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Math, Friendship, Shoeboxes & More - Collage Friday


We have completed week 12 of school - which is hard to believe!

I imagine you will probably get tired of hearing me say this, but I am so thankful we made the leap to Classical Conversations.

The kids are THRIVING, and learning so many beautiful things. The burden of planning for me has lessened, and all of us have been blessed with wonderful friendships.

 This week I found myself stopping quite often to simply GIVE THANKS.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Last Friday I waited at the funeral home for nearly two hours to hug my friend Sandra and her three children. Sandra lost her husband, Greg, nearly two weeks ago to Melanoma. Our homeschool community has been shaken to the core - but we all know (thanks to Sandra and Greg) that God is faithful and in control.

I've been humbled and inspired by witnessing this family's battle against cancer, and Sandra's blog has been a source of encouragement to people who have never even met her. Continue to pray for this family, and hug your own a bit tighter today.

My friend Jenn wrote a great post about Encouraging Words - so perfectly timed for me this week. Sometimes it's very easy to get caught up in the "junk" of the day to day and forget what is really important. 


"Shaking It Up" With Math

Our spine for math is Saxon. I could talk your ear off about why I love Saxon - really, I could. 

Saxon, however, is no frills. Sometimes I feel the need to add some fun games and living math into the mix. 

We love dice games for making math fun. Yahtzee is a favorite. There are lots of other games you can find just by Googling around.

Grant and I currently have a game going on where we roll the dice and then compute the area from the product. We then shade in the squares on graph paper. It takes a LONG time to fill up your paper, so prepare to spend a week or more on this game! (Thanks to Jess for reminding me about this game - I hadn't played in a couple of years!)

I also have fallen in love with all of Classical Conversations PreScripts products. Grant is currently working through Cursive Words and Drawing: Math Terms. It's good stuff.

Not to be left out, Anna has joined us at the kitchen table during math time while she does her daily drills on the white board. {A portable dry erase board is a very good investment.}


Adding Living Math

I adore living books.  If you search just a little bit you can find really good living math books, too.

This week we focused on a mathematician and philsopher from the Middle Ages/Renaissance - Descartes. 

The Fly on the Ceiling talks all about the Cartesian Coordinate System. 

Battleship is a great way to reinforce the concept. 

Math can be SO MUCH FUN (especially when you are dressed like a Ninja)!

We've also been pulling out our Math Adventure books (featuring Sir Cumference) which are always a big hit.

Operation Christmas Child Update

The anticipation for my trip to Ecuador with Operation Christmas Child is killing me! 

As I'm organizing a couple of box packing parties I'm praying each step of the way.

This phase is difficult for me.

I have always been a very tender hearted person. Ever since I've been young I've always had a very soft spot for people in need. To be honest, however, I have never been to a third world country where there are so many hurting children. This first time view of extreme poverty has me feeling strange - I can't quite describe it. 

While I cannot wait to share the blessing of these shoeboxes with so many children, I can't help but wonder how the trip will affect me... what does God have in store for me and for my family? 

It's hard to put into words the feelings I'm having. For now I would just ask if you could pray for me, and most of all - pray for those precious little souls that will receive boxes this holiday season. Pray for me to effectively be an ambassador for Christ through Operation Christmas Child. 


Just 10 days after I applied for my passport it arrived! Now I'm one step closer to Ecuador.

100 Go Boxes also arrived. I can fold one in less than a minute! Aren't you impressed?   

We've been making tons of rubber band bracelets for the boxes, too. 

National Collection week is coming up - November 18-25.  

I've been reading Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts to prepare my heart.

I was particularly touched by this video which I received from Samaritan's Purse this week. It is an unbelievable story of forgiveness, the love of Christ, and the power of just ONE shoebox.  You should take a few minutes and watch it  - it will bless you! If you feel led to share it, please do!


Challenge Get Together

It was such a joy to have the students from our Classical Conversations Challenge program come to our home last weekend. 

My husband and I remarked that the young people at our house were all so well mannered, well spoken, and just delightful to be around. I'm VERY thankful for Challenge and what it has done for Anna - and all of these children!

The new fire pit in our back yard got a lot of use (my husband worked so hard on this), and we remembered why we bought a house with such a big yard in the first place!

The kids spent some time making rubber band bracelets for their shoeboxes, and then enjoyed time together by the fire pit eating S'Mores and engaging in general silliness. 

It was a great night!

Friendship during these middle grades years is crucial. I am thankful my daughter has GOOD friends, with relationships that are cultivated and treasured. 

 Our Day at Foundations

These was week 9 of Foundations.

I'm enjoying getting to know all of the children in Grant's group and continue to learn so much about so many things. 

This week the science project was making sun prints. We had a gorgeous fall day to be outside learning.

See that little cutie in the collage? I just had to snap her picture - she was the leader in reviewing the names of the planets.

Our tutor also provides a variety of fun games for the kids. They always enjoy putting numbers in order by teams of girls and boys - this week it was counting by 15s.

Grant is loving the tin whistle. His presentation this week for his class was playing the Theme From Star Wars on the Tin Whistle.

I shared how we are notebooking our way through Classical Conversations in a post earlier this week. Notebooking has always been a staple in our homeschool, and it's fitting in great with CC, too. {whew}


Updates, Deals, Christmas Gifts, Etc... 


  • I offered a FREE SQUILT study this week. It is a five page study with enrichment links and notebooking pages. 
  • Now that it is November, I'm sure you are thinking about holiday activities for your homeschool. I wrote a Nutcracker Unit Study which you might enjoy, too.


  • Last year Anna learned to sew on a nice Brother sewing machine. This machine is on sale right now for a great price - I like to get gifts that keep my kids LEARNING, and this might make a nice Christmas present for your future seamstress! 
  • Grant's favorite LEGO set is the XWing Starfighter - also on sale right now! 


{Can you tell I like to get holiday shopping done early? This year is going to be very meager at our house because my husband and I really want our whole family to embrace my trip to Ecuador and to SACRIFICE in their own way.}

This weekend I will turn 42.

One of Grant's friends pointed out to me that I had "wrinkles between my eyes" the other day. You know what? Those wrinkles contain WISDOM (that's my story, at least). 

I hope you've had an awesome week. Link up, comment - join this Collage Friday community I have come to love so much!


If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!



Reader Comments (22)

What a fantastic week! And thanks for the recommendations of living maths stuff. We are doing that solely with my twins this year and it's always good to have different resources.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaire @ angelicscalliwags

I forgot that we are almost birthday twins. I turn 42 later this month! Happy Birthday! From what I can tell you have had a terrific year. I hope 42 is just as wonderful. Thanks for sharing your week.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Absolutely, wrinkles are a crown of glory and earned wisdom! Thank you for mentioning all the living math - that is always such a nice complement to our days. Continuing in prayer about your upcoming Christmas Child trip. And happy, happy birthday dear Mary!!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I wish I could be there to give you the best 42nd birthday party! Imagine it...Happy (early) Birthday my friend! I am so in aw of you and your talents and all you offer the homeschool community with your studies. I can't wait to hear more about your trip when you return.

Enjoy the week!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermelissa newell

We do love living math around here.
Blesisngs, Dawn

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

What a great week, Mary! I'm so excited for you to go to Ecuador! I know God will bless you richly. The kids look like they are learning so much! CC looks like a great fit for you all. I hope you have an amazing birthday weekend!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLara M

I turned 35 this week, so it's been my birthday too! LOL I love seeing the progress on the bracelets. They're beautiful!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

What a great video. I was touched immensely. I can't imagine so many orphans, but my eyes see it in those videos. The joy such a small gift provides to children who have nothing material. Those children are beautiful!

I pray you have a wonderful trip. I would love to do it, but am afraid I would come home with a handful of kids. :)

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel E.

I always love seeing what you are up to. This post is just full of wonderful!! I am so glad CC is working out for you. And I can't wait to hear about your trip. Praying for you. I am extremely tender hearted too. SO much that Keilee's joke is me just getting through a day without crying about something online or something I read. Happy weekend.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Really? Theme from Star Wars on the tin whistle? I am impressed. The Cursive Words and Drawing: Math Terms book looks so interesting. I have put it on my list for next year's curriculum. I also like the look of The Fly on the Ceiling, but I am not going to wait for next year to get that one. Thank you for your continual inspirations. I always feel happy and inspired when I read your posts.

Gosh I don't know where to start thanking you for such a warm and uplifting post! I can relate to so much of what you say.
I never get tired of reading how much anyone is enjoying their choices, so as far as I'm concerned you can keep raving about CC to your heart's content! :-)
Praying for you as regards your Ecuador trip; I would be just the same.

So. Excited. For. You. . . . . I'll be praying for your Operation Christmas Child adventure! Thanks for all the great resources

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkelli @Adventurez

Mary, I'm encouraged every week by what is going on in your family. Thanks for opening your heart to us!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy M

Happy birthday, Mary!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGena

Thank you so much for hsoting CF.
I love seeing what you've been up to this week and honestly, you have great friends linking up that I so enjoy visiiting!

I feel awful abt your friend's loss.....I went over to her blog to red and I'm heartbroken. Will pray.

Be well and enjoy this time of prep for your trip! Thx for the updates!


November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Mary, awesome Collage Friday as always! Thank you for the free SQUILT for November! Can't wait to use it with my boys! And, I will NEVER get tired of you talking about how well CC is going for your family! LOVE to hear that! We are equally excited! Enjoy a special birthday! :-)

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim Green

Well, what a rather rude child to point out your wrinkles... Doesn't that mom teach her kids any manners????

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day. I'm about 6 months behind you, and Amber likes to point out my very few gray hairs instead of wrinkles. It's always so much fun.

I pray that your trip to Ecuador is safe and a blessing to you as well as others.
Thanks for the idea of the bracelets in our OC boxes. I am always looking for new things to put in them.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

I'm sorry for your friend and her children, I know you've been praying and have asked of prayers of others on their behalf for a long time. I'll keep praying for her and her children, and your heart as well.
I love Sir Cumference. :)
Enjoy the books.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Mary, I will be praying about your upcoming trip. Thanks for the heads up on Prescripts! I have added it to my wish list and I also just ordered A Fly on the Ceiling, for Nolan! I love reading your blog every week :)

November 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Squeeeeee! I really cannot wait to see what will come of your trip to Ecuador. I have been to an impoverished country before and it is SO eye opening. God is using you in BIG ways, Miss Mary!!!!

November 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWonder Mom

I'll definitely be praying for your OCC trip; how great! My brother delivered boxes one year in South America, and God worked a miracle: There were over 200 kids at one location, and they knew they didn't have enough boxes. They prayed, trusted God, and just started handing them out. Well, God delivered, literally, and EVERY child took home an OCC box! God is awesome! I can't wait to hear how your trip goes!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

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