Growing Gardens: Day 2 – Seeds

The first week of Mother Goose Time has been lots of fun! And I’m also quite exhausted from trying to take advantage of ALL the really fun, hands-on activities that were suggested this week.

I wish I had some pictures of show you some of our Circle Time experiences, but I’ve been enjoying it so much with the kids that I haven’t forgotten to have my camera out. The kids LOVE this time, and I was surprised to see Peter’s excitement in dancing around during the opening song each day. His little dance – so sweet!

Monday (Day 2), we focused on Seeds.

Day 2’s packet came with some fun shape manipulatives that were very similiar to some others the kids were given for Christmas, so we had enough for them to share without a mutiny on my hands! They spent a good bit of time playing on their own, which was fun to watch their little minds working.

Peter collected the orange squares,

and ‘planted’ the shapes in the egg carton,

and even decided his shoe would be a good container as well.

Natalie used her creativity to free-design a dog,

create a flower,

and then decided her flower needed a stem & leaves.

I really think they could have stayed with the shapes longer, but there were so many more fun things to move on to.
And even now, as the kids are seeing me post these pictures, they are wanting to go back and play.

We moved on to planting our shapes in our own sand gardens in the backyard. We hadn’t really discussed gardens before, so I printed out a few pictures so that the kids could see that each type of seed is planted in the same row, and that there can be different designs in a garden as well.

We talked about order and also labeling what we have planted so that we’ll know what we are producing.

(I can see so many biblical principles in these lessons and look forward to building on them over the next few weeks. One being that our God is a God of order. We have discussed how in Genesis 1 that God created each plant to produce its own type of seed, so that we can know that apples will always produce apples. In the same way, God was the same yesterday,  is the same today, and will be the same tomorrow. We can rely on Him. This is just one of the exciting ways that we can build off these lessons.)

I had made little flags ahead of time (toothpicks & slivers of post-it notes) to label our rows for each sand garden –

Natalie’s flags had the names of the shapes,

IMG_20150504_095849324_HDR and Peterman’s had the names of colors.

Peter is still learning to sort by color, so we decided to work on one color at a time.

After we were done, I asked Natalie would she thought her shape garden would grow. She said that her blue diamonds would produce blueberries (as she explained because they are blue). I asked her if she thought they would be diamond-shaped, and she said, “No, of course not. Blueberries aren’t diamond-shaped.” So, there you go. She is an interesting mix of imagination and reason.

When then came inside to play with some real seeds.


 I tried to encourage Peter to sort the seeds by type, but he found that the more efficient way to get the seeds from the plate into the egg carton was to dump them. I guess he’s not really interested in the order of things quite yet. 🙂

(I am also learning that I’m having to be so ‘hands-on’ with Peter that I’m failing to get pictures of Natalie. I will definitely be working on that in the future.)

Next, we created our garden pictures.

IMG_20150504_102705966Peterman isn’t much of a color-er, so I opted to cut some stems and leaves for him to maybe just draw a flower.
He wasn’t very interested in the idea, so we decided to glue some beans for the flowers instead.

Natalie drew her self-portrait in her own flower garden.

As I was looking on Pinterest earlier this week to try to find some activities that would reinforce what we are learning with our Experiencing God devos this month (see my previous post about this month’s focus on The Parable of the Sower), I ran across this really cute idea. Since we already had the beans for this lesson, it was an easy addition to our day. And a great reminder to ask the Lord to transform our hearts into good soil, so that His truth can take root and produce fruit in our lives (Psalm 51:10,   Ephesians 3:16-19, Colossians 3:16).

This was a suggested Little Goose activity for Peter while Natalie drew her garden picture ahead.

In the middle of all of this, I saw Peter just sitting in his chair, kicking his feet. And I realized that he was so grown up. My baby was not a baby anymore. I am so thankful that I get to spend this time with them each day. It’s speeding by and I can hardly catch my breath for a moment to take it in.


After a VERY full morning, we moved on to lunch.

We decided to explore some real seeds as we ate.

To wrap this all up, I wanted to give you a sneak peak into the mess behind the scenes.

IMG_20150504_100201898Our kitchen counter now doubles as my work space, seeing as our home doesn’t offer a designated school room currently.


Maybe I will find a better system after I have a few days or week under my belt, but I was a pretty hot mess flipping between the teacher’s guide & Little Goose guide today, trying to take notes and pictures.  It’s a work in progress, but we’re learning and growing, and I’m embracing the imperfection even in this.

Homeschooling with Two: First Day

We survived. (the end)

I kid. It was actually pretty fun!

If you had told me two years ago that I would be (1) homeschooling (2) with both kids, and (3) that the first day would involve sand and dirt in my house, I would have either cried, laughed hysterically in disbelief, curled up in my bed and gone back to sleep, or all of the above.

It may not seen huge to you, but this was a picture of the Lord’s progress in me, for me.

But let me start at the beginning of the day, because I adore structure and stories that have a chronological order.

We started out our day – May 1, 2015 – with the Experiencing God portion from Mother Goose Time. The theme this month is “God is Wise” and focuses on the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8. Jordan helped me create the display so we could keep everything together as we focus on the Parable of the Sower all month.

Surprisingly the kids stayed somewhat quiet and still while Daddy read the story, and then Peterman examined all the picture cards.








We also played one of the cute activity games they suggest where you throw balls into a bucket, and talk about how are hearts need to be open to God’s truth (like the bucket) so that it can be planted in our hearts.
After Daddy left for work, we had our circle time in the office. This is my fun little board that is going to help us learn some of our daily basics (date, day of the week, weather, letters/numbers of the month). Peter is constantly drawn to the letter flaps, which is great since he is still learning to identify letters.




The Octopus is currently his favorite.



Then we transitioned into the kitchen to start Day 1: Soil (What can we find in the soil?) I had decided to go with some sand and dirt bins to give the kids a hands-on approach, and to faciltiate some of the activities the Little Goose planner had for Peter (Little Goose helps kids from 18-30 months until they are able to join in on the main Mother Goose Time activities).












The sand and dirt bins were the biggest hit. They actually had so much fun that they asked to play with them outside after we finished the daily work, and then again that evening after dinner.






The kids also enjoyed ‘exploring the garden’ with their magnifying glasses.


(This is our monthly board, which has our Experiencing God display on the back)



Overall, the day was a success (success being defined as we accomplished the daily tasks, only had one little angry outburst, and the kids had A LOT of fun, which I think goes hand in hand with learning).



So I’ll leave you with this fun image. I’m pretty sure my child would live in this bin if he fit and we allowed him to stay there. I’m guessing Peter will like the beach.

A Few New Steps

So now arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites. Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses. 
 As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” -Joshua 1:2-3, 5-6


When the Lord first called me home fulltime, He would often speak to me through passage concerning the Isrealites and His leading them into the Promised Land. He impressed on my heart that this new terrority for me was where I would find His abundance for my life and the lives of my people (living in the Harwood Household). I appreciate His compassion, as I could so relate to the fear that the Isrealites expressed, their quickness to forget the ways He has moved so mightly on their behalf, and ultimately their shortsidedness in God’s overall plan. Because I had my plans, my dreams, and some pretty definite ideas of how that was going to look in my life. And this was not it.

Almost two years later, the Lord has proven Himself faithful in my life. He didn’t have to give me more proof, but in His goodness and grace, He has given us abundance in the form of joy and peace and freedom. He has pursued my daughter’s heart and revealed Himself to her in very personal ways, and she has decided to be baptized tomorrow! I’m so, so excited for her and this step of obedience that she is taking. Since she accepted Jesus as her Savior several months ago, she has been scared of this (she hates to even get water in her face while we’re washing her hair), and has said it was something she would do later, like when she is 10. But the Holy Spirit has been at work, and over conversations and encouragement, she decided that she was ready!

As the Lord has been speaking to me about the work that He desires to fulfill in my life, it is so awesome to have my eyes more readily recognize His work and fulfillment in the lives of my people as well. He is so faithful, and He will do it.

Overall, the past two years have not been easy, and most days are still very much a battle of walking into new terrain that needs to be hacked of weeds and overgrowth, land still containing personal enemies (pride, comparison, fear, laziness – just to name a few), and overall just full of work.

But He has been there for each step.

And so now we’re taking another few new steps deeper into our beautiful inheritance. One being that we have decided to start being more intentional with Peter-man concerning school and include him on on some more structured curriculum activities, aka learning opportunities that consist more of Leapfrog videos, puzzles, and free-play.

Since January, school has mainly consisted of the Sweetness and me sitting down for a couple of hours while Peter enjoys independent time in the living room. While there has been a lot of benefits to that for both, the hubs and I decided that it was time for Peter to start getting more involved in some hands-on activities. We see how much he is learning from his sister already, so we really feel like he will benefit from watching her more closely. Not to mention that it’s a great opportunity for both of them to learn how to work together, take turns, for Natalie to take a more appropriate approach in teaching her little brother (instead of trying to step in the mother role with him), and for all of us to rely more on the Holy Spirit to cultivate His fruit in our lives as we live and play so closely together. Lord knows I need more patience and joy and gentleness, etc., etc.

Another new area is this – blogging about specifics regarding homeschooling. I have chosen to become a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, a super cute curriculum that we felt would be an easy way to get our feet wet with doing school with both kiddos. And so that is going to consist of me blogging more regularly in general, but also getting into the details of our homeschool world.

As much as I have enjoyed being able to share my personal journey with how the Lord has led me and our family to homeschooling on this blog, I have been really timid and honestly hesitant to share specifics. It has not been that long since I was extremely intimidated by the idea of homeschooling. I can very easily remember how reading posts from other homeschoolers could foster that fear and anxiety in me, and because I didn’t have a clear concept of what this was gonna look like for us, it was VERY easy to see what the Lord was shaping in someone else’s life and feel like that is what ours needed to look like, too. So why in the world would I add to what is already a million other homeschool blogs and posts that I was honestly trying to avoid myself?

Well, because the Lord has led me here. Because He reminded me that He desires to do a work in me and through me that doesn’t look like anyone else’s. And so I have to trust Him with that.


I haven’t wanted to share specifics because I don’t want to fall into the comparison trap personally, or for my blog to become a trap for others. So, although I will be sharing some posts about specific daily activities that we’re doing, my hope and prayer is that this place will be about showing you what the Lord has been doing in our lives, and about what He can do in any life just a little bit surrendered to Him.

A beautiful inheritance is not about Jenny trying to create this amazing life, although my pride would like to pursue that, but about the journey that the Lord is leading me on to more freedom and joy and peace – so often in ways that I would not choose for myself, in opposite directions than I would anticipate – but always towards His abundance that truly is my inheritance.

I also hope it will be a place where you can get a breath of fresh air, seeing our imperfections and how grace is what carries us through our days, that my obvious lack of training and experience (of life) will always show that it’s the Lord’s work.

I also hope it’s a place where we can celebrate the victories in our lives (not just my people, but yours if you will share those with me) – homeschool related or not. We all have areas where we are stepping into new territory, ground that doesn’t seem to fit our set of strengths and abilities, and where the Lord is calling us to rely more fully on Him. I want to hear those stories, and let the details just become more evidence of His hand at work, not the focus or what we’re trying to achieve, turning into petty stones that we trip over, but stones on which He is building a great work in our lives and His overall redemption story. 

So, we’ll see where these next few steps take us.

“Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:7-9