Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Making Some Changes


One of the many neat things about homeschooling is you have a lot more freedom to work at your own pace.  This means I can work on Lizzie's timetable more than mine.  I know that sounds a bit like unschooling, but I have certain standards that need to be met each day.

However, I also have to confess that since we got sick in late November we have faced a series of setbacks, including a printer that doesn't want to work for me anymore.  So once our car is fixed, I plan to purchase a brand new computer so the girls and I can get back into a good school groove, even if we have to do school during the summer.  The beauty of homeschooling and not using a state school is I can work within the challenges we run into. 

I was doing a mixture of different curriculums, and then I discovered Practical Homeschooling from several girlfriends of mine on Facebook and the face and ideas of what I thought homeschooling was are changing. 

I admit I have been very frustrated with trying to keep track of all of the work and keep everyone on track.  Obviously, unless I switch us to an online school that is state run (that's not happening) or to Switched on Schoolhouse, I will have to be the one to do the grading.  However, upon discovering Practical Homeschooling online, I also discovered Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschooling. 
Here is the link if anyone is interested in checking it out.
http://allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com/

The woman who started Easy Peasy felt led by God to start making homeschooling an option and a free option.  So she has been kind enough to bless those of us who are frustrated with other options.  She uses online resources that are all free and you get to create lapbooks with your children, which I love, because it makes it a bit easier to track it all AND it means they get to learn how to be more responsible.  But the most important factor for me was that it helps me save space.

I live in a small apartment and we won't be moving for another year, so space is a commodity in short supply in our apartment.  I didn't think it would be a big difference when Sarah moved out to go to college, but we have quickly discovered we have a bit more space freedom.  We miss Sarah and would happily welcome her back in a heartbeat, but it's also nice for the girls to have a little more wiggle room. 

If homeschooling is something you want to do there are many free online resources.  www.starfall.com, YouTube has HarryKindergarten and KidsTV123 to help with Kindergarten curriculum, www.education.com, and http://www.crayola.com/ are all options you can check out with free printables to help supplement your youngster's education. 

What homeschooling ideas or resources have you found helpful?  Is there a curriculum you swear by?
How do you feel God has led you in school for your children? 

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Changing of Season

It's that time of year again.  The time of year when the sun begins to shine here in Washington and it is little less hazardous to venture past the Puget Sound area.  I love Winter, but I enjoy when it's over too. 

Spring officially starts tomorrow and this year we are doing better financially and so we plan to take lots of mini trips.  Washington in Spring and Summer are part of my favorite things about living here.  No matter how gloomy I feel come Fall (I miss the colors from home),  I always seem to perk up come Spring and Summer. 

Maybe I perk up because I know no matter how warm it may get here, it will never be as hot as it used to get in Kansas and Oklahoma.  I hate being hot, gross, stinky and sweaty and summers in Kansas and Oklahoma entail all of the afforementions dislikes. 

Maybe it's because I live with gorgeous mountains on one side of me and The Sound with ocean water on the other.  Maybe it's because I love seeing the sun and exploring the new things we keep finding in Washington?

No matter what the reason is, Spring always reminds me of God's Promise after the flood.  How beautiful and green it must have looked as He created this planet he blessed us with, Earth.  How amazing and majestic that He created a whole world with various and differing climates!  Even with allergies, I find myself looking forward to shorts, flipflops, swimsuits and even better since I live in a cooler region - sun and fun minus the need for air conditioning. 

Don't get me wrong, it can get warm here, but after growing up in triple digit heat every summer of my life until we moved here, I am quite thrilled to enjoy baking in the summers here in Washington.  We no longer have to live on sandwiches, tuna salad, grilled chicken (grilled and frozen on cooler days) and I can heat up the apartment almost year round.  And somehow knowing that the heat won't last long makes it bearable when it gets super warm here. 

What are some of your favorite things about Spring?  How does it remind you of God's promises?  Do you see his majesty and splendor in nature?

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, March 8, 2013

What is Wealth?

What is wealth?  According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary online at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wealth wealth is " abundance of valuable material possessions or resources " or "a: all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value.  b: all material objects that have economic utility; especially: the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time."  Many strive to have this type of wealth. 

There is the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus a poor beggar in Luke 16: 19-31.   “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

As a child I grew up under the poverty line.  I knew we were poor, but it never meant much to me, except once in a while when we would see friends who had a lot of toys, or the latest everything.  My mom had a very good friend who's family did not really want for much financially.  One day after we had visited we were talking at dinner and we told my mom we wished we had what our friend had.  She was quiet for a few moments and then kindly reminded us that we had something our friends didn't have - healthy.  Heart problems were common in their family and one of their children had passed away while the remaining child still must monitor his health carefully and so must his mother.    It made an excellent point.  Financial comfort is nice, but money really can't purchase everything.  All of the money in the world cannot stop death from coming into your life or give you immediate health.  Sometimes the poorest people are the happiest people, because they are content with what they have and don't feel the need to always obtain more. 

My husband and I are not wealthy, but we are not poor either.  We are in the middle, but even we have times where God gently, or not so gently reminds us that we need to trust in him.  The year Chris was searching for a new job, was a year of trusting in God and that he would provide for our needs.  It wasn't always easy, and even I had moments where I looked up and asked, "God, I know you have a plan, but I'd love at least a small reassurance that you do have an actual tangible plan for you.  Preferably one that doesn't include us becoming homeless."  Thankfully, He did not make us wait an eternity to find out what his plan was and we moved to Washington in 2011.

What are your riches?  Are they your health?  Family?  Or do you keep moving through life always wanting more?  Where is your treasure stored up?" 

Have a good weekend.
In Christ,
Maureen Koeppel

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16%3A19-31&version=NIV
and
 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wealth