Friday, May 26, 2017

The Art of {Food} Relationships

During the Practicum this week we talked about the Art of Relationships - combine this with my love of serving beauty and wanting to bless my sweet friends!

It was fun to think of food that goes together {get it: relationships!?} coffee + donuts, yogurt + berries + granola, cookies + milk. I ended up skipping the last day and serving leftovers.

One of my sweet friends made this awesome donut display!! I love it!

The parfait bar was super popular and well received! Rachel made the granola and it was easy to make it gluten and dairy free.

So this brings me to ask - I'd really love to hear your ideas for high protein, healthy, easy to make gluten and/or dairy free snack ideas! What are your favorites? And bonus points if I could serve it in a cute way!!!

I had so much fun setting this up during Practicum and am excited to think of ways to expand this idea next year!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking Ahead to Challenge

 Finishing off this homeschool reflection mini series this week by looking forward to what lies ahead for our family! The CC Challenge program is for grades 7-12 students and honestly is what we've been looking forward to these past 7 years!

·         Our family got started in CC because of Challenge! My husband picked up a catalog I had in 2010 and looked at the page with the scope and sequence for all the Challenge years on one chart. He said, “This is what I want for our kids, let’s start now!” Our children were 5, almost 4 and 2. Ha!

·         We did join CC that year and they are now 12, 10 and 9 and we are at the threshold of the Challenge years. Emily will start Challenge A this Fall and Rachel the following year so this begins a new season for us and I’m excited as we are reaching the years which spurred our vision at the beginning!
·         These are the years that many moms are tired, especially if we have been home schooling for a long time and have multiple children. So as I’m thinking about reaching the Challenge years, it reminds me to press on.

·         One of my early years in CC I read an article likening the Challenge years to the prom. We have spent time and money getting a dress or suit, getting all fixed up and now the excitement of the date is upon us. These Foundations and Essentials years were likened to this preparation and getting ready for the exciting time ahead. And for some who choose not to continue with Challenge, it is like getting all dressed up and ready to go and then not actually going to the prom. All of that foundation laid, all of the framework built and now comes the exciting part! I think of the Challenge years as a bearing of harvest and fruit from all of the energy poured in through the young years, through all of the establishing and preparing – this is the time we really see our students grow! I’m excited about this and eager to watch and participate!

·         As the weeks have progressed this Spring, I’ve found myself feeling anxious about all the things I don’t know/understand yet about Challenge. Should we organize this way or that, should I add an extra Latin help or not, I found myself looking on Pinterest at all the great posts and noticed I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Friends, I know better than this! There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking on Pinterest for those great moms who have gone before and are sharing wonderful ideas but we must do it within our own personal and family boundaries in a way that it would be a help and not a hindrance or an opportunity to be overwhelmed. As I’ve pondered this, I’ve landed on the motto I’ve held since entering the Foundations years: keep it simple, trust the method, trust the model.
·         When we hit a snag I can re-evaluate and pray and ask for wisdom to navigate that difficulty and then pick up and keep going. It is important to ask around for suggestions but also to filter them through the grid of what will serve and bless you and your family. 

·         Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Slow Day

Hashbrown Waffles for breakfast - a new recipe for us and we all liked them!
Choir program at church for both of the girls - I couldn't get a good photo of Rachel as she was behind other children!
Two little kittens who lost their family?! They stayed with us overnight and then went to the animal shelter as we exhausted all options of where they belonged. Emily fell in love.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reflecting on Essentials

 The Classical Conversations Essentials program is a thorough grammar and English language curriculum. Students spend time diagramming sentences, learning to parse sentences, playing math speed games and also in learning the style of writing.

·         Similar to having finished a tour of Foundations, our family has also finished a three year tour of Essentials. Where I feel like I’ve really mastered the concepts and format of Foundations, I would not say the same of Essentials and know I will benefit from more years in that class! But I will say that there is such beauty in the three year tour. The freedom of knowing that I and my student {s} will get a certain amount of info/understanding the first time around, more the next time and most the third time is such a blessing in taking the pressure off of mom to master it the first time. 

·         I was one of those moms who put my trust in the model, I did not really do any English Grammar other than the memory work until we hit Essentials. There is no right or wrong way – and I love that there is beauty and peace in choosing what is best for your family and going with it! If it works for you to add Grammar before they get to Essentials – do it! If it doesn’t – don’t! 

·         I was always the mom who loved Foundations and was a little fearful of Essentials simply because I didn’t understand how it would play out in my family and I just hadn’t experienced it yet. Now that I have, I love Essentials as much or more than Foundations. It is such an excellent program!

·         As I think about the Essentials years – some things that come to mind are:
o   Excitement, kids are at an exuberant age and competitive and that is capitalized on in class
o   Continue to keep it simple, don’t over complicate
o   Know when to pull back on an assignment and when to push a little to accomplish something hard

·         Over arching word: Build
o   Building on the Foundation of Foundations J
o   Build Vocabulary
o   Build on the Foundations memory work
o   Build the art of asking questions – question confirmation anyone?!
o   Build the ability to begin working on their own
o   Build expectations to prepare them for Challenge and the future
o   Build understanding and analyzing skills
o   Build creativity and confidence
o   Build in layers – three year tour!

           Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

·         Proverbs 14:1, “The wisest of women builds her house…”

·         1 Corinthians 3:10-14, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.”

·         Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning…”

·         Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

·         There are great nuggets of wisdom for these years in the Essentials Guide and also books like The Core and The Question

·        For our family, the theme of our Essentials years has been fun! The class has had great dynamics pushing each other to strive for more! They have acted out their vocabulary words which has brought laughter from all, written creative papers using lots of the dress ups they have learned, diagrammed sentences, memorized grammar charts, earned tickets and held an energetic auction to spend their tickets. The camaraderie in the class has not ended with the students either – it has been a time for us as moms to come alongside one another, laugh with each other, scratch our heads in puzzlement as we grasp a lesson and ask questions together. 

·         Essentials has been exciting and has expanded our Foundations knowledge and brought understanding and fun!
      * Amazon affiliate links provided.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Reflecting on Foundations

·        This morning, I'm at the first day of our CC Parent Practicum and thought I'd reflect a little on graduating one child from all of elementary school! 

      Our family just finished seven years in the Classical Conversations Foundations program and our oldest daughter will be entering Challenge A this Fall. This has given me reason to pause and think back over the years of Foundations for truth and glimpses of beauty and grace to hold onto as we forge ahead. This could apply generally to elementary years whether you are in CC or even if you homeschool or not.

·         I’m way behind but have been working my way through printing out my blog and just finished the year 2013. One thing I’m struck with as I go back through the words and pictures that made up the days of our lives is that even though each day it felt like I didn’t do enough, have the right attitude or accomplish everything I wanted to with our children – there was the overarching theme of beauty, sweet memories and success as I looked through those pages. I felt so grateful that we had spent all of those moments together which add up to a legacy of a happy childhood. We took picnics, played games, went outside on nature walks, had tea parties, lit candles, celebrated the every day and learned together. 

·         When I think of Foundations – a few words/phrases come to mind:
o   Faithful
o   Trust the model, keep it simple
o   Embrace family time, enjoy childhood
o   Don’t compare to other families and question if you are doing enough

·         Over-arching word: Establish
o   This season is the season of establishing:
§  Home rhythms that bring peace
§  School habits
§  How to learn
§  Our roles as teacher, wife and mother
§  Our home as a place of learning and grace
§  Our family personality, what matters to us and how do we recharge
§  The goals we have for educating our children, why are we homeschooling, how will we homeschool, what results are we praying for
§  Their roots in God’s Word
§  Boundaries

           Proverbs 24:3, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

·         Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”

·         Isaiah 26:12, “O Lord, you will ordain {or establish} peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.”

·         Isaiah 61:3, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

·         The word establish reminds us of our ultimate purpose, To Know God and Make Him Known. We have to establish who HE is to us, who He is to our children and why they need Him. Why does He need to be made known and how does the world need Him? How does He fit into education and how will we rely on Him to carry this mission out?

·         Five summers ago I went to a Practicum in the Savannah area and the number one takeaway I brought home was to set home hours. I put a note on my door, turned off my phone and made it a priority to be home and unconnected from interruptions during those hours. As my children have grown, I can check in on my texts/emails during the morning but still try to unplug our home phone and not answer the door in an effort to remain focused on the matters at hand: teaching and training my children. 

·        There are some great quotes for inspiration that you can find in your Foundations Guide and in The Core If I could leave us with one more word in thinking on the Foundations years it would be wonder. Cultivate the wonder of the world around us, the Creator who provided it and takes care of us, the natural joy of children. 

·         A fun Icelandic word Hoppipolla { hop-E-‘pod-dla Hoppy-poddla} means jumping into puddles. Let the Foundations years be this jumping in the puddles, the exuberance for life and exploring the world around us through the eyes of our children.

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