Miss Adventures in Home Schooling

May 1, 2010

Butterfly Killers

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 6:01 pm

We have been trying our hands at “birthing” some butterflies the last couple of weeks.  About two weeks ago, we brought home three different chrysalides from Tuesday School.  Sadly, before we set up our homemade butterfly habitat the following day, one of the chrysalides had already hatched inside of the very small container that was “keeping him safe” until we could get everything set up!  I unrolled the tissue ever so carefully only to discover the saddest little butterfly ever.  It’s wings were unable to spread and to dry, leaving them crumbled and deformed.  Our first butterfly could not fly!

We did manage to keep it alive for several days carrying it to the flowers outside so that it could eat, then returning him to the butterfly house.  He was quite the fighter!  I even accidentally left him outside overnight during a torrential downpour only to discover the next morning that he was STILL ALIVE!  It was about a week before the butterfly finally gave up on life.  Strike one.

Painted Lady Butterfly

A couple of days later, we had our second shot at being responsible butterfly parents when this White Cabbage Butterfly emerged from its chrysalis.  It was an exciting day as Emma made the discovery that it was about to make its entrance!  All of the kids gathered around as it finally escaped to freedom (or so it thought!).  This guy was intact structurally, and flew around happily in his lovely new habitat.  Although we followed all instructions carefully, this guy was found laying on its side right next to the crippled Painted Lady about three days later.  Both were gone…on the same day!  Strike Two.

Cabbage White Butterfly

Not being ones to give up easily, we are still awaiting the arrival of this guy.

Tobacco Horn WormYes, he’s huge!  Yes, he will wiggle if you “pet” his chrysalis!  Yes, I find that disturbing!  But, we are hoping to offer him a full, happy, healthy butterfly life!  Which, around here, is about four days!

Here’s to hoping we don’t strike out!!!


March 27, 2010

Springtime Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 10:32 pm

One of the things I love the most about homeschooling is it offers so much flexibility!  JP has been sick all week, and with the weather being so spring-like, I decided to change things up a bit and lighten the load for the little guys so that they could enjoy the sunshine and I could get some things accomplished around the house…SCORE!

Friday morning, I decided that instead of jumping right into Math and English, we would start the day with a craft!  The kids were very excited when I  told them to clear the table and put down some newspaper!  I brought out some scrapbook paper and the Mod Podge and we worked to make some EXTRAVAGANT EGGS for my newly placed basket in the entry way!

John Wesley lasted through ONE egg!  Emma managed to knock out three.  But, my sweet Abbee stuck with me until we managed to have about 22 total!  What a girl!

And here they are in their new home:

Abbee thought at least one should go here:

I so enjoy creating things (or re-creating them) and I hope to pass that passion on to my kiddos!

Not to worry, we did eventually open the Math books….right before we turned into wizards and went outside to cast spells on each other!

March 4, 2010

Some Stuff About Some Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 6:03 pm

It’s been a long, hard winter here at the Powell Academy.  The gray winter days coupled with my gray dismal attitude have proven to be an almost lethal combo.  I have found myself battling spiritually on several fronts lately, with our decision to homeschool being at the top of the list.  In complete honesty, I have been ready to throw in the towel…chalk it up as a loss and find a new game to play (mostly because I hate to lose!!).

Along the way, God has been working in my heart and showing me so many areas where I am completely self-deceived.

This past Sunday, we had the awesome privilege of hearing J.R. Vassar preach at The Village Church (http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/sermons).  In typical God fashion, his sermon was right on target with a truth God has been showing me through Timothy Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods.  God has used both Vassar and Keller to hit me head on with one of the biggest idols I serve: the glory of man.  I, like the Pharisees in John 12:43, love the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

What does this have to do with my gray homeschool experience?

Great question.  I wondered that myself.

But, as I have pondered all of the fronts on which I have been grinding, the spot light has shone repeatedly on this one truth:  I have a serious need to be validated.  I need people to praise me.  When I am not validated by others’ opinions of me, I begin to feel completely insecure.  At the end of this slippery slope, I begin to question the very reason for my existence. If I am not important to people, then I have no value.  I am worthless.

Guess what.  My kids do not wake up in the morning and tell me what a wonderful mother I am and how much they appreciate my quitting my job to stay home with them everyday and teach them.  They never tell me what an awesome job I’ve done making Algebra come to life in such an original and exciting way!  They do not evaluate my performance and let me know that I am a leader in the field of teaching…the best they’ve ever seen!

In fact, most days it is quite the opposite.  They let me know that they would like to return to public school.  They might even cry when my explanation of Math just doesn’t make sense to them.  They often will grumble and complain when I tell them that we will indeed be doing all of our subjects today!  Their eyes roll and their feet stomp when they are asked to do something they might not enjoy.  My children do not validate my homeschooling efforts!

My children do not validate me.

My children do not validate me because my children were never meant to.

Seeking from my children (or my job, or my spouse, or my friends, or anyone/anything else) what can only be found in the cross of Jesus Christ is trading the glory of God for the glory of man.

It’s not that getting accolades is a bad thing.  But, when my complete worth is wrapped around receiving these accolades, then the glory of man has become my idol.

And, I have been completely enslaved to it my entire life.

I have never truly believed that my worth is found solely and completely in the cross of Christ.  His dying for me shows that I am valuable to Him.  My life is validated because of His death.

My prayer is that God would give me the faith to find my worth solely in Him and the grace to pass that truth on to my children.

Since my idolatry has been exposed, my attitude about homeschooling has improved dramatically.  I know that God called me to educate my children at home, and whatever His purposes might be, I am almost certain they are not to make me a hero.  Being released from that pressure has allowed me to relax and enjoy this time with my kids.  I have even started thinking about the possibilities of what we might learn next year. (But don’t tell the kids, I don’t want to give them anything else to complain about!)

December 16, 2009

Too many sisters?

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 11:06 pm

If there is one area I am certain we are seeing some success, it’s in JW’s reading!  He has improved so much over the last several months.  He can now enjoy books all on his own. He also participates in our morning Bible time by reading a verse or two aloud!

While this progress is exciting and motivational for me, it can’t quite balance how disturbed I am by the fact that he asked Sarah to paint his fingernails…and even picked out the color!

This boy’s getting a gun for Christmas.  And a remote control T.V.  And some beer.

I’m just kidding.  About the beer anyway!

Driver’s Ed.–REVERSE!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 3:41 pm

November 25, 2009

Geography Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 1:00 am

We have left North America and traveled south!  The kids are learning many interesting facts about the South American countries.

As we study Brazil, we  have also been studying the Amazon rain forest.  One day, we read about giant centipedes growing up to 14″ long and I decided that I needed to google those!  We found some videos on YouTube of giant centipedes eating tarantulas, bats, and mice.  After watching one take down a tarantula, I decided we should see how on earth it conquered a mouse.  As the centipede wrapped its body around the mouse and paralyzed it with its gargantuan fangs, the mouse began squeaking!  Emma plugged her ears and said, “Stop it!  Stop it! Please!  I can’t take it anymore!”

John Wesley said, “Great!  Now I have to be afraid of giant centipedes AND yellow jackets!!”  (Good times!)

While in Brazil, we tried our hand at making Brazilian candy.  Unfortunately, the candy that was supposed to be rolled into balls that were covered in sprinkles turned out as flat as pancakes!  I can’t decide whether we failed geography or home economics on this one!  Either way, it was a candy making disaster, especially given that the kids didn’t like the way it tasted!

Geography is one of the subjects that we all do together and it has proven to be super entertaining as well as educational!  A win-win for sure!

October 30, 2009

Reading can be SO tiresome!

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 11:41 am

At the end of each school day, we have one hour of reading on our beds!  On Wednesday, Emma and Abbee were arguing during reading so I sent Emma to my bed to read her book.  I went in to check on her a little later and found this…IMG_4595She had crept up under the blanket that is folded at the end of my bed and conked clean out!!!  It was so sweet!  Her book was laying about an arms length away, and she was completely nuzzled up under the blanket!

IMG_4596Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our mind is REST!  At least, that’s Emma’s motto!

Looking back, there were definitely signs…

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 10:43 am

JW: Mom, can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again today?

Me: Sure!  Just get up off your lazy bum and make you one!

JW: Really?  I can make my own?

Me: Sure!  You’re big enough to make your own sandwich!


[Red flag is going up at this point!  I get out the bread, peanut butter, and jelly.  Then, I hand JW the knife.]

JW: AWWW…a butter knife?

Home Economics

Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 10:29 am

Well, we are back on track this week after taking a fall break last week to spend some time in East Texas with our family!  I decided awhile back that at least once a week, I would like the girls to start helping with dinner.  This is a HUGE deal for me because, typically, I prefer to be ALONE in the kitchen!!  Too much chaos and I cannot focus on the all important task at hand!

Anyway, Tuesday night, the menu was a MUCH REQUESTED chicken and dumplings.  Because my recipe is completely simple and takes no culinary skills whatsoever, I thought it would be the perfect meal for our young chefs!  (Any and all REAL cooks should stop reading now!  This rendition of chicken and dumplings completely dishonors any real dumpling recipe!)

JP was in charge of pulling the bought-from-Walmart-rotisserie-chicken off of the bone and cutting it into bite size pieces!


IMG_4570What a magnificent job she is doing!!

Abster was in charge of opening the canned biscuits and cutting them into bite size pieces!  Which she executed beautifully!IMG_4571

I helped them put the chicken and “dumplings” into the boiling stock.  Then, we all patiently waited the required 25-30 minutes until dinner was ready!

Everyone was super pleased with the results…



I must say that teaching these two how to make chicken and “dumplings” was actually a very pleasant experience!  Only time will tell if I am able to keep my “once a week” commitment to our home economics course!

October 8, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — shelleepowell @ 1:27 pm

IMG_4333Since we began our school year (now SIX weeks ago!), we had our very first weekend field trip planned.  We were going to fly to Chicago to visit the Williams family.

The girls have been extremely excited about this trip!  Emma and Lexie have planned the agenda. Meagan and Jordan have secretly figured out how they were going to escape having to camp!  And, the rest of us were looking forward to hanging out with our friends and escaping the adult things that have completely occupied our thoughts lately.

It was all planned.  We had covered our weekend responsibilities.  We were STOKED.

THEN, EMMA GOT SICK!  But it was only Tuesday.  By the weekend, all would be well.

This morning, Emma woke up feeling better (although the thermometer disagreed a little with her proclamations of total restoration!).  So, we planned to hit the books super hard and get our first six weeks behind us.  I went to awaken the rest of the crew only to find that JP IS NOW SICK too!  UUUGGGGHHHH!

Jenny warned me to hunker down with a large supply of Lysol, chicken noodle soup, and Sprite.  But, the optimist in me would not let me give up hope of our great escape.

Now, talks of postponement are in the works; and, tears of disappointment are in the eyes.  Our first official weekend field trip is slipping through our snotty, germ infested fingers!

Dang it.

We really could have used the get-away!  Disappointment is such a crappy part of life.

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