Choosing Him All Over Again - Blog Tour and Review

Friday, January 30, 2015

This post is part of the Choosing Him Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with nearly one hundred other inspiring Christian bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE

I remember childishly singing the song "One Day My Prince Will Come...". As a little girl I dreamed about when I would be grown enough to find the one to love me into the happily ever afters.   I was  just 12 when I began to pick out wedding dresses, to dream about my special day & the man that would capture my heart.  At just 15 I met my Dave & 5 years later we made the vows which joined us as one. Those promises: we both intend to keep them our whole lives. But do you know what?  That happy ever after still contains challenges.  Even though Dave is both handsome & wonderful ( I truly couldn't ask for a better husband), well... he's not perfect. 
(Perfect for me? Yes; Perfect? Not quite).  

To be brutally honest, neither am I ( nor am I even close to perfect).  

Marriage between two sinners...yeah that can be hard. 

Knowing that men and women have different 
perspectives- on nearly everything! - could have saved 
us a lot of heartache. ~ Juana Mikels

Choosing Him All Over Again is a book written straight from the heart of Juana Mikels.  She opens her life to her readers & delves deeply into the flaws, cracks & heartache therein.  She honestly shares the painful decisions that led her to abandon her husband, eventually find Christ, want reconciliation with her husband even when he repeatedly refused & ultimately reconciling after years of waiting on the Lord's timing.  Ultimately though, this is not just Juana's story. There is so much more to this book that will challenge, encourage & inspire you to live a more godly life whether you are single, separated, married or divorced.

My one & only love.  Every day shared is a blessing from the Lord!

While I found Juana's life story very interesting,  I truly appreciated that woven throughout the story is pure  honesty, Biblical wisdom, advice & challenges.  As she relates her story, Juana will stop & analyse where she went wrong & how her thinking was marred.  In her doing so I was deeply challenged in my own attitudes and beliefs.   I appreciated how Juana quoted many strong Christian authors & included many relevant Bible verses to strengthen the point she was making. Her advice was timely & fitted perfectly with what she was sharing in her story.
A good marriage is not something you find, 
but something you make. ~ Juana Mikels

No marriage is perfect.  There are frustrations in every marriage & so many of the issues that Juana found in her own marriage & ultimately in her own life are ones that I face myself, ones that are common to every person.   Sadly, it's because of these that many people decide to abandon their vows & seek after what they perceive as 'better'.  Even though statistically it will end up much the same way.   Simple guidance, as shared within the pages of this book, can save people so much heartache & pain.

My family just before I walked down the aisle (yes, I arrived in a helicopter)
At the end of the book, Juana includes '11 Checkpoints to Refresh Your Marriage'.  Everyone who is married should seek out such a list.  Simple things which are so easy to do (such as 'I will practice loving patience'), but make all the difference in a marriage. Things that are so easily forgotten in the heat of the moment...  I am glad for this reminder & I am noting these in my prayer journal to remind myself daily.  What marriage couldn't use some refreshment?

Juana Mikels wrote her own story of how God saved her marriage along with practical teaching on faith and marriage written out of her own failure, pointing us all to Jesus Christ who has the power to change lives and marriages. You can get a copy here HERE  or on Kindle HERE.

There is also a FREE downloadable Choosing Him Companion Bible Study for those who want to go deeper into Scripture.  It is available HERE

A peek into my life...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Graphic by

If you'd like a sneak peek into my life, Kemi at Homemaking Organized is doing a series on Homeschoolers at Home.  She featured me while I was away.  I really enjoyed answering her questions, especially the typical homeschool day.  
If you are interested, HERE is the link!

Have a lovely day friends

Our curriculum choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This week the Virtual Curriculum Fair is focusing on Exploring Our World.  This includes History, Geography & Science.

 One of the reasons that we decided to register as homeschoolers with our state Board of Studies, rather than sit under the banner of a DE school, was because I really wanted to be able to teach Science & History to all the children using the same curriculum, at the same time.  Our children do their own levelled English & Maths, but when it comes to the other subjects I try to combine where possible.  This has worked well so far & I will continue as long as possible, although I cannot forsee it happening much past 8th grade.  For now, we enjoy learning Science & History together as a family (unfortunately the Geography learning outcomes are a little more intense for high school, so Zai will need to study that subject independently of the other three).

Our curriculum choice for Science is exactly the same as last year.  We have been so happy with God's Design for Science from Answers in Genesis.  It is a multi level Science curriculum that is from a Christian worldview.  We've been working our way through various topics and in 2015 we will continue to work through more topics.  As I was doing our planning for the next two years I came up with a schedule to cover an assortment of  topics to ensure we achieve all the learning outcomes for the three stages my children are in.  This meant that we will be changing topic every two terms.  We have been completing two lessons a week, however as I sit down & do my planning I may juggle the schedule to increase this to three.  I try to get through as much work in the first half of the year before the sports get too busy.

As I am away from home on yet another holiday, I will update with my proposed schedule in the future.

Our curriculum choice for History is quite different from last year.  This is because we have finished Australia...the Wide Brown Land for Me (which we loved & highly recommend).  As this was quite an intensive study on Australian history, I thought I would attempt to see if I could combine the primary school students in with Zai's study of Ancient Civilisations studies ( learning outcomes in stage four).  Since my proposed learning program was approved, I have to assume that is alright (the children have covered the majority of the learning outcomes for all three primary stages in their studies already).  We have been doing many visits of historical sites while on this myriad of holidays which also counts towards their Australian history learning outcomes.  Our curriculum choice for History in 2015 is Mystery of History Volume 1

My only concern with MOH is that Zai has read the complete text at least three times ( he reads it like a book). This means he is  very familiar with the topics studied.  It can't be helped though, he loves studying history and absorbs every book on it that he can find ( & shares all the facts endlessly....patience Renata, patience).    I have also purchased the worksheets to compliment the book.  This is a download & it just makes it easier for me to click and print rather than try to photocopy out of the large text.  I am also considering purchasing the art/craft component which would then be our art.  I just have to decide... ( nothing like last minute).  Maybe I will share what I decide next week when it is time for art.
We will continue to use A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp for our primary school Geography.  This is a lovely program & is essentially more a 'living book' type curriculum.  We all curl up on the lounges as I read it to the children.  It is lovely & we enjoy learning this way. We are still on Volume one, but will move to Volume two this year. 

As for the high school Geography....I am actually after suggestions :)  - another decision to make in the next week.  I have been investigating a few options, but have not made a decision yet!

Homeschooling is such a wonderful blessing.  It has been one of the best decisions we have made for our family. It is such a joy to be able to teach our children & see them learning & progressing.  
Have a wonderful week friends

P.S. Sorry about the terrible quality of the photos...I am on holidays & my camera's battery needs charging.  I had to use what was on my Instagram. 

To see more posts on this topic please visit the other Virtual Curriculum Fair members:

Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest
Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma


Monday, January 12, 2015

This past month have seen us travelling up and down this country of ours. In fact in this past month we've been in all four states on the east coast.  If you follow my Instagram you are aware of this (or you may be confused as to why I am posting pictures from here, there & everywhere). 

What a blessing it is to spend time with our extended families.  It is something we do not take for granted as we live so far from them.  This blog may be a little quiet until I rebundle up the children & return home to farm & hubby ( who is in the depth of some major renovations to our old farmhouse).  Travelling up here to Qld has been an experiment for me.  I do a lot of driving generally, but driving 1200km with just the children is definitely a first.  As our children are good travellers, it was a wonderful trip!  I hope the return is just as good! 
In the meantime, I will attempt to get my curriculum posts up. Later than usual, but eventually up.  I have so many in the works & have taken many, many photos of these many places I have travelled. Posts to come friends....
Have a wonderful week!

Our curriculum choices 2015 ~ Language Arts

Monday, January 5, 2015

Some of my most popular posts from 2014 were where I joined up with a group of bloggers & shared our curriculum choices for the year.  The Virtual Curriculum Fair is happening again & I hope to join each week to share our curriculum choices for 2015.  

We believe English studies to be the foundation of academic education, thus we concentrate heavily on this important subject throughout our children's schooling.  

This year brings with it a change to our homeschool.  Our eldest, Zai, has finished his primary schooling & is entering high school (Grade 7 here in Australia).  This means that he has a unique learning program quite different from his younger siblings (although I have attempted to combine where at all possible). 

Here is the curriculum I intend to use for the children this year:

Primary School Students: 
(Ellie: Grade 6; Eli & Jud: Grade 3)

Spelling Curriculum:  LEM Phonics:  I use this program quite differently to the recommendations, but I have been delighted with the results I've identified in our children's work.  Each  child completes a page daily in their workbook progressing through them at a considerable rate.  This means that while they began this particular curriculum later than normal, they are catching up very quickly. They also complete a spelling list of words they don't already know every 4 homeschool days.  Our schedule is:  Day 1: Pretest;  Day 2: Practice (they write their words out 3 times);  Day 3: Practice Test ( & write out any thing wrong 3 times); &  Day 4: Test. Anything they don't get correct on their test will be used in the next week's list. I've found this way they are really learning the words they don't already know without putting a lot of effort into familiar words.
 I also enter their spelling list into Spelling City & they complete various activities on there daily.

Grammar & Writing Curriculum: BJU English ( Writing & Grammar).  The children complete a lesson (generally 2 pages) daily.  I have found that I had to pick & choose which chapters I wanted the children to complete as it was impossible to complete the whole textbook in one year.  I make my choices while referencing the learning outcomes checklist I have.

Handwriting Curriculum: Handwriting Conventions NSW Foundation Handwriting Style.  This is a grade level handwriting curriculum which is relevant for Australian students.

Literature:  While there is some literature study included within the BJU curriculum, I expect my children to read a wide range of literature in their free time. This is never a problem for our family as every single one of us are bookworms.  All I have to do is make sure there is a large selection of quality literature available & the children can't help but pick it up!
I also get them to read aloud to me daily until grade 4.

High School Student: 
(Zai: Grade 7)

 It has taken considerable effort in ensuring that we achieve all the syllabus requirements when compiling Zai's learning program for this stage.  Our Board of Studies inspector was very positive about my proposed program and I hope we are able to accomplish the various elements sufficiently.

Literacy & Writing: BJU English ( Writing & Grammar) ~ this is a continuation of the program previously used in primary school.  I have been very happy with the quality of the teaching & intend to continue using it as long as we feel it suitable for each individual student's learning needs.

Vocabulary: BJU Vocabulary ~ this has been recommended by a very experienced homeschooling friend to compliment the Writing & Grammar.  It looks excellent & in my mind is a replacement for spelling.

Text Studies: In high school the student is required to complete various text studies utilising a variety of texts which cover a range of topics.  My proposed texts for Zai in 2015 are:

~ Fiction: Hitler's Daughter - this will include the online Skwirk study guide.
~Non- Fiction: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence - There is an online study guide available for this book.
~Film: Rabbit Proof Fence ( for obvious reasons this compliments the above book) - comprehension & discussion ideas for the movie are available.
~Drama: Treasure Island - we will utilise the Skwirk generic drama unit to aid in his studies of this.
~Poetry: 100 Great poems by Victoria Parker

I still need to read through these texts to ensure they uphold our family's standards.  If not, a suitable replacement will be found.

Making English curriculum choices that are relevant & cater to the individual student's learning needs is important to ensure that the child will receive the best education possible.

What curriculum do you use for your English studies? 

Please visit the other bloggers contributing to the Virtual Curriculum Fair:

Building a Foundation of Words by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Language Arts for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Bible-Based Language Arts Resources by Tauna M @ Proverbial Homemaker
Loving Books and Words by Sarah@Delivering Grace
5 Language Arts Resources We Love by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Teaching Reading at Home: A Tale of 5 Readers by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
A More Simplistic Approach to 7th Grade Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Language Arts Reading for Delight-Directed Learning by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
How To: Spelling Dictation by Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
The World of Words in our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Unschooling and Words, Words, Words by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Learning With Literature and Language Arts Resources by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Words and More Words! by Michele @ FamilyFaithandFridays
Language Arts in Our Homeschool (2014 – 2015) by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
A Renewed Focus on Reading Aloud by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
A Sentence a Day Teaches Grammar the Fun Way by Amy A @ One Blessed Mamma
Tackling Language Arts by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
The Great Grammar Discovery by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Sunday Wisdom

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bruny Island, Tasmania

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
Proverbs 2:6-7

New Year Randomness

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It's hard to believe it's another year here on this place where I share with the world (or the few readers) my thoughts & our family.  With the click of a clock & a house overflowing with children, it's kind of been a little busy to celebrate too much. We've just finished our first respite foster care placement of the cutest three little boys. And yes, that means we had seven children here this past few days ( & yes, we did get some of THOSE 'big family' comments).
So that planned New Year's blog post, let's just say it didn't eventuate. It's still in the realms of my mind & will live eternally there as the moment for it has passed.  Who cares about words when you have children to cook for, clean for & play with.  Instead of writing I was remembering how to change nappies & wiping little noses & tucking in hurting little ones & having the time of my life!!!

So even with much planned for the blog in the New Year, please forgive me if it goes rather quiet at times as our real life takes over.
My goals for the year are large & possibly unachievable.  My life is fun & possibly over committed ( who me??!!??). And tonight my brain is a fog induced by interrupted sleeps to comfort crying children, babies who need me & that older one with a belly ache induced by  eating too much dessert at the New Year's Party we attended (Zai.....4 times up during that very short night....grrrr....hope he learned that lesson!!).  

But whatever the future holds, please know that I appreciate having this place to scratch out my thoughts, my desires, my plans & our life.  I especially appreciate all who read my humble musings.

May God bless you friends!

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