Saturday, November 22, 2014

what running half marathons has taught me


I've spent weeks training and preparing for something which does not come naturally to me.

Running a half-marathon.

I just ran my sixth half, and while the mental aspect of running 13.1 does get easier, the physical aspect is still challenging. Running this distance is hard for me and something I have to push myself to do. The process has taught me many things about perseverance and discipline. And I've come to realize that some of the same principles apply to my spiritual life as well.

The race last week was a challenging one for several reasons. It was cold. Like 28 degrees cold. And my running app decided not to work so I had no idea of my time and pace. My headphones were annoyingly silent. Several things that ruffled my running feathers. I spent the first half mile mentally beating myself up. Negative self talk that accomplishes nothing of value. I thankfully had my husband beside me the whole time. He is my biggest encourager and always pushes me to be better. He told me to shake it off and trust the training. So I did.

When your heart is beating and your feet are pounding the pavement and your body just. wants. to.  quit, you have to remind yourself that you are running for a purpose.

Running for close to two hours with no distractions forced me to focus my thoughts. And what I found was that running half marathons has taught me several things I hadn't realized before.

I've learned is that there are many parallels from running that carry over to the spiritual race set before us as believers. Just as I need to be committed to the bodily training needed for completing the run, I must focus on training in godliness.

"for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, 
as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
1 Timothy 4:8

Running takes dedication, accountability and purpose. Without all of these aspects in proper balance, you will fizzle out. 

Dedication.

If you commit to nothing then you will be distracted by everything.
Isn't this true of so many things in life? A mind that isn't focused on something is so easily swayed. But once something is important to us then we make time for it.  Running is a discipline that you must make time for. You won't increase your endurance or better your pace by not showing up.

Spiritually, we must prioritize growing in godliness. It is the work of God's grace in our lives but there is an aspect of striving on our part. I desperately need to train my heart, mind and soul after the things of Christ.

Accountability.

When I don't have someone to run with, or someone checking in on me, I usually won't show up. Either mentally or physically, I'll cut corners and make excuses. Running with others makes all the difference in tackling longer distances. The impossible in your mind becomes manageable.

The same is true among believers. God wired us for community. The encouragement that comes from being connected to a group of believers is amazing. We learn from others and witness the beauty of the body functioning together. We aren't meant to do this alone.

There is also a certain level of self-evalutation along the process. In running, you look back over your training. You check your mileage and compare your times from more recent runs to when you first began to train. Hopefully, you will see that you have come a lot further than you realized. Growth and progress is sometimes so gradual that we miss it if we aren't looking for it. There are ups and downs but don't judge yourself based on the extremes. A bad run doesn't define you. Look back you will see the gradual progress that you are going further and faster than you did before.

We also need to check in on our spiritual growth. Look back over your walk, see places of growth and realize you are progressing in your sanctification. Take time to reflect on the changes that God has made in your life by His grace and turn that into praise! I'm so thankful that God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Purpose.

When training for a longer race distance, the purpose of the training season is to present yourself at the starting line ready to tackle the distance. The goal is to finish strong. You will get out of it what you've put into it. You either trained well or you didn't. And it's going to show.

There is purpose in our spiritual life. We are meant to grow in godliness. Presenting ourselves mature in Christ. How much I display the fruits of the Spirit is a measure of my growth. It is the work of the Spirit in my life but I also need to be devoted to the Word, prayer, service and fellowship to cultivate godliness.


I need to remember that just as 13.1 miles doesn't come easily or naturally to me, growing in godliness doesn't either. Displaying humility, demonstrating forgiveness and patience, and having peace in the ups and downs of life only come from training my heart, soul and mind in godliness. Christ-like character comes from the 'training'. Have I been dedicated to studying God's Word? Am I being held accountable in the fellowship of other believers and being encouraged to turn my heart towards Him in worship? Am I realizing my purpose to grow more into the likeness of Christ realizing that I must depend on God's grace?

So I've learned a lot about myself and the physical aspects of running. I've also learned to keep my focus on His call in my life. To know that I am His and knowing Him and making Him known is my purpose.

Now "..let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1



Monday, October 27, 2014

map work monday {CC geography}



Mondays are map work days for us!
We love to take an extra few moments each week to really dig into the content that we are currently studying and develop our awareness for those geographic areas.
It is so important to me that my children have a working knowledge of geographical locations. Knowing geography will supply them {and me!} with structure for current events and the ability to accurately connect history with physical locations. With my own children, studying geography has feed their desire to know more! What a wonderful process to go through together!

As a Classical Conversations family, we primarily use the methods of say and repeat, show and tell {"show me Maine" or "tell me what this state is"} and tracing for our geography memory work. We use the maps in the foundations guide for this. This is truly enough to gain knowledge in the area of geography. But of course, there are other things that we enjoy doing as well to practice our skills.

So here are a few things that we do to drill and expand our geography studies.

We listen to the States and Capitals song on the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Weekly Audio CD. I LOVE this song!  If you are a CC family I highly recommend it. Learning a long list {and face it, the states and capitals is a L O N G list!} is so much easier when put to a tune. The song goes in order from week to week and is extremely helpful. If your student is going for Memory Master, learn this song!

This US States and Capitals File Folder Game from Half a Hundred Acre Wood has been a fun addition to our map work. (You can see it in the above photo.) The kids like doing this independently and also with each other to review. My youngest calls out the numbers on the states and the older 2 race to say what state and capital it is.  See the link for a full explanation on the ways to play this game.

Here is a fun State Facts Notebooking page from Homeschool Creations that also includes clip art for each state. Consider having older students write what they learn about each state on the note booking page and create a USA Passport using the clip art as you learn your way through the country!

We use the lego way to learn state abbreviations found here. I used our old duplo legos and my handy label maker to make these. I also added the full state name and not just its abbreviation so they will be able to know and recognize both. This is a fun review for my oldest and the youngers really like stacking the legos;) I lay out the bricks in order and we chant together as my Abecedarian stacks the legos.

These coloring pages from Coloring Castle have pages for the entire country and each state, with or without labels, which make for fun review for the youngers.

Some videos we enjoy are:

{This isn't a video, just a still shot so click over on the link to view.}


Some helpful posts by other CC mamas:

How to Start Young Kids Drawing the US--Soliagratiamom
Developing Geographical Awareness--Classical Homeschooling
United States Geography Resources--Half A Hundred Acre Wood

{For those of you in Classical Conversations, please remember that is not necessary to supplement with crafts, worksheets and the like. Simply drilling the grammar leads to knowledge.}

What do you like to do in your geography studies? Do you designate a specific time to studying geography beyond the new grammar? I'd love to hear what you do in your homeschool!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

rosemary braised white beans {zoes copycat}

I have a confession.
I am a little bit obsessed with the yummy braised white beans from Zoës Kitchen. 
I mean, who can blame me, right?
Velvety, rosemary infused goodness? Yum!

It didn't take many trips to our local Zoës before I was trying to recreate those yummy beans at home. This is the version that my whole family has been enjoying lately. It's very similar to the restaurant recipe and fits my gluten and dairy free needs. 


{rosemary braised white beans :: Zoës copycat recipe}

  • 3 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add the rosemary, onion and garlic. Simmer for about 4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent and the rosemary is wonderfully fragrant. Season with the salt and pepper. 
Add the stock and stir well. Add the beans in last and slowly stir to combine. Be careful not to mash the beans as you stir. 
Simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. 

Serve up alongside grilled chicken, roasted veggies or a salad as a delicious side! 
Enjoy:)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

CC cycle 3 week 12 :: the plan

Whew!! Here we go with week 12! Thanks for hanging with me on this posting marathon;) Be sure to check back as the weeks roll on as I'm sure I'll be finding more goodies and adding them as I do!

**Remember, it is NOT necessary to supplement your CC memory work. The Foundations guide is all you need! Stick in the sand. Drill, drill, drill! These ideas are just some of the many that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper but it is not needed. 

History:
This week we have Generals R.E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant and the surrender at Appomattox.

This short video can be found on history.com and gives the essential information associated with the surrender at Appomattox Court House. 

A coloring sheet for the surrender is found  at usa-printables.com.
 

Readers:
We will most likely use this week to wrap up readers from previous weeks that cover the Civil War and go into our winter break from CC to finish up any we are still working on;)

                                   

Science:

Since we are talking about the purposes of blood it would be fun to make a blood model to go along! Check out this site for the how-to. 



And there it is! The end of the 1st semester! Wahoo! 

CC cycle 3 week 11 :: the plan

Week 11 has us talking about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Here are a few ideas if you choose to add to your studies this week. 

**Remember, it is NOT necessary to supplement your CC memory work. The Foundations guide is all you need! Stick in the sand. Drill, drill, drill! These ideas are just some of the many that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper but it is not needed. 

History:
How fun would it be to make a Lincoln hat??
This looks so cute! Check out the how-to here {image via}

How about a dot-to-dot sheet to go with it? {via}

Great overview video of the Civil War via YouTube!


Check out this site for some great ideas for doing a Civil War unit study! If you are lucky enough to live near a Civil War site, either a battlefield or an antebellum home, try to squeeze a field trip in this week. 



snack:
Love this edible log cabin for a fun installment of Treats that Teach that focuses on Lincoln. How-to found here.


Readers:
Across Five Aprils was the first book I read that made history really interesting to me as a 5th grader. I can say that reading this book began my love of history! I can only hope that all of the readers we devour in our homeschool will encourage my children to love history, and more importantly, to love learning!!


                   

Thanks for stopping by!

happy to be sharing at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood Weekly cycle 3 link-up

CC cycle 3 week 10 :: the plan

Some ideas and extensions for week 10!


President Polk and Manifest Destiny! This is such a fun week folks. We can dig into the life of the pioneers and westward expansion. I can already see my two youngest pretending to head west in a covered wagon {AKA the school table with a blanket tossed over it and the bench turned around to be the wagon seat} to find gold in California and settle out west. 

*Just my usual disclaimer...I like to keep things simple in our homeschooling. {stick in the sand folks!} We use CC memory work as the spine for what we do. For us, that means focusing on the New Grammar along with Bible, Math, Phonics/Language, and Handwriting. Because we are a book loving, crafty crew, we like to add a little extra fun in as well. That is where these extension ideas come in;)

History:

This video begins with the Louisiana Purchase and moves forward to the time of the Old West and the end of the westward expansion movement. It goes a little beyond the sentence for this week but gives good context.

Raise your hand if you hadn't heard of the Gadsden Purchase before. Go on, up high. Mine is up there and I have a BA in History!! I love the info found on the official site of the Gadsden Purchase to fill in the blanks. 



This map found on onlinemaps.blogspot.com is a good visual of the changes in our country from 1783-1853 including the Gadsden Purchase and the area of the Mexican Cession. 


Readers:
I have been reading through the Little House series with the kids so that blends in perfectly with this week! {FYI::don't forget to utilize your local public library system. Most of the readers we use either come from the library or our personal collection. There is no need to spend a great amount of money on readers to supplement your studies.}



Science:

Find these Respiratory System note booking pages here.


My kids had such a great time back in Week 4 when we did the lung capacity experiment at CC that I'm thinking they would really love to make this model to talk more about lung functioning. Find the how-to here. 

There are several videos on YouTube for the Respiratory System which I am not linking here but you can find them on my pinterest board CC c3wk10

And there is week 10! Thanks for coming by:)

CC cycle 3 week 9 :: the plan

And here we go with some ideas for week 9!

*Just my usual disclaimer...I like to keep things simple in our homeschooling. {stick in the sand folks!} We use CC memory work as the spine for what we do. For us, that means focusing on the New Grammar along with Bible, Math, Phonics/Language, and Handwriting. Because we are a book loving, crafty crew, we like to add a little extra fun in as well. That is where these extension ideas come in;)

History:
Events leading up to the Civil War including the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Dred Scott decision make up the History this week. 


The interactive role-playing game found on mission-us.org is great for this week. Mission 2 is called Flight to Freedom and allows you to assume to role of Lucy, a fictional 14-year old slave in Kentucky in 1848.  The Underground Railroad comes into play and students are able to exercise historical thinking skills as they navigate her journey. 



This YouTube video hits the highlights about the Dred Scott Decision and the major implications that resulted. Good for older foundations students. 


Readers:
Slavery is definitely a huge part of the information being covered this week. This will be difficult for younger students to think long on. I will probably pick one of these readers to read aloud to my kiddos and let just my oldest read more on the details of the slavery system. 

                                   

Science:
This YouTube video is a great resource on the Lymphatic Network and covers the basics while giving a bit more info on cells and how the system functions. 

Thanks for stopping by! {if viewing on a reader, click over to the blog to view the videos}

linking up with Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood Weekly Cycle 3 link-up


CC cycle 3 week 8 :: the plan

And here comes week 8!

*Just my usual disclaimer...I like to keep things simple in our homeschooling. {stick in the sand folks} We use CC memory work as the spine for what we do. For us, that means focusing on the New Grammar along with Bible, Math, Phonics/Language, and Handwriting. Because we are a book loving, crafty crew, we like to add a little extra fun in as well. That is where these extension ideas come in;)

History:
This week we are starting to focus on the events leading up to the Civil War and we begin with Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise. 

There is a great video and accompanying documents on the education-portal.com website that you can access in part as a free preview and you can choose to sign up for a free 5-day trail that will allow use of the entire video and resources. 

Video on Henry Clay is full of great information and probably best suited for older foundations students. 

Check out these Underground Railroad resources on scholastic.com. Go from life on a plantation to escape and life in freedom. 

Science:
This is a great site with info on the circulatory system with  lesson plan ideas including this blood model, dissecting a heart and how to find your heart rate. Lots of good ideas to compliment this week's sentence. 

We will also try the pulse experiment using a mini marshmallow and a toothpick. Looks fun and the kids would like to munch on a few marshmallows;)

Here is a link to The Homeschool Den's post on the heart and circulatory system including making a life size drawing of a person and showing how the blood circulates throughout the body. 


Stay tuned for week 9!

CC cycle 3 week 7 :: the plan

Hello CC mamas! I hope you are finding yourselves refreshed after a short break week in our cycle 3 journey. I took some time during our break and have mapped out the next 6 weeks of cycle 3. 
So hold on to your hats...here is the first of several posts on weeks 7-12!!

*Just my usual disclaimer...I like to keep things simple in our homeschooling. {stick in the sand folks} We use CC memory work as the spine for what we do. For us, that means focusing on the New Grammar along with Bible, Math, Phonics/Language, and Handwriting. Because we are a book loving, crafty crew, we like to add a little extra fun in as well. That is where these extension ideas come in;)

History:
This week is all about the War of 1812. This is often referred to as the forgotten war, and let's face it, most of us know little about it. Looking forward to a week of diving in along with my children and learning more!

On the PBS website there is info about the documentary The War of 1812 including timelines, lesson plan ideas and links to historic sites as well as a link to the full program which you can view via HD stream.

This video about the Star Spangled Banner is fabulous for us parents and older foundations students will appreciate it as well.


Coloring sheet from usa-printables.com

Here is a short and sweet video giving highlights of James Madison who was our president during the War of 1812.

Readers:


         

Science:
For science, we are really digging the My Incredible Body iPad app! My kids can't get enough of this one and it really does a great job of showing how our body systems work together. Snag it in iTunes


This looks like a fun experiment to see how the kidneys function as a filter in the excretory system. 
Have fun with week 7!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

CC cycle 3 week 6 :: the plan

It's all about Lewis and Clark this week! I have always found the exploration of the Louisiana Territory so interesting. Can't wait to dig into it with my kiddos!

*Just my usual disclaimer...I like to keep things simple in our homeschooling. {stick in the sand folks} We use CC memory work as the spine for what we do. For us, that means focusing on the New Grammar along with Bible, Math, Phonics/Language, and Handwriting. Because we are a book loving, crafty crew, we like to add a little extra fun in as well. That is where these extension ideas come in;)

Here are some fun additions for week 6....

History:
Lewis & Clark Exhibit.org bicentennial exhibition is a great site including a virtual journey with resources and links to explore.


National Park Service Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail has biographies, places and little known facts about the exhibition.


A Lewis and Clark coloring page found here gives students a place to trace the journey and add their own drawings of what they think the explorers would have seen as they crossed the mountains, rivers and lakes on the way westward.


The documentary by Ken Burns: Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery is available on Amazon with Prime Instant Video.  We will also try to watch the Disney movie Davy Crockett as well:)

Readers:
(hopefully we will get caught up on our reading and dive into some new readers;)

      

Fun Projects:
This pioneer wagon craft found at The Crafty Classroom would be a fun activity to go along with all of this learning about westward exploration;)


Science:

This digestion experiment found on Science Matters blog looks like a fun way to show the kids a glimpse into the way our system breaks down food.



An animation of the digestive system video shows the parts of the digestive system in motion. My kids are going to love watching this one!


Art:
This eagle drawing would make a fun final OiLs drawing project to do at home. It would also go along well with all of the discussion on Lewis and Clark and the wildlife they encountered along the journey.

Have fun wrapping up the first 6 weeks of cycle 3!