Sunday, May 1, 2016

End of the 2015/2016 School Year

 The end of April is always my goal to finish up the school year. The weather is so beautiful, and we want to enjoy it before it gets TOO hot and humid. We finished up right on time this year and celebrated with our first Dairy Queen Blizzards! 

I wanted to document what we did this year so I can look back in several years and remember. 

LA/Spelling: Sonlight LA level 2. We added in memorizing more parts of speech, all the helping verbs, and loosely began to label the parts of speech in a sentence. Sonlight wants kids writing a good bit of stories, but Drew loathes writing, so he would narrate and I would transcribe. He has a fun imagination that is ALL boy! (Read: lots of stories about being lost in the woods, guns, bears, snakes, etc) We will be using something more Robust next year. 

Reading: Epic app for Reading independently and read alouds with mom. We also read Sword in the Tree, Runaway Ralph,almost all the Henry Huggins books, Mr. Popper's penguins, and the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. All were big hits! 

Math: Singapore 2a and 2b. We used magnatiles in the geometry part which helped, fraction manipulatives, and flash cards to drill math facts (something Singapore doesn't tell you to do, but I find useful).

Handwriting: we completed the 2nd grade book and finished the cursive kick start Book. His cursive was surprisingly really good! 

Science: I was really unsure about doing science online, but I'm so glad we did! Where I was lacking time for experiments and prep work, this site made up for it. Drew learned a LOT this year in science, and I got a good refresher. He studied magnetism, forces, energy sources, heat sources, different types of particles, review of machines, and so much more. There were times where I would explain a biblical view of what they taught, and it was never a big deal. 

Phonics: Explode the Code online. We completed the entire book minus one on syllables. (We covered syllables elsewhere.) 

History: Story of the World Volume 2. We used the Kingfisher's history book and the usbourne internet linked textbook as additional references. We also read several books loaned to us by a good friend about becoming a knight, the structure of castles, and Robin Hood. 

Bible: we read through the entire beginner children's bible, Jesus storybook bible, and also some from his Nirv. I ordered some booklets from Christian Light Publications that were okay. They felt like Sunday school busy work and I likely won't purchase them again for Hannah and Jonah. 

I feel I'd be missing a huge advantage to homeschooling if I didn't add in the fun extras: hunting days, a skating field trip, zoo days, spending 7-8 hours outside some days, children's museum play dates, soccer both semesters, gym and tap dance for Hannah, overnight trips to family members' homes, and lunch dates with Daddy add an extra fun touch to our days! Did I mention Drew and Hannah sleep in until 9? BIG bonus. 

Speaking of Hannah, she is reading CVC words and doing simple math. She completed her preK handwriting book and really enjoyed the different Kumon cut and paste books and various workbooks I got her. We started using some of the Christian Light kindergarten materials with her and she found them interesting and easy to complete. We just aren't used to lots of worksheets, so I find it's just busy work, BUT I was trying to keep her busy while Drew completed his studies, so it served its purpose. 😉

Our school day took anywhere from 1 1/2 hours on an easy Friday to 3-4 hours on a Monday-Thursday, depending on how many word problems we had to hurdle that day. 😉

It's safe to say we were ready for a break, and we fully intend on living it up for the next couple of months! We are so proud of our babies and all their work! 

Saturday, April 16, 2016


(I've finished writing the post below, and part of me wants to just keep it as a draft for my own reading purposes in the future. Publishing it might come off as braggy, and I never want people to mistake my transparency for pride. But the first paragraph is here, and it's raw and authentic. Obviously, we don't have it all together. We fumble through most days, grateful for grace and bedtime. So I'm posting this, praying that it encourages another weary mom out there to take heart and continue putting in the hard work. Grace to you!)
There are seasons in motherhood that feel impossible. These seasons hands you days where you cry, wanna pull your hair out, and call dad on the phone and hand it to the kid. There are these days where you wonder if anything you say or do is making a difference and you kneel in the bathroom and pray--really pray and listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance on what to say and do to get through to this offspring of yours.

And then there are days like today that can happen inside those refining seasons. A day where you feel slightly redeemed as a mom, like something you're busting your knuckles for for has actually "stuck."

First of all, this is our third season playing soccer. Drew really enjoys the high intensity and constant movement of the sport. It's also WAY less boring than baseball to watch, so win-win. (And it's played in the spring and fall, so less sweating--this is my kind of spectator sport, friends.) This morning, the coach placed Drew as a forward and I thought, "Oh no. That's the position he struggles with the most." And then he KILLED IT. I saw more focus and follow through this morning than I've seen in three seasons. Then, to top it off, he scored his first goal! PROUD mama moment. Like, he kicked the goal and me and both grandmas were crying tiny happy tears. Yeah, we are that family.

But then we went out to eat tonight at a mom-and-pop restaurant, and when we were about half way through the meal a man in his late 70s gave Drew some money and asked him to put it in the tip jar for the singer on stage. Drew gets shy and has a problem speaking to people he doesn't know. I encouraged him to say thank you and yes sir, but the man didn't hear him because Drew barely looked his way and mumbled the words. I encouraged him to finish his bite of food, walk to the man's table and make eye contact while he spoke. I was afraid he would fight me. Complain and whine. But he mustered up all the strength in his little body and walked to that man's table with his head up and said, "Thank you, sir. I'm going to put this in the jar for you." And I watched him be brave and conquer his fear, even though it was written all over his 7 year old face. And the man smiled at him, told us what a beautiful family we have, and said, "I see Jesus in you, son." MELT. ME. My heart swelled at soccer with his goal and persistence, but I was slayed when he stood up and spoke like a man, not allowing his fear to take him captive. He seemed to grow up a bit, right there in that moment. God gave me a glimpse of the man he is to become, and reminded me to keep on keeping on, especially in the difficult, refining seasons.

So tonight, in a season that leaves me in a mess at times, I'm thanking God for the victories in all forms that he allowed today. It was big for Drew, but it was just as big for his mom.

Resting in His grace,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Drew Laney, Deer Slayer

I want to write this down so I don't forget in years to come when you're a world renowned hunter. 😉 Since November, you have been absolutely stuck on deer hunting. It is ALL you talk about. All. The. Time. You killed your first doe without any help from Dad this year, and you were so proud! We've eaten on it several times, and you beam with pride! When you got a bow and arrow set for Christmas, you decided you wanted to take up bow hunting. Today you asked us 500 questions on turkey hunting with a bow and how you should go about lobbying "the President of Mississippi" to get the laws changed on that particular game. 😂 Daddy and I finally had to ask you to change the subject because we couldn't listen to anything else about hunting. November is going to be a loooong wait for you! 

Little Evangelist


Yesterday you ran inside from playing outside for a long time. You'd just met the neighbors' grandchildren for the first time, and you were telling me all about it. 

"Mama, I was kinda shy at first cause I didn't really know them but then they told me their names. I asked them if they knew about God."

Your face looked at me for approval, as if to see if I thought that was a good or silly decision. It hurt that you even needed to question it. I wanted to wrap you in my arms and cry happy tears, but I just smiled and nodded my head, hoping you'd continue. 

"I told them about God's love, and that Jesus died on the cross for them so they could go to heaven. I asked them if they had a Bible, and they said no. They said their parents said they were too young for a Bible." (You looked very confused as to why a parent would say such a thing.) 

Then you added in my favorite part that shows your appreciation for God's beauty. "I told them to look at the sky where it was purple. They said it was pink, but that was okay. I said, "God made that beautiful sky for us to look at! He made everything!" 

Again, you looked at me for validation. Of course I told you how proud I was. I explained to him that even though they didn't own a Bible that they heard the good news of Jesus, thanks to you. You were really concerned about their souls if, God forbid, they were to die. We talked about how children go to be with God when they die, and you seemed very comforted by that. 

I pray you always love the Lord, love others, and have a hunger for His word. Tonight I found this note on my door when I came out from putting Jonah to sleep. Gave me all the feels! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Christmas 2015

With three kids and a five year age gap between the youngest and oldest, I realized this year that the magic of Christmas may not occur for all three many years, maybe not more than one. :( So this year I really tried to soak it all in. We wrapped up our schooling in the second week of December so we could take time to be together, relax, decorate, watch movies, read, and just ENJOY. We put our tree up just before Thanksgiving, and that really excited the kids! They loved hanging their ornaments and asking the story behind each one. (The stinky part was about a week after we got it up, about half the lights went out; however, apparently no one cared enough to fix it. Done is as good as perfect!)

 We went to Breakfast with Santa on an earlier Saturday. Jonah was timid at first, but came around. Hannah was ABSOLUTELY giddy! And Drew....well, he was terrified. As in, he hid under the table. When we finally coaxed him into Santa's lap after an hour, I said, "Look at his eyes. Does he look like someone you know?" He replied, "No. I don't know him. Can I get out of this man's lap now?" I whispered to him that his Papaw was one of the VERY few people who got to work for Santa and wear Santa's REAL suit. He started smiling and laughing so big.

 Mom and Dad decided to take us all on the Polar Express this year, and I'm so glad she did!All the kids (and adults!) had a BLAST! Kacie and her family got here on Thursday for the train ride, and we celebrated Christmas together over the next few days.

Santa leaned over to Drew and said, "Don't you worry about that dent in the wall." He'd been worried his gifts would be taken away because he accidentally put a LARGE hole in the sheetrock upstairs with his toy. The look on his face was priceless.
One night we went to Starry Nights and out to eat. Another night we all went to Bass Pro Shop and Build a Bear. The kids really enjoyed their cousin time!

Our Christmas Eve family celebration was moved to the Friday before Christmas this year. We really scaled back on gifts, and mom and dad weren't crazy about it. Ha!

Actual Christmas Eve was spent at our house. We ate dinner and opened gifts from each other. I believe the kids actually played outside since it was so warm. We made cookies and watched Christmas movies. It was cozy and perfect. That evening we read our Bible about Jesus' birth and watched a piece from The Bible series on the nativity story. After that we read "Twas the Night Before Christmas." The excitement was almost palpable!

Drew's bow was a gift from us. I think it's his favorite gift he's ever gotten.

Mommy and Daddy went to bed around 1am and Christmas morning came quickly! The kids were SO excited!

The gift Hannah was most excited about!

Immediately after opening gifts, Drew HAD to shoot his bow and arrow, even though it was raining. Sweet Andrew put on his boots and they headed out. Drew could not have been prouder!

That afternoon we went to Pop's and Deda's house and spent time with family, playing take away, opening gifts, and enjoying excellent food. Drew ended up playing with Mom & Dad and walked away with their gift, 5 1/2 gallons of Blue Bell ice cream only being stocked in TX at the time. The kid was STOKED, and we're eating LOTS of ice cream around here! 

That evening when we got home, Claire and Austin had arrived in town and were at our house, so we ate again, opened more gifts, and hung out. It was so great to see them! The next day we met them at their hotel pool and had lunch outside in the 74 degree weather. So unusual for this time of year, but we made the best of it and the kids LOVED the entertainment. 

Our Christmas of 2015 went down in the books without ANY sickness which is basically unheard of in the Laney family in recent years! Our favorite spiritual thing this season was reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible from creation until Jesus' birth. The kids and I really enjoyed it and could really feel the excitement to celebrate Jesus this year! This Christmas was probably my favorite one so far as a parent. It was magical and lovely, and I'm counting down until next year!

This Might Tickle Your Fancy

Blog Widget by LinkWithin