Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Book Received

So far so good with the Paper Book Swap! Here's my first book received today, I requested it on Monday! I hope to update it more tonight and come up with a reading plan and wish list for the rest of the year. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment and let me know what books have impacted your thinking lately.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Now these books are at the library!

I mentioned in the previous entry that I'm having to use the Paper Book Swap because not all the books I need for the Sonlight curriculum are at the library, or I don't have enough information about them to thoroughly search for them.
But I just found this awesome list of books and so far I have 5 of them on hold at the library!
10 picture books that teach important life lessons from
Check out the list and tell me what you think! Have you read any of these before? I'll let you know what I pick them up if I like them, or if the kids like them. I like that the list also summarizes what the life lesson is from each book. I can pick and choose in the future that way.
Library tomorrow, I just can't wait!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 220

Finished another book. Not quite so important as the last one I blogged, yet important and distinct none the less. As I read this book, I was challenged by the author's drive to seek devotion, to seek healing, and to seek balance. Although I was challenged by the author, I was not inspired to copy or follow her. Instead I contemplated the author's journey making note of the things she did well, the things that are similar to my own, and the things that she gained through different disciplines, and now I am ready to articulate for the world my own journey. As I read, I was motivated to learn myself, giving attention to the areas of my mind and heart that I so often ignore for the sake of "making it through the day." Also, I was motivated to be more disciplined in my pursuit of God, to take on new activities of devotion to Him, and to write about it.
Let me be the first to introduce you to a new amateur author - myself. I've started writing something real and I'm going to go for it. I hope to interview this author someday, and tell her about my saving faith. But for now, I'm okay with praying for her.
So, the book was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Do you think I should go see the movie? Hmm...

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Experience with

(I want everyone to know that I'm not working for or getting paid to advertise for; it's just so cool I can't help but be a little obsessed with it.)
Okay, here goes: I received an email from a friend explaining how this swap works (the info in the email is the same information below in the previous blog post). I followed the link in the email to Swap Books for Free - and registered. I posted 10 of my own books that I've read, they are in good condition, and I don't want them any more. And only a few hours later I got an email that someone wanted a book of mine. I went to my account, saw the message, responded that I could send the book within 2 days (and you need to know that the prompts on this site are well organized, I don't have to do a lot of searching around to help myself - what I need to do is spelled out and linked to within every message). Then once I clinked the button "I can send this book" it took me to a page detailing how to send the book to the person requesting it with the option to "Print a wrapper" which is a 2 page print out - one page has my return and address and the address of the person it's going to with all the correct info (shown below). It's very easy to follow.

They recommend wrapping the book in plastic to keep it water proof - I put this one in a quart size ziplock.
Here the book is all wrapped (I printed on construction paper because we are currently out of regular.) You can ship any book from home with stamps as long as it weighs less than 13oz. And they will tell you (under wear I placed the stamps it says) how much the book you are sending approximately weighs and the correct postage for that weight! I just do the math and add the stamps.
So here's the cool thing for me: I posted 10 books and received 2 credits, which means I can browse their site and choose 2 books to be sent to me (like I've detailed the books I've sent out) AND for every book of mine that is chosen I get a credit - one-for-one. Since these pictures were taken of the second book I've sent I now have 4 credits for 4 new (to-me) books!
Take home message: I just love getting new books!!!

PaperBackSwap Details

Here's the deal (copied straight from Swap Books for Free -
•You have books in good condition that you do not want to keep.

•After you have Posted the first 10 books to your bookshelf, you get 2 "startup" credits from PBS to get you started swapping. After that, you earn credits by sending out books to others. Only the first account for a household receives startup credits.

•You may order any available book for 1 credit each (paperback/hardcover). audio books cost 2 credits each.

•If you want a book that is not currently available, you can place it on your Wish List and we will notify you by email when it is available for you to order. You can even have it sent to you automatically when it becomes available, with no email necessary.

•When a book is requested from you, we notify you by email, provide the address for you to send it out, and even provide a wrapper!

•wrap and mail your book.

•When the requestor receives it, you earn 1 credit (2 if it is an audio book). Yes, you pay the postage to send out your books, but when you request a book, the sender ships it to you free of charge!

•The books you receive from PBS are yours. We hope that you will repost them to share with other members when you have read them, but you can certainly keep them, or give them away. Similarly, the books you send out to others belong to their new owners.

PBS is a great way to share books with people all over the country!

Swap Books for Free -

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 218

Simply put: I just read the most theologically challenging book: Men and Women in the Church by author Dr. Sarah Sumner. By far, the most important book I've read in a long time (except the Bible, to me there is absolutely nothing better than God's Word ever).
I read this as a textbook. It wasn't a walk in the park mentally. I wrestled through it and with it. I was faced with questions I wasn't ready for, and some of them quiet honestly I was scared of the answers. I was given a mirror at times and saw within my heart some deep prejudices that I did not even know I had. At many points throughout the text I was deeply convicted.

So let me warn you: do not attempt to read this book unless you are spiritually ready. Do not dive into the text without prayer. Do not attempt to go it alone either - there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter - read it with someone.
Here are two quotes from people who have praised this book:
"This is a deep and important book, with a significance far beyond what the title alone would suggest...I strongly encourage anyone who is concerned about the conduct of visible church life to study this book carefully."
Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California, and author of The Divine Conspiracy

"This book is a tribute to Sarah Sumner's academic devotion and puts to good use her theological training. Her analysis is fresh and much on the mark. Helga and I are praying that her ministry will have a great and holy impact."
Carl F. H. Henry, Founding Editor of Christianity Today, and author of the 6-Volume God, Revelation and Authority
Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership

Trade Books for Free with our Online Book Swap -

Trade Books for Free with our Online Book Swap -

Trade Books for Free with our Online Book Swap -

I found out yesterday that the Sonlight books listed in my companion guide aren't all at our local library. (What kind of library doesn't have the Harpers Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics or the Eloise Wilkin Stories?) So as an extension of our education and suppliment to the library, we'll be using this Book Swap! I've listen my first 10 books, received 2 free credits, and 2 of my listed books are "wished for" and awaiting confirmation. Thank goodness for free resources!!!

Trade Books for Free with our Online Book Swap -

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Journey Begins

Here we go. It all starts now. Homeschooling. What seemed like a pure and natural choice as a pregnant first time mom, is also a huge responsibility and as it turns out it's actually more about me as the teacher than my kids as students! Last night I read "In learning to become better teachers, we actually learn to be the best we can be." (B. Curtis pg. 34) And more importantly 1 Peter 1:15. As I embark on this journey to teach my children at home I recognize that I do not have the luxury of turning school "on" and "off" like children who go to a building to be taught in a school they become programmed to learn within boundaries. Here at home we will not have that limitation, but that also means that I do not get to take a break. Lord please help me as I struggle through becoming more like Christ. As I take the extra time to explain why for the hundredth time, or repeat the same stairs for the sake of repetition, please give me the grace to be graceful, gentle, and wise. Another responsibility is choosing curriculum! Now that we are home together to learn, what are we going to learn from? First, we already focus on creative play. For instance, my 16 month old loves to turn light switches on and off for fun, which unbeknownst to him, he is actually forming his scientific mind! He is learning cause and effect. Now it doesn't help that we have a couple of switches throughout the home that don't do anything... but he is learning how he can manipulate his world. Second, I agree with Charlotte Mason (although I've only learned about her through other people's accounts and I have not yet read anything by her) that children should be children as they learn. I must allow for my kids rhythms and for their physical needs. Third, it's all about Jesus. I can't even be a mom for goodness sake without Him! I need Him to be with me always in order to make it in this life. He will be in our home and therefore a vital part of our school. All of our learning is for His glory. Also we take seriously Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Every opportunity to learn is an opportunity to be diligent to understand and work out Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." 
Finally, here it is. The plan, curriculum, the setting.

Starting out this fall we are going to be going through both Mommy Teach Me! and Mommy Teach Me to Read! by Barbara Curtis. Curtis was trained in a Montessori Institute and has been teaching children (and now moms too) for decades. These resources are filled with exciting exercises to do with children along with chapters that are just for mom. Very helpful insights are from a biblical perspective and years of experience. Check out Curtis' blog and her Online Resource Companion for both books.

Mommy Teach Me! focuses on 5 Potentials for Joyful Lifelong Learning: Independence, Order, Self Control, Concentration, and Service (B. Curtis pg. 60). Curtis includes a whole chapter (about 40 pages) of exercises to hone these skills (things that both my 16 month old and 36 month old can do). Then Curtis goes on to detail how to train a child in using manipulatives (lacing beads, sewing cards, etc), imaginative play, beginning math, science, geography, fine arts, spiritual life, and beyond! (These listed are also chapters 5-12 in the book.)

Mommy, Teach Me to Read! has something for every stage of development, from birth to seven years. I'm excited to get started reading through and using this resource. Reading is so vital to further learning that I feel the humbling weight of responsibility to teach this to my kids. I know that by loving to read they will more naturally love to learn. I can't wait to share more of this experience with you.

I am also using just the Parent's Companion for Sonlight's Core P3/4 Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun for Little Learners. Here I have chosen to be frugal and I am gathering the curriculum the long way. I chose not to order their package of all the books but to go to the library and to garage sales to gather the books on my own. I agree with Sonlight's Philosophy: 
At Sonlight, we believe that homeschooling is a way of life and an overarching attitude toward the world. The world is out there to be marveled at, enjoyed, explored, and learned from. Once you catch on to this idea, you will find it easy to see educational value in almost everything you do. 
Bible Study will be daily, intentional, and rooted in Deut 6:5-7 as mentioned above, we will use the Praise Baby DVDs, the Jesus Storybook Bible, The Big Picture Story Bible, Seeds Family Worship (major love for these CDs and resources - and a big thank you to Liz Kamper for the suggestion), and review sessions of things learned in Puggles (the take home cards are truly amazing - visually, biblically, and relationally) and other church take-homes. Everything else we study finds its inspiration from this discipline.

I have also purchased other books, materials, and full curriculums to use in the future. But since we aren't ready to use them quiet yet, I'll just list them here and you can look forward to hearing more about them as we dive into them.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
Mommy, Teach Me to Read: A Complete and Easy-to-Use Home Reading Program Mommy, Teach Me: Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning
The Praise Baby Collection: Praises and Smiles
The Praise Baby Collection: God of Wonders
The World God Made
Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K (Christian Liberty Nature Reader, K)
Get Ready for the Code - Book a
Get Set for the Code - Book B
Go for The Code-Book C
History for Little Pilgrims Student and Teacher SET for grade 1
Hearts And Hands (Misc Homeschool)
Learn at Home, Grade K
The Big Picture Story Bible
As I wake everyday and commit myself anew to God who's mercies are new for me, I remember that being my children's teacher is a discipline just like prayer. It can be for others, but it first changes me. I must be what I've committed to be L3: Loving, Leading, and Learning. I must be their example of patience before demanding that they be patient. Please keep our family in your prayers and may our One Spirit bind our hearts together in the bond of peace!

(Please leave your comments. I covet your suggestions, advise, everything! I am writing here to build community and accountability. Thanks for reading!) 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 215

What a year! Can you believe how quickly 365 days pass by? It sounds like a lot on January 1st and then before you know it you're looking fall in the face. Today marks the beginning of our fall activities. Rob is back to school teaching, soon we will be starting Awana and other fall ministries, and this fall I am starting JoeAnna in a homeschool preschool curriculum. With so much good stuff going, I am finding my peace and perspective every morning with the Lord. I'm so charged up to still be reading through the Bible in a year (this is the first time for me)! God has been so real and faithful to me this year, and my relationship with Him grows deeper everyday.
The Lord Is My Shepherd

And I am pleased to report that I have finished another book! Seeing that I am still desperately behind, I am not gloating in my accomplishment rather hoping to jump start myself into more completions! I have many more books in my "need to finish" list than I have even listed to the right... Actually I hope to finish one of them right now - so I best sign off!