Homeschool Conference Time

This year was my second time attending our annual homeschool conference.  Last year I didn’t have any children starting school but I was really interested in what the main speaker was going to be talking about so I went anyway (she was speaking on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching).

I cannot believe that my son is already old enough for school, but I am so excited about starting with him.  I plan to start school a little early due to something that will be disrupting our school year (I’ll talk about that in another post).  And I am using a mixture of Charlotte Mason method and traditional curriculum.  I love teaching and, while I really like the Bob Jones curriculum, I also loved some of the principles from Charlotte Mason, so I plan to mesh them together to create a curriculum that, I hope, will work with my very active child.

Even knowing what curriculum I planned to use, I have enjoyed attending the homeschool conferences the past two years.  It has given me a chance to hear points of view from other homeschool parents through various workshops and get to know them as a support for our own homeschool journey.  There are also great resources available and extras that you just can’t get when on your own.

Friday night they hold a second-hand sale and this year was the first time I had gone to it.  I could have bought half of the things being sold, hah.  So many neat items and tools are available for homeschoolers.  Most of the tables are run by homeschool families trying to sell their old, unused or barely used, curriculum and books.   One of the tables, though (well, I think they had 4 or 5 tables, hah) was run by Homegrown Homeschool Consignment.  This is a “store” run by a homeschooling family in the Berwick area.  They take items on consignment and sell items at a great price.  They had everything from curriculum to fictional books to games.  I picked up the History of Canada game from the brand Professor Noggins.  I love these games.  They are pretty reasonable brand new ($10) but I was able to pick mine up for $3.   These deals definitely helped stretch my homeschool budget.  You can also find Homegrown Homeschool on Facebook and keep up with where they are and any great deals they have on.

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The main vendor hall is also a great place to check out any curriculum that you may have not heard about before.  There were also tables being run by Cadets, Joyful Sounds Band, and universities.  These tend to be for older children but are great ways to find out about other resources for homeschoolers.

The workshops are another way to find out about different ways of homeschooling and about what is going on in Canada and Nova Scotia in relation to homeschoolers.  The Provincial Update was extremely interesting and I learned a few things this year that I didn’t know, especially in regards to registering your children (Notice of Intent) and the Pre-Primary Assessment that the government is offering (not that it was offered to my child, hah).

Paul Faris, the director of the HSLDA (HomeSchooling Legal Defense Association) was the main speaker and he had a lot of insight into how rules and laws are changing within Canada.  I had heard about the Association in previous years and really wanted to get a chance to talk to him.  Everyone else had the same idea, unfortunately.  I was able, however, to sign up with them and am so glad I could take advantage of that.  If all the children in your house are under age 6 you can sign up for free.  It’s a yearly membership.  This gives you access to free legal defense in regards to homeschool matters should anything arise (not that we expect it to).  Once your children are older it’s a monthly rate to join.  Personally, I feel this is just a protective covering for our family.  I don’t expect any issues.  I am quite open about what I am doing with my children and don’t feel the need to hide our homeschool activities.  But we all know the way things are going in North America and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some “big guns” on your side.

Overall, I feel the Conference was a huge help to our family and a blessing in so many areas.   I am already looking forward to next year’s.

For more information check out HEMS online.

Hymns of the Faith

Hymns

Sunday morning I was privileged to be in my mother-in-law’s church. We were visiting for Mother’s Day weekend and had a wonderful time with her and her church. I was also able to sing in the morning service. I enjoy having someone to play piano for me, it doesn’t happen often so I take advantage of it when I can. It’s nice to continue to be asked to sing there even after less-than-stellar performances.

In Sunday school, the pastor’s wife is going through a series, and, honestly, I wish I could be there every Sunday. She is going through hymns and showing doctrinal truths from the Bible that are in the hymns. We did a little bit of this in college. I remember being assigned a hymn and we had to find a Bible verse for every section of the verses, very similar to what Mrs Lavender is doing with the ladies. At the time I didn’t appreciate the assignment (sorry, Mrs Baker), but now I am so inspired.

I love the hymns and I love looking through old hymn books at the songs I don’t know. When I first moved to the Valley area of Nova Scotia, I learned a new hymn every single Sunday for the first year (and that is not an exaggeration). I couldn’t believe there were so many hymns I didn’t know! I love them now, and sometimes when I hear certain ones it reminds me of different song leaders from that church.

Sometimes, though, I think we forget that many of the hymns are based on Scripture and what those Scriptures mean to our faith. The hymns are being phased out and replaced with “newer” songs. I have nothing against new songs, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t believe as many of them are as steeped in Bible as the old ones are.

hymns

The last year I taught at a Christian school, I used Bob Jones’ Bible curriculum with them. In it they teach the children a hymn. I think it’s one a month, I can’t remember for sure. I thought it was a great idea. And I think teaching them the Bible verses that go with them would be even more beneficial.

As I think about starting school with my Little Man this year (ahhhh!), I am looking forward to teaching him hymns. He already knows quite a few, one of our favorite cds is all hymns and his personal favorite is “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” I am so glad he enjoys them and I hope his love for the hymns continues as he grows older.

What is your favorite hymn or hymns?

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Sweet on You – Book Review

Sweet on You:

Chautona Havig’s newest book is out today!  This was a really cute read and somewhat different from many of her other books.

Madeline is a 19 yr old at the turn of 1900’s.  She wants to be free to make her own decisions as a woman without joining the Temperance League.  When one of Madeline’s friends begins to give attention to a young man unknown in their circle, she begins to question his motives, and her own.   Is she looking for something that’s not there?  Will she end up ruining her reputation over nothing?
Five Fun Facts about Madeline:

Thus begins “Meddlin’ Madeline’s” journey into sleuthing.  Sweet on You is the first in this new series from Ms. Havig and I am really looking forward to the rest.  It’s a mystery without a murder.  It brings up some hard social issues and really makes you think.Sweet on You (4) There is something beautiful in this.:

The author really gives Madeline some things to think about spiritually as she works through the story.  At first I was a little bit taken aback at the direction she seemed to be taking, but was pleasantly surprised at the end to see the resolution.  It’s easy for us to think that some people can be too zealous in their living for the Lord.  That zealousness can often seem fake and turn people off Christianity.  Chautona Havig hit on this subject really well and gave her main character a flaw that many of us struggle with.  We should be striving to be more like Christ but we need to balance our desire to be “seen” as spiritual with true spirituality.  I thought this was a really good topic for her to tackle.

I also love the amount of research that goes into each of Chautona Havig’s books.  She works hard to make her stories reflect the period they are written in and she takes great pains with even the smallest of details.  Ms. Havig spends countless hours on how peopled dressed, talked, and lived and it comes out in her writing.  It is very authentic and adds to making the book more enjoyable.

I will admit that I wasn’t sucked into this book as much as I thought I would be.  Some of her other ones I’ve had a hard time putting down, but it could also just be where I’m at in my life right now.  Reading is not something I have a lot of time for at the moment and so I end up snatching moments here and there and it makes it hard to get caught up in a book (especially when you have a 4 yr old and 2 yr old bouncing on the furniture beside you!).  Overall, I did enjoy Sweet On You and would heartily recommend it.  Check it out on Amazon today.

 

A Lonely Willow – Part 2

A Lonely Willow- Part 2

Chapter Two

           Avery pulled off the winding road they had been following, driving into what seemed like a forest.   It didn’t take long, though, for them to leave the trees and drive into a clearing.   The moon reflected off ocean water as he pulled up to the house, Willow’s house.  He questioned the sanity of what he was allowing her to do as he brought the car to a stop and turned it off.

He watched Willow unbuckle her seat belt and take a breath before opening the car door.  The sound of waves crashing against the rocks in front of them and the smell of the salty air seemed to give her strength as she stepped out.  In the moonlight the house rose before them, showing a gabled roof and a wrap-around porch.  The windows were all dark and Avery shivered in the eerie silence.

Summoning his manly courage, Avery’s shoes on the gravel drive crunched loudly in the darkness as he moved toward the house.  “Let me get a light on for us,” he said quietly over his shoulder.  He reached the porch and continued to the door, shining a small flashlight so he could see to unlock it.  He worked his way to the back of the house, where the previous owner had told him he would find a small generator.  Turning it on, he moved his way back to the front door, turning on a light in one room as he went.

He found Willow standing in the doorway and gently took the small bag she had been holding.  Placing the bag up against a wall in the hallway, he moved back towards the door, “I’ll grab the rest of your bags.  I got you one of those large, lantern flashlights, so you can use that to check out the rest of the house.  If you’d rather wait until morning, you’ll find two bedrooms at the top of the stairs, along with a bathroom.  Pick which room you’d like and I’ll crash in the other one.  Tomorrow we can finish making plans before I head home.  They’re not expecting me at the office until the day after.”  He watched her for a minute, just standing, looking as lost as he felt, and then he slipped out the door and picked his way across the gravel drive to the car.

Avery knew his life was changing along with Willow’s.  Keeping Willow, and his work for her, a secret from his partners at the accounting firm was going to be interesting.  Monthly trips out to this fishing village were going to need a good cover story.  At least she would never have to worry about money.  William had seen to that.  And Avery was going to make sure that William’s investment kept Willow for the rest of her life.  Investment.  Avery smiled sardonically at that.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what William considers it.  His heart grew hard as he thought of the man’s cruel nature.  At least this situation had given Willow the chance to get out from under William’s thumb.  Being rich was often a curse, as it made people act the fool.  He only hoped Willow had learned her lesson and didn’t repeat it in a new town.

Willow’s condition was the only thing that gave Avery pause as he thought about her living out here alone.  She had specifically requested something off-grid.  Something Avery wasn’t sure this little rich girl would be able to handle.  No electricity meant no phones and no electricity.  Although he was thankful she had accepted the cell phone, for now.  Had she ever even used a wood stove before let alone cooked on one?  He shook his head.  At least he had made sure she had the small generator and extra propane to fuel it.  She would at least be able to turn on lights and use a regular stove if she wanted to, although it would make a whole lot more sense to just be hooked up!   Avery’s name was on the house deed and planned on paying any bills associated with the house himself.   Her idea, though, was to keep the bills down to only essential ones.  There was no need to draw attention to the fact that he had a house way out in the middle of nowhere.  But the lack of electricity and regular plumbing bothered Avery.  He planned to keep close watch on her for the first little while and had enlisted the help of some locals to make sure that Willow Quinn survived her first few months alone.   After today, Willow Quinn would essentially cease to exist, but he was going to make sure she didn’t literally cease to exist.  No one would be able to trace her to these back woods, and “Willow Quinn” would be gone while living only a few hours from her hometown.

Avery slammed the car door and carried Willow’s bags into the house.  Willow was just heading up the staircase as he entered.

“Let’s just get to bed, while there’s still some night left.  You must be exhausted.”  She spoke to him as she ascended.  “We can go through the house tomorrow once we’re rested and can think clearly.”    He watched her pause at the top of the stairs, seeing three doors.  He made his way up behind her and waited on the landing as she opened each door to see what was behind them.   Willow’s movements were slow, as if she were moving through a fog.  He realized what she must be feeling, leaving her family and friends.  Would she be able to handle the isolation?

“I’ll take this room.”  Willow had stepped into the larger of the two rooms and stood with one hand wrapped about a bed post.

Avery, waiting at the top of the stairs, now moved past her with the rest of her bags and laid them on the floor.  “If you need anything, I’ll just be across the hall.”  He stopped and stared at her for a minute, and then moved back into the hallway, where he picked up his overnight bag and headed into the smaller bedroom.

He listened for a moment to make sure she was okay.  He could hear the creaking of the bed as she lay down.  Then silence reigned and he realized she must have fallen asleep.

Avery stretched out on the bed, his sock-clad feet hanging off the edge, the awkwardness of sharing a house with a woman never leaving his consciousness.  As a Christian he had been taught not to put himself into compromising situations, but he doubted that this would actually qualify as compromising, since not a single person knew of his existence in the house.  Willow Quinn had enough things to worry about without adding him to the equation.  He knew if his mother knew what he was doing to help Willow she would tear a strip off him. Thank goodness she would never know.

He rolled over, working to relax so he could fall asleep.  The drive had seemed to take forever, Aspotogan seemed like the end of the world to a city dweller.  How in the world was she going to survive out here by herself?  She’d never even cooked a meal before and here she thought she was going to run a farm and sustain herself?  Avery mentally rolled his eyes and sent a punch into his pillow.  If he was any kind of man he would insist she get back in the car tomorrow and go straight to the police with him.  William could not get away with this!

He flung himself onto his back.  Oh, yeah, that would work, and William would pay off the police and Willow would be found in a back alley a week later, a mugging gone bad.  He could see the headlines now.  How she had even gotten mixed up with him Avery could not figure out.  How was he supposed to go back home tomorrow and just leave her here?  He’d never sleep again, worrying.  She’s only 21, barely old enough to vote, drink, and have a driver’s license, and here she was, out in the middle of nowhere (thanks to Avery), planning to live off-grid and hide out for the rest of her life.  It didn’t seem like much of an existence to him.  But there wasn’t much he could do.  He had no desire to move out here with her, he enjoyed being an accountant too much.

“Lord,” he prayed silently, “this situation seems hopeless, but I know it’s not.  You are in control.  Help me to remember that.  I’ve prayed about this and I see no other way to help her right now.  So I ask that You help her.  Keep her safe, Lord.”

He rolled over to face the window, the light from the moon outlining it.  His thoughts continued to plague him, but eventually a restless sleep came over him.  Morning would come soon enough and with it a whole new set of problems to be faced and worked through.

 

If you missed the beginning:

A Lonely Willow – Part One

A Blog Update

Every year I find I need to make time to sit down and evaluate where I’m going with the blog.  I mean, it’s great to write about the kids and life in general.   I’ve watched the blog grow, though, over the last few years from friends and family to people I’ve never met (and I love that I’m reaching more people from my little area of the world), but it does make me want to draw back a bit from family posts to things that will interest my readers as a whole.

Last year I just couldn’t find the thoughts to put down here and at the end of the year I realized I hadn’t even made one blog post a week.  Not that quantity is better than quality – but I was seriously lacking both.   Many of you know that I had a miscarriage last summer and when I have big things happen that I don’t want to share, it keeps me from sharing anything.   It’s hard to write when you’re trying not to talk about something.  It’s like the elephant in the room.  I’m so thankful the Lord brought me through that time and I hope that some day I’ll feel comfortable talking about it and can share what the Lord taught me through that experience.

Then after Christmas, we began working towards buying a house.  I found that to be a lot of work mentally.  I did write a bit, and started working on my story, A Lonely Willow, (I shared chapter one in March and chapter two will be coming next week!), but I’m just not where I was.

I have also put a bug in my collaborative author’s ear for some posts from her this year – and Jessica has promised, lol.   So we can look forward to, hopefully, hearing from her a few times this year as well.

I began to really think about what I’M passionate about, and some of the things that I have been passionate about in the past are not things that are working for me now, like quiet booking (although I am trying to get back into that), sewing, etc.   I’m not a fan of the kitchen so recipes aren’t huge on my blog – although you’ll the find the occasional one.   Something I AM passionate about, though is church, my ministry there, and Canadian history.

I know, that last is so random, but it’s true.  Ask anyone who knows me, I can talk about Canadian history until after the cows have gone to bed (not just come home), hah.  I’m also passionate about seeing it taught to future generations.  Canadians are losing their heritage and they don’t even know it.  There are so many interesting facts about our past and I just want to share them!  And believe me, I don’t even know them all!  I have subscribed to a couple Facebook groups and I love all the fascinating tidbits I keep learning.

I love teaching in general and this year I also started teaching a kid’s choir in our mid-week service.  Music is another passion and I love seeing children singing, especially in worship.   I do have to admit, they’re hilarious singing one of our old college warm-up songs “A pizza hut, a pizza hut, a kentucky fried chicken, and a pizza hut.”    Especially since one Little Man didn’t know what Pizza Hut or Kentucky Fried Chicken was (do you think he’s deprived?).

So in the remainder of 2016 (can you believe we’re almost through 4 months of this year?  Where has it gone?), I’m going to be sharing some of the websites I’ve been using for teaching music to my kidlets, with games, etc.    I’ll be posting about Canadian history with books you can borrow from your library and activities you can do to encourage your children to learn about Canada’s past.   And I’ll still be posting about what the Lord is teaching me as I feel led by Him to do so.

No, I am not forgetting about the story.  It will continue as well.  Just be patient with me as I have restarted chapter 3, 3 times now!  It’ll come.   I am looking forward to continuing Willow’s story and learning from her journey.

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