Sunday, February 2, 2014

Homeschool and Mother's Journal Feb 2

In my life this week:

We decided on some Bible study materials for our new adult Bible Study. We'll use Fruit of the Spirit 48 Bible Studies. We'll also read one missionary book about every 4 to 6 weeks, starting with David Platt's Radical. Radical is not your typical missionary book, but it's a nice start. I've wanted to read it for a couple years now. Thankfully, I found three good used copies to keep our costs down.

In a sign that God is with us on this, the books arrived on Friday, a day ahead of our first planned Bible study. Our first study went very well and I'm so pleased with our new community.

Fruit of the Spirit: 48 Bible Studies for Individuals or Groups  -     By: Phyllis J. LePeau, Jack Kuhatschek & Jacalyn Eyre

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream   -     By: David Platt

Peter's stomach virus lasted only 24 hours - another sign God is with us on the new Bible study. We didn't have to cancel and no one else got sick.

As I wrote last week, I've begun working out to the Weight Watchers Get Moving Mix DVD, recently found at a thrift store. I still love it! (And little Beth does too! :) I did it Mon-Wed-Fri this week, which is probably not enough to get totally fit, but on Saturday I do a major strenuous house cleaning, compared to my normal weekday maintenance cleaning. On weeks we don't have any doctor's appointments, I can hopefully work out five days a week.

This has been a busy blogging week, as I've helped spread the word about Compassion International's Ugandan Blogging trip. The bloggers are now are their way back home, and so far 243 children have been sponsored as a result of the trip, which is short of the 400-children goal. The number could still go up as people continue to spread the word. Please help? Use this link to encourage your readers to check out the trip and its posts and photos? Thank you!

We sponsored 14-year-old Sheila from Uganda this week! She showed up on my Compassion account just a couple hours later, enabling me to write my first online letter to her, which thrilled me. I wrote through tears. I tell you, when you click "sponsor me" next to a child's name, God puts a powerful love in your heart for your new "adopted" child. It's this God-given love, and the prayers and letters that arise from it, that change your sponsored child's heart and life. Even the founder of Compassion International, Wess Stafford, tells people, if you won't write a child, don't bother sponsoring at all. The letters are that crucial. Poverty tells a child he or she doesn't matter, and our letters counter that. Letters speak love, hope, encouragement into a child's heart.

And the letters? They change you, too. Sponsorship is a two-way blessing, and in fact, reaching one child can change a whole neighborhood, because with your sponsorship comes Jesus. Compassion does everything in Jesus' name - they always have and always will. Praise God! Even if you don't have the extra $38 a month, I encourage you to sponsor, and watch how fast God provides that $38 and more.

You can't afford not to sponsor, is my philosophy.

In our homeschool this week:

The boys are finishing up their Russia studies in Sonlight's Core F Eastern Hemisphere, and next week we move on to Central Asia and then India. They will read Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde, and Whatever Happened to Penny Candy (an Uncle Eric Economics book). Peter is done with Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, and Paul started it Friday. 100 Gateway Cities is a book about the 10/40 missionary window, which the boys read a page of 3 times a week. They're reading The History of Medicine in Sonlight Science (a fascinating book), as well as continuing in Food and Nutrition for Every Kid. Late next week they'll start reading William Carey, Obliged to Go (missionary to India).



Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde (World Landmark Books): Harold Lamb


Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling, author of Just So Stories and The Jungle Book, has lost favor with some academics and the politically correct. Like The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, Kipling's work has some culturally upsetting stereotypes that were indicative of the time (Just So Stories penned in 1902). I read some pretty angry reviews about his work, in addition to many glowing ones. Let me just defend him for a minute?

The British Empire was not always respectful of the natives it colonized - of this, there's no doubt. I admit to feeling irritated myself as I've read more about how the Eastern Hemisphere was affected by the British invasion (my irritation mostly related to the sale of opium to the colonized natives). The British Empire wanted profits, most of all. Did they harbor a superiority complex towards natives? Probably.

Rudyard Kipling, who wrote Just So Stories for a daughter ailing with pneumonia (tragically, she died), was a man of his time and a genius with words. These charming stories, which beg to be read aloud, still delight thousands of children and adults, and I believe they deserve an honored place in children's literature. I'm afraid I can't fault a man for being a product of his time, unless he is a Christian. Kipling wasn't. With God as one's spiritual compass, it's possible to amount to more than one's time. Thomas Jefferson had a 150 slaves, which I think makes him a man of his time (like Kipling, he was also a non-Christian). Should I despise him because of that and disregard all his contributions, including the Declaration of Independence? I don't think so.

As parents, we can't really let our kids loose with any book and expect the best possible results. We have to guide them through novels, understanding that authors have substantial influence over our children's minds.

There are versions of Just So Stories available without the offensive racial stereotypes, but when we choose those, we lose potentially good discussions about how to develop a moral compass that stands the test of time - something only possible through the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Whether we live in the 15th Century or in the 21st, God's Word guides us towards a righteousness that transcends our time.

Preschool and First Grade News: My girls are moving right along, making steady progress and mostly enjoying learning. Beth (5) has become quite the artist, as she uses our drawing books during audiobook time after lunch. Peter has a fine-motor delay and at five years old he was scribbling. When I look at Beth's work (she just turned five) I'm amazed, and it reminds me to pray continually for Peter. He's very bright, but he does resent how his siblings grasp some things easier than he does, like cursive, drawing, and typing. My husband, who also has a fine-motor issue, never learned to type, despite many attempts. Peter gets very angry during typing practice and I don't know what to do about that.

All the children still enjoy 10-minute quick write time, right after breakfast and morning devotions. The boys this week began asking me to set the clock for 20 minutes instead. "Mommy, ten minutes is just not long enough." That comment thrilled me to the core, but ten minutes is long enough for my 5- and 7-year-old girls, so the boys just keep writing after the bell rings these days. Both are writing fictional stories.

I will quickly post about my favorite library books this week:

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman (Fun, fun, fun!)

Tea Party Rules
Publisher Synopsis: When he follows his nose through the woods, Cub discovers a backyard tea party…with cookies! He is just about to dig in when the hostess of the tea party shows up. And she has several strong opinions on how Tea Party must be played. Cub tries to follow her rules . . . but just how much can one bear take, even for cookies?

A laugh-out-loud funny look at the required give-and-take of playtime, Tea Party Rules is an eventual friendship story that will delight grubby cubs, fancy girls, and cookie lovers everywhere.


Redwoods by Jason Chin
A very educational science trade book for all ages. So much more exciting than a textbook.


Publisher Synopsis:
An ordinary train ride becomes an extraordinary trip to the great ancient forests.

A subway trip is transformed when a young boy happens upon a book about redwood forests. As he reads, the information unfolds, and with each new bit of knowledge, he travels—all the way to California to climb into the Redwood canopy. Crammed with interesting and accurate information about these great natural wonders, Jason Chin's first book is innovative nonfiction set within a strong and beautiful picture storybook.


Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy by Phil Bildner (This is superb storytelling!)

Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy

Publisher Synopsis:
No one knew better than Shoeless Joe Jackson what was needed to become the best baseball player ever: a good bat. And no one knew more about bats than Ol' Charlie Ferguson of South Carolina, a good friend of Joe's. With love, nurture, and a lot of hard work, the two friends created Black Betsy — the finest bat in all the land. And with a bat the likes of her by his side, you can bet Joe went all the way to the major leagues!
Shoeless Joe Jackson, said by some to be the greatest baseball player ever, goes into a hitting slump just before he is to start his minor league career, so he asks his friend to make him a special bat to help him hit.


Emily by Michael Bedard


Publisher Synopsis: A young girl who lives across the street from the reclusive Emily Dickinson gets her chance to meet the poet when her mother is invited to play the piano for Emily. The girl sneaks up to Emily's room and exchanges a small gift for an authentic poem, which is included in the book.

When a mother and child pay a visit to their reclusive neighbor Emily, who stays in her house writing poems, there is an exchange of special gifts.

I had no idea that Emily Dickinson never left her house the last 25 years of her life. The author did a lot of research and apparently found this claim valid. How tragic!

Barbara Cooney is one of my favorite illustrators and she doesn't disappoint in this charming book.


The Long Red Scarf by Nette Hilton

The Long Red Scarf

School Library Journal's Synopsis: PreS-Gr 2-- A fresh story that vibrates with positive energy and that has a sweet, satisfying resolution. Grandpa loves the long, woolly blue scarf that his friend Jake wears on their fishing trips. He asks Great Aunt Maude to make him one, but she doesn't know how to knit. He asks pregnant Cousin Isabel, but she's too busy. In return for a dish of his homemade cookies, Izzy provides him with needles and yarn, and he knits the scarf himself. Now he and Jake can be found knitting an outfit for the new baby to wear when she'll come fishing with them. The story is quietly told with a rhythm that's calm and calming. There's repetition and a refrain to welcome and snare young readers.


Thomas Jefferson: Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maira Kalman

Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything

Publisher Synopsis:
Renowned artist Maira Kalman sheds light on the fascinating life and interests of the Renaissance man who was our third president.

Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known for writing the Declaration of Independence—but there’s so much more to discover. This energetic man was interested in everything. He played violin, spoke seven languages and was a scientist, naturalist, botanist, mathematician and architect. He designed his magnificent home, Monticello, which is full of objects he collected from around the world. Our first foodie, he grew over fifteen kinds of peas and advocated a mostly vegetarian diet. And oh yes, as our third president, he doubled the size of the United States and sent Lewis and Clark to explore it. He also started the Library of Congress and said, “I cannot live without books.” But monumental figures can have monumental flaws, and Jefferson was no exception. Although he called slavery an “abomination,” he owned about 150 slaves.

This is a fascinating book!

My Children's Favorite Things This Week:

~ Having our church friends over for a Bible study; the kids enjoyed the grandparent-like attention. They're really starved for that. We had dinner and fellowship first.

~ The kids also managed to play thrilling baseball in our playroom (family room) all week. It was frigid outside so they've been housebound. They manage to stay active, believe me. Gets on my nerves but I know it's necessary. They do make up the funniest games.

~ Peter is planning our garden and that always enthralls him. The siblings have been busy picking the flowers they want, too. So far their total is up to $50 at Don't know if Daddy will approve, but we'll see.

Gratitude List:

~ Community at our house in the form of Bible Study.

~ Our new "adopted" daughter Sheila and the thrill of writing that first letter.

~ My kids enjoying some surrogate grandparents.

~ My Mary reading two books to my friend Cheryl.

~ Miss Beth dancing for the Bible Study members and singing about Jesus all the while. It is true that the youngest children are the biggest hams. Statistically, they tend to go into entertainment fields or other fields where they can garner attention, whereas middle-borns usually go into service-oriented fields, like teaching, social work, or nursing, and the oldest pick responsible, but conservative leadership positions.

~ A happy home

~ God's comfort as experienced through the Word and through community.

~ Our weekly library visits

~ Two additional children at our neighborhood Children's Bible study

~ Stimulating, solid homeschool curriculum

~ Keeping up with the folding of clothes as we all enjoy an audiobook together.

~ Paul's brownies

~ Learning along with my children

~ A warm and loving husband

~ The privilege of discipling my children

Quote to Share:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

How was your week? What blessed you? Thank you for reading, friends.

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?


Becca said...

Thank you for sharing all those books; I just requested a bunch of them from our library.

Beth said...

It sounds like a good week. I have been thinking of you as I know the temperature there has been cold. We just out The Story of Holly and Ivy from the library which was illustrated by Barbara Cooney.