Monday, August 22, 2011

Imagine Childhood Back-to-School Giveaway

I LOVE chances to win educational stuff! I love school supplies, games, puzzles, manipulatives, educational toys and fun school gadgets. Over at Imagine Childhood they have given you a chance to win a $75 gift card in the imagine childhood back-to-school giveaway. They have some really cool stuff!! It's worth a few minutes to post a comment and "like" their facebook page. Good luck! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Struggling Writers

As most people know, every kids is different. My first and second are two opposites. Number one is very intelligent but absolutely HATES to write. We have fought and argued and fought some more over this but so far, I have yet to get him to do it right and joyfully. I think I may have found the solution though.

I have a fellow homeschool friend, who lives in another state, has a boy about the age of mine. I heard he was collecting state quarters but just lacked one. My son, who was also collecting quarters, had an extra one of that state. Upon mentioning this to my son he wanted to send his extra quarter to this boy. What a brilliant idea!;)

I actually got my son (who HATES to write) to make a prewriting web about himself, a rough draft and a final copy that WAS LEGIBLE (did I say that my son HATES to write?)!

By finding something of interest to him (I know, this was a no brainer) he was willing and maybe even eager to write. Now we are anxiously awaiting the first letter from my son's new pen pal!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons in Leverage

Don't you just love when an opportunity to learn is naturally presented and your children actually WANT to learn? This happened at our house. Yes, it does happen.

We have had to hire a bulldozer to come in and do some dirt work around the farm to slow down erosion problems. Costly, yes. Worth it? I hope in the long run that it will. But, the kids our lessons learned were highly valuable.

The bulldozer operator, Red, and our kids really hit it off. He was always making them feel a part of the process by asking for their help. Each of the kids rode along with him for a while. During Anderson's turn, they were pushing some trees to build up an area. They then proceeded to drive up on them. Anderson asked, "why are your doing that?".  Bingo! This started a lesson on leverage. They talked extensively about this concept (from what I was told) and Anderson really enjoyed it. Seeing his interest in learning, Anderson was invited about everyday to learn something more. The last day the dozer guy was here he was teaching Anderson about surveying. Kind of deep for a 9 year old but he understood the process a little more than before.

Next phase of the process is getting ready to start. This weekend we will be seeding and fertilizing the areas that were worked. I am sure that there will be another opportunity to learn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Erosion and History

One of the funnest things to do on our farm for our kids is to play in the creek that runs along the back of our property. It is like their own private beach because of the nice sand bank. There is also usually water that they can play in that is not very deep.
Here is the little man playing on the "beach".
As you can see from this picture, we have some erosion problems here. We have tried many valiant efforts to prevent this but it seems to just keep cutting away. We pray that by the time it gets back to the forrest of trees we planted, they will be big enough and have established a strong enough root system to eventually help.

Anyway, there have been so many lessons down here about erosion but also about current, animal habitat and behavior. We have found dead animals, skulls with the brain still in tact from a deer. I know....YUCK! Anderson thought it was very cool though. We have also watched a snake eat a fish whole. They often float boats and  build dams with sticks, branches, and rocks.

One of our recent discoreries was in the dirt...

Layers of dirt, rocks, clay and other sediments. Not something you see everyday. So many times we study things that it is hard to get a real life sample of. This was definitely one of them. It contains so much more than science though. There is also history here. Proof of our roots all the way to the beginning of time. Stay with me here...

Creationists, like myself, believe that God created everything. Furthermore, I believe everything in the Bible to be truth. This includes the Great Flood. We just started a new history curriculum, The Mystery of History, which I am very excited about. It is taking us from the beginning of time and we will finish this year to the time of Christ. It is unique in that it will fully incorporate the Bible with history as man knows it. Most people think of the Bible as seperate making it hard to understand how it fits in the grand plan of history.

We just got done talking about the Ice Age. I could go on and on about how much I learned but this is one of those topics that has always puzzled me. I have never really been encouraged to study it much and haven't had much interest until now. Better late than never right??:) It does explain a lot of things though.

If you read Genesis 7 you will find the cause of the Ice Age. As we studied the map of where the ice was found, we realized that our land where we live would have been covered in ice about 4,000 years ago. Which would explain some of our findings. In Linda Lacour Hobar's book, she says, "...if an Ice Age did occur after Noah's flood, then the world would be full of fossils--which are the remains of animals quickly buried and usually replaced with minerals found in water. Are there fossils like this all over the world? Yes, and 95 percent of them are marine animals, as would be expected from the flood."
Here is that proof! Straight from the Ice Age!

Monday, August 8, 2011

No amount of reading, teaching, worksheets or even craft projects can be as valuable as hands on (or in this case, eyes on) experiences. Since it is summertime, thus garden time at our house, we have shifted our science towards botany. Last week in particular we studied about pollination. We read lots of interesting ways pollination happens and vital it is to not only the production but the survival of a plant.

There are so many neat, fun and memorable projects you can do with pollination but the Lord helped me out with this one. My kids, on their own initiative, went outside for free time. I was close behind them with the little man but I went out to find them in the garden. They hollered, "Hey, Mom! We are watching the bees pollinate! We can even see the pollen on their bodies!" They were so excited and needless to say, so was I. Not only that they were learning, but that they were excited enough to spend their free time doing this project without being asked. But, most of all, I am so thankful that the Lord has given us so much to learn from. It truly is by intelligent design!


In life we are surrounded with lessons containing spiritual applications everyday. A few days ago I had one that was too good not to share.

We finally got a MUCH NEEDED rain last week. Since the ground had otherwise been too hard and dry to pull any root veggies, I took the opportunity to do just that. I was pulling the best onions I have ever grown when I came accross one that was completely surrounded by weeds. Upon pulling it I found the runt of the bunch. I kept pulling and the Lord was showing me how sin is the same way in our lives. When we let it surround us and do nothing to root it out while it is still small, it will inevitably affect our spiritual growth.

That small onion had the same potential as the rest of the nice sized onions. It had the same soil, the same amount of water and nutrients. But all because of the weeds that robbed it's life flow it never stood a chance.

As I kept going, I found the largest onion of all. Guess what, it was standing all by itself. No weeds, no other onions close by.

It's okay to stand alone if it means that we will mature more and please the Master Gardener.

Back on the Farm

This past year we worked really hard at getting school done by the end of April. As the weather gets nicer and everyone gets spring fever, we are done with school and heading back to the farm. Since Mike's mom passed away and we acquired the farm we have been spending part of spring, summer and part of fall at the farm.

We may be officially "done" with school, but the learning continues as we move class out into God's classroom--the great outdoors. We have a lot of fun but we also work hard. Some of the things we have done this summer has been going fishing in our ponds, playing at the creek that runs along our property, swimming, playing in the sand pile, lots of outdoor play, and going to the fairs to show the 4 pigs the kids are raising. Some of our activities are considered more work than play but prove to be chocked full of lessons on responsibility and work ethic. We (as a family), as I mentioned above, raised pigs, planted crops, planted a HUGE garden, have a HUGE yard to mow and have had general maintenance and upkeep on the farm.

There are times we are exhausted. There are times we want to give up. There are times, I must admit, that I wished that we had a REAL "vacation home". But then the Lord puts it all in perspective.

A couple of weeks ago Mike had a meeting in Kansas City so I went along so that I could pick up Parker's birthday gift while he was in his meeting. After sitting at a dead stop on I-70 for about 30 minutes, coming across an accident which funneled traffic to a one lane road on the interstate and drove through rush hour, well, that is enough to drive anyone out of the city. But as I watched people bustling around like ants crawling all over each other, living on top of one another; I realized how blessed we are to have the privilege and legacy of Mike's ancestors. Having this land to run, play, learn and breath the fresh air (or not so fresh if you are close to the pig pen). :)