"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rejoice! Rejoice! Easter Activities

This may be too late to share, but we are making the most of our shortened school day today to spend time reflecting on Easter. Probably would have been better to stretch it out over several days, but we are really enjoying ourselves today.

1) Resurrection Eggs - For the past several years we have been using a set that I put together with plastic eggs and the help of a website. This year, I decided to buy an actual set. I have to say, it has been totally worth it. We started it on the 20th of this month. Each day, the blessing leader of the day gives us a summary of the previous days eggs and then we open a new one. HERE is a great deal for one for next year if you don't already have one. ;)

2) Object Lesson on Forgiveness - I found this idea HERE and then added a little to it.
I cut a coffee filter into the shape of a heart. 
We talked about this being a representation of our heart. 

Then we talked about ways that we sin (disobey God) and how it makes our heart unclean. 
For each sin the boys mentioned, I scribbled a little mark on the heart to make it dirty. 

Then I poured red food coloring on the heart and said it symbolized Jesus
blood being poured out to cover over our sins. We read Isaiah 59:2 and Romans 6:23

We watched it spread over the whole heart. 
Psalm 103:12 and Revelation 1:5
We are forgiven because of Jesus blood on the cross!

Then I poured a cup of bleach over the heart and described how because of 
Jesus blood and resurrection we are washed clean and given new life. 
We only need to repent of our sins and ASK for forgiveness to have our 
dirty hearts cleaned and He forgives us!

3) Resurrection Rolls - I found the recipe HERE.  We enjoyed this for snack time today - a very special treat. The marshmallow symbolizes Jesus and the crescent roll symbolizes the tomb. After it is baked, the tomb is empty!

4) Easter Cards - I got this idea from HERE.  We used a cardboard template, painters tape and pastels. We marked the edges of the template with the pastels, attached them to the card stock and then smeared the pastels. Then we removed the template. 

Aaron's sweet handwriting and we chose a verse to glue to the inside. 

Phew, we've been busy. I have a couple more activities planned for after rest time and we're planning to try out this cross activity tomorrow with Daddy. We'll see how it goes!

Really struck today by how we should take time every day all year long to reflect on the cross. It is because of our sin that He died and it is because of His resurrection that we have hope and new life! Rejoice! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

1st Grade Update

I have to say that this kiddo has been my most challenging this year. He has such a sensitive spirit, but at the same time is so rough and tumble. He is very active and very much an acrobat. He does most of his work upside down. In fact, he is often doing a headstand while I quiz him on his math facts. So I just turn the flash cards upside down so he can see them right side up. ;)

We are definitely making progress, but the Lord is teaching me a lot about my own sin as I parent and teach him. I am challenged constantly with my patience and soft words. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit and wish I submitted more quickly and more often as I hear the words from Proverbs 15:1 run through my brain. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up trouble." And also, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not  bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20 

So... what I've learned this year is to provide for lots of movement, to expect him to be jumping, hopping, wiggling or standing up ALL WHILE HE IS WORKING! This is hard for me. I'd love for him to sit at his seat and just work. It makes my skin crawl for him to be moving around so much, but based on my research this is NOT unusual boy behavior. I know that he CAN sit still. He does it at Sunday school, Community Bible Study and art class. Ironic that he can sit still for hours and color when he is in the mood. ;)

We do math facts in chalk on the driveway:

We do our work laying down on our bellies, our backs, standing, walking up and down the steps, etc. 
I have written movement activities on craft sticks and if I think someone is getting too antsy, we pick one to do. Sure do burn a lot of calories keeping up with these kiddos!

I think a mini trampoline is in our near future. :)

We are on track to finish up our curriculum in May too. Hooray!
Here is what we've been doing this year:
Phonics: Explode the Code
Writing: Daily journal assignments
Bible, Science, Phonics and Reading: My Father's World 1st Grade
Critical Thinking: Workbook from Critical Thinking Company
History/Geography: Exploring Countries and Cultures with Luke

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


While I was away for the weekend at the beginning of the month, Daddy cashed in on a groupon and took the boys climbing. They all had a great time. Luke and Ethan had climbed a couple times before, but it was the first time for Aaron. So glad Daddy took some pictures so I could see!




Oh my goodness... can't believe my baby is approaching 5 years old and looking so big!!!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

All Star Gymnastics

Every Thursday from 3:15-4:15 I grin until my cheeks hurt. Seriously! And while I'm grinning, I'm watching a 6 year old boy who is also grinning from ear to ear. Oh how it delights my heart to see Ethan so happy. He is signed up for All Star Gymnastics and having a BALL! This is his strength. He is in a class with 6 other boys and Coach Tyler is awesome. He runs a tight ship with the perfect amount of discipline and encouragement. The class is fast moving and seems almost like a bootcamp. If you know my 6 year old, this is exactly what he needs. ;) 

I haven't been able to get too many good pictures, but they are doing some hard stuff. I'm so impressed with the circuits they have these young 5-6 year old boys doing. 

 assistant coach Dale spotting on the rings

And the two other boys sit patiently in the lobby for an hour waiting until class is over. 
It's been good for them to be on the sidelines a bit. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Snow

I think my parents brought New Jersey weather with them to Virginia! 
 A daffodil in snow is just not right.

 Luke, Ethan and I went for a walk Sunday evening and they 
decided to make some snowballs as we walked. 
We pushed, rolled, carried those snowballs all the way home. 

I was laughing so hard that I was snorting. 
Sort of felt like we stole snow from the neighbors front yards. Is that illegal? 
(Don't worry. This is our yard... we just stole snow from the edge of the neighbors yards.)

walking buddies!
After school this morning, we went out to play. Here is what you do if you don't have any hills in your yard for sledding. You make your own hill using the deck steps. :)

Ready for take off!

Not sure why I didn't get any photos of Aaron. He was with us playing today. oops!
So glad to see the white stuff melting. Maybe it'll be in the 60's for Easter on Sunday?

3rd Grade Update

If you've been reading along, you know that we started the year off with Luke doing his school work in the dining room in a special "3rd Grade Work Zone." It worked pretty well for him. Then in January, we were blessed with a larger dining room table that crowded him out of his quiet thinking space. For January and most of February we relocated him to the school room with his brothers.

Anyway, he has become a good student (so thankful!) but he is so curious, competitive, and easily distracted! I'm almost positive these thoughts were running through his head every day in the school room. "What is Ethan doing? How many workboxes has he completed? Am I going to finish my schoolwork first? What is Aaron doing? Oh that looks fun! Maybe I'll squeeze Aaron's soft little ear. Hmmm... Ethan is reading his book upside down with a chair on him. Maybe I'll sit on him?" You get the idea.  I'm not sure why it took so long for me to realize that it was NOT working to having all three in the same space. And then once I realized it, why did it take me as long as it did to act on it??? duh!

After brainstorming with an experienced homeschool friend, I finally made some decisions and acted on them. Why not move his desk to his bedroom? He has the space and then he can sit at his desk while he does his morning independent work. Instead of using his workboxes, I've divided up his work into "independent work" and "work with mom." He has a bin for each.

Every morning after breakfast, Bible time, and science, I send him upstairs to his room with his bin of independent work. He stays up there working quietly in his room until he is finished (unless he has questions). This is working marvelously! Praise the Lord! In his bin of independent work, I have made a spreadsheet with all his work for the week. As he completes his work, he marks it off with a highlighter. (He enjoys scribbling with the highlighter a bit too much. He has already used up two in 3 weeks!) When he is finished with his independent work, he comes down and we work together at the kitchen desk.

We've been really pleased with his curriculum this year. I love the math (Christian Light Education - 3rd grade). We've gotten into a good rhythm with grammar (Rod & Staff) spelling (Spelling Power), phonics (Explode the Code), reading, and writing. 

For our history/geography component, we've been using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. The boys love this. Especially our monthly co-op meeting with other families also using this curriculum. (That's a topic for another blog post.) We've also been using the science that comes along with Exploring Countries and Cultures. A highlight has been making our vocabulary cards every Friday. Luke loves this and we are learning a lot!

We are in the final stretch of 3rd grade! Hooray! Our goal is to finish up by the second week of May before end of the year testing and our annual family beach trip. I'm really proud of my 3rd grader and how hard he has worked. I'm thankful for his inner motivation and determination.  Oh... we've had our challenges. He doesn't love writing and we have to work hard on handwriting and spelling, but we've come a long way this year. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Useful Buckets

Aaron spends as much time as possible dribbling his basketball and shooting hoops in the garage. 
Darin made a makeshift hoop for him from the rim of a bucket and it has been a hit! 

Don't you love his outfit? Borrowed soccer shirt, tall soccer socks and always a tongue hanging out! :)

Meanwhile, his brothers drum and drum. It's almost like we're at a real basketball game... almost.