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Character Training

What exactly is Character Training?

I think it is to guide a child’s behavior and attitudes to make morally just choices.

Being homeschoolers leads to the often asked question of…
“What is the best character training resources?”
Now, admittedly, there are many, MANY awesome and amazing resources out there,
and people want to know what we use.

The Bible.

Yep, that’s it.
We already own it.
It doesn’t cost additional money.
It doesn’t take up much time.
It has all the answers…
seriously.

In all honesty, we do not read our Bibles daily.  We seem to go in phases. 
A lot for a while, consistent for a little while longer, then a bit of a dry spell,
before journeying on again.

I do have to point out that the best character building is probably to be in the Word daily.
To let the Lord’s wisdom show us direction, truth, and compassion. 
Communication would be a close 2nd. 

Character Training is a team effort.

Which is why communication is important.
If we can’t practice patience, grace, compassion, honesty, forgiveness, and the like, with those whom are closest to us, how does it become a natural part of our personalities?

Typical conflicts in the home is the best lesson on character building.
Let’s face it, if there is more than one person in the home, then you have to think of others, right?

Discipling vs Disciplining

Discipling is teaching by action.
To walk the talk.
To live and breath what you believe.
Jesus set the ultimate example.

Disciplining is the correction of undesired behavior.
That is what most folks are referring to when discussing character traits.

such as…
how can I get my children to get along?
How do I have my child not ignore me?
What can I do about lying?
(you get the gist)

Here is our approach:

What ever undesirable behavior is being displayed,
have the child look up verses that define the opposite trait.

such as…
Anger; look up peace.
lying; look up honesty.
rudeness; look up respect.
hitting; look up gentleness.
(you get the gist)

Reading such scriptures is a kind reminder.  If one needs a stronger reminder, then the child (or adult even *smile*) could write out the necessary verses.  If it is truly an area of struggle, then it is time to memorize them as well.  We all need words of wisdom stored in our hearts as to guide our behavior and attitudes to make morally just decisions.

How about you?  What guides your integrity and builds character?

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children,
talking about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.”
Deuteronomy 11:18 & 19

I’m all about being honest.
so how did last month’s goals go?
not.so.much

We never did get to our literature books like I had planned.
Life seemed to be much of our lessons this past month.
*We ended up with 2 puppies that took some time to acclimate to each other.
*We are talking about moving in the near future (yes, again; details later),
in which the opportunity to open Daycare once again is a possibility,
thus organizational skills are being fined tuned in our house. 
*We seemed to have a nutritional-based learning interest that included learning about the dangers of MSG, sugar & saccharin, which somehow lead to us being interested in how to prep for disasters,  which led to talking about minimalist and how to live small.   (simply going on rabbit trails I tell ya, *smile*).

~November Goals~

new testament

GROUP STUDIES

The Bible for Young People by Josephine Pollard
I love that the words in this book are broken into syllables to enhance the reading ability of younger readers but still holds the quality of scriptures within its pages.  My hopes is that we can read through the New Testament now til Easter, with a strong understanding of Christ’s birth to his death to his resurrection to his message for us to spread the Good News.

History:
Our Hero General Grant

Science:
Astrophysics- black holes, binary planets, and gravity are all topics this month.
We will include experiments to these lessons as well as building our own solar system model.

Health:
Nutrition & Fitness month

Spanish:
continuing our food lesson, including food, drinks, dishes, and utensils.

Sign Language:
ditto; foods, thirsty, hungry, hot/cold, etc…

INDEPENDENT STUDIES

History:
Across 5 Aprils (Civil War)

Literature:
TJ- Red Badge of Courage
Katie- Little Women

English Grammar:
Appositive phrases,
commas and apostrophe review.

Math:
TJ- Algebraic Phrases, perimeters/areas/volume
Katie-  Fractions- mixed, improper, addition/subtraction

PRIMARY GRADE Focal Points

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We began A Child’s Story of the Animal World.
We opened up with talking about kingdoms;
The Animal Kingdom and The Plant Kingdom.
I am loving this book already!

Andrew was interested in compasses so I thought we’d pull out our old Geography book from homeschoolfreebieoftheday.

Geography

Our Read Aloud:

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This book is 100 yrs old.
The Twin series is a fabulous read on a variety of cultures!

Here is our study table:

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Our math flashcards of the day,
counting money (a daily equation)
Our McGuffey Readers on top of our crayon/marker/pencil trays,
for reading, spelling, grammar, and copywork.
Currently introducing abbreviations such as used with days and months.

On a side note:

I have Shane, a sophomore I tutor, come join us on Mondays for our science lessons & experiments,
as well as poetry, and lesson reviews for the week.  That has been working out well.

…and Little Adelaide is finally getting enough hair to play with!

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Welcome to November. 
Think we shall we work on our attitudes of gratitude this month.
How ’bout you?

Those were the words in a comment, that stood out to me, while reading through a facebook post on Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween.

Me?  I started cracking up laughing.
I guess I never really thought of us as a Weird Christian before,
but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true!!

Now, obviously, I know we are different because we do not celebrate Halloween like most of our Christian peers.  After all, there is a popular compromise; do the fun stuff, avoid the evil stuff.  right?  ‘cept what I see is a gray line that is constantly able to waver.

We (my family, especially us parents) are known for Living our Faith Out Loud.
We choose to walk our talk, so to speak.

This makes us Weird. 
We commonly do not fit in,
even within our Christian Community,
and we are ok with that.

We judge not others, but we are responsible to respond to the Lord’s convictions for our family.

We love our fellow Christians as well as our hometown community of non-believers.  We interact well with them, work alongside them, cheering on games side by side, chatting at the local grocery stores, playing at parks, and all that small town stuff.  However, we are weird.  I admit it.

Weird; to be strange… abnormal… unusual.

That fits us!

Funny enough what we (my family) thinks is normal, is exactly what is abnormal about us.

Swearing, as an example.  We just don’t do it.  I wouldn’t swear in front of Jesus, and since His presence is always with us, well, the conviction is not to do it.  period.  However, my older children (adults) often see even youth pastors swear in casual conversations with them.   Is that bad?  Well, what does the Bible say about foul language?

Drinking… ah yes, this is as tricky as the Halloween controversy, eh?  Is it a sin to drink?  no.  Is it a sin to get drunk?  yes.  That seems black and white enough, right?  Nope.  Again, we are the rarity of people who choose not to drink alcohol, at all.    Why?   A couple of reasons.  One is draw a clear line for our own kids; drinking is not necessary.  Two, who are we to cause another to stumble, for we don’t really know who struggles with alcohol and/or addictions, right?  Three, because Jesus is enough.

Media/movies…  language, suggestive behavior, lewd humor, and shows that portray dad as stupid and mom as overtly sexy are all avoided.  Do you happen to know of that childhood song “oh be careful little eyes what you see” , and what you say, and what you hear, and what you do?  yeah, that pretty much sums up our perspective.

At church we are unusual.  and oh, we so love our church family!  They are some amazingly beautiful beings!  However, we are still weird.

My family likes being together, not segregated into different groups.  My teens would prefer to sit with us in service.  My younger kiddos will go to Sunday School, but they really wouldn’t mind sitting with us to hear our lesson either.

and Home Groups aka Life Groups?!

We really kinda don’t fit in there either!  Are you surprised?  LOL, yeah, me either.
So what’s different there?  simply just life style.
We have many kids.  Honestly that makes it hard to just crash someones house that’s already full of people for the Life Group, right?
We have littles, middles, teens, and adult children… a 20 year stretch from 1st child to last.  So our friends often either have young children or teen/adult children… so which Life Group should we choose?
Also, our kids like hanging with us, which is awkward to most adults.  We have a life group, and maybe a great conversation about baptism going on… my kids would love to sit and listen to that rather than run wild outside, be put in front of a movie, or simply stay home.  Is that strange?

So we may not be of the world, but we are most definitely in the world.  We are called to care, to love, to share, to shine His Light… and we embrace those who come across our path.

There is much wisdom in Matthew 7.  Starting out with “ Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.    Yes, we are one of those weird Christians, we live our faith out loud, doing what we are called to do…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment. 

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

October at a Glance

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Fall is in full swing.  We live in the woods.
The serenity of the season echos somewhat silently;
leaves change, branches shift, the breeze whistles,
the animals scurry, and the rain begins…

The Pacific Northwest at its finest.

Katie turns 13!

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Such a sweet disposition she is.
Curious at what life has to offer,
Godly convictions, truth seeker,
compassionate heart, joyful,
logic-filled with a drive to self-educate.
Yep, that’s my girl!

She has recently tested out of one math book, and is currently devouring the next math book.  Her goal?  To finish that book in 3 months.  Can she?  Most definitely!  Will she?  time will only tell, but she is randomly doing about 3 lessons a day, often before bed, so her motivation is clearly there.  Did I mention she is a bit precocious?!!

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Here’s a few of Katie-girls recent creativity;
The basket weave, the zipper braid, & the 11 strand brand.

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Katie-girl’s newest hobby?  Sewing!
I have an amazingly kind friend who will be teaching Katie how to make Maxi Skirts.

On that note, I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.

PUPPIES!

The puppies!

Yep, 2 of them.

Echo (on right) is now 5 months old.
A pure blue nosed pit.  Amazingly calm.
No barking (pretty much at all).

Meet Recon (yes, that military term for exploring an area).
He is our rescue pit.  half pit, that is.
The other half is something of a definitely.not.aggressive.breed.
4 months old.  He seeks to please.
No need for a leash, he follows without command.

Both are surprisingly mellow for pups.
They have not really chewed up anything.
They snuggle with their human-child companions,
and are already gentle around babies.
They absolutely love playing with each other.
Tug-o-war is the most popular.
They eat and drink out of the same bowl at the same time,
without a care in the world.
We do have to calm Echo on occasion as she gets so excited to play with her newest buddy, but that brick house body structure can plow him over.  Of course the minute we settle her down, he sneaks over to nudge her to play again.  They definitely act like a brother and sister at times!

Chanelle's new family

Chanelle moves out.

Chanelle is on another adventure,
following life where it leads her.
We got the chance to meet ‘her new family’.
We had a great day hanging together.
She’s missed, but we still see her every few weeks.
They will all come join us on Thanksgiving;
I look forward to the visit!

and since I mentioned about moving…

it looks as if we will be moving in the not.so.far.off future.
The house we are in is up for sale.
We have a lovely landlady who recently married, and is moving to another state, thus they have chosen to sell the house.  As much as we have enjoyed this house in the woods, I am not really ready to commit to living here permanently, with forever in mind.  Looks as if God has already provided us a place we apparently will move to.  It’s just a matter of timing.  We will be heading out of the country hills, and back into the small town of nowhere.  We are content with it, and I see some changes in the process of it all.  I will share more as events unfold.

How was your October? 
Discover any small treasures? 
Experience big changes?
Embrace the season? 

 

color me rad

I haven’t updated on my health journey lately.
It has become a bit of a stale-mate.

Hiking the hills and then trying to begin a running journey has, in turn, given me a set back.  A knee injury. 

So for weeks I was more like a slug than a marathon runner wanna-be.  I learned some patience, and how to put myself in 1st gear.  Apparently, on a daily basis, I’d say I am at a constant 3rd gear, just simply going, going, going…. well, not.so.much.now.  In the meantime, my amazingly encouraging cousin signed me up for the Color Run 5K.  How exciting!  Amazingly enough, my knee healed up just enough to walk that run, cautiously mind you, but I did it.  And I got some fun hot pink sunglasses to boot!

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Now I have another set back.  The same knee injury.  Oh, the 5k actually was great, but the puppy, however, is like a wrecking ball.  Pure muscle and speed, and well, a puppy.  So puppy and my knee had a collision and I am again learning patience and how to slow down.

In the meantime, my amazing daughter is joining me on a nutritional journey.  She likes to cook and make meals, and I feel a bit like I have my very own healthy chef.  I love that girl!

So, what are some challenges you have been facing lately?  How do you stay encouraged? 
Me?  I surround myself with people who care.

 

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As we head into our 2nd quarter, I feel a bit of deja vu.
It is T.J.’s senior year, and I am acutely aware of how fast this will pass.

Our 1st quarter success this year is that we are getting school work done with minimal distractions.
What extra activities we have chosen have been picked thoughtfully.
My older kids are self-motivated to get their work done,
which in turn guides the younger boys to get their work done also.
Kind of a win/win for me.  *smile*

~October Goals~

INDEPENDENT STUDIES

History: 
Reading through the time era around 1860, preparing to enter the Civil War era next month.
Books on the list this month;  The Heart of the Rockies, The Pony Express.

Literature:
To compliment the time era we are studying; Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn.

English Grammar:
adverbs, semi-colons, quotations vs underlining.

Math:
TJ- Negative exponents & functional notations.
Review of simplifying decimal equations.
Katie- Linear measurements, bars & graphs, & place values.
Review of the 4 basic operations of multiplication.

GROUP STUDIES

Bible:
Book of Matthew.  Ideally I would like us to work through the four Gospels on up through Christmas time.  To really ponder the different angles of the same historical time.

Science:
Astrophysics- learning about the planets.

Health:
It’s safety month!
Fire safety, media/internet safety, and spiritual safety
(ie the study of All Hallow’s Eve, and why we, as a family, will choose not to celebrate Halloween).

Spanish:
All things food!
What to eat, where to eat, when to eat.

PRIMARY GRADE focal points:

Read:
Bryson- 100 Easy Lessons;
he is halfway through the book, woo hoo!
Andrew- Animal Pride series; 1 book per week,
ie Roy Raccoon, Billy Beaver, Redi Fox, and Brutus the Bear.

Read alouds:
Twin series; The Indian Twins, The Eskimo Twins.

Write:
letter writing, addressing envelopes,
and the various ways to write the date.

Math:
telling time, counting money, and measuring (baking, Mmmm).
working on addition and multiplication math facts.

NOTES

We are a late night family; however, as of lately, it has been later.
(did you follow that?).  Trying to get our family in bed by midnight so that we can easily start our school day by 9.  The reality is that each child has randomly chosen when to do their work ie one child in the morning, 1 child mid day, 1 child afternoon, and one who leans towards the evening learning hours.  My goal is to get everyone back on track to do our RC learning (read, write, math) in the mornings, so we can effectively do our group studies in the afternoon.  Plus honestly, I enjoy our ‘after lessons’ quiet time.  A bit of sanity before facing the afternoon chores whilst heading into our evening happenings.

How are your daily routines going?  spontaneous?  derailed?  focused?

Remember the boy who wouldn’t write for me last year?
You know, that youngest child of mine, who would get eraser possessed?
and when I took the eraser away, he would scribble out his mistakes?
So I finally set formal writing lessons aside…

and handed him blank paper (printer paper) with no lines.

and we now have ended up with a writing process
of his own free will.  Go figure.

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The top paper is a picture of a house (the beach house we stayed at on vacation) for a thank you note (his idea, lol).
The left paper is him randomly writing letters (with a few added question marks).
The middle paper it started to click that he could make words as he wrote\.
The bottom paper is the 4 teenage mutant ninja turtles (back to scribbles),
and what (supposedly) each turtle is saying.
This is all a natural process.  The age of progression can vary,
but when we get to this point I know we headed in the right direction.
The right side paper is his actual one of his writing assignments this week,
of writing to his pen pal.
He told me what he wanted to write,
and I wrote it down on a separate piece of paper,
so that he could do copy work.

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Writing has become serious business since we got pen pals for the younger boys!
I often find one of the boys quietly in their room with paper and pens out.

Practice makes progress, eh?

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