The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the tag “homeschool”

All In a Day’s Work :)

If you homeschool, what would people see if they came to your house in the middle of the day? Would they see you knee-deep in scientific experiments? Maybe they would see deep theological discussions. Perhaps they might be met with incredible works of art in  process. Here’s what they would have seen today at my house:

Little brother playing with paper dolls….


Middle brother drawing…..


One cat wanting out…..


Another wanting in…..



One brother actually reading…..



And the principal taking a nap!!




Benjamin’s Report

Benjamin turned in his first rough draft of the year. Let me just say, boy was it EVER rough.

This is a report on Benedictine Monks. Benedictine Monks wrote by hand! They were so good at that, that you could barely their handwriting apart! And, they were not allowed to talk. And the weirdest thing of all, they could not go outside of the monistary.

Hmm… where to begin? The odd use of italics for no apparent reason? Leaving out words?  Misspelling? Awkwardly strung together sentences???? So, I replied with this:

Your sentences do not flow smoothly. This report is very choppy! And, you need to check your spelling. And, most important of all, never start a sentence with and.

(okay, maybe that is not the MOST important thing. It just seemed funny at the time) So then I went through with the dreaded red pen and marked what need correcting. I love my crazy kiddos!

**** On a totally unrelated note, yesterday I was feeling bad so Mark stepped in to teach. Like any good class, they took advantage of their kind substitute teacher’s lack of knowing what gets done. They conveniently “forgot” to tell him that after the devotion that goes with the catechism lesson  they are supposed to write the question and answer.  Little sneaks!!!

Botany Lessons

This year the younger two Gilliland boys are learning Botany. Bleh… Of all sciences, I think Botany is my least favorite.  I took Physics in high school to get out  of Botany. Now I’m teaching it. Strange, huh? I am not what you would call “green thumbed”.  At all. Every time I have gotten a houseplant, it dies. Once, at a store I suggested to Mark getting a fern because it was pretty. He said, “Well, once we get it home it won’t be pretty anymore. It will just die.” (he was probably right, by the way!)

So now I am in the midst of teaching on a subject that I have no experience in, no interest in, and no real desire to be teaching. Despite all that, I have been fascinated by a few things I have learned.

We started a light hut this fall. For anyone who might be wondering a light hut is just a foil-lined box with a light bulb attached to the top. We bought peat moss and seeds with the intention of planting a kitchen herb garden and some lavender to make into homemade soap to give as Christmas gifts. Then Fall allergies hit. Mark was sick, not just with allergies. If you have peat moss under a light bulb, it dries out quickly. If you have a mom run ragged by everyone and their ailments, she forgets to water the plants. If you forget to water the plants, they die. So when the dust settled and everyone was feeling better, we tried again. This time they were destroyed by the box being lifted up and dropped by an unnamed cutie.  We gave up until recently. We got a new, bigger box. We got more seeds, these for some pretty flowers to put in our very neglected flower beds. New moss, new light bulb, everything is all new.  So we planted out seeds almost a week ago. Several of them have sprouted already. It is amazing to see how the plants are sprouting at different times. They were all planted the same day. Some are just shooting up more quickly than others.


These moonflowers came from the same seed pouch and were planted all the same day, at the same time, yet each seed is sprouting at a slightly time than the others. It makes me think of my kids. They were born of the same parents. They have all been raised pretty much the same, yet they each have their own distinct personalities. Nathaniel is very serious. He likes to know the technical side of everything. Going to the mailbox, he stops at the end of the driveway, looks both ways and crosses, gets the mail, looks again, and comes back. He is sensibly modest. In a dressing room, he goes in, shuts the door and tries on his clothes, gets redressed, and comes out. Benjamin is the cut up. Everything has to be funny. Even things that are very not funny he tries to make into a joke. He does not take many things serious enough. He goes to the mail box and if he remembers someone might be looking, he looks one or two ways, crosses the street, then comes back while looking at the mail. (Wherein he gets scolded for not looking before crossing the road on the way back.) He is extremely immodest. He has been known to strut through the living room in just a towel when we have company. (He’ll say “it’s just _________. They don’t care!” I think he’d say that if we had a queen or something as a guest) In a dressing room, he goes in and starts undressing before the door is shut. He’ll kick his shoes off and they might or might not end up in the dressing room hallway. Samuel is somehow different from both of them. He is very sweet. He always looks to the rosie side of things. He is funny without trying to tell jokes. He is cautious, almost to a fault. Going to the mailbox, he stops at the end of the driveway, looks both ways, looks both ways again, sometimes looks a third time, holds my hand and crosses. (He’d probably look more times, but I tell him to stop, that we have looked enough) On the way back we have to look multiple times, too. He is very modest. When he takes  a bath, he bathes himself, but I still wash his hair. He does not want me in the bathroom when he is undressing or getting in the tub. He keeps himself covered when he walks from the bathroom to his room. In a dressing room, he shuts the door, checks the lock, jiggles it to be sure, then tries it again, just for good measure. He was trying on several things one day so I wanted to go in to help him. I had to promise not look while he was changing. Benjamin tried on a shirt that did not fit that day. He came to Samuel’s door (shirtless, of course) and tried to walk in. Samuel said”It’s a good thing that lock is there. Benj would have just barged right in and me in just my pants!” My little sproutlings are all very different.

Another thing has been a spiritual lesson.  Yesterday the weather was beautiful. I started getting the weeds out of the flower bed. (or weed bed as we call it) I was shocked by the roots of some of the weeds.  They went so deep. They were so strong and stable. It was hard work to get the roots out. However, I know what will happen if I do not get the roots. I have cleaned this flower bed out before. Just cutting the tops off of the weeds, getting part of the roots does no good. The weeds spring right back up. It is only digging very deeply and removing the entire root that gets the ugliness out so the beauty can thrive. As tough as the weed roots are, however, the flower roots are that much delicate. Some flowers have roots that almost look like hair. Some flowers have delicate stem that if they are broken or damaged, the whole plant dies. It is much harder to keep beautiful flowers alive than to keep weeds alive. I have never watered or fertilized the weeds, but they keep thriving. Last year we had a few zinnias and a sunflower in our flower bed. They had to be watered frequently or they wilted. It took work to keep them growing. I kept trying to kill the weeds, but they kept coming back. No work on them, no special attention. I see a pattern in  my life. The things that have beauty, value and goodness take work. Those are the things that I have to put forth effort to accomplish. However, there are things in my life that I don’t have to work on that if left to themselves would grow out of control and consume and overpower any good and beautiful thing that might try to be there.  Just like the weeds left unchecked  can choke the beauty out of a  garden, sin left unchecked can choke the beauty out of  a believer’s life.

Lord, please help me to dig deep and remove the roots of my sinful behaviors. Help me to cultivate the beautiful things that bring You glory.

Another Reason To Love Tapestry of Grace

Wow. This is huge. Five very lucky people are going to win a HUGE prize from Tapestry of Grace. The prize???? All Four year plans of TOG in digital format!!! Not just the units, but the supplements to go along!!! This is amazing! If you are a TOG user or have thought about it this is your chance!! To enter click here. You do have to set up an account with Lampstand Press (which is free and you do not have to accept unwanted e-mails or anything).  To enter you have to “purchase” a free ticket. That is all. They will draw from five categories: 1.)People who have purchased 4 Redesigned Year-Plans; 2.) People who have purchased 3; 3.) People who have purchased 2; 4.) People who have purchased 1; 5.) people who have never purchased anything from them.

This is awesome! Good luck to everyone who enters!!!

Cheap Books Make Me Smile :D

I have a shopping  addiction. It is a strange one, perhaps, to some. Most women like to shop for shoes, clothes, etc… Me, I don’t care for that stuff. My fix comes from books. You can keep your malls and boutiques. Just leave me a space in the bookstore.

I especially love children’s books. I could spend hours in a bookstore just looking at illustrations and reading fairly simple texts. My favorite novels (besides some written by Charles Dickens) are written for children-Narnia, Eragon, Rifles for Watie and The Hobbit. So, I guess you figure out we have a lot of children’s books floating around. (hey, they are not all for me; we do have three kids)

As a result, Tapestry of Grace is the perfect homeschool curriculum choice for our family.  The boys are reading really great literature. The only problem is, our local library doesn’t really cater to the classical type literature for kids. Seriously, Nathaniel wanted a biography of Stonewall Jackson. They did not have one. They had celebrities, not historical figures. So getting all our fabulous books from them is a no-go.  We have been building a home library for the boys since they were born. Thankfully for each year of Tapestry we already have some books. The others, however, have to be purchased. Which can get expensive.

While perusing the world of fellow bloggers, I came across Homeschool Library Builder. Can I just say that this may very well be my new favorite website? They sell new and used books for a fraction of the price of bookstores and most online book sellers. Not only that, but you can earn points to earn FREE BOOKS just by buying books!!!!! How exciting is that?!?!?!?!? As if that is not enough, you can also do a search by curriculum (Ambleside, Beautiful Feet, Five in a Row, Heart of Dakota, Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, Veritas Press) to help you find your books more easily.  If you sign up, you can even help me earn points by telling them I sent you there. (my user name is mrsrevmeg) I was skeptical about what the books would look like, would they have any weird smells, would someone else’s account really get credited. I was very pleasantly surprised. I had to look at my invoice to remember which books had been used. They all were in awesome, like new condition. I received a handwritten note that thanked me for my order and said they credited the other person’s account. Wow. That is not something you get from most places.

Even if you are not a homeschooler and are just a regular book-lover, you should check this site out. They have soooo many books at such great prices.

Keep a Poem in Your Heart

Several years my mother gave the boys all the Random House Book of Poetry for Children for Christmas. It has been one of those gifts that has been used over and over. Benjamin especially loves it. Two of his favorites are written by the same person. Dorothy Aldis either is the female version of Benjamin or has a child just like him. If you do not believe me, read these poems:


Wasps like coffee.






My Nose

It doesn’t breathe;

It doesn’t smell;

It doesn’t feel So very well.

I am discouraged

With my nose:

The only thing it

Does is blows.

Benjamin’s assignment was to create a poem of all verbs. He decided to write one about school.




(I promise not all days are like this! :))

Beautiful Hymn

We have been using The Center For Church Music online to study about hymns.  Funny thing, until just a few years ago I thought I did not like hymns. That is because most of the churches I have gone to over the years use the Baptist Hymnal and some of them have seemed to pick out the shallowest most uninspiring songs from the whole book.  Certain times of the year we would sing The Star Bangled Banner. Over the past few years several Christian artists (sorry Berean Wife!) have recorded old hymns.  I LOVE them! Rock of Ages, Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing, Be Thou My Vision, there are so many great ones. (My fave is Before the Throne of God Above by Selah!) Each week the Center for Church Music has a hymn featured. So far each week that we have studied a hymn it has been great. Nathaniel is amazed that Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts was written so long ago. (1150, over 800 years ago!!) Samuel’s favorite so far has been O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. (we also love that one by Selah) Benjamin likes watching videos of the songs we are studying being performed by Enfield at the Resolved Conference that Mark went to last summer. The hymn we are studying this week is one I have never heard of before. It is so beautiful!! This song is like a prayer that has been set to music. I hope that you find these words as inspiring as I do. If you click on the link to the Center for Church Music you can listen to a choir singing it.  Hope you enjoy!!

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,Live in me from day to day, By His love and power controlling All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour, So that all may see I triumph Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father Rule my life in everything, That I may be calm to comfort Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea; Him exalting, self abasing, This is victory.

May I run the race before me, Strong and brave to face the foe, Looking only unto Jesus As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me, As I seek the lost to win, And may they forget the channel, Seeing only Him.

PS. Huge thanks to Annemarie for sharing the link to Center for Church Music!!! I am discovering so many songs I never knew I liked!!!!

Field Trip 9-2-09

We went on our first field trip of the year yesterday. Last year we did lots of field tripping, this year we are going to have to back off some since the classes are harder and there are more of them. We went to the Anniston Museum of Natural History. They have mummies. That is why we went. We got there and they told us to go through the museum in a certain order. Egypt was last on the tour. The grand finale. I was actually very impressed with the variety of items they had. What we saw first was dinosaurs and rocks. They even had an asteroid we could touch! DSC_0004
Most of the pictures did not turn out well, because the lighting was not very good for photos.
After the dinosaur/geology display they had a display of Alabama environment and animals. DSC_0016
After that they had other American animals and a hands on area for kids.DSC_0011
After that, they had a big display of Africa. I really like they way they had the Africa display set up. It was like starting at the southern tip and moving north. They had displays set up of animals and environments to represent savannahs, jungles, deserts, and the marshy lands. Finally, we got to Egypt. The whole point of driving an hour and half. Egypt! The mummies. DSC_0019
I have to admit something. Seeing these mummies gave me such a heavy heart. Mark said he felt the same way. Here were two people who tried to become immortal by having their bodies preserved. Their bodies have lasted for a very long time. They are now on display like some kind of freak show. People come from near and far to ooh and aahh over them. Their souls, however, are in hell. Forever. No amount of preserving could help them out. They had plaques showing what some of the hieroglyphs on the mummies meant, One of the mummies had a prayer written on it
It was so incredibly sad to see how they made such futile attempts to live forever. They were willing to make appeals to so many gods, but not to the all powerful true God.

Romans 1:21-23~ 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Brain Blast While Doing the Laundry

Have you ever had one of those days where everything that was seemingly unrelated and separate just all somehow clicked and worked together? I had one of those yesterday. We started out with our Catechism reading like normal. For the start of this school year we are just doing a review by reading the Monday story that goes along with each of the Q&As we have already done. So we read about a little girl choosing a puppy from a pound and naming her Grace. Just like God chooses us out of our estate of sin and misery in His grace. The topic for history this week is Creation through Noah. Benjamin has a book with Cd about Noah. So he played the CD and read along.  Samuel was working alone on a drawing, Nathaniel was working on some math problems, so I grabbed the opportunity to sneak  off for a clothes folding.

Let me sort of flash-back for just a moment. It seems like I have seen a lot of conflicting ideas about the doctrine of election lately. It might be in person or over the internet directed to me, or it might be an editorial in the Alabama Baptist newspaper where some bloke takes it upon himself to rewrite the five TULIP points to better fit with what he believes is “fair”.  So keep in mind that all this is floating in my head. As I was listening to the story of Noah, which I have always loved btw, it suddenly dawned on me. We read the story of Noah, how God rescued one family out of all the whole world and we call it gracious and wonderful. We read about Abraham, where one again God calls one, and we never hear anyone say “That is not fair”. Why is it that people want to pull the “fair” card when it comes to the New Covenant? Do they really think it is “fair” Jesus had to pay for their sins?

Do I think that my brain blast will help the whole world come to believe the same about God as I do? No, I do, however, think that it will help me when confronted with “I don’t think God creates people that He knows have chance of going to Heaven!”

Post Navigation