Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 4

What About Selah and Miguel?

I have had a lot of people ask what Selah and Miguel do when I am homeschooling Gabriel. Selah loves to have school work to do, too. I always have an activity/worksheet for her to do. Sometimes it is a coloring page, sometime it is a letter search, sometimes it is just a blank sheet of paper for her to doodle on. Selah is learning to identify letters and make the corresponding sound for each letter. She also learns the ASL sign for each letter as she is learning it. I have found some great (FREE) resources for her to use at and Usually Selah does her "school work" and then finds something to play with on her own. If she gets bored I let her watch an episode of Super Why on PBS or play on my iPod. Really, you would be suprised at how much of the school day she can participate in. She LOVES circle time and listening to the stories Gabriel is reading as part of his reading, phonics, history and science lessons.

Miguel is the tough one! Luckily he is a good napper! He naps for a good hour and a half in the morning during Gabriel's Math time and again in the afternoon. While he is awake, he plays by himself or is held by me. I'm looking forward to the time when he can pretend school like Selah or that he and Selah can play together. Until then, we just keep plugging along, getting what we can get done while he is happily playing or sleeping!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 3

Our Homeschooling Style or Method
Trivum Pursuit!

After researching homeschooling I found out that there are many styles or methods of home schooling that you can choose for your children. It is actually very overwhelming at first. Eventually, Byron and I decided that we will give our children a Classical Education.

Classical home schooling is a very thorough approach to education, and  concentrates on language, thinking, reading, speaking and history. I will be using The Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer and Jessie Wise as a structure to my teaching using the Trivium. The Trivuim is a term used to describe three levels of learning, The Grammer Stage, The Logic Stage and the Rhetoric Stage. By the time the children have graduated home school they will have gone through all aspects of history, literature, and science three times at three different levels of learning. We will be using a lot of classical books and literature as our curriculum. You can read more about Classical Education here: 

Byron and I really like the structure and depth of the Classical Curriculum. It is going to take a lot of discipline and planning, but I think it will give our children a great education and go a long way in preparing them for college.

We will also be incorporating a little bit of the Charlotte Mason Method as well. 

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 2

Our Schedule for the 2011 - 1012 School Year

One of the beauties of homeschooling is the scheduling flexibility. I have set out our schedule for the year with a week long break almost every month rather than 3 long summer months off. If Gabriel is sick or we need to take a day off of school, we can put that day back in on one of the weeks off. If Byron gets a week off of work and we decided to take vacation, I can just move our week off around to fit Byron's schedule.

So here are our tentative school breaks:

August 29 - Sept 2
October 10 - 14
November 21 - 25
December 19 - 30
February 6-10
March 19-23
April 9-13
May 28 - June 1

We will do 3 day weeks in the month of June and then completely take July off.

This will give us 187 scheduled school days. Public schools schedule 180 days.
We're looking forward to a fun year!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 1

For those of you who don't know yet, after a lot of praying and researching, Byron and I have decided to homeschool our children! We took a long time to come to our decision and we feel like homeschooling fits our family and is the best decision for us. So, on August 1st we will officiall start our homeschooling journey! (We actually started homeschooling in January 2010, but I wasn't really calling it that since Gabriel wouldn't actually enter Kindergarten for another year.) I am so excited to be back to teaching and especially excited that I get the priveledge of teaching my own children!!!

I have had so many people wonder what homeschooling looks like for us, how we are going to do it, and what we will be using that I have decided to write a series of posts on our homeschool this week. Today I would like to focus on our daily schedule. I have a pretty intense schedule lined out for Gabriel - but I know he is up for it. The good thing about homeschooling is that if this schedule isn't working, I can always change it. So with that being said, here is our intended daily schedule for the year!

7:00 – 8:00          Get up, get breakfast, get dressed

8:00 – 8:30         Music practice (violin or piano)

8:30 – 9:00         Collect materials and Circle Time

9:00 – 9:30         Handwriting/Journal/Spelling

9:30 – 10:30         Saxon Math

10:30 – 11:00         Break

11:00 – 11:30          Grammar and Phonics

11:30 – 12:00         Reading

12:00 – 12:30        Lunch

12:30 – 12:45        Break

12:45 – 1:15           History (MWF) Science (TTh)

1:15  – 1:35            Read-Aloud

1:35 – 2:15            Screen time

2:15 – 2:45           Free Reading

2:45 – 3:45          Art on Monday

                           Spanish on Tuesday and Wednesday

       School is over at 2:45 on Thursday and Friday

Pretty full day, huh! If I don't answer my phone between 8:00 and 2:45, you now know what I am doing! (Just a warning - I probably WON'T answer my phone during school time - just leave a voice mail - I promise I'll call back.)
My next post will describe a few of these things a little more - which curriculum we are using for each subject - and what "Circle Time" is exactly. I'll also post our yearly schedule (I am very excited about that, too), what Selah and Miguel do during school time and the style of homeschool we are going to be doing (bet you didn't know there were different styles!). Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet our Fish!

Get ready for a long involved story of our new pets....

Two weeks ago Byron and I decided that it might be fun for the kids to go to PetsMart. We have been tossing around the idea of getting some fish for awhile and Gabe has really been wanting a pet (really he wanted a lizard - but any pet would do). So we ended up getting an aquarium and three glo-fish. Gabe and Selah were soooo excited! By the time we got home that evening we had just enough time to set up the aquarium and then put the kids to bed.

Well, even though we followed all of the directions on conditioning the water and getting the fish used to the temperature, the ammonia level in our water must have been toxic to those poor fish. They didn't even make it 30 minutes in the new aquarium. We spent the rest of the week taking water samples into PetsMart trying to get the levels right before bringing anymore fish home.

Finally our levels seemed good and we brought home two new fish - although we decided to get goldfish this time.

Introducing Dorsey (the one with the orange spot) and Rachel:

Funny story - On the way home from the pet store Gabriel said, "My fish must be a girl. It was the prettiest fish in the aquarium. I think I will name it Rachel - but without the 'Aunt'."! My sister was very flattered!!

I was so proud of how patient Gabe and Selah were about waiting until the water was just right for the fish. They have been helping feed and take care of them and have loved their new pets!

Cow Appreciation Day 2011

Last year a sweet friend of mine introduced us to Chick-fil-A's annual Cow Appreciation Day. We here at the Serna House LOVE Chick-fil-A. It is not really on Gabe's Gluten-Free diet, but every once in a while we let him splurge on their chicken nuggets. The thing about Gabe's "allergy" is that it is not really an allergy - it is a sensitivity and though we have seen major improvement in his asthma and eczema since starting the diet, an occasional break in his diet doesn't seem to bother him. We have read that there are different levels of sensitivity in people that are gluten sensitive and we are lucky that his sensitivity isn't dramatic. So this year we again dressed up as cows to celebrate Cow Appreciation Day!

Aren't my calves cute!!!

Our herd:

If you haven't heard of Cow Appreciation Day, here's the details. It is the first Friday in July every year and is a day to celebrate Chick-fil-A's customers. If you go to a participating restaurant dressed as a cow you get your ENTIRE order for FREE!!! Yes- very worth the slight humiliation you may feel dressing as a cow! We enjoy getting our costumes together every year and just being silly! Such fun!! 

Our 4th of July

We had a fun 4th of July Celebration this year! The kids wore their fun red, white and blue outfits from Ten-Ten (a super sweet family friend). We went swimming in the apartment pool (the first swim for Mr. Mig and he loved it!), then we had a light lunch and naps.  For dinner Byron BBQ'd some tasty ribs and I made some yummy gluten-free strawberry and blueberry shortcakes! If you are on a gluten-free diet and haven't tried out the Gluten-Free Bisquick - now is the time! It is delicious!!

After dinner we played with glow sticks while we waited for the firework show.

I also made some glow drinks! These were so fun! I found the idea on They have some great crafts ideas on the cheap.

And finally it was time for the Firework Show! This show took place somewhere right outside of our apartment, so we were able sit on our balcony and enjoy!

Hope ya'll  made some great 4th of July memories, too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Miguel is 9 Months Old!

This week Miguel turned 9 months old! He weighs 20 pounds 11 ounces (at her three year check-up, Selah only out weighs him by 2 pounds!) and is 27 inches long. This month he learned how to wave good-bye, clap his hands and pull-up to standing. He is eating finger foods now and is a fun little guy! I can't believe he is already 9 months old!

1 month old:

3 months old:

6 months old:

7 months old:

8 months old:

9 months old:


As promised here are pictures of the cousins together for the first time at Selah's 3rd Birthday!

The baby boys (Adrik and Miguel) both had tuxedo onesies to be the prince charmings at the princess party. The big boys (Gabriel and Xander) were dressed as knights - but the knight armor wasn't good for holding babies so Gabe's not wearing his garb here.

Gabe and Adrik:

Selah and screaming Adrik:

 The baby girls had tiaras on their headbands and Rachel made sweet tutus for them to wear - they were precious!

Princess Tali: (Daddy had her tiara on upside down - so she looked a little more like a flapper than a princess - but still adorable!)

Princess Charli Kate snuggling to Devon:

Charli Kate cuddling with Aunti M and cousin Miguel. Miguel was asleep on my lap but woke up and gently reached up and touched Charli Kate's hand. SWEET moment!! Look how HUGE Miguel looks compared to tiny CK!

All of the cousins together - boy was that shot tricky, but oh, such cuteness all in one picture!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Memories of Momma Dale

My "Momma Dale" passed away peacefully after a long courageous battle with breast cancer on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. 
 Though my heart is grieving, it is such a comfort to know that she is in a place where cancer doesn't exist and there is absolutely no suffering.

When I was a little girl, I thought of Momma Dale as the "cool" grandma. Memaw (my mom's mom) was the traditional grandma - her baked goods tasted like they came straight from heaven, she was plump and cuddly, her hair was gray and she was content to sit in her recliner and cross-stitch all day. Momma Dale on the other hand was always energetic, and ready for fun! She was stylish and looked younger than she was. When we would go somewhere with Momma Dale, people always thought she was my mom - not my grandmother. I remember one time, when we were junior high age, that Momma Dale and Papa Charlie took Rachel and me to a museum there in Fort Walton Beach.. There was a lady that worked there that was amazed that Momma Dale could have teenage grandchildren and asked her what was her secret to looking so young. Momma Dale thanked her for the kind words and told her the secret was simply "Dare High", and then we walked out. Curious, I asked Momma Dale what Dare High is (I wanted to remember the secret for the future). Momma Dale looked at me confused and said, "What do you mean?". I told her, "Well, you told the lady that the secret to looking young is 'Dare High'." Momma Dale laughed and said, "Did I say that? I meant Hair Dye! She must think I am crazy!" When in reality the lady is probably still looking for "Dare High" to make her look young, too!!

We would only see Momma Dale once a year at most....ususally during the summer. We would head over to Florida to spend a week or two swimming in Momma Dale and Papa Charlie's pool and hanging out with our cousins. We looked forward to this time every year. Momma Dale would take us on shopping trips, talk about what was going on in our lives, sing with us and let us play in her jewelry. Many times she would take my sister, me and at least 5 of our cousins to a water slide park or the beach by herself! AMAZING! All of that showed us that that though we didn't live close and we didn't see her as often as we would have liked, we were special to her.

Momma Dale was such an example of how to live the Christian life. At our last trip out in March she showed amazing grace and dignity - even as she was losing the battle with cancer. Her faith is what pulled her through and let her face each day. I was blessed to see videos my aunt took of her singing praises from her bed in the last few weeks of her life.  Momma Dale was a picture of the lyrics of a Christy Nockles song "the weak and dying glorifying you in it's the song of the beautiful Jesus Loves Me". What a testimony!

I will miss Momma Dale dearly, but I will hold tight to my memories of her and pass them down to my children - her great-grandchildren. I know that she is now in total peace in the presence of our God.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime!!

A few years ago Belton and Temple constructed Splash Pads at some of their parks. They are a fun and free way to cool off during the super hot Texas summers. We had a great morning playing in the fun water features last week!!

Gabe ran around like a mad man enjoying each sprinkler, while Selah preferred the gentle streaming sprays. Miguel just liked to splash around in the puddles!

And we all slept really well that night!

Fun Day at the Museum

These are more pictures from the Mayborn Museum in Waco. It was really so much fun exploring all of the areas - even Miguel had a really good time! Along the way the kids learned about Texas History and Science - as well as Ancient Egypt!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our Beautiful 3 year Old!

Selah was so fun to photograph this year! She enjoyed having her pictures done and was such a ham for the camera! I can't decide which picture I like best!!