Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What's in our Morning Basket: Spring Term

Our morning basket continues to be my favorite thing about our homeschool day (although I don't think you need to homeschool to do it!). We have kept our rhythm of working through some, if not all, of the things in our basket during breakfast each day. Sometimes we do more, sometimes less depending on their attention on that particular day. Easter marked the end of our Lenten morning basket and it has now been refreshed for spring with new scripture, memory work, books, songs and art. 

Morning Basket: Spring Term

1. Invocation: Light a candle, say together: "The Lord is my light and my salvation".

2. Calendar: Review plans for the day, look outside and record weather and nature observations.

3. Bible: Read a Psalm, read a selection from "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing".

4. Prayer: Write down what each person is thankful for and record prayer requests (including our Compassion child and someone from our photo prayer book). Then we pray; the kids thank God for what they are thankful for and I usually pray for the requests. 

5. Memory Work:

Scripture: Matthew 28:6, I Tim 1:15, I Cor. 15:3-4, Mark 16:15, Acts 16:31 (and review verses from the past year)


"All Creature Great and Small" Cecil Frances Alexander

Motto/habit training: "Obey, right away, with a joyful heart, everyday". Practice obeying (similar to Simon Says).

6. Hymn: "This is My Father's World"

   Folksongs: "Oro the Rattlin' Bog" and "The Water is Wide"

7. Picture Study/Art History: Auguste Rodin (an exhibition of his work coming to the Peabody Essex Museum, so this spring/summer we will be able to walk to see 175 of his sculptures!)

"The Thinker"

8. Benediction: Hold hands and sing the Doxology (then hugs and "I love yous" all around.)

9. Poetry and Read Alouds: If they are still happy and attentive, I read from our collection of poetry books or seasonal read alouds. This term, I'm reading a lot of spring/nature themed selections.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

Easter was: waking up to flowers and an empty grave in our Easter garden; excited and fully dressed kids at 6am; heading to church early to watch Papa practice from the balcony; a full and good resurrection Sunday celebration; cotton candy, hot crossed buns and baby animals; a ham feast at the James', a treasure hunt, lots of treats, a photoshoot; dessert and egg hunt at the McKenna's, matching sisters; tired, happy children on a sugar high; thoughts of Dad and the promise of the resurrection; Levi and Maggie ending the night dancing around the kitchen shouting "Jesus is alive!".

Dying, Waking: Easter Musings

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"  John 11:26

Ever since my father's death, I've regularly had to explain to Levi and Magnolia what happened to their Grampy. They ask about where he is and what happened to him. Just the other day Maggie looked at a picture of him and said "Where did he go?". It can be very difficult to answer these questions over and over, but it has also given me the chance to regularly tell them the gospel in a real and meaningful way. I tell them about Jesus' sacrifice, about His miraculous resurrection and the hope that their Grampy had as a follower of Christ. 

Last Easter was difficult.  My father was declining fast. I asked him if he could try to make it to church to see Magnolia's dedication, but he was too weak.  He stayed in bed all day on Easter and when we sat on the bed with him, he seemed so incredibly sick and tired. I didn't realize it then, but he was a few weeks away from the end of his earthly life. 

This Easter, I thought of him often.  In our devotional reading on holy Saturday, the kids and I read "Dying, Waking" from "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing". It said, 

"God meant for us to live forever. But sin has broken everything and now we - all of us - die. 
Jesus came to destroy death. He died on the cross and was buried - but death couldn't keep him dead. On the third day he burst out of the tomb!

And now death can't keep us dead either.  The preacher, Charles Spurgeon said that Jesus has turned the tomb into a bed- and dying into just waking up. 

We will still die. But after we die, we will wake- as if from a refreshing night's sleep and Jesus will lead us by the hand into Life that won't ever end."

It reminded me of something that happened a few months ago, when the kids and I were reading the story of Joseph.  We read the verse, 

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done." Genesis 50:20.

I asked Levi if he could think of any time when something bad happened but God turned it into something good. As I struggled to think of something, Levi chimed in confidently, 

"When Grampy died." 

Surprised, I said, "How so?" 

"Because when he died, he just opened up his eyes and he saw Jesus."

Yes. Yes! Ever since that day, I have been encouraged by those true, beautiful and faith-filled words that my four year old spoke. Someday, we will just open our eyes and we will see Jesus. And all things bad and sick and painful will be forgotten in an instant. The very worst thing has been redeemed. 

Christ is risen. And so it will be with my Dad and all of God's people. Praise the Lord. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

These days...

These days, I'm -

Looking: out my window onto my garden and neighborhood covered in a light snow fall; hoping it doesn't stick or freeze my bulbs! 
Listening: to Levi play with legos while he blasts Brian's old high school/college band music. He recently re-discovered them and they have been playing ever since.
Drinking: my coffee mixed with a spoonful of a homemade cocoa mix one of my students gave me for Christmas (and now I'm going to have to figure out how to make some of my own!)
Smelling: a mandarin lavender candle, which has been lit almost all winter long here in the Kettle
Feeling: excited that my sister and her husband will be moving into our apartment downstairs..party house!
Wearing: the fleece robe that I pretty much wear in the house all winter. It has a big hood, which of course I utilize, so Brian refers to me as his Jedi wife. 
Creating: master seasonal/monthly plans by combining my seasonal lists with many new ideas gleaned from "The Life Giving Home" by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.
Reading: "The Charlotte Mason Companion", "Pride and Prejudice" (with Brian) and "The Scent of Water" by Elizabeth Goudge (new favorite author!), the gospel of Mark...and piles of children's poetry and literature.
Learning: how to be a better steward of our resources. My brother is leading our extended family through Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" $$$ ;)
Finding: so many literary treasures in my Nana's book room recently
Cooking: lots of quiche recently
Baking: Gaia Cookies
Loving: our weekly homeschool co-op; the support and collaboration; a smart and happy group of kids engaged with good art, music and stories. 
Teaching: my art students; Picasso collages inspired by "The Three Musicians", fantasy creature collages inspired by Eric Carle and collagraph printmaking.
Hoping: to solidify my plan for Levi's kindergarten books and resources for next year.
Giving Thanks: for this Lenten season and signs of spring, despite the recent snowfall. The earth is waking up, new life is on it's way!