relying on who you’re not

IMG_4447IMG_4454 Last weekend we had our friends over. Both of these friends are artists.  I’m talking about painting and drawing type of artists.  That’s not something I would classify myself as “accomplished” at.

My friend asked me if they could bring over supplies to make slime with.  Supplies like beads, sequins, and glitter.

I admit that my insides tightened at the mention of loose glitter coming into my house.   Ever since Olivia poured chunky glitter into her eyes as a toddler twice in one week, glitter of the loose sort has been banned from our house.

Banned.

Glitter glue…okay.  Flaky, loose glitter that sticks to you for weeks…nope.

Here we are, years later with glitter of every shape and color on our kitchen table.

Why?  What has changed in me to allow this abominable craft medium back into our household?

Nothing, really.

Nothing has really changed in me and my thoughts towards glitter.  What has changed is my perspective on what I believe about how my kids are shaped by others.

What’s important for me to remember is that I’m not the only person that has something to teach or offer my children. Everyone that my little peanuts are exposed to have different gifts, experiences, and learning opportunities they can absorb.  I’m not always the “fun mom” that I idealistically want to be.  I can get around this deficit in my personality.  I can allow people who are gifted and passionate about horribly messy crafts and activities the blessing of sharing their excitement with my kiddos.

I know I’m not alone in this distaste of glitter.  The husband of said friend called loose glitter the “herpes of crafts”.

Spreads, can’t get rid of it.

You get the idea.

I was thankful that God pressed on my heart to let someone else do the “fun” thing with my kids. Even my teens couldn’t resist the sparkly mound of activities. Do you have friends like this?  Are you that friend yourself?

I’m happy and grateful to rely on people that I’m not.  It’s truly freeing to rest in who and what I am, and let others do the same.  I believe we all have great things to offer each other.  I don’t need to be all that things myself.

Are you feeling this in your life?  I feel it’s so tempting to try to be the “superwomen” mama.  I find that role so exhausting and unfulfilling. Instead, I want to send up a bat signal when I’m noticing something the kids need that I can’t provide.  I want to call for help and have someone else meet their need alongside me.  I aim to use my resources to expose them to things I would put off or avoid altogether.

You know what?  I am totally willing to do the same for people in my life.  Just as a marriage is made of two different people working towards a common goal, friendships and child-rearing can be the same. Two gifts or talents being exchanged to better the children we long to raise as well as we can.

Don’t carry every burden of this perfect mama illusion you see plastered on the internet. You are enough for your tiny humans.  Every has a special gift to offer another.  Rely on who you are not. That mama is plenty.

 

 

history curriculum review: the good and the beautiful history 1

Today marks several weeks of homeschool under our belts.  I’m pleased to share with you that The Good and the Beautiful History 1 is a big hit with me and the littles.  We have completed Unit 1 which comprises of Ancient History.  In this unit we covered Ancient Biblical History and Ancient Egypt through Modern Egypt.

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Pros:

Open and Go:

The teacher can simply open up this curriculum and get going.  Very little prep work is required.  I needed to make sure we had our Read-aloud picked out and ready.  I also had to buy some gold tape for our armband craft.  The craft was super easy and took us less than 10 minutes to complete.

Comes with all you need for maps/timelines:

This curriculum includes sheets you can photocopy for children.  The Big Book of History Stories has maps in the back.  If you do not have a map of the World at home, you can utilize the ones in the book or online.

All ages enjoyed the information and were challenged:

When you purchase this curriculum, you get a board game, course book, and book with history stories.  The course also comes with a PDF download with all levels of the Student Explorers.  The Student Explorers are separated into age groups.  I simply printed out the proper explorer for each child and placed it into a 3-ring binder.  Some colored pages while others researched topics outlined in their explorers and wrote reports.

My high school believed she learned valuable information in her independent studies as well as enjoying the “younger” group activities.

Chronological format:

I appreciate any curriculum that lays out history chronologically.  I personally find it confusing to bounce back and forth through timelines while learning.  This course is laid out in a fashion that combines biblical and secular history in order.

Ancient times through Modern Times:

Each history course offered by The Good and the Beautiful covers ancient through modern history in one year.  History 1 zooms in on Egypt, Moses, Ancient Britain, King Alfred, The Magna Carta, Joan of Arc, The scientific revolution, The French Huggunots, The American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, The Victorian Era, the history of flight, the Space Race and the end of The Cold War.

I absolutely LOVE that we are not getting burnt out on one time period. I think it keeps everyone’s attention, while making intentional pauses to dig deeper into area of interest people, and importance in history.

Audio recordings:

The course book comes with a link and password to unlock the audio recordings that coincide with certain lessons.  The radio recordings are a series of stories following a brother and sister whose aunt and uncle are teaching them in a fun way about history and time periods.  All of the kids find this to be captivating.  They usually color of get snuggly in the living room and listen, while I clean up the kitchen from breakfast and set up school for the day.

I love this portion of the curriculum because it gives me a break from reading, and the dramatization of the recording are done very well.  The stories depicted in the recordings solidify what we have learned in a creative way.

Cons:

Length:

This curriculum can take 30 minutes or an hour and a half.  I sometimes feel that it is taking too long, but we only do five lessons in a two-week period.  The curriculum suggests 2-3 lessons per week.

The time it takes varies, so if you run a tight ship or have appointments to get to, it may derail some of your daily goals.  We tend to just get everything required done first thing in the morning.  You could push the read-aloud, recordings, and student explorers to the afternoon if you need to free up your morning time or it feels too long all at once.

Not immersive

If you’re looking for something that will teach your kids everything about one topic, this isn’t it.  You may spend a month on Egypt and only a couple of days on The Cold War ending.  I’m okay with this format, but it may not be your style.

No emphasis of memorizing timelines or dates

Again, I don’t mind this,  I can always stress the dates and chronology if I want.  If you are searching for a curriculum that prompts you to teach these things, you will be disappointed.  That being said, the Keys of History game cards do have those things.  Children will learn in a more passive way.  History 2 does have a separate timelines book.

Overall, I am very much enjoying the open-and-go approach to this curriculum.  This is very nice for me, a working mom, to pick up where we left off and have no real planning involved.

I have had to look ahead to make sure I didn’t need to purchase anything for art ect.  There are very little projects that you won’t be able to do with standard household items and basic craft materials.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  Go check out jennyphillips.com to see if this history would be a good fit for your family.

What history curriculum or method do you love right now?

 

 

 

 

back where we thrive

We’re back.

Back at our farm. Back to homeschooling. Back to what we love and thrive at.

It is completely where we belong.

I shared already about our decision to go back to homeschooling here. We are three weeks in, and I am pleasantly surprised and relieved that things are going very well.

Yes, I still work FULL time and I work outside the home.  I haven’t had a mental break-down or screamed at any precious humans.  In fact, I would say the opposite is happening.

I sat on my porch this morning and listened while sipping that magnificent first cup of coffee. I listened to the distant hum of a center pivot slowly watering a crop of cotton.  Birds of all sorts were chirping and flitting back and forth.  I even enjoyed the birds that were louder and slightly annoying.  You know the sort, right?  The ones that squawk. Yeah, even they seemed nice today.

Coyotes howled and screeched as the early sunlit horizon warmed my face.  Hornets buzzed and floated on the (less warmer then usual) air.   I’m certainly not going to call it “crisp”, “Fall”, or “cool”.  It’s still Southern AZ I live in.

This may sound terrifying to those of you who didn’t grow up in the Southwest.  Coyotes, hornets, squawking birds in September. Fear not! I was in no harm.  I was in my blissful place.

The point is this.  I haven’t sat in such silence for a year. I haven’t heard the sounds of nature and farming country for too long.  Something that refreshes my soul has been gone.  Nature.  I really can’t do too much city.  I feel closest and most appreciative of God and who He is when I see it everyday in this form.

Gratitude and peace overwhelm me here.  I heard, feel and witness that glory of creation daily at the farm.  Maybe that’s what I personally need.  I see so much devastation and destruction in my line of work.  I see the worst people in society, I see the moments in humanity that impacts the future of a family.

A lost life, a mangled arm, a new life.

The most amazing and tragic days are my job. Also, some pretty disgusting humans are out there to grace me with their issues.

I need a refresh. I need a long drive to unwind, and to prepare.

I think that’s why I breathe in the refreshing scenes and sounds out here.  I breathe deeply and often.  Intentionally.

I know I’m not alone.  The kiddos took roughly 30 seconds of living out here to soak it in and get right back to catching toads, frogs, and bugs.  Day one there was a teen eating dinner in the tree.

They PLAY!

I can’t tell you how much having a rock backyard the size of a postage stamp muffled the energy out of these five children.  Their energy was turned on each other- not in a great way.

Now they all have room to spread out and explore, create, have fun.  Together.  They are choosing each other!  It’s like a miracle has occurred here.

Listen when I say this.  They still bicker.  Space doesn’t cure everything.  It just has given them more options.  :)

I love how they can open the door and go outside.  I’m not worried about them getting kidnapped from our yard.  I’m not worried about them getting hit by a car while riding their bikes.  I’m not worried that someone is going to come into our yard at night.  I’m not worried that they are playing too loud.  I’m not worried about my dog barking.   I’m not worried in general.  Some may think that living out in the middle of nowhere is scary.

Isolating.

Unsafe.

I would argue that the more people you are around the more unsafe you are.

We have all isolated ourselves in the “safety” of our city house for a year.  Going outside has been planned instead of organically happening.  You can’t go to the park without an adult.  We have driven around the streets of a neighborhood that is “family friendly” for a year.  You don’t see families in their yards.  The streets are vacant. No one sits on their front porch.  I wouldn’t recognize more than 3 neighbors.  I never saw even a glimpse of them.  They drive into their garages, shut the door, and are never seen.  Seriously!  Who have we been living next to?

If you are a city person, that’s great!  I’m not.  I don’t know how to feel the same things and live the same way with all the crowds.  I’m so thankful that we aren’t being called to that right now.  We have seen what the city has to offer and we have declined.  We have come full circle to the place we have all loved for so many years.  We have grown here, just as lush as a beautiful garden.  We have lost here.  We have become different here.  We have loved it.  Every bit has changed us into the family that we are now.

I feel a stirring again inside.  I movement that causes reflection.  I can hear a whisper of my voice coming back to me.  I haven’t felt like this for so long!

Maybe it was the stress of college, life, busyness of the city, goals.   Whatever it was, it’s going away.  My love for writing has never left me, but my ability to express it faded for too long.  Maybe I just had nothing to say.   This place sparks instant inspiration.

We are simply free here.  We are free to play, learn, refresh our souls.

We are free to thrive in an environment that tells us daily, ” You belong here”.