Monthly Archives: October 2011

“Don’t Stay Safe” and Other Musings

I try to get my coffee and read some of the scriptures before the little people wake up. It definitely does not always happen, but I’m thankful for God’s grace in this season of life.

Today I sat down opened the Bible up to where I had left off, and read the passage about Jesus healing the demon-possessed men in Gergesenes in Matthew chapter 8. What stood out to me was the very last scripture:

“And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they  saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.”

This really made me think. These people SAW the miracle that Jesus did and even after that they didn’t want Jesus to come anywhere near them. They were too safe. Too comfortable with the way they were living for Jesus to come in and change things even if they knew it would be for the better. Wow.

Complacency and passiveness tugs at all of us sometimes, but we must be careful to stay flexible with what the Lord wants to do in us. We should be like the water that flows around the rocks and takes its form. We can’t stay ‘safe’ or we will miss out on the depths of who Christ is. Lord, help me today. May we not push You away but stay ready for whatever You have for us.

Other Musings in the Reindl Home:

I’ve been slightly obsessed with reading other people’s blogs about suburban farms and homesteading. It fascinates me! We have a small home and a small yard (thankfully the kids don’t notice, lol) and since we’ll be here for at least another year, I’ve taken it on as a challenge to make the best out of what I have. I’ve already posted about getting a couple of hens and we are still planning to do so. Right now we’re in the process of gathering together some wood and wire to build a coop and run. We found a large pallet on the side of the road yesterday and I’m constantly scouring craigslist for deals. I’m a serious thrift/clearance junkie folks. I can’t stand paying full price for things knowing that there might be a deal out there somewhere. I just have to find it! After we get those built, we’ll go get our chickens!

I’ve hung a clothes line out back and have started using it here and there. Not sure yet if the benefits outweigh the convenience of my dryer, but its too early to tell. And with winter coming up, it might take a backseat for a while. LOL

I’ve also been better about making things from scratch. (You really CAN make yogurt in the crock pot! Woot!) And I’m trying to switch over to homemade granola for cereal instead of the boys’ beloved Cheerios. Thankfully they enjoy my granola. Found here~ http://allrecipes.com/recipe/megans-granola/detail.aspx  I tweaked it a lot as I’m bad at following recipes 🙂 I’ll just need to switch up the ingredients to keep it interesting. This week I need to make a batch of homemade tortillas and soak some beans for some black bean vegetable soup! Found here ~ http://allrecipes.com/recipe/black-bean-vegetable-soup/detail.aspx

I made some homemade toothpaste last week, too. Found here~ http://weewaldorf.blogspot.com/2010/05/tuesday-tutorial-homemade-toothpaste.html  Honestly, it tastes extremely salty and I’m not sure I like it, but I may try adding a natural sweetener of some sort to help. I’m on the hunt for a homemade shampoo, too, but since my hair gets oily quickly its hard to find a good one. If anyone knows one lemme know. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar as a rinsing conditioner and I really like it! It makes your hair soft without leaving a smell. I promise, folks…my hair does not smell like vinegar.

Other things on my list are homemade laundry soap and CANNING! So excited about canning… I just need some equipment first. Really just an extremely large pot. I could probably do without the cool canning tools, but they’d be helpful. I’ve bookmarked some on Amazon. 🙂 Can’t wait to can some fruits and veggies and jams! I wish I would have learned more of this from my grandma before she passed away. They had a nice sized garden and she canned tons of stuff.

*Sigh* Isn’t this yard lovely? I want it. Its a little bigger than our backyard now, but its so cute!

From www.designsponge.com

Things are going good but sporadic on the homeschooling front. I’m taking advantage of the kids’ young ages to learn more about the stuff posted above, so I’ve been doing school when I get to it. I usually try and tackle it in the mornings after we do breakfast, Bible time, and our BBs (brushing teeth and making beds). Ethan’s doing really well with writing and reading but math takes a little longer. Miquon teaches different techniques for mastering an area, like addition, and it takes him a while to get them but we’re taking it slow. 🙂

This post was all over the place, but I hope it made some sort of sense! Be blessed!

Homeschooling, Part Dos – Our Charlotte Mason-ish Home

So, I was gonna sit down and type a big 'thing' on the Charlotte Mason
method of homeschooling, which is the direction I currently lean
(with some eclectic thrown in) but its been a busy week and I'm feeling
lazy. So, in a nutshell, here is the gist of the CM method:

"Charlotte Mason was an influential educator in the 19th century who
advocated developing the soul and spirit of a child. Her method is
literature based, with English and other subjects taught in an integrated
way. This approach has become wildly popular with homeschoolers with many
curriculum providers utilizing the Mason Method.  You can check out
Ambleside Online to get a sense of what the Charlotte Mason home schooling
method is all about.
  • Focuses on outdoors and nature.
  • Children learn through reading real books, narration (tell about what they just learned), copywork (copy sections of good literature), and creating Nature Notebooks or lap books (also called notebooking).
  • They study the fine arts and foreign Languages.
  • Use few, if any, textbooks or workbooks.
  • Instead, they read literature related to the topic of study.
  • Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Goal is to instill a love of learning.
This teaching method might work well for you/your student if you:
  • want to create a learning environment that encourages your child to explore and appreciate the world around him,
  • perhaps not rigidly sticking to a schedule,
  • see a value in evaluating your child’s learning on things other than formal written tests,
  • want to offer a well-rounded education, including enjoying art, nature, music and of course lots of books,
  • don’t mind being very involved in the process of your child’s education – discussing books, giving dictation, listening and encouraging narration, and enjoying poetry, art and music together,
  • have a child who doesn’t mind not having lots of boxes to check off.”
I borrowed this from my friend's homeschooling site, over at
www.homeschoolroundup.com. (Nice writing, Angela!)

And on the topic of links, I just added two new pages of resources
to the blog! I'll keep adding things as I go along.

Although I haven't read The Original Homeschool Series books that
Charlotte Mason wrote, I have read several other books about her
style and methods including 

A Charlotte Mason's Companion by Karen Andreola, 

Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner,

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, 

and Pocketful of Pinecone's by Karen Andreola. This one helped me
envision what a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family looked like
because it's written in story form as diary entries of a mother.

I really appreciate the way in which CM taught the children that
allowed them to explore, create, and ultimately have a love for
learning. When children are young, especially before the age of 6
she encourages A LOT of time outdoors. 

"...to find out all he can about whatever comes under his notice,
by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for
knowledge got in this way..."

She also emphasized habit formation and it is considered one of the
keys to her methods. Habits of obedience, attention, cleanliness, etc.
are all important in the development of the child.

For my family, I've taken bits and pieces from Ambleside Online and
the Simply Charlotte Mason website to implement. Since Ethan is five,
he's technically not to be doing too much sit down academic work. CM
didn't recommend starting that until the age of six. I did, however,
find a list of subjects on the Simply Charlotte Mason site that a 5
year old could be working on:
  • Habit Training
  • Outdoor Free Play and Exploration
  • Bible Study
  • Nature Walks
  • Read Alouds (from good, quality books)
  • Beginning Reading Lessons
  • Copywork (we use Handwriting Without Tears currently but might switch over to CM’s method after this book)
  • Math (we use Miquon Math)
  • Handicraft (not your typical arts and crafts but actually developing a craft where the end result can be useful)
  • Art
  • Music
  • Poetry
Its not nearly as complicated as it looks! The only actual sit down
things that we do regularly are the Bible study, copywork/phonics,
and math and it only takes us about 30 minutes altogether with a break
between Bible time and the others. The other subjects are spaced out
and more flexibly done. We have outside time everyday, nature walks
about once a week, handicrafts right now are life skills (like chores
and things) and letting Ethan build his inventions, art and music once
a week, and poetry whenever I think of it, lol. For our read alouds, I
have a print out from Ambleside and also one from SCM of quality books
that I can check out from the library or purchase on Amazon. Its been
working out really well for our family! Its such a low pressure way of
teaching and learning that we all can enjoy. And the great part is that
if something doesn't seem to be working, I have the flexibility to change
it! 

Oh, the beauty of homeschooling! :)

Chickens!

We interrupt this homeschooling series for a post on chickens. Thank you for understanding. 🙂

We might be getting a couple of hens! I’ve been thinking about it for a while and have a friend close by that has 4 so we headed to her house this afternoon to see them up close and see the coop that she made.

When I told the boys we were going to see some chickens, Ethan’s reply was (with big eyes) “Gulp (yes he actually said that). I’m not going to touch them.”  When we left he said “I hope we get 4 hens!!” Hahaha! This boy does not like anything new so I was surprised he changed his mind so quickly.

At first, I wasn’t sure that we had room but after doing some research they really don’t require much room at all. Since we’d only have 2 (the city’s limit), they would only need a little coop for nesting and roosting and a little caged in run area. We’re thinking we might start with a couple of young hens instead of babies so we can skip the need for a brooder and such, and go straight to the ‘almost ready to lay eggs’ stage. I’ve learned a few things in my research:

Chickens are social animals so you need at least two.

They can eat almost anything, although some things are obviously better for them than others.

They can fly short distances ( Maybe I should have known this, but nope, I didn’t).

In lieu of the former, you can trim their wings to keep them from flying over fences and such.

They love blueberries.

They love to stretch out in the sun- almost looks like they’re dead, lol.

Apparently the act of laying an egg is cause for a little cackle party among the hens.

And…..they have these cool things called chicken tractors!!

I love the chairs set up by this one!

Very cute with the hanging lights!

There are a lot more on this site ~ http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

I think this is what we would build since we have a really small backyard. You can leave the ground part open so they have the grass and such to peck in, and you can even put wheels on it to move around your yard!

My only hesitation…chickens are kind of ugly and I’ve never been around them for any length of time…but fresh eggs is worth it, right?! And it could only benefit the boys and teach them some life skills….So, I’ll keep you posted.

And if anyone has chicken advice, I’d love to hear it. 🙂

Homeschooling, Part Uno…

This will probably end up being several posts since I am passionate about this topic and there’s just a lot of stuff that you can say about homeschooling. Some of you know more than I do, so feel free to add your two cents in a comment for those that are curious! :o)

Since this is from my perspective, I’ll start with why we homeschool.  Let me preface by saying that there is not one right way for every family. Ultimately, you have to search your heart and listen to God’s leading for your family.

Hubby and I decided before we had children that this was the direction God was leading us. We feel that we are better able to train and teach our children in the ways of the Lord if they are with us more, than with a teacher and peers for 8 hours a day. And although there are some wonderful public and private schools around, a lot of the quality has been reduced and replaced with what ‘those in-charge’ want our children to learn. It’s amazing what things can be left out of school books nowadays.

“If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans.Voddie Bauchaum

I’m not saying, nor do I believe, that all children that go to school will become heathens (I was a public school child) but we feel that for our family one of the best ways to prevent it and teach the truth is to keep them close and at home. Some people might then ask, “Don’t you trust your children to be witness and a light for Christ?” In a word, no. At least not when they’re young and still impressionable and building the foundation of truth and morality in their own lives.

Homeschooling also gives me the ability to tailor each child’s education to the way that they learn the best, and lets me choose what is in their curriculum. We want our subjects to be Bible-based and homeschooling definitely affords me the room to keep that tied into everything they learn. God is not separate from our education. Our goal is to glorify Him in everything we do.

Another popular question is about socialization. Do I feel that my children are handicapped socially? Absolutely not. They may not run up and talk to strangers but they still run around with kids at the park and are more able and comfortable, I feel, talking with adults and those of different ages more than they probably would be if they were only in a classroom of their own peers for many hours a day. Not to mention the homeschooling group we’re a part of has a play date every Friday that we attend sometimes. (I definitely recommend finding some support in your area if you can!)

Here is a cool article on the topic of socialization ~

http://www.sahero.org/articles/nothankyouwedontbelieveinsocialization

Once we were pregnant with out first, I started researching homeschooling (I’m a junkie, remember?). The first thing I did was read about the different categories of homeschooling that most people fall into. There’s a list of some of the different types on this page, http://www.homeschooldiner.com/guide/intro/main.html.

(By the way, I’ve not read the rest of the website so I’m not necessarily advocating what they say.)

When Ethan was 3, he started trying to write words so I decided if he wanted to learn then we needed to do it the right way. Since it was my first time, I chose a curriculum that had everything altogether and that was Bible based. The thought of going through each area and choosing a book or style to use on its own scared the bejeebees outta me!

On the basis of a recommendation I chose Heart of Dakota ~ http://www.heartofdakota.com/index.php and we LOVED it! It has each day’s subjects blocked off on one page per day. (You can preview the books online)

After we finished this, I had done a lot more research and had visited the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair, http://www.homeschoolbookfair.org/  (very large and overwhelming so it’s good to go with a plan, lol) and felt a lot more comfortable choosing my own things. I didn’t want to tackle a lot because of his age so I chose to start Handwriting Without Tears, Phonics Pathways, Saxon Math, and I picked up “God’s Wisdom for Little Boys” to do some scripture memory. Here are the links~

http://www.hwtears.com/hwt

http://saxonpublishers.hmhco.com/en/sxnm_home.htm

http://www.dorbooks.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Wisdom-Little-Boys-Character-Building/dp/0736908242/ref=pd_sim_b1

Handwriting Without Tears worked wonderfully for him and still does as we are now on the 1st grade book.

Saxon was great for manipulatives but I did not like having to do the prep work for it. A lot of lessons require you to make charts out of construction paper and things like that. I like to be able to open my book that morning and tackle what we need to do. (Call it laziness if you must, lol)

We didn’t get past the first page of Phonics Pathways before I realized it wasn’t going to work. It just wasn’t Ethan’s learning style. So I headed to Mardels and picked up Explode the Code, http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/details.cfm?seriesonly=1460M and that worked great! More workbook style but it worked for him and I better.

Let me insert a note here and recommend reading through the reviews for different books online at Amazon and also here, http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/.

Whew! This is getting long winded so I’ll end here. Part 2 will probably be on the Charlotte Mason method and why we lean in that direction now, but there may be a brief interruption tomorrow with a post about chickens! 🙂

If you haven’t started homeschooling yet, I’d just encourage you to know why you want to do it, to keep researching, and to continue to pray that the Lord lead you in the direction best for your family!

If you read all of this, go have a cookie…or four or five. You deserve it.

Updated, and its Kitchen Tuesday!

Thanks for the comments ladies (and hubby ;o) )! I decided to go ahead and tackle some of the immediate homeschool organization issues. We moved one bookcase into the dining room and I can keep all of our current stuff and my books there! It was the cheapest and quickest way to fix it, and I really like how it separates the dining room off from the kitchen a little bit.  For those that don’t know, our house is small. No more than 1090 sq.ft. so every space counts, lol!

This led to also changing the living room set up and restructuring, but thankfully my boys still have their bookshelf in the living room and a nice little reading space behind the couch.

I suppose I’ll get to the boys closet someday…but not today, because today is KITCHEN DAY!! I’m so excited to have a day set aside for cooking and preparing food! I know, I know, check back with me in about a month or two and it might be different. But TODAY I’m giddy! Here are the projects that have been going on…

Homemade Dinner Rolls! This will make a nice addition to tonight’s roast and they tasted wonderful when they came out! Forgive the awful photo folks, I’m not a photographer. That would be my husband.

The recipe I used was this one, http://simpledailyrecipes.com/244/homemade-dinner-rolls/ except I used half white and half wheat bread.

And currently sitting on my stove rising are 2 honey wheat loaves of bread….

The recipe for these was from here, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/detail.aspx

And in my crock pot, homemade cinnamon applesauce!…

Do you know what my house smells like right now? Like heaven…wrapped in bread and apples and cinnamon. Feel free to come by and take a whiff, but I’m not sharing the food.

Other things that got accomplished…lots of dishes, and I separated my roast into 2 containers so I can use it for 2 different meals.

Some things I’ve learned today:

1. I need to start buying bulk flour. I know there are some different sites out there, so where do you get yours?

2. I need a bread maker. I’m not sure I could be Ma Ingalls every week making it by hand. I’ve done it once before and remember thinking the same thing.

3. I make a mess when I bake.

4. I desperately need to clear out my fridge and freezer to make room for my homemade stuff. I might (read if the children let me) tackle that this afternoon…

All in all, its been a great day, plus the temp dropped and it actually feels like fall! And I still was able to get in some school time this morning, play obstacle course outside for a few minutes with the boys, and rock my baby to sleep on the back patio ❤  *sigh*

I’m Excited!

Actually, I’m sad because I haven’t blogged in so long. See, I have an art blog, but sadly its been lying dormant for a while because my chillins, having a baby, homemaking, and homeschooling have demanded my attention. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m having a blast with all the things I have to do! 🙂

But, here I am again! I’ve been mulling over starting a homeschooling blog for several days now and I think I’m ready to jump in and do it! Of course, it will have more than homeschooling. I’m sure I’ll have days of random thoughts and pictures to get out. It will be nice to have a place to put all these thoughts that jump around in my head like the Pong game…but with lots more balls. In fact, I’ll start with some randomness today to get the wheels ‘a spinnin!

I have some goals…or maybe I’ll just call them some things I wanna try and do…maybe.

1. I want a better way to organize my homeschooling plethora of books and supplies that are slowly taking over our home. See, originally I had this wonderful idea of doing school time in my boys room with them, but honestly that’s their space to play and I don’t enjoy doing school in there. I enjoy sitting around the dining room table where we all have room to spread out. And since we do school often, I tend to leave a big stack of current books in the dining room.

I also have a bookcase in the living room overflowing with stuff…

And the boys closet is overflowing with things we don’t use as much….

Not to mention the boys bookshelf is also in the living room…

My thoughts are to get a wall shelf for the dining room to keep the current stuff out of site but close, to reorganize the shelves in the boys closet getting our office stuff out of there, and to put a curtain on the bookshelf in the living room. Any other ideas?! Please share!

2. I am thinking of Starbucks right now.

3. I need to figure out what fall veggies I can plant, and what herbs to put in my cool flower pots that I got for free off of craigslist that are sitting on my back patio full of dirt and nothing else…(The pots came filled with white landscaping rocks that are now adorning our backyard tree and patio. Woot! Gotta love free stuff!)

4. I try and focus on no more than one specific job or chore for each day. Monday is laundry day, for example. But I’ve realized that I’ve neglected an area that I really WANT to spend more time in…the kitchen! I mean, yea, I clean it, but I am now going to set aside my Tuesdays as days where I focus on cooking things ahead of time and possibly even making some freezer meals! I’m so excited about it! :oD

5. I want to post all of the cool homeschool links that I’ve had bookmarked forever so that others can have some resources to look at. It can be really overwhelming and a lot of people don’t enjoy the research side of things, but I LOVE it and want to share what I find!

“Hi, my name’s Candi and I’m a research junkie.”  🙂