Sunday, May 27, 2012

FPEA Convention 2012 Lessons Learned

Here is a lengthy post, but worth it!

This is my fourth year attending the FPEA Convention, first year as an ambassador and first year attending workshops. It was always encouraging every other year, however this year was plagued with many doubts about myself in many areas of my life.

1) Am I doing anything right?
2) Will I be able to do this with my super disobedient child (Logan)?

God continues to affirm many aspects in our decision to homeschool our boys even when I allow my sinful nature attack me. So, I have to give a shout out to Christopher Hopper from Spearhead Books.

You know those moments when you say something to someone and it was exactly what they needed to hear. Well, that was Chris for me on Friday. God showed me grace in that moment through our meeting. It was clarity. Clarity in more than one area of things I was accomplishing, but I was not giving myself any slack.

Clarity given by complete strangers.

Clarity from brothers and sisters in Christ.

Things I Absorbed:

Workshop: Raise Them Up, Don't Crush Them Down" The Strong-Willed Parent with Mark Hamby
Lamplighter Publishing
*Stop trying to finish the curriculum but to teach Biblical Character. (read about my biggest challenge here)
*It's not about what you keep away from your child, but what you pour into them.
*You cannot lead your family from the rear. You must lead by example.
*"You cannot control anything when you have outstretched arms."  -the cross- with grace, you will get nailed. Grace given freely will cost you to give.

Books I purchased after this workshop:
- "Teddy's Button" (book only) - a character builder in self-control... what six year old doesn't have this problem.

- "Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince" - this builds on combatting selfishness... what PERSON doesn't struggle with this?

-"Little Threads" - a lesson on disobedience and unwillingness... I'm not sure how this book was written in 1863. I am almost certain that this author is living in my home! I already started reading it because a helpful man by the name of Roger told me how encouraging it would be for me and my fight with my unruly two year old. NO JOKE! EXCELLENCE!

If you LOVE Classical Literature like this English major, you will eat these books up. It's beautiful! The icing on the cake? They are written by Christian authors always turning back to the Creator of all things.

Workshop: "Proverbs: God's Character Curriculum" with Rick Boyer
The Learning Parent
*Through King Solomon we learn that the wisest man knows things from Botany to Music to Government, yet his first words in his book of wisdom... "To know wisdom and instruction... righteous, justice, knowledge..."
*We learn to be more profitable servants when we put Christ as our front in character.
*An educated fool is more dangerous than an uneducated fool.
*Knowledge separated from wisdom is apart from God's will.
*If your child wants to learn something, you must learn it, too.

Keep reading for what I got from here.

Workshop: "Gotta Love Those Preschoolers" with Marilyn Boyer (wife of Rick)
The Learning Parent
*Savor the Season
-the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
-look for the preciousness of the season
-a preschooler is a bundle of potential
-You are raising a child (generation) to follow Christ.
*Nurturing a heart for the Lord
-Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
-"thou seest me..." Psalm 115:13
*Build a sense of destiny in your child
-"God made _____ in a special way, for a special purpose."
-instill a sense of vision in prayer
*Build a Foundation of Character
-Maximize your time... it could be short...
-systematic teaching of character qualities- character does matter- It's foundational to living a God-honoring life.
-teach the meaning of character qualities in simple language
-Character is the most important subject.
-Teach scripture where the negative character can be positive
*Teach Responsibility at an early age (chores, etc)
*Include your preschooler in teaching time
*What do I do with them while teaching?
-lace and trace
-more on this with the next workshop
*Remember to have fun (give 15m sections of time to have mommy time of learning)
*Growing a Servant's Heart
-Those who learn to be servants will become leaders.
*Foster Patriotism
*How you manage them brings success to school

Logan is my disobedient child. He is the boy that laughs in your face when you do correction. Marilyn really put things into perspective for me in this session. As a result I bought two books. They are Character Builder books. You learn the character, it's definition, and the scripture of support. This is our CORE curriculum for my unwilling two (soon-to-be three) year old.

Books I purchased after this workshop:
"Character Trails" and "Crossroads of Character"

Workshop: "Occupying Pre-Schoolers While Teaching Older Children" aka "Educating, Involving,  Occupying ONLY WHEN NECESSARY While Teaching Older Children" with Jami Phillips
My Father's World
*Is. 40:11 Anything worth doing is hard!
*Reading Levels: Pre-Reading ---> Learning to Read ---> Learning to "Love" to Read ---> Learn by Reading
*Learning to read is the most important phase that needs the most instruction.
*What every toddler and preschooler needs:
-meet emotional and social needs
-devote your first 10-15m of the day to schooling them
-have a flexible routine, prepare snacks and drinks before the start
-expect them to want to prepare for school like the others
*Involving little ones as much as possible, some ways this can done:
-unit studies
-Bible activities
-Arts and Crafts
*Creative Scheduling
-schoolbox for school time (let them decorate)
-strategic naptime
-learning centers
-read aloud
-toy rotation
*Educating Little Ones
-shapes & color starter
-peg stacker
-lace & link letters/shapers
-kids puzzles
-pattern blocks
-pipe cleaners
-play doh
*Pre-Reading: Stages of Learning to Build-On
-Ages 2-6
-Structure and security
-Educate and Involve
-15-30 minutes daily
-very concrete learners
-like repetition
-mimic oriented
-foundation oriented instruction (4-5 subjects)
-focus on obedience
*Set-Up a School Box
-Target Areas: pre-reading, pre-math, language development, large motor skills, fine motor skills
-new items
-used, but looking new items
-created, but simple (junk mail to open, photo book with magazine cut outs of a topic [animals, etc], pipe cleaners, magna-doodle, nuts & bolts, mat (toys must stay on there to play with)
*School Time
-worksheets that siblings have (maps, etc)
*Training Mentors for the Younger Ones- allows the older child to teach and learn about their sibling

I bought a foam ABC board lower and upper case, a lace board, and color & shape sorter.

Knowledge from the workshops. More to come in another post about what will come into play for our school year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Proverbs 31 Bible Study Week 2 Thoughts

The second week of this Bible has brought two list of things to consider. The first list is what a woman of NOBLE Character does not look like, and the second list is looking at if your husband can trust you in certain areas of life.

The first proved to be the hardest, as I look at my heart to see what can hinder my walk with Christ and my relationship with my husband.

So let me tell you what a wife of noble character does not look like:
1. She does not rival her husband. *on occasion this may happen, but it is not a constant thing* 
2. She does not mope around and complain about her housework. *not usually... unless it's laundry LOL*
3. She does not overspend and put her family into debt. *no*
4. She is not bored, discontent, greedy or selfish. *yes, I think pity parties are apart of our human condition. hate that!*
5. She does not gossip and slander others. *not usually, but there are moments when with close friends this happens*
6. She does not spend her days doing leisurely shopping, texting, emailing, web browsing, watching late night movies, and sleeping in. *sleeping in- is a huge thing for me having struggled with depression it is a daily battle for me to get out of bed.*
7. She does not criticize, mock, or disrespect her husband. *I think I try to protect his image more than my own.*
8. She does not have children and a husband who embarrass her. *No. However, they do make me laugh at their craziness. ;)*
9. She does not let her outer beauty take precedence over her inner beauty. *Well, this is apparent if you see my make-up less face everyday*
10. She does not take God’s word lightly. *nothing ruffles my feathers more than when someone takes scripture out of context, and when I fail at the very thing I work at!*

The second list, I am lucky to say that I have. Trust is such a vital life line in a marriage. I remember growing up being told by my father that he trusted me to go out with my boyfriend (now husband), but the moment I broke that by not following his rules the trust was broken. It would take a lot to gain that trust back. I am a firm believer in this statement, yet God has shown me that He can give that trust back to the person you hurt by His merciful grace. 

1.  Money – Can he depend on you to spend it wisely? *yes*
2. Children – Can he trust you to train your children wisely? *yes*
3. Home – Can he trust you to run an orderly home? *yes*
4. Reputation – Can he trust you to not speak poorly of him behind his back? *yes*
5. Faithfulness – Can your husband trust you to not build emotional connections with other men? *yes*
6. Emotions – Can your husband trust you to be self-controlled when under pressure? *yes, however I know he would check to make sure my depression was acknowledged (if present) and taken care of.*
7. Choices – Can your husband trust you to make wise choices when urgent situations arise? *yes*

These are things that we may think are automatic, yet if we look at the specifics we may find more that we have to pray and fast that God would help us with. I value trust so much. I've seen it lost, and it is such a painful thing. 

It is heard to strive for noble character when everything in this word tells us to do the very thing we shouldn't. It is hard to earn that trust when we can be too busy to keep the house clean, or talk badly when your friends are doing it. We must not be of this world even though we are in it. It is so much easier to be "good" in the world's standard, but that is not what we are called to be. 

Raising a girl in today's world is just as hard as raising a boy. I feel this when we work with youth each week... it's rough...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Proverbs 31 Bible Study

Currently, I am on week two of a Proverbs 31 Bible Study. I was just reminded of a conversation that I recently had with my husband. The conversation with me making a statement that I didn't think would rouse anything, but it did. "Did you know that 'this' is the largest growing belief in the world?" His response, "Of course it is!"

Of course it is... I guess I was a bit surprised by it. However, as my husband explained, it is a belief in your works. If I do works in this and that I will go to Heaven. It's easy for us to see the list of does follow them and not really change anything on the inside. When you study the Bible and Christ draws you to Him... guess what?

Change is imminent.

And so, comes the change in reading Proverbs 31. This is regarding as the women's chapter, but the first nine verses are quite interesting because it unveils that this is a King writing about what his mother has taught him. These were my immediate thoughts after reading it along with the Bible Study.

"After reading the King's inspiration for writing this chapter it reminded again why raising our boys is so difficult. I've heard from many people that boys are easier than girls when it comes to child rearing, but that is such a false statement. I'm again reminded that I am raising men that need to fear God, lead a household, manage this affairs above reproach, and love his wife the way that Christ loves His church. The mother teaching her son the attributes of a righteous woman is such an act of love for him. In today's world where men aren't stepping up and leading and having a fear of responsibility what an example to teach my boys what is honorable to God. That their helper is not a
thing to look at and flaunt, NO! But one that is to be honored like precious gems, loved as Savior loves his people, and To respected as his partner."

It is quite a heavy thought raising children in the way of the Lord. You immediately know that you are to raise them differently than what the world says to do. As it describes in the 10th and 11th verse of chapter 31, a wife is far more precious than jewels and her husband trusts her. 

The Bible Study shares how we are not to be like other women of the world. It gives a list of what a virtuous woman is...

Man... I need work on those!

Change is imminent. It is when you embrace that that true joy can begin to flourish.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homeschool Photo Portfolio 2011-2012

Homeschool Photo Portfolio 2011-2012
I am thinking that this coming year I want to get more photos into this. We did much on geography, but it was mainly in writing. Hopefully, this year I can get a better grasp on everything we did through a photo portfolio.

One Thing I Would Have Loved to Bring Home From Haiti

A week after my trip, a friend of ours went to the orphanage for a visit. I had to send something to Wilguens. He was learning to play guitar, and sang with me Casting Crowns "Who Am I". The Lord has blessed this boy with such a talent. He wants to be a pilot when he gets older. So, along with all of Luk and Logan's old clothes and shoes I sent him a guitar chord learning book. He wrote me a letter of thanks and love.

Here is just a glimpse of his letter:

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Single Moment of Impact

My six year old never ceases to amaze me. Let me preface this with the reality that he is a typical six year old. He is disobedient frequently; he argues like a teenager; he is obnoxious; he lacks tact. However, he has one trait that I am particular found of...

COMPASSION! Does he always show it? No. He's six still grasping control of his emotions, and is aware of his incline to sin. Yet, when he executes this trait, I have to step back and watch it. It was really a beautiful thing. It is one of the main reasons I am so excited about him coming to Peru with my husband and I in October to meet one of our Compassion children, Smith.

If you read my blog you know that I have met Smith and his wonderful family. So, this reunion is going to quite a moment for not only me, but the rest of my family. We have a strong heart for Compassion, and their work for the nations.

Smith is our first family sponsorship:
 I chose Smith knowing that my husband has a connection with Peru. Now, I have it more than ever.

As a youth group family we chose Pataso from Thailand:

Our last addition to our Compassion family was Abdou. Now, this was Luk's decision. He said to me one day as we were talking about different countries, "I want to be a missionary in Africa!" I stood silent for a moment. Then I asked if he would like to have a Compassion child from Africa that he can have a relationship with. Needless to say, he jumped on that really fast, asking for a boy.

That night I emailed a friend of mine that works for Compassion for a child that need a correspondence sponsor, and the next day we had Abdou.

Seriously, we have some handsome boys in my family! You see God carefully placed these three boys in our lives, and after meeting Smith the clarity in our decision of cutting back on luxuries to have these three in our lives has been several moments of impact for us.

There's a single moment of impact for us all, and I think it was the day that Luk got Abdou. He finally made the decision to be apart of each of these boys lives. Before he didn't really write Smith or Pataso, it was a picture here and there, but nothing that he started. I usually asked him to, and he would do it without complaint.

However, it was when he got Abdou that he took over. It wasn't me asking anymore. It was Luk saying, "Let's write Smith, Pataso, and Abdou!" OKAY!

The importance of letter writing to your Compassion is something that is hard to explain. It's when you go and visit and the children ask you, "Do you know my sponsor? They don't write. Do they love me?" My response was a huge hug. Hearing Smith say... "I have only three letters."

Shook me. I wanted him to have a better foundation than that.

I had a single moment of impact that almost broke me, but decided instead of being broken to embrace my shame and write. Write with more intent, with more heart, and giving more of myself in process. I'm excited to see it in Luk, now.

Here is his letter writing process:

1) I ask what he wants to say.
2) He tells me. (He responds to Abdou's current question.)
3) I write it on our board.
4) He copies it on his paper.
5) He draws his picture.
6) We look and remember just how far our friend is from us.

Luk has asked to meet Abdou. He knows that we are planning a trip by the time he 10 years old. He is actively reminding me when that will be. Countdown... 3-4 years...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kindergarten is Coming to a Close

I haven't written in two months and they were a busy two months. Out time in kindergarten is coming to an end, and I must say that our relaxed scheduling will come to an end at the start of first grade. Luk was already doing most kindergarten work, but really wasn't ready for "all" the demands in first grade. So, through the year we took our time in the class room not really rushing through anything. Here is a post of what has happened in the two months gap and then another post on things to come.

My trip to Haiti

Drawing Dinosaurs

Baby Boy's first hair cut

Is there a DR in the house? Yes, yes there is!

Preparing for Easter

Pinterest Idea: Sight Word Tower


Happy/Sad Gorilla


LegoLand for a six year old

Happy 6th Birthday!

A Case of Croup

Panning for Gold

Surprising me with his Alligator eating those numbers

Things that have worked this year: phonetic understandings, catching on to reading fluency, math (always), Science is fun at LegoLand (video below), flash cards for sight words, and we are ready for a tougher schedule.

Things that didn't work: spelling test with sight words, and separating the boys during school.

Watch his car fly!