Loving the Moment! 

Its a new year! So many things to be excited for right?  I am especially excited to be a part of this. The Virtual Curriculum Fair. Whether you are new to homeschool or have a couple years under your belt this is truly a wonderful treat.  A homeschool convention….but you can stay in your jammies. Hehe

The one thing I love most about home education is also the one thing that I struggle with the most when it comes to home education. Can I hear an amen?

I love how free we can be. Here in Wisconsin there are very little requirements so we really do have so much freedom when it comes to learning at home with our children.
The challenge comes in not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed or controlled. by all the good stuff that’s out there!

 

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Our first year or two as home educators we stuck to a very strict schedule. We got our curriculum in the mail every year (Love My Father’s World).  And while it was a wonderful program and I still use some of their materials to this day, at the same time it was stressful trying to keep up some days. Especially as I went from having one child to two and then three and then four!

 

 

As the years have gone by we have gone from box curriculum to classical schooling, Charlotte Mason style, unschooling and delight led learning. All of these are wonderful ways to encourage and inspire a love of learning in our children. And as each one of my for gets older and their needs change it is good to have so many different options out there. Again that is one of my favorite things about home education!

 

 

As we have grown and progressed Through the Years I have learned and I’m still learning how to use those materials we do invest in without thumb controlling our learning.  I have learned to slow down and worry less. It truly has been an exercise in my faith.  Most importantly I have learned to teach from a state of rest.

 

 

 

In the last few days I have pondered and prayed over what are home education ought to look like in the coming year. And if I have prayed again and again God has placed in my mind the value of rest and the value of mastery.  So this year as we slow down I’m focusing on living and loving and learning together as a family. I am focusing on stronger relationships and building greater character within my children ( and myself too)!

 

 

 

We will still do math drills and we will still do copywork each day.  We will study together and memorize from the Bible the Book of Acts.  We will read together draw and paint.  My girls and I will spend more time baking and learning to sew.  My boys will spend more time on coding. We will draw our way around the world.  We will do all kinds of crazy experiments and handicrafts.  We will write poetry and make music and go for a walk exploring God’s creation.

 

 

 

We will not be bound by a schedule or curriculum. Instead of worrying about staying on track instead we will learn together in a state of rest. We will not be afraid to take a day off to go to the museum or to explore a local park.  We will strive to have more conversation about what we are learning together.

 

 

 

 

For my oldest son I seek to become more of a mentor and less of a teacher. To inspire him instead of require of him.  In an attempt to encourage him to learn a bit more independently and to become a bit more responsible for his time we are setting goals. We are making a roadmap. In this way see how making his own video game or his own app really is possible by breaking it down into simple steps.

 

 

 

There’s so much for our kids to learn and aren’t kids naturally curious and eager to learn?  I think of the many things that I have learned simply by having the time to explore them on my own.  And I know that this is something that my children can getting a great deal from. Therefore in the year to come they shall have more time to really explore their own interests. And who knows what could happen when they are given time to find those fires within!

 

 

 

 

It has always been my goal to inspire my children to see learning as something that is life-long. And for them to see the great value and the opportunities that surround them everyday.  Because learning isn’t something that only happens for 12 years and it isn’t something that we can just fit in the hours of 9 and noon.  Learning is a blessing and a joy. It is a lifelong pursuit.. ❤

 

 

 

As you begin your New Year going home education be sure to take your time and enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

 

An InLinkz Link-up

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Who Needs a Brain Break?

 

It wasn’t long ago that I stumbled across the series 10 Days of Boosting Brain Power.  I was excited to be given the opportunity too (bless her heart) to review The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. As you read  The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaksyou learn how and why movement matters so much for our kids when it comes to their learning. There are also 60 Brain Breaks for you to start using, and this book even helps you to recognize the signs of when a brain breaks is needed. I mean, I have begun to see myself, since using this, how often I simply need a brain break myself. And my kids get it! Even my 4 and 6 year old at times see and say “my brain needs a break”.  Its especially cute weeny four year old daughter comes to me holding her head because her “brain is achy”.

 

Some of this really mad my head hurt, I admit the science of it all can be pretty intense. But understanding the science, even just a bit, helps you to really understand and embrace this concept. It also encourages us to look for active engagement when it comes to learning. Trust me, the difference it makes its huge! Now much of this I didn’t completely understand myself: the vestibular system being enhanced by movement. However Heather includes diagrams, in this case of the anatomy of the ear, to help guide any who are science – impaired as I am – through her explanation. Did you know the inner ear is considered the entryway into the brain for the senses? Its a unifying system influencing everything we do. Turns out all that rough and tumble play our kids (boys especially) do really does have a purpose beyond sometimes driving us mommas a bit batty! 😛

 

So we learn as well read how movement promotes bilateral integration (making the left and right brain able to work together); this helps integrate logic with intuition. Movement all activates the cerebellum; this helps to make learning occur faster. And movement also gives the body and the brain a boost of oxygen. If we don’t have enough oxygen, our brain is simply going to go to sleep and that’s no good for learning. When we get ourselves moving, we wake up and so with these brain breaks we are able to quickly invigorate the mind and get that blood pumping to help us learn better. And faster!

 

 

A couple things that you will learn (or have reinforced even, in my case!)

 

♦ WHY movement is so critical to learning.

♦ HOW to spot when your children need a brain break.

♦ HOW to help your children discern when to utilize a brain break and regain focus.

♦ 60 amazing brain break exercises {with detailed instructions, pictures and printables/cards}

 

Check this out:

 

 

 

 

There is even one that is specifically for our littlest ones. I have not had a chance to get a copy of this one yet but I am definitely hoping to soon since this may be a great asset for them. And the ideas within the first were so good, I can’t see how this one wouldn’t be just as great.  Especially since my kids are all about singing and dancing, my daughter I think would so enjoy many of the activities in this one! If and when I get this, I will definitely share all the details with you too 🙂

 

What were some of my kids favorite brain breaks?

 

  • Toe Writing (my daughter loves to see all the other things she can do with her toes now too Lol)
  • Dance and Sing (we crank up the worship music and that sure gets everyone going!)
  • Cartwheels and summersaults are another favorite of my daughter
  • High Kicks and Jumping Jacks are great for the little ninjas in your house!
  • Crazy Eights writing is one of my oldest son’s favorite ones (he is my little artist)

 

There are also lots of fun and inspiring Imagination Brain Breaks. Doing this is fun because our kids can be a Billy Goat or a Flamingo; they may gallop like a horse or inchworm their way across the room. There are even exercises for them to imagine they are a sprouting seed and a popcorn popping (my little guy loves this since he is our popcorn connoisseur). And they love balloons as much as mine do, there are even exercises for them to do which include balloons. Who doesn’t love playing volleyball with a balloon? And handsfree is even more fun!

 

These are just a few of the great exercises that are in this book! There are tons more! And so many of these you can tweak and change up a bit to make them your own. My daughter loves hula hoops so there are lots of fun ways we have used them since we began using this program (instead of using rope or bean bags in some cases). This really is fun~ and it works too!

 

 

Finger Plays and Preschool Song Cards

 

 

 

Nw I know that none of us need one more thing “to-do” in our days, but when it seems to be falling apart; when it just isn’t working,  The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks really helps bring us back together. Its like a super glue.  Maybe not all the time, but most of the time. And that definitely is worth making time for.

 

My kids do better because they have energized their brain; they have learned too how to see for themselves the need to wake up and refocus!

That’s a powerful tool for us to have! Every one of us 🙂

 

 

Get lots of great ideas to enrich the learning within your home by getting your own copy for only $7.99 of The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Are We Ready to get Back to School?

I did it again.

I signed up to blog in the Schoolhouse Review Crew and the Homeschool Blogging Connection’s Back To Homeschool Blog Hop. YAY!?!?!?

Problem is….I am not sure i am ready….to blog about or to go, “Back to School”

A couple friends  and family have enquired as to when we officially “start back to school?” Really, we consider ourselves to be year round homeschoolers, but we break now and then, who doesn’t? And truthfully summer ends up slowing us down. A lot. So when are we officially going back?”

I don’t know. But I do know that we do this, because God calls us to it and so whatever we need to endure to the end, He will provide. I know that now is the time for me to really hunker down and reflect a bit more on the how and the why. With a three month old (darling!) baby too, this year is going to be a bit more challenging for all of us. Yet God never gives us more than we can manage; He provides for our needs in every season, if we simply have faith and desire for His will to be done.

Of course there is still plenty I just must do. Like get organized. I actually have a huge mess all over my living rom right now because I have been trying to organize our materials for this year. Maybe its not the best way, but for me, to take it all out, spread it out where I can see it all ~ I can then go ahead and pile the books up for my three kiddos. Of course we still leave lots of wiggle room. Nothing is perfect, it took some time for us to realize that, but suffice to say, if one thing isn’t working, we move on to the next. There are plenty of good materials out there (ranging from really expensive to totally free!) so I just need to take the time to seek them out.

I ponder right now exactly how to organize our days, so that all three of my kiddos (and my baby girl too) won’t experience any awful anxiety or pressure in how we do “school”.  Have I ever mentioned how much I just do not like that word, school? lol Maybe its just me but it conjures up a sense of dread in my soul. Education, life, learning, experience….I perhaps need to use these words more often. May be that can even alter the attitude of my oldest (who dreads any form of work right now).  And this momma who dreads the “fight” that comes from him so many days.

I love home education though. I would not trade it for anything. On our best day it is a blessing and even on our worst of days it still is a blessing to our family. I encourage you to come alongside us as we all go “Back to School”.  No matter where you are at in your journey, I pray you will find something here that blesses you, that inspires you, that builds you up and gives you strength. Let’s face it, we cannot do this alone; we need to walk alongside each other because while homeschool is such a joy, such a gift , it is also hard. It is tiring and frustrating. There are days we want to throw that towel in, and that is when we need one another most. Because this is something you have to have great faith to do. And without God, at the center of it all, it just won’t work.

So let us come together, and reason together, in this great journey!

Back-to-Homeschool-Blog-Hop

Come on by tomorrow, and hopefully I will be starting to get “back-to-homeschool” (ready or not here we come)!  There are plenty of other bloggers joining in for this “back to homeschool” this week, so be sure to check them all out. If you need some inspiration, help with planning and organizing, if you are new to this, you will find lots of goodies to inspire you and get those engines revving!  Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, and go and check out some of these wonderful bloggers!!

Love Languages

languge

 

 

We have been so very blessed recently to become more active in studying foreign languages.  From the very first time I visited Germany when I was younger, I have had a passion for international languages and life. Today, as a homeschool momma of four I cannot get around the world, but by hosting foreign exchange students, we still get to enjoy the experience of another country, at home. And share our great nation with another too!

 

My oldest son is currently using Mango Languages for Mandarin Chinese and French too.  I currently use this same program for German and all of us are working on Spanish together using this.

 

I know so many people tend to shy away from foreign languages. If you don’t know one yourself it can be pretty scary. Even for those of us who have a league or two under our belt, it can be an uncomfortable thing. But, it’s possible. More than possible. It is doable. You CAN teach your child a foreign language and have fun doing it! And there are so many great reasons to study foreign languages. Believe it or not it can help you learn English, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. How about teaching character skills? After all this isn’t easy. Learning teaches our children hard work and study skills. Which means they learn patience, self control and perseverance (we hope anyway).

 

 

Don’t forget about those things that are right there in your community too. We love the library, and its a great place to find and try different language learning programs. You can find dictionaries, audio books, and computer courses (any have the Rosetta Stone program too). You can find lots of books in Spanish, French, German and many other languages as well to help develop your reading skills. Consider using children’s books when you first begin learning a language. It helps a lot more than you may think with comprehension.

 

 

There are actually several books that we enjoy together, in our own library at home which help children learn all about different parts of the world. My favorites are: Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the WorldChildren Just Like Me: Celebrations! ( carnivals, festivals and holidays), and then the Find Out About Series which includes France Italy, and Spain.  These teach not just language but history and culture too. These are great for children, and are a great introduction for the younger ones to different people and places.

 

 

Let’s not forget the internet and YouTube, these are full of great and free resources, to help guide you in your learning. The sky is the limit here. Here your children can learn stories and songs, in the language they are learning, for a real immersion experience.They can explore maps of different areas around the world too.  Who doesn’t love to learn in a way that is living?

 

 

One central site I love to visit more for studying languages than studying a language specifically, is Omniglot. I came across this one recently and just love it. Basically it is an encyclopedia of writing systems and languages, with more than 180 writing systems and information on over 600 languages. WOW! This is full of introductions to alphabets and other writing systems. Almost all the writing systems currently in use and many extinct ones. There are many great learning tools here too to take language learning to a whole new level with details of language families, advice on how to learn languages, and language-related articles and videos. All for free. (I am such a geek)  LOL

 

 

The key to foreign language is consistency. Practice every day, using it as much as you can. Maybe fifteen minutes each day will get you started. The more you use it the easier it will be.  Consider learning as a family or having siblings learn together. There was a tie we labelled everything in the house to help reinforce the words in the language my son was learning. Play games, read books, write and sing song in that language throughout the day. Make it a part of your life and your routine. Find opportunities to use what you learn each day. It can be as simple as saying “hello” or “thank you” in a different language, or have a foreign exchange student over (consider hosting – our family loves to do this), or share a meal with your family from the country whose language you are studying.

 

 

Until we meet again… Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, sayonara, farvel, gule gule, do svidaniya, Zai jian… goodbye for now. 🙂

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I love being outdoors but I am not an outdoors person. Does that make sense? Whenever we spend the day outside, I feel like its one more day wasted.  (Bad homeschool momma ~ that is some stinking thinking) Anyway, Apologia Educational Ministries has a great new resource for this very thing!  Introducing, the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal, and we were more than happy to have the opportunity to review it. 😀

 

 

 

 

For our review, we received spiral-bound workbook with a very nice plastic covering.     The pages are all full-color, and as I was perusing this initially, I really was inspired to scrapbook.  Thats what these pages remind me of, really!  The book, pages and all, is quite thick and sturdy which is great since most of what we do in this area is outside, of course. In the time since we have received this book, it has held up so very well – being shared by three children ranging from age 3 to age 9, this is a really big deal for us.

 

 

 

 

This book is divided into a couple different sections:

 

  • Preparing for a Field Trip–Very helpful hints on how to make the experience a powerful one for learning. These things can be pretty overwhelming right? This really helps break it down, making it simple and less stressful.
  • Ideas–There is a password to an online “extras” section on their website, where you can find lots of awesome maps, great ideas for creative journaling andlots more ideas for some great field trips.
  • Places I’ve explored–This page is just for listing places you’ve visited in your state, around the United States, and places you’ve explored around the world. There is a seperate page for each of these.
  • Field Trip Pages–These are good for recording inspiration, details of experiences, anything that they want to remember. We included some narration activities too; if there is reading to be done in relation to studies and places, why not jot down handy details here? There are even pages with charts for recording location, date, temperature, and rainfall.
  • My Special Spot–This is a wildlife spot study.  Here you can sketch, take field notes, paste photos here even. If you have a special spot draw it or post an image of it here.
  • Thoughts and Drawings as I See It–How do they see things? It is all so very different through their eyes.  Here they can really be inspired, they can share their thoughts and perceptions.  This is a great creative, doodling  page.

 

I really appreciated all of the charts included in this book for field trips, things that are  “Off the Beaten Path”  “from your own backyard to half way around to the world.”  This was very eye opening for me I have to admit.  I admit that sometimes we don’t see all that is in front of us and this really helped me to see things in another way. Ah the fun and exciting learning opportunities right in our backyard (not to mention down the street!).

We got lost for a time in all ideas that were provided from: plants and animals, earth, space, and the human body as well as some great ways to learn a bit more about social studies like government, and history and the culture of the area itself.  This even inspired some mapping and business/economics learning with my oldest son who is 9.

 

Unfortunately the weather here in Wisconsin has not been so nice as of late. But when the weather allows, we do try to spend out time outdoors whether in our own backyard or going for walks and bike rides in the area. We also have a microscope, which was a stelar reslae shop find, that my boys love to use.  So this encourages them to seek out things to view, and then draw what they see.  They are encouraged to keep their own nature journal in addition to this, where they can tape or glue leaves, pinecones, flower petals as they find them.

 

One of the neat things my oldest son chose to do was relive some of his old experiences such as a couple trips to Missouri, a very old camping trip in the Wisconsin Dells, visits to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Mackinaw Island. Some of this he was able to do with things he has kept through the years others, and some things we will have to get copies of for him to paste into his book (photographs mostly of family trips).  He is big on rock collecting, and seashells right now – for this I encouraged him to sketch these things on the pages within.

 

Once again, Apologia has brought an awesome an inspiring tool to us homeschoolers! The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is a fun and simple way for kids to explore and learn.  It encourages children to be creative and curious, to get out of doors and see all the fun ways they can lern and grow.  Being in the process of developing a homeschool group for our church, its especially helpful, all the ideas and online materials that are provided for trips out and about.  I’m definitely looking forward to using this more through the summer as our family gets out and about more, visits with a lovely young lady from Spain and enjoys some trips with our homeschool friends!

 

What a blessing Apologia is!  ❤

 

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

 

 

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Crew Disclaimer

 

Raising Learners who are Self – Directed

As a mother, I have always known how great the value is, in training my children to work independently, to be self directed. I don’t think I ever qualified as the “helicopter” mom type – even when my first was born.  I want my children to know that when they need me, I am absolutely there for them, but I also encourage them to be resourceful, independent and sure of themselves. I want secure and confident kids, able to think for themselves 🙂

 

I admit that thus far (with my oldest son) its become such a struggle that it is just easier to expect very little from him.  Set the bar low because after all, the character and initiative he has displayed so far hasn’t been very promising.  But then I am reminded that he cannot believe in himself if he sees that we do not believe in him.  No matter how hard it may be, however impossible to seems, if we believe they can’t (or won’t) learn what needs to be learned, independently, they will never succeed.  We have given up before we even began.

 

We have little ones too and they need to be a part of all of this as well; we try to encourage helpfulness and a personal investment in their family, early on. In this way we can help them to develops a sense of responsibility.  One great example can be found from Amy at Raising Arrows to help with Teaching Kitchen Skills all listed by age. As for those little ones, this is a free printable for Reading Directions with Independence. And back to Amy of Raising Arrows, you can see here how she Raises Independent Learners using a neat system with index cards.

 

Impossible as it seems, we are making a plan. Together. I have goals for him, I want him to have goals for himself. I often have to find the answers to things, teach myself new skills.  I want him to see how great it is to be able to locate those answers and learn new things on his own.  I am also encouraging him to give me input and ideas for any additional subjects he could explore during his school day.  Got a question? Let me surround my children with the tools they need to find the answers.

 

My oldest son has so many interests. He gets bored easily – he learns a little something about one topic and instantly moves on to the next thing. I always saw this as him needing to  focus more; to dig in deeper. But then I was reminded by someone the other day, he is only 9 – He needs to be free to get into as many different topics as he feels led to explore.  Some will stick and others will come and go. We cannot find our passion, we cannot develop interests and hobbies and skills if we do not have the chance to try, even if its just once, whatever we are curious about at the time (within reason of course!).

 

This year he wants to explore more art and photography, get back to his guitar and keyboard.  He is curious about geocaching and letter boxing too.  I am not so familiar with all of the hows and whys of this so we have some exploring to do before we go forward with this one. I am encouraging him to do his own research on this. We discussed at length the need to know materials are needed as well as if there are groups we could join or fees we have to pay to take part in these activities locally.  I am hopeful that he will report back to me with all the details.

I want to encourage him to take the initiative, to lead even if its only himself, when it comes to his daily activities.  We were learning greek/latin roots and words the other day that have to do with water.  He is planning to build an aqueduct on Minecraft now for his aquanaut.  He could draw a dolphin; I encourage him to sketch his designs before he creates them on the computer or with his legos.  Once he builds them, with popsicle sticks, cardboard, cereal boxes – he can practice some photography by taking a picture for his album. A portfolio for us to see his progression.

 I also plan to sit down with him and make an assignment list. This can help him to see what he is responsible for each day, or week (some subjects we do not do daily like music and art and foreign language).  It also helps him see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There is an end in sight – He needs to see that. Otherwise, especially when some days are harder than others, he gets rather emotional and will lament that “he will never be done”.  With this he can see, no matter how hard or terrible it seems, it will end. And he can see where that end is.

Certainly I will still oversee his daily work and be there to help guide and mentor him along the way.  But ultimately, my goal is to not have a “job” anymore;  especially with my oldest son I know that we will need to regularly revisit those goals that we make, together and independently, to ensure that he is working towards them.  As the years progress, they will become more responsible for the various aspects of their day.  They will take ownership of their work.  They will become more sure of their interests; their studies will be more directed. And I do believe, as we journey along in this way, there will be a spark lit within them, igniting a love of learning for life.

This is part of the beauty of homeschooling. ❤

Do share how you encourage independent learning in your homeschool 🙂 

 

 

Purge it!

I am what some might call a book hoarder. 😛

 

I love books. I hlove the feel of their pages; the sound of them turning. I love the smell of books.  Especially old ones.

They are a part of me.  A part of my family.  And there is always room for more of my babies.

 

But then my husband, the other day, suggested we consider purging some of them. And then there was this quote I read that spoke to “getting rid of books”.  ~gasp~

 

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing author Marie Kondo, says that we should get rid of everything that does not “spark joy in our hearts.”

 

Books DO spark joy in my heart though. Like little else does.

 

I have been wanting to purge our house – go minimalist – for some time now.  So I guess, my husband bringing it up, perhaps this was a sign that it was time. And perhaps it was time for me to give a bit too. So I did what was recommended.  I took every single book off of the shelves, out of the drawers and out from under the tables and chairs. Slowly I went through each one deciding what to keep and what pass on. Since we are home educators too, my other thought was for my kids; for our journey.

Did it spark joy in my heart? Was it perhaps, educational for my children or would it maybe, one day, spark joy or relief in their hearts?

 

This was hard. I admit it. Seeing space open up on the shelves, my natural desire is to fill those holes. But then looking at the boxes that are filling up; seeing so many books that none of us had a passion for. My children bringing me books (I was surprised at some of them that they chose to let go of too!) I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.

 

There is power in the tongue. There is power in the pen. As we move forward, as a family, as a homeschool, as individuals – We must be careful what we allow eyes to see. We must be wise in how we spend our time. Even in literature, there is so much out there that no good can truly come from.  Charlotte Mason calls it twaddle.

 

If you are not familiar with this term, let me share some of what I feel, are the best definitions:

 

“. . . the sort of diluted twaddle which is commonly thrust upon children” (Vol. 1, p. 176).

 

  1. “They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told” (Vol. 2, p. 263).

  2. Second-rate, stale, predictable

    “It is not possible to repeat this too often or too emphatically, for perhaps we err more in this respect than any other in bringing up children. We feed them upon the white ashes out of which the last spark of the fire of original thought has long since died. We give them second-rate story books, with stale phrases, stale situations, shreds of other people’s thoughts, stalest of stale sentiments. They complain that they know how the story will end! But that is not all; they know how every dreary page will unwind itself” (Vol. 3, p. 121).

  3. Goody-goody story books or highly-spiced adventures of poor quality, titillating

    “What manner of book will find its way with upheaving effect into the mind of an intelligent boy or girl? We need not ask what the girl or boy likes. She very often likes the twaddle of goody-goody story books, he likes condiments, highly-spiced tales of adventure. We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature” (Vol. 3, p. 168).

  4. Scrappy, weak, light reading

    “Many who would not read even a brilliant novel of a certain type, sit down to read twaddle without scruple. Nothing is too scrappy, nothing is too weak to ‘pass the time!’ The ‘Scraps’ literature of railway bookstalls is symptomatic. We do not all read scraps, under whatever piquant title, but the locust-swarm of this class of literature points to the small reading power amongst us. The mischief begins in the nursery. No sooner can a child read at all than hosts of friendly people show their interest in him by a present of a ‘pretty book.’ A ‘pretty book’ is not necessarily a picture-book, but one in which the page is nicely broken up in talk or short paragraphs. Pretty books for the schoolroom age follow those for the nursery, and, nursery and schoolroom outgrown, we are ready for ‘Mudie’s’ lightest novels; the succession of ‘pretty books’ never fails us; we have no time for works of any intellectual fibre, and we have no more assimilating power than has the schoolgirl who feeds upon cheese-cakes” (Vol. 5, p. 214).

I admit, I have rather high goals for my kids’ when it comes to their learning.  I expect as they grow, that they would have a love of language(s) and the intricacies (also an understanding) of words and the power held within them, and a desire to increase in learning – a love of wisdom.

 

While I do not stop my son from reading Garfield now and again and we definitely enjoy a bit of Calvin & Hobbes here and there, it is important that what they do, how they spend their time, is real. May we encourage, ourselves too, to be surrounded by that which changes us – which breathes life into dry bones (or brings something to life!)  Truly we should never stop learning. And the greatest experiences are often the most powerful and life changing of them all.

 

I Heard it through the “Grapevine”

 

Grapevine Studies are exciting. It’s a fun new way to journey through the Bible. We were blessed recently with the Joseph Bible study. They say that you are “Stick Figuring Through the Bible”. Makes you think of something rather preschool-ish right? If you thought that (as I did honestly) you will be so pleasantly surprised by all that these studies have to offer. 🙂

We have loved the story of Joseph since we saw it performed online in Missouri 2 years ago. And the lessons within abound! All you need to get started is your Bible, we used our dry erase board &  markers, the student lessons pages, a Bible dictionary or  some colored pencils or crayons even for the little ones. One of the best things one of the great thing about Grapevine Studies is that they work so well with multiple ages! They even have a traceable version, which we happily used with our four year old! Was he ever thrilled to have his own little book of work to do. 🙂

Genesis 39:2-3 (KJV)  And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

The lessons were about 15-30 minutes, some days more and some days less depending on how involved and attentive our children could be. We would start out praying together; some days I would ask my oldest son to lead us in prayer. Once or twice my four year old offered and led us! From there we would seek out the scripture(s) within the Bible and I would have my son read them aloud. Some days this was as far as we got; my children peppered me with questions and so we would go to the Bible dictionary, atlas, concordance…I loved how it brought about a lively discussion! We made a point of having the timeline handy so we could review it each day at lesson time as well. For my two younger ones this was a great help; they became familiar with the tick figures (since they are not yet readers) and were able to follow along, somewhat, that way. My oldest is the artist so he really liked being able to draw out the stories too.

We really had a blast with this. And we are still completing this one too. As I said it has been slow going. But not because this is not fabulous! The discussions and questions that come about as we complete lessons, its exciting to see! Too often I fear, we teach the Bible stories in a way that doesn’t bring them to life, SO it can be harder for the kids to get really excited and see all the amazing truths and lessons we can learn and grow from, within the pages of the Bible. This is a fun way for ALL of your kids to learn together; I mean even I can draw a stick figure. hehe  And if you need help along the way, all you need to know is within the pages of the teacher’s manual ~ We use it, some days more heavily than others ~ plus they have a bunch of free “How to Teach “ files you can download to guide you along through the various levels.

We love these. We are going to get more of these. Grapevine studies rocks! (so says my 8 year old son)

 

For a limited time you can download a free Bible eLesson download from GrapeVine Studies. GrapeVine teaches your children Bible lessons through stick figures!

Click here to download Joseph the Early Years!

Who was Joseph’s father and mother?
How many siblings did Joseph have all together?

Learn some new facts about Joseph as you study the early years of his life! I know we all enjoyed stick figuring this exciting story from the life of Joseph. And we can draw some mean stick figures now! 🙂