Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘God’

Emotions vs Truth

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Photo Credit:  Kevin McCroskey

There are so many emotions associated with homeschooling.  From delight, love, companionship, success, reward, laughter, joy, and celebration to dread, fear, frustration, anger, defeat, incompetence, disappointment, and so on.  This journey is one heck of an emotional roller coaster.

So, in all honesty, why do we do it?  This question is a doozy.  I have never actually been asked this question of anyone but myself.  What have I done?  Why am I doing this?  I know we have so many wonderful days, and yet the really difficult, hard days are what seem to take over my emotions.   Fear is a major player in this battle of emotions.  Am I doing it right?  Am I doing enough?  Are they doing enough?  Am I cheating them of something better?  This is a nasty war zone.

Point blank, I do this because God has called us to do this.  I am well aware this is not everyone’s path, nor does it have to be.  He made it very clear (once I would listen), that this was His path for us.  It was not a path of my devising.  Honestly, it was nowhere on my radar, for that matter, being a stay-at-home mom was nowhere on my radar.  Yet, I would not change it for the world.

Why do I bring this up?  Partially, I bring it up because I am in a place of need to remind myself why we are doing what we are doing.  Once shared with others, it seems easier to stand my ground.  It is our testimony, one of our weapons of warfare.  The enemy will inevitably try to deter our way.  Through faith in why we are here, by the word of our testimony, and the Truth of God, we can stand strong.

When it comes down to it, Truth trumps emotion.  I can stand on Truth, emotions will cause me to sink.  Emotions are wonderful, and God given, but they were never meant to be our standard of truth.  They were never meant to lead the way.  Truth is our Solid Rock on which we stand.

Your Turn to Play ~ How do you handle the emotional roller coaster of homeschooling?

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Water of Life

Each morning (or most mornings), we start our learning with Bible Time.  I didn’t want this time to become stagnant by doing the same thing every day.  It would be easy to come together, read a chapter of the Bible, discuss, and move on.  Though we do this some days, I wanted this time to include a variety of activities that lead Builder and Princess into knowing God’s heart.  I don’t want them to only know facts about Jesus; I also want them to know His heart.

Many mornings we do read a chapter, find the places on the map, discuss what it would be like in life now.  Builder loves to look at maps and find all the places mentioned in our reading.  Princess loves to play while she listens, and truly she can tell me about what we discussed.  So, I am good with that.

Recently, my desire is that Builder and Princess know the heart of Father globally…for all people.  We have been discussing the issue of access to clean water.  We talked about going out to the puddles on the driveway to get a drink of water when they are thirsty.  Neither kid thought that was a good idea.  Then we talked about the 663 million people on the earth who don’t get to drink the clean water that we have flowing out of our sinks, water bottles, or refrigerator.

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As stated by water.org

We have discussed how clean water is a vital part of being healthy.  Discussions have taken place regarding the fact that many boys and girls have to spend most of their day traveling to and from water sources such as rivers, lakes, and ponds, to gather water for their families.  Because of this, many children are not able to attend school.  When a family, village, or town is provided with access to clean water, children no longer have to perform this duty and are more likely to be able to attend school.  Or they are at least one step closer.  Now, whether those schools have access to clean water is another part of the story.

With all of these details in mind, we have started a fundraiser.  The kids have a bowl in which they are saving money here and there.  We will be saving for this “Water of Life” project until November 1st.

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We humbly ask and invite you to participate with us in our campaign.  Our goal is $300.  After the fundraiser is complete, the company through which we are donating, charity:water, will let us know what country we have helped.  Perfect geography lesson!  charity:water is an organization supported by sponsors so that 100% of donated money goes to providing water for those in need.  If you want to check out more about this organization, click here.

To meet and/or exceed our goal we need only 30 people to give $10, or 60 people to give $5.  Any amount is appreciated in this quest.  Builder and Princess are well on their way, having saved $7 in their money bowl.  Clicking the button below will take you to our campaign page, where you can donate.  Thanks for helping Builder and Princess see the love of Jesus spread throughout the world, by taking care of those who have need of clean water.

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My Goals 2015-2016

Yes!

We journeyed our way through the first year of homeschooling…with one.  Toward the end of the school year, the rhythm, technique, and schedule were beginning to fall in place.  M1’s learning style and a structure he responds to well were taking shape.  An ideal time and routine for me to plan lessons, units, etc. was coming together…

and then we stopped for our “summer” break.

We take 6 weeks off from the end of May to beginning of July, and now I sit and think on how to start back to school.  So many plans have formulated and then dissipated in the last two to three weeks.  Where to start has eluded me around each corner.  I am still, somewhat, battling a public education mentality.  It really is such a different paradigm going from a middle school setting of 120 in one hour periods, to two little ones under 6 at our home all day!

Remembering that I don’t have to have a full year of school planned is key for me.  We work in 6 week sessions, so just having a direction for the first six weeks is great.  The question then becomes…

What now?

The answer revealed itself today.  If I can list out the goals for this school year in general and for each child (M2 will be working on some pre-k material, with much less structure than M1) then the direction and beginning momentum will be there.  So without further ado, the goals:

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Goals – School in General

1)  One fieldtrip a month – will utilize as many in town resources as possible and some fun options in nearby towns

2) Stick to the schedule – this I say loosely.  I do want to do a better job sticking to the 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule, but I also want the Lord to be our ultimate Schedule Maker.

3) Create a family tree on the wall – going back as far as we can!

4)  Documentation –  keeping better track/organization of pictures, projects, and progress to pull together for an end of school year binder/book.

 

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Goals – M1 (First Grade)

1) Writing – A focus on writing and spelling – would like him to be comfortable writing sentences and possibly paragraphs by the end of the year (he does not like writing so this will be a place to learn discipline for both of us!)

2) Math – finish up our first grade units and progress onto a second grade path, focusing on as many skip counting charts as possible

3) Science – definitely want to cover weather, plants, animals, energy (more may come into play as we go).  Also we will focus on asking three extra questions to explore on each topic we cover.

4) Handwriting – remediate some incorrect/less efficient ways of making letters, practice for more proficiency

5) Art/Music – incorporate it more consistently this year

6) PE – be more consistent in a 3 times a week approach

7) Bible Study- be more consistent in timing, less gaps during a specific focus

 

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Goals – M2 (pre-k)

1)  Keep it fun and experiential, majority of learning coming through play.

2) Work on beginning handwriting – be familiar and confident in capital letter formation, begin work on correct/efficient number formation.

3) Work on recognizing beginning letter sounds – ‘b’aseball, ‘d’og, etc.  If we progress past that, work on ending sounds

4) Math – recognize and work with groups of 20 objects, rote counting to 30, work on “one more than” and “one less than”, extended 2D shape recognition, begin 3D shape recognition, extend patterning.

5) Fun science experiments, use M1’s topics at pre-k level

 

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Goals – Me

1)  Read 3 fiction books for fun – hopefully I can far exceed this, but I am starting small and realistic for myself.

2) Start writing again – publish two blog posts around the 1st and 15th of each month.

3) Read The Pleasure of His Company by Dutch Sheets.

4) Complete the Make Over Your Mornings course by Crystal Paine.

5) Have a “Me” day once a month.

 

*all clipart courtesy of mycutegraphics.com

 

Social Studies – Session 2

In anticipation for our home schooling adventure, I was the most concerned about social studies and science.  These were my least favorite subjects when I was in school and so I feel my background is pretty weak in these areas.  In preparation for this year, I did a lot of praying…A LOT!  And, this is why I had to chuckle when the Lord told me to focus my attention on science/social studies and that math/language arts would take care of themselves.

Well, wouldn’t you know it.  The Lord was right!

Though I still feel a little uncomfortable and stretchy in the science department, social studies has come along really well.  In our first six week session, we did a unit on US Symbols.  We covered the US flag, bald eagle, Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty.  It was a lot of fun, Mason and 3-year old Madison picked up more than I realized and they are ready to find and visit US landmarks.

Love it!

Our most recent social studies unit covered community helpers.  I knew I could use the mass of wealth on the web to pull together many activities for several different community jobs/helpers.  However, I was running out of steam!  A lot was going on in life, and I just needed to find something already made for me.  So the search began.  I’m telling you, there is so much out there!  Thankfully, after not much searching I found a great unit put together by Travis Hutchins for sale on his teacherspayteachers.com store.

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Click Here to preview or purchase

I am extremely picky about what units/curriculum I pay for, and I highly recommend this Community Helpers unit.  It is very thorough, with just the right amount of information about 10 different community helpers.  Each community helper comes with good information, a great song, and wonderful cross-curricula activities.

For an example of the cross-curricula activities, when studying the veterinarian we sorted animals into three classifications – pet, zoo, farm.  This is a great science classifying activity and the kids loved it.

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Classifying Animals

While learning about the librarian, the activity to go along with it is to make a reading tree.  A leaf is added to the tree each time Mason reads a book to me, his little sister, his dad, grandparents, etc.  You notice that our tree’s leaves have started turning colors for fall, Mason’s idea.

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Our Reading Tree

There are mazes and learning sheets to fill out for each helper.  A large teacher book can be printed, as well as a smaller student book that can be colored and used to follow along.  A page poster of each helper with a teacher page that can be printed on the back is also included.  Again, this unit is very thorough and completely worth it.

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Teacher Posters

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I found a great freebie over at Mama’s Learning Corner on building your own town!  So, I went out and purchased a cheap white shower curtain from the dollar store and Masonville was born.  Every time we studied a community helper, identified the building where that person would work, then he would color it and place it in his town.  This was a great motivator.  There were mornings that he spent an hour or more working on his town.

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Masonville

All in all, we had a great time with this unit.  We studied two to three helpers a week, and took approximately four weeks total to complete.  Field trips to police stations, fire stations, libraries, etc can easily be worked into this unit as well.  We did not do that this year, but I’m sure we will in years to come.

Adding to 10

In the beginning of our homeschooling endeavor, the Lord told me to really focus in on Science and Social Studies and that Math and Language Arts would naturally happen.  I didn’t truly understand what that meant, but I have learned to trust the Lord when I have heard Him so clearly.

For our social studies focus, I put together a unit on US Symbols (click here).  Science was a four week study of Force and Motion, which I purchased from teacherspayteachers.comwith a two week focus at the end on gravity and magnets (click here).

Math was a little more interesting.

I have ended up simply teaching to the standards.  Mason has always been very good at addition and so we have been focusing on making the “adding to 10” facts second nature.  Instead of thinking about them and having to “add them up”, I want him to be able to see them and know them immediately.

The following are the steps we used to explore these combinations of 10.  I left them as steps so that you can combine them in whatever timing works best for you.  Steps typed in the same color are what we did on the same day.

Step 1:

  • Using a ten frame chart and double-sided counters, I asked Mason to find all the different combinations that added to 10.  I showed him one example (1 red, 9 yellow) so that he understood how to use the two colors to show the equation.
  • As he found the different combinations, we used our washable Dry Erase Markers to write them on our “white board” (a page protector with a piece of white cardstock).
    • I labeled the “white board” at the top with an R + Y = 10, just to throw some algebra connections in there.
    • As we got to the end, he really started using the recorded combinations to see what he might have missed.
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Ten Frame

Step 2:

  • Do a short mini-lesson on combinations that add to 10.  I used this fabulous “Rainbow to 10 lesson” found at A Cupcake for the Teacher.  It is a wonderful visual to help students remember all of the combinations that will add to 10.  We don’t have a large whiteboard or easel paper, so we used our Window Markers and back door!  We left the information on the door all week so he could refer back to it as needed.

Step 3:

  • Continuing with the “Rainbow to 10 lesson” materials, Mason colored and filled out the blank Rainbow to 10 worksheet.  This was great to begin to solidify these math facts, moving from concrete manipulatives to number representation.
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Rainbow to 10

Step 4:

  • Using the Combinations of 10 worksheet I created, Mason used dot markers to show all the facts that add to 10 (as well as a bonus question to begin thinking of the number 20).
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Combinations of 10

Step 5:

  • We played a fun Ten Frame game over at Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten blog.  Again we used the dot markers, but crayons/markers/colored pencils work just as well.  I printed two or three sheets and he had a blast.
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Ten Frame Toss

Step 6:

Step 7:

  • We ended with a set of flashcards.  I developed this set specifically to be both a practice tool as well as an informal assessment.  I wanted to see how familiar and second nature these facts of 10 had become, so I created the flashcards with half “add to 10” facts and half other simple addition facts.
  • As an assessment tool, I held up the cards so that I could monitor the speed and fluency at which he knew the “add to 10” facts.

I listed steps that can all be done separately or combined to create longer lessons.  Every learner is different and will be able to accomplish a different amount of learning in one setting.  Feel free to use each step as needed.

Questions?  Feel free to comment below or email at thelearningleaf.mail@gmail.com

 

Dream and Provision

Before sharing what is planned in science for our first six week session, I would like to share with you some inspiration I received from the Lord this week.

ID-10092577I am by no means frugal.  I don’t spend frivolously; I simply don’t strive to find the best deal.  I am not a shopper at heart and that seems to carry over into the cyber world. When I find what I want, I simply want to purchase it and be done.  In the world of blogging where there are so many “frugal homeschool” posts, I have been tempted to feel guilty at outright purchasing a piece of curriculum, unit, or activity.

This is where God placed together two words for me…

dream and provision

It is truly a dream of mine to have the honor and privilege of educating my children. When I think about it free from fear and anxiety, my spirit jumps with excitement and anticipation.  I look forward not only to teaching my children, but to what we will learn together.   What the Lord showed me this week is that it is also His dream for me to educate my children!  Wow.  This was an amazing and over-the-top thought.  I had never really stopped to think what it is that God felt about this adventure.  I was simply worried about the right or wrongness of it.

Was it His plan?

I had asked that question, but had only been waiting for an approval or disapproval.  I hadn’t stopped to seek Father’s heart on the matter.

When God showed me this was His dream as well as mine, a shared dream, I began to see the tie with the other word…provision.  I had received this teaching earlier, but had not connected it with our homeschooling journey.  Breaking apart the word provision:  Pro – in favor of, and vision – goal, destiny, or dream.  God will fund His visions, His dreams.  When we walk in line with Him, He is our provision because He is for His vision that we are walking out.  He will provide.

He is pro vision.

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*Image courtesy of Michael Elliott / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Path of Grace

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The closer July 7th, the more excited I am becoming.  At first, I was simply overwhelmed with all that “needed” to be done to be ready for the fist session of school.  Then with some leading from the Lord in how to take it step-by-step, it got better.

In the past few weeks, the difficulty has been lies from the devil along the lines of…

“You have to get this perfect.  If you make a mistake

you are ruining your child and his education.”

This is a nasty, yucky lie that pulls on the very core of my emotions.  After all, I want to get it right.  I want it to be exactly what it needs to be.  With all the lies, emotions, anxieties swimming around in my head and heart, I cried out to the Lord for some encouragement.  Sometimes in life you just need to be encouraged.  A physical or spiritual pat on the back.  This came from a beautiful friend who I respect very much when it comes to early childhood education.  She read my last post and left the following comment:

You can do this!!!  God has your curriculum covered in His grace.

Of course!  God’s grace!  This revelation and reminder shattered through the fog swirling in and around me.  I had been caught up in the lies and forgotten about God’s grace!!!  These beautiful words from the Lord through my friend have come to me time and time again as I continue to decide upon curriculum.  Truly I can settle on a curriculum because the Lord will lead us through it and show us how to step out of the plans, when His plans supersede the “planned curriculum”.

Bottom line – I hear from the Lord and the Lord moves in and with me and my children.  Period.  So you know what, I think we got this.

Onto Science Session One…

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