Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Get back up

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. Proverbs 24:16
Tyler and I have been reading through Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz.  We have only been reading a chapter every other day so that we can discuss each chapter and he can have time to think it over.  It is an amazing book for boys that are headed toward manhood.

Today's chapter was about making mistakes and what we do after we make them.  The author used a story about football to illustrate his point.  Tyler was of course immediately interested as he is with anything that remotely talks about football.  The story was about a runner that wanted to quit after the first time he was tackled.  Tyler was amused by this because he knows that a running back  would expect to be tackled and wouldn't let that end his desire to play football and keep running.
We talked about some of the mistakes in life that we make that can cause us to fall down.   As we talked about some things in his life that make him fall down I thought of many in my own.  We had a great discussion about times when he or other people he knows have fallen down and what their response has been.
This wonderful chapter discussed some of the responses everyone has when they fall down.  Some people just stay down.  This has happened to me before especially when our kids were first diagnosed with autism.  The longer you stay down unfortunately the harder it is to get back up.    Some people like to just pretend they never fell.  This usually results in things getting much worse because we have done nothing to fix the cause of our fall so we will likely just fall again.  Some people get angry that they fell and so they lay where they fell and dwell on their anger.  Others will make excuses for their fall or blame others which will likely not only hurt themselves but their relationships as well.

The only good response to a fall is to get back up.  It is best to get up quickly and try to fix that which made us fall in the first place.  We also need to fix any damage we may have caused during our fall.

The great thing about falling and getting back up is that God knows we are going to fall and he knows how to help us recover from our falls too.  He is waiting to help pull us up when we do fall.  Tyler and I both found a lot of encouragement in that.  

The other important thing we talked about falling was that when we fall we have an opportunity to learn.  A foolish man continues to stumble because he fails to see what caused him to fall before.  This is a true sign of a person journeying into a godly adult life.   I want him to know that it is okay to make mistakes and to use them to learn how to either steer clear of a potential danger in the future or how to navigate through it.

I love the discussions this book has brought about between us.  It thrills me that he is starting to understand what it takes to be a godly man and that he desires to be one.  Thank you Bob Schultz!  I think we will both have fond memories of reading this book.

"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise..." Micah 7:8

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heart of the Matter Online Conference Day 2

I had another wonderful experience today as I listened to the speakers at the second day of the Heart of the Matter Online Conference.  All the speakers today were down to earth people with practical advice.  It was very informative.
The first speaker today was Joyce Herzog.  Joyce is the author of Learning In Spite of Labels, the Scaredy Cat Reading System, and many other books.   She spoke on teaching struggling learners which is for obvious reasons a subject near and dear to my heart.  She was a wealth of information on catering our teaching to the individual child.  She also explained her reading system which I am interested in trying with Christian.  Her website is  http://www.joyceherzog.info/Joyce_Herzog/Welcome.html .
The second speaker today was Katie Kubesh of Hands of a Child.  She spoke on lapbooking which is a favorite learning activity in our house.  She spoke on the different ways that you can use lapbooking in your homeschool.  She also spoke on modifying lapbooking for individual ages and abilities.  We have already used several Hands of a Child lapbooks in our school so we didn't need to be sold on their products as we know how fun and useful they are.  It was nice to learn some things I didn't know or hadn't thought through before however like typing out the words onto the minibooks instead of writing.  This would be a great help for Tyler with his fine motor issues.  She was delightful and informative.  I enjoyed her presentation a lot.
The third speaker was Dari Mullins.  She is coauthor of Galloping the Globe and Cantering the Country.  She spoke about those times when we are just not happy homeschooling.  I think she was a lot of encouragement to everyone as most homeschoolers have been at that place at least once.  I know she was encouraging to me.  A couple of inspiring thoughts she left us with were "Accept where you are and trust God for the rest" and "Homeschooling is not a sprint, homeschooling is a marathon".  She was just full of practical Godly wisdom!
The last speaker today was Jim Mueller of http://www.sciencejim.com .  He spoke on the need for hands on science instruction.  I definitely would agree with that.  Science is my personal favorite but a tough subject for my boys.  Jim has a curriculum available as well as online webinars if anyone is interested.  He does believe in teaching physics as a first science curriculum which was interesting but I feel would not be a good fit in our home.  He was informative and I can see that his animation would appeal to children.
Tomorrow brings more great topics.  I can't wait.  I am glad that the audio of this conference will be available afterword because I know I will never remember all this great information.  I'm off to get some sleep!  Goodnight!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Heart of the Matter Online Conference Day 1

Today I was so blessed to be able to attend The Heart of the Matter online conference.  I won a ticket a little over a week ago on Heather Laurie's blog SpecialNeedsHomeschooling.com .  Thanks Heather!!!
I have not been able to attend homeschool conferences as I would love to during our past 6 years of homeschooling because of the special needs of our boys so to be able to hear these great speakers online is such a treat.  I could also get my laundry folded at the same time. ;)  LOL
The first speaker this morning was Sheila Carrol, founder of Living Books Curriculum.  She spoke on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.  I can't say that we are a truly Charlotte Mason type homeschool here but I do love her ideas and try to incorporate them into our learning as much as possible.  Her words were spoken with great wisdom and a lot of experience and left me with a lot to think on.
The second speaker was Diane Lockman, author of Trivium Mastery and The Classical Scholar.  Diane spoke on reading aloud to your children and it's role in language development.  She shared a lot of insight into how important reading is even at a young age.  I have to admit I was thrilled to hear her reaffirm that it is okay for a child who is a reluctant reader to listen to audio books of good literature.  Tyler does so much better with audio books but I always have a bit of worry that perhaps he isn't getting as much as he would by reading an actual book.  She did suggest having them follow along in the actual printed book as they listen to pick up more of the sentence structure and such so we will give that a try in the future.
The next speaker was Jay Ryan, author of Classical Astronomy and Signs and Seasons.  I have to admit I didn't catch most of what he had to say as it was lunch time here and rather loud and hectic.  I will have to listen to him again when the audio for the conference becomes available.
The last speaker was probably the most inspirational to me today.  Carol Barnier is the author The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles.  I know her better as the author of How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning however.  She spoke on learning styles but she covered so much more than that too.  She is just an amazingly creative teacher and entertaining and inspiring speaker.  Her ideas are ones that will work very well around our house.  I also found out she has this great website called SizzleBop that is loaded with ideas to teach distractible people.  I can't believe I didn't know it existed before!  She shared some of the great ditties she uses with her children to help them remember information also.  They are also located on SizzleBop under the ditties section.  You really should check them out as they are priceless!
I feel so inspired and renewed today after listening to these great speakers.  I can't wait to here more tomorrow!  Hope everyone else who is attending the conference is enjoying it as well!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love is still a worthy cause!

God has been speaking to me through this song this week.  When all the world seems so grim it is good to remember this.  Love is indeed a worthy cause!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giveaway winners

I am still so excited that a family has decided to adopt Ivy.  Thank you again to everyone who contributed here to her adoption fund.  It has been amazing to pray and hope that she would find a family and then to watch God answer in such a wonderful way!
We have picked our winners for our giveaway here and I will email each of you to find out where to send your prize. The winners are:
$50 Lakeshore Learning Gift Certificate - Leslie N
$30 Music for Little People Gift Certificate- Allison B
Felt Color and Size Sorting Toy- Katrina N

Congratulations and thank you for you generous donations and your prayers for Ivy!

Praise Report on Ivy!

I was thrilled today to find out today that Ivy has found a home.  I was over at Reece's Rainbow and saw that she had been moved to the section with the children who have found homes.  We were able to raise $205 towards her adoption fund and I want to thank everyone who contributed.  I am ending the ChipIn! early because she has found a home now.  I will be picking winners for our giveaway this evening.  I will post them here then.  Right now I will just be taking some time to praise God that he is giving this precious child a family!

Prayer request

I have a prayer request to share today.  I spoke to my mother on the phone this morning and she spent the day at the hospital yesterday.  She has been experiencing some shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, and swelling.  They performed a CAT scan and EKG and have determined that she has some water around her heart.  She also has some issues with her gall bladder.  I am not sure how that intertwines but apparently it does somehow.  She is at home today and on some new medicines but she will be back at the doctor on Friday for more tests.  We would be extremely thankful for all your prayers. I know it would mean a lot to both her and my dad also.  Thank you so much!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day

The day is almost done but I still have a couple of minutes so... "Happy Valentines Day everyone!".
I was blessed to spend this day and every day actually with the people I love most. 
We started a tradition in our house years ago when we started homeschooling.  We knew that the kids were not going to get the experience of collection valentines in homemade mailboxes from their classmates at school and so we decided to make our own valentine boxes and fill them with cards and treats for each other every year.  We have come to treasure making these boxes together and each year we love admiring each others creativity.  It is fun to see the individuality of each person in their boxes.  These are our boxes from this year.
This is Christian's box.  We sponged hearts on it and put a picture of him getting a kiss from his dad.  It is simple but sweet which is a lot like Christian!

This is Tyler's box.  It is busy (much like him) with lots of pictures of musicians and football people that he likes.  He chose a picture of Miley Cyrus instead of a family picture to put in the photo part of his box but he also includes Veggie Tales.  This age is interesting as he wants to grow up and stay a kid at the same time. :)
This is Tim's box. It is shiny and has stickers about family.  It has a picture of all of us together.

This is my box.  My creativity seemed to be off this year but it still looks pretty cheerful.
All our valentines for each other this year were homemade.  Tyler and Tim made theirs on the computer.  I helped Christian make these ipod valentines for his.

I got the instructions from Family Fun.  Because it was also Chinese New Year today I decided to make felt fortune cookie valentines on found from Martha Stewart for mine.  They had Bible verses and valentine wishes in them.

 I didn't get pictures of the rest of the valentines but they all turned out wonderful and were much loved.

We enjoyed a simple day here.  We watched the Princess Bride earlier today, finished up a game of Monopoly, had Bojangles for dinner, and then watched Charlie Brown's Valentine.  Tim got me the Kindle for Valentines Day.  I actually got it on Friday.  I spent some time on there exploring all the free classics that are available and downloading a couple.  I am not a huge electronics person but I am totally in love with the Kindle.  Thank you Tim!!!!

My Kindle :)
Well now it is after midnight because I am a slow writer but Happy Valentines Day again anyhow!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Day

I was truly convinced that we were the only people in the United States this year that weren't going to get snow.  Every time we have seen snow in the forecast this winter we have gotten excited and then just rain.  I think it was around Thursday that they started to forecast that we would get snow this time.  I didn't even tell the kids because it has been such a let down every other time.  But much to my disbelief on Friday night it actually began to snow here and this morning we awoke to what looked much like a scene out of Narnia.
I do believe that today every child on the block was up at the crack of dawn and outside to play in the snow.  I can't blame them however as we are lucky if we get even one snowfall a year here.
Tyler was very excited to see the snow this morning but I was unsure how he would actually feel about it when he got out in it though.  First he went out with his dad and Lucy, our dog.  He had a snowball fight with dad and then played on the snow covered trampoline with Lucy.
Lucy loved the snow too!

When Tim came in to watch Christian I went out and took a walk through the woods behind our house.  It was spectacular.

I took a lot more pictures than these.  It was so beautiful.  Tyler joined me in the woods after a little while too.
After the woods I tried to help him build a snow fort.  It was rather small however because he lost interest in the actual building part quickly.
The sun was also starting to heat up by this time and the snow was getting rather slushy so we went in.  It was lots of fun while it lasted though!  Hope everyone else who received unexpected snow this weekend was also able to get out and enjoy it. 

Chinese New Years at our house

We decided to celebrate Chinese New Year a couple of days early this year because it falls on the same day as Valentines Day.  We wanted to devote a special day to each.
  Last night I pulled out our Chinese lanterns and hung them from the ceiling.
We enjoyed some great stories about China today.  

After reading The Great Race we arranged the animals in the story in order.
Tyler practiced writing some Chinese words.

We practiced using chopsticks by transferring noodles from one plate to another. 
We timed ourselves to see how we did.
Tyler did some studying about Chinese life in Material World and Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel and filled out a VENN diagram comparing and contrasting life in China and the USA.

This a really fun Chinese lantern craft we made.  I found it here. 
We also cut up some pretend Chinese money and put in tiger envelopes.
  This activity went well with the story Sam and The Lucky Money. 
Tonight we enjoyed a delicious meal of Chinese takeout.  Christian wasn't into the Chinese food however so I made him something different.  He liked it last time but wasn't having it tonight.

 Finally this evening we had good family time together watching Kung Fu Panda.  
We had a great day enjoying Chinese New Years.  If you would like to find out what other families are doing to celebrate Jimmie's Collage is hosting a contest and sharing ideas.  Just click on the button below.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Jam 2010

My husband took Tyler to Winter Jam 2010 this weekend in Greensboro. They both love a lot of the same Christian music so it has become a great father son activity for them to attend a few concerts together this last year. Tim enjoys the special time he gets to spend with Tyler and Tyler thinks his dad is super cool for liking his music.
Greensboro is a good distance from where we live so they stayed the night at a hotel and drove back today. They both said that the concert was outstanding. They enjoyed all the bands there. They got to see Newsboys and Third Day which are a couple of their favorites but there were also several other bands that they enjoyed too. Tim was also quite impressed with the message delivered by Tony Nolan there. He would like to see if he can also find his messages on DVD. I have not heard him speak yet but because of Tim's enthusiasm I am anxious to hear him too.
They were able to take some pictures at the concert that I thought I would share here for anyone who likes Christian music. They were fortunate to be in the 5th row so a couple of the pictures turned out pretty well.
Tyler waiting for the show to begin

This a newer band named Sidewalk Prophets
The band Revive
Mac Powell of Third Day

Michael Tait (lead singer of the Newsboys)
They said the concert was so full that the Winter Jam people decided to record it for the DVD that they will release of Winter Jam 2010.  I can't wait to see if I can see my guys in there when it comes out.  The ticket price for Winter Jam is only $10 which makes it accessible to more people.  Tim said that the performers and Tony Nolan also had a meeting with the youth pastors there so they could talk about reaching the youth.  I was impressed too when they told me that after the concert all the bands and Tony had set up ministry tables so they could meet with the fans and talk with them about Jesus.   I am thankful this is the music my son is into because with all the negative influences in our world these guys do an awesome job of spreading the love of God.  They make great role models because they are modeling themselves after Christ who should be the true role model for us all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Finally Finished- Postcard Writing Prompts

I have been working so hard at night trying to get our postcard writing prompts done.  Tyler has been excited to start them.  They have been fun to make but very time consuming.  I am becoming quite the pro at Microsoft Word however.  :)  I wanted to give him some research to do about different places and at the same time give him a variety of writing experiences.  I made 36 postcards all together.  I picked random countries and I tried to pick some from continent.
On the back of each is the prompt for that country.  I let him do his writing assignments on the computer or Alphasmart because of his fine motor abilities.

I did purchase a small (little smaller than I wanted) mailbox to put his prompt in each day.

I can then put his little mailbox with prompt inside into his workbox with the flag up of course.  Actually he reminded me of the flag.  Great attention to detail that boy!
I wanted to share the three sets of postcards I made in case anyone else would like to use them.  There are 36  overall so you could pick and choose if you wanted.  I printed each page with the front side first and then flipped the paper and printed the backs.  I printed all mine on cardstock.

Postcard Writing Prompts
Postcard Writing Prompts2

Postcard Writing Prompts3

Hope you enjoy them!  Please comment and let me know if there are any other countries you would like for me to make.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chinese New Year Ideas

I found this link this morning as I was searching for Chinese New Year ideas.  There are lots of great ideas and I thought I would share.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six More Weeks of Winter

Happy Groundhog Day!

Either if you are hoping for an early spring or looking forward to more winter fun I hope you have a happy Groundhog Day!
I think Groundhog Day is kind of a fun tradition.  We like to watch Punxsutawney Phil make his prediction every year.  We also like to look at the Groundhog Day website.  There are lots of fun things to explore with the kids there.  I think this is a good time to discuss the weather and the field of meteorology.  I just found out that only 39% of the time the Groundhog Day prediction actually becomes true.  Not much worse than the regular weather people I suppose. LOL  It is also a fun time to talk about and play with shadows.
There are some great books for children about Goundhog Day.  Our favorite is A Garden For Groundhog.
We have had this book since our boys were tiny and still enjoy it every year.  It is a funny story of how the farmer tries to outsmart the groundhog and stop him from eating all his vegetables. 
Tomorrow I am planning on doing some shadow matching activities with Christian.  I found this one this evening and even though it is for the book Brown Bear Brown Bear I think it will work well for him.
For Tyler I created a worksheet because I know he won't want to be left out.
I think we will have a fun Groundhog Day and I hope you do too!
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