"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Occupying The Preschoolers

    Now that the two youngest are getting older, I am having to find new ways to keep them busy during school time. I confess that I am not always a picture of patience and creativity with them, especially when Jacob is struggling through a lesson. It is helpful for me to put away distractions and to be very focused during our designated school time but sometimes THEY are the distraction.  More often than not, it is not them that is the problem but my own attitude.
    I have our school room set up in the play area of our house.  They are free to play, build or read during school.  Some days, that's not interesting to them.  I also have a closet where I keep activities that are only played with during school. I have special puzzles, playdoh, building supplies, etc., but even those seem unappealing at times.  We usually accomplish the most during Austin's morning nap.  That leaves Nathan, who is very active and who mostly wants to play with his big brother, who is busy doing school!  Next year, he will be doing some school as well, but for now, he has free playtime.  When I set Jacob up with busy work, I try to use that time to focus on Nathan.  We like to read together, learn our ABC's, paint and color.
    It's a very fine balance between needing to teach and needing to stimulate the little ones. My motto for all  work at home is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  Even in this area, I have to trust that as God has called me to teach my children diligently at home, He will equipt me for that calling.  So it goes in another day as a home school family.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Postcards

Okay, a few more postcards came in. One from Colorado, another from Pennsylvania and another from Oregon. Each one of them shared a little about their families and it was quite interesting to all of us.  Perhaps the funnest element of the cards is seeing where each family is from and hearing from people in different parts of the country.  The postcard from Oregon  came from another home school family. Their oldest son is 8 years old, not much older than Jacob. They included their return address and I'm hoping I may have found a pen pal for Jacob to practice his writing skills! 
This has been so much fun and I'm hoping the last postcard still comes in this week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Post Card #1

The first postcard has arrived! We're not sure where it came from but two sweet little girls sent it too us.  They really used their creativity to the fullest on this one. The front of the card is decorated with some favorite authors. The body of the postcard says this...

Dear Jacob, Nathan and Austin,
Our names are Natalie and Sophie and we're 2 year old bookworms.  We love Mem Fox, Cynthia Rylant, and J&A Ahlberg.  Check out our recommendations:
Austin: Dear Zoo, Peek-A-Moo and Hush Little Baby (Sylvia Long)
Nathan: Caps For Sale, Strega None and Knuffle Bunny 
Jacob : Poppleton, Magic Tree House and books by EB White.
Happy Happy Reading :)

It was such a delight for both the boys to find that in our mailbox yesterday and we can't wait to start reading some of those wonderful suggestions!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Post Card Swap

As a home school family, I am always looking for new ways to teach my children about the world around them and the people that live in it. At this age, the news can create too many fears, the internet is full of untold dangers and so much has to be filtered out. I found out about an event called the "Postcard Swap". Orginally, it was going to be an international swap but there was too much interest from the US so it turned into and American postcard swap.  So here's how it works, we submitted our address to the coordinator, and she then distributed it to five other families in the US.  Then, we received five addresses from different families throughout the US. Our job was to send a postcard to each of these families.  Since we found out about the swap on a kids book blog site http://www.playingbythebook.net/ we were asked to include a suggestion of our favorite books. So we ended up sending five Houston postcards and Jacob suggested they read "The Daddy Book" by Todd Parr. He suggested this book because when he reads it, he thinks of his dad. We have yet to receive a postcard but stay tuned and we'll post them when we get one.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Highly Recommended

    For the last two nights, I have found myself staying up late to read just a few more pages from a new book I'm reading. I discovered it from another mom's blog and decided to read it myself.  The title of the book is I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. It's an incredible story about one families struggle to trust God's will for their lives. It has a beautiful parallel between their personal story and what scripture tells us about trials, loss and suffering.  Even if you have never experienced the kind of loss this family has, the message is still applicable to many of life's trials. 
    I'm only halfway through, and normally I don't recommend books until I've completely read through them but this one is worth your time and money! I know you'll be encouraged and uplifted. Make sure you have tissues available though, parts of it can be a tearjerker!