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Friday, September 6, 2013

Running, Running, Running- A Mommy Learning Moment

   For the past two weeks, our Bible time has included the topic of running.  The first week, although slightly obscurely, was via the use of an ostrich.  We talked about how sometimes an ostrich will lay down and pretend to be a pile of dirt, or runs away, when confronted by a predator.  When, in reality, it's kick could kill a lion!  This past week, we read about Jonah.  Oh, how he thought he could run from God!  And then to realize, in the midst of a raging storm, in the belly of a great fish, or in the sweltering heat of the sun, God was there all the time.

   We all have curve balls that life throws at us.  Some trivial, and some life changing.  In that moment, where do you find yourself?  Do you lay down and hide?  Pretend it's not happening?  Or, do you use the body our all-knowing God designed specifically for us? To get up and fight...and run back to His loving, outstretched, and merciful arms!  Our rightful, and undeserved, place. 

   What a reminder this is for me.  God always knows what to "feed" me, at just the right time.  In my moment of weakness, I need to choose to trust Him and His sovereignty over all.  When He asks me to go to a place I couldn't quite possibly think of going to...He will be there.   When all I can see is the storm raging, and my only choice is to dive in...He will be there.  When I am faced with a "lion"...He will be there.  When I am in the lowest of lows and I think I am about to be overcome...yes, just in His perfect timing, He will be there. 

          What a refreshing promise that truly is for such an unworthy soul as I!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Parable of the Talents & Responsibility


   We had quite the start to a school year.  Stitches, ear infections, and strep throat...Oh My!  Thankfully, the kids were troopers and we chugged on.  Our first Bible story of the year, was the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.  We are also learning a new virtue every week, which I hope to pair with our Bible story.  This week, I chose Responsibility.  Our virtue and Bible story also went along well with the story, Lentil, we are rowing this week.  Our memory verse is below:

Now it is required that those who have been 
given a trust must prove faithful.  1 Corinthians 4:2 

   What exactly is a parable?  A parable is a story, told by Jesus, used to reveal a moral or spiritual lesson.  In this parable, a man is going away on a journey.  He entrusts a sum of money (talents) to his 3 servants, each receiving a different amount of money.  The first two servants use the money they are given to make more money.  The master is pleased with them when he returns.  However, the third servant buries his money instead of using it.  The master calls him evil and lazy for doing nothing with it and throws him out.  We discussed how the master is like God, he gives us all different kinds/amounts of talents & abilities.  We are to be responsible and faithful for what he has entrusted to us.

Day 1 (Matthew 25:14-18):   After reading our scripture, we worked on a worksheet (found here) where they had to spot the difference in the bags of money.  Afterward, they had to think of a talent they had been given and draw a picture of it:

Day 2 (Matthew 25:19-23):  Before we started our time, I handed them each an envelope with different coins inside.  They opened it and we discussed that the money is like the talents God gives to us.  Sometimes we have the same talents as others.  Sometimes they are different.  Sometimes we have more than others or less.  That is what makes each of us special in God's eyes.  After we read scripture, I introduced our friends, Fred & Frank (see picture below).
-A little bit of science- Both Fred & Frank share the same talent.  They are able to move water.  However, Frank hides his talent while Fred is happy to share.  We took them to the sink and turned the water on.  After holding Frank near the water, nothing happened.  However, after sharing that Fred knows he must rub his head on our heads in order to show his talent, we were able to hold Fred near the stream of water and watch it bend.  The boys thought this was pretty neat.  A quick lesson on static electricity!

Day 3 (Matthew 25:24-25):  After reading our excerpt from the Bible, we also read the Critter Kingdom Storybook from Resource Well.  It talks about how ostriches have such strong legs, that they could kill a lion with one kick.  But sometimes, they get scared and run, or flop down on the ground, hoping to blend in like the dirt/sand (Myth- ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand!).  Again, we discussed that we should use the talents that God gave us instead of hiding them.  We played a fun game, called Ostrich Talent Toss.  They had to toss objects (in groups of 1, 2, & 5) into a basket, bent over like an ostrich.

Baby J watching from the sidelines.
We also had a really yummy Treasure snack.  I gave them each some graham crackers in a bag and told them to crush them up (to look like sand).  Next, I gave them a piece of chocolate (talent) and a cup.  I told them to put their talent in the cup and bury it with the sand.  I told them I gave them the chocolate because I wanted them to have it and enjoy it.  Just as God gives us talents that He wants us to use.

Day 4 (Matthew 25:26-30):  We talked about ways to increase what we had been given for the Lord, just like the first two servants had done.  I also found this page (from Jedi Craft Girl) which gave us a very clever reminder on our money.  In God We Trust- but in reverse, God trusts in us to share.  To wrap up the week, we had a talent hunt.  I hid some money throughout the room and they had to find it all.  Then, we watched a short film adaptation of the parable (see below).

Found them!

  All of this talk of responsibility, means a chore chart is coming soon!

Thanks to these websites who really helped me out this week:
     Resource Well
Jedi Craft Girl

What's next for us:  Jonah & Obedience

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School- Officially Kindergarteners!

  It's official, as of today, school is in session!  It's hard to believe that these two little boys of mine are Kindergarteners.  Time flies by way too quickly.  I must say, when I see that yellow school bus drive by, I am so happy that God has blessed us with the opportunity to school them from home.  This mama, is in no way, shape, or form, ready to ship them off to a public school.  For many more reasons than just the yellow school bus!
  We are not straying too far from the curriculum that we had chosen last year. 
            -We L-O-V-E-D Before Five In A Row last year, so we will move on to Volume 1 in Five In A Row.  It outlines various subjects on a specific book that you "row" every day for five days.  However, I always find that there is so much to do and not enough time.  So, our FIAR activities may extend for 6-10 days.  We'll see.  It integrates Geography, History, Language Arts, Art, Science, etc.   
            - Math-U-See is our math book of choice.  We'll be moving on to the Alpha book in the next couple of weeks. 
            - For our penmanship, we will be using Handwriting Without Tears again.   
            - Hooked On Phonics worked for us last year, so we will continue on to the First Grade level this year. 
            - I am still on the fence as to what I'm going to use for Bible curriculum this year.  This week, I have used Resource Well for ideas on top of Google/Pinterest for go-alongs.  This leads to a lot of late nights.  So, I will be exploring other avenues.  (Most likely, the FIAR Christian Supplement)
            - For spelling, the boys will be going through the first grade spelling lists from K12Reader.
            - And, I will be attempting to add in a composer/artist once every few months.  Ambleside Online has a lot of great resources.

Phfew!  That seems like a lot.  We may have to whittle that back.  But, at least it's a plan, right?  That has to count for something!  We started rowing Lentil, by Robert McCloskey, today.  And we are studying the Parable of the Talents in our Bible time.

Without further adieu...the classroom participants:
Mr. "B"

Mr. "C"

Baby "J"- who I'm sure will be getting into trouble most of the time

 See ya next week!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Coming soon to a blog near you...

     Hello all of you (maybe-still) faithful followers.  I'm sure you fell over backward when you saw this post up!  Especially since we have been MIA for a little over 3 months.  Rest assured, we are still around.  Where have we been?  You might ask, or maybe you wouldn't!  Things just got too crazy and overwhelming that we needed a teeny tiny, OK, who am I kidding...a longgggg break.  We have done a few things here and there this summer, but expect to be starting school full force in two weeks.
     We are excited to be continuing the Math-U-See, Hooked on Phonics, Handwriting Without Tears, Bible, & Five in a Row curriculum, as well as adding a few new subjects to our lineup.  Thanks for sticking around.  Let the fun begin!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring has (finally) sprung!

   I just wanted to take a moment to thank God for all of the beautiful weather that we've been having lately.  I, for one, am not the biggest fan of winter time (as many around me well know).  So, to see these exquisite spring flowers open up over the past week, has been simply marvelous.

Violet's popping up in the front yard

Tulip's in the flowerbed 

We couldn't resist taking a break and enjoying some outside time this week:

Taking in all the sunshine and nice breeze...

Enjoying a game of soccer

     The rain is headed our way tomorrow...which means that we will be seeing more and more beautiful flowers.  Oh, how I love the spring!  Have a lovely week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Carrot Seed {part 2}

   So, after a very crazy weekend of trying to get rid of mass quantities of kids clothing/equipment, I'm back!  Hopefully, I can start posting more frequently again.

....The Carrot Seed, continued.... 

    So, to throw just a tad more science into the mix, we discussed the parts of a plant and what plants need to grow.  I found this worksheet at Lakeshore Learning that we colored together ("B" added the rain!):
  I also used the "What do plants need" printables from the Homeschool Share lapbook.  They had a fun time coloring them:
   Finally, I found this awesome sequencing worksheet for them to cut/paste the life cycle of a carrot.  Find it here:

   For some go-along books, we read:  Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett, Titch by Pat Hutchins, and Linnea's Windowsill Garden by Christina BjorkLinnea's Windowsill Garden had some great diagrams on plant cycles and the water cycle.  It also has a great section on growing plant tops.  So, we couldn't pass up the chance to grow something else!  Our carrot & potato top:
After (about 1.5 weeks of growth)
After (about 2 weeks of growth)
 Since we were talking about growth, they each got measured on our "God's Word Helps Me Grow" chart.
I'm thinking Baby "J" must have gotten a hold of these.  I can't imagine they've grown that much in less than a month.  Could it be true?  Their pants have been a bit short lately.  Hummmm....
For math this week (we use MathUSee), they were learning to solve for the unknown.  For example, they would have a problem 5 + ? = 10.  They would have to solve for the ?.  Early algebra.  They did finally get it at the end of the week...after much explaining that they don't add 5+10.  Phew.  Anyway, I was able to use some of their Carrot Easter Eggs (provided -unknowingly- by their Nana) to make it a bit more fun:

They were given a pile of bean seeds and 2 eggs.  We'll use the 5 + ? = 10 for an example.  I would tell them to put 5 beans in one egg and 10 in the other egg.  Then, they would have to figure out how many seeds they needed to add to the first egg, to make it match the number in the second egg.  They got this right away.  If only I had thought of it at the beginning of the week.

  To take a break (and have a little bit of fun), we talked about the wheelbarrow in the story.  It's shown on the last page of the book with the enormous carrot the boy has grown.  Well, we don't own a wheelbarrow, but I fun would it be to teach them how to have a wheelbarrow race?  The answer, totally fun!

   We talked about the artwork in the story and how the author only used two colors until the very end of the book (the bright orange carrot).  And, also how the author has chosen to only draw the boy and his family in profile.  The boys had fun checking each page.  We read another book (also illustrated by Crockett Johnson) called The Little Fish That Got Away by Bernadine Cook, in which the characters are also drawn in profile.  Side note, an excellent book on patience as well!

   We also looked through another Linnea book called Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork.  Then, we decided to make a little art of our own.  This idea came from Delightful Learning.  I love-love-love her blog.  She is so inspiring.  Monet was an impressionist, we made our own impression paintings of carrots, with carrots!  They dipped the bottom part in orange paint and the leafy tops in green paint:

   We also made carrots out of arm/hand prints.  First, I traceed their hand and forearm on a piece of paper.  Then, they got to paint it with green/orange paint.  Finally, and perhaps the funnest part of all, they added "dirt" to their paintings with a little chocolate pudding.  Yum!


     To add to our "art museum", we talked a little about fruits & vegatables.  Then, they had to think of 3 and draw them on an index card.  Afterward, they tried to spell & write it all by themselves (spelling is something we are starting to work into our schooling):

    We had such a great time with The Carrot Seed.  In keeping with the theme of patience/waiting, we learned about Joseph this week.  Stay tuned for this post!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week 23 - The Carrot Seed {part 1}

 The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a very simple book that teaches hard work & patience.  The little boy in the story plants a carrot seed.  His whole family tells him, it won't come up.  The boy continues to pull the weeds and water the soil regardless of his nay-saying family.  Until, one day the carrot comes up!  At the end, you see the little boy with his wheelbarrow overflowing with his gigantic prize of a carrot.

  To start the week, I made a sensory bin with several items from the story.  I used a plastic tub, soil, boy & watering can cutout from story, and plastic carrots (purchased at the $1 store after Easter!!).  I also made a game with the "Will It Come Up? printable from Homeschool Share's lapbook to go along with a great carrot game I stumbled upon at Sorting Sprinkles.  The carrots are made out of pipe cleaners and the boys practiced planting and pulling them up with tweezers.  Nana, unknowingly, provided us with some carrot Easter Eggs that I filled with green pom-poms.  They used these for planting in the soil and in the egg carton.  You can see all of our fun below:


   Next, we read Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens (the boys favorite go along book for the week).  We talked about seeds and got out some of our seed packets to inspect different kinds and discussed how God had made them all different.  And, each seed contains the information inside of it to make the plant.  After the discussion, we planted some seeds of our own.  First we planted some carrot seeds using a damp paper towel and a plastic bag (and watched them grow throughout the week):
{Before}  Teeny, tiny carrot seeds.
{After}  They came up!
   We also planted a bean seed in a mason jar and used the damp paper towel technique, again.  This allowed us to view the bean as it went through the growing process.  I made the seed growth booklet (from the homeschool share lapbook) for them to document the growth of their bean:

Getting our beans ready
 And now, the beauty of God's handiwork:


   Pretty amazing to watch it all unfold...

  In the Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! book, the little bear grew a grass head.  So, I thought it might be fun to add something else to the "growing" list this week.  Besides, who doesn't want to have their own grass head?!  I used Just Being a Mum's method:  old panty hose, grass seed, cotton balls, and some rubber bands. 
Scooping/Measuring out Seed
Adding the cotton balls
Completed heads- ready for watering!
After about a week-ish of growing.  He looks like he's in a boy band.  Don't fret, you will see more pictures of grass-man!

   The next round of go along books included:  The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck and The Enormous Carrot by Vladimir Vagin.  The books had a similar feel to them.  The characters had to use their strength (as one) to pull up a carrot.  Afterward, the carrot was used to make lots of different dishes:  soup, cake, ice cream, raw, juice, puddin', etc.).  Of course, we HAD to make some sort of food dish to go along with our carrot theme.  Before we did, we practiced some cutting skills.  First, on our wooden fruit/veggies:

              Then on some real carrots and a very dull butter knife.  It was a rough go, but they were able to chop through the carrots.

   We were ready to move on to shredding carrots (which I did 98% of, in fear they would shred their fingers off) for our carrot cake.

Trying to mix in the flour
A little help holding the bowl, as the last of the flour goes in!
Mixing in the carrots

 The final (scrumptious) product:

   ....part 2 post of The Carrot Seed coming soon...  Click Here for part 2!!