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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Read your bible, Pray everyday

Madeline's flowers growing from good nutrients
Today, during circle time, the kid's learned the ways that we can get to know God.

1st, we learned that Prayer, is the way we are able to have a conversation with God. It's one of the ways he talks with us. Prayer, allows us to tell Him our fears and concerns, it allows us to give him thanksgiving and praise.

2nd, if we read our bibles and pray everyday, we will grow, grow, grow. If we neglect our bibles and do not pray every day we will shrink, shrink, shrink (are you singing the song in your head?)

We discussed what happens to plants when they are watered and given the nutrients they need. They flourish, grow, and are beautiful. Growing and giving the seeds they need to be replanted. We then talked about what happens when plants don't get watered or taken care of. They wilt and become dead and useless.

Naomi's flower's growing from nutrient's
Today, they drew pictures of flowers, but next week I am going to buy white flowers from the flower market. We are then going to cut a bit of the stem off of our flower, put water in vases and then add food coloring to the water. We will then watch as our flowers turn colors as they drink the water in the vase. This does two things, it helps us see first hand how flowers get water (science), it also let's us see how when we have God's word in our hearts, when we are in relationship with God. When we "soak" up God's nutrients, he changes us and the world is able to see something beautiful in a messed up, scarred world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Relationship, relationship, relationship...

Yesterday, after church, Maddie was asked what she learned in Sunday school. Without missing a beat she said; " That Jesus died on the cross again". She didn't realize it, but she told me a lot in that small sentence. I am thankful the Holy Spirit allowed me to read between the lines and realize some pieces of the Salvation puzzle that Maddie is missing.

Today, during circle time we did our usual prayer time, color time, number time, etc. With this being the week before Easter, our books during circle time are revolving around Jesus' death and resurrection. However, I am taking our look at the cross and the resurrection in a bit of a different direction. We are still reading Easter books (It's all new to Naomi and Titus), but taking it deeper for Maddie and Owen. Maddie and Owen are ready for the bigger picture. They are ready and must know what the cross and Resurrection mean for their lives!

First, they needed to understand what a relationship is and how to have one. Second, teaching my kid's how we can get to know Jesus. I have a deep passion to make sure my kid's know God the Father and Creator, Jesus who set them free, and the Holy Spirit who brings them help. Third, our relationship with God goes beyond religious traditions, it goes beyond going to church every Sunday, and being baptized.  These things, while beneficial are not what will save their souls from hell. What will save their soul is confessing with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, believing in their hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ and they shall be saved. Going to church is were we are able to encourage and be encouraged by other believers. Baptism allows us to take off our old self and put on our new self, but the act alone will not save us from hell.

This morning during circle time I read a simple Easter story board book. I asked them if they knew what a relationship is, I explained that a relationship is getting to know someone. I explained that Jesus already knows all about them. He knows Maddie loves pink and green, Owie loves monster trucks, Titus is a goofy boy, and that Naomi is stubborn. I got our white board out and we (I) wrote down what they know about Jesus. The kid's came up with he's kind, loves, the only way (as in the only way to heaven), Always obeyed, and he is a good friend. I thought that was a  super good place to start. I then explained the gospel to them (I asked for wisdom from the Holy Spirit the whole time I was doing this).  I told them that we have to use our lips (hence the picture of the lips) to confess our sin. We talked about what sin is and I shared with them that God had a plan for our sin the whole time (the picture of the map), we have to believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. I then told them that when we talk with God it is called prayer. I told them that we have to admit that we disobey and we have sin, we have to acknowledge that Jesus died and is the only way to heaven. After explaining all of this, I asked if anyone would like to pray and ask Jesus into their hearts, making him their forever best friend. Owie and Maddie both said; "yes"! I then lead them in a sinners prayer. After we prayed we celebrated and I told them that the angels in heaven are so excited that they chose to be Jesus' friend!

The angels, as well as Tim and Emily and Mark and I are celebrating. Jesus knocked on Owen and Maddie's heart and they said yes!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise his mighty, awesome name!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our fall curriculum looks like this

When Maddie started preschool I felt fairly confident that I could get her academically were she needed to go and I was right. However, because I now have one in first grade and three in preschool, I need to be on my game and not wing it quite so much. This fall I need a game plan, I need to be organized so that learning can easily happen without much stress to me. 

Here are some things that are going to make preschool successful this fall.

* Hand writing without tears, a preschool curriculum that helps build motor skill and hand muscle, preparing little hands to be able to write letters and numbers correctly.
* Bible time and bible memorization is very important to Mark and I, to help write God's word on our kid's hearts we are going to use Hide'em in your heart vl. I & vl. II, by Steve Green. 

* Circle time is a great way to start the school day. Our circle time is a time when I pray over them and pray with them. We say the pledge of allegiance, we sing two ABC songs, one to learn letter sound and one to learn alphabet sequence. We practice the days of the week, months of the year, and discuss today, tomorrow, and yesterday. Circle time is great because it is a short amount of time when they learn there are times when you have to be quiet and wait to be called on. Times when you have to fight to not let the wiggles come out. We only meet for about 10-15 minutes, but to a three or four year old, that can seem like a long, long time. But, it is still an important skill they need to learn.

* The company Leap frog has produced videos that have been super helpful with my kiddo's learning math, as well as learning letter sounds. The videos are great for Minnesota cold winter months.

* Reading lots and lots and lots of books together. 

* What do dried beans, dried noodles, corn, rice, gravel/sand, shaving cream, finger paint, and play-doh all have in common? They all make fantastic sensory bins! Engaging kid's in sensory play is so important, because while they think they are playing, which they are doing, they are also learning. They are learning to measure and pour. They are learning about the world around them. To a preschooler all the world can be a science lap!

* One very important part of our schooling this year is going to be monster truck based! We will use them to create art, trace numbers, learn shapes, colors, and many, many other important lessons only monster trucks can teach!

* Field trips are not only super fun, but they get us out with people and let us have some social interaction. We love going bowling, ice skating. This year Naomi gets to start dance for the first time! We are also going to go to our local golf course and let the kids hit some balls at the driving range. 

* We have begun to learn sign language using signing time videos. The kid's have really enjoyed these video's. 

* Character training is very important to us. Being honest, obeying right away without delay, putting others before themselves, learning to pray and rely on the Lord for all of our needs. There is no greater character training guide than the bible! 

* Along with character training, home skills are important to pass on and teach my kid's. Learning to cook and bake, learning how to clean toilets, sweep and mop. How to organize a bookshelf, and line up shoes neatly.

* Art is another area we want our kid's to experience.  We have been listening to Say yes to Classical Music, we love what we call "Katie Books" by James Mayhew, books about a little girl who goes to art museums with her Grandma. We are also going to use a book called How to teach art to children.

Fall is a long ways away, so I am quiet confident that this list will get tweaked as we go through spring and summer, but it is a good place to start. 

Incorporating Montessori principles...

It is important to me that as we home school our children their education is applicable to life situations. I want  their education to be as hands on as possible. There are times when we have to do quiet sit down work, but, I want this to take as little time as possible.

Here are some ways we are trying to make our home more kid friendly.

 There are a couple ways are making our kitchen kid friendly. One way is to bring the kid's dishes down to their level. That way they can reach their dishes to set the table, reach a cup to get water, reach a fork to scramble eggs. Another way we are making our kitchen kid friendly is by having the kiddo's help out in the kitchen. Added to Madeline's chores in the morning has been to get the scrambled eggs ready for the frying pan. Mark or I turn the burner on under the frying pan and then we stand beside her at the stove while she cooks the eggs. She loves being apart of creating our meals. We are going to start teaching the kid's to wash, peel, and cut fruit and veggie's. I'm also hoping that making my kiddos part of the food prep will help them be even better eater's.

We bought a kid size broom, mop, and dust pan. My kid's love sweeping!  I have also retired old socks and my kid's put them on their hands and use those to dust around the house.

I have my kid's take the sheets off of their beds.  Maddie takes the sheets off and the twins bring them to the basement door so I can throw them down the steps. The twins then go down the stairs and take the sheets to the washing machine. Maddie gets clean sheets and places them on each bed and her and I make the beds together.

Mark and I are looking for small rakes and shovels for the kid's to help with yard work. The more I can teach my kiddo's to do, the more I  know they will be equipped when it is time for them to go out in the world. The more they can do, the easier my day becomes.