Tag Archives: child

30 Memories of 1978 …

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Recently I’ve contemplated simpler times.  I must be getting old or something …or just need to

de-stress.  At any rate, that line of thinking brought me back to my childhood; so here we go:

30 Memories of 1978:

  1. My best friend was Kim and we shared every minute together that we weren’t in school.  We played kickball, softball, hide-and-seek, Barbies, paper dolls, caught lightning bugs, played Monopoly and Pay Day ’til the cows came home and watched Dukes of Hazard every Friday night.
  2. You had to get up and turn the t.v. dial to change the channel or control the volume!
  3. We had no microwave and wouldn’t for eight more years!
  4. We went to church every Sunday.
  5. Back then, we really got snow!  How thrilling it was to go sledding down a huge hill in the power lines that ran behind our houses!  Of course, it was a long way to trudge back up the hill … to do it all over again … but so worth it!  🙂
  6. I was in 3rd grade and it was my last year at a public school.  Little did I know how difficult the next school year would be when I would be immersed in a rigorous educational program at a private school!
  7. My 83 year old grandmother made us pancakes every morning before we headed down the hill to catch the school bus.  She also nudged us awake each day with her cane.  I always wanted more sleep!  🙂
  8. I remember thinking how neat it was that President Jimmy Carter had a little girl, Amy, living in the White House.
  9. We rarely got new clothes outside of beginning a new school year at our private school or Christmas.  We didn’t expect anything otherwise.
  10. Hand-me-downs and used toys were very common.
  11. I loved family trips to the beach when we visited extended family in the summer.
  12. My younger sister and I were always outdoors!
  13. Even back then, I loved to write letters. (and receive them!)
  14. Mrs. Jones was my 3rd grade teacher and I loved her.
  15. School papers were mimeographed.  I still remember that blue ink & the smell.
  16. I had a lot of friends at school.
  17. I was a Chatty Cathy!
  18. I deeply admired my neighbor’s vibrant, red tulips each spring!
  19. We had a huge, wood paneled station wagon. It was a boat!
  20. If you wanted to speak to family out of state, you better make it brief.  Long distance was expensive!
  21. When the phone rang, it was seldom for a child.  Phone calls were more for grown ups or teenagers.
  22. Phones had this crazy cord attached.  Most phones were black.
  23. No one I knew had a computer.  I don’t think I knew what one was.
  24. You didn’t talk back to grown ups.  Most had respect for their elders.
  25. We weren’t allowed to chew gum in school.
  26. We had to do our homework before we went out to play.
  27. I hated spinach, brussel sprouts & stuffed peppers.  (still do!)
  28. I helped with household chores, including laundry and cooking.
  29. Greatly admired my older sister, who wore clogs & vests.
  30. We just knew our future would be very bright!

….. I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of my world way back when!  What are your fondest memories of simpler times?

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Abeka Video Program Review

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I often am asked by other homeschoolers about what curriculum we use, which leads to inquiries about the Abeka Video Program.  Abeka is based out of Pensacola, Florida and has been around for many decades, designed originally for Christian school use.  It has evolved over the years as a popular homeschooler’s choice as it is pre-packaged and fairly user friendly.

{A side note:  I actually used the Abeka curriculum from 4th-12th grades when I attended a Christian school.  So, I’ve been familiar with Abeka since 1979!}

If you’re familiar with our homeschool journey, you already know that we’ve been at this for nearly twenty years with two graduates and one in the not-so-distant future, by God’s amazing grace.  We have primarily used the Abeka curriculum for most of our journey and relied on the Video Program for the last five years.  I especially recommend it for the high school years!  We did use the Video Program for Algebra I for our oldest back in 2003.  So, my kids have had a variety of teachers in a myriad of subjects, some we love almost like family.

Hands down, Mr. Mike Smith, who has taught History and Bible is the funniest and most thoroughly engaging teacher they’ve ever had!  I’ve even enjoyed listening to him.  A close second, in terms of a wealth of information that he brings to the table, is Mr. Denis McBride.  My kids loved both of these teachers dearly and learned so much from them.  They were almost sad when a course was over!  Incidentally, you can view snippets of these gifted teachers on YouTube to get a glimpse of their teaching style and expertise.

Interestingly enough, Mrs. Judy Howe, who wrote the math curriculum, is the video teacher for Algebra.  My daughter absolutely loved her teaching.  I remember one year, my daughter was immersed in poetry and really developed a passion for it because of the way it was introduced to her via her Abeka Video Teacher.

My children have certainly learned a lot from me, or at least I’d like to think that, however, exposing them to so many experts in their respective fields has broadened their horizons in ways that would’ve been impossible otherwise.  So, I am forever grateful for the Abeka Video experience!

One year we did the video streaming online, which is not a live experience, but pre-recorded.  It is slightly cheaper and foregoes having the actual DVD’s mailed out.  You simply access it via Abeka’s website.  However, we found that selecting the DVD option worked better for us.  (less temptation to view other websites…)

The format of the Video Program is a classroom setting at the Pensacola Christian Academy and seeks to engage the student at home.  The teacher often asks questions of those in the classroom as well as directing questions to the “student at home watching”.  They play games that test their working knowledge of the subject that break up the pace of simply lecturing.

Included in the cost of the Video Program are all of the necessary student workbooks, teacher keys and tests.  So it is a complete program.  It is a little expensive, however, you are really getting a quality education that is priceless.

While the textbooks offer a very thorough education through a Christian perspective, adding the Video teacher’s expertise, further enhances the learning experience.

One can opt to only purchase one subject or a complete grade level.  At present, my son is completing 10th grade.

The way it works is … At the beginning of the school year, Abeka mails out the first set of DVD’s and a few months later, they ship the second batch of DVD’s.  However, they will not ship the third (and final) batch until you have returned the first set.  You are only permitted to have two sets out at any given time.  The DVD’s remain the intellectual property of Abeka and are never to be duplicated or retained in any way by the student.  The consumer is simply “leasing” the DVD’s for the school year.  You have to return all DVD’s within 12 months of your school start date.  When you place your order, you submit whatever “start date” you desire and this is what they go by.

You simply print a return shipping label from their website using your account and drop off at the Post Office.  They are very prompt about sending out the next set.  Their customer service is excellent in all regards.  We’ve had times where we’ve had to call about things and they are quick to resolve any issue, no questions.  As a parent, I’ve been ordering from Abeka since 1997 and am a completely satisfied customer.

I hope this answers some questions you may have had about the Abeka Video Program.  Please feel free to leave a question or comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.

{Little trivia:  Abeka was established by Arlin & Rebeka Horton in 1954.}

 

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Homeschooling Forever?

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Has our homeschooling journey been that long?  No, not really, but it sure has seemed that way some days.  Way back in 1997 when our daughter was a baby, we decided to homeschool our oldest.  We really didn’t know much about the process aside from what I’d read in a handful of library books.  There were two homeschooling families at our church and I picked their brains for what worked for them.  It still was a walk in the dark and every step was preceded by much prayer, thought and hard work.

We have had many days it truly felt like we were stumbling around in the dark, stubbing our toes on the furniture.  Other days were filled with euphoric moments of triumph when new concepts were mastered!  I think most homeschoolers would agree that their experiences has been a combined mixture of both.

Where are we now?

Our older son was in fifth grade when we began this journey and he graduated in 2006.  Ten years ago?  How can that be?  Time truly flies, folks!

Our daughter wanted to do school like her big brother so she began kindergarten at age four. She’s always been very curious and precocious and we felt she was ready.  She graduated in May 2015.

Our younger son is currently finishing up 10th grade and will begin 11th grade in the fall.  He’s almost 6′ tall and we have a lot of fun learning together.  We use the Abeka video program, which I absolutely love!  All of the video teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which make it worth every penny.  We use a separate curriculum for math, though.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s needs depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

I always say, “One of these days I’m going to graduate!”  🙂  The truth is, I’ve been in nearly every grade four times (once myself way back when and then once for each of the 3 kids).

We’ve had many bumps in the road along the way.  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years, which always throws a wrench into schooling preparation and plans.  Also, I just had surgery.  It’s times like these I’m very thankful for the Abeka video program and the fact that my son is older and can work independently for the most part.  We do work pretty closely with math, however.

Life is always full of interruptions and that is why we have always appreciated the immense flexibility of homeschooling.  For instance, we are not bound by school schedules that prevent us from taking a family vacation if desired.  There are so many opportunities my children would never have had if it weren’t for a home based education.

Has it been easy?  A resounding NO!  But then, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Has it been fun?  Yes.  We’ve had many laughs … mixed with tears sometimes.  Mixed with worry that our children aren’t learning enough…or fast enough…or on par with their public school peers… It’s times like these, our kids do something really amazing or we have lengthy conversations that allay all my fears that they will, in fact, turn out just fine.

Has it been worth it?  Every minute.  Every ounce of energy.  Only eternity will tell, but I know that in my heart of hearts, I’ve given it my all.

{Side note:  My 18 year old daughter & I had a conversation about the stresses of raising kids, family size, etc.  I shared how important extended family can be, especially relieving strain when the children are small.  Our conversation went on and she said, “Mom, I have many fond memories of you doing crafts with us and always making things fun.  You’ve done a great job.”}

Well, I guess I should frame this, not that she hasn’t said similar things before, because she has.  She’s always so sweet and affirming.  But, because sometimes those “Mommy fears” rear their ugly head and needle away at any confidence I may have had.

Moms have such a full and far reaching job on their hands, raising a family, taking care of the house, their husband, and whatever involvement they may have in church or the community!  Goodness, we need to give ourselves a break!

You’re doing GREAT, Moms!!

Frame this!  “You’re doing GREAT!”  You really are.

If your hearts’ desire is to be the best Mom possible, I’m confident that you are, in fact, doing just that.  We need to give ourselves grace.  And don’t worry so much!  We worry because we love deeply but really we should transfer that worry into a prayer and leave it there.  I’m preaching to the choir now.

It’s hard to imagine life beyond homeschooling but in May 2018, our youngest will graduate.  And then a new chapter of my life will begin.  But this one has been an exceptional run and one that has been rich, meaningful and a real time of planting seeds into our children.  For that, I am ever grateful.

And to those who are just starting out on this homeschooling journey or are midway through – Hang in there!  Enjoy every step of the way.  Do those crazy art projects and science experiments.  Go on those educational field trips and family vacations.  Find beauty and learning opportunities everywhere!  Enjoy your kids, moms.  Those formative years only last so long and then they’ll be taller than you (like all my kids are now!).

I saw this quote many years ago:

“A parent’s true role is to work themselves out of a job.”

Our job is to raise the next generation to be moral, independent, critical thinkers.  If we have done that, our work is done.

Of course, as a Christian Mom, I have prayed for my children since they were in my womb and I will always intercede for them until I draw my last breath.  I love them so.  So, even when our children are out on their own making their way in this world, our role as intercessors never ends.

Do you homeschool?  How would you sum up your journey so far?  Have any of yours graduated?

 

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The Lost Has Been Found

Have you ever hidden something so well in your house that you actually hid it from yourself?  It seems to be a pattern with me over the last few years.  Most recently, I bought a package of Mike & Ike’s candy and teriyaki beef jerky for my son.  They were to be treats for completing his Algebra lessons.

Well, for the last week or so I haven’t been able to locate said treats.  Times like these, I feel like I’m losing my marbles!  Apparently, I’m just a good “hider”, too good.

Then, I opened the armoire in our bedroom and spotted a Walmart plastic bag beside the t.v., which I thought was odd.  😉  Lo, and behold, there were the treats!  I even had purchased another package of beef jerky as a consolation prize for my son – really it was to bide my time in finding the original treats!

I knew I would eventually find them … just wasn’t sure when!  Ha ha!

I’ve hidden Christmas gifts in the past … well past Christmas!  I’ve hidden the kids’ electronics that we’ve temporarily confiscated…well past the grounding period.  Ah, the list could go on.

What have you hidden so well that you couldn’t locate right away?

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Our House Selling Saga

Hello there, friends!  As previously mentioned, my husband got the job we prayed for and we’re now two months into the process of selling our home!  Praise the Lord for the job and answered prayer!!  Hubby began his new job six weeks ago and being separated by 1,000 miles has been strenuous to say the least!  He visited three weeks ago and I flew to visit him (and retrieve our other car) two weeks ago.  Our beloved 12 year old SUV decided now was a good time to die!  *Sigh*  Fortunately, hubby didn’t need the car he drove to our new town as he has another vehicle.

We’ve had a lot of showings over the last two months, although some slow spots in between.  The real estate market tends to be slow this time of year, but we are resting in God’s hands.  We’re very happy that we have TWO showings scheduled for this evening!!  If you would, please pray that someone will fall madly in love with our home and make a solid offer!  What would be truly awesome is, if there was a bidding war!!  🙂

We’ve lowered our price twice now and are offering a $2,000 buyer’s agent incentive.  I think that incentive is largely the reason for the sudden interest.  Whatever the case may be, we are grateful!  The kids and I are ready to begin our new life 1,000 miles away and be reunited with my husband!  We’ve been married for 19 years and this is certainly the longest period we’ve ever been apart.  It is a strain on all of us.  I know the kids really miss their dad too.  The first month, I cried just about every night as it was completely foreign to be alone in our king size bed.  Although we are very thankful for Skype and cell phones, there is no replacement for the huge void that spans such a distance.  Now, I don’t cry, but I am ready to move onto our next chapter and settle in.

Preparing the house for showings is much like a dog chasing its tail!  We do the same actions — again and again!  And, then wake up the next day… and do them yet again!  It would be simple if we did not live here.  The house would simply always be ready for the next showing!  But, somewhere amongst the madness of selling our home, my children are plugging along in 9th and 12 grades!!  They’ve been absolutely wonderful throughout this process!  My daughter, who’s a senior this year, makes sure we are all duly fed.  She’s the chef, most days!  And my son has had a fast course in operating our John Deere riding lawnmower and has done an outstanding job maintaining the yard!  He mows, trims and blows the unending leaves off the driveway and sidewalk!  The John Deere is my husband’s baby, so it’s been interesting to see him hand over the reins to our son.  (only because he had to! haha)  I have to say, our son blows it off each time he mows and even wipes it with a cloth.  He says it’s like his first car!  🙂  Precious.  My husband has told him a number of times, “Now, son, you’re the man of the house while I’m gone.  Take care of mom and your sister.  Make sure the doors are locked and the alarm set.”  🙂  My 15 year old (now suddenly very mature) son has taken his marching orders very seriously and has been wonderful!  He’s been taller than me for a while, which isn’t hard to do, considering my 5’4″ stature.  But, he’s pushing 6′ very soon, I can tell!  He has really grown over the last six months and is about 5’11” probably now.  Considering he started out at 9lbs. 10oz. and 22 1/2 inches long, it’s not surprising at all!  🙂  Our 26 year old son stands at 6’2″ and I’m afraid it may injure his ego to know his little brother may surpass him in height before it’s all over.  🙂

… Pardon me, I just received a text from my husband, wishing me a great day, complete with heart symbols.  (only because when he types “I love you”, his phone prompts the emoticons! haha)  I have to laugh because my husband is a very hard worker, very diligent.  He really doesn’t have time for trivial things.  He’s not on social media and up until six weeks ago, he didn’t have a Smartphone for personal use.  So, he’s had a crash course and I helped him set up his address book, etc. on his new toy.  But, it’s been nice to text back and forth as we’ve never done that much in the past.  🙂  Feels like we’ve reverted back to our courting days with all the phone calls and wishing we could be together!

I can honestly say, our faith has grown as the Lord has truly been stretching us!  My perspective has changed on our relationship.  When you can step back for a minute … or six weeks … you see what’s really important in life, in your relationship, and what things you need to let go of, as well as things you want to change moving forward!  Perspective is a beautiful thing!  And, so the Lord has been teaching me that He is not confined to statistics nor seasons, but can perform miracles any time He so chooses!  Statistically, this is a dreadful time of year to be selling a house and the weather is turning colder now.  But, He’s been reminding me to take Him out of the box that I’ve put Him in, remove the limitations my little faith has placed on Him, and just believe that He is able to provide for us and show Himself strong and mighty on our behalf!  For He truly is working all things together for our good and ultimately for His glory!  That’s where I rest my faith!

If you would, would you agree with me in prayer that our house will sell very soon?  During this separation, I am made keenly aware of just how precious my husband is to me.  Perfect?  No.  Precious and priceless?  Yes!  He gets on my nerves.  Yes.  I’m sure I do too.  But, far above any trivial irritations in our relationship, he remains my best friend, my lover and one of the greatest gifts God ever saw fit to bless me with!  He is diligent, tenacious, loving, caring, generous, thoughtful, loves Jesus and serving others … and invaluable to me!  On our wedding day, we were so in love and one would tend to believe that it doesn’t get any better than that!  However, the longer we’re married and the more we’ve grown and experienced life together, I can honestly say our love becomes deeper and richer for it!  God knew what He was doing when He ordained marriage to be a lifelong committment.  Somehow I think our richest and most meaningful days are yet ahead…

Sorry to make this post so long.  If you’ve held on to the end and your eyes haven’t glazed over, thank you.  And thank you for your prayers, most of all.  There’s a testimony after the test, folks!  God is good and He is ever faithful that promised!

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My #1 Son

They say that motherhood is the only time your heart walks outside of your body.  I tend to agree.  All three of my children captivated my heart the day they were born and my heart will never let go!  It doesn’t matter how old they get, they’re still deeply rooted in my heart for always.  

This mother’s heart was overjoyed last night when my #1 son called.  I haven’t heard his voice for a couple months, making it especially wonderful.  (We text fairly often, so there’s some redemption there.  Thank God for technology and unlimited texting!) We live 1,000 miles apart and the distance is difficult.  I’m hopeful that we will move closer at some point in the near future.  His siblings miss him very much also!

It was so great to hear that he’s doing well and performing with excellence in his job.  He’s very competitive (like his mother) and it serves him well.  We invariably can’t wait until we visit the next time.  Seeing him just twice a year is hard.  I know many parents with grown children live thousands of miles apart, but I am not one who is happy about it!  For one thing, when grandchildren begin to arrive, I need to be there.  I want to be a part of their lives, not just Christmastime Grammy!  My #1 son and I have always been close so it’s especially challenging.  He’ll turn 26 this summer, which is really quite amazing, especially considering I’m only 35!  Haha! …Not really.  However, I do remember 35!  🙂  I’m really unsure how this thing works – the kids getting older and I’m getting younger!  Fuzzy math, that’s all.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of and pray for him.  He’s such a special young man, who God has great plans for!   If you have children, you know how it is with your firstborn.  He/she is your “experiment”.  I remember when I was expecting him, I had lofty plans to use only cloth diapers and would definitely breastfeed.  He would have only natural and healthy things, only the best!  Well, I did use cloth diapers for a while, but then switched to disposables.  And I did start out nursing, but complications arose, so we switched to formula.  Ah, the best laid plans…  But, my point was, with the firstborn, they seem to have your best intentions and your best years.  There would be nine years in between him and my next one.  So, he was the only child for a long time.  He had my undivided attention.    

We homeschooled him from 5th-12th grades and he was dual enrolled at the community college during his high school years.  He nearly got his Associate’s Degree by the time he graduated from high school.  We’ve watched him become a very responsible young adult and ultimately choose a career path that brings tremendous fulfillment and challenge.  He’s at the stage now where he’s flourishing and this mother would really like to share life with him again.  I guess I feel like we’ve nurtured and educated him and now I’d like to sit back and enjoy watching up close the successful outcome.  There’s no greater joy than watching your children gain their independence and doing well in general.  My job as a parent is to work myself out of a job.  And, with him, the day-to-day parenting is done.  I will always be his mother, but I won’t always be there to tell him that energy drinks are bad for you!  Wink, wink.  😉  

Despite his stage of independence, sons and daughters need cheerleaders throughout their lifetime.  And, I will forever be his biggest fan.  I will always hold life’s banner that reads, “You Can Do It” and “I’m So Very Proud Of You”!  Love, Mom

 

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Our children…Our Greatest Joys

We have been blessed by God with three children, ages 25, 16 and 14, and are so thankful for the joy they’ve brought into our lives.  We really couldn’t imagine life without them.

I had my oldest when I was 18 and was a single parent for 6 years.  His father wasn’t involved in his life, but I was determined to raise my son to the best of my ability.  My parents and entire family provided a great deal of support, and I am forever grateful for their love and assistance.

My husband and I met in June of 1994 and married the following June.  We were overjoyed at the birth of our only daughter 2 years later and younger son 20 months after her!  My goal was to have all our children by the age of 30.  I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea.  I suppose so I’d still be young enough to get on the floor to play with them.  🙂  I was 29 when our last was born.

Our two boys weighed over 9 pounds and our daughter was a few ounces shy of 8 pounds…big babies, but so precious!  I love the Scripture in Psalm 139:13-17 that says:

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!”

…Every life is such a priceless gift, a tiny slice of heaven.

Yes, raising children is a parent’s greatest and most challenging endeavor.  There are seasons where you may question your entire repertoire of parenting wisdom.  There have been many days that I asked, “Where can I go to turn in my Mommy badge?”  So many questions we don’t have the answer to.  So many concerns and worries we bear.  Parenting is so complex because each child is so unique with their own set of challenges.

My greatest piece of parenting advice is to pray and “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

I often remind God that He made these treasures we are trying to raise.  Please help!  Send an owner’s manual or something, God.  I’ve found the truest manual to be the Word of God.  It is there we find the foundation for living.  When we model before our children how they should live, we are promised in Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

God’s Word is truth, and that’s what we hang our faith on daily.

Then, there are times in our lives that we are so proud of our children, we could burst!  So proud of their choices and their character taking shape.  These seasons make it all worth it!

Each of our children has their own distinct personality, as I’m sure yours do, as well.  Our oldest is very laid back and quiet, although can be otherwise in his vocation.  Our daughter has a very bold personality (like her dad) and likes noise.  Our younger son is like his brother, easy going and doesn’t mind hanging back and observing the situation before becoming involved in it.

All are our most valued assets, worthy of a lifetime of investment.

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