Monthly Archives: July 2011

even in the heat, dirt must be DUG

…and wild little creature chased and the general peace of God’s creation broken.  Fish and turtles must be spied, spiders sought (and thankfully NOT found).  Children must run and climb and dig and play and learn and interact with each other and also the real world around them.  Nine year old must teach 3 year olds where the fish hide, and Princesses must be escorted. 

Our Missouri trip did NOT include all the outdoor activities momma had planned, the least of was the zoo.  Sad to miss elephants and hippos and all the great animals our local zoo doesn’t have.  There were also some outdoor exploring sites momma had hoped to make it to, but it was dangerous hot so for the most part nature went undisturbed by us.  However, one morning, early, we did hit the Springfield Nature Center for some dirt digging time.  The moms found a bench in the shade and let the kids loose, I assume the animals returned later :).

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haveing fun but not getting too hot

Staying cool in the heat of summer, AND keeping children occupied and happy is not really easy.  The boys and I traveled to see my folks and other beloved family members on maybe the hottest week of the summer.  Daddy inFlorida had more temperate and enjoyable weather than we did.

We took the kids out EARLY (hitting the park at 8 am) and utilized a lot of water to try to keep body temps and moods in a functional range.  Little Brother especially simply looses all energy in the heat, like a flower that falls to the side limp.  In 100+ temps exhaustion hit all the kids, hard and early.

We managed to have a great time with family but missed many of the activities we had planning on (ZOO to see elephants for one) and did a lot less hiking and going than intended.


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Nature Club

In keeping with out family focus on the Great Outdoors; both being at ease in them and learning our God given role as steward, I have been seeking out education outdoor opportunities for the boys.  The boys have been enrolled in the Heed Nature Club.  It is a once a month nature club for kids, it meets all 12 months of the year at The Brenton Arboretum and seeks to explore how the same land changes with the seasons.  I love home schooling, our boys can continue all year long focusing on the important things as they happen.  I am glad our boys can be out in the community, and not rank and file in an ever constant classroom; peers are important but no adult spends all day sitting in a row of age-mates competing identical assignments in some factory like scene al la The Producers accounting office.  I am happy to see my boys enjoy age-mates, but I am doing more towards raising functional successful adults when they learn the give and take of a mixed age group. 

In July the theme was flowers, and they also searched creek rocks for evidence of hatched bugs and other creatures.  In August they will be catching butterflies.  I personally like activities at the Brenton Arboretum because there is a staff involved, so the education burden is shared for Momma; and also because as a family we do a good deal of Prairie exploration and visiting, it is nice to put some time in ‘on trees’.   Also, Momma never fails to learn something too (today about a couple of invasive weeds and deer leeches).   In July there were no other families there, I am really hoping that in August and other months there will be.  I feel the boys would get a lot more out of the time if they vere part of a small group and not the only kids there.  They had a great time, and we played at the great natural playground after the hike.  The day was hot, so we hiked only an hour and not two.  My two monkeys climbed till they were so hot Momma had to make them leave. 




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four generations

Ok technically the photos are only three generations.  I (the missing generation) and not in any of the photos.

Grand Pat and I took the boys to see MY Grandmother, Grandma Bea.  My Grandmother, their Great-Grandmother.  See four generations (them, me, Grand Pat / my mom, and Grandma Bea)

The boys loved on her, and talked to all the residents they met in the halls.  The both gave her a hand massage and worried about her not getting to go outside, and also about her blankets.  Big Brother told Grandma Bea that ‘her playroom had the same toys has his, but no ball pit’.  He had noted their OT / PT room had many of the same toys and tools that the OT room he goes to has, but sadly no crash pad or ball pit. 

It saddens me greatly NOT to be able to take my boys each and every week to spend time with Grandma Bea.  If it was not a 7 hour drive we’d see her at least once a week if not twice.  If it, even, was only 2 hours we’d make the trip weekly.  I miss her, and the boys love to see her so much.


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Garden to table

Our family is by no means a ‘survivalist family’ – trust me, you are not going to find me sleeping without AC or heat unless there is a dire emergency (actually minus heat does happen, but just means more blankets, that I can live with).  Our land does not support us, I have friends that have amazing gardens and can and could live off their own produce if the need arises and some that do some for the most part now out of a sense of ownership and self-sufficiency.  Check out some of these blogs, just for a start: 

I have other friends as self-sufficient or more so that do not blog about it.  That is not, now, our family.  Armageddon or a complete grid failure now would be very very hard for us, but we solider on in the direction of, if not total self-sufficient, at least “emergency preparedness”.

To that end we seek to raise our boys to be men that will be ready and able to fulfill their roles as father and husband and provide for their families, and ensure their families’ vell being.  As they grow they will learn to build, to fix, to garden, to work hard and to be ready, willing and able to provide for and care for a homestead for a family.

We, as a family, are endeavoring to learn more, and to improve our skills in gardening, and seek to expand into food producing trees and bushes soon too.  This year, again, we have enlarged the garden and are encouraging the boys to take a more active role in its care.  This is a challenge, especially for me, I’d much rather do it myself, get it done and done right and quickly.  I bite my tongue and encourage, even require, the boys to take a roll in the garden (and the flowers too).  My most important job is not to raise carrots and green beans but to raise boys that will be men that will know how to raise carrots and green beans.

The boys helped lay out the garden.  They helped choose the vegetables we planted (carrots were a specific request of Big Brother’s).  They worked at planting the garden. They weed, they water and they have now been able to harvest.  Big Brother is already talking about things he wants to grow next year. 

I took the boys to see my parents this month, and they were able to carry into grand Pat andPaPaveggies they had helped grow and helped harvest.  Grand Pat and Pa Pa then taught the boys how to snap the fresh green beans (or in the case of the boys, use safety scissors), wash then and cook them.  I had forgotten how good fresh green beans could be.  We ate them with in 48 hours of them being picked!!  Both boys put forth a good effort in listening toPaPaand Grand Pat and worked really hard.


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Prairie Learning


Our family puts an emphasis on nature and the out of doors and the connection to God that can be found in His Creation, and also the call to good stewardship that we are all under.   Additionally big open, outdoor spaces are GREAT for active enthusiastic exploring little boys like we are blessed with.  So nice when purpose and application mesh so well.

We have taken the boys to Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge before; and this month we took a day trip there again.  There is an interactive center (The Prairie Learning Center ) that has many hands on activities for the boys.  There are miles of trail, but this year the day proved too hot so our family took a short one and called it good.  We keep hoping to get to try one of the longer prairie trails, but the size and skill of the boys and the weather have so far conspired to keep us from trying it.









The boys got to physical explore many Buffalo items; then see, right in front of the car, a live buffalo lumbering across the road in the protected enclosure.  Our family did not see any elk, sadly. 

Big Brother spotted this guy first!!



  So we march on, with the goal in mind of raising good stewards of the land, boys that will be men at ease face to face with animals and not merely looking at them on a computer (or as Daddy would poke me, in a book) able to care for themselves, their families and God’s creation. 


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Gone Fishin’

Daddy took the boys fishing, and took all the photos for Momma because Momma loves her photos.


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growing the garden

So so so much better than last year!!

This year we actually have pumpkins!! (and other stuff too)

and the gourd veins are back 🙂 so more decorative gourds for this fall (like last year)

Not pictured:  cilantro, green beans, carrots, tomatoes.

Thanks to my great Hubby for taking the photos!!


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When You Rise Up by R C Sproul (book review)

You can not determine what to teach your children by taking away what should not be taught to your children

When you rise up by R C Sproul  is a good read, a worthwhile read.  A fast read too, I could have one it in one day; the text is not deep and the references plain.  No, there is not a lot of ‘new’ material in it; but the topics covered as looked at in detail. 

It focuses Biblically mainly on Psalm 78:1 – 8 and on Deu 6: 1 – 9.  the emphasis of the book is that God has given parent the responsibility to educate the children He gifts them with and that parents can not continue handing children over the state for education then trying to claim innocents when the children are not educated; or worse when the children are educated but not morally.  Not a new idea, but one that people still need to hear:  you can not send your children to a worldly indoctrination camp and then be surprised by what comes home.  Secondly you can not “undue” 8 + hours a day, 5 day a week in a hour or some over dinner and a couple of hours on Sunday. 

“If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans.” Voddie Baucham

Secondly the book repeatedly debunks the “I am not smart enough to teach physics” as a ‘reason’ parents cite for not home educating.  The fallacy of the idea you have to meet worldly standards to educate you child in God is a repeated theme; and the question is repeated ‘what are you trying to teach’ advanced calculus or Godliness.  There are tons of ways to find help teaching your children advanced subjects you do not feel comfortable covering, but there are limited ways to raise a moral and Godly child / young adult. 

The best thesis of the book, the meatiest food for thought, finally comes on page 79-80. 

“The Trouble is, even when we succeed in getting rid of all the worldly stuff that offends our sensibilities, even when we get rid of the worldly worldview, we still have not answered the questions “what should teach”.  You can not determine what to teach your children by taking away what should not be taught to your children”…Certainly what is left is not morally repugnant.  But our goal isn’t simply to have a curriculum that isn’t morally repugnant”.

He advocate not home education in reaction to the schools, thus the schools are still in control, but home educating with our responsibility to God for our children as our guiding light.

A few quotes that struck home with me:

If we can not see God’s Glory in the study of astrophysics then we have no business studying it, or teaching it to our children. (33)

Because all education is inherently ‘moral’ every school will always pass able the moral convictions of the sponsors (37)

…teaching our children is our delight, our joy, our opportunity.  When we see spending time with them as a burden; rather than a joy, we further see how encultured we have become [in the world]. (50)

…if it is not enough if our children are merely clean-cut…we want from these children, male and female, is a commitment to be Christian soldiers…we want warriors that understand Satan wants them to think as he does.  (100)

Whenever parents teach history they are giving sermons (106)

I think the book is really worth reading for every Christian parent to really challenge their educational choices and really offer some meat for consideration. 

Deuteronomy 6

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Psalm 78

1 My people, hear my teaching;
   listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
   I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
   things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
   we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
   his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
   and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
   to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
   even the children yet to be born,
   and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
   and would not forget his deeds
   but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors—
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
   whose spirits were not faithful to him.

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**oh my we really did it**

Today Big Brother and I stopped by the district office today, and handed in his The Competent Private Instruction Report (and got a stamped copy for our file). 

He is officially a home school kindergartener for this fall. 

The Competent Private Instruction Report is also published annually by the Department of Education.  All home schooling parents in Iowamust file a Competent Private Instruction Report for every child of compulsory school attendance age (6-16). 

***Note: I am not a member of NICHE they take the stance that Catholics are not ‘Christian’.  Nevertheless their forms are great, and their site is easy for reference, so as a dear dear friend told me “do not join, just use the forms”***

Kindergarten is actually legally optional in our home state (thus the compulsory age being 6); this is actually true in 33 or 34 states but no one makes much effort to make that fact widely known.  Big Brother is not honestly compulsory school aged, if he did not have an IEP I’d not report on him till next fall.  However he has an IEP for speech that we chose to continue at the end of last year.  Last year he was ‘enrolled’ as a home schooled pre-k part time classroom (dual enrollment more or less) so that means this year, to continue the IEP, we had to have  him as ‘home schooled kindergarten’ since he has hit the cut off date for kindy enrollment.  I am fine with enrolling him, official, this fall.  He has a late birthday as it is, so if he was in the classroom (or someday is in the classroom) he’ll be one of the oldest in the group, and since his maturity is currently lagging behind his age that shall be a good thing for him. 

We are not sure what we will be doing with his IEP if anything, this fall, since the building is to have a new SLP.  Nevertheless the dual enrollment allows him access to the gifted teacher, and inclusion is all assessment and evaluations done with the classroom 5 and 6 year olds.  The kindy kids do not do state wide or national testing, but the gifted teacher does evaluate their math and reading level and determine any ‘missing links’ for children that have many of the basic skills at the start of the year; this is a benefit that could serve us well, and certainly can’t hurt.  Since we have the IEP in place, the dual enrollment seemed the logical choice.

We also submitted the mandatory Plan of Instruction forms

Plan of Instruction forms — lined or unlined — may be used to comply with the requirement on the Competent Private Instruction Form (Form A) for an attached outline of course of study 

I used an abbreviated form of the curriculum list I have posted here on this blog.  

So I crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s and handed it in. 

We are official. 

We did it. 

Oh my……………………


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