Two Becomes One, A Twenty Year Journey

two becomes one

It’s a special week at my house, my husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary on the 20th of May.

I have never written about marriage because frankly the “D word” has popped up a few times over the years in my marriage.

My struggles have me feeling so inadequate about sharing any great advice on marriage.

But I have one thought about being married for 20 years…there is an amazing journey in “two becomes one.”

I remember in our first year of marriage we were so focused on the physical aspect of two becomes one…ah young love.

But all that “oneness” brought along children and soon “two becomes one” was a necessity for survival. We quickly became outnumbered! We had to be a united front in parenting.

Now there is an almost 20 year age difference in our relationship which has brought about a new aspect in “two becomes one.”

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with COPD. I almost think a chronic diagnosis should trigger marriage counseling because there is a mourning when losing your health.

Now we have two people affected by one diagnosis. Two people facing different struggles from one disease. Two people scared about becoming just one.

Recently mild dementia has sprung up in our marriage. The brain likes a steady level of oxygen and does not work well on a reduced amount.

It reminds me of a funny skit I saw about two becomes one is for growing old: when one of you will remember where the car keys are…one of you will be able to open the pickle jar…and one of you will be able to hear the phone ring.

Over the past year I have had to turn to another page and focus on the cord of three strands.  My husband struggles with feeling he is not worthy of love if he can not contribute to the family. I struggle with thinking I am alone and overwhelmed with taking care of everything.

Honestly these thoughts sneak in when we take our eyes off the one who created us…our identity in Christ…so important.

It has been good to look back…looking forward scares me…most days I do not have the strength…I only have the strength for today…for that I am thankful.

Twenty years ago on the Twenty of May with a Twenty year age difference…Two became One.

Happy Anniversary to the man who I will remind that he can forget anything but my name…and I will every few days ask him and sometimes I get back some creative responses…because you still have to laugh along the way.

 

North Star Geography

north star geography

Conference season is in full swing and my daughter occasionally travels with me and helps work the booth. While I was packing my daughter was inclined to share some thoughts with me.

“Mom, I am so glad I won’t be working a booth with you this year.”

“Why? I thought you enjoyed traveling with me.”

“Well I am comfortable telling people why I love Mystery of History but I hate North Star Geography.”

“Oh my”

Which then lead to conversation about we should not always share just the good things and sometimes sharing the bad can be just as helpful. Honesty mixed with your perspective is always important when sharing your thoughts about curriculum. I reminded her not every homeschool is created to use the same books. Welcome to conferences filled with rows and rows of vendors!

But I did not leave the conversation there. I followed up with what about North Star did you dislike.

“We had to complete every single project, I hated some of the projects.”

“It sounds like you were overwhelmed with the amount of work and did not like having the opportunity to choose your projects.”

She thought for a moment.

“Hmm…I did like how the lessons talked about culture and discussed how geography was more than maps. I guess all the work killed my liking it.”

“Daughter, that is what you should tell homeschool moms…it’s a great book on geography and if you do every single project your kids will hate it.”

Oh I am so guilty of wanting to complete all the great projects!

Then I went back and counted…North Star Geography has 62 different activities. That does not include the work she did with atlas building, notebook pages, and memorizations lists.

Since we were part of the test group we were required to complete each activity so we could provide the necessary feedback.

I have found memories of the class, but I only did 5 of the projects. My favorite was the Lego city my family built.

The great thing about homeschooling multiple children..I get to teach North Star again this year to my younger kids. First on my list is limiting the activities. 

Helpful Hints for Teaching North Star Geography:

I am also in the process of creating a book list to go along with North Star for next year. I am sure a follow-up post will be coming soon.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

Last week I met with a friend and while I was sharing some deep struggles in the middle of my thought she said, “you are making the best choices you can with this situation. You are doing a good job.”

I just wanted to burst into tears…it had been months since anyone had told me I was handling anything well. Can I just say it was such sweet balm to my soul.

Most days I deal with thoughts of falling short, thoughts of inadequacy, and thoughts of being overwhelmed. How many times had I been approached with your son did this, or your daughter needs this, or could not fall asleep at night knowing I had missed opportunities or lost my temper.

I am a mother, a mother of teenagers, a mother of special needs, a working mother, and a homeschool mother. Whatever adjective you place in front of mother…we could all use some words of encouragement in this role of motherhood.

So how about this week before Mother’s Day we could take a moment and express an encouraging thought to another mother. If you want to get fancy and send a card or meet for coffee, great…but the simple sentence of “you are doing a great job of being a mom” might be the best thing a mother has heard all day, week or month.

While I am not a deep emotional writer on the subject of motherhood, I am still shocked with how moved I was when my friend told me I was doing a good job. It’s been two weeks and I am still clinging to those words.

Of course a face to face exchange would be the best choice but I know that time with other moms can be limited, sometimes sending that text or email might be the best dose of encouragement!

Join me in telling another mom this week they are doing a great job being a mom.

The Mystery of History Volume 4 SpaceShip

Mystery of History Volume 4

It’s spring and I am trying to finish a school year and plan another…my brain is overwhelmed.

But has our school year comes to a close, I do like to look back and try to evaluate the successes and failures.

WARNING* Looking back to evaluate the school year might lead to an enormous amount of mom guilt. You might need a plan on dealing with it or else you will find yourself taking on a project…and I do not mean just an ordinary project.

We are near the end of The Mystery of History Volume IV and the content matter has been challenging to my younger kids. Thankfully I focused on exposure to the topics and not mastery of content. I do love exposure because you never know when a spark will light a passion for a new topic.

So when the spark for a new passion collides with the guilt of a mom who did not complete many projects with her kids over the school year…well this happens.

The Mystery of History volume 4 Spaceship

In the corner of my front yard now resides a spaceship! Thanks to the lesson of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

  • Why yes I did drag a huge tractor tire home that was found abandoned on the side of the road.
  • Then I spray painted it silver. I found an old trampoline frame and spray painted it silver too.
  • The old frame just happened to fit perfectly on top of the tire.
  • While shopping at the local garden center I found 2 Victorian gazing balls on clearance that really resemble planets when placed next to a spaceship.
  • I think sand makes the best ground cover for any planet you would like to visit. It is a great way to leave your footprints behind.
  • Do not forget to name your spaceship. Vinyl stickers finished our project on the US.Atlantis.

Now I am sure if there was an award for the most craziest, unusual, project to complete while studying The Mystery of History volume 4…I would win…or at least get honorable mention.

 

 

 

High School Science for Non Science Students

High School Science

Planning High School Science for a non-science major. Do you have a high school student that might not have plans for college or majoring in a degree that requires in depth science classes?

My third child is starting high school in the fall and I need to plan a high school science class that meets his needs. I am not ready for him to do the Biology 101 that I planned for my daughter last year so I am constructing a general science class based on his interests.

The challenge with planning begins with my son who has processing delays and learns by doing. Often I get anxious when I construction my own high school lesson plans but I have to remember my goal is to build on his strengths. Not to mention the choices for high school science curriculum are hard to find for the non-science students.

Planning High School Science:

First I wanted to review the requirements for a high school credit. HSLDA provides some guidelines for how to calculate credits.

My goal is to construct 120 hours of high school science credit by reading, watching videos, writing, and completing projects. To keep myself from getting overwhelmed I am planning a different theme for each quarter. Which means I need to have about 30 hours for each topic.

  • Quarter 1 Gardening
  • Quarter 2 Chickens
  • Quarter 3 CSI
  • Quarter 4 Survival Skills

Since I do not have a science curriculum for a main text I am going to rely on my unit study planning skills from the early years of homeschooling. I did find a few free unit study planning forms at Teachers Pay Teachers and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.
Then the reality of too many forms overwhelms so I created a one page planner that I can use for each quarter. [Read more…]

World History Writing Prompts

World History Writing Prompts

When teaching my older kids writing we used Write Shop and 7Sisters guides to cover the needed aspects of writing.

With my younger kids who struggle with different aspects of learning I have found writing to be at the bottom of our school list. I have decided to spend the last quarter of school focusing on writing while other subjects like math go into review mode. This is a method I do often when I feel we have not had enough time on certain subject.

Then I chose world history writing prompts to be the focus of our writing. We are using The Mystery of History Volume IV and this will be a great way for them to process the serious topics covered in the book.

World History Writing Prompts

[Read more…]

Life of Fred Farming, Lesson Plan

Add Life of Fred to your Math Boards.

Add this to your Pinterest Board

Often I read questions from mothers wondering if Life of Fred can be a stand alone or does it require supplementing. I always find it hard to take a stand on any side of the matter because I do not know how their student learns. For my son, who is delayed in math, we use Life of Fred as a stand alone but I often bring in hands-on learning, extra practice sheets and math games to help reinforce the math concepts.

This blog series on Life of Fred math is sharing how I created and expanded on math ideas to help my son learn.

Since this is the 6th book in the series my son wanted a notebook page that matched the theme of the book Life of Fred Books Farming.

Life of Fred

Life of Fred Farming Printable

Life of Fred Farming Lesson Plans

[Read more…]

Homeschool Sabbatical

Homeschool Sabbatical 2

Homeschool Sabbatical…Have you ever taken one?

I think my brain is need of a leave of absence from the homeschooling life. Not that I am looking to walk away completely from homeschooling…but 15 years of lesson planning, training children and serving my family can leave a mom looking for some renewal.

Mainly I want to recharge so I can finish this race with my youngest kids as strong as I started it with my older kids. I have 7 more years of homeschooling to go!

But what would a homeschool sabbatical look like?
I sat down with paper and pencil and brainstormed some general ideas.

Homeschool Sabbatical

Homeschool Sabbatical: Brainstorming Ideas

[Read more…]

Pi Day Lesson Plans

Pi Day Lesson Plans

Yes, this year Pi Day is on a Saturday. One of the beauties of homeschooling it taking off another day in the week and doing school on Saturday.

I was excited to find many free Pi Day lesson plans. I pinned most of them on my Pi Day board.

If you are already overwhelmed with life might I suggest only buying a pie already baked and celebrating with your kids by having pie for dessert. That is how I celebrated the last two years.

Now if you have some time, a printer and a stocked pantry let the Pi Day Lesson Plans begin!

Pi Day Lesson Plans:

Food and Snacks:

  • Of course any type of pie works but keep thinking about any other foods with pie in the name or that are round in shape.
  • My kids will be doing the majority of cooking for these meals as part of our lessons.
  • Our Menu for the day:
    • Breakfast Pie Pizza
    • Quesadillas and apples for lunch
    • Shepherd’s Pie
    • Apple Pie

Music: [Read more…]

Mission Field and Medical Field

Mission Field and Medical Field

I used to dream of heading to the mission field, but instead I have landed in the medical field. While I was not asked by the pilot if I was at the correct destination; I have since come to appreciate the similarities needed to serve in both areas.

Similarities to the Mission Field and Medical Field

Why we may never lose our clothing while flying to a far away place, we will find ourselves down to the last pair of clean underwear on an extended hospital stay.

We might never experience a tribal dance but we know the joys of the 94 dance. The magic blood oxygen number that gets us closer to being off oxygen and released from the hospital.

We might not have the joy of reading road signs in a different language but we can read the the numbers on a monitor with one eye closed.

We might not have the knack for learning to say “Hello” in a different language but we can rattle off the acronyms of 20 different medical conditions while discussing a course of action and it can sound like a foreign language. [Read more…]