Friday, April 29, 2011

My Goals for this Summer

I think if I have my goals written down there is a better chance that I will reach them.
Here goes
1.  Finish Funnix reading program with Hannah
2.  Teach my kids 3 root word a week from English from the Roots up.
3.  Read to my kids at least 1/2 hour of books M-F.  I am going to use the books from the Sonlight and My Father's World book lists. (I'm hoping to read longer than 1/2 hour, but I'm setting my goal at the minimum)
4.  Prepare for tutoring next year at Classical Conversations
5.  Math flashcards with Ethan, I want him to be able to memorize addition and subtraction facts.  After he is quick, we will start 2nd grade math.
6.  Make more time for myself, I think after looking back on my first year of homeschooling, my greatest weakness is overlooking exercise and spending time reading God's word.
7.  Continue "Teach your baby to read" with Noah, read a book to him each day
8.  Go through the book, "What every first grader needs to know", to make sure I didn't miss anything before moving onto 2nd grade.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 3 quote rule....

We have a rule at our house that we try to stick to it's called the three quote rule.  Whenever we are buying something expensive or having work done, we try to always get three quotes.  Whether it be buying tires or getting a toilet fixed. 
I can't tell you how much money I have saved by following this rule.  It's unbelievable the variety of quotes you can get on the same service or item.  For example, we needed new tires for our car...I called one place and it was $1000 for 4 tires, the exact same tires at the next place $900 and the third place $700.  The exact same product, lots of different quotes.
I know my sister has done the same thing with car repairs, when she drives to Pennsylvania to visit grandparents,  she gets her car repairs done there for hundreds of dollars less than it would cost in D.C.
Sometimes, you have a certain place you prefer to buy products, ask if they price match.  

Start to follow the three quote rule, you will be amazed!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Praying for my Children

   One morning I was at a friend's house while she was getting her children ready for school.  As she said goodbye to one of her children, she prayed for him. 

   I have never been good or consistent about praying with or for my boys, although I really believe in the power of prayer.  Something clicked when I observed my friend.

   Since that time last Fall, I found a good time for me to pray for my boys.  I drive them each morning to the bus stop.  Once the 4 of us are buckled in, I take the first few minutes of our 1.5 mile trip to pray for their day.  Some days it is shorter than others.  Often it repeats the same requests I make for them everyday- that they would have eternal life (knowing God and the One He sent), they would learn what they need to for their future, that they would be safe on the bus and at school, that they would be kind and helpful to those around them.  If something special is happening that day, like a test, I pray about it.  I also pray for my husband. 

   It isn't much- 3 minutes at most- but it has become a habit (finally! one GOOD habit!). 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Note to Self: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man” Luke 2:52 Part II

Written by Vicki Hoodikoff
For a season my husband and I would pray this verse as a prayer over our children before bed each night.  We felt it was important for their well being.  This verse personally gave me a better understanding of how they were to develop.  We both wanted to see them mature mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.  
Many times I have had to remind myself that this is the way Jesus matured and this ought to be the goal for my kids too.  So, what does it mean to raise a child in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man?  I think the key is simple; a balanced growth.   Often I place too much emphasis on one area of their life.  Just the other day I caught myself panicking about how well my children are learning in our home school system.  We live abroad in a non-english speaking country and resources are challenging.  Sad, but true, usually when mom panics, they feel the pressure of my anxiety. Immediately, I interrupted that spiraling thought with another “Note to Self”: Jesus grew in all areas of life simultaneously.  This, for me, is like an invisible check list: How are they progressing in their studies, in their physical growth, in their personal relationship with God and in their relationships with others?  Evaluating these areas of their life help me keep the small details in perspective and  eliminate unnecessary anxiety that they are not maturing as they should.

As parents we have the amazing privilege to watch our children blossom into well rounded adults.  This should be the goal of childhood.  Yet, this can only happen if we are conscious of raising them with a goal of becoming balanced adults  Often I think, we as parents, become too concerned with only one aspect when we really ought to be focused on all four aspects simultaneously.  We are still in the process, ourselves,  but we are greatly encouraged to see that they are developing well in all these areas of life.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

A series of reminders in raising well balanced kids Part 1

Note to Self - Made in His image
Written by Vicki Hoodikoff
My first note to self early on in motherhood was a vital one.   One that I still, from time to time, have to keep in mind.  Note to self: “This child is made in God’s image.”  A small but profound detail to remember in the midst of any argument, chaotic day, or when your child tells what seems like an endless story.   Amazingly, my children, your children, each wear the  thumbprint of God.  The same God who created the myriad of stars has placed his “John Hancock” on our children.  He has uniquely fashioned each one with a mind that creates, thinks, reasons and questions.  And some days, oh, the questions! 
How we view our children really is foundational for not only their well-being, but for how they will view others.  If we see them as made in the image of God then we will be more likely to treat them with respect, speak with them in a controlled tone, and listen more attentively.  We can befriend them as their parent who recognizes that they have an inherent value.  I am not suggesting that we become “buddies”.  They have friends for that role.  Yet as parents, we can develop a parental friendship that allows them to feel secure in who they are as individuals, knit together by God himself.  
God has a plan for our children’s lives.  As parents it is our responsibility to partner with Him in helping our children discover and accomplish those plans.  We begin with the simple task of seeing them as His works of art and treating them as such.  If you knew you had a rare Picasso in your midst, how would you handle it?  Our children are far more priceless than any Rembrandt or Picasso. The “trick” is to train our minds to recall their value and then to align our words and actions according to that fact.  Hence, the need for note to self.  Jesus said,” As a man thinks, so he is.”  I say, “As a parent thinks about their child, so they interact with their child.”