March 30, 2014

Gracious words are healing to the bones

On Day Four of not leaving the house because of a stomach bug that has threatened to end us, I have decided to simply be grateful for the following:

1. I personally had only one terrible day, where the children fended for themselves, sad, sick orphans. 

2. Due to necessity, I have laundered pretty much every blanket and clothing item in the house. That's Spring Cleaning!

3. With never leaving the house and kids who only want to sleep or lie down, I have had to opportunity to compulsively clean every surface.

4. Rhynn won't eat, but she will nurse, and that's probably the best thing for her.

5. On Day Four, the sun came out, and it was warm enough to play and clean up the yard. Fresh air heals!

6. I grocery shopped the day before this hit, and our kitchen has been full of healthy foods, even terrific soup ingredients.

7. On Day One, my mom came and made us soup. On Day Three, my dad came to play Legos. 

8. Levi ate lunch today.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him." 
Psalm 28:7

March 26, 2014

Let's Build Each Other Up

Welcome to Foundations of Sapphires. My mom, Lynda Brandly, and I decided to expand our blogging to 3 separate sites. Gates of Crystal will continue to give tips on beautiful decorating on a budget. My mom will be providing amazing Bible studies at Summits of Rubies, and I will be writing here about raising a young family to serve the Lord. My family moved a few months ago, and it has been a little bit of a crazy time for us, but it is settling down, and I am looking forward to writing a lot more.

My son is 3, and my daughter is almost 2. They are a lot of fun, and most the time I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with them, but leaving the house is not always easy, and I especially hate grocery shopping. I find meal planning and frugal shopping to be mentally taxing enough without the help of my talkative, busy, always-hungry children. I also understand that they are people, and they want to be involved and learn about their world. 

I keep thinking about this moment at the grocery store a few weeks ago. We had barely gotten started, and Levi was walking beside the cart, discussing the produce. He grabbed a container of tomatoes, and I told him that I wanted a different type. We chose the best-looking pack, and in a second, he had tried to slam dunk them into the cart.

He missed. The package hit the side of the card, exploded, and cherry tomatoes were spreading in every direction on the floor. I took a deep breath and knelt down to tell Levi that it was okay and let's pick them up. As we started re-filling the container, three other shoppers stopped to help us and laugh with us. One lady loudly joked that I can embarrass my children when they get older, as payback. But one older lady just smiled and said, "At least you know most of us have had children." 

It was a small gesture of kindness. We hadn't blocked her way to the avocados for more than a few seconds. But it meant a lot to me. I was tired and trying oh-so-hard to be patient, and I was a little embarrassed over the one small fruit that my son had squashed under his boot on the floor. And she wasn't annoyed, she helped, and she made a point to say, "We've been there." 

I think the reason I read so many blogs is to find encouragement. I have found it to be a terrific community and a resource for great ideas and support. But I have also been thinking a lot about ways to encourage people we actually see. I know I get so focused on my tasks during the day, I forget to really see the people I meet. And it's unfortunate, because sometimes the smallest kindness can mean the world to someone who needs it.

"...encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11

March 25, 2014

Why Being Home-Schooled Makes Me Want to Home-School My Children

My mom wrote here the other day about homeschooling me and my two younger brothers. She explained how she feels about homeschooling us, but as the child, my experience with it all is a little different.

I will repeat what she said: If God has led you in another direction, then follow Him. This is just my personal experience.

I was home-schooled most of my school years and went to Christian schools for kindergarten and my last two years of high school. There were definitely times as a kid that I longed to be “normal” and thought what a luxury it would be to not have your mom be your teacher. I remember kids in public school expressing jealousy that I was home-schooled, and I remember feeling they were so fortunate that they got to go to “real school.” (You may have guessed, I was a slightly dramatic child).

Other kids thought I was lucky because I could do my school in my pajamas and sleep in as late as I wanted. They assumed wrong: My mom had us on a schedule, and I also helped around the house a lot more than probably most “schooled” kids do... but I did love pajama pants.  I was asked on more than one occasion if I would home-school for college, and I would then be overwhelmed with a terrible fear that my parents would find a way to do just that.

Now, I see it differently. As a parent I see even more clearly the reasons my parents didn't want me in public school and how hard they worked to give me their best. I also see how homeschooling has benefited me.

I will never forget my mom repeating Deuteronomy 6:6,7 to me. This constancy of studying the Word of God was truly my parents’ lifestyle. The first thing we did every day was to read the Word together and to memorize Scripture. As I grew up and interacted with other people, it became clear to me that my knowledge of the Bible was greater than that of probably most people I met. I credit that time with my family, giving Scripture a place of first priority in our day, with the Word being so implanted on my heart.

I do think that having the chance to be at home with my family, being taught the Word, prepared me well to go to a secular college when it was time. By that time, I knew the truth and was able to easily see through the junk of the world. I knew better than to believe everything I was taught. I was given a firm foundation during my childhood. I spent my days as a child with my mom, seeing her love the Lord and others, and I knew what kind of adult I wanted to be.
My mom, my brothers, and me, on a family trip in Chicago
After college, I taught preschool for a few years. While I did my job, I was secretly horrified that these tiny children were spending their whole lives standing in line and being told to be quiet. Because they were in a room with 23 other 2-year-olds, it was necessary that they do these things. I remember noticing that kids didn't make car noises when they played. It might be silly, but I felt that not making sound effects was such a terrible waste of a child's abilities. Imagination and play were not what was being encouraged. I used to think that I didn't want my kids to learn to stand in a straight line but never learn to make sound effects. Yes, there are statistics about boys in particular not learning as well in a classroom setting, but what I know personally is that boys need to move.  I look at my 3-year-old son, and I know that even though he is very smart, he could never sit at a desk for hours of the day. It would break his little heart.
My Levi, with a Duplo Lego creation
We lived in Alabama when I was growing up, and it was never cold. I always finished my work as quickly as I could, and then I was free! I spent hours outside. I got exercise and built things and used my imagination. In the mornings I learned math, reading, and history, and in the afternoons I learned to think. I truly think that children naturally want to learn and figure things out. Homeschooling provides the lack of structure that allows that freedom of thought.

Our family always spent a lot of time with other people. Although I imagined that kids in school were having more fun than I was, I always had friends. I spent a lot of time in ballet class, in dance ministry, at church, with kids in my neighborhood, and at friends' houses. In fact, being home-schooled allowed us to be "social" any day of the week. What I also learned being "socialized" this way is to appreciate people of all ages, not just my peers. I never had trouble speaking well and politely to adults, because I went everywhere with my parents and was called upon to speak to adults and be polite. I also loved younger children because I had always helped with my little brothers. If I am ever socially awkward, I am pretty sure it's just my personality, not a result of homeschooling.

My husband, Ryan, with our children at bedtime

My husband went to Christian schools his whole life, but before we were married he knew that it was my heart to at least try to home-school. Now, our children are 3 and 1, and I really look forward to teaching them. Right now, we read a lot, and I make a point to encourage their natural curiosity. The time for difficult subjects are still very far away, and I know that the kids and I can learn together as they grow and there are challenges.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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 6:6,7

Encouragement for Homeschooling

This post was written by my mom, Lynda Brandly. She home-schooled my brothers and me for many years and is an amazing mom and woman. You can read her Bible teachings here.

Note:  if you're NOT home schooling, this article is not to make anyone feel guilty.  We all need to obey God in whatever He's leading us to do.  If God is not leading you to home school, then be at peace and do what He tells you. 

 But if you are feeling led to home school and are feeling overwhelmed by the idea...this article is for you!

I think the greatest thing that I did for my children was home school.  I was not raised a Christian and committed my life to Christ while I was pregnant with our first child, Laura.  God did a wonderful work in me during the first year of my walk with Him, and I was so in love with Jesus, so committed to God's Word and so determined to raise my sweet baby to know Him.

I got good grades in high school but never went to college.  My parents had divorced twice by my sophomore year in high school, and I didn't have big expectations for life.  I also didn't feel my mom could handle the expense.  So I am not a college graduate.

When my husband, who now has a Ph.D. agreed that we (~I~) would home school, I was a little overwhelmed.  We had just had our second child when it was time to start Laura in first grade.

I had imagined a class room setting: Her sitting in a desk, me spending the day standing in front of a chalk board in a room dedicated to learning with the alphabet on the wall, etc.

This was not how it was.  I ended up home schooling for 17 years. I home schooled each of them at least through 6th grade.  Each one started public or Christian school between 7th and 9th grade. Our daughter, Laura, graduated from a Christian high school a year early.  She was second in her class.  Our son, Matthew, also graduated a year early, fourth in his class.  Our son, Mark, will graduate this year, on his 17th birthday.

We always laughed when we took their 'first day of school' picture!  They were tweens!

The biggest challenge for me with home schooling was to discipline myself.  I like to think of myself as 'creative' and when the mood hits, I've got to create (said mockingly!). The hardest thing for me about home schooling was staying home! But over the years I  found what worked for my family.

We would start every morning with breakfast and learning the Bible.  We would pick a chapter and learn a new verse every morning at our kitchen table.  When Laura and Matt learned the 91st Psalm, Matt was 4 years old!!  And he could say the whole thing!  Did you know that studies have proven that learning the Word improves your learning abilities?
My husband and youngest - breakfast and the Bible
We kept our school books in a book shelf close to the kitchen table.  (We made a few moves over the years and so our situation varied.)  The kids sat at the table together doing school and art.  Matthew decided he wanted to start school when he was four.  I ordered the kindergarten books figuring if he changed his mind I would just keep them for next year.  He didn't.  That's how he ended up a year ahead.
Matthew reading to Mark
I would get them started and answer their questions.  I would then do laundry and house work all within a close vicinity.  If there were more questions, I would sit down with them and work on things.  We usually had all our work done by lunch time.  This varied occasionally.  After our youngest was born, we would sit down a lot after lunch and read together.

There was no such thing as 'grades.'  Grades are to report to the parents how the child is doing in school.  If one of my children missed a question on a test I would go back over the information with them and make sure they knew the material.  On the next test I would verbally test them on the missed information.

Laura skipped 5th grade.  I realized as we went that the work was not a challenge for her.  So we went quickly through the Math and English, being sure she knew everything and skipped from fourth to sixth.

There are great curriculums out there.  We always used A Beka.  It's Christian based and the math is very advanced.  Everything is set up with lessons already laid out with questions in work books for your child to answer.  We just did our best to finish the books every year.

Now, in the state of Michigan, you can do 1st grade through 12th grade online!  We were always concerned with the threat that we couldn't home school if you didn't have a teaching certificate.  Instead, it's gone the other direction!  What a blessing!

Here are some things to keep mind:

1.  Take one year at a time.  You're not necessarily making a commitment to get them through the next 12 years but you can do 1st grade.  Do one year and then make a decision for the next year.
2.  If you have two children who are close to the same age, keep them in the same grade.  You'll find things don't progress so quickly from year to year that this will be a problem.
3.  Make learning a way of life.  Take opportunities to learn everywhere you go.  Visit museums when you need a break and make it a learning experience. 
4.  Don't worry about people's opinions.  Home schooling is really growing now.  When we started it was really unpopular and I received a lot of criticism.  I credit home schooling with my children turning out so well.
5.  Every child is different.  My first two children would work independently.     Our understanding was that if your school work was done, you could play. They would finish their work, get it checked and get on with their day. 

Our youngest would sit forever and had a harder time focusing.  I think he's actually the smartest of the three but was not as motivated.  He had to do math one year all summer long. lol
Me,  Laura, Matt and Mark at the zoo
When each of my children started public school I realized they were afraid they couldn't 'do real school.' They were pleasantly surprised that they were ahead of the other students.  It's amazing how much a mom can teach her child when it's one-on-one at the kitchen table!

We have seen tremendous benefits from home schooling our children.  The first is their knowledge of the Word of God.  It's obviously an advantage to have them home all day.  If they're gone all day everyone's too tired to care by dinner time.

They became 'self-learners.'  As my kids got older, they did their school work independently.  But more than that, they began to explore their own interests. They became their own people not influenced by others' opinions.

When our son, Matt, was in high school we attended a parent-teacher conference one night.  His teacher told me that Matt was "amazing!"  He was so impressed that Matt could debate issues with him - political, Christian, economic - and knew his facts.  The thing that I loved is that our son wasn't afraid to disagree with his teachers' opinions.  He did it respectfully and he had knowledge to back his ideas.

I believe that education needs to be more than regurgitating what someone else has told you.  We need to equip our children with enough knowledge to make wise decisions on what they believe.  I've seen this come to fruition in our children.

I really enjoy having conversations with my kids now.  They have studied things that I don't know much about.  

Our daughter, Laura, graduated from college and got married very shortly afterwards to her high school sweetheart.  They now have two children, 3 and 21 mos.  Our little three year old grandson will be reading soon.  I'm sure he has the vocabulary of a six year old.  Because she was raised this way, it's natural to her.
Laura, holding Levi - Ryan, holding Rhynn
Our son, Matt, 22 years old, is a co-owner of his own software company. He did two years of college here in town where his dad teaches and then went to University of Michigan for a year.  He talked to us a lot about his decision not to get a degree and to take the risk of owning his own company. He's now living in Boston, working and loving what he's doing.
Matt at Fetchnotes
Because they were not separated from me at the age of 4 or 5, our bond is very strong.  We're a very close family and love being together.  On the other hand, because they have such a strong foundation, I have been impressed with each one of them at how brave they've been when it was time to 'fly.'

My encouragement to you is that if God is putting this on your heart, He will equip you to do it.  It's not always easy.  It's a commitment and takes self-discipline.  But the children that I've known who are home schooled by Christian, loving parents are some of the nicest, brightest people I know.

I read a secular magazine article many years ago that I've always wished I kept.  It said what I've always known.  Children emulate who they're around. If they spend their time with loving parents with solid values they grow up to be loving adults with solid values.

I hope this article has been an encouragement to you!  My daughter, Laura, is going to post tomorrow sharing her experience as a child that was home schooled.  

Love and blessings!

"Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Photography with Levi

Our silly Levi is almost 3. He has always been, as I say, spirited. We have been living in our new house for two weeks now, and it has been a struggle every afternoon and night to get him to sleep. He just wants to explore and play longer than I think is best for his health. Last night, his Gigi and Captain (my parents) came over for dinner, and I guess he was especially riled up when I finally got him to bed. Immediately after I left his room, we could hear his fast, little footsteps allover upstairs. When my dad spoke up the stairs to him, I saw a bright flash go off.

He had gone to my room, taken my camera, and had his own little photo shoot. After putting him back to bed and confiscating my camera, we found this evidence of his practice:

This 3" Mike the Knight was his Christmas gift and hasn't left his side since.

I thought this one was pretty well-framed.

Interesting perspective.

I guess he has been inspired by his Gigi's decor blogs and wanted to get in on that action.

Not his best work, but I think he was just trying to play with light.

This is an in-progress shot. His name has more than one letter.

Wow, there's Mom's room.

I guess he really wanted a good picture of Mike.

This is Captain scolding him for his escapade. If you don't know Captain well, that's his trying-not-to-laugh face.

Nice legs.
My mom was humored by the fact that I was actually impressed with his skill on some of the shots. I don't know much about photography, but I think he shows potential and real tenacity of vision.

Jesus 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

L is for Ladybug

The kids and I learned about letter L this week. It was fun because Levi loves this particular letter. Every time he sees it around town, he yells, "I see L. That's for Levi!" After seeing an animal center once he told us that the lion was his favorite animal because it, too, starts with L. Plus, there were so many fun things to make with the letter.

L is for leaves. I was lucky that fall is in full swing here, and the other day was the perfect chance for all three of us to gather as many leaves as we could. Beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows. Levi has been pretty fascinated by the changing of seasons this year, and Rhynn just likes to pick things up and put them in a container. I forgot to take pictures of their sweet nature walk. 

The next day, I cut the center out of some paper plates, let them color them with markers. Then they painted glue on them and decorated their "wreaths" with our fall leaves. Rhynn liked painting the glue. She added leaves... and then pulled them all off. Levi worked very well on covering his whole wreath.

L is for lamb. I told the kids we were making lambs, and I traced their hands to cut out in black paper. (Levi got mad at me and kept repeating that "Lambs don't have hands. Lambs don't have hands!" I love having a 2-year-old that knows so much more than I do.) The Littles just covered the fleecy parts of their lambs in these white hole-reinforcer stickers. Rhynn will literally put stickers on something for an hour, so this was good. She actually did a perfect job of covering the area I told her to cover, so I was impressed. 
Levi also colored with some green to make grass, but it didn't show up well.

This morning, our conversation went something like this: 
Levi: "What are we going to learn about today?"
Mommy: "Letter L."
Levi: "Again?! Okay... Can we make ladybugs?"

I had not planned to make ladybugs. I had planned to make something like this, but of course we had to make ladybugs if he knows they start with L. I went with the paper plate again. They are terrific for turning into creatures and art. Then I pretty much let him design and create his ladybug. He used the red dot painter. I love those for a paint effect with much less mess. Plus, every art looks more fun with googly eyes, and Levi loves to use them.
I thought it was pretty great myself. Usually he gives his creatures legs, but I guess all ladybugs need are spots and big eyes. I just like seeing him think something up and be able to make it. That has to be good for growing his creativity. He has an incredible imagination, and I love to see how he sees the world.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." - Philippians 4:4, 5

A Day in the Life of Rhynn

My husband works three 12-hour shifts every other weekend. Including this weekend. Also, we live with my in-laws, and they are out of town this weekend, for a thing.

On the weekdays, I like to get up before Rhynn is out of bed and take a shower; I get up early and get busy. Sometimes on Saturdays, I like to pretend that "weekend" means anything to the mother of toddlers. In reality, I technically haven't slept in one time in the last 2 years, 9 months, but if I let the kids into my bed to watch Disney Junior, and then I close my eyes and ignore them while they wrestle  cuddle, then I can trick my body into thinking it has gotten more sleep.

This morning, while I was pretending we were going to have a restful Saturday, Rhynn got bored and left our warm cocoon. I discovered later, when I needed to re-read an old text, that she had taken my cell phone and took it with her in the pink bag we use for library books. She went upstairs by herself, and by the time I caught up to her, she had found two tubes of super glue, opened them, and was sitting at the kitchen table, I can only assume, planning her next move.

I then put out the great effort of serving dry cereal for breakfast. Rhynn, I guess, was not impressed. She got down pretty quickly but soon did this to Levi's bowl of cereal.

Fortunately, the floor was still a mess from dinner last night, so this wasn't a big deal. However, I literally walked out of the room to get the dustpan, and I came back to this:
She had pinned this.
"HA HA!" (She actually does a fake laugh)
A few moments later, this was happening. She has a real problem lately with moving the chairs around and climbing in and out of them. A couple times, she has watched me very carefully while slowly lifting one knee up onto the table. As of yet, that's as far as she's gotten.
Next, Rhynn "helped" me to unload the dishwasher.
A toddler can help with pretty much any household chore. Yes, it will take 3 times as long with their assistance, but they won't be in the other room creating a new chore for you. We did the silverware, from her hand to my hand to the drawer, once piece at a time.

Since breakfast was a fail, I gave her some grapes, and she set herself up at this miniature table that's in the dining room. She loves to take a snack or activity and sit here. I think it's sweet. Sometimes she takes the toy coffee cup in there, when she needs a break.
I asked her: "What's in your mouth?"
Considering it was about 10:30 at this point, I did get her dressed. Not too much later I found her here:
"I don't know what happened. It wasn't me."

Really, Rhynn, Pinterest again!?

We ended up salvaging the day, and I did some neglected chores, and the Littles did a great job "helping" me bake pumpkin cookies. These have the treat of choice for me and the kids this fall.
I'm not sure why I felt like it was a good idea for us all to lick the bowl of cookie dough right when dinner was almost ready, but it seemed like the right choice at the time. I may have been influenced by that face.

Now for a movie and some of the actual cookies (if I get them frosted). Have a blessed day!

"Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord." Psalm 127:3

Seriously, Rhynn? This is not your computer! (The laptop was closed and poorly hidden in the corner this last time. She opened it and turned it on).

Preschool with a one-year-old and a two-year-old

When summer began coming to an end and other people talked about sending their kids off to school, I suddenly decided that I was going to homeschool my kids, starting immediately. My husband was tickled when I told him what I was going to do, and my mom giggled that the Littles were one and two and that I felt they needed more structure.

The point was that WE needed more structure to our days. Yes, the Littles have a fairly-strict schedule as far as meals and naps, but being a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers can become monotonous and dull. I actually like to combat that by giving us more of a schedule, more of an eventful routine.

When I look online for educational activities, I usually find things geared to 3-5 year olds. That is what is considered preschool age. Before having children, I taught preschool. I worked with 2-year-olds. Knowing what we did with them every day made me confident I both knew what I was doing and that such little people can learn a lot. My Levi started asking me what the letters were when he was about 21-months-old. When I started teaching him, I assumed we wouldn’t get far, but he could recognize every letter, big and small, by his second birthday, and then he started figuring out what noises they make. If you put in a little concentrated time, I do think that very young children can absorb an awful lot, and they enjoy it. We try to spend about an hour a day on “school.” My Littles can stay interested about that long, and it’s more than enough time to cover a lot.

I set up our school area, where we can all sit on barstools together. I put a bookshelf up off the floor, so that I could keep some things there that Rhynn can’t get to all the time and scatter around the house. Every afternoon, I gather stuff for the next day: Books we own that are in our letter/theme, items that start with our letter, supplies for our art project.
C is for Caterpillar

The first day I told Levi we were going to do school, he was confused, obviously. I sat them both down and did our lessons. By day 3, both Littles knew exactly what we were doing when we sat down, and they were excited. They learned the songs quickly, and Levi began to ask every day, “What are we going to learn about today?”

They know that school has begun when we sing the" Good Morning Song." It’s silly, but then they both know it’s time to pay attention. They both put their index fingers up and sing along:
(Tune of “Frere Jacques”)
Good morning (Good morning)
How are you? (How are you?)
Very well, I thank you (Very well, I thank you)
How about you? (How about you?)

 Next we sing the Days of the Week Song. Levi guesses every single day that it is Wednesday, so he is right once a week. Sometimes he mixes it up and guesses Friday.
 (Tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
There are seven days, there are seven days,
There are seven days in a week.

He is always so proud of his work.

Third, we count our ten fingers in English, then in Spanish. I was amazed how quickly Levi picked up the concept of counting in a different language. Numbers were an easy connection for him, and it made him curious about other Spanish words. My husband grew up in the Dominican Republic and speaks Spanish, so I encourage him to speak it with the kids. My Midwest accent does not lend itself well to Spanish!

For Bible, we like the Jesus Storybook Bible. The wording is sometimes slightly advanced for our Littles, but I just explain more when needed. Although Levi likes David & Goliath and Jonah & the Big Fish best, we have been trying to read straight through, one story a day. I also found this list of short scriptures for toddlers to memorize. I write the verse on a card in large letters for Levi to be able to see it clearly, and we repeat together several times a day. I make sure to explain each word, to assure that he actually knows what we are talking about. Levi can say four of them now, and HE tells me when he feels one applies to a life situation (My most quoted to him is “Children, obey your parents. Ephesians 6:1”).

Next, we have been working on one letter at a time. I felt like one day per letter was too little time and one week per letter was too long. We usually work on one letter for two or three days, or until I have exhausted my activities and Levi knows it well. We like the Sound Box Books by Jane Belk Moncure. (I have been able to find them at our library and can reserve the next few we need each week. That way I can just drag lead my two Littles to the desk and pick them up). Levi thinks these books are funny, and the whole story revolves around one letter’s noise. We use letter and number magnets a lot for activities. They can usually be found at dollar stores and are great for matching, identifying, and spelling. Another way we have reinforced letters is through signing the alphabet. I am no expert, but seeing my own kids use signs makes me believe that making the letter (or word) in a tactile way solidifies understanding at a new level.
Working on "B is for Bumblebee."

In future posts, I hope to share some of the other fun activities we do, but for now I just wanted to encourage moms who are home with little people and feeling bored and overwhelmed. Sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s nice to feel like I have accomplished something with the babies more than just loving them. It’s not expensive or difficult. If you are thinking of homeschooling in the future and feel like it might be a challenge for you, start now! When they are tiny it’s so easy, and you and your Littles can learn together, as the content gets more involved.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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 6:6,7