It will give you guys a peek into our lives on more of an overall scale, and I'm glad to share, but it's really just for my own benefit :o)
June has found us decompressing from the school year. Although the plan is to "school year round", it is set up in such a way as to allow for long stretches of time "off" when needed in order to regroup, refocus, catch up, and plan.
As June began, I began to see the need for one of these "vacations" (it's the time of year for that anyway...great weather!), so I decided to take the month off. As it is looking more and more like we are just going to be home for next year with no outside tutorials or anything, I am putting a lot of focus, thought, and prayer into planning our new year. I've made lists of what I want each child to focus on this year, and how many days per week I want to spend on it.
The main marker for our decision regarding a tutorial was that if the kids got in, we would take that as a sign that they were supposed to go. Well, they all got in except Caleb. He's on the waiting list. I am still unsure whether to take that as a sign that we stay home, or wait and see if he does get in. I'm leaning toward staying home, but we'll see. Even if they do go, it's once a week, and it's more of a fun day with learning incorporated, so we'll still be doing our "school" completely at home.
I spent a long time deciding on a Science curriculum, and chose Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy. The book and supply kit arrived, and everyone seems very excited to dive into it. I plan to do Science two days per week, and I really hope to be able to do it in the evenings when Dad can either join in, or otherwise occupy the little kids.
I also decided to switch Anna's math. Again. I feel kind of stupid doing this, like I didn't stick with something I started, but Saxon has been tedious for her, as she "gets" math pretty well. She does still need quite a bit of practice on not making silly mistakes. She gets concepts beyond her grade level, but she overlooks the important details in working out the problems. It's great to be able to understand percentages and such, but if you can't do the multiplication right, well...that's a problem. She can do it, she just goes too fast. Anyway, I decided on Teaching Textbooks 7. I've had several people recommend it to me (I should have listened back when I switched to Saxon!), but I'd not seen it or heard about, so I was not familiar with it. While pricey, it looks to be great. She and I are both excited about it. It was designed especially for homeschoolers, and she should be able to do math completely independantly. It has teaching dvds that kids seem to love (according to reviews, even unsolicited ones) and presents things in more of a conversation tone, as opposed to "public school textbook" teaching format.
I am in the middle of writing/putting together an American History curriculum/unit study. American History from a Christian perspective is my passion. (I won the American Studies Award of Excellence the one year I attended public high school.) I plan to spend at least two years studying it. I probably shouldn't say that I'm writing it, I'm more pulling a study together from different resources. I am planning to use the children's books by Peter Marshall & David Manuel (The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet) as the spine, and add in other stuff as I find it. I'm planning out a chapter or so at a time. I plan to also spend time just learning about time periods and what life was like. Colonialism, exploration, pioneer, civil war era, etc.) I am really, really excited about it! I love history and I so hope my kids "get it" earlier than high school.
I am getting Haven into a schedule that seems to work pretty good for our routine. Up at 8, nap from 10-12. Lunch. Play. Nap from 2-4. During the 2-4 stretch is everyone else's nap/quiet time. I'm still in the process of figuring out how I want to plan the rest of the day in regards to the other kids and school.
I've gotton the computer back out, and I'm about to put it away again, save for school work. It just causes too many problems. I'm going to give it another week or so, implemented with our new "privilege ladder" system, and if attitudes don't change, away it goes.
The ladder system has been made, and it sitting on my desk waiting to be introduced. I got the idea from a momys, found a little more info on another mom's blog, tweaked it to suit our family, and hope to implement it next week. It's basically a chart of sorts with their privileges & fun stuff listed in order. When they do something to move them down the ladder, the first privilege they lose is a computer turn...and so forth from there. The last privilege to lose is "Kristen Day" which is when my awesome sister takes them out for a fun day. They almost always do something fabulously fun, like going to the sprinklers at the Bicentennial Mall (if they would get them working this year, they've tried to go five times now I think), the Adventure Science Center, the Zoo, to visit our other sister and her new baby, etc. I am hopeful about it, and hope it's not just another one of those ideas that I try and toss.
I've also spent a great deal of time refreshing myself in the Directing Vision Daily (Love & Logic) philosophy. I'm trying to figure out how to meld that (which I think is fabulous!) with training, the ladder system. I think there's a balance and I've got to figure out what that looks like for our family.
I feel like I've made some progress in my general outlook on life. I've pretty firmly decided I'm in the camp of letting the Lord plan our family completely, and I know I want another baby. Having made that decision consciously to accept that my life is full of mothering, washing, cleaning, teaching, etc. has helped my attitude and outlook quite a bit. Before I almost felt as if I was fighting against something. This is kind of hard to explain. Let's just say I feel a lot more settled.
Another large part of my improved mood is that I've lost 15 pounds! I've cut out almost all carbs and sugar over the last six weeks, and I am amazed at what a difference it makes. BeforeI was one of those people that "lives to eat", and gaining some self control over this area has helped so much! I am loosely doing Atkins, but it doesn't feel super healthy (not as many fruits and veggies as I think would be good), but as I've cut out almost all refined flour and sugar, there are health benefits. As I increase my carbs gradually, while still maintaining steady weight loss, I need to make sure those are "good" carbs from fruits and veggies. I definitely feel better about myself. It feels gross to have an area of your life you feel like a failure at. I've been miserable about my body for pretty much the last nine years (since Anna was born), and it feels great to have finally decided to do something about it. When I got married, I weighed 103 pounds. I gained exactly 30 pounds with Anna, and never really lost them. I lose a little weight at the beginning of each pregnancy, and then gain some, but after every baby I hit about 135 and just stay there. Okay for someone my height and build, but after being so small in high school, it was very depressing for me. I was consciously aware of it and didn't like the way I looked at all. Last year when I had pneumonia and lost a bunch of weight (not eating practically anything for three weeks will do that to you!). I got so many compliments it was ridiculous. I couldn't really take credit as I'd just been sick. I quickly went back to my regular size after Haven was born. The last few months saw the scale getting precariously close to 140, so I decided to take action. I am now down to about 123, and can definitely feel my clothes fit better. My mood is much improved. Glen is convinced I made the change since I started mowing, he said I needed more outside time and that being outside is good for me...I agree.
The kids all got their hair cut. Anna's was several inches below her shoulders and now it is chin length. Caleb lost the shag and is practically buzzed. Ethan is the same, and Moriah just got a general shoulder length cut. Glen is in charge of bath time and had started complaining it was too hard to wash, so we got it cut some. Noah just got a regular cut as he had started looking pretty shaggy. Haven has these super cute baby curls that I just can't bear to cut off yet.
Glen and I had our 11th anniversary. We went for a two night trip. We stayed at the West Baden Springs Hotel (old, restored, and very nice) and tried to go to Holiday World. When we arrived it was raining, so we headed home. We spent eight hours in the car and lots of gas to essentially stay in a hotel, but I love car trips (uniterruted time with Glen!) and we had a good book on tape, so I quite enjoyed it. We stayed at Opryland the second night as Kristen got us a room overlooking the cascades for $50, and spent Friday night at an adults' only party with a lot of our old high school friends. We all see each fairly regularly, but to get together without kids was obviously totally different. Between just three of the couples we have 14 kids, plus the other couples' kids too, so there would have been a lot of kids.
The hard thing of the month has been the birth control issue. I had my first cycle return on Haven's first birthday (ironic, huh?), so we had to face the issue. I could write a lot about this, but I don't really want to. The Lord has been talking to me about several things in this situation. The most important relationally wise, is that I need to honor my husband. Although I might have different beliefs and convictions than he does, it is the Lord's job to change him, not mine. The other thing He has been talking to me about, though, is that I feel as if I've made the decision to be "quiverfull" (google it). That basically means letting the Lord plan your family the way He desires. Whether that be a baby every year, or whether that means none. It actually can be either one or anywhere in between. It's trusting Him to create Your family as He desires. I get the other side. The "he gives us a brain", "we have free will", "He cares about what we want", etc. I really do. But for me, I choose to say "God, I want my family to look like what it would like if You plan it completely Yourself. I want you to make it exactly like You want." Giving Him total control and trusting Him implicitly. My thoughts are that as Christians, we say we trust God. We say we have given our lives to God. We say He is in contol of our life. So why do the majority of Christians withhold this area from Him? Just a question. I will say that being on momys, I know lots of quiverfull women. It is amazing for me to see how God has truly "planned" their families. I know stories of husbands and wives that are trusting God in this area, but that feel overwhelmed and tired. They ask God for a break, and He gives one. There is no explanation why a woman who has had a baby a year for 5,6,7,8, etc years suddently having a three year break, other than when they are trusting Him, He cares about what they want too. Then there are the other stories, women that feel tired, etc. and they don't have a break, for whatever reason. But our Christian walk is about being Christ-like, and for me, I know of nothing, bar none, that strips away my selfishness more than my children. Since this has been a hard thing, Glen and I are obviously not in complete agreement on it. He loves children, He loves our children, and since he is completely commited to being a godly father, he pours an overwhelming amount of time into our children. I realize that having another baby involves a great deal from him as well. Right now we're kind of agreeing to disagree :o) I am honoring his desire to at least wait for now, and he is really taking first of all, my convictions, but also my feelings of just plain wanting another baby into consideration. He is such a great guy. It is a sensitive subject, though. Glen and I have been blessed with so much unity in every area of our life, that it is really hard on both of us to feel this breach.
I still spent too much time on the computer this month. Ugghh. If I need to gain self control in any area, this is it. I will say I've gotton better, but I still spend entirely too much time on it. I had too many days this month where I pretty much let the kids
go crazy have a free day so that I could do what I wanted. A lot of it was spent looking and deciding on school stuff, but I need to do better at this.
Well, I definitely don't want to end on that. Oh yeah, one other thing. I just started it yesterday, so technically it can count for June :o) I actually set my alarm clock to get up early and spend time with the Lord. I am going through Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit. It's actually a devotional and gets into scripture a lot. I am enjoying it as it's starting out with a foundation of what we gain from spending time with the Lord and making that a priority as a homeschooling Mom. Our success and encouragement flows out of our relationship with Him. While I feel I am in constant communion with Him always and have a very intimate relationship, I know I also need to spend time learning more of the part of Him that He reveals through His written Word.
In that same vein, this year we are doing a lot more Bible Study in our homeschooling. Thankfully, the kids all love Bible Time, and I am excited about this too. Very much so.
Glen finished up Where the Red Fern Grows, and I read Adam and His Kin to the kids.