Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten Highlights from 2007

1. My husband got a new job with a new work schedule (getting every other Friday off).
2. We’ve been volunteering/serving with ISI (International Students, Inc.) and hosting game nights for the international students from a local university.
3. My brother finally received his green card and was able to come to America after waiting for over 10 years.
4. We had a fabulous 5 day vacation at Sunriver in Bend.
5. My husband and I celebrated our 16th anniversary and our "Half-a-Billion Second" Anniversary!
6. My daughter won a Playstation 2 from, 2 $100 Barnes & Noble gift cards from, and $10 gift certificate to the Old Schoolhouse Store & publication on their next year’s Father’s Day issue from a Tribute to My Dad writing contest.
7. My middle son won a Haiku contest.
8. My youngest son won 1st prize (a sweater valued at $39.98) at a local Barnes & Noble’s guessing contest and 1st prize ($25 Target gift card) on a coloring contest.
9. I was chosen as a feature blogger of the week here at HSB.
10. We started using cell phones and DSL.

We thank the Lord for another year full of blessings and grace.  We’re excitedly looking forward to a new year of living for God and serving Him.  Have a blessed and refreshing year because of Him!  One year closer to the Lord’s coming!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Surprises

We had a white Christmas!  The snow was a very nice surprise.  I don’t know if my kids were more excited about the snow or about the presents :) .

Another surprise is not so nice.  I got Strep throat (just found out today).  However, I am so thankful that I was well enough on Monday to have a wonderful Christmas Eve with my family and others at my mother-in-law’s house.  I kept feeling weaker and totally exhausted by the end of the day (started to have high fever).  The Lord gave me enough strength to enjoy Christmas with my family at home yesterday with lots of bedrest in between.  Today, my throat hurts so bad that I can hardly talk.  Swallowing causes me excruciating pain.  I got antibiotics now so I should be getting better soon.  I am so glad that CHRISTmas is all about CHRIST.  We can rejoice at our Savior’s birth and His redemption even when unpleasant surprises may come our way.  

Because of my extremely painful sorethroat, I have been mute most of the time today.  That’s a blessing in disguise :) .  I listen more and I take time to think more before I speak (actually write down on paper).  My kids quickly learn to read Mom’s mind and Mom’s sign language :) .  They sweetly take care of me and pray for me.  My daughter is such a big help.  She has taken care of me and her brothers all day long.  It was so precious to find her reading the Bible and a devotional book to her brothers on the couch.  My husband has also been pampering me and taking care of everything for me.  I am truly blessed!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CHRISTmas Memory

Janne at Janne’s Jabberwocky is having a contest which is part of  the HomeschoolEstore’s 12 Blogs of Christmas Promotion.  Since I already posted about one of my favorite CHRISTmas memories, I will just repost it here :) .

 When my daughter was 8 years old, she made this card at Christmastime.
Inside she wrote, "Thank You for giving us the Bible.  I am glad You came to die for my sins.  Thank You so much.  Thank You for always answering my prayers.  Thank You for giving me loving, caring Christian parents.  Thank You for all the wonderful things You’ve given me.  Thank You for all Your love for me."  On the back of the card, she drew (in pencil) a picture of Jesus on the cross.  I just love how she poured her heart into that special card for Jesus!  Very precious to me :) .

Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting to Know You/Me (The 12 Blogs of Christmas contest entry)

1. How many children do you have / homeschool?
    I have 3 precious blessings and I am blessed to be able to homeschool all of them.
2. How long have you been homeschooling?
    I have been homeschooling for over 9 years.
3. Have they always been homeschooled, or did they ever go to public/private school?
    My younger two boys have always been homeschooled.  My oldest girl went to (half-day)kindergarten and a few months of the second grade at a public school.    
4. Do you plan on homeschooling until graduation?
    Yes, Lord willing.
5. Do you belong to a co-op?
6. Do you school all year long, or use some other schedule?
    We take every other Friday off (because that’s when my husband is off).  We also take holiday breaks and summer break (about 2 months). 
7. Do you use textbooks only, or do you like to supplement with other materials?
   We use variety of resources including tons of great, wholesome books, Christian textbooks, unit studies, games, computer softwares, and internet.
8. Are field trips included in your school plans, or are they just family time?
    My husband almost always goes on field trips with us so they are family time, too :) .  
9. Do you and your kids do crafty stuff together for school time?
    We do crafty stuff occasionally; my kids are not really into crafts.
10. Would you consider everyday household life stuff ‘home ec’?
       Yes, absolutely.  Life skills are very important.
11. Do you have any advice for new homeschoolers?
       Please click here to see the answer (my top ten tips).
12. Do you have advice for homeschoolers with little ones under foot?
       Save a special box filled with educational toys, games, and favorite toys for your little ones and bring it out only during school time.  The older kids can take turns reading or playing with little ones.  Cuddle and read to your little ones whenever you get a chance.

P.S. If you would like to enter this contest, please visit Just Some Stuff for details. 

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Christmas Post and the Christmas Love

Last night, we went to a nearby church to see "The Christmas Post," a musical comedy based on illustrations of Norman Rockwell, written by Deborah Craig-Claar and Robert Sterling.  We enjoyed it.  We had lots of laughs :) .  A friend and her boys were in the play and they did a great job.  After the play, I picked up a free handout near the door that is thought-provoking.  It is a Christmas version of the Love chapter:-
             If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
          If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
          If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
          If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on CHRIST, I have missed the point.
          Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
          Love sets aside the decorating to kiss your loved one.
          Love is kind, though harried and tired.
          Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
          Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
          Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
          Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
          Love never fails.

After all, the CHRISTmas story is a love story: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16)  Because of God’s love for us…sinners, Jesus came… Jesus died…Jesus rose…and Jesus will return. A love story that never ends! The greatest redeeming love that the world would ever know!  Let us all share His love with everyone this CHRISTmas and throughout the years.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Let's Celebrate!

Tiany is hosting Holiday Open House 2007.  This is a fun opportunity to make friends and share ideas.  I’m so glad you stop by here.   Welcome!  Please make yourself at home and enjoy a peek into our life during Christmastime :) .  Please join us in celebrating Christ’s birth!  Relax and rejoice!
On Friday, our family went to a Christmas tree farm nearby.Our hunting-for-the perfect Christmas tree journey lasted for about 2 hours.  We finally did find a perfect tree (all 5 of us voted "yes") :) .The kids excitedly helped put our ornaments on the tree.  Ornaments we use either represent the true meaning of Christmas or are meaningful family keepsakes (eg. ones that the kids have made, ones that are custom-made for the kids mostly given by their grandma, ones that have the kids’ pictures, etc.)

We have cherished our family traditions.  Please click here and here to read a few of them.  Every year…a few days before Christmas, we make yummy goodies and then give them to our neighbors.  We also enjoy going to see an annual play, "Scrooge" at a local church.  Another tradition we started a few years ago is caroling in our neighborhood with some other homeschooling families.  After we finish singing, we hand them some candy canes and a special tiny "goodie bag."  The items in the tiny ziploc bag include an eraser, a penny, a marble, a rubber band, a string, and a chocolate Kiss or Hug.  On the front of the bag, I staple a piece of paper with the following message:
An eraser to make all your troubles disappear
A penny so you are never broke
A marble in case you’ve lost all of yours
A rubber band to stretch yourself beyond your limit 
A string to tie things together when everything is falling apart
A Kiss (or Hug) to remind you that JESUS cares
    and He can take care of all the above
All you ever need in life is JESUS CHRIST!
               ~Merry CHRISTmas~  

Every year we also bring out this Christmas in Bethlehem pop-up advent calendar (you can open each day’s flap/window and see a picture related to events/people/places surrounding Christ’s birth).In our homeschool, this month we have been studying the names of Jesus using EasyFunSchool’s The Names of Jesus Unit Study, singing and learning about Christmas hymns, their writers, and the relevant Scriptures using O Come, All Ye Faithful (Hymns of Adoration and Joy to Celebrate His Birth) by Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth, praying for people in different countries using Christmas Around the World map & info. from a Compassion International magazine.  We are also using Eleanor Zweigle’s Advent Study from Miiko Gibson’s website and The ABC’s of Advent by Lorna Anema & Natalie Thomas.  We will be starting the Jesse tree this week using Roots and Relations by Christian Cottage Schools.

Some of the books that we like to read during Christmastime are as follows:
- Christ in Christmas (A Family Advent Celebration) by James C. Dobson, Charles R. Swindoll, James Montgomery Boice, R.C. Sproul
- The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier, illustrated by Francisco Ordaz
- One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
- A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
- The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (and his daughters), illustrated by Liz Bonham
- Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus! by Greg Holder and Diane Stortz, illustrated by Terri Steiger
- Christmas in My Heart (compiled & edited by Joe Wheeler)
- Rock-A-Bye Christmas by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker
- The Christmas Pea Coat by Richard H. Schneider, illustrated by Higgins Bond
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss.
We strive to keep Christ as the Center of our home and our lives everyday, not just at Christmastime.  We are forever grateful for Jesus!  As you recapture the wonder of our Redeemer’s birth, may you be reminded of His amazing grace and be refreshed by His awesome love.  Rejoice…rejoice…Immanuel…God with us!  Have a Christ-centered Christmas, everyone! 

P.S. If you have any doubts/questions about Christmas tree, gift-giving, Santa, Dec. 25th issues, please click on my post titled, "Is Christmas Christian?"  By the way, some years we don’t do a Christmas tree.  It’s not deemed necessary for celebrating Christ’s birth.  We don’t do Santa, either (our kids know about St. Nicholas but we celebrate Christ’s birth, not St. Nicholas’ birth).  Regarding gifts, we emphasize the giving part, not the getting part :) .  Dec. 25th is just as good as any other day to celebrate our Lord and Savior’s birth :) .  Everyday is a gift from God; each day is the day that the Lord has made.  The point is this: are we making room in our heart for Jesus or is our heart too crowded by shopping frenzy, things to do, goodies to bake, gifts to make/wrap, etc.?  Stay "Mary" (& merry); don’t turn into "Martha" during this most wonderful time of the year :) !

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Autumn Choral Concert

A Taiwanese student whom we know through serving with ISI invited us to see her sing in the choir tonight.  The concert featured Pacific University Concert Choir and Pacific University Chamber Singers.  The program included Ubi caritas (composed by James Biery), Evening Song (composed by Zoltan Kodaly), Ave Maria, The Weather Song, Dona Nobis Pacem from "Missa Solemnis" (these three composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), The Forest of Loo (composed by Lee Ann Dresser), Three Motets: Jubilate Deo, Super Flumina Babylonis, & Sicut Cervus (composed by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Vier Quartette Op. 92: O Schone Nacht, Spatherbst, Abendlied, & Warum (composed by Johannes Brahms, A Good Night (composed by Timothy Stevens), Walking on the Green Grass (composed by Michael Hennagin), Blow the Candles Out (arranged by Greg Smith), and I’m a Long Time Traveling (arranged by David Nelson Miller).  Awesome voices…skilled pianists, flute players, dynamic conductors, too.  Our whole family had a wonderful time.  We have been studying about classical music and composers so this concert was a fabulous complement to our study.

Some of the songs were sung in Latin.  I’m so glad that they have program notes in the concert booklet to explain about each piece :) .  Ubi caritas was very beautiful and it also has a beautiful statement, "Where true love and charity are found, God is there."  I like what it said at the end of the paragraph for this song, "The chant-like verses inspire us to set aside petty quarrels and to experience, as one family, God’s limitless and pure joy."  Dona Nobis Pacem is a last part of the "Missa Solemnis" which Mozart composed when he was 12 years old for the dedication service of an orphanage.  The Forest of Loo was really funny; it was lots of fun to listen to.  It was composed by Lee Ann Dresser when she was 17 (she’s now 25).  I also enjoyed the three motets composed by Palestrina, a famous Renaissance composer.  Jubilate Deo text’s translation: "Rejoice in God, all the world.  Serve the Lord with gladness and come before His presence with a song.  For the Lord Himself, He is God." (Psalm 100: 1, 2)  Super Flumina Babylonis text’s translation: "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Zion: as for our harps, we hanged them up upon the willows that are there." (Psalm 137: 1, 2)  Sicut Cervus Desiderat text’s translation: "As the hart longs for living water, so my soul longs for You, O God." (Psalm 42:1)

I think it’s appropriate to close the concert with I’m a Long Time Traveling.  It’s true…we’re just traveling through this earth.  We, weary travelers, are promised a "brighter world on high."  For us…Christ’s followers, heaven is our home!  Have you made heaven your home?  Don’t leave earth without CHRIST!  By the way, He is the best Travel Guide anyone can ever have :) !  Why would you want to travel alone on this earth with no direction and no map when you can have the best Travel Guide who never leaves you nor forsakes you and also equips you with the best map, the Bible?   

The Mysterious Case of the Missing (not really) Bookmark

We went to our local library today to return some books and pick up the books that were being held for us.  While we were checking out those books, a librarian handed me a brown envelope addressed to the library from Department of Environmental Quality.  I was dumbfounded :) ; why was she giving it to me?  I carefully opened the envelope and took out a flat item.  To my astounding surprise, it was a bookmark that my daughter made when she was 4 1/2 years old!!  She won the first prize at a bookmark design contest at the local library.  At that time, the library produced many of her bookmarks to give out to patrons.  We took several and laminated them.  The one in the envelope was one of those we laminated because it had her name and age written on the back (my handwriting).  I think we gave some to friends and relatives.  Oh…I forgot to mention that there’s a sticky note attached to the bookmark saying, "Found in a Spanish book 10/29/07.  Thought you might like it." signed with initials.  Who found this and who left it in that Spanish book?  How and where did that person get the bookmark?  Why did the finder send it to this library with that sticky note?  Doesn’t this make an interesting, suspenseful case?  Any volunteer detectives?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Windy Day

Today it was very windy here.  How windy?  Let me show you what happened on our deck :).  We had a big umbrella open above our glass picnic table.  This afternoon I heard a loud noise while I was upstairs.  I came down and looked out the back sliding glass door and this is what I saw:

Yep, the glass was completely shattered and the umbrella was blown to the roof of our toolshed…all folded neatly :) .  Well, we had a windy day today.  How was your day?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Collection of Poetry written by Josiah

Below are some of the poems written by my 8 year old son (now 9):-

dark, powerful
destroying, traveling, twisting
so exciting to watch

Bear is a mammal
Bears can be very fearsome
Bears can be cuddly

Acrostic poem
Fall is a time when leaves fall off trees
All of the leaves turn to beautiful colors 
Lots of leaves flutter to the ground
Leaves are then ready for raking

Acrostic poem
Lovely beaches
International Worm Fiddling Contest
Down tip
Atlantic Ocean

I want to go hiking everyday
Because I enjoy God’s creation
I like the animals and plants
Hiking is lots of fun

Noun Verse
beautiful, forested
raining, snowing
    My state

big forests in green
meadows in bright profusion
high desert in bloom
rivers flowing clear and blue
ocean waves crash on the shore

The forest is nice in summer’s delight
The forest is great in winter’s splendor
The stars sparkle in the cold forest’s nights
The mountain’s east side is often drier
The forest has sprung up when spring begins
The forest in fall bursts with bright colors
Of every hue that you could imagine
These are all made by God our Creator
The ocean’s big waves that crash on the shore
Carve away the hard rocks and sand sculptures
The tiny microscopic mushroom’s spores
Are taken by the wind to wherever
How great and diverse is God’s creation
He made everything from bugs to the sun

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Game Night and Party Day

Last night, we hosted another game night for the international students.  We invited our homeschool friends to join us, too.  We were introduced to 2 new students from South Korea.  We had a delightful time playing foosball, Apples to Apples, Whoonu, and Charades.  We’re so glad that they felt at home here and that we helped ease their homesickness a bit.  One of the students told us more than once that spending time with our family made her so happy.  They all love our kids :) .  Speaking of our kids, after the church service tonight…as we were leaving, someone (we don’t know her) came to tell us that she’s so impressed with how well-behaved our kids were.  How true 1Timothy 4:12 is!!! 

Today we had a birthday party for our two birthday boys (see the Wordless Wednesday post on Oct. 10th).  The weather was beautiful so we played games outside.  We played Jelly Bean Hunt, Bean Counter Relay, Broken Down Car Race, and Rocket Launching.  Instead of a traditional birthday cake, our middle pumpkin (9 year old son) picked a pumpkin cheesecake, and our youngest pumpkin (6 year old son) picked a pumpkin pie.  My husband and I did the frosting writing ourselves.  They came out okay (barely) :).  We also had ice cream bars, ice cream sundae cones, ice cream sandwiches, varieties of crackers, jalapeno & garlic hummus dip, varieties of chips and grapes. 

Our birthday boys were showered with piles of presents.  Our 9 year old son received a box of Topps 2006-07 NBA trading cards, a Tim Duncan jersey card, 3 Zoo Life videos, an all star sports pillowcase,  Discovery Toys’ Bankit, a cowboy gun playset (plastic balls, ball shooter, and plastic barrels for targets), collectible coins, money, candies, marbles, an air pump powered missile, a DVD titled, "Discovering Nature’s Beauty", a wooden bubble blower made from red oak, bouncy balls, an Oregon State mini-football, and a beautiful book called, "Oregon: A Photographic Collection."  Our 6 year old son received a box of Topps 2006-07 NBA trading cards, a LeBron James jersey card, 3 Zoo Life videos, books and a read-along CD, candies, a wooden bubble blower, a cowboy gun playset, an Oregon State mini-football, Jenga, Brain Benders (3 solid wood puzzles), a box of illusion show kit, bouncy balls, money, and a DVD titled, "Strangers in the Woods."  I didn’t realize it would take 12 lines to list all their presents (yikes!) We all had a wonderful time visiting with relatives and friends.  The two birthday boys are so thrilled with and thankful for all the great gifts.  My husband and I are very thankful to the Lord for blessing us with these two terrific sons. 

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Guess What...

Yesterday, we stopped by the local Barnes & Noble store.  They were having a contest: guessing how many peppers were in the glass jar sitting on a table there.  The first prize was a sweatshirt and the second prize was a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card.  We enjoy playing this kind of game (estimating).  All five of us wrote our own guesses on the entry forms.  Later when we were home, we received a phone call notifying us that our youngest son (5.98 years old) won the first prize!  There were 95 peppers in the jar and his guess was 96.  A minute later the phone rang…and the same lady who just called, said that our daughter (14 years old) won the second prize!  Her guess was 91.  Wow…we were so astonished :) .  I think that lady was, too :) ; she couldn’t help laughing when she called the second time because it just dawned on her that she was calling the same number again!  We are so proud of our kiddos.  They are great guessers.   In January, my daughter also won a $10 gift card from guessing M&Ms at Grocery Outlet.

Another astonishment: my daughter has recently won two $100 Barnes & Noble gift cards from getting the highest scores on two science contests at PixLit.  Before that, she won a Playstation 2 from MathMovesU.  We all have been so blessed; we’re very thankful, indeed. 

Susan at SuzyScribbles is having a guessing contest.  The winner will get to choose one of her books.  The deadline is Oct. 15th.  Have fun guessing!

Update: My 14 year old daughter is one of the winners at Susan’s guessing contest.  Woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

International Students, Games, Museum, and Corn

Our heart is for missions & evangelism, and we seek opportunities to accomplish the Great Commission.  We believe in "going", "sending", "praying", and "sharing the Gospel whereever we are."  While we are not able to "go" to the unreached areas yet, we pray and we support native missionaries in those areas through organizations like Gospel for Asia and evangelical outreaches like Jesus Film project.  We live near a university and we had always hoped to find an opportunity to share Christ’s love with international students there.  We’ve longed for this great opportunity to present the Gospel to many who may have never heard it and who can go back to their countries and be witnesses for the Lord.  That opportunity finally arrived!  Through Mission Connexion NW…we discovered and joined ISI (International Students, Inc., a Christian organization that focuses on friendship evangelism reaching out to international students).  Last Friday night, three international students (a Taiwanese, a Korean, and a Vietnamese from Japan; all girls) came with an ISI staff to our home for a game night.  We played badminton, volleyball, basketball, and foosball in our backyard.  When it got dark, we came inside and played Whoonu and Cradium Cadoo.  We all had a blast!  We’re so glad that the international students felt at home enjoying themselves and enjoying American snacks (chips, vanilla wafers, chicken biscuits, plums, and chocolate).  We hope and pray that as our friendship develops, we will have a chance to lead them to Christ or at least plant seeds. 

Last Sunday we went to the annual Corn Roast Festival at Pacific University.  First, we visited the Old College Hall (museum) on campus.  The building has been moved several times but it is still standing strong.  It’s very interesting to see a part of our local history.  Then we enjoyed the delicious corn on the cobs (all you can eat for $3).  We walked around visiting different booths.  The kids enjoyed playing games (basketball, ring toss around corn cobs, and pick-a-duckie).  I spun a wheel at our local newspaper booth and won a $20 gift certificate for McCormick’s restaurant.  Before we left, we bought 16 ears of corn (for only $2) and buffalo jerky (made in Idaho).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tribute to My Dad (Written by my daughter when she was 14)

I love my dad! I think he’s wonderful. Let me explain.

My dad loves the Lord and strives to do His will. He tells others about the Gospel. He has shared his faith with his coworkers and others. He also loves me, my mom, and my brothers unconditionally. He shows it in his words and actions. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Dad would die for us.

My dad truly cares for us and about us. Not only does he care for us physically but spiritually as well. He does his best to answer our questions about the Bible and God, etc. He is also not afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something. He’s humble. He teaches us to always trust in God.

I enjoy spending time with my dad. He plays sports with us and teaches us how to play better. He’s our personal coach. :) He has also taught me piano. My dad has a great ear for music. One of my favorite things to do is watching movies alone with my dad.

My dad has a great sense of humor! My whole family loves to joke around. Sometimes it can be so funny just talking together about something.

My dad protects us. He always wants to keep us safe. Again, not only physically but also spiritually. He wants to make sure we don’t believe false philosophies or false teachings. He stresses the importance of going to God’s Word to find the truth. He has memorized quite a bit of Scripture and encourages me to do the same.

My dad is diligent in his work. Not only does he work hard outside of the home, he also works hard at home. He does yard work and takes care of the house’s maintenance. Last year, he put shelves on two of the playroom/schoolroom walls. Now we have built-in bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling. He’s good at fixing things and improvising. For example, how many dads can kill bugs with a rubber band? By the way, it’s funny to watch!

My dad is there to help and teach me. From helping me with math to helping me deal with my fears, my dad is there to answer my questions. He also knows a lot more about the computer than I do and has helped me many times with problems that I’ve run into.

My dad is a good steward of the resources God has given him. He has taught me the importance of not living for the pleasures of this life but of making an impact for eternity. (What I mean by that is reaching the unreached with the Gospel and saving people’s souls.) He gives generously to missions and to the poor.

My dad is completely honest and trustworthy. He never lies so we know we can always trust him with everything. He has always taught us to be truthful.

Thanks, Dad, for all you do and for loving me no matter what!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What We Did…Last School Year (2006-2007)

This is a way of record-keeping for me.  We’re so thankful to the Lord for another year of homeschooling. 

All kids:
Bible Study/Prayer Time: Bible/memorization
                                           You Can Change the World Volume 1 and Volume 2
Character-building: A Child’s Book of Character Building Book 1 and Book 2
                                 A Child’s First Book of Virtues                   
Others: The World of Tools and Technology (Great Science Adventures Series)
              Unit study on 50 States using various resources and games
              Science experiments using various resources
              Postcard exchange with people from other states and countries
              Package exchange with other homeschoolers around the world
              Chess Club

Our daughter (13 yo then):
Math: Saxon Algebra 1
Accounting: LifePac Accounting
Grammar and Composition: A Beka Grammar and Compostion II
                                              Creative Writing for various contests
                                              Producing a monthly newsletter for family and friends
Literature: Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL-Gray)
                  A Beka Of Places
                  CLP Studying Christian Literature
                  Tons of books (eg. The Gift of the Magi, Across Five Aprils, Jane of Lantern Hill, Hind’s Feet on High Places, Christmas Carol, Bronze Bow, The Courage of Sarah Noble, The Midnight Test, Johnny Tremain, A Life of Faith series, Christian Heroes: Then & Now series, etc.)
                  Co-op class
Vocabulary/Spelling: A Beka Vocabulary/Spelling/Poetry II
                                    Vocabulary from Classical Roots B
                                    Rummy Roots
Science: A Beka Matter & Motion in God’s Universe
               BJU Earth Science (partly)
Health: A Beka Let’s Be Healthy
History/Geography: A Beka America: Land I Love
                                  A Beka Geography Studies and Projects of the Western Hemisphere
                                  BJU The American Republic (partly)
Spanish: Co-op class
Speech: Co-op class
Logic: Co-op class
Art/Music: Piano, drawing, studying about famous artists and famous composers
P.E.: Basketball, hiking, biking, badminton, etc.

Our 8 yo son:
Math: Singapore Math 4A, 4 B
          A Beka Arithmetic 4 (partly)
Grammar/Language Arts: A Beka God’s Gift of Language A
                                            Daily Grams
                                            LLATL  Orange
Composition: Writing Strands
                      Creative Writing and Poetry Exercises
                      Correspondence with a penpal
Reading Comprehension: A Beka readers
                                          A Beka Read & Think 4
                                          Lots of books (non-fiction and fiction)
Penmanship (Cursive Writing): A Beka Penmanship Mastery I
Spelling/Vocabulary: A Beka Spelling, Vocabulary, & Poetry 4
                                    Wordly Wise Book 1
Science: A Beka Understanding God’s World
               BJU Science 4
Health: A Beka Developing Good Health
History/Geography: A Beka the History of Our United States
                                  BJU Heritage Studies4: Doors of Opportunity
Typing: Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing CDrom
             E-mail pal
Art/Music: piano, drawing, painting
P.E.: Basketball, football, biking, hiking, badminton, soccer, etc.

Our 5 yo son:
Math: A Beka Numbers Skills K
          Saxon Math 1
Phonics: A Beka Letters and Sounds K
               The Writing Road to Reading
Reading Comprehension: A Beka readers
                                          Lots of books (read-aloud and silent reading; he’s a good reader)
Science: A Beka God’s World
               CLP The World God Made
Social Studies: A Beka Social Studies K
Art/Music: piano, drawing, painting
P.E.: basketball, hiking, biking, soccer, etc.
Others: Lots of play time, hands-on activities, making "little books" on various topics of interest, educational CD-roms

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Homeschool Open House

Tiany is hosting a Homeschool Open House from Aug. 1st to Aug. 15th.  Please visit her site for details.  What a wonderful opportunity this is to encourage one another and learn from one another in our homeschooling journey/adventure!  Welcome, everybody, to Children of Light Christian Academy!  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."  Ephesians 5:8-10 

Who are we?  We’re Christ-centered, Bible-based, mission-minded, family-bonding, character-building, & life-long learning homeschoolers.  We cherish our togetherness; we enjoy learning and growing together as the Lord leads us.  Last year, I wrote a post about why we homeschool.

We homeschool our three precious blessings: 14 year old daughter, 8 year old son, and 5 year old son.  We have been homeschooling for over 8 years now.  We mix and match our resources to meet our kids’ individual learning styles and interests (you can see what we used last year here).  Grade level is not emphasized.  Their skills and abilities are taken into consideration more than their ages.  We have flexible structure/routine.  We take time to dig deeper when there’s an interest.  We read (a lot), research, create, experiment, write, memorize, analyze, apply, explore, investigate, practice, work, sing, and play all sorts of sports & games.  Hopefully, we also learn and retain some knowledge, wisdom, & valuable/useful skills along the way :) .
We homeschool in our schoolroom/library/playroom, in our kitchen, on our couch, in our bedrooms, on the floor, in our yard, sometimes even in our van :) .  We’ve also participated in a co-op once a week at a church nearby during the school year.  And we enjoy field trips.

Each night before school days, I write out the schedule (aka "flexible guideline") for each kid.  They can pick the order of which they would like to do first and they check off each subject that they complete.  My daughter does her schoolwork independently at her desk in her bedroom most of the time.  I spend most of my time teaching/ overseeing the two boys.  We have our Bible study/prayer time together. We also do science experiments and unit studies together.

My "top ten tips" are:
1. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6,
2. Pray, pray, and pray continually,
3. Instill in your children love for God, passion for His word, and desire to please & serve Him,
4. Focus on building your kids’ character, training their attitudes, and tying heart strings,
5. Lead by example; walk the talk; be real and humble;
6. Stay committed to homeschooling; be enthusiastic about learning/acquiring wisdom & knowledge,
7. Don’t sweat the academic stuff :) ; embrace "eternal perspectives", 
8. These (whatever struggles you’re facing) too shall pass;  
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23

9. Enjoy your time together (kids grow up so fast),
10. Pray, pray, and pray unceasingly.
"Educating our children includes more than arithmetic and spelling; it includes building character.  No educational pursuit can replace the deep need for a generation of children to be brought up first in the ‘nurture and admonition’ of the Lord."  Rick Williamson 
                     What Have I Taught?
                  (By Betty DeMers Parkes)

If my children can quote Shakespeare
with feeling and understanding,
but think only of themselves,
then what have I taught?

If they can spell scientific words,
and write 16 page reports,
but have no compassion for other,
then what have I taught?

If they can work algebraic equations,
but do not think of how their words or actions
may affect someone else,
then what have I taught?

If my high schooler gets into Harvard,
but doesn’t have a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ
then what have I taught?

If my children are in the 99th percentile rankings
on all their standardized tests,
but resent being with their family
then what have I taught?

If my nine-year-old reads Tolstoy,
and my seven-year-old knows all the times tables,
but they cannot play together
without hurt feelings and tears,
then what have I taught?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy 14th Birthday, My Sweet Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today, my little girl turns 14!  Fourteen years ago, this precious blessing came into the world prematurely (about 5 weeks early).  She weighed only 4 lbs. 5 1/2 oz.  She had to stay in the hospital for 18 days before we could bring her home.  Those days were the most difficult 18 days of my life.  My husband and I were so excited about our first baby but saddened at the same time because we couldn’t have her with us and her health was unstable.  We prayed and prayed for her and we visited her everyday.  It was terribly difficult and heart-wrenching when we had to leave her at the end of each day.  However, we knew the whole time that she was in God’s hand (the best place to be)!  We’re so very thankful that the Lord has been graciously blessing and protecting our daughter.  If you see her today, you will never guess that she was born prematurely.  She’s healthy and quite tall.  What a blessing she has been to all who get to know her!!!  She loves the Lord with all her heart, all her soul, and all her mind.  And her life shows that!  She diligently hides God’s Word in her heart.  She always strives to please God.  She is a kind of girl whom every (esp. Christian) parent would want their daughter to have as a friend :) .  God has given her wisdom and discernment.  She has a compassion for the needy, the oppressed, the unreached, and the unborn.  JoJo, the owner of  ArtofEloquence, gave my daughter the Purple Crayon Award in May of this year for her speech, "Choose Life."  Earlier this year locally she won $50 for a writing contest.  She not only is beautiful inside and outside but also funny and clever.  She scores at 99th percentile on all her standardized tests.  She’s very responsible with her schoolwork.  She has been making a monthly e-newsletter called, "Integrity Newsletter" for our family and friends.  She’s self-taught, self-motivated, and self-disciplined.  Can you tell we’re so proud of her? :)   We give all praises to God for raising her to be such a Godly young lady!!! "…but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord."  Jeremiah 9:24

On Saturday, we had a birthday party for her.  We started off with a treasure hunt.  The kids (7) had to solve 14 rhyming clues that I made up.  They did really well in spite of occasional head-scratchings :) .  Some clues were harder than others.  They finally found the treasures (chocolate coins and their goodie bags filled with cool stuff and treats).  After that, we played "charades."  Each team had 14 words (summer-related) to act out.  What a blast!  Even Grandpa got into it giving answers left and right :) .  Then it was time for yummies.  We served fruit swirled cheesecakes (peach, lemon, strawberry, wild berry), raspberry Danish ring, Snickers ice cream, chocolate-covered ice cream bars, sundae cones, and ice cream sandwiches.  Snacks included toffee nuts, variety of chips, cheese & crackers, pretzels, cocoa Chex mix, vanilla wafers, jellybeans, and chocolate mints.  Next was time to open presents.  The birthday girl received books, money, jewelry, Precious Moments figurine, socks, and sketch drawing supplies.  We gave her an Elsie Dinsmore book (#2), a Laylie Colbert book (#1) (both are from a Life of Faith series), a DVD, The League of Grateful Sons, produced by Vision Forum (she has a strong interest in World War II), and $14 (every year we give her the amount that’s equal to her age).  She has been saving money for college.  I can’t believe my little girl is going to be a high-schooler this year.  Okay..back to the party, lastly we played Whoonu (a Cranium game where you guess each other’s favorite things).  This game is lots of fun and you get to know one another better.  We discovered fun surprises even about ourselves when we have to decide which one we like more :) (eg. bookstores or chocolate cake?)  Decisions…decisions…a dilemma for me :) !

Well, the birthday girl and I are going to make a chocolate chip cheesecake together to celebrate her actual birthday!  Sweet treat for my sweet girl!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy "Half-a-Billion Second" Anniversary!

When my beloved husband got home today, he had a surprise for me!  He gave me a hand-made card that says "Happy 500,000,000 Second Anniversary!!!!!" on the front and has a beautiful & meaningful poem (that he wrote) inside.  Wow…it has been (now…more than) half a billion seconds since that afternoon on our wedding day.  Last year in June, he also surprised me with another unique anniversary. He is so sweet, loving, and thoughtful.  Once he told me that he always wanted to treat me like a queen.  Indeed, he has been doing just that.  I am probably a spoiled queen :) .  I am extremely blessed to be his wife/best friend! 

Not a second too soon
Not a moment too late
The Lord brought us together
By His love and His grace

(This is the first 4 lines of his poem (I won’t post the rest because it’s something special just between him and me ).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Filled with Feast and Fun

For the past several years, every Father’s Day…we have gone up to Washington to visit my husband’s dad and his wife.  Yesterday, we continued our tradition: our annual Father’s Day cookout at their place.  My husband’s sister and his niece & nephew (his brother’s kids) were there, too.  We had a big feast and had a great time playing badminton and volleyball. 

We also enjoyed playing a board game called "Clever Endeavor."  You try to guess from clues what the answer might be.  Sometimes we were clueless even after many clues were given :) !

We ended our Father’s Day by taking our kids to play miniature golf at Bullwinkles before heading home.  It’s always lots of fun to spend time with our fabulous father/daddy (my dear husband).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Father Is...

A Father is the able hand
That fixed your broken toy,
The arms that used to lift you up
And fill your heart with joy.

He’s the voice that often taught you
The meaning of respect
Or coached you when you threw the ball
And gently would correct.

He’s the shoulder you could lean on,
The eyes that saw you through,
The back that you would ride upon,
The feet that walked with you.

He’s the heart of a Heavenly Father,
Whose love can know no end;
A reflection of Divine Teacher,
True Mentor and Best Friend.

"He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." Proverbs 14:26
"The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him." Proverbs 20:7

Happy Father’s Day to my beloved husband, the best…the coolest… the greatest daddy in the world!!!!!!!  He is truly a man after God’s own heart and his (our) children are exceedingly blessed.  I wish I had a dad like him :) .

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Fishing Fun

This weekend is "Free Fishing Weekend" in Oregon.  It allows the public to fish, clam, or crab anywhere in Oregon without a fishing license or tag.  Today we took the kids to Henry Hagg Lake to fish.  It was raining all day but we had a great time.  We are true Oregonians :) .  There’s a saying, "A woman who has never seen her husband fishing doesn’t know what a patient man she married!"  Well, now I can say, "A mom who has never seen her kids fishing doesn’t know what patient kids she raised!" :)  They were so thrilled when fish bit and tugged and they got to reel in real wiggling fish.  This is the first fish my 8 year-old son caught but we let it go because it’s too small.  Isn’t it so cute?

Later he got a beautiful rainbow trout…

Then my 13 year-old daugther got one.

Well, the Lord wanted to bless all three kids so He helped my 5 year-old son catch one, too.

We all enjoyed eating delicious fresh fish dish for dinner.  The wonderful aroma still lingers in the air :)

"’Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’" Matthew 4:19  Don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t caught anything (anyone).  It takes "patience."  Keep praying for the unreached & unsaved and reaching out sharing the Gospel with love (…love is patient…)!  Oh..the thrill of leading someone into God’s kingdom is worth all the work and waiting!