Sunday, October 12, 2014

BIG Changes Ahead...

Our life is changing....again.  For those of you who read our blog regularly, you know that we don't usually do long wordy posts without lots of pictures....but this is kind of a huge change in our life...so without apology....here is one of the more wordy posts we have published...

And here's a token picture...so it's not ONLY wordy...

A few weeks ago, we were excitedly contemplating returning to our home in the Philippines...ready to resume our ministry there that we love.

Then, without warning, our landlord decided he wanted our house back...Ok, we thought, we will have to move. But just to a different house in our small town. It was hard for us, because we had grown to love the house and location where we lived. But, as we talked, we knew that God was in charge. We knew and were able to talk to our kids about the fact that He had a different plan, perhaps something even beyond what we could even imagine.  We knew God was up to something...we just didn't know what!

We didn't know how right we were.

About two weeks later, we had a Skype meeting with our leadership in the Philippines. And the meeting made losing our house look like a really SMALL change. This change includes having to move, not to a different house, but to a different ISLAND.

To all of our wonderful friends in Malaybalay...it breaks our heart that we will not be living in our wonderful town together anymore. We literally had in our minds that we could happily live in Malaybalay for the next 20 years...and maybe longer. But because of a change in our ministry, we have to move to a different part of the Philippines. To us, right now, it is a form of grieving that we are experiencing---and a great feeling of loss, because we have grown to love our home and our friends who live there so much.  Malaybalay is a place that we loved raising our kids.

If  we could, we would be excitedly coming back in January to our Malaybalay Runners group, our wonderful Balletomane ballet school, our Muay Thai/Boxing group, our church and all our other friends. 

But God has different plans...a friend just posted this quote by C.S. Lewis, and I think it is really true for us right now:

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

It is really hard to move, but we trust in God-- who knows the beginning, the end, and all of the emotions in between. He is in charge and we really see how he has been orchestrating this whole thing.

So, why the change?

To make a long story short, our mission has always tried to run two language and culture programs in the Philippines; one for the Tagalog language, and one for Visayan. Our ministry has been to run the Visayan program.

But, the leadership has seen (and we understand) the need to consolidate our programs. Partly, it is really difficult to keep two programs running, with the missionaries and language helpers that need to be kept on staff on two different islands. Also, we really want to work more closely with the National NTM missionaries. Lord-willing, this change will create a better place for all our new missionaries to begin good relationships with our National NTM missionaries soon after they arrive in the country.

So, we have been asked to head up consolidating both programs to the island of Luzon.  Our ministry has essentially not changed, just the location. We will still be language and culture coaches for new missionaries arriving in the Philippines. At this point, we are not yet sure of our new location, as we are still in discussion with field leadership as to where the best place to locate will be.

Everyone will start with studying Tagalog, which is widely used throughout the country, and then after their time there is done, they will continue studying language and culture closer to their future place of ministry, with regular help and input from consultants.

For most locations, this means they will keep on studying Tagalog, but if they go to the Visayas region, they would switch to the Visayan language. (After they do all that, as usual, they will still have to learn a tribal language!)

As we said, it is extremely hard for us to think of moving our family to a different location, and saying goodbye to all of our wonderful friends in our town. It's also hard to think of going back to Tagalog after getting to really like the Visayan language! :)  But, we see God's hand in this, and ultimately we want to live and be where God wants us to be.

We would REALLY appreciate your prayers as we go forward with this!

We also will have a lot of moving expenses we were not expecting, and a much higher cost of living--- If you would like to make a one-time gift to help with moving expenses, or would like to support our ministry regularly, check out:  http://blogs.ntm.org/brian-johnson/give/


This quote kind of sums up a bit of what we are feeling right now...

As we look towards a huge change in our lives...not really knowing what will happen or where we will be living, we are thankful that we are in the Hands of the One who does know...and has always known.

Thanks for your prayers and support!  If this post has only managed to create more questions, please write us with any you might have...we'll try to answer them!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1st Day of School @ Phronesis Academy



On September 15th...we officially started our 1st day of school at Phronesis Academy.  Just to be clear...this was the 1st day of "real" school for the 2014-2015 school year...not intensive field trip school...which we had been doing for the past 4+ months.  haha  The funny thing is...we only did about 1 1/2 weeks of school before we headed off on another trip to Florida.  But now we're back in Missouri...and the kids & I won't be traveling any more before we head back to the Philippines in January.  So, we are buckling down and getting back to a "normal" schedule.

I have to say...my greatest addition to this school year and perhaps one of my greatest moments of brilliance as a homeschooling mother...has been our daily "RECESS DANCE PARTY"!  Yes, it is just as AWESOME as it sounds!  haha  I don't know why...but taking a break at least once a morning and dancing it out for the length of a song has done wonders for us...

I'm looking forward to this year...God has taught me sooo much about myself, my kids, homeschooling and being a wife and mother each year I have homeschooled.  So, I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has to teach me this year!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Homeschool 2014-2015

Ahh...yes. It's Fall again...That magical time of year when a young mother's heart turns to...Homeschool  Curriculum.  
The following is all the subjects that we work on together.

Bible
OK. First things first. I'm trying something new in Bible this year...  We are using this curriculum called Telling God's Story from Olive Branch Books/Peace Hill Press.  I have always just spent time reading from a Bible Story book before and haven't ever used a curriculum...but was feeling the need for something because it seemed like the kids were having a hard time paying attention while I read a Bible story to them...and they didn't have any accountability to listen, etc.  

The set up is similar to The Story of the World...with a Lesson, Map Work, Coloring Page, and other activities.  I've only been using it for a couple of weeks but so far, the kids and I are really liking it... Initially  I was a little concerned because it is only covering some of the parables and teachings of Jesus...and is not Chronological. But, we have been reading to the kids chronologically for years, and I think it's also good to focus on certain aspects of the Bible for a while.We'll get back to chronological teaching soon enough...

We are only covering one Lesson a week.  On Monday, I read the Lesson and they work on the Coloring Page.  On Tuesday, Asia, who is now learning to find things in her Bible, looks up the parable or story and reads it to us.  Then, she harnesses her ample supply of inner drama, and retells/ Narrates the story.  Then, we'll often do another activity or game from the Activity book.  

 On Wednesday, we find the story in another one of our Bible Story books...and I read it aloud. Eventually...as the boys learn how to read...I want one of them to read the story aloud.

After I read the story, Slater retells/Narrates the story for us...so far, this has included him acting out a good portion of the story.  On Thursday, we again read the story from a Bible Story book, work on the Map Work...or another activity.  Then, preschooler Skye retells/Narrates the story for us.  We do another activity or game.  On Friday, we finish up any Coloring Activities or projects that we haven't completed.  And Leif gives us our final retelling/Narration of the story.
  
Anyway...As I said...we've only done this for a couple of weeks...but I'm really enjoying the change, and so are my four students.  the retelling/Narration in their own words really lets me know if they are getting the story and listening. And, it also lets them bring out their own particular brand of storytelling/drama...which can get pretty hilarious sometimes.
We are continuing to use the Sing the Word CDs for our Bible Memory...and This year we are on the one called "A New Commandment." The kids love to sing along, and Skye often asks to listen to these CD's during her rest time.

 History/Geography
We are actually not finished with Volume 1 yet from last year...So, we are finishing that up before we begin Volume 2 of Story of the World.  We'll be including some extra books this year...especially, about Vikings and Castles & Knights.  
As with last year...We'll be doing SOTW on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The kids love it & I love it!  We are all learning sooo much! The audio version of SOTW is REALLY well done-- the boys regularly ask to listen to it during their rest time. Kids, you say you want to learn more about History during your rest time? Twist my arm!!

 Science
We started this at the end of the last school year but only got through about three chapters before we started traveling.  So, we'll be finishing up our Apologia Astronomy and Jr. Notebooking Journal this year.  I'm including extra books about space that are more on the Kindergarten and Preschool level as this is a bit advanced for Leif, Slater & Skye.

When we finish this up we'll begin our Apologia study of Flying Creatures that I won last year. (Yay for online homeschool contests!!)

We will continue studying Apologia Science on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We are trying something new this year.  Each month we are learning about a new Scientist or Inventor using Mike Venezia's Books "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Scientists & Inventors" and any other books we have one the famous person. We just read a book about the Scientist or Inventor for fun on Fridays.

My plan for this is:
August:  The Wright Brothers
September:  Luis Alvarez
October:  Charles Drew
November:  Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak
December:  Daniel Hale Williams
January:  Lise Meitner
February:  Thomas Edison
March:  Henry Ford
April:  Albert Einstein
May:  Alexander Graham Bell
June:  Marie Curie
July:  Benjamin Franklin

I still do not enjoy science...but ALL the kids do.  Sigh.  So, I'm learning a lot and I really enjoy Nature Walks...so, we do A TON of those.  haha

Latin

This year I've incorporated Latin into our plans...with this Song School Latin 1 curriculum that I won last year. (Yay again for homeschool curriculum contests!) So far, the kids have really been enjoying it.  I went ahead and purchased the dvd...and I'm glad that I did...while I think it's a bit corny...the kids really like it.  I also downloaded the free coloring pages that go with it from Classical Academic Press.  Only Asia is doing the workbook.  Leif & Slater are basically only watching the dvd and playing games with the flashcards...which is fine with me for right now.  Skye is really loving the free downloadable coloring pages. 
The last time we visited a church, Asia tried to teach the first lady she met how to greet a teacher or student in Latin...hey, she's listening.

Music

Music...the only thing that I might possibly be worse at than Art...haha!
I'm never really sure what to do with this...because I'm really terrible with music...   So, I'm continuing on with Composer Studies.  We'll cover one famous composer a month...and we focus on Music on Tuesdays.
We use Mike Venezia's books "Getting to know the World's Greatest Composers" and various CDs...ie...some from the Classical Kids Collection (Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, etc)  and some from "The Story of _______ in Word's and Music Collection.

My Plan for this year is as follows.
August:
September:  Bach
October:  Vivaldi
November:  Beethoven
December:  Tchaikovsky
January & February:  Handel
March:  Chopin
April:  Hadyn
May:  Mozart
June:  The Beattles
July:  We Sing America & Various Other Famous American Tunes

My parents got a decent keyboard(as in good for beginners) from the Mission Barrel (FREE) that they said we could take back to the Philippines...  So, I would really love to see Leif takes some lessons...and I would probably see if Asia and Slater would like to try some also.

Art

We are pressing on with our Art Appreciation study and our survey of various Artists...using Mike Venezia's books "Getting to know the World's Greatest Artists".
We focus on art on Thursdays.  And we cover one artist a Month.

Here's the Plan for this Year:
August & September:  Henri Matisse
October:  Van Gogh & Pumpkin Crafts
November:  Rembrandt & Thanksgiving Crafts
December:  Christmas Crafts
January:
February:  Norman Rockwell
March:  Grandma Moses
April:  Andy Warhol
May:  Mary Cassatt
June:  Pierre August Renoir
July:  Paul Klee

I really feel like our Art is totally lacking...but I seriously don't have a single artistic bone in my body...so, I'm not really sure what to do. I often just give the kids a pile of art supplies and let them have at it.  Or print something from Pinterest for them to do for a holiday or whatever...


Anyway...I'm toying with using this curriculum for art and music.  It would go along with where we are in our History study.  It is much more laid out...which would be a big plus for me.  The plans include links to the www for viewing artwork, other activities and YouTube listening.

PE
Oh, PE...now here is a "subject" that I can really get behind!  ha!!
I AM ALL ABOUT PE!  haha  It was my favorite subject as a kid...and I have to admit...it still is.

I don't really have a plan for this...and yes, I probably should...
I have PE written into my schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays...but truthfully, we tend to do it almost every day.
But my goals are to keep my kids active...to teach them that being active is a lifestyle.  EXERCISE is a life long habit!
This year...we're just gonna keep spending as much time outside as possible before it gets cold...taking walks, kicking balls around, throwing the football, and generally just running around like maniacs, etc.  I wanted them to be able to play soccer or some other summer sport while we were in the US, but we traveled 20,000 miles instead....oh, well.

When it gets colder...read:  too cold for me to be outside...I'll just send the kids out to play for as long as they can stand it...and then, we'll probably do a couple of workout dvds that we have...if you have any recommendations for a kids workout dvd...  Please share...cuz I don't love or even really like anything that we have.  I can hardly get the boys to participate when we need to do one. They would rather be climbing a tree or exploring....which I guess I can't really blame them.

When we get back to the Philippines, I would love the girls to be in ballet again...I would love for at least the three older ones to join some form of Martial Arts.  And I want to get them swimming MORE!

Well, that's a start for Homeschool Curriculum 2014-2015....stay tuned for part Deux!!

The photos in this post are all borrowed from Google!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Super September

Still traveling! At the beginning of September, we saw friends in Oregon....And by the end of the month we were in Florida. Both coasts, baby!!!
Our friends from our old Young Marrieds Small Group from when we lived in Baker City, OR...now they live outside of Portland.
Then we went to the Oregon coast and hung out with Lewis & Clark!
Went to Haystack Rock...and the Singing Sands. The sand at Cannon Beach squeaks when you walk on it. It really does...under the perfect conditions!  :)
Then, went to Tillamook...where the cheesy curds squeak in your teeth...
Our kids had an epic day with more new friends their age! There were four five year old boys together. That's a recipe for disaster--but they had a great time!
We checked out Columbia River Gorge...
And stopped by Multnomah Falls...super beautiful.
Saw an old friend....
And some young ones!
And we got together with old classmates from when were in NTM training long ago! There were a lot fewer kids in our families back then...
And we got to hang with Kevin, Renee and Maddox. This furlough is the first time that our kids have got to meet their cousin, so that was sweet!
Got to see an old high school friend....first time in about 20 years!!
And, we decided to find out what the big deal was....We went In-n-Out, and the next day we went    In-n-Out again... 
Saw the gorgeous harvest moon in Southern California...and wished for a better camera cuz it was SOO beautiful! The kids were impressed.
Then, spent two hours on the freeway trying to repair a flat tire. Spare was flat too. Not fun.
The kids displayed their usual intrepid awesomeness!! They have been AMAZING travelers....
God has blessed us with quite the quad.
While daddy got tires replaced, mommy met a friend with the kiddos. In Wal-Mart. They also went other places.
We then had a history lesson by driving down The Strip. The kids recognized LOTS of historical landmarks!! In the daytime...Las Vegas can be quite educational! The problem is all the people who don't understand simple mathematical realities of the universe who go there at night...
Then, had lunch with an old friend from the old days of my Bible School in England!
Checked out the Grand Canyon...
Did the ideal homeschool field trip...by reading about the Grand Canyon while at the Grand Canyon!
And checked out the amazing watchtower at the Canyon...cool architecture.
Saw a long-time supporter in Amarillo, TX...
Got home on Grammy's b-day...
Then it got cold.
But Slater got a sweet new bike from the Mission Barrel...Free!!
And then, it was time for the First Official Day of Phronesis Academy for the 2014-2015 school year!! 
This was after 4 months of official Phronesis Academy Field Trips....
Asia started second grade, the boys started Kinder, and Skye started preschool. They all had their Career Fair ideas for the future...Except Skye. Normally she wants to be a ballet teacher though.
But, maybe Skye should think of a career in hairdressing...
She might also have a future as a tree-hugger...or maybe a logger. Or maybe as Bear Grylls co-host.
"Mom, we wanna be twins today!" Hmm...well, you don't really have a choice...Actually, these are the boys who would love to be Bear Grylls co-hosts...anything outdoors is a good idea for them.
They all got to try sparklers...
And checked out the Ozark Mountain Man Festival.
And here once again are our own pre-adolescent mountain men. They LOVE the outdoors.
We did some reading and and just enjoying the sunshine on the last day of summer...
And headed back out on the road...this time east. Skye enjoyed a sweet toy from Chik-fil-a while we traveled!
Got to braid some awesome hair in Tennessee....
And had amazing dessert at the Apline Bakery & Trattoria with friends in Georgia.
And now, we are living and doing homeschool in the Guest House at NTM Headquarters in Sanford Florida while daddy goes to a seminar. 
We checked out the Riverwalk and saw about 10 alligators surface at the same time. So, we decided not to swim in the lake...
But thankfully there's a pool at NTM, so we got to swim anyway, but without unwanted aquatic playmates.
And, we got to see friends we used to work with in the Philippines!

 Well...that was September. two coasts, five new tires, tons of friends and relatives seen...thousands of miles driven, and one family ready for a break. We're still in Florida, then in a few days it's back to Missouri. But may have to go back to the Philippines to get some rest...