Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a mildly early morning for Christmas. The boys were up at 7:00, so we let Jonathan wake up the girls. One little girl was not happy, even if there were gifts to be had. The first thing they rushed for were their stockings. They had exchanged names and then shopped at Dollar Tree with a two dollar limit. They were so excited to see what they had gotten from each other. I loved it. The gift that took the prize was a package of fake mustaches for Phoebe. She loves mustaches. Weird, but hilarious.

So lots of gifts were opened followed by cherry coffee cake and getting ready for church. We sat together as a family for church. It sounds like it should be sweet, but it's really just a little crazy. There were quite a few cracker crumbs on the floor by the time we left.

There was a nice simple lunch of lemon-pepper chicken, cranberry sauce, rolls, cornbread pudding, and fresh cooked green beans. Then the kids spent most of the afternoon putting together the 3-D puzzles they got from Uncle Cory. (The kids learned a little bit about New York, Uncle Cory; thank you!) Let me just say that those will try your patience! Especially with a toddler running around messing with your pieces! But we did get them together. Phillip and I played a game of Scrabble. He's so sweet to offer to play Scrabble with me. I usually beat him soundly, I guess (that's what he tells me anyway; I don't remember such things).

And we looked at Christmas lights after supper and apple pie. There really aren't a ton around here. It could be that the 70 degree spring-like weather just doesn't put you in the light displaying mood.

Nice and cozy family day. Oh, and the kids are now using the 3-D puzzle buildings, army men, horses and acorns to play some kind of espionage game where they capture each other's buildings.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

It's been a day of cooking; scrubbing up kids; greeting as a family at the Christmas Eve services; Elizabeth singing all four services with the children's choir; Dad working hard at church; and a little bit of Legos, Facebook, and blogging while we wait for Dad and Liz to return home. Then we'll set the gifts under the tree while the kids "sleep".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What a Bunch of Fun!

My very sweet family ~ watching "This Old House" and watching brownies bake.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mental Hooks for Hanging a Timeline

I've always liked the idea of using a timeline to help picture where events and people fall in history. Too many items placed on a timeline seem to clutter it and not be very helpful however. Recently someone posted that the timelines PNEU students used were actually small (they could fit on a desk) and very few items were placed on them. It makes sense that having a few significant items on the child's personal timeline would help them see history and give them some hooks on which to hang many other events and people that aren't placed on the timeline. For instance, I have a few people in my head that I always know the general dates for: Laura Ingalls lived in the 1800's, Corrie ten Boom was around WWII, Constantine goes with 313 AD, Jesus' birth c. 0 AD, and King David 1040 BC (I need a few more BC hooks!). These have stuck in my head for different reasons, and when I'm reading history, my brain figures out which one is closest and makes a connection: "The Shang dynasty was ruling in China around the same time Kind David was born!"

You might help your child find his significant points of history to hang a timeline on ~ a person or event that excites or interests him. Let him write the date for his item on his timeline and draw a simple stick figure or drawing (crown, heart, etc) that represents his item. Then as you read history of all kinds (scientific, religious, literary), you can say, "This person lived 100 years before Caesar invaded Britain" or some such connection. He can even find the date on his timeline though he may not put it on there at the moment.

A picture of my 7 year old son's timeline is below. We made it by cutting a poster board in half length-wise and taping the two long pieces together. Then we fold it up accordion-style to put it away. I do wish we'd written on the non-glossy side; it's hard to color or pencil on the glossy side. This is our 3rd try at a timeline and my favorite so far. (We tried a wall timeline and then a lo-ong piece of white paper which was too long to be practical).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kid's Choir Performance

The kid's choir performed last night. I got a few pictures that weren't blurry. Elizabeth is one of the angels. There are a lot of kids in the choir this year. It makes for great singing!

And no matter how much product I put in that girl's hair, it doesn't seem to want to keep curl! We'll keep experimenting.

Friday, December 9, 2011

10 Years Old

I can't believe Elizabeth is 10! Dad took her out for lunch and took her to Justice to pick out clothes. She bought a nice sweater with undershirt and two headbands. The next day we had her cake and she opened a few gifts. On Elizabeth's actual birthday, another friend was having her birthday party. She invited to Elizabeth to go with her to a Christmas parade and then they had the party at a movie theatre. They were very kind to include Elizabeth's name on the "cake" (it was a big cookie) and they sang to her also. So she was gone all day for her birthday. Which wasn't bad since we parents were very sick. And then we'll do more celebrating with two friends at an ice skating rink in a week. I think turning 10 will have been sufficiently celebrated.

Christmas Trees

Dad allowed the kids to decorate for Christmas early this year. The 2nd of December instead of a couple weeks before Christmas. Each kid has their own little tree to decorate as they wish, and I let Phillip do the honors for our main tree which is in our room this year. It gives our room a nice glow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homeschooling is Discipleship

I'm slowly absorbing the fact that teaching my children at home is discipleship. Through several books I've read about Charlotte Mason and also reading her "Scale How Meditations" (I highly recommend this inexpensive devotion book!), it's being revealed that all truth (secular or Christian) comes from God. And that all true education can bring a person closer to God. So as I'm teaching the kids the truth of 6 is 5 and 1, observing the simplicity, intricacy and magnitude of nature, touching their souls and mine with thoughts from great minds of literature and history (and so many authors and thinkers center their thoughts on heavenly things), allowing God-given creative juices to flow and inquisitive minds to wonder..... as these things happen during official school time, I can also bring these truths into the light of God because He is truly the Source. God's Word is definitely a part of school, but discipleship can happen throughout all of their learning ~ not just Bible time.

Constantly pointing out God in everything or forcing connections does not seem a natural method of discipling, but rather having an attitude of noticing divine truth and perhaps making a concise point a time or two throughout the day can help children begin meditating on God daily.

Realizing that teaching is discipling has helped me not rush through each subject just to get to the next so we can get it all done that day. It helps me think more of Christ throughout the day. It is changing my attitude toward homeschooling from one of input/output to one of relaxed converstation, thoughtfulness, observation, and leading little ones to God.

How happy I am to find that this CM education that we engage in has brought me closer to God and brings my children's thoughts into a higher realm and touches our souls.