Celebrate the Everyday


Why Celebrate the Everyday? I always start my day by repeating to myself Psalm 118:24- "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." It's a reminder that even in the midst of the mundane and on the hardest of days, there is always something to celebrate, always something to be grateful for! Join me as I document our family's journey of homeschooling our son.

To my brother-

I cannot believe it has been 8 years since your accident and the day we lost you. I don't let myself go back to that day very often mainly because I remember every single detail and that is not how I choose to remember you. The memories of that day brings forth so much sadness and you would not want that. Instead today I will remember the fantastic 19 years I had with you. I will remember the way you loved my son and the joy and happiness he brought you whenever you saw him. I have so many pictures of you holding Zach, and a video of you helping him open all his presents on his first Christmas, I cherish them!

God's plan for your life may have been fulfilled in 19 years but the astounding thing is his plan for your death and legacy. It has brought forth a tremendous amount of change and growth in the lives of those you loved. It is because of you, I have the relationship I do with the Lord. That in turn has led to my son committing his life to Jesus and be baptized. I know you would be blown away by the thought of YOU leading to people to Christ but, you did bud! My marriage, my job as a parent, and the relationships I have are all strengthened because of my love for Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Your time of this earth may have come to an end bud, but don't doubt for a second that your legacy does not live on. My hope is that in Heaven you can see what is going on in the lives of those you loved. I know that you are cheering us on. I can't wait for the day I am finally home and can hug you again!

Your loving sister,

Pictures of our schoolroom- June 25, 2010

I just recently finished painting the space we are going to use for homeschooling. It involved a lot of paint and A LOT of scraping off of wall texture. I'll spare you all the details but needless to say I am so thankful to be mostly done with it. We just have to frame out the chalkboard wall and and touch up a few areas and then we will be done! Yay! You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.
We have plenty of space to spread out. It's nice to have a designated space just for school. That way if we are working on a project we can leave as is and come back to it at a later time.
Storage is a must since the entire main level of our house only has 2 closets! The tall bookshelf is filled with all our school books for the fall.

The wall color I chose is called Tropical Lagoon by Glidden. I wanted to have something that was bright and cheerful to help us stay motivated especially in the winter. I think that I have achieved that!

Cub Scout Graduation 2010- June 23, 2010

Tonight we celebrated Pack 490's Annual Cub Scout graduation. At our bridging ceremony, each den crossed over to their new den and rank. Which means Zachary is now a 1st year Webelos! Jeremy also moved from being the Bear den leader to the new Webelos 1 den leader. It was also very exciting since we had Boy Scout Troop 2 representatives present to help cross over 2 of our Webelos 2nd year boys into Boy Scouts! Jeremy and I also were both presented with our 2 year service pins.

One very special part of the evening was when Zachary was awarded his religious medal and religious knot. He is the very first scout in our pack's 5 year history to receive this medal. Jeremy and Zachary worked very hard on a separate 6 week curriculum through the P.R.A.Y. organization exploring what it means to be a Christ follower. They then met with Pastor Royce at our church to complete the requirements. It was very meaningful for the both of them. Zachary is very proud of his medal, knot, and framed certificate. He loves to share with everyone that he is able to recite the Lord's Prayer from memory, which was one of the requirements.

We had a wonderful evening filled with food, laughter, and tradition. I, for one, am so proud of the progression our pack has made. Each year we have more and more boys and their families join the wonderful world of scouting. It is such a wonderful organization and has had such a great impact on our family!

Curriculum Choices

So I thought I would re-visit my curriculum choices for the fall since we changed our mind a little bit. We have decided to use the following:

Bible, Geography, History, Science, Music & Art- My Father's World- Exploring Countries & Continents

Language Arts- Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive success
Writing Strands, Level 3

Spelling- Spelling Power

English- G.U.M. Drops (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics)

Math- LIFEPAC, grade 4

Elective- Horizons Health, grade 4

We also will be working a lot on Zach's writing. He has a head full of exciting and amazing things but sometimes struggles with getting them onto paper. I will incorporate a writing journal for his stories with the hope of "publishing" one or more of his stories by the end of our school year.

We also will be doing a LOT of reading. I am thankful this favorite pastime of mine has passed on to Zachary. A friend gave me a great idea of having Zach keep a book review journal of all the books he is reading. We will make a copy of the book cover and paste it in his journal. He can then write a few sentences sharing what the book was about along with if he enjoyed it or not. Thanks for the idea Karri!

I have received all of our curriculum and have had fun looking through everything and planning our year. It looks like our school day will last from 8am-1pm with a shorter day ending at 11am on Friday. It's amazing how a 1:1 ratio makes for a shorter school day! None of that is set in stone however, as I am planning on needing to tweak it once we get started.

Our extra-curricular activities are planned also. We will be involved with a Gym & Swim program at the Westside YMCA on Wednesday afternoons, an enrichment class through C.H.E.S.S (which is our local homeschool network) on Friday mornings, and of course continuing our Botany Boot-camp twice a month on Thursday afternoons. We also will continue with Scouts on Monday evenings.

We've been able to test the waters a bit through our Botany study this summer and we have been having a blast! It is so much fun watching Zachary learn. His head of knowledge and zest for learning is amazing! He makes us very proud!

Van Atta's Greenhouse

Today with our Botany Boot-camp homeschool group we went to visit Van Atta's greenhouse. Our recent chapters in our Botany textbook taught us all about Angiosperms, which are plants that flower. Zachary's favorite part of this weeks lesson was learning all about the different carnivorous plants. Such as, the Venus Flytrap, the Pitcher Plant, and the Sundew. We are now on the hunt for our very own carnivorous garden.

At Van Atta's we toured different sections of the greenhouse devoted to annuals, tropicals, perennials, and trees/shrubs. After the tour Ms. Zandy talked about the different parts of flowering plants and the things all plants need to survive. All the kids then got to choose a plant to take home. While they were replanting it into a larger pot they were able to draw what they saw and then label each part of the plant. Again, it was a fantastic time and we are so fortunate to be involved with this group of 10 boys!

Be sure the next time you see Zachary to ask him to identify the parts of a flower for you. It's amazing!

Father's Day

I am so very lucky! I could not have chosen a more better father for my son. You are everything I wished for. You sacrifice each and every day for your child and it shows in his love for you. When you say something you mean it and your careful attention to never promising something you cannot not fulfill means the world to me and to Zachary! I am constantly in awe of the bond the two of you share. Your devotion to raising him up to be the best man he can be, is amazing. He will be a hard worker and provider, a fantastic husband, and father because of your example.
I love you more than words can describe! The life and family God has blessed us with is beyond anything I thought I would ever have but one I prayed for.

Happy Father's Day, my love!

Cub Scout Day Camp 2010

This week, Monday-Thursday from 8am-4:30pm Zachary has been attending Cub Scout day camp with his pack. He comes home absolutely exhausted but oh what fun he is having! He gets to run around all day long with his friends, and what kid wouldn't love that!
I chaperoned the group yesterday. We filled our day with learning about stars and planets (it's a space theme this year), making bottle rockets (which they are launching today), shooting BB guns, practicing their bow and arrow skills, and learning important first aid techniques. I was able to get in on the BB gun action as well and came very close to a bullseye on my very first try!

Here are some pictures from our day.


Zachary practicing, getting ready for an arrow.

Our Cubmaster, Eric working with Zachary on his aim.

Tomorrow, Jeremy and Zach leave on a camping trip with 6 of his friends and their Dads until Sunday. This is their 2nd annual trip. They drive 2-3 hours northeast of here to a breathtaking scout reservation. They look forward to this trip all year long. I will enjoy the quiet time and have plans to get some much needed painting done!

Hazel Ridge

Our entry into homeschooling has started with becoming part of a terrific homeschool Botany group with 9 other boys around the same age as Zachary. We are going through a very fun but in depth curriculum this summer entitled "Exploring Creation with Botany" by Apologia Science.
All the boys have matching camo t-shirts and they have named their group "Botany Boot-camp."

Today we had our first official homeschool field trip. We had the wonderful opportunity of touring a farm/nature preserve in Bath, MI called "Hazel Ridge". I had no idea what to expect. I did have high hopes since the waiting list to visit is 2+ years long and it did not disappoint!! Our day started with a visit to "Mr. Nick's" studio. Mr. Nick is actually Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, a very well known children's book author and illustrator. Nick is the first person in his family to immigrate from the Netherlands and with my family background being extensively Dutch that was VERY cool for Zach. Zachary had just recently finished a immigration and country report on the Netherlands and our family. Mr. Nick chose a painting out of one of his books and for over 2 hours worked with the kids on drawing and painting techniques.
Zach completed his portrait and I must say it is awesome! I think the highlight of our time painting was the possibility of being included in Mr. Nick's next book!

After lunch, Mr. Nick's wife Robbyn (in the green shirt) took us on a 2 hour hike throughout their 40-acre property. They purchased their farm in the mid 1980's and have taken it from nothing but cornfields and developed the land into a breathtaking nature preserve/animal habitat. During our hike we saw deer, bugs, plants, and even were able to dissect owl pellets. The absolute highlight of the day for Zachary was finding a mouse skull in his owl pellet!

The day was awesome and one we won't soon forget!