Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"God Made, Home Grown" Grows Up!

Starting a blog is a lot like having a baby.
When you’re first setting it up, it seems awfully small and insignificant…especially when compared to the “big kid” blogs in town.
But slowly, over time, as you nurture it, feed it, and invest a lot of yourself in it…
…your baby–I mean, blog–grows up! (Sniff, sniff)
And so, after much, um, labor, it seemed fitting for me to give my toddler blog some new clothes and more space to stretch its legs and move about.
Business tech expert, family man, and my good friend, Andy Traub, has moved my blog to WordPress!  Go ahead, take a look...Isn’t it cute?
(when you visit Andy’s blog to tell him what a great job he did, be sure to congratulate him and his wife on the expectation of their third baby!)
I also have my own domain name now: www.godmadehomegrown.com . Please update your bookmarks!
We may experience some growing pains over there over the next few weeks, but the time has come to let this baby stand on it’s own two feet.
If you notice anything that needs tending to, please feel free to email me at tiana at godmadehomegrown dot com. (that’s right, I have a new email address, too!)
Oh! And to celebrate, I’ll be hosting some great giveaways over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
By His Grace,
Friday, March 11, 2011

A Gentle Reminder

I was reminded of this poem by a friend this afternoon...

"Babies Don't Keep"

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

-- Author Unknown

I sit here and type with my baby in my sling. 

My two year old tornado is all calm and quiet, blissfully napping, resting up for the mischief that must be made this afternoon.

The older two are upstairs, curled up in their own beds with good books.

And the house is quiet. So I write.

This mama still has a whole lot to learn about balance...

There are 7 windows open in my browser--evidence of my struggle with focused, purposeful living. I wish I had time to do something with all the ideas that are in my head, but I don't. So I close them all, and sigh peacefully.

Babies don't keep...

Toddlers don't keep either, 

nor do four year olds (e-hem, "I'm almost five, Mom!"),

or six year olds.

Ideas come, and ideas go, and writing waits, and my children grow up.

I hear a little blond girl happily singing upstairs...is rest time really over?...and the thought that once made me frown makes me smile.

Yes, there is laundry to do, but she'll help me.

There is homemade granola to pull out of the oven, and homemade hot cocoa to drink--evidences that I am winning the battle against the thief.

And there are dishes to wash,

And supper to prepare,

And a baby in the sling,

And children to teach to love Him more than life itself.

Can I really be happy in this life, serving my God and my husband in my home, if nobody else notices or cares? If what I do here is never recognized, commended, or even valued by the world around me?

Yes, at last, 

I think that, maybe, 

I can.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homeschooling the Precocious Preschooler

Question: My three-and-a-half year old daughter seems to be advanced for her age. She can already recognize most of her letters, and she’s begging me to give her “schoolwork” just like her older brother is doing.
I know a lot of homeschoolers say “better late than early”, and I don’t want to push her, but I don’t want to ignore her interests, either. Do you have any suggestions for beginning academic work for a young, but eager, preschooler?
Answer: I think many homeschooling parents struggle with when and how to start “doing school” with their younger children. We often hear conflicting advice from “the experts”. I’ve heard of programs designed to teach babies to “read”. On the other hand, there are folks who advocate waiting to begin any formal academics until children are 8, 9, or even 10 years old. We don’t know who to believe!
In my opinion, a lot of the confusion stems from cultural conditioning. Despite our separation from “the system”, we still, perhaps unwittingly, buy into some of its philosophy. The government school system tells us that Kindergarten begins in the September after which a child turns 5, and not a moment sooner. (If you’re child turns five on September 2nd, forget it!) However, the fact remains that readiness for school varies from child to child. I’ve met some 4-year-olds who are completely capable of doing “first grade” schoolwork, as well as 8 year olds who are still struggling with basic phonics skills.
All this to say that you know your child best. If your daughter is interested and excited to learn, don’t be afraid that you’ll somehow damage her by giving her schoolwork!
That being said, here are a few recommendations that I have for early academic work for the more “advanced” preschooler. These are ideas that have worked for us, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll work for everyone. 
I would encourage you to remember to keep it simple. Most early learning can be accomplished by reading out loud, especially the Bible, and playing, especially outside. Helping out with household tasks such as sorting laundry or measuring ingredients for a recipe are also great opportunities for learning. Do your best not to fill your child’s life with academics to the point of neglecting these other areas.
Also, please don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy phonics program or math manipulatives. With a child who is truly “ready”, they’re probably an unnecessary expenditure. Of course, if you already own some things that you’ve used for your older children, go ahead and give them a try. Otherwise, here are a few ideas for teaching the “Three R’s” that have worked for us:
Reading– “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” is my top pick for simplicity, effectiveness, and cost. It is my hands-down favorite phonics curriculum, and it is perfect for the precocious preschooler. I purchased my copy of the book on homeschoolclassifieds.com for less than $10. You may even be able to borrow a copy from your local library before you decide to buy. The best part is how it is designed to be done while snuggling with your child on the couch. I even teach reading while nursing the baby.
Writing– I purchased a dry erase alphabet practice book for about $5 at Wal Mart. It has letters to copy and is filled with colorful pictures. My daughter never tires of it, even though she is almost 5 and has been using it for 2 years. Just be sure to cover your little one’s clothing with a paint shirt or smock, as dry erase marker will not wash out!
Arithmetic– Math manipulatives are not hard to find if you are creative. We’ve had many a counting lesson while snacking on grapes! Almost any collection of little toys can be used as math manipulatives. I happened to find a set of colorful counting bears at a discount store for $3. Then, using a Magnadoodle as a “slate” (a la Laura Ingalls Wilder), my daughter would count out bears and write numbers. After a while, I began to write simple equations (e.g. 2+2=4) and have her build them with bears. In this way, she could do her own math lessons while her older brother was completing his.
So, there you have it! Pretty simple, huh? I hope you some of these ideas will work for you…but please don’t beat yourself up if they don’t. Every child is different! Remember, you’ve taught your child how to walk and talk and many other important things already! Ideally, you want learning to continue to be a relaxed and enjoyable experience for both of you.
Blessings to You on Your Journey!
Monday, February 28, 2011

Spending Less Time On the Internet...

hasn't made me a better blogger, but it has made me a better mother.

I haven't written much, but I have baked more cookies,

read more books,

and caught up on the laundry in a way that might be called semi-permanent.

I've snuggled more, taught more, and argued less.

I'm thinking more clearly, and struggling less with the details of life.

It hasn't been easy, and there have been some days that I have failed. It's not as though I haven't had anything to write about...

...but other things have become more important. I certainly don't think I'm done writing, but I think I'm at a point of "less writing" until I can get some other areas of life into focus.

When I can write, I will. When I can't, I won't...and I won't hold it against myself. Perhaps, in this way, my writing will be more Spirit-led.

I'd love to share some of the things that God has been teaching me during this time, but it will have to wait.

It will have to wait.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Valentine

Acacia received a Valentine from Grandma this week.

She read every word of it...

At least a dozen times...

She counted how many pretty flowers there were, and told me how the little girl in the picture looked "just like her"...except for the short hair...

Oh, that I might treasure God's love letter to me as dearly!!!

"Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.

I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.

I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.

I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.

I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way."

Psalm 119:97-104
Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Stricter Judgement

Every once in a while, I read an online article about homeschooling that annoys me.

Because articles like this one pop up every couple of months or so, (and frankly, because I doubt that they are written by anyone who is actually qualified to talk), I'm not going to do any linking, quoting or copying. However, allow me to attempt to paraphrase the thesis statement:

"Homeschooling your children is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. It is a lot of work, and it will completely change your lifestyle. Not everyone is cut out to homeschool, but if you are one of those amazing parents who 'has what it takes', congratulations to you and good luck!"

Why does this annoy me, you ask? Shouldn't parents "count to cost" before they build?

Of course, educating our children at home requires some forethought and planning. I won't dispute that. However, I think for a lot of people, there is a "mystique" about teaching that makes them believe that education is something that is best left to the "trained professionals".

"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers,
for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."
James 3:1

I've heard Christians use this passage to argue that not everyone is equipped to be a teacher, and that some people just don't belong doing it.

Maybe so, but there's one small problem with this line of thinking...

If you are a parent, you are already called to be a teacher, whether you like it or not.


"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."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

You. That means parents.

Notice that Moses didn't give the people the option of sending their children off to a trained Rabbi if they didn't have the "gift of teaching". Nowhere does God institute a school system where the Hebrew children can get together for grade level instruction in the Book of the Law.

It was the parents' job. Period.

It's a lot like the professional ball player a few years back who told us all that he didn't think he was a role model and didn't want to be a role model.

Sorry. Too bad. You already are a role model...now, what are you going to do about it?

What am I going to do about it? Well, the only thing I know to do about it is to homeschool my kids, endeavoring to give them as close to a biblical education as possible.

But, maybe that's just me.
Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Tear Down Your Own House...

"The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands."
Proverbs 14:1

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About Me

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

My Writing Elsewhere...

Fixing Your Heart on Titus 2

Did you pray for your
husband today?
Monday--His Work
Tuesday--His Integrity
Wednesday--His Mind
Thursday--His Purpose
Friday--His Health
Saturday--His Protection
Sunday--His Faith

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling
Features God Made, Home Grown

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

2009 Nominee!

2010 Nominee!

My Wired Style

My Wired Style
Success is not learned. It is discovered and nurtured. What was your child born to do?
Thank goodness I was never sent to school...Beatrix Potter quote at DailyLearners.com
Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats quote at DailyLearners.com

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

Disciple Like Jesus

Disciple Like Jesus

Raising Homemakers

Raising Homemakers

Quiverfull Family

The Modest Mom


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