Full of Grace

Today is the Feast Day of the Annunciation  –  the announcement made by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would have a child.

The Gospel Reading is Luke 1:25-38.

“And having come, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.’

Mary was blessed.  She was highly favored, Full of Grace!

She is, in fact, the most blessed woman who has ever lived because of her absolute and complete  willingness to receive God’s grace .  As spoken by her son, the Theotokos, Mary, was blessed to “hear the word of God and keep it” (see Luke 11:28).  She was the first to say yes to Jesus!  Her response was of highest obedience to God.  She sets an example for us all.

Where the first woman, Eve, was disobedient to God, Mary is obedient.

This is an obedience to God we can all learn from.  And teach to others.  Especially our children.

Will I teach my 6 year old about Mary’s virginity?  No, not this year.  Will we have lots of lessons to  teach him about all the details of Mary’s life and about the Betrothal between her and Joseph and teach him how Jesus was her only son and that Joseph’s other children came from a previous marriage?  All of this in due time, but for a 6 year old?  My focus is on the most important aspect.  Mary said Yes!  She said Yes to God and that is what we all must do.  She is the greatest woman who ever lived because she accepted God’s will with willingness.

Accepting God’s will with willingness.

Isn’t accepting God’s will  what we all struggle with?

Isn’t obedience what we all struggle with?

Isn’t obedience what our children struggle with?

This feast day is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children the wonderful ways of obedience-  how obedience to God can change the world.

For more about why I think Mary is the Greatest Woman Who Ever lived, see my post from November, 2013.

NOTE:  This post is selected from homeschool related posts from my main blog, The Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom.  Please follow the main blog to see all posts about the Many Hats I wear!

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love…

We read over it daily.

We talk about the meaning of the words, the meaning of the prayer.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

I make him aware of his transgressions and, sure enough, he makes me aware of my own.  Not so much in our lessons, but in day to day life.  Those are the most important lessons of all.

Our children are tools to our salvation.  No one can point out to me my sinful ways or humble me quite as quickly as this little being.

Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

God gave us these children.  They teach us wisdom.  Oh but to have the open eyes of a child!  To see the glories they see-  and to see the truths that come so easily to them!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

A constant prayer on my lips, in my heart…

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy holy Sprit from me.

I need His ever presence.  I need the guidance of the spirit.  I must look to Him to restore my joy.  I must guide this young child to always seek His presence.

O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise

Oh and Lord close them when they need to be closed!

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit

Stay close to me Lord- through this Lenten season and all the seasons to come.  Help me to break this prideful spirit…help me to sacrifice and show Thy steadfast love and Thy abundant mercy to all as you have given freely to me.

Help me to teach these young ones the same.

Thank you to Basil Fritts of Flickr for the photo- slight adjustments were made.

An Apple a Day…

An Apple a Day MIGHT keep the doctor away, among other vegetables and healthy meats and proteins, but too many will keep the doctor coming…  and we discussed this in our very quick lesson using google finds.

My son is not thrilled that he had to give up his habit of a small dish of organic ice-cream or a small  gluten-free ice-cream cone as his bedtime snack for Lent.  We give up dairy and all processed foods during our Whole30 which we do during Lent for fasting and health reasons.

However, he does like his apples.  Add a little peanut butter/almond butter (he claims he doesn’t like almond butter but I mixed it half and half for two weeks without his knowledge…we are moving on to about 1/3 pb and 2/3 almond butter this week) and he’s a happy kid.

So the other night he asked what  was good about apples. ” Let’s make that a project for tomorrow”, I said.  “Write a note to remind us and we’ll spend some time looking that up.”  So with apple in hand we did just that yesterday.

We found some pretty cool videos and sites.

Fun Nutrition For Kids!  Fresh Apple vs. Fast Food Apple Pie

Apples: History & Nutrition

Fresh For Kids: Apple

Apples 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits   –  This one we breezed through-  and I made note of the link because I figured this will be a good base of vocabulary to start with as I begin teaching him REAL nutrition- not necessarily what you find in the public school health books (see below).  He knows about vitamins & minerals, sort of , so that’s what we are starting with (apples are a good source of vitamin c and potassium).

Here’s his summary of the most important things we learned.

-Apples have vitamin c – even more than an orange!

-There’s a lot of good stuff in the skin so we should eat that.

-It’s better to eat the apple than the pie.

-There’s sugar in apples so don’t eat too many.

I don’t think that’s too bad for a quick fun lesson 😉

And today, he forgot all about apples and went on to paint and ladybugs 🙂     Funny kid.

*****Just a side note:  I’m a little cautious about the sources I use.  So doing a cold google search was a little frustrating.  There’s lots of stuff out there about the food pyramid and I do NOT encourage the use of the food pyramid at all.  I want him to know about the nutrients of foods, but also want him to learn that yes, fats are good, sugar – even in apples- isn’t.  So we have to talk through what we learn.  We need to learn about the nutrients , but also about the things that counter the nutrients and how to balance it all out.  This was a good start.  Apples are good-  too many aren’t. And we encourage the almond butter with it to add some protein and healthy fat to the treat 🙂

This blog is a break off portion of my main blog, The Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom.  You may see more posts and more about our life there:  orthodoxmom3.com

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

So we skipped the homeschool Schole’ group today.  The little man hasn’t been feeling well over the last two days and still hadn’t eaten much as of bedtime last night.  So I made the decision to let him sleep in and give him an extra day of rest.  It did me good too as I decided since I had some open space, to NOT set my alarm and let me sleep in too.  So even with the hour I was awake during the night ( either a symptom of or another cause of the adrenal fatigue), I still managed to get some extra sleep!

Still we had some extra time today and I had just bought the ingredients to make laundry detergent though I had no idea when I was going to get some time to do it (I had no idea how quick it would be!).  So as he seemed a bit perkier, I thought, why not?

I got the recipe from a friend a few days ago and had bought the ingredients yesterday:

4 lbs baking soda                                               

4 lbs washing soda

1 lb kosher salt (not sure why it called for kosher but why not?)

3 bars fells naptha soap  (or 1 bar zote)    I got the fels naptha because that’s what Wegman’s had, though she told me Walmart has the Zote already shredded.

We just poured all the baking soda, washing soda and salt together in a big basin.

Then came the ‘fun’ part for my son.  Grating the fels naptha.  It really wasn’t bad.  He used the big bars until they were about half way then I did the rest-  being cautious of little fingers with the grater but really he did fine and I need to learn not to worry so much.

As we grated, I poured the shredded soap in with the soda mixture and stirred.  He enjoyed taking some turns to stir too.

After all was said and done, we poured the mix into some empty plastic containers I’ve had lying around for quite some time unused.  And Viola!  The first load is in the washer!

And other than  playing a game and some reading time tonight, that’s our school for today and it was great!

By the way, all the ingredients came to about $12.50, which is less than a bottle of the store brand natural detergent I’ve been using.  And we only need to use 1 Tablespoon of detergent per load so this will definitely last by far longer than what I use!  YAY!

Homeschooling – Our Progression

I’ve been all over the board when it comes to homeschooling.  Well, maybe not all over the board, but pretty close to it.

We started homeschooling  way back in , gosh, what year was that?  My daughter was in 5th grade when we pulled her out.  She’s now a senior in college (doing really well, thank you!) Wow.  What an adventure it has been!  When we first took her out, we spent the remaining months of the school year (it was March) in a rather relaxed state.  Not as relaxed as I would have liked it to have been knowing what I know now about all the different styles of homeschooling, but relaxed for what I knew.  Her emotional and physical health were my priority.  They were definitely more important than academics so since math and science totally stressed her out, we didn’t do much with it at all.  Oh, I got raised eyebrows on that one all right.  Especially from family members and others that just don’t get the concept of homeschooling or that education does NOT have to look like what it does in public schools.  I have to admit I allowed it to unnerve me a bit and I really wish  I hadn’t.  I wish I would have read more about Charlotte Mason and more about unschooling back then.  If I had, we would have dumped ALL academics the rest of that year and just focused on nature study and art study. Oh well, I can’t change the past.  But I can learn from it and from the experiences of others.

The following year we added my son to our homeschool (he finished out 1st grade but wanted to be home with us) and it was more of a school at home setup.  We did okay, used Sonlight for most things and Abeka Math.  We enjoyed the Sonlight materials but threw out a lot of the fluff by the end of the year.  The rest of the years was me piecing together this and that- but still looking for ‘curriculum’ for most subjects-  other than science the year we still lived in York and the kids did Envirothon with the homeschool group there.  Oh , THAT was grand!  I think they still look back as one of their best homeschooling experiences.

Time went by and now I have my senior in college, a senior in high school (yes, still at home!) AND an almost 7 year old.

My schooling style with THIS young man is completely different.  It’s even progressed during the last year.  I started out completely on board with the Charlotte Mason approach but quickly decided, that while I love her philosophy,  a mixture of her methods and unschooling methods may be more along our lines of educational philosophy at this time in our lives.  And it’s definitely more in line with my son’s needs and learning style.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the things we are doing – the reading, the memory work, the nature walks, the timeline, the US map, Life of Fred, and, most importantly, the amount of FREE PLAY he is allowed.  Oh yes, and the JOY.  🙂

In the meantime, I have dinner to cook, a Lemongrass Spa event to plan, a 6 year old to read to, and lots of things to catch up on from the week before driving my oldest son off to his girlfriend’s grandmother’s home where he will be leaving for a trip to Florida to see his girlfriend.  So while you are waiting for the next Homeschool Update Segment,  WHAT KIND OF CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE ON YOUR HOMESCHOOL JOURNEY?

June Field Trips!

Finally!

We got to do a little traveling this past week and get to some places that we’ve been talking about visiting for ages!

First Stop!  The Philadelphia Zoo!

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This fine bird was our greeter at the zoo….and checked in with us from time to time to make sure everything was okay.  😉

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We admired many wonderful animals.  It’s always nice to observe all of the wonderful similarities and differences among God’s creatures.

 

 

 

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This was by far the strangest creature!  LOL!  My son was happily imitating the meerkats…..   this child ‘enclosure’ ran alongside a similar enclosure where the meerkats ran and played.  My son certainly enjoyed hamming it up!

 

 

 

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There  were many many animals that we  observed that day….we love thezoo!  And we hope to explore several others during the upcoming school year!

 

 

 

The next day, we took in The Crayola Experience in Easton!

 

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              This kid LOVED the cute little figurines of the crayons lurking about!

Okay…..   I did too.

2016-06-21 13.44.13But mostly we loved doing all the hands on crafts.  There were plenty!

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                                                                       We were there for hours!

                                           And then my little ham did some extra posing outside!

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I hope we get to explore more things this summer as well.  What field trips are you planning on for the upcoming months?

Teaching From Rest: Summer

2016-05-14 21.32.04There are days I am completely at rest with my plans and style of homeschooling.  AND there are days I am ….well…. a normal mom who panics and worries and stresses that I can’t possibly do it all.

And those are the days I’m most grateful for Sarah Mackenzie’s book, Teaching From Rest.  Sarah really talks sense when she points out to us moms that we are not meant to do it all!  All we can really do is give it our best and TRUST IN GOD to do the rest.  If Jesus can feed the thousand with a little fish and bread, then I guess I can do right by my children by giving all that I can and trusting that God will do the rest.

So this summer, I am trying to move into a ‘school year round’ mode while also staying mindful of my new ‘Teaching From Rest’ mindset…and trying to catch up on those things that haven’t gotten accomplished since moving to our newest home (almost two years ago)…you know, like the garage, basement, and yes, my  ‘office area’ – of which I am proud to say I am typing in right now…..  yes, there are still piles off to my right which need sorted, but the desk is clear and functioning!  WOOT!!!

But while I spent time modifying our morning time routine and school schedule to be shorter for summer days, I haven’t exactly kept up with it but for a few days here and there   –  meshed in with cleaning, organizing, errands and all those other things that interrupt our school day.  BUT.  I am at rest.  (Well, mostly….there’s a little agitation that surfaces from time to time, I admit.)  Here’s my updated schedules, if you are interested.  I’m using Looping a lot now… it’s definitely putting more rest in our school plan!

Summer 2016 Rotation Schedule

Summer 2016 Rotation Schedule & Morning Time Plan

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I’m really enjoying our Memory Work time, as does my son.  And for Literature right now, our selection is the first of The Boxcar Children.  I know there’s a whole series of that one now, but doubt I’ll read any more than the first.  There’s so much good literature out there.  I’ve heard the rest are not as good – so if he’s really interested, I’ll just let him use them for his own reading pleasure, rather than using them as our read alouds.

We are starting to use the Orthodox Study Bible to do the assigned daily readings and using his bible reader more as a reader for him for reading practice when we aren’t using his nature readers (which by the way, has a great chapter on…… worms!)

For nature study right now, we are doing worms!  We have the farm which we observe on an almost daily basis and several books checked out of the library on earthworms.  Who would have guessed learning about worms could actually be interesting?  Just yesterday we learned that inchworms are not actually worms at all.  Who would have thought those tiny little green ‘worms’ turn into moths?

History for this summer and upcoming school year will be a mixture of Ancient History and American History and geography will be based on that.  Although I did purchase this to help us along:

I doubt we’ll get far this summer, but who knows?  My main goal is to introduce the concept that school or education does happen year round, on a daily basis- whether we sit for a whole hour or two of lessons or not.  And to ENJOY learning- of course!!!  And, to achieve what Sarah Mackenzie set out to help us all do with her book –  RESTFUL TEACHING!

What are you doing this summer in your homeschool?