Tag Archives: Family

The Year I Found Me

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

My birthday is this week, Friday to be precise. I turn 35. Goodness that sounds so old, 35. I remember when my mom was 35, I was 13…I think I planned a birthday party for her. I was always planning parties for people, still do. It’s taken me a few years to be OK with this new age…fortunately, it’s just in time. I feel like at 35 I’m finally willing to live my life on my terms, that I’ve finally found myself.

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

So much, too much, of my life has been lived in fear. I never really lived my teens or early 20s, I was too responsible. Too scared of pissing off my parents. And I did nothing. Now, I sit and think about all the things I didn’t do, all the things I wish I had done. The girl I wish I would’ve been, rather than the girl who was too scared to do anything.

Those few risks I took, the limbs I went out on, all turned out pretty good…and yes, Matthew was one of them.

A couple of years ago I realized something: That while I am a wife and mother, I am first myself.

I existed as Me, long before any of those other titles came to be. I was created as a Daughter of the King; Only to Him do I owe any explanation. That moment, that realization, has set me on the course of living my life with less fear. I had to STOP ignoring who I was or in 20 years I was going to wake up to an empty house and wonder what I was supposed to do with my life now.

The only title I have had for all eternity is Daughter of the King, and it is only to Him and for Him, that I am bound to live my life.

Can I tell you what a freeing concept that is?! That I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for what other people think I should be. God created me just as He wanted and needed me to be; the talents, the interests, all of it. All that is me was created solely for the purpose of bring Him glory.

What does that even mean?! It means I can stop stuffing down who I am and what I like and what my interests are. It means that I am free to be WHO I AM in my roles as a wife and mother. It means that I am not JUST A MOM, but an individual, created uniquely to live this life for him.

A friend was recently chided for writing a book, that somehow as a wife and mother it was not “good” for her to take time away from her husband and children to write a book, and I loved her response:

I smiled and told them that way back when, God reached in and tugged at my heart. I chose to live my life for Jesus and not for my children. Any legacy left here for them, is because He has my heart and gives me my focus. My children are just living in my surrender. Wholly and completely given to God.
When my children leave, God is still my first love.September McC.

Before I belonged to anyone, I belonged to Him. When everyone is gone, I will still belong to Him.

God is the only one who has the final word on who and what I am. No one else in this world has any right to tell me that they think my energies are better spent a certain way, that I’m not permitted to be who He created me to be. If I am right with God, that is all that matters. If I am following His lead, that is all that matters.

That weekend trip to Dublin…it was something I desperately wanted (and needed). It was crazy, I knew people would think I was crazy, irresponsible even, but I knew it was a GOOD THING. I knew it was something that God had put together just for me, to learn that I was His, and the He had freed me to live the life that He planned for me.

So, these next few years, I’m hoping you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep-end or that I must’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I am just living the life God has for me, pursuing the interests and paths He has laid out, and BOY! do I have a lot of time to make up for.

This Homeschool Mom’s Summer Reading List

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission on any purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. You can find my disclosure policy here. All titles are clickable links.

We’ve just wrapped up year two of “officially” homeschooling: YAY! I still balk at the title of a “Homeschool Mom”. I don’t feel like a homeschool mom, for some reason I have it in my head that homeschool moms are neat-nik, bible thumpin’ women who manage to keep their house clean, their kids well mannered, and dinner on the table at 5. I am NOT that mom, and I know (deep down) that is not the majority of homeschool moms.

Our houses are loud, our children are messy, chaos is constant, and we like to think of ourselves as John Wesley’s mother with her apron over her head, quietly praying to the Lord, while we’re actually just trying to escape for 2 minutes. At least that’s my house. Some days I can deal with it better than others.

Now that the school year is done and the books are back on the shelves, it allows me a bit more freedom in my own time. There is nothing I enjoy more in my free time than reading.

Before we had children we had planned to homeschool. I wouldn’t say it was a life long dream or any kind of fancy, but we figured that was the path we’d pursue. I had read a few books before we had headed down this path, but not many, and only two since we’ve started on this journey.

Needless to say, there is quite the pile of books that I’ve collected (and many more I haven’t) over the years that I haven’t read. Looking at the pile, knowing the triplets start kindergarten, I decided that it was time to read some of them…you know, before they’ve graduated. This list is some of those that I’ve already read, as well as some books which have sat in the TBR pile far too long.

What I’ve Read

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Read this one last year and LOVED it! Sarah Mackenzie is the mom of 6, and the creator of Read Aloud Revival (as well as momma to preschooler twins). It was a quick read filled with lots of great ideas and tips on how to create a place of rest in your home. How having that base is what will allow you to not homeschool or educate your children but create an environment of welcomed learning. If you’re feeling as though you’re drowing in homeschooling and KNOW that it just CANNOT continue as such, then this is the book for you.

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins

My family is not your average family. We have three kids the same age, and when we started homeschooling we had 5 kids five and under. There is no book that covers that dynamic. Most books assume that you have one child per age and that you can set your child up to be schooling independently, before having the next one start.

Haskins’ book has great information about not following a formulaic approach to homeschooling, and instead letting your family life determine how your homeschool functions. It’s truly the book that set me up for thinking about how we are going to homeschool next year.

The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

This book isn’t specific to homeschooling, but I feel like the digital is very much invading homeschooling. Many curriculums are going toward computer based learning, which is great, but it comes at a price. Hart and Frejd go into how the digital world is reshaping our brains and the way we are relating with not only the world around us, but our families as well.

The thing I truly appreciated about this book, wasn’t that technology is a plague and should be avoided, but a very real presence in our lives and homes and how best to use it without being used by it.

When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul Jr.

I think I read this when Avie was a baby. It was the first book I had read on homeschooling, and one that I will probably be re-reading this summer (particularly since there are no notes or dog-eared pages in it). One of the things that has stuck with me from this book is the “why” of homeschooling.

Why are you homeschooling? What is your definition of success? Are you raising your children with the goal of being successful by the world’s standards or by God’s? It has continually made me rethink what our motives are when it comes to parenting.

What I Plan to Read

Obviously, these are the books I haven’t read. Other than saying that trusted people have recommended them to me, I can give you no incentive to read them for yourselves.

Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

From Amazon: Whether you are a first-time homeschooler or a longtime veteran, this comprehensive guide will equip and empower you for your journey of faith as a family. Discover the joy of bringing relationship-based, book-centered learning into the natural daily life of your home.

Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin

From Amazon: Featuring a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe, as well as practical parenting suggestions and inspiration, Give Your Child the World helps moms and dads raise insightful, compassionate kids who fall in love with the world and are prepared to change it for good.

The Book Tree by Elizabeth MccCallum and Jane Scott

Very similar to Give Your Child the World in the sense, that it is an invaluable resource for choosing good books for your family.

From Amazon: They have provided a guide to the best of children’s literature serviceable for both veteran reading families and those just beginning their great journey of the imagination. I think you’ll find that their accurate descriptions, careful recommendations, and cogent insights will prove to be as delightful as it will be invaluable in your own family.

Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein

From Amazon: This engaging guide shares advice for parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers on how to help children find what to read, and then through conversation, how to find meaning and pleasure in their reading. With more than 100 great book recommendations for kids from Pre-K through grade six, as well as related conversation starters, Reading Together offers a winning equation to turn children into lifelong readers.

Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Raymond and Dorothy Moore have prepared this influential book to show how, by using the everyday resources and experiences of your own home environment, you can truly enjoy your child and give him or her a wholesome, first-class education that neither stifles creativity nor hampers character development.

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I know this list is in no way exhaustive of all of the wonderful homeschooling books that are out there. I’m sure if I looked through just the boks that I’ve pinned and saved on Instagram I could probably add another 15 easily. BUT…

I’d love to know what are some of your favorite homeschool books?

Box Day! Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum

What we are using for our 2017-2018 Homeschool Year

It’s Box Day! Our 2017-2018 homeschool curriculum has arrived!  The kids, or maybe it’s just me, have been excited awaiting the arrival of the last of our books for next year. This next year is going to be completely different, because the triplets start. I’m not going to lie, it scares the crap out of me, but we’re going to do. We’re getting ready, they’re excited, and we’re moving forward.

It took me a while to figure out just WHAT we were going to do this year. There’s not many blogs out there chronicling the antics of homeschooling triplets, especially not from the start. Most of the homeschooling families that I know of with triplets started once their kids already knew their numbers and letters.

Being that I’m not sure of the HOW of homeschooling triplets I really didn’t want to overwhelm myself and be setup for failure. I really wanted this first year to get our feet under us and figure what homeschooling triplets looks like. That said I wasn’t sure I wanted to move on to the next core (which would be D) in Sonlight.

I’m taking a different approach.

When I officially started homeschooling Avelyn (the year she turned 6) she already knew her letters and numbers, thanks to ABCMouse.com; the triplets aren’t there yet. They just turned 5 in December, so they wouldn’t even be beginning Kindergarten until the Fall, so I’m not concerned that they’re behind.

I decided that wouldn’t be progressing to Core D; we’re actually going to go backwards. Avelyn has already done Core B and C (Ave has always been on the young range for the recommended ages for each core), but she never did Core A. Some of the books we already had and some we still needed to order.

Our Homeschool Curriculum with Triplets

Here’s the breakdown or our homeschool curriculum

Math

Avelyn will continue on with Math-U-See, she will be in Beta after this year. The triplets are actually going to start in Horizon K; the reason for this is that they have no connection between visual numbers (1, 2, 3, etc) and actual quantities. They know how to count and they know quantities, but the actual numbers are arbitrary. Math-U-See Primer is just a bit beyond them. Horizon K looked like it gave them a good foundation for learning the number associations.

Science

Avelyn loved Science A last year and B this year from Sonlight, but we never did any of the science experiments…I’d like to talk to a parent that actually does the experiments on a regular basis. I still haven’t quite figured out what I’m doing with science yet. A friend of mine is interested in doing a science co-op so I might just supplement that with other books that we’ve found. Whatever we do, all the kids will be doing the same thing.

History

All of the kids will be doing Sonlight’s Core A, which is an Introduction to World Cultures and History. Yes, Avelyn has done Core B and C, which were more in depth, but I don’t think she’ll be hurting for History. The wonderful thing about Sonlight is all of the FANTASTIC read-alouds and books that are included. We have quite a few from the last two cores that we haven’t managed to finish (they include so many more books than can be read in a year).

Reading and Writing

These will each be done on their individual levels. Avelyn will continue with Explode the Code and A Reason for Handwriting, the triplets will begin with Before the Code and A Reason for Handwriting K. I am planning on adding in whatever things we need, such as ABCMouse.com. Also, we have a ton of Beginning Readers books for all of the kids to work through.

Bible

Sonlight does a great job of incorporating Bible readings, theology, and studies in their curriculum! Unfortunately, I do a REALLY bad job of keeping on top of these things as they’re dictated in the Instructor’s Guides. Really bad. Now before you’re ready to throw me under the bus, we do some of our own storybook bibles and devotionals. Right now though, I have an EXTENSIVE collection of books that I want to work through with the kids. I’d much rather save my money and use what we already have.

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Most of our curriculum is from Sonlight, the rest of it I purchase through CBD.com (Christian Book Distributor) or directly through the program (ie Math-U-See). I think we’ve done well with Sonlight and have enjoyed their structure as well as the books they use. I don’t have endless hours to pull together curriculum and plan everything out myself. I give those who do a TON of credit. I just can’t.

Our Homeschool Curriculum

This year I was trying to save money. I ended up spending $350 on what we purchased through Sonlight (the picture on the left above), and an additional $250 from CBD (on the right) for our Explode the Code and math books.  I still need to purchase Avie’s math and handwriting. I will wait until the fall to do that, but it shouldn’t be more than another $75.

For this year, I’m significantly under what we spent last year with purchasing a full prepackaged curriculum. Since I wasn’t buying a Core from Sonlight I was able to save quite a bit of money by only purchasing the books that I couldn’t get cheaper elsewhere. Some of the books we already had, some of them were significantly less buying them used. It worked out well.

Where are you in your homeschool journey?

Hope for Each Day {a Review}

My kids are in the great in between now…they’re not preschoolers there not tweens. There kind of in the middle, which means that a lot of things are either too mature or too babyish for them. We’ve very much loved our beginner’s devotionals, but the story lines are for preschoolers.IMG_5870

When I was looking at the books I could review from BookLookBloggers.com I saw that there was a new one from Billy Graham, called Hope for Each Day: 365 Devotions for Kids. It piqued my interest. It came a few days later in the mail and we all ripped it open, ready to evaluate whether this was worth it’s weight.

It’s great! We read the entry for today (February 25) and it right away grabbed Avelyn. It talked about how glass is made, transforming something something gritty (sand) into something beautiful, and how God can transform us. We skimmed through a few more and we all agreed, this was going to be a good read. It was immediately placed in the seat of honor, the window by the kitchen table.

While there aren’t any pictures to engage the youngest readers, the text and verses are more than interesting to older kids who can handle 3 minutes of a devotional without a picture. All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a great little addition to our Bible time!

*I received this book for free through the BookLookBloggers program; the opinions expressed are entirely my own. You can read my disclosure policy here. This post does contain affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of the sale, at no additional cost to you.

Happy Birthday, Laura!
Sharing a Love of Laura Ingalls Widler with Your Little Ones

Today marks the 150th birthday of my first literary love, Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can’t tell you the definitive moment that I met Laura or fell in love with her spunky ways, because she has always been there. Before I was born my mom was already introducing me to Laura, through the Little House on the Prairie TV Show. It was a staple in our house; Matthew just bought me the complete series on AppleTV for Christmas.

sharing a love of laura ingalls wilder with my little ones has always been important.

Once we had moved to our own little house in the big woods of upstate New York she became even more real to me. Our winters were spent being warmed by the wood stove, the harsh realities of having to chip through ice and trudge through snow to keep ourselves and animals fed and warm. One of my absolute most favorite memories from my childhood is cozying up on the couch with my mom, hearing the storms raging outside, the fire glowing and having her read Little House on the Prairie to us.

My first “dress like your favorite author day” consisted of my donning the longest dress I had, an apron, my (very in-style) ankle books, and a saffron yellow bonnet. I still have that bonnet: My own Laura and Mary play with it now.

Sharing a Love of Laura Ingalls Wilder with your little ones

I could harp on about all the reason why Laura is stilled loved after so many years, how her story harkens to a “simpler time” in American history, but those things have all been said before. For me, it’s quite simply the story of a little girl who had a love for life and a taste for adventure.

Sharing a Love of Laura Ingalls Wilder with your little ones

She wasn’t perfect, she tried to do what she was supposed, but sometimes that just wasn’t easy or even possible. She had a fierce love for her Pa and her sisters, a tender love for her Ma and home, and such a passionate, self-giving love for Almonzo. She was brave. She was self-sufficient. She was willing to do the hard work. She embodied everything I wanted to be as I was growing up.

Sharing a Love of Laura with Your Little Ones

(The following does contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission off any purchases made through the link, at no extra cost to you. You can read my disclosure policy here.)

Avelyn has been fully indoctrinated into the world of Little House, and it was because of some fantastic books. I had wanted to start reading the books once she turned 5, but she had no desire to sit through lengthy pages with very few pictures. While searching for home school books a few years ago I happened to stumble across another series of books called My First Little House Books.Sharing a Love of Laura Ingalls Wilder with your little ones

They are picture books based on Laura’s own stories and illustrated in the exact style of Garth Williams. They have become some of our favorites to read. There are even a couple of stories about Almonzo, which we particularly love since he was born and raised in New York.

Another way to introduce your little ones is through the television series based on the books. What’s wonderful about them is that there isn’t anything in them that you need to shield your children from. There’s no surprises or inappropriate content, and it’s a show that almost everyone will love (my husband usually falls asleep during them).

While I’ve heard it mentioned in several podcasts, I’ve never looked into the audiobooks read by Cherry Jones. The experts say they’re fantastic and the best part is today the first two books about Laura (books 1 and 3) are marked down to $9.18 each.  You can be sure that I’ve added them to my amazon shopping cart.

The absolute best way to share Laura and her family with anyone is to simply read to them. Read the stories in whatever way you can that your children enjoy. The stories will stick with them and forever be something they remember, if only because you spent time with them.