Friday, August 22, 2014

The "Crate" is Here!

It wasn't a crate or container after all.  It was a giant moving truck that covered three driveways.  
The girls were extremely excited!

Our boxes had seen better days. I can't believe nothing fell out.  

Furniture in the house!!

Time to get busy! We've got our work cut out for us the next few weeks to get this all put together to make a home!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


We have been "home" now for three months.  We spent our first two months in Alabama, living with my husband's parents.  It was a wonderful time of catching up with family and friends, and having much needed rest and counseling.  We also got to do some intensive health care through Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta.  Levi, Paul and I are on an intense detox, and we are all seeing good improvements.  Levi was diagnosed with disbiotic gut (an imbalance of good/bad bacteria in his gut.  The bad bacteria is eating up all his nutrients, which is why his growth has stalled out).  We're thankful for solid answers and a plan to get him back on track.  So thankful.  My health is also much better.  A recent blood test at Progressive showed absolutely no markers for Graves' disease! This is huge for us, and we are so thankful.  I was advised how to wean off my anti-thyroid medication, which I did. I've been off for 2-3 weeks now and am feeling really good.  Praise God, we are so thankful…

We have now been in Kansas for a month.  We really came home without much of a plan.  We're still fumbling a bit, but Paul has some direction at this point.  His goal is to build up a self employment business and begin working with my dad doing hearing conservation and testing.  It's a good opportunity, but it will likely take some time before it can fully support us.  In the meantime, Paul is looking for other work, and we are praying and trusting in God's provision.  Through our family, he has provided us with a car and a house, so we're doing just fine.  We'll be moving into a home my parents own this week, hopefully!  It's been overwhelming, trying to make all the decisions and choices and spending the money to re-start life here.  But we're making it.  We're almost there.

Our container from India will be on its way from Virginia to Kansas starting on Monday.  We are so looking forward to opening it and unpacking in our new home and seeing all our familiar things from India!

In the mean time, we are busy making the house a home.  We are painting a few rooms to make it our own.  Of course, the kids rooms got painted. I couldn't convince them not to want bright blue and pink, so that's what it is. It makes them happy. : )

The house has a great large family room open to the kitchen and dining with wood floors, and a bay window with lots of sunlight.  Bedrooms and baths are upstairs, and downstairs is a great room with a fireplace that walks out to the back yard.  This room will be our school/play room.  I have a big trip to IKEA to make to pull it all together, but it's going to be such a fun, happy room when it's all done.  Here's some before and after of what we've done already:

The carpet was pretty worn and needed replacing. 

The green wall color was alright, but definitely not happy for a school room!

Here is the view out to the backyard, with bathroom and laundry on the left. The wall color looks so different int here two pictures, this picture is more true to what it looked like in real life.

And after!  New carpet, and bright mint green walls! I've also got a new light coming that will look less like a poker table should be underneath it. : )  The school table will be on this side near the sunlight. 

This is the playroom side.  Big bookshelves, bright red rug, gold chairs for reading.  Maps and art.  Fun and life. 

I just love this room, and don't want to leave it. I love the color and how the carpet turned out!

And then there's this.  I saw this the first week we were home at Hobby Lobby.  I loved it, but couldn't bring myself to buy it then. I just had no idea where we would be, what our house would be like, if it would match.  I saw it again last week, and Paul convinced me to buy it.  This peacock reminds me of so much about life in India.  Obviously, the peacocks, the bright colors everywhere, henna, friends, tea.  It's not just a Hobby Lobby picture.  I love it, and it has become the inspiration for the living room.  But she's getting lonely.  :)  Hopefully she'll have company soon!

We are still thankful, relieved, and just glad to be home right now.  We are looking forward to settling into small town life and having some normalcy.  We have seen God provide in major ways for us, and the church all over has been so gracious, loving, and generous to us.  We have also been majorly supported by both our parents, which is humbling at this age in life. We are eager to work hard and get on our own two feet, but thankful for the support and help.  Thank you so much for your prayers for us.  We are on the mend, physically, and spiritually.  

2014-2015 Curriculum Picks

I can't believe it's time to start this school year already.  I'm just not ready.  We have been in the states for three months, living with family.  Hopefully next week, we'll be moving into a house, and then I'm hoping we can get organized and into a good routine.  I have a plan for our school work this year, just no plan as to when we'll start! : )

I learned so much about classical education this past year, and I'm so thankful for all the resources and people who have poured into me to help me refine what we're doing.  This coming year, I am grouping everything into three categories: Language, Logic, and Content.  So for this year in Preedy Academy, we'll be using:

In Language:
-McGuffey Readers
-Beginning Reasoning and Reading
-New American Cursive
-All About Spelling Levels 4 and 5*
-Classical Writing Aesop A/B

In Logic:
-Math-U-See Gamma and Delta
-Song School Latin 2 (this is arguable both language and logic)
-Yamaha Piano lessons

In Content:
-Daily Bible readings with Westminster Catechism songs and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Mead
-Tapestry of Grace Year 4 Upper Grammar!**
-Harmony Fine Arts Year 4: Modern Times
-Apologia Chemistry and Physics

We're also getting an awesome school room in our new house.  The house has a small basement that is one large room.  It walks out to the backyard, and is really sunny with a fireplace on one side.  I've got big plans for this room, its going to be the happiest room in the house! :)  A very Pinterest inspired school/play/life room!  Pictures coming soon! :) It's going to be a great year, our first year homeschooling in America! Yipee! : )

*I am now an affiliate with All About Spelling, because I love it and am such a believer.  If you click on the link, you will be directed to their site under my affiliate.  Much appreciated! : )

**I'm so excited to be in the process of becoming a Tapestry Advisor!  I'll post more about that as I work through the program!

2013-2014 Curriculum Reviews!

Well, I'm way behind the ball this year. If you've been following our blog, you know it's been a bit of a roller coaster around here lately.  I will write more about that in other posts, but it is way past time to do my year-end review of what happened at the Preedy Academy this past school year!

My post last year about my picks, aiming for a more classical approach, included the following:

-Veritas Bible: Judges to Kings
-Math-U-See: Beta and Gamma
-Classical Writing: Primer
-All About Spelling 3 and 4 hopefully
-Elemental Science: Chemistry
-Memoria Press 2nd grade Literature pack
-Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Lower Grammar
-New American Cursive 2: Quotes from Founding Fathers versions
-McGuffey Reader 2
-Artistic Pursuits 2 (we'll try again) : ) 

-Veritas Bible: We got about 8 weeks into this, and I decided to just drop it.  It got really repetitive for us.   The amount of work was more than I wanted to do, especially considering that it was really teaching the kids the Bible from a scholarly point, but we were not getting anything devotionally out of the time we were putting in.  We shifted gears and began reading from Psalms and Proverbs everyday, and began working through the Westminster Catechism songs and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade.  Keeping it simple. :)  

Math-U-See:  We hit a bit of a wall the second half of the year.  Multiplication Mr. Steve's way was a little different from how I learned it, and I struggled to teach it well to Luke.  I was pretty distracted in this season with an international move, and I admit I didn't give it the attention it needed.  I decided to leave MUS behind, and try Teaching Textbooks this coming year.  I got the Teaching Textbooks, sat down and planned the first semester, and decided I really didn't like it either. :)  So I went back to multiplication with Mr. Steve, really figured it out, and taught it to Luke over the summer.  All is well now, and we're continuing with Math-U-See.   Maybe next year I won't doubt MUS??? :) 

Classical Writing: Kiryn did really well with Primer this year. I LOVE Primer.  I have used quite a few different language arts programs for K-3rd grade.  Primer is my favorite thing.  It's perfect for a second grade level.  It's everything you need in one book.  It runs on a four day week.  Days 1 and 3 focus on a  story, something from Aesop's Fables, Baldwin, or Beatrix Potter.  Wonderful stories.  The student listens, narrates, and illustrates the story.  There is a poem each week, broken up into four sections, which the student copies each day.  There is also a small section of spelling or grammar concepts each day.  Day 2 focuses on a nature study, and Day 4 is a picture study.  I highly recommend Classical Writing Primer for a second grade student.  

Once I had the books, I realized Primer was not going to be a challenge at all for Luke, so we began him in Aesop A last year.  I was nervous and intimidated by Aesop, but I spent the time I needed to spend preparing before the year, learning the program and the process.  I love this program too.  Luke's writing has really taken off, and we have a treasure of a copybook full of stories and illustrations by him this year.  

I'm very happy with Classical Writing! I did consider switching to Writing and Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press next year.  Both are great programs, but in the end I came back to CW because of it's all-inclusive approach to language arts/composition/thinking.  It is very thorough and rigorous. We'll continue with this next year for both kids!

All About Spelling:  We completed Level 3 and more than half of Level 4.  Still loving this program, it's producing great spellers. The kids love reciting the spelling rules, and spelling with tiles.  I love that I can open it up and be ready to go, and spend 10-15 minutes on spelling.

Elemental Science:  I loved this curriculum for earth science and astronomy.  The chemistry was a little bit different.  It wasn't near as interesting, and a lot of the experiments didn't work this year! : (  I also couldn't ever seem to purchase the right core book.  So that also made it challenging to figure out.  I have always planned to move to Apologia Science later one, I had planned to get through one cycle of Elemental Science and switch in 5th grade for Luke.  However, we opted to switch over to Apoogia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.  We really enjoyed the few weeks that we completed before life got crazy and we moved to the US. We'll continue with this book next year. 

Memoria Press Literature:  We really didn't do anything with this.  Instead, we read a lot of Tapestry books, and read things that interested the kids just for fun.  

Tapestry of Grace Year 3:  Still love it.  I'm so very sold on Tapestry.  We made a lot of good memories this year, and loved learning all about the 1800's in America.  

New American Cursive: Luke finished book 2, Kiryn is in the middle of it.  Both kids have great cursive writing.  No complaints here! We'll move into Book 3 next year. 

Hindi: We didn't do any Hindi this year! :(

McGuffey Reader:  We're still working through these.  I still like them.  : ) 

Artistic Pursuits 2:  Once again, we just didn't get anywhere with this program.  Art just always seemed to be the thing that we didn't get time for, that I would leave off if we ran out of time.  I guess we'll give up on Artistic Pursuits! 

Added: Song School Latin Book 1: After doing a little more thinking and research on Latin, I decided to go ahead and start the kids in Song School Latin this year.  I was wrong in my understanding of the purpose of Latin.  It's not just to be able to read the Latin writings of the Roman Empire.  Latin has so much to teach kids about the grammar of the English language, and about word etymology.  There are lots of benefits from studying Latin, so we started this year.  We LOVE love love Song School Latin.  It quickly became the kids favorite subject.  Yes, really. I was floored.  They love the songs and the monkey match game, and I can't believe their level of retention.  They know those vocabulary words!  We'll continue into Song School Latin 2 next year. 

Check back in a day or two for my Curriculum Picks for next year!