A new school year begins

We were so ready for our school year to be over, we needed a break. A big overseas move, doubling up lessons, settling into a new place, a new state, mommy being in the first trimester. Yes, we were definitely ready to not do school anymore.

The funny thing is, in the same way we were ready for a break, we were ready to get school started again. I wanted to begin sooner, but it didn’t work out and that is okay. The more excited we were to finally get started. Not even a cold that was lingering on pretty much all of us couldn’t keep us from getting started.

I spent many hours preparing for the new school year and to some that may sound boring, but for me it is so exciting and lots of fun. I had my husband help me change up our homeschool room, or as my husband corrected me, and asked if I meant the homeschool house. 🙂 We do not have a dedicated homeschool room, it happens all here in our living area and I honestly really like it that way at the moment. Anyway, I wanted a little bit more shelf space and he built us an amazing shelf, that gives us lots of space, but was absolutely affordable. I am very grateful for that.

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The night before the first day of school I stayed up way too late, but as usual, I did have some last minute projects to finish. The next morning I still got up early to have some time for myself, decorate our chalk wall, do my bible study and pray over our homeschool room and homeschool year. That was something really precious and wonderful.

And do you know all those picture perfect plans you have for the first day of school and first week of school? Yeah……those…….the ones that (most of the time) never happen. Yes, I had them too. BUT, we said that we were going to start relaxed and have an easy first week of school, so I did my best to just embrace everything.

I thought it would be so nice on the first day to have a breakfast together, but I did have a teacher breakfast from our co-op so we didn’t do it. The breakfast was very nice though and it was a good morning. At home we looked through our curriculums and since we didn’t have a special breakfast, we did start with our weekly tea time in the afternoon. We made our favorite cookies and I set up the table a little bit with some books and apples. It didn’t turn out the way I pictured it, but it was just fine for us. We started reading our first history book (which they really like) and just a little bit into reading the door ball rang. The kids know it’s usually a package and lately mainly books, which they always get excited about. So tea time turned into an exciting package unwrapping activity. They had lots of fun and started exploring them right away.

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First day of school means first day of school pictures of course. I thought it would be nice to take them in the evening to get a chance to take one together with daddy since, you know, we are a homeschool family. Well…..that didn’t work out. The young one didn’t cooperate at all, so I took pictures of our 10th and 2nd grader. No pictures of the little one, the kids together or the family. Here we are again with those plans that sometimes just don’t work out the way we want to. 🙂 {We finally got his picture a week later, on the first day of co-op. Not the way I planned either, but with a great story to tell. We are already making memories!} For dinner we decided to let the kids choose what we are having, they loved doing that and so I cooked one of their absolute favorites. Lasagna. It was delicious!

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The rest of the week went pretty good. We had some kind of trouble coming up with actually having to do work, but it’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the week. It was all in all a great first week. Relaxed, just as we wanted, sick not as we wanted, but we took it slow, fought it off and still got our work done in order to be able to take Friday off when daddy was home! ❤

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I am so very grateful and thankful for the calling of homeschooling my children. For a God who guides and provides. It can get hard sometimes and it’s not always a beautiful field full of flowers, but the opportunity to have my children around me all day, to actually be with them, to raise them, to shape them, to plant seeds is priceless. I am praying for a wonderful year of homeschooling. For growth, for endurance through tough times and a beautiful outcome at the end of such times, for patience and love for everyone and for their hearts to be like good soil, so the seeds that get planted can flourish.

Green Smoothie Recipe

Lately, Green Smoothies are my (and our youngest ones) absolute favorite breakfast. I am truly looking forward to drinking one in the morning. I have made many before and it always depends on how I make or like them. At the moment, this is my go-to recipe.

1 – 1.5 cups of coconut water (regular water is fine too)
Some orange juice
1 generous handful of kale (or spinach if you prefer)
1 (frozen) banana
1 cup of frozen mango
0.5 tbsp of soaked chia seeds*

I add water and my greens into my blender first and the rest of the ingredients on top of it. Once everything is in it, blend it up, pour it into a glass and ENJOY!

Green Smoothie

*It is always best to soak your chia seeds in water, before adding them to your smoothie. Add dry seeds to a glass jar, cover them with water, stir and let them sit for at least 10 min. If you don’t use them all, you can store them in the fridge to you have them ready for the next few mornings.

Let me know when you try this recipe and how you like it. Do you have a recipe that you like, if so you can share with me in the comments below.

Have a blessed day,
Jessica

A Serving Heart

It’s Palm Sunday. We just got home from church, I read the kids a story and I was inspired by it to write a blogpost. Now I am sitting here, outside on our deck, surrounded by beautiful spring weather, praying that God will help me to put this idea in my mind, into words for this post.

Serving.
verb; perform duties or services for (another person or an organization)

If you are reading this, you are more likely to be a mom, a stay at home mom and on top of that maybe even a homeschool mom. Our main duty is to raise our children, our precious gifts, cleaning up all the trails of messes they leave around the house what feels like all.day.long. If you are like me homeschooling your children, you need to add hours and hours of teaching each day.

Day in and day out. That is what we do and besides that, shower them with love, cuddle with them and join in some playing. The time we spend with our children is so precious and can be so very good for our souls and seeing them understand something can be so very rewarding, but still, there are days when we might feel like not living a truly fulfilled life. Is this what we are supposed to do? We can be stuck in our routines and feel like it isn’t important and meaningful.

We hear and see other moms or friends talk about or post on Facebook what they are doing with their life and you start to wonder if you are in the right place, if that is what you really want to do with your life. Raise? Teach? Clean? On top of that sometimes it doesn’t even get noticed or honored. Do children really understand all you do? All the love and time you pour into them? All the hours you spend online trying to learn more about how to become a better (homeschool) parent? Does anyone notice that you’ve cleaned up the kitchen for the 5th time today or that they have clean laundry to pull out of their dressers (or laundry basket)? Does your spouse see what you do all day (or just what you didn’t get done)? I am guilty of catching myself, asking my children if I am their servant.

Take heart my friend, even

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve … Matthew 20:28

If you have children running around in your house, when you took the leap of faith and decided to homeschool them, this, this is your calling! God is faithful and he will provide for what he has called you to do. Have faith and trust in Him.

Do all the things you do, whether it is at home, raising and teaching your children or the volunteering at church, with a joyful heart. Don’t expect for praises from man,

Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, Ephesians 6:7

You will get rewarded. Maybe not daily from your family, but there will be moments when your husband tells you just how thankful he is and your children will too. Maybe they won’t even tell you until their grown up how much they appreciate everything you have done for them and that they are what they are because of what you did, so God could take it to work. Always remember

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints-and you continue to serve them. Hebrews 6:10

 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1. Corinthians 15:58

If we are obedient to the calling we received, we will indeed get rewarded.

I am not trying to tell you to be and feel like a maid, not at all. I am in no way trying to give someone the feeling that they need to feel like less, not important and that all they need to do is housework. Actually the opposite! The work you do within your house, for your family and the volunteering (at church) is so very important.

I know the (homeschool) mom life can be overwhelming, there are days when you feel like you just can’t handle it all. You know what? Take a break. Take a deep breath. Go do something fun with your children. Spend time with them, they need you too so you can do your work within them and Mommy needs a break too once in a while (Take it!). If the house needs to wait, it needs to wait. But when it’s time to wash some laundry again, face the pile of laundry with a smile, be thankful for having children, that they are having fun playing outside and that you are all able to make memories aka make messes in the house together.

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men Colossians 3:23

It doesn’t mean that everything needs to be perfect, do your best in everything you do and if you are busy with your children or out volunteering at church, do what you can do.

You, the mom who is reading this, you are important. The work you do is meaningful and doesn’t go by unseen. You also don’t have to do it on your own

He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless. Isaiah 40:29

You are loved, blessed and wonderfully made.

EASTER BASKET IDEAS

It’s April. It feels like it was New Years yesterday, but here we are, close to celebrating Easter and with that comes a time again for us parents when we need to think about what we should get for our children. If you are like us, that process might be even a little bit more difficult, because you are thinking about how to handle a good balance between giving them presents, but having the main focus on why we celebrate Easter in the first place.

We are taking the week of Easter off from school, at least with our 1st grader and I definitely plan on posting what we are doing during that week, for now I just want to share a few ideas with you on what you could get for your children to fill their Easter baskets. We want to keep it simple, maybe so are you, but sometimes it can be hard to find something “small”, but nothing that ends up being unloved or “junk” in a few days or weeks and not give them an overload of candy.

ART SUPPLIES

Kwik sticks

Our children LOVE arts & crafts. Which I think is great. KWIK STICKS are definitely a big favorite in our home(school). It’s our toddlers favorite way of drawing at the moment. They dry fast and are mess free (compared to liquid paint).

 

 

 

 

FUN SCIENCE PRODUCTS

Our BUTTERFLY GARDEN was a big hit last school year and our 6 Butterfly gardenyear old just asked again last week if we can raise butterflies again. It’s fascinating and so much fun. Pair it together with some great books about butterflies and you have a science lesson without them even knowing, because the enjoy it so much. {And once you own everything needed, you can just order new caterpillars and raise butterflies over and over again}

 

 

Something that has been on our wish list for a while is a ROOT VIEWER.We are going to start talking about seeds and with Spring being here it seems like perfect timing to add this to our collection of fun, educational toys.

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BOOKS

Books. You can NEVER have enough books. If you have no idea what to get your children, buy them books, that is always “the best” present.

A BUTTERFLY BOOK that goes along with the butterfly garden. The booksbutterfly from this series are beautiful, we absolutely adore them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or a book that is a great match for the root viewer, that teaches the children how THE SEED BECOMES A PLANT.

from seed to plant

 

 

 

 

 

A book about SPRING for your little ones.

Spring is here

OUTSIDE FUN

We always like to give toys for outside as well, it just seems perfect with the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer.

CHALK. Why not. I know it can seem a little uncreative as a gift, but they are always great to have and to give, so the children can live out their creativity.

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Another gift they can use outside is a JUMP ROPE. Makes them go outside, get their bodies moving even more and they can have hojump ropeurs of fun with it.

 

TOYS

Have you heard of SCHLEICH animals? They are fantastic! They are sturdy and not a cheap plastic toy. They seriously last, we own some from my when me and my siblings were younger (and my youngest sibling is 22). Schleich animals are made beautifully with lots of details schleich. Our youngest loves dinosaurs and reptiles, our 6 year old likes to play with baby animals, horses and fairy items. They play with them in the house, in the bathtub and outside. Add some to your collection or start it up and you have always something you can add if you are in need of a gift. If I would have to get “rid” of toys and just keep one kind, they would be on the top of our list.

 

TEENAGERS

Do you have a teenager in your house that is difficult to shop for? A easy fix for that isgiftcard A GIFT CARD. They can browse through amazon and choose what they want themselves or maybe they do even have their own wish list and they can order something they have on there.

If you want to add something to it, add a BOOK, new fun PENS for journaling, nature journals, letters and just to add some pocket socketcolor and fun to writing in school or a POCKET SOCKET for their phones, for Facetime, selfies, videos, etc.

 

 

I hope this list helps you a little with inspiration, there are so many more ideas that aren’t too expensive or big and meaningless. I am truly only sharing with you what we have in our home(school), what is loved or things we would really like to give to our children.

If you have more questions about other art supplies, book suggestions {because there are so many more, but I don’t want to go too crazy with this post}, games or something else, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Leave a comment below or send me an email and I am happy to help you the best I can.

 

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MFW – KINDERGARTEN

Oh those Kindergarten years. They are so very precious. The children are still so little and eager to learn. Ready to soak up whatever you teach them about.

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1st day of Kindergarten

We started homeschooling when our youngest was in Kindergarten. I had no idea on what would be best and how things work. I decided to piece our curriculum together and quickly learned that we won’t get very far with it. Replicating school isn’t what worked for us and wasn’t what we wanted. I came across my first moment when all the “starting homeschooling excitement” calmed down and reality came in. Reality that this wasn’t working and me asking myself, if it was a mistake to homeschool our child.

We were frustrated. We talked about sending her to school. There was something inside of me though that was telling me that this isn’t the way to go and so I started the whole process of searching for a matching curriculum for us again. I finally knew that we needed something more hands-on, something that included more activities and gave me a little bit more structure. I came across “My Father’s World” again and that time it instantly spoke to me and I decided to order it.

Besides starting to homeschool, ordering “God’s Creation from A to Z”, was the best decision I could have made. I know you read things about that this curriculum is “too easy” or “too slow”. It is easy and it is slow, but not “too”. It is wonderful. This curriculum showed us that hands-on learning is wonderful and fun, that {living} books are one of our best and favorite resources to learn from and that being outside and exploring nature is an important part when it comes to teaching our children. Every week and theme is based on a scripture and it teaches them such great and essentials character traits.

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Taking school outside

Honestly, what is more important than that in those early years? It’s not about who can read the best at such a young age and who can solve the most complicated math problems. They will be able to do that at one point. Those young years are for building a strong foundation in their faith and knowledge of God’s love and word, grounding them in the truth and pairing it together in leading them to be gentle, kind and helpful human beings. For us moms and parents this is a time to enjoy our children, building an even deeper relationship with them. Watching them when they are excited about learning something new, spending time with them outside or snuggled up reading a wonderful book. Giving them the extra time to play and the chance to be a child.

Oh there aren’t enough wonderful things to say about this curriculum.

Pinterest is full of ideas. Take advantage of it and take your time to do as many of the activities, listed in the teacher’s manual, as you want. Make it fun, not overwhelming. Take many pictures. Read a lot. Go outside.

Our daughter had so much fun doing all the activities, she actually wanted to explore, learn and discover. The phonics approach to reading taught her how to sound out letters and words and didn’t just teach her sight words and even though they are not focused on having the children reading books by the end of Kindergarten, she had a great foundation to actually start learning how to read in 1st grade. The best part, it was so wonderful to see how her relationship with God started to grow.

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Kindergarten Graduation

I wish I would back then known what I know now. I would have done things differently, but that is okay. It’s a journey and we are continually learning and growing. I can share the things I’ve learned with you and am already excited to do MFW Kindergarten all over again with our boy in a few years.

 

Hey!

We are a family of 5.

We are believers in Jesus Christ. Mom likes to eat vegan, the rest of the family doesn’t like it all the time. We move where the army sends us, we like being crafty, making messes, and being outside. We enjoy family movie nights, taking pictures of everything, making memories

and – we are homeschooling!

We started our homeschool journey in Kindergarten with our now 1st grader. Our oldest, which is in 9th grade now, joined later on too and we are getting ready to involve our almost Pre-schooler as well.

When I first came across the idea of homeschooling and decided to start doing it, I was the only one that was really excited about it, even though I had no idea where to begin and how to start, I just knew that this is what I was meant to do.

During all this time homeschooling grew into something much more than I could have ever imagined, now we all love it and are a homeschool family through and through. Homeschooling is a lifestyle and it continues to grow and to change. I am always making sure that what we do works great for each child and be open minded and ready to switch things up if needed.

When you first start to read about homeschooling you quickly realize that there isn’t just one type of homeschool mom and one way of how to teach them. There are all kinds of  methods and courses you can take and you start to wonder which category you fall under. It takes time, it takes trying out different kind of things. I came to the conclusion that we might just be a mix of a few things. We love to learn with My Father’s World and beautiful books, we feel really drawn to the Charlotte Mason way of learning with lots of reading and exploring nature and with our almost Pre-schooler I find myself looking more into the Montessori and Waldorf method.

HOMESCHOOLLife can get crazy around here, there are days when I go to bed and just can’t believe how great the day was and there are days when I question myself and the idea of homeschooling. Some days are filled with lots of love, fun, laughter and learning and some days we yell too much, I ask Mrs. Frizzle or the Wild Kratts to be the teachers and I am glad when they are all in bed.

That is when the most important part comes in, I constantly need to remind myself that it isn’t just about what they “need” learn and know, but to give my best that they develop a love for learning, teaching them how to become lifelong learners and to have my focus on who they are becoming, to raise them in faith, to give the world a few more souls that are passionate and compassionate.

We were given 3 beautiful souls, and we are so very grateful for that. So here I am, pouring my love into them, with lots and lots of God given grace and patience. Soaking up as much as I can, while they are growing up in front of my eyes a little bit more every day. Sharing with you this beautiful, exciting and sometimes exhausting journey in hope to inspire, encourage you and to show that we all aren’t alone in this.

Welcome to our blog.

Let’s grow minds and hearts together.