7 years. It was forever ago, and yet just an instant. Today is the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Every year at this time my heart beats a little faster, a few tears fall, and my heart unknowingly to anyone but us unites with many around the world that lived in New Orleans or the Mississippi coast seven years ago. As time has gone by, the trauma of that time fades, but I know I will never be the same. I don't want to ever be the same. The lessons I learned from that time are a gift only a Sovereign God can give.

R and I had been married a year. E was 2 months old. I had just graduated from seminary and R was still a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We were just settling into a family of three. Welcoming a baby is never really very "settling," but I probably should have enjoyed those 2 months since they were the last stable months we had for years.

Friday August 26th E and I boarded a plane for FL to spend the weekend with my mom while my dad went on a business trip. I packed one carry on.

Saturday we found out Katrina was headed for NOLA. I grew up in SW FL, hurricanes were a part of life. I barely blinked at the thought of a hurricane. R had to stay in the city for work until Saturday night and then evacuated with a few fishing poles and a laundry basket of dirty clothes (to wash while he was gone!) to central MS to wait out the storm with his family.

As the storm hit Monday, I sat glued to the TV. I went to sleep that night thinking well, a few street signs down is not too bad. I woke up Tuesday to a shattered world. As the levees broke and I sat watching my apartment fill with water from images on google earth, I was stunned. I don't think I left the television for weeks.

I worked at an inner city mission center in NOLA and knew many of the families I worked with lived in those flooded areas and had waited out the storm. I saw people I knew on TV. R was stuck in MS as the roads were closed and he had to drive around trees and down power lines just to call and check in on us. We were separated for a week. It seems like a short time, but when your world is crashing around you it feels like forever.

And then the waiting began. Google earth showed our apartment under about 11 feet of water. Would that reach the top of the closets? I knew most everything would be under water, but I had put scrapbooks and journals at the top of the closet, just in case. I had heard from a few of my kids from the mission center, but the whereabouts of most were unknown.

It was October before we were able to get back into the city. As we drove in it looked like some sort of third world battle zone. Boats and cars had floated into medians.  R's truck was still in its spot though. Muddy roads, the smell, the dreaded painted X on every building with the number of those found dead and alive. Houses I had driven by every day. My eyes, my head, and my heart will never forget. Someone had broken the chain off the gate at our apartment complex so R didn't have to. ;) I don't know what I imagined, but I never imagined that. Destruction doesn't begin to describe what we saw. R dug around in his closet for his tools that had a lifetime warranty. And yes, one Ziploc at a time he exchanged them over the next year. He's resourceful. We also got out 2 wooden hand carvings that were really important to us. That was it. Those wood carvings got bleached weekly for 9 months before they stopped growing mold. It was a good reminder to us to be glad we didn't try to "save" anything else!

For months we got phone calls along the lines of "Miss Nicole, I was so scared. The water started coming up the grass and we went upstairs. Then we climbed in the attic, but the water kept coming and we cut a hole in the attic roof. A boat came and picked us up off the roof and took us to a helicopter who took us to Texas to a shelter." The 11 year old who had that story will never be the same.  

Families separated. For months people didn't know where children, parents, siblings or grandparents were. At one point I was told that 2 of my students had not made it. On Thanksgiving Day I got a call that they were found in a shelter in Texas. Even their family thought they were gone.

Growing up in SWFL hurricanes meant nothing. Until August 29, 2005. Still as Tropical Storm Isaac headed towards SWFL this week, I shrugged and went on my way. But when I heard it was headed to NOLA, my heart dropped. That's not the same. Many of my friends from that time of our lives have moved away from NOLA, but many are still there. At this time every year a unmistakable bond connects us from around the world. To have lived in New Orleans during Katrina...that is an experience that can only be understood by those who went through it.

We began to reference life as "Pre-K" and "Post-K." Simple things like "Do you know where ______ is?" "No, I think we had that Pre-K" became a regular exchange. E lived in 8 houses in 2 states and 2 continents by the time she was 3.

We began a journey on August 29, 2005 that we wouldn't change for the world. Moving back to NOLA for a year in 2007 was one of the most challenging things we ever did as a family, but leaving a year later was worse. A big piece of my heart will always remain in New Orleans. Yes, I met my husband there, had my first child there, graduated from seminary there, and lived there twice. But I also lived through an experience that forced me to my knees and to answer the question "Do you trust me? For I am God and there is no other." It was then that I came to realization that serving God is not about geography. It is about complete surrender in your geography. Serving God is not about what I can do for His Glory, but about our journey for His Glory.

Here is a blog post (from a sad abandoned blog from Once upon a time) from August 29, 2007. 2 Years after Katrina, and 2 months after returning to live in New Orleans.

2nd Katrina AnniversaryTwo years ago today, who would have know the journey God had for us! Honestly, things are a little weird today, and since blogs are ultimately about rambling, I will do just that. Honestly, I will not try to be eloquent and not even articulate . . . today is an emotional day. Not one in which I will sit in pity or even in tears, but much more of a pensive day. Who would have known August 28th of last year that our world was about to be turned upside down? Since the time of our evacuation our lives have been, I don't even know to explain it . . . but anything but "normal" or "stable." As we have been in many different places outside of New Orleans, Katrina has been just a part of history. We often hear it talked about, but as we hear people talking about the devastation of Katrina, it is strange to feel as though you are the only ones in the room who really have something to say about it. To us, it wasn't just a storm, it was life changing. Over the last 2 years, Ron and I have dealt with our grief very differently. Ron thinks about Katrina every day. I don't. Not to say that I was affected less . . . because today on the 2nd anniversary, it is I who am having the emotional struggle. Moving back to New Orleans several months ago has been weird. For those of us who have lived outside of the city since Katrina, the world "moved on" and we were kind of dragged along with them. As we spoke in churches or with different people, our story was the same, a story of God's sovreignty, His provision, and His grace and love. Since we have moved back to New Orleans we have returned to a harsh reality. The truth of Katrina victims. Ron's internships allows him to counsel with Katrina victims almost daily. A billboard across from the semianry campus says "no, your'e not crazy," Katrina is often a topic at church or Bible studies, and 2 year later, "so how did you fare the storm" is still an elevator conversation starter. The rest of the world may have moved on, but New Orleans hasn't. The physical devestation is still very real, and so is the devestation of so many hearts. God is alive and well and working in New Orleans. I feel blessed that God has brought us back to this broken city. When I was here before, New Orleans was simply where I went to seminary, a place of transition. But this time, I feel as though I have come home. Our Katrina story has been a positive one, a story of triumph and God's protection, but 2 years later, the scars on our hearts still hurt. I would be lying if I said the "things" we lost didn't matter. They did. The relationships lost hurt. I often ponder where we would be if it weren't for Katrina. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, we are thriving in the center of God's will and every time my heart aches in grief, I often go back to my journal entries those few days after Katrina. "God you are El Elyon--Most High . . . What a lesson at a time like this. As New Orleans lies in masses of water and all of our worldy possessions are soaking up the flood waters, I am reminded that you are the Sovreign Most High. Hurricane Katrina is and will be for your glory and pleasure, the levee breeches were and are for your glory and pleasure. Your sanction was over that, and while I know your heart breaks for my city, as does mine, your plan is to draw men to yourself." --9/2/05
This was something the Lord gave after reading from Isaiah, it has helped me often in my grief and understanding of Katrina, and I know it will help me through numerous other challenges the Lord asks me to walk through. 
"You are God and there is no other
Though the winds rage and the storm howls
You are God and there is no other
From you came Creation and from you destruction
For you are God and there is no other
As the flood waters rise and the screams muffle
You are God and there is no other
As chaos abounds and order is lost
You are God and there is no other
As lives are lost and homes are destroyed
You are God and there is no other
You are the Giver and Taker of life and in Your hands we rest
For you are God and there is no other
It is Your hand that reaches down and rescues your own
For you are God and there is no other
Your tears fall and your heart breaks
But you are God and there is no other
Lives lost and families scattered
But you are God and there is no other
We draw near to You Sovreign Lord with no asnwers of why and yet no doubts of your faithfulness
Open up your floodgates and rain down your grace, mercy, love, and Salvation.
For YOU ARE GOD and there is NO other!!!
So, today is a day of reflection and sorrow, but even in my grief, I look back and praise Him for what He has done and what He has done with us over the last 2 years. We may not understand His will, but we must trust! For, He is God and there is no other.

Time to reflect on our first three weeks of school! We have had some highlights and some near disasters . . . We have made a few curriculum changes, and I am not certain there will not be more! (That is so unlike me, as I am a planner and researcher and rarely make choices we can't stick with).

OK, the Hits and misses so far!

E: Math and Language Arts (WWE, FLL, AAS, ETC, SL readers) are all continuations from last year and are all still working well. WWE 2 felt like a big leap from WWE 1 but so far she is rising to the occasion, though I wondered there for a moment! I decided to start AAS 3 over since we had such a big gap and she is now almost to where we left off in May. We are going rather slowly with math and I decided she was far enough ahead and I didn't think she is ready to forge ahead, so we have cut down to one page a down in Math Mammoth for now. It has been a good decision and helping us ease into the school year.

We started history on week 2 and while it went well I decided a change might be best in this area. The very thing I loved about Sonlight (diversity in literature) looked to be a distraction. I love Window on the World and the idea of praying for the nations as we study that geographical area, but I didn't want to do 3 sections a week. I wanted to read one section, add a notebooking page about it to our prayer journal and pray for that nation all week. I felt like some of the things I loved about SL were really making it difficult to dive into history as much as I wanted. So we are taking a break from SL, and we are trying Biblioplan (well, my version of it! Using BP as a spine, adding in Window on the World and Geography Songs which the kids and I are both enjoying, and adding many of the SL read alouds). We are also continuing with the SL readers. I already had the Biblioplan books on the shelf as I had changed my mind so many times for this year! If at any point I begin to not keep up on read alouds we will jump right back into SL, but for now we will try a few weeks of it this way. After the first day of having them listen to SOTW 2 on CD and letting them color while listening, E said "I like history now!" This was a first, and cause for major celebration!

I hesitated on my resolve and motivation with science this year, and it didn't get picked up until week 3. I even considered abandoning Elemental Science Earth Science and Astronomy, but it looks so good (its just that the things that make it look so awesome look like so much work!) Being covered in flour and water paste for a model of earth did nothing to help my resolve! However, the big grin on E's face as she said "I love science" might have. ;)

While making our model earth, E realized she was about to dip Papa's face into the mix. She got a good laugh out of that!

C: Handwriting without Tears is amazing! I think there K program is one of those must haves in homeschooling! It is always amazing to me how such little writing gives way to such great success in writing and letter formation. Right Start Math: we had a rocky start. Several days of scrambling for supplies all over the house to be able to do the lessons made me flashback to our Saxon days. Ugh. But after the initial few lessons it settled down to only needing the manipulatives I keep in the math box and all was better in the world! It has been a really good fit so far for C. A lot of hands on, and not a lot of writing, and the best part is I am really seeing him grasp the concepts and the "why" of math. I think we will finish RSA before the end of the year and he will be perfectly poised to start MM 1A.

Phonics. Ugh. After doing Abeka for 2 years with E, I knew I needed something different . . . mostly for me! I chose the Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading because it was simple and straightforward. However, after 6 days of Lesson 29 the fact that C needed more "instruction" was abundantly clear! My initial reaction was to try Abeka phonics K since it is on the shelf but it only took me 2 seconds to remember why I didn't want to do that again! After spending a few days of evaluating, I have decided to spend some time working on his articulation issues with Super Start Speech. I am waiting on All About Reading Pre level 1, but if that proves too easy, I will order level 1.  I don't want to frustrate him, and I want to give us time to work on speech as much as we can.

After the first day of K with C I was thinking "So this is what they were talking about! All of those people that thought I was crazy for what E did in K, they have kids like C!"  :) He is a boy. And he is five. And he acts like a 5 year old boy! Getting the picture?!? He actually is doing so well, and while I was surprised that I actually had to teach certain things, he is amazing in how well he is doing! His attention span has already increased abundantly, and for that I am very grateful!

J: Goodness she is hard to keep up with! She constantly wants to do school and goes through more activities than I can keep track of! I think this might be our last year she can officially be "left out" of official school. What she knows never ceases to amaze me! I definitely need to focus more one on one time with her as her "school" time, because well, because she is demanding it! I do hate the constant shhhh'ing I seem to do at her. She loves all the activities I have for her, but she is so me, and wants to dialogue about everything as she does it!

All in all, this homeschooling year is about different goals and I think we are meeting them! Being flexible, more read alouds, more projects, more grace! Even with the speed bumps along the way, we are having a great year so far!

3 weeks in, Review time!

by on 3:06 PM
Time to reflect on our first three weeks of school! We have had some highlights and some near disasters . . . We have made a few curriculum ...
Joining in on this week's Not Back to School Blog Hop. It's Student's Photo Week!

First day of school photo:

You can find our first day of school post here.

Now, time to meet the students! I have been wanting to do this for awhile, and am so glad to get around to it. I often blog about the things they do and learn, but not about who they are. And they are fantastic. So, time to meet E, C, and J!

E (the Princess) is 7 and in 2nd grade. She has such a servant's heart and always so eager to please. She is an amazing daughter and fantastic big sister. She is a helper, diligent, with a big dose of perfectionist, and we are so blessed she is ours! Aside from school she spends her time playing, watching movies, playing with her American Girl doll, and doing gymnastics. All the time in the gym each week is never enough and it is rare around here for her to be right side up!

C (the Rock Star) is 5 and in kindergarten. After attending a 3 day a week pre-k last year, I am so glad to have him join us every day! He is sensitive, and loving, with an amazing smile and laugh. His eyes declare his love for life and his feet are never still. He is tender hearted and can always tell when something is wrong. He is careful and yet free. He loves Legos, dinosaurs, and can most often be found wearing a cape and often a snow hat and gloves (and yes, we do live in SW FL!).  His smile encourages me each and every day, and his hugs can make any worry disappear. He is a delight to my heart and we are so blessed by this little treasure.

J (the Diva) is 2, but if you ask her she is 4, always said with a twinkle in her eye. She is loud, proud and quick to take charge at any moment. She is fearless and fun, full of life and attitude. Her personality lights up the room. J is just fun! She refuses to ever be left behind in school or play, and is quick to let you know if you try! She is forgiving, affectionate, straightforward, bold, and sassy! She makes me smile and laugh and I am so very grateful for the gift of her life in our family!.

Check out more at the Not Back to School Blog Hop!

Meet the Students!

by on 3:08 PM
Joining in on this week's Not Back to School Blog Hop . It's Student's Photo Week! First day of school photo: You can fin...

Here is a 36 week history plan using Story of the World 2 in a Sonlight like schedule with added church history. Over at the Well Trained Mind Forums I often hear the request for a Sonlight like schedule for Story of the World. I am using SOTW 2 this year in a Sonlight/Biblioplan mix and created a template to plug in the many components I am using. I thought I would share a blank template for history planning. I also got the crazy idea to go ahead and plan out 36 weeks of SOTW 2 (even though I have no plan to use it! I must be feeling very generous!). ;) To Biblioplan year 2, for our family I added a SL feel by adding Window on the World and Geography Songs to each week. The Geography songs and Window on the World match up when possible, but occasionally Geography Songs will only line up with either the SOTW chapter or Window on the World. You can find the notebooking pages we are using for WOW here. I also scheduled it as we do it: 3 day a week history, but with readers and read alouds every day. I did not schedule books each week, but you can easily add books to the grid from the Story of the World Activity guide if you want more. Many do have books scheduled however. I have less on this schedule than our personal one because I did not list any Biblioplan books that are not available on other lists as to not violate copyright. I also added many of the Sonlight books from this time period, but I stopped short of mapping out page numbers. The activities/projects listed are from the SOTW activity guide and you will need it to complete them.

Another request I hear often is more Biblical/church history to supplement SOTW.  To help with the I added in the Veritas Press Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation cards, as well as many chapters from Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History.

The Spines used are Story of the World volume 2, Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History, Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, and the Veritas Press MARR cards.  You will also need the Story of the World Activity Book volume 2 for extra books if  you want, and the instructions and templates for coloring pages, maps, and projects.

You certainly will not need to use all of these resources, but I wanted to schedule them for those that do.
I hope this helps in your planning!

History Planning Template

SOTW 2 36 Week Schedule

*Disclaimer, no information from Sonlight or Biblioplan was used to compile this information. Any and all information here is available for free on the internet or I did it myself. 
We started Window on the World last week, which is a book that takes you through many different countries, teaching you about the geography, people groups, and how to pray specifically for them. It was an amazing addition to our history and geography studies. As we sat around discussing Judaism and praying for Israel, tears came to my eyes. This is what I love about homeschooling. I love the connection to the nations we get to make for our children. I love that discussing geography turns into heartfelt prayer for people groups to come to know Christ. Homeschooling can be tough and tiring and thankless, but then there are these moments-- when you know it is all worth it!

We have already had a few curriculum switches this year (more to come about that in another post!) ;) But while history plans are switching, we will continue with Window on the World. Our plan is to coordinate Window on the World with our Biblioplan studies, studying and praying for one country each week. My kids are very hands on and enjoy anything they can color or craft, and I am a fan of narrations so I created this notebooking page (regular lines) (Handwriting without Tears lines). I plan to cut the page in half and make a prayer book with them for the kids to flip through and pray for the people groups even as the year continues and we "move on." I also purchased these flag stickers from Rainbow Resources.
We redid our school room for this year, and I am so excited how it came out. The wall of shelves were custom built my brother. I actually thought I would have "room to grow" but after all those boxes of curriculum came in this year, I realized . . . well, we have too many books! 

The cards on the wall are ABC verses that the kids have memorized. We love the 2 laminated wall maps, and do a lot of our mapping on them with a dry erase marker. The table and chairs were a family project my husband and dad did with the kids last year. The paper roll is from Ikea but stained black.

 I love these bins.  I got the bins from the Target dollar section. The containers holding the markers and colored pencils are the plastic containers from the Lego store and Crystal Light containers. These bins contain colored pencils, markers, scissors, tape, glue sticks, and then the bottom one is crayons. These bins allow all of the craft materials to be right next to the table. The bins easily come off the hooks and can be set on the table for ease of use.

 We hung a rope, painted some clothespins and now have a space for art display. The shelves on the right are Lego bins, with plenty of space to display their creations! It is a Target bookshelf with 2 fabric laundry bins on the shelves. It keeps those crazy Legos organized, so I love it!

Tot school! These bins are filled with toddler and preschool activities. There is a Handwriting without Tears bin with all of those manipulatives, a math basket, a reading basket, a lacing basket, along with other fun things like Leap Frog Letters, Lauri puzzles, and Duplex Legos. These activities are only for during school time and keep the 2 year old entertained! 

 36 folders holding all of our hands on project instructions, notebooking materials, and coloring pages for history. The white binder holds the history plans (a combination of Sonlight and Biblioplan).

These are the kids individualized bins. They hold their workbooks for them to have easy access. E's holds 2 sets of folders. One set holds all printables that are waiting to be done, by subject. (Tests and cumulative reviews for math, etc). And then they both have a set of pocket folders for each subject for completed worksheets and pages. I use these folders to compile their end of the year Portfolios.

Of course only part of school happens in the school room. We do a lot of the all together activities at the table or even on the couch! Bible happens every morning at the kitchen table.

We have this cabinet by the kitchen table that holds the CD/IPod dock, as well as all our CD's for school, Bible and memory materials, and puzzles and coloring books to keep the toddler busy when necessary. 

Above the table are 3 dry erase bubbles. These serve as our memory review. Each week we do a Scripture memory verse, a We Choose Virtues character trait, and each month we have a Key Passage. Most of our memory work this year is from TRUTH 66. Each week as we add a new weeks verse, the last 2 weeks are still in bubbles so the new verse stays in rotation for 3 weeks before being added to the memory book for less frequent review. 

And that is where we school and an overview of how we organize it!

Find other homeschool rooms on the Not Back to School Blog Hop Homeschool Room Week!

Heavenly Father,

As I wake up today may you grant me eyes to see as you see.
May I see children that are treasures from you on loan to me.
May I handle their tender hearts with gentle care.
May I smile at their mistakes, laugh at their jokes,
Cry with their tears, and hug their fears.
May the words that I speak build them up and not tear them down.
May my touch declare Your love.
Help me to Choose joy and not criticism,
Peace not strife.
Today may I teach children and not curriculum.
Seek the completion of your will and not mine.
Seek the transforming of their minds not only the filling.
Seek heart connection and not simply knowledge retention.
May all that I teach and all that they learn be single in purpose--
To impart a love and passion for You.
May we do our best in all things not for our own pride but for Your Glory.
Tonight as I tuck them in,
May I know that as I have required their best, I have given mine.
I am so grateful for, yet humbled by the responsibility entrusted to me.
By the constant filling of your Holy Spirit,
May I be worthy of the calling you have placed upon me. 

A Homeschool Mom's Prayer

by on 9:38 AM
Heavenly Father, As I wake up today may you grant me eyes to see as you see. May I see children that are treasures from you on loan ...
Perhaps this post should be titled "Top 10 goals for this homeschooling mom" since this years goals are all about me! These might seem a little unconventional, but by nature we are a very academic homeschool. We value wisdom and knowledge and are often too task oriented. I often say (only sort of jokingly!) that the goal of our homeschool is to prove you can have academic excellence without compromising deep character. This in mind, my goals for homschooling this year are rather "nonacademic," and an attempt to make our homeschool more relationship oriented than task oriented. We still pursue academic excellence, but this is our attempt to excel in a different area of our homeschool. 

10. Build more tents and forts

9. Play more games

8. More read alouds and cuddle time

7. Spend less time on the computer

6.Spend less time on curriculum research, and more time using what I have

5. More laughter and joy in the little things

4. Exhibit more patience, don't expect results immediately

3. Less focus on "finishing" tasks and more focus on enjoying the learning process

2. Speak more encouragement and less criticism

1. Enjoy every moment of this precious time

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Our summer of starting 52.4.Him has not looked anything like I had imagined. We have not been as consistent as I would have liked and the summer was simply chaotic. However, the biggest change I have noticed from this is our perspective. Perspective is the overarching theme of 52.4.Him. --Creating an atmosphere that trains our hearts and our children's hearts to seek out and meet the needs of others. I have seen a shift in our homeschool group towards serving this year, and other friends and family, as well as in our own home. Maybe it is not every week as I wanted, but we are moving in that direction. And as I told C this morning, "we reward hard work not tangible achievement!"

This summer I had the privilege of visiting New York City and New Orleans. I was quickly reminded of how "easy" it was to do ministry when we lived in New Orleans. Needs are everywhere. In our current location, needs are certainly everywhere, they just look different and you have to look for them. I find myself constantly praying, Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear as You do.  This is exactly where He wants me. Seeking Him for where to place each step.

Sometimes as a stay at home mom, my perspective can get skewed. I know my primary ministry is to my family, my children and my husband, but it shouldn't stop there. I want to raise children that are aware of the world around them. To see others the way God sees them. To have a worldview bigger than themselves-- rooted in God's Word and yearning for the nations.

As we were in New Orleans, it was so easy to slip into an attitude of begging God to place me back in an area where ministry is "easy." But that isn't where He has me right now. He has me in a house in a subdivision in my hometown. The very last place I always thought I would be. Give me the inner city, give the village in South America or Africa. But here? I never imagined here. Yet, this is where I am. And this is where God has called me and my family to serve.

So we diligently see out opportunities to serve as a family. This summer, we had the privilege of hosting 2 exchange students for a few weeks. What a great way to serve! As I have heard it recently: "A reverse mission trip." We got to show love as a family and share our faith in word and deed. Opening my kids eyes to the intercultural world of which we are a part, showing them that there are people different than them and God's love and ours is to be shared.

In a time where Cuba is sending missionaries to the U.S., what are U.S. Christians doing to further the Gospel? Moms, what are you doing? Homeschool moms, what an amazing opportunity we have to infiltrate the minds and bodies of our children with service to others, meeting needs and making disciples. I want my prayer to be every morning, Lord, make me a Great Commission mom. A mom with a heart for her children and for the nations. A heart that seeks to make an impact inside and outside my home. Reaching the nations one day and one heart at a time.

Great Commission Moms

by on 11:57 AM
Our summer of starting 52.4.Him has not looked anything like I had imagined. We have not been as consistent as I would have liked and the su...
I coordinated the chapters to Story of the World 2 with the first 25 weeks of Sonlight Core C along with other supplements here, but I thought I would make a chart available just for those wanting just the coordinating SOTW 2 chapters. We are only coordinating SOTW 2 not book 3 so it ends at week 25. We will spread the SOTW chapters out so they are not so stacked in the beginning, but it helps to know where they line up. Also, my kids will be listening to is as an audio while coloring or doing other hands on activities. Chapters in parenthesis do not line up exactly or are added material to what SL covers that week. 

Coordinating SOTW 2 chapters with SL Core C


Ch. 1
Ch. 2, 3, 4, 5
Ch. 6, 7, 11, 12, 13
Ch. 14, 15.1
Ch. 15.2
Ch. 14, 15 (8-10: extra)
Ch. 14, 15
Ch. 16, 17
Ch. 15
Ch. 16
Ch. 17
Ch. 18
Ch. 18, 19.1
Ch. 19.2, 20, 29
Ch. 21, 22 (20)
Ch. 23-27
Ch. 35.2
Ch. 28, 31, 32, 33
Ch. 30, 35.1, 39

Ch. 34, 36, 37, 38
Ch. 39
Ch. 40
Ch. (41)
Ch. (42)











If you are looking for a feel good, homeschooling rocks kind of post, this isn't for you. If you are more of a homschooling isn't always easy but I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my children's and my own character, keep reading!

Today was our first day NOT back to school. I am a planner so the books have been on the shelf since May, and much of the prep work done long before this week. However, we had a super crazy summer and there was more than usual on the last minute To Do list this weekend. Even so, we woke up to start school today ready. I had planned a slow start: Bible, Math, Language Arts for this week, adding in History and Science next week.

 I planned to finish by lunch and take the kids to the pool to enjoy the summer while its here. What a wonderful first day of Kindergarten for ds (or so I had planned . . . ). And then reality happened. 

We actually got off to a pretty good start. Over breakfast we did our first We Choose Virtues character quality "Diligence." We will be highlighting one virtue a week. Ron joined us for that and Bible. Bible was our first uh, well, maybe this isn't going to work for the day. I love what we use, but reality says that running 2 levels of Bible Study Guide for all Ages and still doing Bible "together" is not going to work. I need to reevaluate here, maybe just keep E on the beginner pages another year, I doubt she will mind! We also started TRUTH 66 Bible memory. 

I sent E off to practice piano while I did Right Start math with C. We finished the lesson in about five minutes. OK, I am all about a slow start, but that was not gonna cut it. I added lesson 2, barely a hiccup. I can see doing 3+ lessons a day for awhile though. Good thing my online planner has a good bumping feature!  

E then started on math, review for her, so nothing traumatic. Though in typical E fashion 20 minutes worth of work took around 45. While she worked on math I did Phonics with C, again review, so nothing groundbreaking. I really wanted to ease him into Kindergarten.  

 First K lesson of Handwriting without Tears. He was thrilled when I told him he didn't need a pencil for handwriting today!

E then worked on Explode the Code (which she "loves!" in her words), handwriting, Writing with Ease, and a review lesson from All About Spelling (since we stopped mid level). E loves doing spelling on the whiteboard app on the iPad so that is always a highlight for her!

By 11:45 we were finished (well all except for First Language Lessons which I forgot to do, and our read aloud which we planned to do later). Dinner was even in the crockpot! I made lunch, the kids got into their swimsuits while both muttered things like "that's it?" We're done?!?" I smiled to myself, so pleased that the morning had gone so well and the kids were happy. Nothing like the drudgery they had complained about and anticipated! Even the toddler loved the activities I had ready for her and did well. After lunch the kids played while I cleaned up and got ready. The bag was packed, suits on, and I asked the kids to clean up, gave them a few minutes and then asked if they were done. They said yes and we went to leave. And then, REALITY. 

I knew the day had gone too smoothly. Toys were everywhere. This is the third time they have lied about cleaning up this week. UGH. The great thing about homeschooling is the character flaws of our children are glaring. They can't be hidden outside your view from 8-3. Lying is so not tolerated and apparently I had not gotten my point across the the other two times it had happened this week. So, reality says you lied to get to the pool faster, you can clean up and not go to the pool at all. What happened next was even more of a debacle. Things were not cleaned properly to which the rule is if I pick up toys left out after you have declared it clean those toys belong to me. I can choose to throw it away, yard sale it, or allow it to be "purchased" back. Well, sure enough E's new American Girl doll got confiscated among many other things leading to the meltdown of the century. I warned you this wasn't a warm and fuzzy post! So instead of the pool, we ended up with a few chapters of a read aloud and rest time. 

I am a firm believer in reality discipline, but ugh how I hated to take this away from them today. *I*  had expectations for today. I wanted today to be fun, a great way to remember the first day back, especially for C, his first day of kindergarten. Well, I hope it is memorable because training my kids hearts is the most important thing.  I had to sacrifice the NOT back to school story I had envisioned and replace it with real homeschooling life! :) This summer was uncharacteristically lax in our house, and now we are paying the price. I am grateful for the return to structure and consistency! 

Is it bad that I feel slightly better that is just started raining? 

NOT Back to School Reality

by on 3:07 PM
If you are looking for a feel good, homeschooling rocks kind of post, this isn't for you. If you are more of a homschooling isn't al...
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