What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am, I am

I am GOING to sew.

I am GOING to sew the Easter things.

I am GOING to sew the Easter things I have been postponing and procrastinating on this whole live-long, bleak and rainy week.

I am GOING to sew the Easter things I have been postponing and procrastinating on this whole live-long, bleak and rainy week all through rest time today.

I am GOING to sew the Easter things I have been postponing and procrastinating on this whole live-long, bleak and rainy week all through rest time today while listening to some pretty great sermons from D. Wilson

I am GOING to sew the Easter things I have been postponing and procrastinating on this whole live-long, bleak and rainy week all through rest time today while listening to some pretty great sermons from D. Wilson and I am going to ENJOY doing it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Raising Abel, Part 2

If we must ask our children five times to do something before they consider doing it (or count to 10, or give three chances, etc) we can point that gnarled finger of blame right on ourselves for conditioning our children into disobedience by not expecting immediate (true) obedience. If our teenagers are rolling their eyes at us, we were the ones who trained them to disrespect their elders, likely LONG before they were teenagers. If our children are serial liars, it is not because they “just have a real problem with lying”, it is because WE failed to train them to turn aside from wickedness.

When my oldest recently began contemplating deeper things, she also began to argue her own viewpoints. This is a psychological milestone; as children get older their brains can produce more complicated thought. They observe more, question more and can begin to express more mature thought processes and this is good and natural. Unfortunately, while I encouraged her deeper reflections, I also somehow let her tendencies toward contradicting me slide until one day I asked her to do something and she argued with me about it, loudly. It shocked me…then I realized, there have been little arguments, leading up to this for a while now, but I never jumped on them as I should have. In time, silly little things grew more common and eventually, compounded. I hung my head in shame, knowing that it was MY inconsistencies that had allowed her arguing to get to the point they had, not hers.

I will be the first to (LOUDLY) proclaim that our children have blame. Our little sweetlings have sin natures from their forefather Adam, just as we have. We can and should expect our children to sin and I am not downplaying that. As they get older, they sin in different and more complicated ways. I am suggesting that wise parents can (and ought to) lead and direct children down the right paths (despite their sin nature) and help them steer clear of wickedness. It is not a lost cause, God says that if train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6) He also says that if we acknowledge their sin and give them correction and reproof, we are bathing them in LOVE (Proverbs 13:24) AND that when we are faithful as disciplinarians, our children will not turn away from us, but in fact will love and adore us for it. (Proverbs 9:8)
The first step in remedying a problem is finding out the root of the problem, and usually, I am afraid, it is us.

Now that we know that we are main components in this problem, let’s figure out what we can do about it. What we SHOULD have been doing about it all along…

To start: a definition of terms:

Discipline is “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” (thefreedictionary.com)

Punishment is a penalty imposed for wrongdoing.

DISCIPLINE has no bad connotation but rather, is an optimistic, worthwhile pursuit. Its job is to improve. This is important because discipline is not something to shy away from but to embrace. Punishment is a MEANS of discipline, and a very small one at that. (Praise is also a means of discipline, incidentally) I say this because “spankers” sometimes feel like the fact that they spank puts us automatically on the high road to godly parenting/discipline and that is not always the case. Punishment is a very small part of disciplining and if we “get” the small part, that doesn’t necessarily mean we “get” the HUGE part:

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. ~Deuteronomy 6:5-8 (see also Deuteronomy 11: 18-21)

Every moment of every day some form of discipline is happening. We can discipline our children to be lazy or to be hard-workers, to be self-controlled or the opposite. Our children can be disciplined to obey or to ignore, to be spendthrifts or show discipline with their money. We can train our children to shout at us or respect us.

So what are the “secrets” to godly, Christian discipline?

  • We need to direct our children to God, in all things.
  • We need to model excellence to our children.
  • We need to expect excellence from our children.
  • We need to set them up for success.

We need to direct our children to God, in all things.
The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. (Proverbs 23:24)

This means, we can’t only expect our children to be good “because we say so” but to understand their calling to obedience by God. Help them understand the big picture, that obedience isn’t just for appearances’ sake. Our ultimate goal, remember is not to have little children who do no wrong to parade around, but to grow children who love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27) Yes-this takes TIME. It also takes commitment AND understanding what scripture actually says on a subject.

Don’t just tell your child that lying is wrong. Tell them why. Tell them what the bible says about lying. Tell them what happens to those that lie.

Our boys need to be hard-workers and they need to understand that this character trait is what God looks for in mature men, so that they might one day lead, protect and provide for their families one day.

Our teenage girl in the low-cut jeans and the painted on shirt needs to understand that our request for her to change doesn’t come from our prudish modesty standards, but comes from scripture. They need to know WHY their dress is inappropriate and what God is protecting them from.

EVERYTHING needs to be anchored in the foundation of God’s truth.

We need to model excellence to our children.
The righteous of the perfect shall direct his way (Proverbs 11:8) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way (Proverbs 13:6) “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham's children,” said Jesus, “then you would† do the things Abraham did. (John 8:39)

Ever hear the saying “Do as I say, not as I do?” There is a reason that is funny….because everyone knows that, unfortunately, that is not how it works. (If only it were that simple!) It’s a humbling experience to parent, because as our children grow, we can see our own sins and weaknesses’ in our children. Why? Because we have modeled it so well! *sigh*

When I struggle with impatience, it is easy to understand why my children will lack patience. If we loudly complain about EVERYONE else and what they are doing wrong, it’s no wonder our children end up with pride issues. Here is a big one that I see *ALL THE TIME*: if you lie to your child, you can expect no different from him! I know many parents don’t outright lie to their children. But so many times they lie without even realizing it…If we say we are going to do something, whether it is a promise (good) or a threat (bad), we had better follow through, otherwise we are LYING and our children will begin to understand that lying is sometimes acceptable “because Mama and Papa tell me all the time they are going to do something and then don’t.” (more on this one later)

This point really means that, despite our age, we are not through with discipline. We must have self-discipline and be growing in our faith and obedience toward God every day of our lives, even as adults. We ought to have a zero-tolerance policy on our OWN sins, because how can we expect our children to be holy when we are not? In doing so, we model to our children the determination and earnest desire to become MORE holy which is one of the best life lessons we could ever give them.


Guess that is enough to chew on for today! More to come another day!

(If you missed Part 1: Here it is)

Raising Abel, part 1

I have received several emails all asking similar questions of me; all hoping for me to share our take on child discipline and how we approach it. For weeks (and in some cases, months) you have been waiting for an answer. (Sorry all of you patient people~you know who you are…) All questions were geared toward different aspects of discipline so within this subject, I hope to address all of the specific areas you wanted to know about. (If I don't, let me know!)

It has taken me this long to broach the subject simply because it takes a very sensitive person to do so in a way that is not demeaning on the one hand or prideful. Basically, I didn’t want to put myself on the “my way or the highway” pedestal and I certainly didn’t want to appear as though my children behave immaculately all the time. They don’t. I also didn’t want to appear as though I have all my cards in order…I don’t. I am still learning day by day. We fail, often miserably, in our quest for true obedience to God, my family and I. Don’t think that because I am writing this series on discipline that I am in anyway excluding myself from learning from it right along with my readers.

Some people think we are far too strict with our children. Some people think we are too lax. (Never can please everyone, can you?) And sometimes, regardless of EVERYTHING, the children exercise their sin-factor at the most inopportune times. Overall though, we are happy with our increasingly-well-disciplined children and confident that we are pleasing the Lord by having Godly discipline in our home. So, ya know, His opinion is the one that matters!

What I write about here is not exactly seasoned advice, at least not coming from MY lips~ but rather what WE do, why it works for us and how we came about to do it. I will say though, that our structure for discipline in the home is gleaned from a VERY seasoned source, the Bible. Relatively speaking, I am at the beginning of the parenting journey. (Although I will say, I likely have tremendously MORE experience than those specialists-with no children- who give us advice from parenting magazines…)

No, not-quite seven years on this parenting road is not exactly cross-country in the grand scheme of things…I have not yet had teenagers, I haven’t had the privilege of holding grandbabies, I haven’t even gotten into puberty yet. (Thank goodness.) I am under the opinion, however, that the formative years are the most important for setting up groundwork for an entire lifetime. You can really make or break your child in these early years. You can have it relatively easy or make the coming years VERY hard on yourself, all contingent upon how obedient you are as parents in these early years.

I have a six year old, three year old, and a one year old. And I am pregnant---and that fact doesn’t worry me. I am not overwhelmed. I am not fearful of adding “another” to the clutch. I never feel like pulling my hair out (well, VERY rarely). I think that whole “terrible two’s” bit is a crock and I do not expect or live in fear for those coming “rebellious” teenage years. I think those things alone say an awful lot about “how we are doing”. So take my advice or leave it, but in and among the advice I share are references to places that I ask you NOT to overlook~ Scripture. It is amazing how aptly covered this topic is in the Bible and how accessible, if you are willing.

I am putting myself out there (here, actually), because I am passionate about what I see pervading families-even among the Church. It is disheartening to see the fruits of our neglect (or, in some cases, ignorance) of godly parenting. My hope is primarily to answer the questions and offer support and encouragement to those who were curious about “our way”. I may be young myself, but I can certainly be considered an “older woman” to some. If these posts serve any other purpose for any of those other individuals (young or old) that just happen to read it, then to God be the glory.

I am wordy about all sorts of things~ from silly things like birthdays to soapbox-worthy discussions (it’s my nature) so I will be breaking this topic up into a few posts.

Here ends incredibly wordy (see? told ya!) disclaimer.


Discipline looks different in every home because people are different in every home. I would hope, however, that a lovely golden thread of consistency is woven into the tapestries of Christian homes. After all, we have a Guidebook that says an awful lot on the subject of child discipline. Unfortunately, the Christian homes of the day are ever looking similar to our worldly counterparts, and the differences are slowly becoming obsolete.

I know I am likely not going to make any friends with this series on discipline. In fact, unfortunately, what I write is going to illicit a lot of squirming and likely, hate-mail. (I HATE hate-mail.) But again, somewhere along the line we have lost touch with reality. We think it is normal for our kids to walk the OTHER direction when we call their names, to outright refuse with a vehement “NO!” our requests, to get mouthy with us when we ask them to change their inappropriate clothes or to raise a bunch of little liars. We think it is a fact of life to have rebellious teenagers and to be treated with rolling eyes and back talking mouths. The truth needs to be said, no matter how painful it is to hear.
Let me be clear…these things are NOT normal. What’s worse?!

They are OUR fault.

More to come another day...

PS. Any questions in the comments from these posts will be answered directly in a question post at the end of the series. Feel free to leave them, though I can't promise I will know the answer! :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010


Yesterday was the worst day ever. Well, not ever, but pretty darn horrible.

** I dropped off my sewing machine to be repaired on January 15th. They (finally) called yesterday morning to tell me it was ready (ABOUT TIME!). I immediately told Matt and begged him to pick it up, which he did, and brought it home. I sat down eagerly to work at her (I missed her so!) and my many projects on the burner (so to speak) only to find that she was never FIXED. Over $120.00 (!!!) and almost THREE months (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and she still wasn't fixed!!! Needle stills clanks into metal once past the bobbin plate. I called the company and they told me to bring her in again. ugh. It was like a firework that made it to the sky only to come back crashing to the earth. It was like euphoric suicide. Trust me, it was bad. I think I moped the rest of the day.

*** On top of that~ I was reminded yesterday (by my sister and Mom) that my son has a birthday on TUESDAY. OF NEXT WEEK. (That would be four days away, my friends, and over an already busy weekend to boot!) I felt (feel) like the worst mother in the world, for forgetting about a birthday. WHAT MOTHER DOES THAT?!?!

My mind has been so consumed with all the *stuff* going on and on EASTER, that I completely forget that my Panda Cowboy is turning four. FOUR. And, fitting his obsession with cowboys, I was going to make him leather chaps and a fancy shmancy hobby horse and a lasso...and there is NO way I will have time for all that (or even SOME of that).

His birthday cake, I was told last night, must include a cowboy with a lasso, holding a pistol who is shooting a rattlesnake while the horse has a rifle in its' pack. Figure that one out.
It's official, I am the world's worst mother.

**** Foto Friday was a bomb and a half for me this week.

***** Some days I feel totally fat and huge, other days I wonder if Smooch is still okay and growing. I am so schizophrenic it scares me.

****** Two things that happen to me when I get pregnant: my insecurities quadruple AND I have nightly nightmares. Not a combination I am fond of. Matt has cheated on my about 10 different nights now, in a row. (IN MY DREAMS, people. The man is the most devoted guy I know, which is why this is all so baffling.) Baffling, but very emotional.

******* There are clothes on the line right now. With SNOW on them.

******** The basement is empty of wood and the fire is pretty much gone. brrrrr. (another weekend project.)

********* The HEALTHCARE bill passed. ?!?!?!?!?!

********** I am REALLY cravings onion rings. Lots and lots of onion rings. In barbeque sauce. In southwest sauce. In ketchup. In cheese. In all of those things at once. And I wonder why I gain 40-50 pounds during pregnancy...

OK. I guess that is about it. There are lots of good things (and sweet things, and funny things, and blessed things) happening around here too (to be written about some other time), but I just didn't want to talk about them right now. I felt like complaining.

In order to make up for that, here are a few lions and lambs to elicit forgiveness and goodwill from those of you who endured this depressing post.




...happy thoughts....


much better.....

Foto Friday: SPRING

I am the biggest Foto Friday LOSER this week. I was *THIS* close not to posting any photos of my own at all because I had NOTHING to offer (though I had GREAT plans!).

All but the bird photos were taken after lunch and before rest today, about an hour ago, hence this late posting. (SORRY!)

This post is photo heavy, but not because any are extraordinary....in fact, there isn't an extraordinary one in the bunch.

Oh well. You win some and you lose some. I *DID* promise to NOT post a single photo of plants beginning to grow so you can be sure I didn't even bother with that!!

Why I wasn't happy with this weeks' outcome?

*I wanted to photograph SPRINGS (literally) but never got to it. I was going to buy a slinky and see what I could do with that. Slinkies are springy and would have made a fun subject.

*I had several other ideas in mind: MARCH coming in like a LION which was rushed, April Showers which never even happened, and buying the letters S.P.R.I.N.G and using them in a photo including all the children which didn't happen either. poo.

*I wanted to photograph a robin (the epitome of spring, in my book) but I was hoping to catch one in the grass while I was lying in the grass in order to make a straight-on perspective (with grass and robin in focus and background blurred). Try getting up close to a robin though. You can't exactly lure them with seed. SHEESH. These were the best I could do....and I am shocked they were in focus....

I am in the mood to critique-so this is me, critiquing my own work....

(REMEMBER: a good critique contains both positive AND negative and is meant to BETTER yourself. I am not being too hard on myself, just trying to get better. Self-critiquing is a useful tool and should be used often. Try it sometime!)

Critique: I have learned that when photographing birds, the eye ought to be in focus. If you can get the eye, you can capture the essence of the creature. (Thanks, Els!) I was happy with the eye being in focus. I wish, however, I could have been closer to the subject. The concrete would have been nice to be blurred with the wood and the bird still sharp. I could do without the junk on the right.

Critique: I think it is miraculous that this photo is in focus. I might have put the bird just SLIGHTLY more toward the center, if I had been thinking of it. It might be TOO far over to the right side. I love how vibrant his breast is.

This is a cornfield that happens to be flooded, another sure sign of spring here in the North. I drove past this on my way to a get-together and was late because of it. (oops)

Critique: I had to turn around the car to come back to this scene because I wasn't swift enough on my feet to pull over. In doing so, I misjudged where the flock of geese was and had to travel a ways to get to them (on foot). Unfortunately, they saw me and got far from me ASAP. Had I climbed the ridge right where they were, I would have gotten up much closer to them which would have made the image much more powerful. You almost can't even SEE the geese in these photos, and certainly not the fact that it was a whole FLOCK (over 20). I do like how the corn stalks were in focus, my hope was to portray that it really was a cornfield and not just some random lake.

This scene was to represent the mantra MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION AND OUT LIKE A LAMB.

It was rainy yesterday and bitter cold today so it wasn't pleasant being outside on the only days I had available to take some time to do this shot. And since I had to get this post up sometime this afternoon, I had to do it right smack dab at noon. None of these turned out as I had hoped.

Critique: I like the concept. A LOT. I like the subjects A LOT too! ;-) (How CUTE are their noses?!) I DO NOT like the crazy brightness/shadows that are produced outside in the middle of the day. I would have liked to do this shot about 4:30/5:00 when the sun is not so harsh but the lighting is still nice. This would have helped make the light consistent. I also would have liked to work more on the background, it's too cluttered in my opinion. Grass alone, perhaps? Ideally, it would certainly not contain a gnarly, naked appletree, power lines, and bits of snow all over the ground. I likely would have taken more time to get "what I wanted" if it wouldn't have been so COLD outside. brrrrrrrrr.

(Andrew was trying his VERY BEST to get a reaction from Adele' but she knows her brother and only laughed. It was pretty funny to watch, though!)


I bought these headbands with an awesome idea in mind including ALL the children (it WILL come, sometime) which never actually happened this week. I took a few of Corynn anyway, for kicks.

Critique: This girl is a hard one to get natural in front of the camera. She reminds me of myself. Any face that isn't weirdly contorted in some way is a successful shot. I like this shot. I can't think what I would do different.

Critique: can't really tell she is wearing a flowerpetal hat. Not sure how I could have done it different, though, given my limitations (not being outside, low light except near a window, a messy bed that I didn't want in the background...)

Critique: to me this photo portrays the yearning for good weather, but it not quite being there. I wish, overall, that it were lighter (the bed in the foreground and the walls). The molding out to have been centered too, framing the subject, instead of being cut off on one side. I like the sparkles her shirt made in the sunshine though...sorta magical. :-)

Alright. That was sorta fun, critiquing my work. Maybe sometime that will be a challenge! ;-)

Now, this post is already late enough. No more jibberjabber. Let's see what YOU did for SPRING:

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge WITHIN the challenge week and post it/them to your blog. When you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! (Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

Please do not post a link to your blog if you are not actually participating (this has happened!) It will be deleted, I check all the links.

For those of you new to this blog (or to Foto Friday's in general), each Friday we get a new photo challenge to work on for the week and we post our photos the next Friday and link back up here. Whatever your skill level, the goal is to get behind your camera and to begin, as you practice, to view subjects in a different light. To extend yourself and your concepts and ideas. To create ART instead of just snapping a picture. And to do it all while having FUN.

This week's challenge is EGGS. (We will get back to the colors theme soon. Promise)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The girlie is finally walking more than crawling now, but even with all her practice indoors, the rough terrain of outside is frustrating for her. Which stinks (for her) because any free moments of sunny days we have are spent outside. In comes Radio Flyer walker, an extraordinary gift back when people thought we were only having one child (HA!) that keeps on giving to each child we have.

She loves it for roaming about (even in grass) and I love it for not having to carry her everywhere.

It has found a new use recently, one that I hadn't exactly anticipated. When said girlie gets TIRED of walking, an older brother or sister plop her inside of it and takes her for a ride...

FULL THROTTLE. And when I say FULL THROTTLE, that is precisely what I mean.

Running as fast as their legs can carry them, panting along driveway, in grass, whatever, with their bouncy cargo laughing away.

I would have been petrified of going that fast as a baby, methinks. In fact, I am a wee bit petrified of watching it happen as a grown up.

Whoever came up with the name Radio Flyer hit the nail right on the head.

Because BOY, can she fly!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Foto Friday: GREEN

I am the lazy mother who is too busy preparing for Easter to actually take time out to do any leprauchaun-y type things, so my little tribute to those Irish lads and lassies was this weeks' theme....GREEN. Turns out, mid-march in PA isn't exactly conducive to GREEN. I actually, kinda STINK at it. (SHOULDA celebrated St. Patricks Day after all!)

Here we go, anyhow:

I *DID* celebrate with a Shamrock Shake, however! Does that count?! *slurp*

We have literally NOTHING living around here except these bitty buds from my hydrangea plants I brought into the potting shed (and covered with upturned pots) last fall. I can't tell you how I hope these things will bloom this year. Toes and fingers all crossed. Legs and elbows too. AND eyes.

I am finding it more and more challenging to come up with fresh (extraordinary) photos to match that weeks' challenge. As soon as the challenge is announced, I automatically think back to some great shots in the past I have taken that would qualify and RARELY find an opportunity during that week to find something worthwhile pertaining to the challenge. Is this just me?

For the fun of it, here are a few photos that just SCREAM green to me (from my archives...)

Seeing GREEN, anyone?

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge WITHIN the challenge week and post it/them to your blog. When you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! (Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

For those of you new to this blog (or to Foto Friday's in general), each Friday we get a new photo challenge to work on for the week and we post our photos the next Friday and link back up here. Whatever your skill level, the goal is to get behind your camera and to begin, as you practice, to view subjects in a different light. To extend yourself and your concepts and ideas. To create ART instead of just snapping a picture. And to do it all while having FUN.

Since this week is the FIRST WEEK OF SPRING (!!!!!!), how about we do a SPRING theme?! Yes? YES! Let's see how well we can represent SPRING.

The Artist Within

Monday and Tuesday of this week I took care of a little boy, very spontaneously, as emergency childcare.

At one point, I came into the room and saw this:

Which reminded me very much of this:

The Boy Who Loved to Draw.

(If you haven't read the book, you really need to. It is great. Quaker boy discovers incredible talent at a very young age (a talent which questions his family's' beliefs), learns to make paint out of dirt from friendly Indians and begins making paintbrushes from his cat's fur until the poor thing is splotched and nearly naked.

I am hoping to have this be our next family read aloud:

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin

So I have taken to calling her Benjamin West.

Corynn has been on a drawing kick for ages now, but ever since Monday it has been kicked into full-throttle. The girl wants to be an artist, I tell ya. And she IS, she IS!

After the above portrait was made, she proceeded to draw portraits of the whole family. SMOOCH included (yellow sheet).

I realize you can't really see the actual drawings well from the above photo...the point is that they are EVERYWHERE. If you want a close-up, here is one of Matt.

(for the record, that magnet is SO true. I love him from the top of his heart-shaped head to his right-sided tear ducts. I tease (on here), but please know, I am very impressed that she even DREW tear ducts.)

The next day, she drew about a half dozen more pieces of art. I will spare you most, but here are a few favorites:

Despite the size of the photos, the actual drawing was very small. The people were about two inches high and the cat was smaller than my thumbnail, so she really had to have a steady hand when drawing this one.

I saw her sitting outside on the front step for a while there and didn't know what she was doing. I figured she was enjoying the warm sunshine. Instead, I find out, she was studying the rooster.

I love how she diagrammed the "important" stuff like FOOD. She tells me she also wanted people to know that chickens don't have almondy shaped eyes like people, but that they are just CIRCLES.

My personal favorite was the spurs, though. I must admit.

All of the above drawings were made within a two day period. So you see my dilemma? Which is why I am saving some in photograph form, for posterity (and so we don't get buried alive in papers....) Just to forewarn you: Grandparents and friends...be prepared to be inundated with artwork! ;-)

And one last one, done a month or so ago: The Flood

That's Noah and one of his sons on the right, another son on his left and his wife, holding a basket of food.

Noah and the Ark is not a cutesy story but the most horrendous punishment and tragedy of all time, the import of which is lacking in most of the childrens' versions. I always try and make sure the children understand how dire a situation it really was, and how tragic.

We have devoted our Bible time recently to Dinosaurs, Extinction and the Flood through this book:

After looking at Corynn's drawing, it seems to me there are some real elements of understanding scratched on there. There is death portrayed (sad, drowning women in bottom) and volcanoes erupting (left hand side) and fire (upper left) but still the picture of redemption (the dove).

Seems my 6 year old did a better job portraying the event than half the childrens' books on the subject.

I have been meaning to start this book with the children for AGES (we have an older copy) but never have gotten around to it (read: made it a priority). I have heard great reviews about it. It seems, given this surge of interest, now is the best time yet to begin...

Another great artistry book that I have borrowed several times from the library and WILL get for our OWN library some day is this:

It is really fabulous and would be a great resource to have at home.

We have never really done the whole Easter Basket thing, but I think I might have to surprise Corynn with a newly crisp sketchbook, just because. An artist can't be using LINED paper, ya know. :-)

Now-anyone have any art suggestions for me? I'd appreciate any links, suggestions, recommendations, good books, etc. you have to offer on the subject! Leave 'em in the comments section (please) for everyone to see.

Inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Math Games

I have really really wanted to post more of our home educating stuff lately, in fact, I have even toyed with the idea of making a separate blog about it to keep it all...organized. But if I rarely get a chance to post the things ANYWAY, why start ANOTHER blog?!

My intentions are good. We do a lot of neat stuff during our days and I would like to record it (and very soon will be required to). I have to work on that. If I can get to the point of recording things well, maybe THEN I can consider a separate space/blog devoted just for it.

Until then, all you non-home educators are going to just have to muffle through these homeschooling posts somehow! ;-)


Two math games from the last few weeks:

No reading required. Can be played alone or with two players starting at opposite ends of board. Can accomodate several different skill levels.

Objective: to get your guy/gal to the other side first, using math concepts such as counting, adding, subtracting, multiplication and division (depending on age group).

Andrew plays the game with one die and counts that number. For him it is about number recognition, counting, following instructions, and taking turns.

Corynn plays a more difficult version. She rolls two dice and subtracts the lower number from the higher and moves THAT amount. (Can also be used for addition-though the object should be to go across the board and back again, in that case, since the number of spaces moved will be much higher.) The object for her is to practice working out math skills like subtraction and addition in her HEAD, making the concepts more abstract. It also gets her nose out of her mathbook and gets her learning without realizing it, always a good thing.

An even older option would be to move the number of spaces rolled after answering correctly multiplication/division problem flashcards.

If different skill-levels play at the same time, they ought to play the same "way" i.e. Corynn move the number shown on ONE dice. We learned this the hard way, after Andrew had made it across the board before Corynn even got a quarter of the way through it just because her subtraction answers were so much smaller than his rolls! :-)

I used my circle punch to punch a bunch of circles and made a road across two sheets of black construction paper attached to one another. Then, I made some "obstacles" and some "opportunities". The children helped illustrate these.

Obstacle One: Stone wall (Go back ONE)
Opportunity One: Good Weather! (Move ahead ONE)
Obstacle Two: WATERLOGGED (Move back TWO spaces!)
Opportunity Two: Find Food! (Move forward THREE spaces)
Obstacle Three: QUICKSAND (Move back THREE spaces)

They also made themselves game piece "people" from a wooden bead glued to a button.

(It is good to allow the children to participate in the creating process too---you know they want to, it will give them pride (and more excitement in actually playing it) and by doing so, you are helping to nurture the creative process in their own minds too. Who knows, they might be creating board games on the side afterwards!)

I placed the paper pieces where they ought to be and Corynn glued them all. I wanted to laminate the game but had run out of laminating sheets, so I used up the last of our clear CONTACT paper. Not nearly as pretty as laminated, but it should hold up well enough.

It has already been well-used, and I have never even had the opportunity (yet) to suggest playing it; they have beat me to it.

Objective: practice math concepts like halves, quarters, eighths as well as introducing FRACTIONS through play.

While bookwork was being done one morning, I decided pizza making would be fun for the children and could be educational too. I traced a small dinner plate on tan construction paper (twice since both Andrew and Corynn made their own), a slightly smaller and less perfect circle out of red (for sauce) and slightly smaller and jagged circle out of white (for mozzerella). The children shouted out their favorite toppings and I cut up a bunch.

After bookwork (which went by incredibly fast that morning for SOME reason, hehehe) I gave the children both glue sticks and told them to have at it. My goodness these children love glue. They made their own pizzas, just how they liked them.

Then, we cut them up into equal portions (eighths) while discussing it. We laminated all the pieces.

Then, we played pizza party.

"How much pizza would you like?"

"Oh, two-eighths please." Wait! That is a QUARTER of the pizza!

"Could you cut the pizza in half, please?"

"I would like 7/8s of the pizza please..." "NO WAY!" ;-)

They had fun during the creative process, the learning process and the playing process. And now they have PIZZA for their play kitchen too! ;-)