Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back...

2010 was a year of searching, waiting, not really understanding what exactly the future held. Fresh out of seminary, but non of those long awaiting light bulbs saying 'THIS IS GODS PLAN" turned on. We were full of willingness, eager, ready to go wherever on the next phase of the adventure. Finally the path became clear, and it took us full into a storm... the storm that consumer 2011...

2011 was a year of darkness. I battled mostly in secret awful post natal depression and we were surrounded by many sources of darkness all around us, in the the form of people, tragedies, organizations... I empathized with Job ... everything was stripped and taken away, we were humiliated, naked, despised, and many questioned whether we were truly in Gods will. I know now, that we were, in every way, for our own sanctification, the pain had to come. 2011 was the year, I was like Ernest the dragon... painfully, painfully... the scales being ripped off, to reveal pink, new, tender, flesh... Yes, it was a year of darkness, but it was necessary, so that something more beautiful could emerge. Now I rejoice for this awful year...

2012 was a year of recovery. Learning to walk again, learning to laugh, finding peace, forgiveness, letting go of pains and hurts, of understanding why, new beginnings... 2012 ... the year of healing & of being reminded, that God keeps His promises, to those who serve Him, steadfast with all their hearts, in true penance and desire to grow, serve & obey.  At the start of 2012, we made a commitment and a prayer of our heart... to end the year with more JOY... and I fully see, that prayer and desire has been answered. For where joy was lacking in 2011, our home and hearts have overflowed with it in 2012.

2013 ...   I have some thoughts of what you hold, but what will be your story?  

I eagerly await what you have to offer, because whatever it holds,  I know that God's hand is in it, and it is for my good.

I will share tomorrow some of my hopes, intentions and prayers for the new year!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeschool, the 2nd Year.

I have had a lot of questions as the new year starts, about which curriculum I am using for the girls. Esther is going into first grade, and Rachel, even though she just turned 4 a few weeks ago, is raring to go, so she is starting K, and doing really really well, she is 100% ready for the work she is doing.

One thing I thought and prayed a lot about is that between all my housework, my business, church responsibilities etc, was how to teach two girls, without burning myself out. Thankfully, having a more Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, this wasn't too hard to achieve.

I also, wanted something with a level of structure, in that, I had a curriculum, I wasn't putting it together 100% myself, and that it was easy to explain to Josh on the school days he is home, so he can help, especially when new baby Emi arrives.

So here is what we are using so far:

  PHONICS - Explode the Code

We like Explode the code because it moves at a pace that both challenges the girls but lets them feel a big sense of achievement. They both really enjoy the worksheet style approach with these books, and lots of the exercises have a level of playfulness that makes them laugh, such as discerning the correct sentence. Normally the wrong sentence is really silly and they like that.

  HANDWRITING - Handwriting Without Tears

This is a fantastic curriculum. There are so many fun practice activities and ideas using visual and hands on exercises to get concepts across. When magic C seemed overwhelming, I was able to introduce a magic bunny made of a napkin and a marker, to teach the letter and it quickly de-stressed the situation and made learning a breeze. Kids use chalkboards, playdoh, wooden pieces & song to learn.

  MATH - Life of Fred

Last year we started with Saxon K, which we learned was to easy, but then Saxon 1 was too much of a jump. So then we switched to Horizon which was too much work and brought about our first math induced tears.

I had no idea what to use for 1st Grade. My 1st grader  struggles with math concepts, we spent a lot of time just learning numbers the first year, she just struggled to keep them in her mind. So I needed a different approach.

Life of Fred is a totally different approach and I am really excited about it. This is our first week using it  and honestly, it's so quick and easy, that I am trying to get my head around it being 'enough'. Yet, it is. It's a math text book, but written like a story book. It follows the life of Fred, a 5 year old genius who teaches Math at Kittens University.

Each lesson, you read a chapter, which encounters a problem in Fred's life, and then you solve the problem. I feel as though in 2 chapters, the girls understand addition more than they have before. It's great for multiple ages, I don't have to sit with 2 separate curriculums and try to teach them totally different things, I already do that with phonics and handwriting!

HISTORY - Beautiful Feet's " Early American History" 

I will be honest. The realisation that I had to teach AMERICAN history, was a bit of a shocker. I think we spent maybe half a term on it when I was 14. Sure, we'll learn all about British History in a few years, but for now, I have to teach my little American citizens about the country they were born in.

This has to be my favourite new curriculum this year. I love it. It's 100% Charlotte Mason. Esther and Rachel both can do it all together. We just started reading about 'Leif the Lucky'. I like that someone already made a little guide with color pages, CD's, crafts/activities, dictation etc that I can use, and I don't have to try do that right now!

GEOGRAPHY - Passport Around World / Beginning Geography

I found this great little book which comes with a passport inside and stickers for passport stamps. It covers information on 26 countries, from A-Z! So we will do a country once a week - language, food, location, basic facts.

I also have a great little book that we are covering together about maps, land structures etc.

SCIENCE - Nature Co-op/ The Nature Connection

We are LOVING our nature co-op through the local homeschool association! In the elementary ages, children learn the most 'Science' through playing and exploring the outside world. We are using the book ' The Nature Connection'. We read a segment each week, we also collect items we find and observe animals etc around us, and journal them. On fridays, at co-op, the kids have to do a show & tell. How awesome is it, that school is going out on a family walk, or exploring the garden?


Right now, the core subjects above are my weekly priority, this is what I HAVE to get done. Here are some other supplementary things we try to include each week, and so far, are achieving, but if we have a rough week, or have field trips etc, they tend to get left for that week!

MUSIC/ ART: We do a weekly ' tea time' in the afternoon, we listen to a different composer each week as we sip & snack, and discuss the instruments, the composer, how the piece makes us feel. We also follow this conversation with a discussion of a famous work of art.

LANGUAGE: We are doing ' SONG SCHOOL LATIN' or 'Monkey Latin' as the girls like to call it. They love , love this. They want to do it every day. I adore that they have started greeting me ' Salve Magistra'

LOGIC: We have a few work books geared towards K- First Grade from Critical Thinking. They look fantastic, so far, we haven't got around to them, but we will soon I hope!

PHYSICAL EDUCATION: We are going to 'PEP Club' alternate weeks, where the girls play different sports, games and drills with other children. We are also in the process of looking for some dance classes for them. Also, they are going out multiple

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Important Announcement From The Browns.

Please take a seat, this will be hard to understand for you, but it's time to tell the truth....

Monday, January 9, 2012


Wake Forest. Home. I know that this quaint hilly city with dense forests and old homes with wrap around porches is now home. The cold and rain comfort me as I rest from the long drive, truck loading and unloading. I think back to hot, dry, flat Texas.

I don't live here yet. The places are not mine. The historic downtown, winding roads and friendly neighbors all belong to someone else. Yet.

How long does it take a place to be home? North Carolina has been my dream so long, that I fear to fall in love for the worry that it will be taken away or not the home, the place of settling and rest that my weary heart longs for.

I longed for the rain. The trees. The hills. Places to walk. Friends to request a cup of sugar from. Tiny wondrous shops, a world away from the harsh commercialism of the typical America consumer landscape.

The little apartment in with pine trees outside the window, wood floors and three rooms. Isn't mine yet. Though my things are towered against walls in crumpling boxes longing for relief from their long held loads. I look at the bland cardboard with the handwriting of moves past and I am not quite sure what they contain. It's not my home yet. Will it be my home? How long will it be before I say goodbye again?

As we unloaded, the crowd of strangers grew, toting boxes along the wooden stair case to the second floor home. I praised God for these people whose names I heartbreakingly could not keep track of. I praised Him for their love for Him and their willingness to haul loads for these strange people who had travelled from Texas.

Christ encourages me ....

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I believe, this will be my resting place, and my home. For now, I will unpack the Kitchen and contract the beds. Then I will write down my 'to do' list and patiently watch and God reveals His glorious and sanctifying plan for this chapter of our lives.

Wake Forest. You are to be home.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012...

2011, I cannot say I loved you. Yet, I know that when the dust settles, I will look back and be thankful for the hard times, that God allowed, to change me for the better. That the pain and anger of the past and the present was dealt with head on, so that I could find greater healing in the long run. Like Eustace the Dragon, you slowly tore off the scales. It was unpleasant and painful, but needed to happen, so that something more beautiful could emerge.

2011, Was the hardest year of my adult life where I suffered post-natal depression alone with little to no support system. The long days alone with my thoughts, prayers and battles.

2012. Though my hope is in Jesus Christ and His redeeming love, I do have a hope for you. That it will be a year that I learn to know the joy and peace of Jesus that transcends all understanding, in all circumstances.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12: 1-3

Here are two songs that I best relate to 2011...

HERE are several songs that I dedicate to 2012

I am sure there will be more :-)

Happy New Year!