Friday, August 28, 2009

The Tale of A Gold Nugget

I'll start with the trials of a kindergartener ... Joe is starting handwriting this year, and of course the first pages are just basics, letting him get used to using a pencil and drawing specific lines in a certain way. He was working on a page yesterday that was straight lines and circles ... think lowercase 'l' and 'o'. After a bit, he sighed and said, "Mommy, why does it have to be so hard?"

The Tale of a Gold Nugget by Kaitlyn Pittard

Here I am, this is my story. I am a gold nugget. A lot of people think gold can't talk, but we can. I am at the bottom of a cave just lying there. Wait, do you hear that? Humans!

As soon as I opened my eyes, I was in a ... box! Beside me was a black shape, a lump of coal. He said his name was Carlen. The next day there was a man outside. He said that he was Dick the coin maker and they sold me! What would happen now? What would happen now?

I was turned into coins. The biggest has my face on it and one day, about a month later, someone bought me!

I was in a box. It looked like the one I was in at first! Inside there was a black shape ... Carlen! We had many adventures after that, but that is for another day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Character Development

We started school Monday! The kids are loving it ... those first few weeks are always so blessedly full of enthusiasm and excitement. Naturally, Kaity has days where school is more of a burden, but I try my best to schedule plenty of "fun" stuff to keep her from getting frustrated.

One thing we're doing this year is a series on character development. I did it with Kaity in, I think, first grade and now I'm going through it again with both of them. I found this resource on Focus on the Family's website. Essentially, there is one character trait that we'll study and learn about for a two-week unit. There's a poster to print, stories to read and projects to do to reinforce the character trait. I'm also supplementing with a video series we have from Alpha Omega Publications, Character Builders. The kids love those videos!

And speaking of character building, the kids put on a play for me a few weeks ago that was absolutely precious! They acted out the Israelites flight from Egypt, complete with plagues. Kaity narrated and played the part of Moses; Joe was Pharoah and they both helped out with the plagues. (This was completely their own idea and they practiced for a long time upstairs before coming down to perform!)

Pharoah on his throne; Moses narrating the story.

The plague of frogs, in a costume sized 12-18 months.

The locusts devouring "every green thing".

The blood on the doorposts that represented the salvation of the Hebrews.

The Red Sea swallowing up the Pharoah and the Egyptians.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lots of Fun with Picture Pages!

On Independence Day weekend, our friends Paul and Sandy met us at Mom and Berk's house to take family pictures for Jeff and me. Stuart came over with the boys, too, and we had a really great time as a family. (All the pictures posted here are just candids taken with my camera. I don't have digital files of the professional ones.)

These were taken in Mom and Berk's backyard. It was impossible to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time!

Stuart with Rali and Mickey, Jeff and me with Kaity and Joe.

Grammie, Baba and Joe.

Jeff and Sandy. How sweet!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Joseph Turns 5!

Joe turned 5 on August 14th, and we had a BUSY weekend! I'm going to show it to you in pictures with added commentary. I'm still too exhausted from it to give you the play-by-play!

Grammie wanted to give Joe his presents from herself and Baba in person, so we met at the halfway point -- a McDonald's in Washington. The kids had hot fudge sundaes.

Joe got underwear (which he actually asked for!), socks, books, a gift card, GI Joe action figures -- who now are named after the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he deliberated for a while then settled on a "monkey cake". This was my attempt. It made the birthday boy happy and that's all that matters!

We had his little party at Nannie and Papa's house on Saturday, since we were staying the night with them Friday night. I hid Joe's presents in three places around the house. He had to follow "monkey prints" (I traced his foot) to find the presents -- three different colors for three different locations.

He followed the blue footprints outside to find his new school desk! Jeff and I bought it at an antique store a while back, and Ken and Cheryl restored it and painted his name on the back.

Jeff's brother Jason was there with his three children, Jacob and Sarah and Joel.

Amazingly, though each child wanted a very specific part of the monkey, they all chose different parts! What are the odds of that happening?? Sarah and Joel got ears, Jacob actually didn't request anything specific, Kaity wanted the hair (chocolate sprinkles) and Joe, bless his heart, wanted, and I quote ... the nostrils. Yes, that's my boy!

Sadly, the weekend ended with me having a terrible migraine Sunday-Monday. I still have what I call a "leftover" headache from it today, but at least I can function now!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why We Homeschool

First and foremost, we are a homeschooling family because that is what God has called us to be. God has not called every family to homeschool. Jeff and I feel that in this season of our lives, God has asked this of us. There may come a time when He calls us to place our children in a public or private school. We pray that we will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit should that time come. As parents, God has placed the awesome responsibility of raising our children in the way they should go in our hands. Every Christian parent's first priority is to teach our children to love God, regardless of where they attend school.

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB

In a public school setting, your children will not hear their lessons and take their tests from a biblical worldview. Even if your child's teacher is a believer, they cannot teach your child to love God in a classroom setting. The teacher may discuss God if a student initiates the discussion, she/he may offer differing viewpoints, but they still must test on the standards given to them by the government. Those standards certainly leave no room for a Creator. Despite the best a classroom teacher can do, it is imperative to note that it is still not her/his responsibility to teach our children the precepts of God. God has given that privilege and joy to us as parents! We get to tell our children of the wonders of God! We have the honor of teaching them daily through our own walk and talk with Christ of the sorrow and passion and amazing love of the cross and the resurrection. When we inevitably make mistakes and fall short, it is a wonderful opportunity to share with our children the love and forgiveness that can be found on our knees.

I love reading books with Kaity and being able to stop and say, "Now why is that statement not true?" "What does the Bible have to say about that?" "Did this character make good choices?" "How would this story/situation have ended differently if this person had chosen to follow God's command?"

Honestly, we as a family are passionate about homeschooling. I'm a nerd, too, and that helps a lot! I just love the first day of school, new books, fresh pencils and paper ... I could go on all day! And not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the privilege of staying home with my children and teaching them.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Go Tell It On The Mountain

This Saturday I had the rare privilege of a day off! We jumped on the opportunity to head to the mountains for the day, and I'm so glad we did. It was a beautiful day. You know, it's truly sad that we live only an hour away from mountains and never get to enjoy them. But we made up for lost time on Saturday at Brasstown Bald. We drove to the base of the mountain, stopping for lunch along the way. The hike up to the peak of the mountain was only 6/10 of a mile, but it was a steep, winding trail. Because of various pregnancy issues, I haven't been able to exercise in about a month, so it was pretty tough for me! Jeff of course, was fine. Stinker. He even decided to carry Joe on the way down since that was probably safer than Joe running down on his own. After the long trek, we rewarded ourselves with Mayfield ice cream!

The restaurant where we had lunch, Bernie's at Nacoochee Valley Guest House, was really neat. While we waited on our food, the waitress gave us plastic baggies and invited us to pick blueberries, blackberries and raspberries out in the back yard. The kids loved that! Joe even got to see a cute brown bunny up close.

(Yes, the kids are standing on a platform!)