Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Texas Bible Bowl

It's that time of the year when Texas Bible Bowl goes into full swing.  Next weekend we'll begin studying Joshua, Judges and Ruth.  I have all of my student materials prepared; Bibles, homework, and chapter heading cards.

I started working on the upcoming 2016 Bible Bowl in April and I'm at a really great place to begin with the kids.  So far I have 24 kiddos signed up, many are in the 3rd-6th grade age bracket.  I'm thrilled to see the younger kids getting excited about Bible Bowl.  

Teaching Bible Bowl is a double edged sword, the down side is there is no written curriculum, simply the Bible.  The up side is each teacher can put together their own material to match her teaching style.  Bible Bowl covers only what is in the text being covered.  At an older level the kids can work on interpretation, but for now it is mastering the information covered in this year's text.   

I've worked out lessons, practice tests, workbooks, games, flash cards, etc.  I try to have a variety of study materials because children learn different ways. M;y hope when it is all said an done that the kids want to continue with Bible Bowl each year, building on their knowledge.  I can't wait to get started with Joshua, Judges and Ruth! 

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CHANT Softball

Tonight was another double header for the CHANT Chargers.  CHANT is the home schooled high school team in the North Dallas area.  Most of the girls play for other select leagues, but then come together and play in the spring against area private schools. 

In the fall they play in a recreation league in Richardson simply for fun and to camaraderie.  The team is 9th through 12th grade girls  

Abigail was thrilled to be able to play in both games tonight.  The team is really good, and our coach didn't want to run the score up on the teams we were playing; he let Abigail play 2nd base and she got a couple of at bats.  She is looking forward to being out of her brace and actually getting to catch again, but that will come.  As a 9th grader she's one of the smaller girls on the team, so she could be putting in her time out in right field for a while.  But as long as she is out on the ball field, it's all good! 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when
he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Monday, September 28, 2015

Avengers Care Package

The girls are at it again!  They don't want that boy to get hungry while he's away.  And if you know anything about Caleb you know he loves his snacks!  This time we put together an Avengers themed package.  We found everything from Cheez-Its, granola bars, Nesquick, fruit chewies, Band-Aids and salted peanuts in Avenger packaging.  

The girls also included cards to brighten his day!  I love reading their sweet messages to him, you can tell how much they love him and how excited they are for his time at LCU. 

The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,

    and their inheritance will endure forever.
Psalm 37:18

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Library Software Classes

As long as her hand is still in the brace she is out of participating in Saturday softball practice.  Since I don't want idle time on her hands, we've been taking advantage of the computer classes offered by the Plano Library.  

Her last class was an introduction to Excel, today we followed up with a Formulas and Functions Excel class.  With the reports I maintain for Metro Relief, Abigail has shown an interest in the process.  The class had well thought out examples of setting up reports, and generating statistical information.  

Next I think we will move to some formatting Word documents.  Who knows maybe after that we can take on a Photoshop class! 

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding

Proverbs 2:1-2

Friday, September 25, 2015

Constitutional Literacy

From Abigail's Instagram account this afternoon, "You know you're homeschooled when: You could be going to the homecoming football game or even going to see the latest book to movie adaptation with friends but your 'teacher' registered you for a SIX HOUR Constitutional Literacy Symposium!"

Yes, it’s Friday night and homecoming night at that but HSLDA’s Mike Farris is in Dallas discussing Constitutional Literacy. Mike is a Baptist minister, with a law degree, a political science degree, an LLM in International Law whose argued before the Supreme Court, President of Patrick Henry College, and Co-Founder of the Convention of States Project.

He discussed ten of the worst Supreme Court decisions, some of the case the court came to the right conclusion but for the wrong reason.  The job of the Supreme Court is to upload the law, not make policy and some of the decisions sited were based on member’s opinions rather than their validity by the Constitution.  Because they sited their decisions as based on opinion it opened the door for abuse.

It really was a fascinating discussion and I encourage my friends to check out the Convention of States Project.  It outlines the sad shape our country is in, BUT offers solutions to the current economic and moral decay of our country.

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem  2 Chronicles 12:6-7

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Classical Book Club

Our PEACH book club is a classical book club.  At the request of the boys the book Ender's Game was added to this year's reading list.  This is unique because it is not a classic and it's a bit risky because it was not written by a Christian author.  Now, not all of the books we read are specifically Christian authors, but many of them are because the 'C' in PEACH stands for Christian. There are many homeschool groups to choose from in the area, but ours caters to Christian families.  

With that understanding this was a risky selection.  The author had a Mormon background so part of the discussion of the book centered around Mormonism belief and how those were reflected in the writings of the author.  It was fascinating to see what the kids picked up on. They are maturing into discerning readers. 

Like any great teen event there was pizza, snacks and games!  What more incentive could a kiddo want?  Next month is Hamlet, we would love to have you join in the conversation! 

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
    but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

Proverbs 14:6

Public Speaker's Club

Our Public Speaker's Club has started back up for the school year.  Abigail's first assignment was a demonstration speech.  She had originally written it as a demonstration of cords on her keyboard, however the hard brace prohibited doing much with her left hand.  She rewrote the speech to be a demonstration on the physics behind softball pitches.  

You can tell she's speaking about something she really enjoys because it seems to come natural to her!  I love that the kids have the opportunity to do this through our PEACH homeschool support group, because this is something that still makes me crazy nervous!  

After each youth present their speech they are then given criticism and encouragement by their peers. Generally Ms. Kathy guides them to offer more positives than negatives so no one becomes discouraged.  I love the comradery it brings between the participants! Here you go grandmothers and brother, ENJOY! 

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:3-4 

A Day of Beauty

Years ago I knew nothing about home schooling, it certainly wasn’t in any educational plan I had for our children. However, fifteen years later I absolutely love being able to go to places like the DMA to research art; or places like the Sixth Floor Museum to learn about Kennedy’s presidency. Of course it does mean we were up at 6:30am to knock out Algebra II, English, Chemistry, etc.; but it’s totally worth it.

We were able to venture to the Dallas Museum of Art for a home school art class.  But our primary goal was to research a few art pieces for Abigail's American History class. The DMA has a large American history collection, including purple slag pieces like my grandmother collected. 

The museum houses a library that's opened to the public during museum hours. It is sandwiched in between the first and third floor exhibit halls and overlooks the cafe.  They also have educational packets covering the current museum exhibits incorporating English, History and Social Studies.  The packets are available for Elementary, Jr. High and Sr. High students.  Best of all, vast majority of the museum is free! Don't miss out on this wonderful resource if you are in the area! 

They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 19 The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls used for drink offerings—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
Jeremiah 52:18-19

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grisham Farms Visit

With school in full swing so are the field trips and the wonderful hands on learning experiences.  Today we headed out to Grisham Farms in McKinney. The family is a small family owned farm that rescues animals.  The owner Ms. Stephanie is a certified special education teacher with 24 years teaching experience.  The farm was originally opened 9 years ago for the purpose of giving kids with special needs access to the animals. She takes the kids on a tour of the farm, giving them details about the animals and quizzing the kids as they go.  

The farm has a lot of animals the kids can pet and feed including: alpaca, Ball Python snake, Bearded dragon, bunnies, chickens, cows, donkeys, ducks, emu, geese, giant tortoises, goats, guinea pigs, hedgehog, llamas, miniature horses, ostriches, pigs, and sheep.  My favorite was the alpaca because of his sweet face and buck teeth as he ate out of my hand.  Abigail of course, had a special bond with the pigs, particularly the potbelly pig named Petunia. 

The righteous care for the needs of their animals
Proverbs 12:10

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Still in a Cast

This is the day for the girl to get her cast removed.  We received wonderful news that the ligament in her thumb is healing as expected.  The doctor cut her cast off and gave her exercises to strengthen the thumb. 

At physical therapy they fitted her for a brace that she will wear for the next three weeks. The brace is removable for bathing and exercises only. She was not a happy camper, at all!  She was really hoping to resume normal activity as soon as possible.  

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:30

Monday, September 21, 2015

CHANT Chargers Softball

Fall softball season is off season for the high school homeschool softball team the CHANT Chargers. That means right now they are simply playing recreational league ball to keep in shape and prepare for the spring season.  Abigail will be participating in try-out for the team this spring and hopefully will make the team.  In the meantime, any girls planning to come out in the spring are welcomed to play in the rec league.  This has allowed Abigail to hang out with the girl, create friendships and let both sides see if they are a good fit. 

The Chargers won both of the games this evening and true to form, after each game they invited the opposing team to the pitcher's mound to join them in prayer. 

Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  Matthew 26:13

Peter Pan 360

Tonight the AT&T Center, the company that manages the Dallas Winspear, hosted a preview party for Peter Pan 360.  I coordinated various field trips for our home school group and the event was hosted for event coordinators, primarily large corporations who offer big events for their employees, but somehow we made the guest list! 

The show was written and then a 1,475 tiered seat tent was built to house the production.   The tent is over 100 feet high with high wires, trapeze artist and high flying acrobatics.  The tent ceiling is a massive canvas screen where backdrop projections are displayed.  All of this, plus the round center stage means the show is going on in three hundred and sixty degrees around you.  The performers are actors, dancers, singers, and acrobats from around the world.  The show originated in Europe and is now touring the United States.

Abigail had softball games tonight so Frankie and I took in the event together.  She especially enjoyed the fabulous hors d'oeuvres, especially the ones of the chocolate variety!  While snacking on fancy crackers and pate’ we participated in a Q & A with the show’s Casting Director Mark Minnick.  It was such a fancy evening; I’m thinking we could get used to such hob knobbing! 

Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
    when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
    their splendor will not descend with them.
Psalm 49:16-17

Friday, September 18, 2015

To Be or Not To Be the Queen

The school year is off and running, skipping and leaping! That includes our drama club, which held auditions for this year's Hamlet themed play.  Abigail auditioned for the part of Gertrude, Hamlet's mother the Queen of Denmark. 

It will be few days before we hear the results back from the auditions. This year there are enough youth participating in drama that PEACH will have a junior high and a high school production.  We will also be performing in the local Courtyard Theater instead of at the church.  The kids are really thrilled at performing in a real theater, preparing props and working with a real back stage.  

So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.  Ezekiel 16:13-14

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Teacher Training Session at the Dallas Opera

As a coordinator for our PEACH field trips to the Dallas Opera, I was invited to attend their Teacher Training Session.  The sessions are designed to equip teachers of all disciplines with the tools needed to incorporate the TEKs into the classroom with the the opera performances. 

It was a great history and overview of the operas featured in the upcoming season.  The Dallas Opera has a curriculum team who build lessons for students, grades 3-12. The lessons include language arts, Social Studies, Math and of course Music.   

Following the training session we were given a private tour of the Winspear.

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.  I Chronicles 15:16

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day Tripping to Oklahoma

If your best buddies move to another state then it seem only natural that you should drive up to make sure they made it safely.  After all you never know they might just be saying they moved to another state! 

Today we got the grand tour of Ada, Oklahoma, home town of Blake Shelton! Did you know they have their own arboretum?  There is a water park, a train, skating rink, laser tag and two geek/gaming stores!  Who knew it was such a thriving metropolis!  

I loved seeing every passing car stop to wave, gotta' love rural Oklahoma!  It's a really clean, growing town and I'm glad my friends landed in such a good spot!  We'll be making more trips up to check on our friends! 

He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.  Joshua 24:17

Monday, September 14, 2015

Star Wars Care Package

The girls are having a great time putting together care packages for Caleb.  The one that went in the mail today was a Star Wars themed package complete with Vatorade, Hans Rolos, Bobba Gum, and even Leia Buns!  We found Star Wars themed jelly bellys, gummies, and Cheese-Its. The girls made sweet cards to include with the warm wishes.  

Send me your light and your faithful care,

    let them lead me
Psalm 43:3

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lady Storm Softball

So I just thought that if the girls arm was in a cast that meant a break from softball, silly mom!  After church services today she was able to hang out on the bench and watch some softball. This was the first time for the pitcher she was catching for when she hurt her thumb, to see Abigail’s cast. Apparently Abigail is the second catcher she has put in a cast, but that is all part of playing sports. I'm thinking she's been very fortunate to have played ball for ten years and this to be our first cast! 

I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand,
but I will break the arms of Pharaoh,
and he will groan before him like a mortally wounded man.
Ezekiel 30:24

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Library Computer Classes

With a torn ligament and cast on her left arm, Abigail can't play softball. She can't practice the piano. But never fear, I found something fun for her day to feel the time she would normally spend on a Saturday at a ball field!  

What could be more fun than a computer class at the library?  The Plano Library system has classes on everything from basic operating systems, Word, Excel, Power Point, even 3-D printing!  She doesn't look quite as excited as I expected, maybe that's because the class started at nine a.m.! 

The student is not above the teacher,
but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
Luke 6:40 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Minion College Care Package

Time to send another care package to Lubbock!  For this one the girls and I chose a Minion theme from Despicable Me.  We filled his box with Twinkies, applesauce, apple drinks, gummy fruits and other minion merchandised food.  We looked for the minion Tic Tacs but the stores were sold out! 

The girls also made minion themed cards for their brother, one with a Doctor Who motif and the other with a Lord of the Rings reference. The boy loves Sci-fi so all references were appreciated.  

There are just so many fun ideas and you know the boy is loving the snacks.  Again, the lack of a constant abundance of food is his chief complaint about college.  The home schooled kid was spoiled by doing school work less than thirty feet from the refrigerator! 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
Matthew 25:35 

Teen Pizza Luncheon

Times change so quickly!  One of the primary reasons I began this blog was because our family was all in other states and I wanted them to be able to participate in the kids day to day activities.  Many times when Abigail was little, she was difficult to understand when talking on the phone to grandparents.  The blog created a great avenue for grandparents to see what we had done during the week and have a reference point when they spoke with the kids on the phone.

As the kids grew older they were perfectly capable to communicate with grandparents but something new morphed as they learned to read and communicate, they enjoyed reading on the blog about their own adventures.  It was at that time I began adding scriptures to each post because I didn't want to miss an opportunity to show them how God's Word can apply to everything we do. 

Now Caleb is off at college and I find myself posting pictures so he can keep up with what the family is doing without him and hopefully help him feel connected to friends who are still here.  So this is for Caleb and Richard, today was Teen Pizza, the first of the school year for our homeschooling friends. I stopped and asked the kids to smile for Caleb and Richard and this is the photo!  

Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,

    when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house. 

Job 29:4

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Public Speaker's Club

Today PEACH kicked off our Public Speaker's Club.  It is formatted like Jr. Toastmasters and coordinated by an experienced Toastmaster International who has achieved the three levels Able Toastmaster.  

The kids progress through various forms of public speaking presenting before their peers. Today was the introductions where the kids presented a time when they were afraid, excited, or surprised.  Abigail presented Nina's story, or the Incident of 2015

Looks like they are off to a great year!  

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 13:3

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Boy's Got To Eat

So what do you do when the boy comes home for college, well you feed him of course!  Jon and the girls have teased me for not cooking a full meal since Caleb left. But this weekend there were full course dinners every night! When I asked Caleb what types of meals he wanted his reply was, 'beef'.  With that we grilled steaks, grilled ribs and cooked a roast!  I did my best to pack a little meat on the boy! 

His biggest adjustment to college just may be the food! With homeschooling he ate all day, snacking while doing school work.  Now he has to trek across campus at specific times of the day to get food. 

I tucked a few goodies in his car for the road, you know, in case he needs something to snack on for the five hour car ride. 

When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.  Genesis 43:34

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Star Wars: Force Friday

On December 18th, Star Wars:Episode VII The Force Awakens opens in theaters.  At midnight, Friday all the new merchandise for the new Star Wars movie hit the stores.  Kohls, Target, Toys R Us and many others opened up at midnight to let consumers get their first peek at the new movie. 

Our family loves the Star Wars movie franchise, even though we differ on which was the 'best' movie.  We found a store in McKinney called Order 66 Toys, which of course is the order Emperor Palpatine gave to the clones to kill the Jedi.  The store is filled with great Star Wars memorabilia, a lot of which the boy has in his room! 

It was such a spectacular event that Darth Vader, Clone Troopers, even R2D2 were on hand to celebrate!  It would be embarrassing to admit how long we spent in the store looking at all the toys from all six, soon to be seven movies!  Even better was sharing it with my favorite Padawan Learner! 

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
    and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
    God will bring you into judgment.
Ecclesiastes 11:9

Friday, September 4, 2015

He's Back!

The boy is home! He's off for the Labor Day weekend and decided to surprise the girls.  Needless to say the puppy was very excited to see her boy.  Padme' even slept in the hallway where she could keep an eye on all three kiddos. 

This momma bear is thrilled to have all of her cubs back together! 

Like a bird that flees its nest
    is anyone who flees from home. Proverbs 27:8

Drama Club 2015-2016

Our PEACH Drama Club started back up today.  This is a non-musical year, the club is made up of 9th-12th graders with college kids serving in leadership roles.  PEACH also offers a tween drama club for the younger kids.  

This year the group will be performing, 'Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark.'  It is a farce, a rehearsal of the original Hamlet in Shakespeare's time with many irregularities, like the ghost of Christmas past instead of the King's ghost!     

The group did a read through today and at the next rehearsal they will audition for roles.  It's exciting that this year we will be performing in an actual theater instead of on stage at the church! 

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,

    when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Time to Uproot

We have been in Texas for almost fourteen years.  About eleven years ago the Gungan family arrived in Plano. Our family was sitting in church when Ried, Donna and the boys came in and sat in front of us.  In the pleasantries exchanged in that first meeting we discovered we both homeschooled and had two sets of kids the same age.  

Who knew that would be the beginning of such a wonderful friendship. For the past eleven years we have home schooled, field tripped, Bible bowled, Drama Clubbed, Book Clubbed, Speaker's Clubbed and so much more together.  

I couldn't tell you at what point my kids began referring to their family as Gungans, but I'm pretty sure it coincided with a mutual love of all things Star Wars. 

Yesterday the movers boxed up most of the house and today they loaded the truck, tomorrow they head to Ada.  

It will be strange not to see them three and four times a week, but I know there will be trips to Ada, and trips to Dallas and meetups somewhere in between!  It is also very comforting to know Richard and Caleb are together in Lubbock.  

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

. . . a time to plant and a time to uproot.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Merely a Flesh Wound

Today I'm grateful for ten years of injury free softball.  As a catcher Abigail is pretty well protected but as with any sport it's not a matter of if they get hurt it is simply a matter of when. 

Two weeks ago Abigail was catching for a sixteen year old pitcher who was practicing throwing screwballs.  The ball didn't break until it got almost to Abigail's glove and when it did, the 60+mph ball took out Abigail's thumb.  

Jon took her to the pediatrician the day Caleb headed to LCU, however there were no broken bones.  We've kept it in a brace for a couple of weeks but it was not healing.  Today we went to the orthopedic doctor and found that she has a torn ligament. 

Abigail will be in a cast for three weeks and then will be in a soft brace for a few weeks.  This will put a halt to softball and piano for a few weeks! 

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. Psalm 6:2