Christmas Memories

Missing Daddy

Scott had a business trip to D.C. this week; only gone for the one night (thankfully). Nonetheless, of course, the short duration didn’t keep us from missing him. Sarah’s had the most sentimental correspondence with Daddy…At times, a little dramatic, but sweet. (I know what some of you are thinking…something about a “pot calling the kettle black” or something or other…Yeah, o.k., duly noted. 🙂 )

________________________________

Sarah writes:

Dear Daddy, I hope you had a safe trip. I miss you very much.
I hope you are going to have a good time working.
Love your baby girl, Sarah.

_____________________________

(Sarah had given Daddy another stuffed animal to remember her by.)

Daddy replies:

Pink looks out my window in DC.

pink


That evening, Sarah writes:

Dear Daddy, thanks for the picture. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to say good-bye to you.
You can call her Pink. Her real name is Elizabeth.
Love you so much. 🙂 Sarah.

P.S. I miss you very, very, very, very, very, very much.
Tonight, instead of us saying the prayer at home let’s do it on the computer.

Daddy, I do not know your prayer very well, so here are the parts of it that I know.

Daddy: The Lord may bless you and keep you. The Lord may shine upon you and
be gracious unto you. Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, Kerry loves you, and Jesus loves loves you. AMEN.

Me: Now I lay me, down to sleep. I pray dear Lord, my soul you’ll keep. May your love be
with me through the night, and bless me with the morning light. AMEN.

________________________________

Next morning, Sarah writes:

Dear Daddy, good morning! Did you get a good night sleep?
What time are you coming home? Are you having a good morning?
I love you very much, Sarah.

________________________

Daddy:

Good morning, Baby Girl!

I got a good night’s sleep. Did you?
I will be home tonight, but it may be after bedtime.

Are you and Kerry getting your work done? Did you brush your teeth and
get dressed? Be good for Mommy today.

I love you all!
Daddy

_____________________________

Sarah:

Dear Daddy, I had a good night sleep……..I guess. It was not fun without you.
I slept with the play dog that you gave to me for Valentine’s Day. I slept on the pillow you and Mommy
gave me last Valentine’s Day. I wore one of your shirts, and I slept with a picture of you and me.
I miss you very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.
Love, Sarah.

P.S. Sorry if I make you cry.

Help With Homeschooling

As I mentioned in my last post, there have been several things that I have wanted to post, but just haven’t had the time. For two weeks now, I have been wanting to post about the homeschooling conference I attended. Classical Conversations (CC) is the name of the new homeschooling program the kids and I will be involved with next school year. The first week in June, I went to a CC Parent Practicum for three days. There are so many things that I’m very excited about sharing, and I hope to get the opportunity in the next week or two.

For now, I would like to at least pass on the resource and information site. If you are new to homeschooling or if you’ve been homeschooling and are looking for something more, I encourage you to check out the CC website at: http://www.classicalconversations.com/

So Many Things To Post…

…and so little time! Sometimes it seems as if I have nothing to blog about, while at other times, I may have several ideas brewing, but can’t find the time to complete them! This week is certainly busy. Our church is having Vacation Bible School, and the kids are having a blast! All the kids are very excited, and they’re learning a lot. What I like most about this year’s VBS is that the kids seem to be taking more away from the classes, and they’re applying it too! The title of this year’s VBS is “Power Lab–Discovering Jesus’ Miraculous Power.”

Well, I was just getting ready to give you more details about our VBS, when I realized that my daughter has already given a great description on her blog!  Yep, on her own, Sarah has written an awesome, little summary.  You may view her post here.

Do Lightning Bugs Get Headaches?

Yesterday, I was out mowing the grass, when Sarah suddenly appeared in front of me. (Well, you know, not really…It just seemed that way.) I looked up and there was my little girl on the sidewalk, dressed in her cute little Winnie the Pooh “skort” and her blue and yellow flowered shirt. She was holding her jar of lightning bugs; gazing at them proudly and lovingly…

________________________________________

You see, Sunday night we had been over to my parents’ for Father’s Day, and Sarah caught a bunch of fireflies. Dad found her an old mason jar to house her collection. Then, Grandpa punched a few holes in the top of the jar and handed it to Sarah. However, he soon discovered that a couple of the openings were too large. The lightning bugs were managing to escape, so Sarah and her grandpa got some tiny sticks to plug up the larger places. Dad also showed Sarah how she could tap the jar or gently shake it so that the fireflies would fall back down.

Dad commented on his surprise that kids really haven’t changed that much. He told Sarah about how he too used to greatly enjoy capturing lightning bugs when he was a kid. Yep, Grandpa did, I did, and now Sarah.

________________________________________

So, anyway, yesterday morning Sarah was admiring and studying her collection. Then, she started screaming at them and singing to them “at the top of her lungs”…I mean serenading them. 😉 All the while, my little girl was shaking the jar vigorously, and beating tapping on the sides. 😀 A smile crept across my face, as I was suddenly struck by a strange and silly question: “Do lightning bugs get headaches?”

{If it seems like I have an odd sense of humor when it comes to such things, I suppose it partly comes from empathy (for the lightning bugs, that is). In this situation, I was picturing myself trapped in a small glass room, being constantly yelled at and thrashed about… Being one who frequently gets very bad headaches, this strange thought really made my head hurt!! Once again, I just couldn’t help but think, “Do lightning bugs get headaches?}

Well, I don’t really know the answer to that question, and I probably never will. In fact, I will always wonder… However, there is one thing I need not ever question, and this thought makes me smile for a different reason. One thing is for certain…I am blessed…yes, I am blessed.

________________________________________

Check out these photos of my cute “young-ins”–Sarah (with her firefly collection) and Kerry (wearing his favorite red cap):

Aren’t they a sweet sight?! How could I not feel blessed?!

__________________________________________________________

**P.S. Sarah tends to be kind of “heavy handed,” loud, and boisterous (she is young yet...) At the same time, she is doting, motherly, loving, caring, and very affectionate. Sarah’s like a “mother hen,” and she’s been that way almost since “day one!” She’s just so sweet and cute to watch!

I LOVE the last photo of Sarah and Kerry sharing a laugh! They have a strong bond and are very close. Of course, like any siblings, they have their moments when they fight and argue. However, there’s still a lot of love there between them…Yep, a lot of love.

A Great Day

Today sure has been a great day, and I thank the Lord for it. Suzanne and her son Ethan had us over to their house for some fun in the pool. It was a perfect day for “splishing and splashing.” In my opinion, the only way to be outside on hot, humid days like this is to be half submerged in cool water! (This past Sat. was about 100 degrees, Sun. was about 102, yesterday was about 100, and today was around 98….VERY HOT and HUMID…especially for this time of year!)

Anyway, the kids had great fun with Ethan, and Suzanne and I enjoyed some adult conversation here and there (in between retrieving beach balls and water toys, taking kids to the bathroom, and making snack and cool pop “runs,” etc.! 😀 ) Yep, it was a very nice afternoon. Things are definitely more fun with friends.

_________________________________________

P.S. I know little Kerry must have been having fun. He kept exclaiming (ever so subtly), “THIS ROCKS!!” Sarah let it be known that she had fun today too. She kept trying to set up another “pool date” with Suzanne. [ Sarah wanted a commitment for a certain day, so she could “pencil it in” on her calendar! (Yeah, you think I’m kidding! 😉 ) ]

Sarah’s First Plastic Card…

…her first library card, that is. What did you think I meant? What kind of fool do ya think I am?!

Yeah, the library card is quite enough for now! People are constantly saying to me, “Just think about what it will be like when Sarah goes to get her Driver’s License.” Instead, I think to myself, “Why would I want to think about that just yet?! Let me deal with the issues at hand first, please! If I think too far ahead, I might start to hyperventilate! (O.k., well not really, exactly, but it won’t help me handle the “now” any better!)”

As far as any other plastic goes, I’ll like it just fine if my kids never own a single credit card!

________________________________________

Anyway, yeah, Sarah was THRILLED!! I know…it’s so cute and sweet how the smallest, most trivial things that we take for granted mean so very much to a 6 yr. old, huh?! Sarah felt so much older and more important!

She actually could have gotten one a couple of years ago–I just never thought about it. However, today it finally occurred to me, when we were checking out books at our town library. I had been busy making summer plans, while the kids were on the computers and picking out their books. I had forgotten to put a limit on how many books the kids could check out, and I didn’t notice until we headed to the circulation desk. Each kid came staggering to the desk; struggling with huge piles of books. I can only get 20 books on my card, and it only took a quick glance to determine that my children had greatly exceeded the limit.

Thinking about how much Sarah LOVES to read and how quickly she “devours” the books from the library, I thought, “Perhaps I should see about getting Sarah her own card!” (Also, little Kerry is still in the initial learning phase of reading, and I need to have him working on it more.) The librarian informed me that if a student was at least Kindergarten-age that he/she could get their own card. Of course, I guess I used to know that and had just forgotten.

So, Sarah obtained her new card and was quite pleased. Kerry, however, was a little miffed and envious. I told him that he could get his own card next year. He still didn’t like it, but he was happy with his huge stack of books, (as long as I helped him carry them)!

Technology, Tracking, and Treasure–(It’s Wild!!)

Yesterday, the kids and I went on an interesting field trip. It was really neat and different. We went to our local Wildlife Center (they provide lots of awesome field trips and classroom experiences). The kids and I first went into the classroom with several other home-schoolers from our home-school group. We were then introduced to GPS (Global Positioning System) and given GPS satellite tracking devices and instructed on how to use them. Next, we went around in the nearby woods and college campus on a great “wildlife treasure” hunting adventure using our handy little GPS trackers as our compasses.

Wildlife Center staff had gone around and hidden notes, clues, and orange flags around various wildlife habitats. Then they programmed the coordinates into the GPS trackers. A guide would tell us what location name to enter into our tracker, such as “bird-house” or “creek,” and then the GPS device would act as a compass to direct our search. The tracker would tell us what direction to pursue and the approximate distance to travel.

It was a great way to learn something new, to enjoy wildlife together, and to get some exercise! We walked all over the campus for about an hour and a half! Sarah was “in her element,” because she thrives on stuff like that! She loves adventure, out-door activity, and a challenge with a little healthy competition. Sarah also has excellent eye-sight for distance (which neither Scott or I have), and she was the first to spot the orange flag every time. Whenever we would get to a note or clue, she wanted to read it aloud also (I had to remind her to back off a little and give the other kids a chance!).

Anyway, it was a really neat field trip, and it was great to see Sarah enjoying it so much. Kerry wasn’t quite as enthused, but he’s definitely having fun with Sarah today. Our excitement this afternoon has involved some wildlife from our own backyard. Sarah caught a lizard, brought it inside the house, and lost it, while trying to give it to Kerry. (I had no idea how much havoc and chaos one little lizard could cause! )

So, I helped the kids locate, corner, and catch the lizard. Carrying the little green fella by his tail, I took him on back outside. I then made it clear to the kids that the lizard was to stay outside. That was about thirty minutes ago, and the kids have been playing with it ever since. Sarah has caught it and let it go a couple more times. (Poor little guy–hope he hasn’t been too traumatized! -D )

__________________________

I’m so glad to see the kids playing well together, getting exercise, enjoying the beautiful weather today, and discovering the “treasures” of nature. As I’m typing this post, I’m listening to the giggles, laughter, and squeaks of my two children, through the open kitchen window. I’m also saying a prayer of thanks to my Lord for these kids He’s given me and for the wildlife He’s created for us to enjoy! -D

__________________________

**Update: I googled the lizards in our area and found out that our little visitor is most likely a “Green Anole.” I added the above picture, which I found here. The kids were also reminded of earlier science lessons (concerning “Chameleons”), when they witnessed the anole turn brown to match the tree, deck, etc. It was cool!

Here’s a picture of an anole that has turned brown:

brown Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

The kids also saw where the lizard was shedding some of its skin, like in this picture:

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) shedding skin

**All photos and info. found here.

Photos and Fun

This past week my nieces (Heather and Rachel) were out of public school for Spring Break, and the kids and I were able to get with them a couple of times. We spent some time over at Grandma and Grand-Daddy’s, and we also went to the Town Park and Clemmons State Forest.  Heather, my 13 yr old niece, took the following pictures with her new digital camera:

At Grandma and Grand-Daddy’s:

Kerry and Sarah (March, 2008)

family-25.jpg

_________________________________________________

–Sarah, Kerry, and Cousin Rachel on the trampoline

family-13.jpg

–Rachel, Kerry, and Sarah in the “back room” at Grand-Daddy’s

family-23.jpg

–Kerry holding his “Captain America” action figure

family-18.jpg

______________________________________________

At the Town Park (or the “Sand Park,” as the kids call it):

–Rachel and Sarah on the tire swing, as Kerry looks on (Kerry’s not too fond of tire swings)

dsci0037.jpg

–Sarah ready for “take-off”

dsci0042.jpg

–Kerry on the slide

dsci0058.jpg

–Sarah with hair flapping in the breeze

dsci0062.jpg

______________________________________________

**I’m so glad we were able to see Heather and Rachel some last week, and thanks to Heather for taking great pics!

Homeschooling “Q and A”

As I stated in my last post, if you are considering homeschooling, you may be interested in the following information (and the remaining posts in this series) . (However, again, please note that individual states differ in their requirements.) In this post, I will do my best to address the following homeschooling questions:

–Are you qualified to do that? What is your (educational) background?

–What kind of standards do you go by or use? How do you fulfill the state requirements?

__________________________

The state of N.C. says that parents are allowed to home-school their child or children as long as:

–They have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

–They submit a “Notice of Intent” form to the state once a child turns 7 years old.

–Children aged 7 and up are required to take a state-approved standardized test by the end of each school year.

–Parents are expected to keep student immunization and attendance records on file along with copies of standardized test scores.

–Parents are also requested to submit copies of attendance records and standardized test scores to the state.

–To be considered as a home-school, a school can only involve 1-2 households (no more than 2).

**Note: The above information is “off the top of my head.” For more specifics and additional information, visit the NC Division of Non-Public Education website, here.

__________________________

I have a Masters of Science degree in School Counseling and a Bachelors of Art degree in Psychology. While earning these degrees, I did two different year long internships (one in a middle school and one in an elementary school). Once I received my Masters, I worked for five years in the N.C. public school system. I worked for two years as a Guidance Counselor at both an elementary school and a middle school. Then, I went on to work for a different middle school as a School Counselor for three years.

My first year homeschooling (2006-2007), even though Sarah was only 5, I went ahead and took care of all the necessary paperwork. (The state requires that parents do so by the time the child is 7). However, I was also helping teach my 7 year old niece, so I had to submit paperwork for her. (I’m actually glad that I had to do this early, because that way, I haven’t had it “looming over my head.”)

Before starting homeschooling, my husband and I did some serious praying and “soul searching.” Once we had decided, I did some intensive research on the subject. I had already talked with numerous homeschooling mothers, and next I researched websites, blogs, books, etc. Then, I contacted a local homeschooling group; getting more help, advice, information, and support. In addition, I went to a homeschooling bookstore; looked through tons of educational materials and bought most of my first year curriculum (boughtused“–at a wonderful, discounted price!) I also reviewed and made copies of the N.C. Standard Course of Study, which I have on file. (You can view and/or download it from the above mentioned NCDNPE website, here). I now use several different Christian curricula, which meet state guidelines. Abeka is currently my core curriculum, which is used by numerous accredited Christian private schools.

I also use the CAT test to meet the state standardized test requirements. Home-schooled children aren’t actually required to be tested until age 7, and public schools don’t test until 3rd grade. However, I had to have my 7 year old niece tested last year anyway, so I also started testing Sarah (she didn’t want to be left out!) At age 5, Sarah was tested on a first grade level–“Reading.” (Only the directions were read aloud, not the test questions). She scored quite well in reading and math.

This year, at age 6, Sarah will be tested on the second grade level. She will once again be tested in April, along with our local homeschooling group. I will not be administering the test to Sarah. Instead, she will be in a separate testing room with a different teacher, along with a small group of other 2nd grade students.

__________________________

Finally, let me state that parents do not have to be college educated or hold teaching degrees in order to teach their children from home. Nor do they have to be quite as meticulous as I have been (it’s more my nature when it comes to such things). Although I do not agree with total “unschooling,” I do believe that education takes place, even without any formal instruction. I also believe that if parents pray, read God’s Word, and follow scripture, that He will equip them with the most important and necessary elements in teaching their children.

Of course, I realize that if I continue homeschooling through high school, that I will need to seek out other resources and help. Obviously, I will need to “brush up” on a few things (just as public school teachers have to do from time to time!) There is such a wonderful wealth of information and assistance out there such as:

–Teaching websites; tutorials, teaching tips, free print-ables, etc.

–Homeschooling seminars and workshops (on teaching methods, various subjects, etc.).

–On-line educational games and teaching tools for students

–Homeschooling Co-ops (where students can take specific courses in addition to their regular homeschooling)

–Accredited Christian schools and community college partnerships for homeschooling

__________________________

Well, I know that the above list and even this entire post is in no way “all-inclusive.” (However, this is becoming a little too time-consuming for the moment!) I also realize that I am not a total expert on this topic of homeschooling, any more than I am on each and every school subject (of course, it doesn’t hurt that my husband is a computer geek, “natural-born” English professor, and physics major! ;-) )

__________________________

**Note: I will continue this post series next week sometime, so “stay tuned” if interested! Also, if you have anything to add (such as your specific state requirements, your homeschooling experiences, or other homeschooling info), please do so by leaving a comment. In addition, if you have further questions about this post, please leave me a comment (a polite one, of course–I do like for people to use their manners! -) )

**P.S. For other posts in this series, you may click on one or more of the following:

Homeschooling Questions

Thursday Thirteen (13 Reasons For Homeschooling)

Why, Oh Why, Would You Do That?