Saturday, July 27, 2013

Worth More Than Gold

Genius... Pure genius!
As a homeschooling family who really struggled with math from the beginning,
we were in desperate need of a solution to our undeniable challenge.
We started preparing for our upcoming school year sometime in March.
Purchasing a few tools and different curriculum as our pocket-book would allow.
We studied the plethora of curriculum available,
spoke to a few of our fellow homeschooling friends,
and quickly and unquestionably decided to try Teaching Textbooks.
Teaching Textbooks was created by Greg and Shawn Sabouri.
Before starting Teaching Textbooks, the two brothers founded
a one-room schoolhouse for academically-gifted students.
Greg has two masters degrees from Harvard, and Shawn has a degree in economics.
They have specifically designed this program for home school students.
Currently the series begins at third grade and ends with pre-calculus (for grade 12).
Each level includes a workbook and answer key/test bank, as well as a number of CD-ROMs.
Each grade includes 95-130 lessons, to be covered over a normal 36-week school year.


As a new homeschooling family, four years ago,
we began using Sonlight Curriculum.
Sonlight was the perfect way to begin our homeschooling journey
 and we still use much of that curriculum today,
even though we have become a bit more eclectic over the last few years.
One of our favorite things about Sonlight is the recommended literature and readers.
As a brand new homeschooling family we couldn't rave enough
 about how organized and simple Sonlight made it for us to begin.
A HUGE thank you to them!!!
When we visited Teaching Textbooks' website, the first thing that got our attention
was the review from John Holzmann, co-owner of Sonlight.
We were immediately interested.
We also have a friend from church, who we highly respect, that recommended this program,
and we all know that word of mouth is one of the best ways to communicate
when spreading the word about things we really like.
We started using it at the end of this past school year
 and there are just no words for how thankful I am
 to have been introduced to this lifesaving program!
We love this math curriculum so much
 that once we started using it, I immediately thought,
'We need to go ahead and buy the next set'...
So we did!
We noticed how much our daughter was enjoying the lessons,
and we knew she might complete the first set before the 2013-2014 school year was over.
We wanted to be prepared!

 Can't praise this Math Curriculum enough!

Now maybe Math is totally your thing.
You LOVE to teach it and your children LOVE to learn it.
This was not the case for us.
I find math, mostly simple, always did pretty well for myself in math,
and I never imagined it would be an area of struggle.
But I was wrong.
Honestly, I think it was 100% my fault, for not being a good teacher of math.
My daughter would cringe at the sound of the word 'math',
and most days she'd end up sobbing during our lessons.
I really can't talk too much about how awful it was,
because the thought of how wretched our days were back then
 just makes me sick!
Welcome to the real world of homeschooling!
Not everyone will experience this challenge, but I can guarantee you that homeschooling will have its challenges and there might be days when you just want to crawl back under the sheets and go back to sleep, but I can tell you, being with your children, having firsthand opportunity in shaping their character, and keeping that family unit strong will be worth it all... or so they promise me <wink>!
The above circumstance being the case, I needed a solution.
Someone else to assist me in teaching math to my daughters.
Teaching Textbooks offered me that.
Hiring a tutor wasn't really in our budget, so I was in amazement that there was a curriculum that offered a way for my girls to learn math from a tutor who did a far superior job to explaining lessons,  presenting problems, and reviewing concepts.
If you go to their website you can watch a demo of how the program works.
Teaching Textbooks has brought "gold" to my doorstep.
Seriously, I consider the worth of these full course, interactive lessons on CD-ROM,
more precious than silver or gold!
But don't just hear me say it, go check it out for yourself!
There are many other programs out there that work for other families,
so make sure you do your homework,
and choose what's best for your family!
Since my blog is also a photography site, I want to add this little bit of info to this post.
The photos in this post are taken with this prime lens:
 Canon 50mm f/1.4
I love this lens because it is light weight, which makes it easy to carry,
which in turn, makes it my most used lens.
I prefer the 50mm f/1.2, which runs a little over a grand more than this one.
But the 1.4 does a beautiful job for a very affordable price.
And I always recommend prime lenses over zoom lenses
 as they are very sharp and offer the best images.
The camera I used with these images is the Canon 5D Mark II.
This lens offers superb quality, portability, and affordability.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shades Of Purple

The sun shone warmly on the wooden playground
and the children were seeping with joy at the picture of a day at the pool with friends.
Their idea of an awesome day always includes sunshine, water (in some form or another), happy laughter, freedom to roam, and imaginations soaring as high as the tallest tree,
all in the company of friends.
This day, was one of those days.
Just before all the chaotic 'fun-ness' went down, we met, 
as appointed, to capture Jade's last days of K5.
I had the pleasure of shooting her entire family last year
 and we have become close friends over the last few years.
 Jade and her whole family have been an extra special blessing to me.
 I love you guys, and thank you for the opportunity to capture
 these fleeting moments of your darling daughter!


What a beautiful and good hearted little girl!
You make the world brighter my dear...
continue to shine brightly like the star you are!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Another Year...

Another school year has swiftly blown by us, just as surely as the wind under a birds wings.
All too quickly and without warning.

 I understand more and more the wise words of so many mothers,
given to me as I held my first baby girl eight years ago,
 "Enjoy them now, they grow up fast."
As cliche as those words are, they do ring true.
Our school year was very successful and by golly we figured out how to make math fun!
 A challenge I thought I would never master. (Thank you Teaching Textbooks!!!) 
As a work at home, homeschooling mom of three,
I can easily get caught up in the busyness of life.
And with so many full-time working mothers today, we, as women,
can certainly lose focus on one of our most important missions in life.
Raising the precious little children in which God has entrusted us.
We are responsible for not only their well being, but their upbringing.

 I have been doubled over with temptation to quit.
Yes. More days than not actually.
It would certainly be easier.
(The big yellow school bus to the rescue.) 
But I won't. I will continue on the path that I've been given to run.
I will take up my sword and fight in the battle.
I will give it my all. I will finish strong. I will train them up!

I am sure to make many more mistakes. Of that, there is no doubt.
I know there will be many more tough days ahead.
I expect the enemy to attack.
But I will be prepared. And I will prepare our daughters for this battle as well.
Every day is a challenge and with every challenge we will grow and get better.

This year, I was able to slow down, enjoy the little things a bit more,
and get some priorities in order.
I blogged very little, obviously.
 But I hope to write more on marriage, motherhood, parenthood, homeschooling and life.

Below are some images of our girls.
These were taken as a memoir of what the girls look like every year on or around their birthdays.
I do this every year and put them on a disc with good intentions of making a yearly album.

Anyone have suggestions on websites for quick, easy, inexpensive, album creation ideas?
Would love for you to share your thoughts!

Rachel ~ Five

Laural ~ Six

Hannah ~ Eight

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Wedding

Just a recap of one of my favorite weddings ever...
And a shout out to say Happy One Year Anniversary!!!

Whenever we hear "the song", we will forever think of you two, and that beautiful day in February!