Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
This room is normally our dining room. It attaches to our family room and kitchen. So I wanted it to be neutral and simple. My Toot asked for a big mural on the wall. He loves our school room that is very bright. But for this room...I don't think so!
Another view. The light from the chandelier produces a glare on the art work, but still, I had to remove the shades for more light. This room only has one window. Plus, I love the look of a chandelier without shades.
The big blank wall. Haven't decided what to do with it. See the red and green table and chair that need the white spray paint?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
:::First born children seem to be the recipients of added stress. Not only do they feel naturally inclined to be protective care-takers, and sometimes rule-followers, BUT they also often bear an unreasonable amount of responsibility from their parents. These expectations can lead to tension. Also, if their personality is one that requires extra time (aka "high-maintenance personalities"), then we might not express the same adoration and laid-back qualities as we do with our younger children. Even though they are amazing, brilliant, admirable...they might not feel like WE think they are. We can't just enjoy them, but we must let them KNOW we enjoy them!
~Reach out and touch them, look at them, stop what we are doing. They are never too old for our undivided attention and physical touch. And this first-born type will not ask for much. Just initiate! Ask self, "Do I look interested, pleased or just interrupted?"
~Spend time alone with them- maybe even a night of their choice!
::When our children, especially boys, have earned extra freedom by showing they are trustworthy...give it! My friend used the analogy of footsteps. They take a step by consistent obedience, and we take a step by allowing added freedoms. If they do their part and we do not do ours, we will feel resistance. They have proven trustworthy, and we have not. It makes them angry, even if they can not articulate the reasons. Besides, later they might not be able to handle freedom as teens if it has not been a gradual process of trust, obey, trust....
~Do not expect their obedience to be perfect. Is ours? Recognize even their progress.
~Remember respect is important to boys, much like it is to men. When there are consequences, talk privately. Don't belittle, speak or push irresponsibly. Just lay it all out and then follow through. Offer prayer and encouragement. We're walking together here towards Christ. We're on the same team.
~Offer examples of our own struggles. I firmly believe that respect is not lost when we apologize or share our own sinfulness. I believe much respect, love, and hope is gained in a young boy's heart during these tender moments. My son is getting past the age of just obeying with his hands and mind. His heart is involved more than before. I am his authority. But, I am also a fellow sinner saved by grace. We have so much in common. Meet on common ground.
The essence of family life is the care of souls. "
Monday, May 25, 2009
Between the crosses, row on row,
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I can't describe how difficult is was for me to involve the boys in this project. Painting is hard and messy. And two energetic boys seemed like, well, a nuisance! But I began to think about how this could be a good activity for them. They could learn appreciation, dedication, and persistence. And, if I am committed to this home schooling gig, I know I need to take the time to patiently train them to do all the things around the house that I do. So, I bit the bullet, and asked them to join me.
I have never been so proud of a paint job. After a little practice, they were actually helpful (as opposed to just making extra messes!). And I began to wonder how many things they can really do/take responsibility for that I miss because I just want it done...now. I think if I have learned anything this year about parenting it is that the really good moments take sacrifice and patience. I need to pray for more and more each day!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Mene Mene Bellchazar.
If you were at golf you'd maybe get a par!
God said I really really want you,
what about your poo?
(silly, bodily function- infatuated Toot)
If you wish to fled,
you will definitely bled.
Now this is true,
you may get the flu.
God wrote on the wall,
you broke His law.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This kid is a sponge for facts. He loves to learn new things and remembers them well. I hope all that he learned about Savannah, the oldest city in Georgia, will find a safe place in that big, smart noggin of his! I thoroughly enjoyed learning and talking with him on this trip!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
While Andy went to business meetings, we enjoyed Savannah for a couple of days. I challenged myself to observe the town through the eyes of each of my children. I love being able to wisk them away on quick, last-minute trips like this one!
Lydie carried this magnolia bloom all over Savannah yesterday. She kept saying, "It mells so boo-tiful, Mama!" The way she looked (and smelled) is frozen in time for me. Her favorite part about this magical town was the beauty. She soaked it up and talked about it at every turn. I love that about her!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
What a fun overnight trip to my hometown. My sweet nephew turned 8 and we celebrated Mother's day early. Now we are home and unpacked and I am so thankful for new memories!
Friday, May 08, 2009
But to our surprise, it was a thank you letter from the little boy who received our Operation Christmas Child box! He not only sent a letter telling us about his faith, family, and interests, but also a picture of his family. We just stared. There he was, and we had touched him some how. It lead to some exciting conversation and thoughts about how God is at work all over the globe. One of our desires for our little ones is for their education to include a more global perspective than I received as a child. I don't remember reading many books or watching many movies that were set in foreign countries. I only visited one foreign country- Ireland- before graduating high school. And I certainly never went on a mission trip, except a week of volunteering at a youth summer camp in downtown- which terrified me. I don't remember having any real regard or appreciation for different customs. It was all just, well, foreign. And as a result, I felt no connection with people who were different from me. What a sad, misrepresented, dull view of the world I had!
So this small glimpse into a people group that we may never visit, but we can befriend, is so wonderful for me, as both a parent and a fellow student. I want my children to have respect, interest, compassion, humility towards all types of people. I would love for them to join us on trips as a family and on short mission trips to far-away lands. But today we were all reminded that our God can use us right here. A little box of goodies, and look what we get in return! A pen pal, hope that the gospel is being spread across the globe, and a glimpse into another land. I saw this quote recently which says it all:
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I love art. I love drawing, painting, arts and crafts, studying artists- the whole gamut. My boys have been a little reluctant to catch the fever, though. One loves to build, solve mazes, and put together puzzles. The other loves to tell stories and write. Neither seemed to really enjoy anything that requires a long amount of attention to detail.
I prayed about this little dilemma while I was planning for our home school year. After all, one of the big advantages of being their teacher is providing a tailor-made, individualized education. I thought maybe we could just stick with art history and minimize artwork projects.
After some research and prayer I decided to not only incorporate art projects into our curriculum, but also to do regular artists' studies and picture studies. We also have one drawing lesson a week. The boys go to our neighbor's house for art class once or twice a month, too. The reasons I chose to press forward and treat art with the same type of importance as math, reading, and writing are the following:
~Artwork reflects the creativity we are endowed with by our Creator God. We bring Him glory when we study His world and try to recreate it. We also see how majestic, enormous, and intricate His creation really is which inspires worship.
~Brain research confirms that art education strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement, school success, and preparation for the work world (aka their calling).
~Art classes provide opportunities for the advancement of creative skills useful in communication, writing and other areas.
~Artwork helps with fine motor skill strengthening.
~The arts teach us how to have respect for all types of cultures. It is a window into parts of God's world they may never visit. And, it is a bridge connecting our customs with others around the world, giving us a sense of humility and respect for different people groups.
~When working together on a project, students develop crucial skills in cooperative decision-making, leadership, clear communication, and complex problem solving .
~ Both artwork and writing are good mediums for learning to do things in a process. This type of work leads to patience, self-discipline, persistence, and the knowledge of how to make multiple revisions to create high quality work. In other words, art projects build character.
To my surprise, my boys have learned to enjoy our art projects. Although Toot would still rather play with his art teacher's rubix cube than participate in a complex art assignment, we are making progress. I have noticed that not only are they spending more time on the art projects that I assign, but they are drawing spontaneously almost on a daily basis. I am so glad that God gave me the insight to make artwork a non-negotiable part of learning in our home. Maybe one day they will love it as much as I do! But if not, they will surely reap some wonderful benefits along the way.
Pictures: Toot's drawing from movie night (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Jaybird's pasta lion made after studying Babylon and Daniel
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
My boys read 7 books (total) the first day! And I was inspired to challenge myself as well. I hope to read 1 book a week this summer. We are so excited! Happy reading!
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
It took me over half the school year to get used to the slower pace of home schooling. When Jaybird was enrolled in a private school last year, there was a constant flow of activities. Meetings or volunteer time on committees, extracurricular activities and lunches with friends after school dictated our calendar, not to mention the daily 20 minute commute (each way, twice a day) to school. A simple weekly trip to the library was even a difficult promise to keep. The life we had chosen for our family was busy and filled with things away from home. There was also a fair amount of good things, but our busyness was one of the negatives.
This year, it is not uncommon for the kids to finish school and chores and have 4 hours a day of time leftover. My children have never (not once!) complained or asked to return to the life we had before. But, to my surprise, I missed it for a while. I missed seeing my friends in the carpool line. I missed asking my best friend if she and the kids wanted to join us for a lunch date. I missed being part of a team. Now, we have friends over maybe once a week. We take "fun" homeschool classes (pe, lego club, etc.) once a week. We go on a field trip once a month. Other than that, we are mostly at home or doing things together as a family.
I think it really took me until December to come into my own with our choice. And now, I see our choice to walk this path (that is a little less traveled-no pun intended) as an excellent option for our boys. I could try to articulate why I feel this way, but instead I will share a list of observations from Monday until now.
Here are the things I have observed my boys doing that they did not do when life was busier: