Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great Reading Quote

This one came from "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller... "If we want our students to read and enjoy it for the rest of their lives, then we must show them what a reading life looks like."

I like the idea of being a reading role model for my children. Here is a self-reflection activity that is also in the book for the teacher (in my case, mom) to evaluate their own reading life.

What were your reading experiences as a child?

Were these positive or negative experiences for you?

Do you see yourself as a reader now?

How do you share your reading experiences - both current experiences and those from the past - with your students?

Who have been your role models for reading?

List the last five books you have read.

How long did it take for you to read these books?

Which books were read for a job or for a school-related purpose?

Which books were read for pleasure.

I take great delight in talking about books with my nearly 8 year old son. I hope to have the same experiences with my girls as they become fluent readers. Today, at Barnes and Noble, we perused the new Magic Tree House book, a book about Shakespeare, a new series about a mouse named Hamlet. We also grabbed two sheets for the Barnes and Noble summer reading challenge.

What are you reading this summer?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gospel As Explained by a Four-Year-Old With a Little Loaves and Fishes Thrown In

Jesus died on the cross. So, He died on a cross for our sins. The sun was dead. Jesus died on a cross. And then Jesus wanted to have some candy but He couldn't make the candy. He couldn't make anything because He was gone on the cross. Don't worry. He's gonna get alive, mommy. And then He got alive and He can make the candy and corn and the weeds. He maked everything for us. He wanted to die on the cross. No wonder He wanted to die on the cross. We are his children. He is bigger than us. No wonder we call him 'Jesus who died on a cross!' He is so big! He can reach the Bible study and He can reach everything. The only thing that He couldn't reach was the sun because the sun was hiding in the clouds. And then Jesus saw the sun and He knew where the sun was. But there was storms and rain and He carried the cross but He was alive. But He didn't have a middle name. What's His middle name mommy? And off He goed to his journey but first He said to all his children and He said "Come, I will save you. I died on a cross." And He got home to His journey home and then they saw that He was alive. Children and people were happy. But they needed food. A little boy passed by. "Hi, I am Joseph. I come. I am a little small boy. Do you want fish and bread." Jesus said, "I have lots of people here. How can I do that with not lots of food and lots of fish and lots of bread." The little boy said, "Well, you can break it in half of course." "Oh ,yes, I will break it in half," said Jesus.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Right Now

fifteen year old dacshcund is lying beside me snoring.

sun is out...finally.

my girls are creating with paint. and they are getting along. i picture their future lives as friends and smile.

my son and my man are playing chess. pieces clink against the board, as son asks father, "what can I do?" i just heard son say, "you've got an impossible situation. you're losing your queen also!"

classical music is playing through the t.v.

finding joy in the ordinary. waiting on God to provide the extraordinary.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Watch Her Go

My girl is READING!!! I am so proud!

We love these books. And this website. And of course reading aloud lots and lots of good books.

No matter how many times I have seen children begin to read on their own, I am always amazed at the magic of it. I am so thankful for the opportunity to see my children begin this amazing adventure myself.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some of Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

I thought this might be a good time to post some of our favorite holiday traditions for all to enjoy. So, here goes...

We always have the grammies and our auntie come over for homemade pizza on Friday after Thanksgiving to put up our tree. After dinner, we put up the tree, watch White Christmas (singing loudly on "Sisters"), and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies.

We love to have the children choose a new ornament each year. We usually go out for lunch or dinner and then head to a local Hallmark store. We love these ornaments, because there is a good selection, they are collectible, and they are well-packaged for use from year to year. I say that I will send them off to their own homes with this collection of ornaments, but how will I part with them?! ;)

Okay, this isn't a tradition, as we just started it this year, but we have been working on a beautiful advent puzzle as a family this year. This was the perfect year to begin with hubby being home-bound due to injury and the children being older.

I always make gingerbread playdough for the children to play with and pretend to bake gingerbread men/women complete with button eyes and rickrack icing. The smell is so yummy, so I have to remind the children not to taste it!

We have a huge collection of Christmas books that we get out each year. I don't pressure myself to read them all every single year, but we do try to get to each of the favorites and a few new ones. Some faves include "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever", "Who's Coming to Our House?", "The First Christmas" (Pop-Up), "The Gingerbread Baby", and "The Legend of the Poinsetta".

We do "Jesus stockings" where the children choose an item from the World Vision or Samaritan's Purse catalog and then do chores to earn the money to keep in their stocking until Christmas. They take the money they have earned to purchase the gift to "do to the least of these" as our Christmas offering to Him.

We have a sweet advent calendar that I purchased one year from CBD. It was pricey, but I love it and so do the children. This year, our aunt also bought us the chocolate filled calendars and the children have really been enjoying these.

Hubby and I light the fireplace, turn off all but the Christmas lights, and watch "It's a Wonderful Life" at least once during December.

Hubby takes a Christmas shopping night with some of his buddies from his former job. They always make short work of the shopping and long work of the steak dinner they reward themselves with at the end!

A red velvet cake has always been a tradition in my extended family on Christmas day. When I was younger, it was for my uncle, who has a Christmas Eve birthday. But now, in our immediate family, we call it the Jesus Birthday Cake and remind ourselves of the blood He shed to cleanse us from our sin.

I have lots of child-friendly nativity sets - the playmobil one, the fisher-price one, and another one that I got from the Hallmark store years ago. I also have a fabric one that I opted not to get out this year. My children love playing with these and they are considered so special because they only come out once a year, that they are the most popular items to play with in December around here. My favorite nativity set though, is one that my mom got me a few years ago - made by Jim Shore. LOVE it! No children allowed to play with that one, though!

These are some of the things that have brought special meaning to our family in December. Maybe next I should write the post about the traditions that I never started, but wanted to, or the traditions that we have scrapped! Can you say gingerbread house?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some of My Favorite Quotes From Today

During our family prayer time dd3 said, "I wanna say a prayer just fo mysef, okay? God, thank you for da foxshes and da rainbows and da ballewinas."

During same family prayer time, dd(almost)6 humbly said, "God you made the Herdmans." I guess she understood one of the most touching points of our read-aloud this week, "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever" by Barbara Robinson.

And during our nightly pick up of his room, I inquired of my son, 7, if his sweat pants needed to be washed or not, to which he replied, "No, I've only worn them, like, 3 or 4 times." I suppose that I might have gone a bit overboard on telling him he didn't have to throw his jeans in the wash after one wearing!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two Cutie-Pie Things That My Baby Girl is Saying These Days

Fwoot Be-uh = Root Beer (she still doesn't say "rrr" even after being back from UK for a year!)

Medicine Cough = Cough Medicine

She's growing up way to fast. Wish I could just stop time somehow...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who Knew That Walkers Needed to be Pretty?

I recently heard this conversation between DD(nearly)6 and her father-with-the-tibial-plateau-fracture:

DD: "Good thing you got a different walker than at the hospital! It was horrible! I didn't even want to look at it."

Dad: "Why?"

DD: "Uh...the stripes."

I guess she thought that those stripes on the hospital-borrowed walker were not at all pretty enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Books Recently Read (Or Listened to) in Our Home

A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey
The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Whole Family is Enjoying
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (especially "How the Camel Got His Hump")

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hubby's Serious Injury = No Blogging

Hubby was injured very seriously on September 29. He broke his leg severely under his knee cap. There were two breaks -- one on each side of the tibia -- and lots of crushed bone directly under the knee. This ordeal has involved surgery to implant 2 large plates into the knee with 13! screws, a life-threatening blood clot, and 9 days in the hospital. It's also taken lots of recovery time at home and he has been ordered to be non-weight bearing until the end of December. All this has meant lots and lots of prayer for me and many extra responsibilities that my terrific husband, who is my true partner in every way, normally takes care of. As you might know or remember, hubby is also job-searching. So, this time has been a serious trust-building one for our family. God is teaching us so much about His absolute sufficiency in all circumstances. He is also reminding us that each day with loved ones is a blessing. Please pray for our family to keep looking up to Him as we continue in this trial. And, hopefully, I can begin to blog more regularly soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reckless Faith

"As I read the inspirational words (of an old sermon), there came to me a sudden glimpse of the privilege and the glory of being called to walk in paths so dark, that only an utter recklessness of trust would be possible! 'You have not passed this way heretofore' it may be; but today it is your happy privilege to prove, as never before, your loyal confidence in Jesus, by starting out with Him on a life and walk of faith, lived, moment by moment in absolute childlike trust in Him." -- Hannah Whitall Smith

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Van Gogh- Our New Artist

We have been studying Mary Cassatt's life and work for the summer and into the school year. We have so enjoyed her life story, especially of her time in Paris, and her friendship with Edgar Degas. As the mom, and the one who was planning the study, I especially enjoyed the novel "Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper" by Harriet Scott Chessman. It provided an enjoyable read with some good information by a well-researched author about the life that Mary and her family enjoyed in Paris during her painting years and Lydia's illness. The children can recognize and name several of Mary's paintings and are looking forward to seeing some of them someday when we visit their cousins in Washington D.C. and visit the National Gallery of Art.

But, now we are moving on in our art studies and have chosen Van Gogh. We enjoyed some of his paintings while in London when we often visited the National Gallery of London. Here are some of the books that I checked out at the library today in preparation for our study:

*My Brother, Vincent Van Gogh
*Vincent Van Gogh, Modern Artist
*Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist
*Vincent's Colors
*Visiting Vincent Van Gogh
*What Makes a Van Gogh a Van Gogh?
*The Yellow House: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gaugin Side by Side

I am definitely considering how I can gently explain Van Gogh's death if necessary. But mostly, I want to share the wonderful art of amazing artist with my children. Starry Night is my favorite painting of all time and I am hoping that one of my children might love it as much as me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

LOVE This Quote

"Don't become a stranger to your child's soul." -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Day in the Life of Our Homeschool

Here's a peek into our typical day:

Wake up and do morning routines. This includes bed-making, teeth-brushing, getting dressed and tidying up bedrooms for the children. I assist the youngest with all of the above.

Breakfast. Since Daddy is working remotely from home for the next few weeks until his job is finished, he surprised us with chocolate chip pancakes this morning. When mommy is in charge, much easier fare is prepared!

Next, we do our circle time, which includes going over Bible memory work (Psalm 23 from NIRV, right now), "Windows to the World" for geography (today was Bangladesh) and prayer, reading from "The Story for Kids", and working on patterns. We've been doing a fun thing, where the kids think up patterns to make by clapping, patting, etc. and then we create the pattern using pattern blocks to represent the A,B,C, etc. parts.

Next, individual work begins with the children. While I am working with one child, the others are working independently. (Ideally, of course!). Today, the oldest had to narrate from "Henry and Ribsy". I had him narrate all the chapters from memory and was very impressed with what he had retained, including some interesting phrases and whole portions of dialogue. He also had piano practice and lesson. He worked in his Horizons math book, and worked in his writing journal detailing his football practice last night.

Daughter worked on patterns with pattern blocks, and upper and lower case letters. She and I worked on her scrapbook where she narrated the text to me from the pictures. We played a game with the white board where she had to guess what letter I was making before I finished making it. Then, to keep score, we used tally marks and learned about those. Because it was her first time using tally marks, we talked about and practiced (lots!) counting by 5's. Then, she wanted to go play outside. She is my dig-in-the-dirt girl! She came in with two worms, so then she and I looked up worms in the "Handbook of Nature Study" -- not much there for her, but I will use the questions to formulate some little mini lessons and observation-type projects as we watch the worms. We talked about the importance of only keeping the worms for a short time and then releasing them back into their natural habitat.

The littlest, who is normally with us, was having a playdate with a neighbor. We normally do all the preschool type things with her. Painting and playdough are favorites. And she loves to be read to!

Usually, it's around lunch by this time, so we take a break for that. Then, it's outside for play/nature study. After that, we all do a house project for the next hour or so before rest time. Today we are making cookies for a new neighbor and working in the upstairs bedrooms. All of the children still take a rest each day. The oldest often read or play quietly, while the youngest still naps. This is time for mommy to regroup!

After rest time, there is usually snack and more outside play until supper. On Tuesdays, though, we have "Tuesday Teatime" where we do art study and poetry and manners. We are getting ready to study a new artist after spending several months with Mary Cassatt. We have so enjoyed her art! We'll be moving on to Van Gogh next week. Often, our poetry comes from Favorite Poems Old and New. Our favorite manners game is from EBoo and they are funny flash cards with pigs using nice manners. A book we use for manners is "Everyday Graces" by Karen Santorum. It is a truly beautiful book that we will use for years to come!

That's the short version of a day in the life of our very busy little homeschool!

Monday, September 8, 2008

New DL Article

Our new DiVine Lines women's newsletter is up from our church. Read below for my latest column. Oh, and be sure to check out these links for other wonderful articles.

"Hide and Seek"

Children love to play hide and seek. There’s something about the thrill of hiding and wondering whether or not you will be found. There’s something about being the
seeker and hoping to find the treasure behind the next door. I love to watch my own children play hide and seek. As toddlers, they used to hide and then immediately
call out, “Here I am!” because they really wanted to be found. When they got a bit bigger, they would hide in the most conspicuous places, thinking of course that they were really well hidden, and finding to their great disappointment that they were not. Lately, my son has invented a game called “Hide and Sneak” where it’s encouraged to sneak around and find different places to hide even as you are being sought.

I thought about the simple game of hide and seek recently as I was studying what the
Bible says about seeking God. Psalm 9:10 tells us that, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Jeremiah 29:13 promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Isn’t that amazing? While our human tendency is to hide from God just like Adam and Eve, God’s holy desire is to be found.

But who are those who find the Lord? Those who know God’s name and seek Him with all their hearts. What? Doesn’t God have one name… namely, well…God? Well, yes and no. The One True God revealed His character through many different “names” in the Old Testament. Names like El Shaddai (God Almighty), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is There), and El Roi (The God Who Sees) are a few examples of ways in which God revealed Himself to people in certain circumstances to show who He was in their specific situation or trial. Through understanding more about God’s names, we can know more about his character and begin to understand what it means to truly seek Him.

Those who “find” God are also, according to scripture, those who seek Him with all their hearts. Recently, while reading Isaiah 31:1, I was struck by the ways in which human nature has not changed since the beginning of time. Isaiah writes, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.” As I read those verses, I was impressed
with deep conviction in my own heart. How often do I trust in my flesh even though I am enslaved by it (go down to Egypt for help), find a way of escape to sooth my flesh (rely on horses- a way of escape), trust in power, prestige, or material goods (trust in chariots – the symbol of military prestige and power at that time), and finally, rely on people to solve my problems or dispense advice (trust in the strength of horsemen – who are mere people)? It seems that those to whom Isaiah was writing at the time are no different than me. Human nature is not to seek God, but first to seek other things. That is why so many of the Psalmists remind themselves and the Israelites to seek God. It’s not what humans naturally want to do! But it is the only way to true life and peace.

Throughout the next few months in this column,I’d like to explore with you some of these “names” of God and how knowing them can help us to seek Him diligently and trust Him more. My prayer is that we would all become women who seek God with all of our hearts and not trust in anything or anyone else! Knowing God in this way will increase our trust and will remind us that in Him we will never be forsaken. Won’t you join me for a little game of “Find and Seek”?