish. Take a look at those gorgeously yummy colors; I am definitely partial to the Olivia and Sophia fabrics.
HAVA Baby Sling Features:
- Lightweight and compact (half the size of SlingEZee)
- Zippered pocket in the tail
- Lightweight rail padding, a third of SlingEZee's rail padding
- Padded rails can be pulled through the rings for greater adjustability
- Decorative ribbon on the tail
- Small, contoured shoulder pad
- Beautifully pleated and gathered around the rings
- Comes with the SlingEZee instructional DVD
- Packaged in a cute zippered see through bag with rope handle
For additional entries:
1. Post about this giveaway on your blog. Leave your blog post link in the comments section of my blog.
2. Follow my blog or subscribe to my blog's feed. (This applies to new followers.)
3. Follow me on twitter.
4. Re-tweet on twitter about this contest giveaway.
The giveaway runs until Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 12 p.m. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Comments that don’t follow the giveaway guidelines will not be considered for entry in the giveaway. Be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you!
Contest is now closed.
Posted by Christine at 1:49 PM
Monday, June 15, 2009
When I heard that Steph at Adventures in Babywearing was hosting a babywearing stash "show and tell", I couldn't wait to join in on the fun!
It wasn't until I had my third child that I became an avid babywearer, since that is when I got my first Ergo. Prior to that, I only had the ring sling, which I found extremely difficult to adjust.
I had heard so many terrific reviews of the Ergo, that I decided to give it a try. Even my husband became so fond of the Ergo, that he purchased an extra one for himself. The Ergo has been an absolute blessing to me, as it was the only way that I could get any household tasks completed, during the first year and a half of my daughter's life. Though my daughter (who is nearly 2) prefers running around, now, she still brings me the carrier when she wants some Mommy snuggle time. I cherish all of the memories of her snuggled close to my heart, in the Ergo.
Should God bless our family with another little one, I would love to try a Moby Wrap or a Sleepy Wrap for the first several months.
Don't miss Brittany's breathtaking baby wearing stash. She was my inspiration for putting my baby carriers on the clothesline.
Posted by Christine at 7:16 PM
Posted by Christine at 5:31 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Eating organic fruits and vegetables is important, since much modern produce tends to be genetically modified and pesticide laden. Growing a garden can be a very inexpensive way to enjoy organic produce. Though what we consume is very important, what we wear or rub into our skin can be just as vital or detrimental to our health. Our skin is our largest organ, absorbing any chemicals it comes into contact with. This is precisely why wearing organic fabrics is so important. According to Nancy Sleeth, author of Go Green, Save Green: A Simple Guide to Saving Time, Money, and God's Green Earth, globally 1/4 of all pesticides are used on cotton crops. Night time is an especially important time to wear organic clothing, as sleep is restorative and healing. New research has even found that a healthful rest can prevent cancer. Working the night shift or getting inadequate sleep can cause many health problems . Walmart is an affordable place to purchase organic sleepwear. If you cannot afford organic cotton, buying used clothing, rather than new, prevents your skin from absorbing pesticides, and heavy dyes in clothing. It is important that babies and young children wear more natural fibers, since their skin is thinner than adults, and thus it absorbs more. This is just one more reason to love getting children's clothing on Craigslist, Ebay, consignment stores, or good, old hand-me-downs.
A Few Recommended Places to Purchase Organic Clothing:
Gaiam Their sleepwear/loungewear looks so comfortable.
Nurtured Family All your organic needs from baby carriers, to cloth diapers, to onesies.
Image courtesy of Gaiam.
Posted by Christine at 10:36 PM
Friday, June 12, 2009
As a mother of three little ones, I am often caught up in the daily logistics of making food, homeschooling, doing laundry, and other household tasks. Sometimes I find myself so wrapped up in these intricacies, that I fail to find time to foster my children's imaginations. I love perusing blogs which help me to cultivate creative moments with my children. Amanda Soule's blog, SouleMama, has been a delightful source of daily inspiration to me. She has a knack for finding the beauty in the simple facets of daily life. I was so delighted that Amanda has shared so much of her creative spark in her book, The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections . I am absolutely inspired to encourage and to allow my children to be creative....even if that means more messes. So, for now, we are enjoying puppet shows......
playing dress up.....
and are just enjoying the joy and wonder of creativity. As Amanda says,
As parents, we are truly blessed to have in our lives both the most natural and intuitive "teachers" of creativity. I do believe that, as human beings, we are all born with the ability, the desire, the passion, and the drive to be creative. We may become anxious about "teaching" creativity to our children, but there is really no need for us to teach. They know how to be creative. They know it with every ounce of their being- it isn't conscious or rational. It is simply who they are. Until something stands in their way. (I'm sure you know or can imagine the daily obstacles that some children face in their creative endeavors.), they will be creative.
This was so important for me to read, as I find that my need for a neat and tidy house often requires my children to ignore their natural creativity. This book is literally chocked full of sparks of creativity, from learning how to make old clothes into new ones, to having a family drawing time.The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections is an absolute inspiration; it has opened my eyes to the beauty and wonder of creative imagination, for children and adults, alike.
Posted by Christine at 7:43 AM
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
As the mother of a strong-willed child, I was eager to read Kendra Smiley's book, Journey of a Strong-Willed Child. I have gleaned from a plethora of child-training books, which often fail to give solid, Christian advice on raising a strong willed child. Journey of a Strong-Willed Child is written by John and Kendra Smiley, who have learned many lessons while raising a strong-willed child of their own. A highlight of this book is that the Smiley's son, Aaron, shares his experiences as a strong-willed person.Journey of a Strong-Willed Child is divided into chapters giving parenting tips from birth to beyond college.
One of my favorite aspects of Journey of a Strong-Willed Child is the Smiley's practical advice on how to encourage unity amongst siblings, rather than a lack of harmony. The Smiley's exhort parents to reduce competition amongst siblings, as much as possible, since this is the most common source of sibling rivalry.
If you have a strong-willed child, I highly encourage you to read this book for some practical, Christ-centered inspiration. The Smiley's know what it is like to experience both the frustrations and the blessings of a strong-willed child. They humbly share tips on encouraging, rather than discouraging strong-willed children. The Smiley's dispel common myths about strong-willed children, and show how to cast a purposeful life-vision, for your child. What a blessing to "hear counsel, and receive instruction" (Proverbs 19:20) from an older Christian couple, who have learned much, in raising a strong-willed child for the Lord.
Posted by Christine at 9:36 AM
A few years ago, I learned how to emboss cards by watching a lady's demonstration at a fair. Nearly any craft store, such as Michael's and JoAnn's carry a large variety of stencils, which can be used over and over again.
The necessary supplies are a lightbox, stencil(s), a blank card, chalks, embossing stylus, and brushes.
First, tape the stencil to your lightbox, so that it won't move while you emboss.
Next, tape your card to the lightbox, centered over the brass stencil.
Use the embossing stylus to carefully trace.
Turn the card and the stencil over and align the stencil to the front of the card, over the embossing.
Chalk the embossed picture. Before removing stencil, rub picture with wax paper if desired.
Remove stencil. Erase stray chalk markings.
Add text or any other embellishments.
This homemade card is a Father's Day card. Embossing truly adds so much to a card and is a lot of fun. Many blessings to you!
Posted by Christine at 6:45 AM
Monday, June 08, 2009
A 3 year old boy, Bobby, from my church was diagnosed with cancer, last week. The doctors had thought that he had a swollen ankle, but after further testing, he was diagnosed with cancer. Please pray for him, his parents, and his five siblings. Thank you!
Posted by Christine at 2:13 PM
Friday, June 05, 2009
My husband is often asked by colleagues and acquaintances how he can afford, on a modest income, to have a wife who stays home. The modern homemaker is often depicted in movies and television to be a slothful person, who fritters her time away relaxing and eating bon bons. The biblical concept of the Proverbs 31 woman is the exact opposite of the world's misconception regarding homemakers. A wise wife can be her husband's greatest asset in both stretching every dollar, and in finding supplemental ways to contribute to the family's income.
Being a keeper at home allows a woman to fund a plethora of ways to stretch an income. A homemaker can stretch the food budget by a variety of ways. She can tend to a garden, rather than purchasing all of her family's fruits and vegetables at the store. The homemaker often has time to learn how to get many items for free or cheaply, by couponing and learning how to get inexpensive items from CVS or Walgreens. Rather than purchasing expensive, processed foods, many homemakers bake their own bread, and prepare a variety of foods from scratch. These are just a few of the ample opportunities that the homemaker has for stretching the family dollar.
There are many ways that a homemaker can supplement the family income. (Many of these ideas would be perfect for a homemaker in training, as well!) The following is a list of a few ideas:
~ Sell items that you don't need at a yard sale or on Craigslist.
~Sell extra clothing or toys at a yard sale.
~Write an e-book. Lulu permits you to list your e-books for free.
~ Write articles for magazines.
~Become an affiliate by letting companies advertise on your website/blog.
~Tutor/Teach in your Home: (Much of this would work best for young ladies or older women, whose children are grown.)
Consider what you are skilled at:
Create homemade crafts and sell them at your etsy shop.
Take online midwifery courses and have a home-based midwifery/doula practice. (I would suggest this primarily to young daughters, and older women, whose children are grown. This is difficult to manage while raising young children.)
Make cakes and sell them for special events such as baby/bridal showers, weddings, etc..
Create a variety of goodies and sell them to coffee shops or even workplaces. (Check local laws regarding this.)
Rather than being a burden to the household finances, a wife can and should be a tremendous asset. God's Word expresses a beautiful vision of homemaking, as a hub of life, entrepreneurialism, hospitality, and so much more. May He guide us to be truly diligent and to be faithful in all that He has given us to do.
For more Frugal Fridays, please visit Jessica.
Graphic Courtesy of Allposters.
Posted by Christine at 7:23 AM
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Only in the past 100 years, has the normative pattern become for married couples to postpone having children until they deem themselves "ready". Many people are even "choosing to be childless", permanently. Most Christian couples follow the cultural paradigm for starting their families, without any thought of searching the Scriptures for God's Wisdom, on this matter. Steve and Candice Watters' timely work, Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies, encourages married couples to have a biblical worldview about having children.
Steve and Candice Watters exhort couples to not take their fertility for granted. They dispel the myth that childbearing can be postponed, and achieved, at will. The Watters' remind us that "Birth control interrupts fertility, it doesn't extend it."They scripturally present the case that the 20's are a "window of opportunity" for bearing children.
Start your Family gives a realistic view of parenting, sharing both the struggles and the joys. Steve and Candice encourage couples to cast away fears about having children and parenting, and to step out in faith. Parenting calls us to lean wholeheartedly on the Lord, as He makes up for our ample inadequacies. It is so encouraging to read how the Lord has changed Steve and Candice's hearts, through parenting.
Even as a mother of three children, Start Your Family has been such a blessing for me to read. It has renewed and refreshed my vision of the importance of bearing and raising godly children. It has reminded me of the importance of leaning upon the Lord, moment by moment, for His sustaining strength. I am thrilled to have found a resource that I can wholeheartedly recommend to engaged or newly married couples.
Please make sure to visit Steve and Candice's inspiring website.
Posted by Christine at 10:25 AM
Monday, June 01, 2009
On Saturday, we went strawberry picking for the first time. Even my husband and I had never been before! The children had just as much fun picking the strawberries as eating them.
Anastasia should have been weighed going in, as well as going out of the strawberry patch. The owners were kind and said that it was alright if the children ate a few.
We picked this basket of strawberries and the owners gave us two, four pound each zucchinis. Let's just say that zucchini will be an ingredient in most of our meals for a while, now. Have a blessed day!
Posted by Christine at 11:10 AM