Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Christmas Tradition

Every year after Thanksgiving, my kids are excited about preparing their gift for Jesus. Christmas is the time when we celebrate our Savior’s birth. We want to give Him gifts.  First, each kid picks a  wrapper for his or her own box. After the (empty) boxes are wrapped, I cut a slit (about 2-3 inches long) on top of each box. Then the fun begins. The kids are all trying to please Jesus by being kind, helpful, thoughtful, encouraging, generous, humble, polite, self-controlled, patient, etc. Each time my husband or I catches one of the kids doing what pleases Jesus, we write down what he/she did on a little piece of paper and then put it in his/her box. On Christmas Day, after my husband reads the Christmas story from the Bible, we pray and then the kids give Jesus their gifts. Each one opens up his/her box and we take turns reading each piece of paper. They all beam with the biggest smiles as they realize that Jesus has been honored and pleased by what they have done. They would like to do this tradition all year round but it would take manyyyyyyy days to read all the pieces of paper. Well…even without the boxes, they do try to please Jesus everyday anyhow (sometimes they fail but the desire is there)!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Geography Fair

Last Wednesday, our homeschool group held a geography fair.  My kids and I did "Sweden."  My husband’s ancestors came from Sweden; therefore, we have a special interest in learning more about his heritage.  I personally love geography; I love to learn about different cultures, people, land, nature, places, historical aspects, arts & crafts, etc.  I had so much fun helping my kids research about Sweden.  We read several books about Sweden, watched videos about Sweden, searched the internet about Sweden, and baked Swedish butter cookies.  I also made a Dala horse (symbol of Sweden) out of felt, yarn, and laces.  My daughter liked it so much that she asked me to give it to her for a Christmas present :) .

Have you ever heard of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden?  Every winter they build a new hotel using ice from the Torne River.  Every summer the hotel melts away.  It is open for only 4 months from December to March.  Everything there… ( the walls, floors, beds, furnitures, etc.) is made of ice.  Isn’t that so cool (or cold rather)?  My kids got curious about ice toilets; they wondered if a person’s bottom could get stuck to the toilet seat when he/she tries to get up (just like you can get your tongue stuck on a very cold popsicle!).  In any case, ice toilet seats just cannot be that comfortable :)

We learned about the Vikings.  My 5 yo son colored a Viking boy and his outfit.  So cute :) .  We even watched Veggie Tales’ Lyle the Kindly Viking for an extra bonus :) .

In addition, we learned about some famous Swedes such as Alfred Nobel (the guy who invented dynamite and didn’t want to be remembered as someone who invented things that blew up and killed people so he established the "Nobel Prize"), Carolus Linnaeus (Father of Botany who came up with a classification system for plants and animals using genus name followed by species name), Anders Celsius (the scientist who invented the Celsius thermometer), and Astrid Lingren (the author of Pippi Longstocking).

Did you know Volvo and Saab are made in Sweden?  Do you remember that song sung by Templeton the Rat in Charlotte’s Web?  Smorgasbord… smorgasbord…smorgasbord!  Sweden started it :) .  They sure know how to feast :) .

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive!

My kids get so excited every year around this time.  Why?  They get to pack shoe boxes!!!  In our homeschool co-op, I annually collect shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child (a project of Samaritan’s Purse founded by Franklin Graham).  These boxes will be given out to children around the world who are living in extreme poverty, in constant fear because of wars/fighting, or in disaster-struck areas.  These simple gifts will brighten up the children’s life with God’s love, joy, and hope.  These shoe boxes are also evengelistic tools; they give local believers the opportunities to tell children about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, through Gospel literature and evangelism programs.
 
This is a wonderful project to get your kids involved in.  Kids in America have so much to be thankful for, yet many take their plenty for granted.  This is one of many ways we can share with others in need.  For details (including the collection center near you), please visit  www.samaritanspurse.org/occ or call 1-800-353-5949.  The collection week this year is November 13-20.  If you cannot do the shoe boxes this year, please still consider praying for the boys and girls who will receive shoe boxes that they may come to know (and receive) the best gift of all, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ!
 
By the way, there are so many ways we can give, especially near Christmastime.  Many Christian organizations (ex: Gospel for Asia, World Vision, etc.) have gift catalogs available from which you can purchase lambs, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, fishing boat, Gospel literature, VBS material, wells, etc. for native missionaries and needy children/families.  These kinds of gifts touch lives and make a significant impact.  Giving (especially secret giving) is such a joy! 
 
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." Emily Dickinson
 
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord JESUS Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘" Acts 20:35  And you know…Jesus is always right! :) 

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Double-the-Fun Birthday Party

Oh boy…oh boy…what a fun-filled day we had!  Today we had a birthday party for our boys (one will turn 8 on the 10th and the other will turn 5 on the 11th).  There were 6 kids, 2 teenagers, and 6 adults altogether.  We played "Dinosaur Hunt," "Candy Toss," "Drop a Marker Cap (instead of a clothespin) in a Vase," "Pin (Stick) a Nose (smiley sticker) on the Clown," "Hot Present," and "Coin Search in a Sand Box."  The kids (and yes, my darling husband, too) had a blast playing the games.  In addition,  my forever-young & active husband  played basketball with the kids.  They had a ball!  After the party, some of us played football, bouncy balls, and then badminton until dark.  

Parties wouldn’t be complete without yummy treats, right?  Well, we got chocolate cheesecake, white chocolate raspberry ice cream pie, brownie mudpie ice cream, crackers, chips, and gummy worms.  Everybody’s tummy was happy :) .  We’re blessed with a beautiful weather today (quite rare in October in Oregon).  Usually, we have to have the boys’ party inside because it’s too cold/too wet outside .  But this year it’s different; we did most of our activities in our backyard.  It was great!

However, we did our "present time" inside.  Our soon-to-be 8 yo son received a cool wristwatch, a stack of coin collection books with several half-dollar coins, lots of great books, a basketball (to be shared with his brother), a rocket football, money, a frog that sings & dances, a video ("God’s Earth Team" by Moody Institute), special marbles, and a copy of a drawing from a friend.  Our soon-to-be 5 yo son received a baseball badminton set, a huge green hairy ball, lots of great books, Gobblet game, Blink game, Total It game, Buzztime Kids Trivia game, a rocket football, a basketball (same one to share with his brother), money, a turtle that sings & dances, and special marbles.  Both boys remembered to say thank-yous to everyone.  They truly appreciated all the guests and all the gifts.  They showed good sportmanship and they cheered others to do well during games.  They don’t mind sharing a birthday party every year, either.  We’re so proud of them!  Our sons are wonderful blessings from the Lord; they’re unique and special in their own ways.  Two boys do double the fun (and keep us on our toes…and knees, too)! Never a dull moment…for sure.

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace."  Isaiah 54:13

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Amazing Grace

This evening my mother-in-law called to tell us that her mom (my husband’s grandma) just went to be with the Lord after a visiting friend sang "Amazing Grace."  My husband and I embraced each other and wept together.  She will be missed! My heart is saddened and I wish we could have been there to say one last good-bye.  I wish I could hear her talk about Israel again (she visited Israel a few times and loved to talk about it). 

In a loving memory of her, I’m going to post an article written by her on February 23, 1998.  It is cherished by all of us.  A piece of history (Oregon Trail) remains because of her!

     

     William and Mary Simpson, with their ten children, left Platt County, Missouri for Oregon in the Spring of 1846.  There were forty or more wagons in the train; their eldest son, Ben, was the captain.
             
     When they were nearing the Sweet Water stream, the train was moving slowly.  About fifty yards from the train, an Indian with a red blanket around him raised up out of the tall grass and gave a loud yell and started swinging his blanket.  This scared the train’s teams and they started to run, those behind passing those in front; and in this way, the whole train stampeded.  They didn’t stop until they ran into the stream.  Damage was done to the wagons, but no one was injured.
             
     Ben ordered them to strike camp in a circle.  Then he took a rawhide whip and left to find the Indian; when he caught him, he whipped him.
             
     The whole train was terrified that the Indians would come and kill them.  Sure enough, about forty Indians came, and their leader called for the man that whipped his son.  Despite the pleadings of the train, Ben went out and confessed that he did it, and why.  All the Indians dismounted and each one came and shook Ben’s hand, saying "You did just right."  Ben invited them in for supper, and they repaid them by doing a war dance.
             
     Arriving in Oregon, they settled in the Willamette Valley.  Their youngest son was my great-grandfather.
                                
Written by Mary Ellen (Simpson) Hart (Nov. 15, 1919 – Sept. 16, 2006)
 
We are reminded once again to not take our loved ones for granted, to not take life/living for granted, and to constantly have "eternal perspectives."  Life here on earth is temporary; heaven is our permanent home.  Live for God!
"…‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

    Thru many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home…"

According to Amazing Grace (366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions) by Kenneth W.Osbeck, John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace) proclaimed shortly before his death, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!"

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Family Fun Friday

Today my darling took a day off work to be with us.  We took the kids to Oaks Park (the amusement park in Portland) because it’s "Homeschool Day" there from noon to 4 p.m. (homeschoolers could buy an unlimited ride bracelet for $8, instead of $13.75).  We had a blast!  There were lots of homeschoolers there but it was not crowded.  We didn’t have to wait long for each ride.  The weather was gorgeous, too. 

We went on Kiddie-Coaster, Hot-Air Balloon ride, Lewis and Clark journey (2 times), Ferris Wheel, Train ride, Tea-Cup, Huge Pink Slide (2 times), and Carousel.  My youngest son also enjoyed riding a Jet Plane, a Motorcycle, and a Car (little kids’ rides).  My hubby and daughter were more daring (than me!) and went on "Screamin’ Eagle" where all the loudest screams were generated and could be heard throughtout the park.  My inner organs and my mind screamed, too, "No wayyyyy…I would ever get on that ride!" :)   Just watching them made me scream enough (probably louder than them).  After that ride, my hubby admitted that his stomach was not as young/strong as it used to be :) .  My hubby and daughter also tried an intense roller coaster later on.  They survived.. barely :)
 
We then went to have dim-sum at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.  After that, we went to Baskin Robbins for yummy ice cream treats.  On the way home, we picked up pizza for our (late) dinner.  We had a wonderful family time together.  Now I will spend my weekend getting ready to start school on Monday.  I’m so excited…I just can’t hide it :)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Fifteen Years of "Rao Mee Rao" ("We have each other." in Thai)

God chose you out of billions just for me
I’m so blessed and honored to be your wife
You’ve been and will always be…
my best friend, my hero,…the Love of my life!

Across the lands…across the seas
God brought us together from different cultures
He graciously picked the Best for me
He knew we’re perfect for each other

You’re my refreshing cup of tea.
You’re my exquisite spicy curry.
You’re everything a Godly husband should be.
Sharing a lifetime with you is God’s precious gift to me.

Happy 15th Anniversary, Honey!

Monday, September 4, 2006

"5 Things" Tag

Connie at wardssward tagged me with "5 things" tag.  Ready or not…here they are:

5 Things in our freezer:
- a loaf of spelt bread
- multi-grain English muffins
- chicken cornbread stuffing
- cookies & cream ice cream
- chocolate chip ice cream

5 Things in my/my husband’s closet (we share a walk-in closet):
- camera bag
- an old (antique?) Beavers (Oregon State University) hat
- a special container in which I keep all the love notes/cards/poems, small gifts, etc. that my husband has been giving me
- plastic containers filled with sweaters
- clothes and more clothes :)

5 Things in our van:
- Bibles (extra ones are available for giving away)
- Gospel tracts
- Christian music CDs
- books
- toys

5 Things in my purse:
- Gospel tracts (in English, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, & Korean)  We never know whom God will put in our path; we want to be ready :) .
- tissue
- first aid kit
- coins
- a pen

5 Things in my wallet:
- library cards
- health insurance cards
- U.S. flag pin
- my youngest son’s immunization record
- pictures of my kids

Sunday, September 3, 2006

FUNschooling

I was tagged by JoJo from CommunicationFUNdamentals.  Here are my answers to FUNschooling Tag Questions:
1. What curricula have you used that was the most fun?
     Mind Benders, A Case of Red Herrings, Oregon Trail CDrom by The Learning Company, Kids Learn America!, States & Capitals Songs cassette tape, Considering God’s Creation, Bill Nye the Science Guy videos (my kids are well grounded in the Bible so they ignore the evolution parts).

2. Tell about something that your kids had a ball learning?
    Believe it or not, my kids had the most laughs during our Bible study.  We usually have lively discussions, role-playing/acting, silly or thought-provoking (sometimes both together) questions, and some humorous examples that the kids and I come up with (to illustrate the lessons). :)
    They also enjoy science experiments, including the bloopers :) .  Our family loves to play games (the kids have a ball learning without realizing that they’re learning).  Some of our fun & educational games we like to play are: Scrabble, Boggle, Brain-O-Matic, Buzzwords, BrainQuest, Whatzit?, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and GeoSafari Game of the States.

3. Name your favorite fun and creative blogs.
    I guess…CommunicationFUNdamentals is too obvious, right? :)
    For creative blogs, I recommend CreativeHomeschooling and Creativehsmom.
    For fun blogs, I recommend CarpeBanana and JenIG.

4. What homeschool magazines are the most creative and fun to read?
    I have not had a chance to read many homeschool magazines so I don’t think I’m a good candidate to answer this question.

5. Tell us a funny story about something your kids did while homeschooling.
     Last year, my kids participated in Westward Ho! (the simulated journey traveling along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley in Oregon).  They had a blast!  My kids took their roles seriously :) .  They used the boys’ bunkbed as their wagon.  They dressed up and talked funny (trying to be authentic).  They were so cute and creative, acting out their experiences along the trail.  We even had campfires at night (in the boys’ bedroom using a flashlight) and took turns telling stories/tales.  We cooked the foods eaten during the Oregon Trail.  My daughter kept a diary of our travels while my middle son kept track of our travels on the map.

6. What’s the silliest question you have ever been asked about homeschooling?
     Ahh, the silliest question is absolutely the socialization issue.  Why do people equate homeschoolers with hermits? :)   I often tell people, "In my opinion, bad socialization is worse than no socialization at all."  "Socialization" is way overrated and badly misunderstood!

7. What blogs or sites would you recommend for the Carnival of FUNschooling?
     http://www.cyberbee.com/wwho/index.html
    This is the website address of Westward Ho!  You will get to travel the Trail with the Westward Ho! Wagontrain.  During the journey, the participants are given Travel and Fates cards.  Different decisions lead to different fates (consequences).  Most participants are classrooms in public schools and private schools; however, homeschoolers are welcome.  We had lots of fun participating last year (see #5′s answer).  The registration (free) starts this month. 

8.  Tell a story about someone you know that would be a good nominee for JoJo’s Purple Crayon Award. See http://artofeloquence.com/pages/purplecrayonaward.php
    I am biased but I think my kids would be good nominees for Purple Crayon Award. :)   In my opinion, they are creative communicators for Christ.

9. What is your favorite Foot in Mouth Man episode? You can see all of FIMM’s episodes here: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/CommunicationFUNdamentals/Misadventures+of+Foot+in+Mouth+Man/
    I really like "Employment Application," "Dog for Sale," and "Used Car Sale Ad."

10. What is the most fun you have had as a homeschooling mom?
      Too much to list :) !  It’s fun to just be with my kids and to learn along & play with them all day long.   I love to do science experiments with them and be blamed (credited) for all the bloopers :) .  I love to read their creative writing assignments.  They have great sense of humor and great depths of insight.  I love to see their eagerness/enthusiasm when they want to find out more about something (ex: germs, plants, animals, eyes, hiking trails, WWII, causes & treatments for different illnesses, various countries & their cultures and peoples,  the unreached people groups, etc.)  They research with delight.  I love to see their creativity and initiatives in inventing their own games or writing playscripts & acting in their plays (I get to join in, too :) ).  I love it when we play educational games and my kids’ faces light up because they know the answers from their studies.  My face also lights up because I also know the answers…from teaching them :) .  My kids know so much stuff that they just love to quiz Mom and Dad.  My husband and I know more stuff by being quizzed by our kids :) .  Well, I think a homeschooling mom has one of the most fun jobs in the world!

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Lib!

This is my entry for the mad lib contest at mamma 1420.  Our family likes mad libs.  It’s lots of fun.  I was surprised to see some of the words fit in quite nicely here.

    An amusement park is always fun to visit on a hot summer flood. When you get there, you can rent a vacuum cleaner and go for a swim. And there are lots of original things to eat. You can start off with a hot dog on a/an expert with mustard, relish, and chimneys on it. Then you can have a buttered ear of laundry with a nice overdue slice of watermelon and a big bottle of cold sweat juice. When you are full, it’s time to go on the
roller coaster, which should settle your mud.  Other amusement park rides are the Dodge-Em which has little entrails, that you drive and run into other catalogs, and the Merry-Go-Round where you can sit on a big tent and try to grab the gold curriculum as you ride past.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Piece of My Mind on Why I homeschool

My parents and some of my friends wondered (may still wonder) why I want to stay home and teach my kids.  They think I should make use of my education (I have a master’s degree in marketing, speech communication, and psychology; one degree in 3 integrated studies), establish a career, and make lots of money.  Well, that’s what they think.  Here is what I think: my children are precious blessings from the Lord and they mean more to me (and my husband) than any career and money.  I love my job, "wife/homeschool mom" :) .  God is my Boss and He is the best Boss one could ever ask for!  And the fringe benefits are incalculable :) .  By the way, my husband is very supportive; he is our math teacher on call and the most wonderful principal.

Why do I homeschool?
" My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3 That’s the main reason but there are more :) .
  • I homeschool because…it gives me the opportunity (everyday…all day long) to teach & train my kids, and instill Biblical values in them. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 My kids are taught about priorities in life: GOD first, family second. My kids are taught to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and to "love your neighbor as yourself."
  •  I homeschool because…my kids and I can pray anytime, can read the Bible anytime, can praise and worship God anytime, can quote Bible verses anytime, and can discuss about God & His Word anytime. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on YOUR CHILDREN. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7
  • I homeschool because…I want my kids to realize that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
  • I homeschool because…I want my kids to see that Jesus Christ is our ultimate Role Model!
  • I homeschool because…I want to help my kids embrace eternal perspective/Biblical perspective and a heart for the Great Commission.
  • I homeschool because…I want to equip my kids so that (in hopes that) a. they will always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have, b. they will boldly proclaim the Gospel, and c. they will faithfully serve the King of kings.
  • I homeschool because…I enjoy spending time with my kids. I treasure every moment (good and bad). They grow so fast. I love to witness their different stages. I love listening to my kids talk. I love hearing them laugh, joke around, and encourage one another.  I love watching them "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
  • I homeschool because…I get to know my kids more and more each day. I get to know and appreciate their likes, their dislikes, their interests, their talents, their learning styles, and their unique personalities.
  • I homeschool because…my kids are safe & secure and are learning in a loving, non-judgmental environment ("home").
  • I homeschool because…at home, my kids are free to be themselves…to be who God wants them to be. Free to question, free to explore, free to discuss, free to pursue what they’re interested in, free to sing (make a joyful noise in class), free to lie down on the floor while studying, free to jump up and down or play basketball while doing spelling tests (orally), free to have snacks while reading, free to get mom’s hugs anytime they want :) , etc.
  • I homeschool because…I love it when my kids ask me questions and show the desire to know more. I love seeing their enthusiasm/love of learning.
  • I homeschool because…we can be flexible with our time management. We don’t have to rush (go..go..go) in the morning. We can take breaks when we need or want to. We can take our vacation during the school year. We can go to places during the school hours and find empty parking spots. Yeah!
  • I homeschool because…I don’t want my kids to be exposed to all the awful things that are going on in public schools and even in some Christian private schools (drugs, swearing, immodesty, violence, bullies, inappropriate talks/discussion, cheating, lying, name-calling, bad manners, disrespectfulness, defiance against authority, peer pressure, bad influences, etc.)
  • I homeschool because…I get to learn right along with my kids. It’s a lot of fun!
  • I homeschool because…I love to see my kids help one another out and look out for one another. The older ones help teach the younger ones. They have developed such a strong bond. Precious memories…precious relationship, indeed!
  • I homeschool because…I love my kids and care about them so very much (more than any teachers ever will!)  All my kids want to be homeschooled and they know why we choose homeschooling.  Our family is truly thankful for that choice!
Bonus: I get to make friends with all the wonderful homeschool parents (and their children) like you homeschool bloggers here :) .

Will we homeschool our children through graduation?
Lord willing, yes..yes..yes (each yes for each kid). Why? Why stop a good thing? I don’t want to see all our investments yield negative returns. I am not going to throw my kids into the devil’s playing field on purpose. The devil has his home court advantage in public schools for sure. Even strong players are known to stumble and lose when they play away from their home court. Let’s give our kids home court advantage as long as we possibly can :) !

If someone is considering homeschooling, what would be one good reason/advice I would give?
Guard your children’s souls! Keep them home. Remember that "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour"!!! Don’t let that "someone" be your kid.  "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36 

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

What We Did…Last School Year (2005-2006)

Resources we used for our daughter (12 yo then):-
Bible Study: Bible/memorization
                     BJU Bible Truths: Learning from the Life of Christ
                     Searching for Treasure by Marty Elwell
Grammar/Language Arts: A Beka Grammar and Composition I
                                            LLATL Green
                                            Easy Grammar (occasionally)
Writing: Put That in Writing by Shari Barrett
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Classical Roots A
                     English from the Roots Up Vol. 1 Word Cards
                    Wordly Wise Book 4
Spelling: A Beka Vocabulary, Spelling, & Poetry I
               Spelling Power (occasionally used as tests)
Literature: A Beka Of People
                   BJU Explorations in Literature (partly)
                   Tons of historical fiction books, missionary biographies, etc. (too numerous to list)
Math: Saxon 87
Science: BJU Life Science
              A Beka Science: Order & Reality (partly)
              Science Experiments
Health: A Beka A Healthier You
History: BJU World Studies
              A Beka History of the World (partly)
Geography: Around the World in 180 Days by Sherrie Payne
Languages: Spanish: A+ Spanish CDrom, various books
                    Thai: audiocassettes, talking with Mom
Art/Music: Drawing, Acting in plays (at home), Writing play scripts, Piano

Resources we used for our 7 yo son:-
Bible Study: Bible/memorization
                     BJU Bible Truths
                     Olympians (weekly Bible training program at a local church)
Math: Singapore Math 3A, 3B
           A Beka More About Numbers 3 (partly)
Science: Considering God’s Creation
              The World of Insects and Arachnids by Dinah Zike and Susan Simpson
              A Beka Exploring God’s World
              Science Experiments
              Tons of science books (too numerous to list)
Health: A Beka Health, Safety & Manners 3
History: Mystery of History Vol.1
              A Beka Our American Heritage
Geography: various books and games on U.S. maps & geography
Grammar/Writing: LLATL Yellow
                               Daily Grams
                               Creative Writing
Spelling: Explode the Code 6
               A Beka Spelling and Poetry 3
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000 B
Reading Comprehension: A Beka Read & Think Skill Sheets 3
                                           A Beka readers
                                           Tons of non-fiction books (too numerous to list)
Critical Thinking: Mind Benders A4
                              A Case of Red Herrings A2
Art/Music: Drawing, Piano

For our 4 yo son, we just did some phonics and games, read aloud, read Bible stories, etc.  Most of the time, he played with toys, played some educational CDroms, drew pictures, put together puzzles, built with Legos and Builderific, and hanged out with the rest of us.

All three kids also attended the local homeschool chess club twice a month.  They have participated in three tournaments (against public elementary, middle-school, and high-school students).  Our homeschool chess club (which consisted of different ages and skills) has never lost yet.  All our kids are great chess players.  Our 7 yo son is so far undefeated (in all 3 tournaments)! 

They also went to our homeschool group’s Friday School (fun activities for local homeschoolers), went on field trips, and attended four Oregon Symphony’s Kinderkonzerts (Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion).

We thanked the Lord for another year of learning and growing together in the grace and knowledgeof our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Homeschooling has been such a blessing for all of us.  It’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  We have had our shares of struggles in our homeschool journey/adventure..but no regrets whatsoever!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Jesus, Be the Centre

At VBS, we learned some new songs.  We also learned sign language that accompanied the songs.  I really enjoy doing sign language while singing worship songs.  Such a beautiful combination!  My favorite song from VBS this year is "Jesus, Be the Centre" (written by Michael Frye).  These are the words that really touch me:

                                                Jesus, be the center
                                                Be my source
                                                Be my light, Jesus
            
                                                Jesus, be the center
                                                Be my hope
                                                Be my song, Jesus

                                            
                                                Be the fire in my heart
                                                Be the wind in these sails
                                                Be the reason that I live, Jesus…Jesus

                                                 
                                                O Jesus, be my vision
                                                Be my path
                                                Be my guide, Jesus

                                                


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Jesus, please always be the center of my life!  I want none of me and all of You.  I need You, Lord!

I hope and pray that I will never lose Christ-centered focus!  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’" John 8:12  He is my Guiding Light!

Congratulations, Mr. Joker!

Mr. Joker (one of my husband’s nicknames given by me) is the winner of the July Create-A-Word Contest at CommunicationFUNdamentals! We were to create a word that describes the act of using humor to teach something.  My husband’s winning word is "scholaughticism."  I think his other word, "edjokation" is brilliant, too.  My honey is very clever and funny; hence "Mr. Joker".  My word is "schumoring " Even though it didn’t win, it does have a nice ring to it…don’t you think?

He won a laminated and bound personalized eStorybook titled, "Conversation Correction Patrol: A Story About Listening and Being Humble."  This will be a fantastic, unique birthday gift for our 4 yo son (he’ll turn 5 in Oct.).  We’re so thrilled and happy about this.  Big thanks to JoJo of Art of Eloquence for this fun contest and the very cool prize!

Saturday, August 5, 2006

God's All-Star Champions

This past week (Monday to Friday) my kids participated in a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at a local church where one of our friends attend.  My daughter was one of the helpers.  This is her second year of helping VBS at that church.  She decorated the church, set up the props, prepared snacks, counted the offering, etc.  My boys (natural athletes) enjoyed all the sports and games while learning about living and winning God’s way. 
 
The VBS’s theme is God’s All-Star Champions (wearing God’s gear, "the full armor of God.")  My 7 yo son was one of the 3 kids who succeeded at memorizing Ephesians 6:11, 13-18 (putting on the full armor of God).  My daughter already had that memorized so she was able to help her brother memorize the verses.  My 4 yo son managed to memorize other shorter verses.  At home we always encourage one another on Bible memorization.  We try to keep it fun and interesting while reminding our kids its importance and benefits.  "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You."  Psalm 119:11  "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105 

The Bible class’s teacher at VBS complimented my boys for their obedience, attentiveness, pleasant smiles, and great knowledge of the Bible.  That made my day/week.  I praise God for His blessings upon our kids…our family.  I often say to my kids, "Let’s shine for Jesus!"  They do shine!

I’m so thankful that my kids are on God’s team.  They truly are God’s all-star champions!

Friday, August 4, 2006

Walls of Wonderful Workmanship

This evening my handy hubby just finished building me shelves covering another whole wall in our schoolroom/playroom.  He did the same on the opposite wall two summers ago.  Now we have two walls of beautiful built-in shelves that resemble a mini-library.  I’m so excited; I feel like a little kid who’s in front of all-you-can-eat candy buffet.  To me…books are more desirable than candies (okay…maybe not chocolate)! My hubby is so sweet and thoughtful.  He knew how much I would appreciate having all the shelf space for books.  His workmanship is outstanding.  Thanks, honey for your labor of love!!!!!!!  Ummm…more shelves… meaning…more room for…more books!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy 13th Birthday to My Delightful, Darling Daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today (Sunday) is the day my daughter officially turns 13.  Thirteen years ago, the Lord blessed us with a precious bundle of joy!  He has been blessing us through that bundle of joy ever since.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, we planned a Double Delight Birthday Party for our delightful, darling daughter.  Well, we did it and we all had a blast (more like double blast!)


On Friday, we had a sleepover party for her and her friends.  First, we went out to do a scavenger hunt in our neighborhood.  The girls loved it!  We gave each team a list of 13 items to collect by asking door to door (only 1 item per house is allowed) within a time limit (about 4o minutes, instead of 1 hour that we planned for… due to the really hot temperature that evening).  They’re under our watchful eyes the whole time and our neighborhood is probably the safest one in our city.  They received one point for each item and three bonus points could be earned by telling  a joke or singing a song.  The team that won (got 10 points)…won by telling a joke :) .  The other team got 8 points.  A close match! 

When we came back home, we enjoyed  popsicles/creamsicles and blueberries.  Next, my daughter opened the presents she received from her friends.  The majority was books and sweet treats (two of her favorite things).   After that, the girls played a variation of hide-and-seek games in the dark.  Lots of shrieking & screaming and running & tumbling!  Then we had a late-night snack break.  We had trail mix, Oreo cookies, and ice cream (2 kinds: Chocolate Crunch and Raspberry Chocolate Chip).  Before getting ready for bed (actually sleeping bag in this case), the girls played charades.  The girls were quite creative… sometimes too creative!  How do you act out "verb" or "Dewey decimal system"?

On Saturday our relatives came to join us.  The kids and some adults played Capture the Flag.  Then we competed (for the best/least time) on going through an obstacle course.  This competition involved not only running, but also golfing skill with a foam noodle for a club, going-down- the-huge slide skill, balancing skill on cement retaining wall, skipping through different loop made by twisty garden hose, jumping over recycling bins, and basketball skill.  The kids did really well (that meant no injuries).  Some adults also had fun trying (my hubby in particular).  In fact, he got the best time over all even with a limping foot (he hurt his ankle during a basketball game on Friday at work).  Both young and old participants had tons of fun.  The spectators also had a great time cheering and laughing.

Then it’s "present time."  My daughter received many nice (useful) gifts.  She was very thankful and glad.  She told me later that the gifts from us are her favorite ones.  We gave her a complete set (8) of Millie Keith books (a Life of Faith series–my daughter’s favorite series).  We also gave her a cool waste basket full of goodies (sandals, hair accessories, candy bowl filled with a variety of chocolates, and a walnut picture frame with her beautiful picture inside).  On the picture frame I put her name on the bottom and the phrase "A Life of Faith" on the top.  I also made a special scrapbook for her.  On the front cover, I used gold letterings to say this: A Life of Faith (on the top), starring (in the middle), my daughter’s full name (at the bottom).  I just wanted to do something special for her because she’s very special to us.  And she is indeed living a life of faith!
After the "present time," we had chocolate cake truffle, ice cream, watermelon, and the big hit: dirt dessert (using Oreo cookies’ crumbs, not real dirt) with worms (gummy worms).  It looked yucky but it tasted yummy!
 
Wow…what a Double Delight Party!  My daughter thanked us for the best birthday party and gifts she’s ever had (she feels this way every year).  Hmmm…this one is going to be tough to top :) .  I don’t dare dreaming about what a Triple Terrific Party would be like!  Well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Everyday Is Special Because of Him (My Husband)!

Today is my sweetheart’s 38th birthday.  He still looks 18!  No kidding.  He is amazing in so manyyyyyyy ways (not just the incredibly young & handsome look). He doesn’t make a big deal about his birthday or any holidays for that matter.  It’s another day that the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24).  He makes everyday special for all of us just by being himself.  I even said to him once today that it’s his birthday but somehow I felt like it’s my birthday, too.  He always puts God first and family second.  He is truly "a man after God’s own heart." 

My husband is my hero of faith and integrity!  He may not be famous and he has not changed the world (yet), but he is a real hero in our eyes.  His love for God is real.  His desire to please and honor God is real.  His passion to reach the lost for God’s kingdom is real.  His personal relationship with Jesus is real.  His reverence for our Holy God is real.  His obedience to God is real.  His pursuit of memorizing, studying, and understanding God’s Word is real.   His zeal for Godliness is real.  His compassion for others is real.  He breathes and lives what he preaches (he’s not a preacher by profession, but he loves to talk about God and the Bible).  "But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds." Psalm 73:28–That’s my hubby.  He is also the most giving/generous man I’ve ever known.  His thought is this, "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You." (Psalm 73:25)  Today the sermon at church was about us (Christians) being salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16).  Well, I think my husband is very salty and very bright, indeed :) .

When I read the following Bible verses, I think of my hero hubby.
"The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.  The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip." Psalm 37:30-31  My husband is a wise, just, and righteous man.

"The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him." Proverbs 20:7  Our children are especially blessed!  And I am a very blessed wife!
 
In addition, my husband is a prayer warrior, a cheerful giver, a humble servant of Christ, a loving & faithful husband, a superb daddy, a Godly leader, a hard-working provider, a strong & capable protector, a talented piano player and composer, a judicious civil engineer, a kind & trustworthy gentleman, an excellent sportsman (basketball, baseball, ping-pong, golfing, soccer, etc.), a hard-to-beat chess player, an intelligent debater, a witty & funny entertainer, a natural linguist, an extremely honest man, a terrific tea & coffee maker, a daring juggler (juggling mangoes, eggs, and such) and lots…lots more.  Did I mention that he’s amazing?  He’s by no means "perfect."  He’s just our real, amazing hero!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Our Budding Song Writer

Our 7 year old son, Josiah, wrote his first song today.  He has such a passion for reaching the world for God!  I wish you all could hear him sing his song.

         This world lies in darkness.
         God, You are the only One who can turn this world
         from its wicked ways.
         Let the unreached know that You are with them
         anywhere…anytime.
         Let them know that You'll comfort and protect them…
         for You are the only One who can turn this world
         from its wicked ways
         from its wicked ways
         from its wicked ways
         from its wicked ways.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Unique Anniversary!!!!!!!

This evening my hon surprised me when he came home.  He gave me a bouquet of 14 beautiful orange roses!
The occasion?  According to my mathematically talented hubby, it has been seven million, seven hundred seventy-seven thousand, seven hundred seventy-seven minutes (7,777,777 minutes) since our wedding.  Try to say that number seven times fast. Wow…what a unique anniversary!  My hon is super sweet, thoughtful, and romantic, isn’t he?  I’m truly blessed!!!!!!!

P.S. For those who are wondering how many years those minutes are equal to, perhaps you can give your kids this math problem to solve :) .

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Books Galore :)!

This past Saturday we went to a church rummage sale.  It was almost its closing time.  We bought a bagful of clothes ($1) and  5 cones of ice cream.  Then we went to look at books.  A church lady there told us to take as many books as we want for free because they wanted to have less to pack up.  Wow…we’re so grateful!  We chose books that look interesting to us.  When we got home, I counted all the books.  The total is 127!  Most of them are children books.  It’s like a bibliophile’s feast!  All my kids love to read.  Now I just have to find room for these books  (a bibliophile’s constant problem).