Saturday, August 25, 2012

beginning of school time capsules

Since we formally started homeschooling, I have taken beginning of school pictures to capture that special moment in time. After seeing this survey from Monica at The Homespun Heart last year, I thought it would be fun to add to our beginning of school routine.

I tweaked her survey to fit our family and had the kiddos complete them on the first day of school last year (Letter C, below). They then rolled them up and put them inside toilet paper tube "time capsules", along with pieces of yarn cut to the length of respective heights (A) as well as a print-out of their first day pictures (B).

Each child decorated a piece of paper to wrap the tube with. Once they were all sealed, I tucked them away on a high shelf in our living room--not to be opened until next school year.

Finally it was our much-awaited first day of school, 2012 edition! :) Before we opened our 2011 time capsules, the kiddos filled out their 2012 surveys and took new measurements and pictures. Then it was time to rip open the old capsules and take a bit of a trip back in time. It was interesting to see how much (or how little, in the case of one of my children) their opinions had changed from last year to this one. From a mom/teacher's perspective, it was also great to see progress in each child's writing and thinking abilities.

Once we were done comparing we prepared our new surveys, pictures, and height strings (using nylon string this year--yarn was way too stretchy and inaccurate) to be put away for next year. They were once again wrapped in decorative papers and put away until next year. I stapled the 2011 capsule contents together and filed them away so that we can revisit them on the first day of school in future years.

I'm including a link to my version of the Time Capsule Survey to give an idea of the sort of questions the children answered:  Printable PDF here  If my version isn't what you are looking for, you can easily recreate a similar document with questions that hold special meaning for your family. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

unpause is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer,
The very crown of nature’s changing year
When all her surging life is at its full.
To me alone it is a time of pause,
A void and silent space between two worlds,
When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps,
Gathering strength for efforts yet to come.
~"Summer" by Amy Lowell

This summer has had its share of 'life at its full' for our family--traveling (Chicago, Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee), playing (hockey, hockey, and more hockey!), working (home reno's still in progress), celebrating (3 birthdays and an anniversary in less than 2 months).

Inspiration and feeling were abandoned in favor of going and doing and experiencing. A new season is on its way, though, and I'm preparing for the challenge of the 'efforts yet to come'. The biggest effort is our new school year, which we will be starting on Monday. My older two are 4th and 5th grade, so we are transitioning to more rigorous school work. We are studying American History this year. If our experience in Boston over Independence Day is any indication, we are going to have a lot of fun learning about our country's beginnings. We are incorporating more writing, which I'm sure my kiddos will moan and groan about, but as a former middle school Language Arts teacher I will love it! My husband and I will also be teaching two levels of homeschool Spanish classes at our local community center.

Another welcome effort is joining Mom's Toolbox for another round of reading the Bible in 90 days. I've read through using this program before, as well as served as a mentor. It's a fabulous way to experience God's Word and appreciate how beautiful, complex, and truly perfect it is. I'm excited to 'meet' my B90days group led by Candace at His Mercy is New and am definitely looking forward to the motivation and support the entire B90Days community provides.

In line with my sometimes neglected but not forgotten focus words for this year, my husband and I are planning on joining a Bible study at church starting in September. It sounds minor but is a good step for us. We have been slowly but surely been trying to follow God as He has led us toward a new-to-us church at which we can put down roots.

As I unpause from the carefree summer mentality, I do worry if I can keep all of the proverbial plates spinning. Yet I rest easy in knowing that even if (or better yet, when) I lack what it takes, I serve a mighty and powerful God through whom I am strengthened.