Wrapping It Up

Christ is Risen!

My readers haven’t heard from me much this past month. In fact, the only posts I made were these: Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday; Holy Week Part One and Part Two; and Glorious Pascha. Part of that was due to the attempt at really taking time only for the one thing needful - Christ – during this holy time of year and part of that is due to just not having time for anything else.

It was a busy month – full of church activities, homeschool activities and planning, a birthday, book reading and more….

My Writing World

The posts I listed above are about the extent of it. I didn’t even pull out a manuscript let alone work on one. I’ve come to the conclusion I may need to give up my critique groups – this leaves me saddened as I’ve spent a bit of time with these people and have enjoyed and benefitted from their feedback; however, I barely have time to work on my manuscripts, let along critique several others.

I still have not gotten beyond week 3 of my class with Emma Walt Hamilton which I signed up for back in February….    Thank goodness it’s NOT a correspondence course with deadlines!

I’m not sure what May will hold for me… I’m really wanting to focus on finishing the organization of the house since we’ve been here for 9 months and there are still large areas that are highly disorganized. There is, in fact, a couple of things I haven’t located yet in the boxes still piled in my husband’s newly finished work space area we have dubbed as his ‘man cave’ and I’d like to have all of next year’s general homeschool plans finished before the official begin of our ‘summer’ time-   it will be summer eventually, right?

My Book World

While I didn’t read half as much as I had wanted to, I did do quite a bit.

Most of it’s been online reading…. Ambleside has caught my eye! (Ambleside is an online source for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling)

I am keeping up (barely) with the book I’m reading with my book club- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. While a few things are of definite protestant nature, I am still benefitting quite a bit by the content of this book and am easily able to skim over anything that does not apply- which really isn’t much at all. The concept of self-differentiation keeps coming up in this book as well as several other sources as of late….this is a concept I think I really need to delve into and spend some time on.

I finished The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle and began a fiction book by Anita Shreve…. Testimony… it’s a bit more risqué than her other books and caught me offguard- but I think I’ll still finish it.  Once you get beyond the first three pages or so, it simmers down to Ms. Shreve's usual brilliance in writing and telling a tale that shows the consequences of one's behaviors...

I finally finished Love & Respect (I didn’t have much to go)This book is one that I will definitely keep rereading either with the book or in it’s audio form. My husband has listened to it twice already! If you want to learn more, check out Love&Respect.com.

And of course, there’s been lots of picture book reading! Here's a small sampling.

Our Homeschool World

The best part of our homeschool world this month was attending the St. Emmeilia Orthodox Homeschool Conference held at Antiochean Village in Ligonier, PA. We attend this conference faithfully every year, with the one exception of the year my youngest son was born. There are speakers for adult sessions as well as children’s workshops. Our keynote speaker this year was Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick and he was, as usual, wonderful to listen to. My own husband gave a presentation this year for one of the sessions offering wisdom to homeschool dads. Once again, it was an awesome year and my ‘hats’ go off to the wonderful women who made it happen!

It’s been a calm, relaxed month for actual academic work but a busy month of planning, especially this last week or so. My older son is steadily working at completing his work for the year. He probably won’t be done until the end of May, but has completed Grammar and Vocabulary, and will be finished with Chemistry today! That leaves Geometry, World Studies, Keyboarding, the rest of English 10 ( Literature & The Lost Tools of Writing) and Russian. He went far beyond his 180 hours in Physical Education a long time ago!

My youngest is just going with the flow. We haven’t done a whole lot of academic work lately, but I’m glad the weather has finally turned so we can at least resume our nature walks.  Other than that it's been a little math, bible reading and reading in general.

When we have time, he LOVES the Math U See program I bought a couple of months ago. We started with the Primer Level even though he knows quite a bit of it already but it’s a nice introduction to doing worksheets and working with the manipulatives. We keep the lessons very short but he’s flying through them as I don’t have him do ALL the worksheets for the concepts he has already mastered as that would be wasteful of our time and boring for him. But even math has gone by the wayside in these last few weeks….. and about the only thing we’ve done much of is our bible reading and story reading as much as possible.

Most of my ‘school’ time has been on the planning stages. I’m preparing materials and ideas for NEXT year…. Planning my older son’s 11th grade year! My, how the time has flown! I’m also reading a LOT about Charlotte Mason- mostly online at Ambleside.com and perusing Simply Charlotte Mason and other blogs, etc. that are focused on this methodology of homeschooling. I am HOPING to be able to share a lot of this with you in the future if my writing time will allow……

Our Food & Health World

My husband and I completed our Whole30 (really it was more like a Whole50) at Pascha. We didn’t test as many foods this time…… raw dairy, wheat and corn were about it.   I can’t really count my dairy day and will need to restest it at some point as I was under the weather that day. I didn’t really test wheat either for the same reason. Corn seemed to give me some digestive issues but nothing major.

My husband is motivated and wanting to continue. He’s not being QUITE as strict as the whole30 guidelines but he’s not exactly splurging either! He’s probably following the whole30 guidelines about 97%....and is definitely seeing the results. He’s the lowest in weight that he’s been in a very very long time. I’m so very proud of him. Motivation is key and he really is motivated.

Our Faith World

We celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection at Pascha on April 12th. That is the most glorious celebration for Orthodox Christians. It is the feast of feasts! And our joy doesn’t end there. We are still, for the 40 days following Pascha, greeting one another with our victorious “Christ is Risen!” It is the heart of the gospel. It is what Christianity is about. It is what makes our salvation possible! I am truly blessed to have found the Orthodox faith and to be able to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord in such a passionate manner each and every year.

I’m trying to reestablish my reading/devotion time in the morning. If I get up between 6 and 6:15, I can fit in about 10-15 minutes of reading. This is not necessarily bible time, as my goal is to do that in the evening. Right now it’s a toss-up between finishing An Introduction to God by Fr. Andrew (keynote speaker of the conference I told you about) and the new Introduction to Orthodoxy Book by Frederica Mathewes Green- one of my favorite Orthodox authors. I try to accompany this with a few minutes of quiet time, reflecting on what I’ve read and God’s love and mercy- though that part doesn’t always happen….

Other Parts of Life

My daughter celebrated her 20th birthday this month .   I’m so proud of the fine young lady she has grown to be. She has the best smile but I’ll respect her probable wishes NOT to show it here.  My sister came up from Virginia to share Thea's birthday as well as having some great game time and seeing the new house!

It’s Spring! I’m sooo glad to see the sun shining (at least occasionally) and the flowers blooming and the buds on the trees getting bigger every day! This is truly my favorite time of year as far as seasons go.

So that about wraps things up for me.

What did YOU do during the month of April?

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For today's post, I want to present you with the information in my ABOUT Page.  Why?  Well, though it's my most read page, I'm sure not all of you have had the opportunity to read the updated version I posted last fall.  Second, I want to reintrodue my readers to everything that I desire to include in this blog- so if you've missed a topic that interests you, you'll know what to search for.  And third, I want to ask- as I take time to ponder and plan what I want to write about this upcoming year- what is it that makes you follow the blog?  I've asked this is a previous post, but I wanted to give my viewers another chance to answer that question after reading the ABOUT PAGE Information- in case they missed it! 🙂

About Me

I wear many hats in my life - Orthodox Christian, Wife, Momma, homeschool mother,  reader, friend, taxi driver, cook, maid, WRITER and many more!

wpid-img_20141012_180845_509.jpg

I write this blog for me and FOR YOU!!! It is for me because I LOVE to write and what better way for me to practice my skill than by writing and sharing with others my biggest passions in life. It’s for YOU because I find these things to be beneficial to EVERYONE!

SO….. WHAT WILL YOU READ ABOUT HERE?

Orthodoxy – Orthodox Christianity is my Faith – It’s the oldest Christian faith in the world remaining unchanged since 33AD. If you want to learn more, read about it here. I love to post about my faith as well as semi-weekly posts that are spiritual reflections – good for anyone of any Christian faith.

Homeschooling – I post things about all aspects of homeschooling. Some former posts have covered the Pennsylvania Homeschool law, methodology, the Charlotte Mason method, curriculum, busy bags, living books, and more!

Books – I love to write and with that is my passion for books! I post about the importance of reading and the books I’m reading – fiction and non-fiction. I attempt to do a formal book review at least once a month but will hopefully be catching up and doing extra reviews on books I’ve read in the past as well.

Whole Foods and Natural Health – My family has completely changed our health status by turning away from the Standard American Diet and changing to a Whole Foods approach using the foods God gave us for consumption and staying away from overly processed food products containing artificial man-made ingredients. In our adventure, I’ve learned about the Paleo Diet and am experimenting with that as well as many natural remedies for health ailments such as the cold and flu and enjoy sharing these with you as well. It may be interesting to note that neither my daughter nor I carry our former diagnoses of bipolar disorder and my husband was able to stop taking medications for high blood pressure and ADHD due to this lifestyle change!

Recipes - Because what’s a blog that talks about food if there’s no recipes?? 😉
Writing – After all, this blog only exists because of my passion for writing. I am an active member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 group formed by Julie Hedlund. I am very hopeful to become a published children’s author and make millions of dollars -NOT! Lol. I won’t make money at being a children’s author. My goal is to enrich not my pocketbook, but the mind of a child. And I will share with you my journey along with an occasional writing exercise that may help the aspiring writer or homeschooler in their own journey.

LIFE - Really, I write about so much more than just the above major focal points including stress management, marriage, reflections on famous quotes, decluttering, parenting, and MORE because I am sharing my life with you as a WHOLE. A lot of blogs focus on just ONE aspect of the blogger’s life. They are very good blogs but here you will get a much bigger picture of me and my life, not just one piece. You get ME. And I get YOU.

So -  What makes you follow the blog?  What's your favorite topic?  And if you DON'T FOLLOW YET.....

.....FOLLOW ME NOW 🙂 (You can follow here on WordPress, Bloglovin' or on my Facebook page!) and remember to introduce yourself! Tell me YOUR PASSIONS!

 

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Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Back on October 6th, I published a post on time management and goal setting.  In determining those "New Year Resolutions" everyone's been talking about (including me), I've determined to go back to that goal list.

Back in October,  I had to come up with a list of my ultimate priorities.  They did not consist of the only things I find important in life but they are the most important. While the first 3 are in numerical order, the others could be interchanged. These are the things that I simply could not accept having to live without.  I reviewed that list in the last few days and determined it has not changed:

  1. God
  2. My marriage
  3. Mothering my children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Other Family (outside my husband and children)
  8.  Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation (Yes, some would be surprised this made the list as it's the one that is overlooked most often - but it really is a priority for me)

Once I determined what my priorities were (that part did not take long but did need great consideration as I think it's the most important step), I needed to develop short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.  I started with LONG TERM- because you need an ultimate goal.  The medium term and short-term goals are what you do to reach the LONG TERM goals- so those need set in place first.  So this morning, I looked over those long-term goals and made a few minor adjustments.  For the most part though, they have not changed since October.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  1. Develop a union and closeness with God - keeping Him ever-present in my mind and heart, allowing Him to control ALL - Choosing to always be on His side.  In Orthodox language - staying on the path of Theosis and climbing the ladder of divine ascent.
  2. Have a strong lasting loving relationship with my husband that will focus on LOVE and RESPECT and one that can serve as a model to others.
  3. To have my children always know - without a shadow of a doubt- that I love them, to be a Christian model to them and someone they can depend on for strength, guidance and yes, even friendship.
  4. To feed myself and my family, REAL food as provided by God and provide a safe healthy environment to maintain all of our health.
  5. To educate my children to the best of my ability throughout their elementary, middle and high school years and prepare them for life, not just academically but especially by way of heart and soul.
  6. To write and publish several children's books and have a blog of several thousand followers (blushing a little here....wondering if I sound vain??).
  7. To engage in pleasant activities and communicate well and often with friends and family and also help them in whatever ways I can.
  8. To maintain a comfortable, orderly, clean and , yes, stress-free environment in our cozy well-maintained home (finding this current cozy little house in the woods is a great start to this goal!).
  9. To live within our means  and not only have a security net but also be able to help others in need.
  10. To enjoy life and remember to have fun and RELAX!  (this is actually the hardest one for me---  but I think my Stress Reduction and path of imperfect progress I have myself on will help achieve this goal!  But I may need a LOT of encouragement here- so please feel free to comment on these posts and offer words of wisdom and encouragement and your own tales of imperfect progress!

 

So that's my LONG TERM Goal list.  Now I need to look over that Medium-Term and Short-Term goal list-  I'll take the rest of this week to look over it.  In short, I need to come up with a list of medium term goals or steps that I need to achieve to accomplish those long-term goals.  It's about making a plan.  I can't establish that close relationship with God if I don't take the steps up the ladder to get there!  So my medium term goals and short-term goals will obviously include prayer and devotion time and other things that I can do to make sure I keep focused on God each day and each moment of my life.

Goal Setting
Photo by Pixabay

Your Medium Term Goals are goals you can most likely achieve within the next 1-5 years while your short-term goals are the steps you'll be working on immediately and accomplish within the next few weeks up to one year. See my previous post on Goal Setting.

Remember- Resolutions don't need to be met 100%.  The idea of Resolutions is to have Goals- to establish a plan and make PROGRESS.   None of us are perfect.  We are human.  But we CAN MAKE PROGRESS!!

 

So what are your priorities?  Have you made a list a long-term goals based on those priorities recently?

 

 

 

 

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Book Title:  A Charlotte Mason Education: A Homeschooling How-To Manual

Author:  Catherine Levison

Genre: Homeschooling; Education

Pages:  89

Publisher: Champion Press

Why Did I Choose It?  To give myself a better overall picture of the Charlotte Mason method to help determine if it truly is the method I wish to use for my youngest child.

A Bit From The Back Cover:  The immensely popular ideas of Charlotte Mason have inspired educators for many decades.  Her unique methodology as written about in her six-volume series established the necessary protocols for an education above and beyond that which can be found in  traditional classroom  settings. In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason's methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportunities of homeschooling.  With weekly schedules, a challenging and diverse curriculum will both inspire and educate your child.  A Charlotte Mason Education is the latest tool for parents seeking the best education for their children.

Review:  Why did I not pick up this book over 8 years ago when I began our homeschool adventure?!  Oh, I know why.... at the time I was just overwhelmed by all that was happening in our lives to extensively learn anything other than what I already knew... but oh I wish I had!  I believe Catherine Levison gives a wonderfully simplistic overall introduction to the Charlotte Mason method and demonstrates how to begin the journey in a way that is not over boggling to the homeschool parent's mind in any way.  The book, though only brief, is chock full of resources and suggestions on how to approach the subject areas using the Charlotte Mason approach.   It is well-organized and easily understood.  Each chapter is only a few pages long at most and gives a brief but thorough overview on how to approach the subject with Charlotte's methodology, an approach unlike that of the public schools of our day  - school days should be fun, relaxed and igniting a passion for learning within our children. It has given me the affirmation that I needed that this is the approach for us and that it will be most doable and, most likely, by far less time-consuming than any other method I've used previously. This will be a resource that I will keep handy to refer to over and over again.

Other Books By This Author:

More Charlotte Mason Education: A Homeschooling How To Manual,  A Literary Education

 

Fellow homeschoolers, let me know what you think of this book! And feel free to list other recommendations for my other readers!

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Homeschooling is flexible in many ways but there are requirements that must be fulfilled.  Graduation requirements, of course, are important to understand and follow - but also allow for flexibility.

In Pennsylvania, a total of 15 credits are required by law in a home education program:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Mathematics
  • 3 years of Science
  • 3 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Arts and Humanities

When deciding on what subjects to teach to fulfill these requirements, one must also take into consideration the subjects that must, according to the law, be taught at the secondary level (grades 7-12):

  •  Language( grammar, vocabulary and spelling), literature, speech and composition are to be covered within the subject of English- though not necessarily each of these elements every year.
  • Science
  • Geography
  • Social Studies courses are to include, at some point, civics, world history, history of the United States, and history of Pennsylvania; but again, not all of these need to be incorporated into each year.
  • Mathematics should include general mathematics, algebra and geometry
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Health
  • Safety Education, including regular(yearly) and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.

Any subject meeting the above requirements taught in 7th or 8th grade does not need to be repeated during the high school years.  For example, my son took piano lessons in both 7th and 8th grades, fulfilling his music requirement.  Therefor, while he would not receive a credit in music for his transcript, he does not need to take music in his high school years if he would rather focus on another subject rather than music.

If your child is planning on attending college, you will want to obtain more than the 15 credits required by law.  A suggested amount would be 20 or more credits. This is because most colleges require course work beyond the basic coursework outlined above and look for students who have a rigorous high school curriculum.

I strongly recommend that you and your child sit down together and discuss his or her plans for the future (knowing that a middle school child or high schooler may have no idea what they really want to do yet and could change their minds repeatedly--- that's OKAY...It's NORMAL... don't let the pressures of society tell you different!!) and what coursework may be most beneficial for them to cover. For example,  If your child has strong interests in science, you'll know you need to plan for extra time and coursework in this subject area - more than what is required by law.  If they have no interest in science, then this helps you know you only need to fulfill the 3 credits with general courses with curriculum that is not as intense as others. Or if your child knows with all their heart they want to be a child therapist, you know you'll want to incorporate at least a psychology course and a child development course into their high school requirements.

Consideration For College Requirements

If your child is planning on attending college, you'll want to consider additional requirements that colleges ask for in addition to the Pennsylvania Law. Consider, for example, that most colleges require a lab be given along with a high school science.  If your child is not planning on college, a biology textbook may be all that's necessary for graduation but if college is even a future consideration, it would be wise to include a lab within your coursework.

Many colleges require 1-2 years of a single foreign language.  Some ask for more.  If you are considering college, it would be wise to do some research into what colleges your child might be interested in and see what their foreign language requirements are.  If your child is unsure, I would recommend 2 years of a single foreign language to be included in your plans for high school.

Most colleges require two years of Algebra and a geometry course.  Most high schoolers planning on attending college automatically take these courses because achieving well on the mathematics portion of the SATs are dependant on knowledge of this coursework.

How much time/work makes a credit?

In short, 120 hours is equivalent to one high school credit.  This can actually be determined in a variety of ways though without keeping track of every minute/hour spent in the course.  A basic guideline on ways to determine what constitutes a complete course is as follows:

  • complete 2/3 of a textbook
  • Log 120 entries or hours of study for the course
  • Complete a research paper or long-term project
  • complete a 3 credit or 1 semester college course
  • Pass an AP or CLEP test
  • work as an apprentice or do on the job training
  • a variety of other ways -  get together with other homeschool parents and find out what they did to make up a high school course for their children!

One further note that most don't know about - You do not need to begin or finish a course in accordance with the school year.  You may actually start a course early, finish early or you may carry a course through more than one year!

This was a very basic outline to get you started thinking about high school graduation requirements.  There is much more I could add here, but I believe it's enough for one post!!  I am sure to cover more material at a later date, but if you have specific questions or would like to share what you have done to cover course requirements for your high schooler, please feel free to ask or share!!  Have a wonderful day!

Additional Resources:

Donna Young - Homeschooling High School

HSLDA

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I started this blog on March 17, 2012 with the post 'Hello World!'  which was really just some common post by WordPress.  My first actual post was simply titledTime To Begin Again and the second post, dated the same day, was Introduction. Both of those posts were extremely brief and didn't have a whole lot of material. It was really just my first feeble attempt at starting to write again.  It didn't amount to much at first but....   That was almost twenty-one months ago!!  Of course, I didn't start writing consistently until about 7 weeks ago...so I would still call the blog fairly young(105 posts today) but I am enjoying it.  I hope you are as well.

I seem to be settling into a routine.

Monday-  Homeschooling

Tuesday - Our Food Story -  natural health and eating

Wednesday- Books

Thursday - Orthodoxy

Friday - Writing

Saturday - Random Quotes/Posts and Random Thoughts on a Saturday

Sunday - well, that would be my day of rest...no posts.      

I've also learned a few things....like how to put in links which I love to do...and finally how to put a picture to the right or left side and have words right next to it....so simple but I'm so slow!  (Yes, I am laughing at myself so you can too--- and now...laugh more...because it doesn't always work and I still can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!!)

When I have time, I read posts from the blogs I follow.  I'd love to read them all every day but................ well, you know.   I have, however,  learned a lot from them!  I like to see other people's writing styles, the topics they write about, and even what other people say in response to their post!

It's exciting to see my followers increase in number and to see which posts get the most views.  My record is 73 views in a day...  that's probably not much for some of those well-known blogs out there but to me that's a big deal and I'm enjoying it.  The posts that have had the biggest number of hits are #1  Our Food Story  and #2 Those People Who Always Smile.  I'm glad people are interested in Our Food Story because that's one of the main reasons I started blogging.  A LOT of people have encouraged me (A big thank you to those people - you know who you are) over the last few years to start telling people our story...how our lives have changed because of food ...and to tell others what we have learned and accomplished in doing so and to just start writing again!!!  As far as Those People Who Always Smile, I'm thinking it must be the catchy title... and I'm also thinking I should do a follow-up to that post...I've had so many other thoughts about it since the day I originally published it!

I LOVE getting comments!!!!                  So please---  if you have a thought--- share it!  🙂

I feel satisfied with the way things are going here...but am open to ideas on improving the blog as well.  I've thought about changing the title...but no AMAZING titles have jumped out at me and said "Yes!  This is what it should be!"....  I guess it's hard to name because I don't just stick to one topic ( I am a gal of many many hats!).  I've said before I know I cover a lot of stuff here rather than just one topic that most of the popular blogs cover...but that's me...  I am passionate about a lot of things and so I'm going to write about a lot of things!  🙂

But if YOU have any ideas..... please pass them along.

Maybe you have an idea for some future posts on the topics I mentioned above...or maybe you have a question.... or maybe even a suggestion on a new title if I ever get around to changing it one day...could be soon...might not ever happen. Maybe you have an idea for a picture book too...lol...don't tell me though if you think you might want to write it yourself!!    And, if you have a suggestion on how I can just blog and write all day long and still get other things done....lol....then you're amazing and I need to know what that suggestion is!!!

Have a great day everyone!!  I hope you get some writing time today if that's what you enjoy---  I really hope I do too!!

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So the kitchen table is covered with many of the things I have been avoiding this week...most of which is schoolwork that needs corrected or tests/quizzes that needs to be typed up for my two older children for their homeschooling adventures. There's also my bible ....which is another story altogether. (I guess there could be many takes on that....)

Anyway, my mood is still down quite a bit and everything I do is a challange. Everything is a struggle. From getting out of bed in the morning, to talking to people and acting like everything is fine (or at least trying to appear as though everything is fine) to making breakfast or dinner or even playing with my toddler...though that is the easiest of all the things to do... somehow his genuine smiles and laughter and desire to be with me is truly the best medicine right now. Unfortunately sometimes one has to say no to that toddler to do those other tasks that are responsibilities that must be done, no matter how much the thought of doing so disdains me.

My patience is running thin as well. Those things I normally TRY to ignore around the house (things out of place, individuals tone of voice and their seemingly need to 'argue' about things, leftovers not being eaten, things not getting done, and yes, even the little man that constantly wants to play because I'm frustrated that I can not just do that all the time). Sigh.

During this time I can't even bring myself to pick up a good book. But I would like to write. I know I don't have time to write a manuscript. But maybe I could get myself to blog if I could just ease up on myself about even thinking about doing it daily because there's just no way and realizing I don't have time to do it the way I would want to. I'd like to write more here on our lifestyle.... how we eat and why we eat that way. About the toxins we avoid because of the extensive research we have done and what we have learned about the things most people assume are perfectly safe when they are not (foods and medications approved by the FDA, vaccinations, MSG, GMO's, and so much more) but I don't know where to start and I don't have time to document everything.... And I'd like to write about homeschooling, my faith (though I struggle right now I still know that Orthodoxy is the True Faith and that all that the church teaches is truly what I need right now to reach healing of mind, body and soul), my kids, and so much more.

Well, if nothing else my avoiding responsibilities has accomplished in at least one blog post here. I hope there is more to come.... I hope someone out there will be interested. I hope I can find a way to manage doing this and still manage to tackle some of those responsibilities I have been neglecting. I hope the people around me, especially my dear husband can continue to be patient with me as I struggle to get back to the service and start truly living again.

And I hope one day I can write about it in a more constructive way and help others.

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I love my new writing style with my son. He is still 'reminding' me each day 'mom, we need to do writing!". Not that I need reminding. I just have a million things to do and am usually flying around the kitchen doing all the tasks on my MORNING ROUTINE list or my PODA (Parade of Daily Adventures - yes, I'm a FLYLADY fan) that I forget to look at the time.

I've decided that eventually, whenever I get back to writing and can figure out when to fit it in, I'm going to write my own homeschool writing curriculum. I love what we are doing so much that I really want to share it with others. But right now I'm still piecing it together for ourselves.

I wish I had more time to blog as well. I'm really enjoying it. But there's just too much to do in a day. And my time is running out with our nanny. We will probably have her stop working here sometime in June. I love having her and we will miss her, but can't help but feel I need to be giving more of the one on one attention to my son myself. And I got behind on the things I wanted to accomplish while she was here. I was behind on a lot of organizational things that I couldn't do since I was pregnant when we moved in. I still have some things I want to clean and organize while I have someone to occupy his time so I can do those things in a more timely fashion. And I want to get the garden started and things like that...and paperwork for schooling to end this year and to start next year.

So many things to do....and trying to do it all and not give up my prayer or devotion time or my own reading that I've finally gotten back into. Somehow I need to find a way to balance it all and still keep my dream of writing alive. YIKES.... is it even possible?

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Well I’ve put a lot of thinking on this blogging thing. Wondering if I should limit it to just a couple topics?
Some people seem to just write about their WRITING….others just on FOOD, others on their FAITH.
Well, I can’t. There’s just too much that’s important to me. So I’m going to keep writing about it all….but it will most likely be the following topics:

1. Orthodoxy (My faith)
2. Food (Our lifestyle, What We’ve learned as a family and why we eat whole foods and avoid artificial ingredients)
3. Books I’m Reading (or read, or want to read, or…..)
4. Writing
5. Home schooling / Parenting
6. Randomness (I like sharing random thoughts….they make up a good deal of my day 😉 )

I thought about assigning each thing it’s own day…and maybe someday I’ll do that….but for now I think I just need to do it as it comes, especially since I know I can’t keep up with this everyday just yet.

Well- that’s it for now.

Everyone have a nice day. I’m hungry….I need to go find food…..REAL food…..

The past few days have been quite busy. We celebrated my toddler’s 2nd birthday. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. Of course a two year old doesn’t exactly grasp the idea of ‘birthday’, but he did enjoy the Happy Birthday song we sang throughout the day, and he enjoyed the pirogies we had for dinner (they seem to be his favorite…he ate SIX all by himself!). He also seemed to enjoy blowing out his candles (this was evident in that he smiled happily and kept asking to do it again!). We had cupcakes (since he spits when he blows out a candle) and berries on the side (still keeping with the Lenten fast rather than a sugary icing and ice cream). This was obviously a good choice since he didn’t give a hoot about the cupcake and kept begging for more berries! Even with all this excitement, I was actually looking forward to today’s writing lesson all weekend.

Today I began a new approach to writing with my 13 year old son. It has been altogether clear that he has not enjoyed the writing lessons we have had thus far this year. He is quite adamant that he does not like writing. I don’t believe him. I think he does. He enjoys the creative process of writing. But he does not like grammar or using capitals and periods or thinking about sentence or paragraph structure.

He enjoys writing in the journal he received from my sister for his birthday. She came up with a variety of writing topics and wrote them on bits of paper and placed them in a jar. Each night he picks one and writes. He looks forward to this and has made this part of his bedtime routine….completely set apart from anything school related. I love to see this excitement in him about writing. (Maybe it reminds me of myself) I would love to see what he is writing, but I have allowed him to keep it private. But I want to instill that same excitement into at least some of his writing assignments for school.

So today I deleted his last assignment from our lessons ( an 800 word essay about Saint Alexander Nevsky for an essay contest of which required research, note taking, and heavy paraphrasing of sometimes difficult material - in other words - boring for him) and began writing workshop instead. We started with two exercises today.

The first exercise was simply free writing. We each took 5 minutes to simply write whatever came to mind. The rules are simple. You can’t put your pencil down. You must write continuously for 5 minutes. It can be anything. And if you can’t think of something to write….well, then that’s what you write. (I can’t think of what to write. I can’t think of what to write.) It can be the same thing over and over again until you think of something better. This is an exercise I did in my 6th grade inclusion classroom many years ago when I taught in the public schools. The kids always loved this exercise once we did it a few times and they got the hang of the fact it wasn’t to be graded, it didn’t need to be perfect, they didn’t have to share it, and they could really write whatever they wanted Most times kids ended up wanting to share what they wrote. My son did today. We both shared. We laughed over the fact that we both wrote about the annoying sound the dog was making while licking her paws. (It’s a large dog; therefore, a large annoying sound!)

The second exercise was the Description Paragraph. We did this a few years ago and he loved it then. Why did I stop? Whatever the case, we started again today. We picked a topic from a list in the book The Writer’s Workbook by Caroline Sharp . We will soon develop our own list as some of the topics are certainly not what a 13 year old boy wants to describe (kissing!). Today’s topic was A Cup of Coffee. We set the timer for five minutes and simply wrote a descriptive paragraph of a cup of coffee. Just 5 minutes, so while we needed to at least stay on topic, there are no high expectations of an award winning paragraph. The goal is simply, over time, to become better at being descriptive in our writing.

He again wanted to share. ( A good sign, right?) And we enjoyed listening to one another’s work and making comments about the things we liked the most.

Here’s my paragraph:

A cup of coffee is a warming way to start the day. The mug is colorful and large enough to hold the amount to satisfy a sleepy person’s need for the hot liquid inside. The coffee exudes a tempting smell that wakens the taste buds. The brown hot liquid begs for sugar and milk. Once an adequate amount is added, the coffee is a creamy brown and a sweet taste to behold. Drinking a cup of coffee relaxes the mind and awakens it at the same time, preparing the mind to withstand the coming day.

 

I don’t think it’s too bad since I haven’t truly done any creative writing in a couple years now.

All in all I think we had a good time. We ended the writing lesson there for today. It was a success. He even wanted to share what we wrote with his sister at lunchtime. I hope I can keep the enthusiasm going!