Friday, April 11, 2014

Homeschool and Mother's Journal Apr. 11

In my life this week:
Note: Though I tend to put a lot of links in these posts, none are affiliate. This is a personal, non-business blog.

My 12-year-old son Peter polished his flyers for his dog-walking business--$3 for a half-hour walk. Over the course of 3 non-rainy days he passed out all the flyers and each day, he's asked me if I've received any phone inquiries. He did the math and decided he would be wealthy enough to buy anything he wanted from garden nurseries to fuel his gardening hobby, if at least 10 people hired him to walk their dogs.

I cheered him on, silently wondering how husband or me could chaperone 10 different dog walks (something we would do until we trusted the dogs and their owners). Of course it seemed easier to say no, but neither of us had the heart to do that, nor did we think it was what God wanted.

I encouraged him to pray for God's blessing on his endeavor, and we asked the siblings and Daddy to pray with us. So far, no inquiries. I'm also praying that the Lord rewards my son's entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to work hard. No matter the outcome, I'm proud of him for casting a vision and following through. I told him that God would reward his work-ethic and follow-through.

I don't want our being low-income to define our children in any way, but I do feel fortunate that it requires them to use their head more since nothing comes easily.

Yesterday a Freecycle email came through about a tall plant shelf, presumably for keeping inside. I responded at my son's request, and the person who first expressed interest in it has not followed through and picked it up, so this morning we got an email asking if we're still interested. If it works out for us to pick it up before anyone else does (Freecycle is a first-come, first-served enterprise), I will know it's God's way of blessing my son's efforts.

Such shelves go for $45 or more in the stores, and we just can't buy my son all the gardening treasures his heart desires; one wouldn't think so, but gardening can be an expensive hobby if you want more than rows of vegetables.

It seems that in the homeschooled community there's a higher-than-average prevalence of entrepreneurship, and I have to wonder if it's because the kids are freer to develop into the person God created them to be, away from the peer pressures to be part of a cookie-cutter mold. Boys are pushed by the bullying types to be tough, non-serious about academics, and anything but geeky entrepreneurs. It's as though the bullies want all the boys to have average abilities/characteristics, because then the bullies won't feel threatened by classmates' talents or grades.

Girls are bullied too, of course, but when I taught first grade as a public school teacher, I didn't see this among the girls. Tough boys bullied more, at least at that age.

In our homeschool this week:

The boys, ages 10 and 12,  are learning so much about other cultures this year in Sonlight's Core F, and more about world poverty through some of the missionary books, including Teresa of Calcutta. It's so valuable for children to gain perspective regarding how 80% of the world lives (on less than $2.50 a day).

I'm so thankful that Sonlight put together this unusual Eastern Hemisphere package for homeschoolers. It would've been very time consuming for me to do such a thing myself, and would I have had a similar vision? I don't think so.

With each missionary book, 12-year-old Peter comes to me, sheepishly telling me he thinks God is calling him to be a missionary. Next, he exhibits stress and conflict because it doesn't go along with his deeply-felt desire to be a farmer. I have to wonder if it triggers some kind of OCD thoughts, because I finally have to say...let it go. The Lord is a God of order, not confusion, and he would never want us to stress about the future, which is in his mighty, gracious hands. I would love for Peter to be a missionary and/or a farmer, and I told him so. Maybe God will put together a way for him to help third-world farmers someday? That sounds like God, doesn't it?

Due to my son's condition, I have to choose my words carefully, always.

I gave the children their spring "Easter" buckets, full of candy, but no trinkets this year, because of the costs associated with our new dog. We give the buckets early to separate it from Easter Sunday and the spiritual meaning of Easter. Paul put together a graph of his candies, encouraged by me, since I knew he would enjoy doing it and the girls' math skills would benefit. I got him started by attaching candy wrappers to a large piece of paper, since the girls wouldn't know all the candy company names.

My children always conduct complicated trades whenever they're given candy. It's so amusing to watch, and 5-year-old Beth often gives much of her candy away for free. She likes plain chocolate and peanut buttery chocolate, thank you very much...not weird things likes Smarties.

All the children are spending more time outside, so no one is going ahead of schedule in their novels anymore. The pace has slowed on sunny days, which are few in Ohio.

My first grader is moving right along, doing writing, math, and reading every day, and some social studies and science weekly. The girls painted more this week, partially because of an inspiring library book I read. And with that...I'll share some trade books with you.

Trade Books to Share:

Painting the Wind, by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan

Painting the Wind

Overview: Children's Literature Review
From the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall comes a picture book that makes the reader want to pick up a paintbrush and start to paint all the things he sees around him. Through the eyes of a young island boy, we are introduced to the painters who invade his island for the summer. We see the painter of faces, landscapes, animals, and seascapes. As the little boy learns to take note of everything and everyone around him, he is finally able to do what he has been unable to do before, and that is to paint the wind. When he paints the bending trees as they lean against the strength of the wind, he captures the image that has eluded him. The illustrations here are beautifully done, as though the brush has just been laid down. This is a good story for a child who is quiet and introverted, to share with him an outlet for creativity. It will help the child who is noisy and rambunctious learn how to become an observer of life. 2003, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Publishers,
— Joyce Rice

After hearing me read this book, the girls were so excited about painting! They found it so inspiring and it even made me wish all the chores would go away, so I could just start painting.


Sweet Potato Pie by Kathleen D. Lindsey

Sweet Potato Pie

Overview: In the summer drought, the only thing that survives on seven-year-old Sadie's farm is the sweet potato crop. When the bank threatens to foreclose, Mama remembers the upcoming Harvest Celebration -- an ideal place to sell her sweet potato pies!At the Celebration, the kids do their part, shouting, "Pies for sale! Pies for sale! Sweet potato pies for sale!" When the General Store, the local restaurant, and the Sweet Shop place large orders, the family knows they’ve saved the farm. The book’s bold, colorful images and strong message of cooperation and family ties makes it a delight to read.
During a drought in the early 1900s, a large loving African American family finds a delicious way to earn the money they need to save their family farm.

This is a beautiful, inspiring book about the entrepreneurial spirit and family values. It features a simple sweet potato pie recipe at the end, which we will try tonight. I happen to have just the right number of sweet potatoes on hand.


A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding ( New in 2014)

A Gift for Mama

Publishers Weekly Review 12/02/2013
The beauty and rich culture of historic Vienna course through this sweet, circular story from Lodding (The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister), in which a boy strives to procure the perfect birthday present for his mother. Armed with a single coin, Oskar quickly finds his purchase—a yellow rose—in the middle of the street market. But before he can bring the lovely gift home, an artist asks Oskar if he’ll trade the flower for a paintbrush (“I can paint a picture for Mama,” says an amenable Oskar, “the perfect present!”). So begins a folktale-flavored chain of exchanges that eventually leaves poor Oskar empty-handed. Luckily, one of his kind deeds is rewarded just in time, bringing the story full circle. Colorful storefronts, elegant carriages, and a stately opera house depicted in Jay’s (The Cloud Spinner) earthy palette and crackle varnish help evoke an earlier century. Her stylized forms—along with spirited background appearances by a cat, fox, and runaway dog—underscore the vibrancy of city life. An author’s note about Vienna’s role in inspiring the book is included. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: The Organisation. (Mar.)

This story is charming, exuding kindness and warmth, and the illustrations are captivating. It's a good idea to have a map available when you read these social studies-themed books to children. It helps children place each book within a cultural and geographic context, and if you have a blank map, you can mark each place you've visited through trade books, even pretending you're taking a plane flight, or a ship, to the designated area.

I always say, if you have a good library available, you don't need to purchase a social studies curriculum for lower-elementary students. Living books are better!


Easter Buds Are Springing: Poems for Easter selected by Lee Bennet Hopkins, illustrated by Tomie de Paola

Overview: Hopkins has gathered a happy collection of poems which celebrates both the religious and secular aspects of Easter. Themes range from the rebirth of the spirit to the fun of Easter rabbits and Easter eggs, to the joys of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, to the reappearance of flowers in the spring.


Easter by Gail Gibbons


School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2 --This clear, simply-written explanation of the religious aspect of Easter is suitable for young children. Jesus' life and death are treated briefly but with enough detail to provide an excellent basic introduction to the subject. The crucifixion is shown from afar to soften its cruelty, and afterward the risen Jesus happily astonishes his followers. Next the symbols of candles and spring flowers lead logically into a discussion of the other aspects of the holiday, including Easter egg decoration, hunts, and baskets; Eostre, the spring goddess who gave the day its name; and the special Easter foods and clothes. The crisp ink and watercolor pictures have a naive simplicity that gives the Bible story and Easter customs warmth and appeal. Gaily colored, each is in a green frame with its enclosure broken by a stylized flower, candle, chick, bunny, or heap of decorated eggs. A short explanation of the special holy days such as Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday is given at the end. An excellent presentation of the Biblical events, done truthfully and with consideration for young children. --Patricia Pearl, First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, Va.


I Gotta Draw by Bruce Degen (author of Jamberry)


Publishers Weekly
Charlie Muttnik is known in his Brooklyn neighborhood as "the pup with the pencil." He's always drawing pictures in his chaotic household, where he lives with his mother, father, and older sister. But when Charlie goes back to school, his strict new teacher, Miss Rich (a smartly dressed cat), doesn't approve of Charlie's doodling in class. Miss Rich has a change of attitude, however, when she realizes that Charlie learns best through his pictures. So during a spelling lesson, Charlie is allowed to draw in the back of the classroom, as long as he spells the words out loud, and for a lesson on the solar system, Charlie draws and labels the planets. Degen, illustrator of the Magic School Bus series, conveys Charlie's spirited nature through his floppy ears, tennis shoes, striped T-shirt, and exuberant concentration as he draws. Comics-style panels mimic Charlie's visual interpretation of the world around him, with his own art integrated into the scenes. Readers who don't conform to a one-size-fits-all style of learning should welcome the message about creativity, classroom flexibility, and breaking the mold. Ages 5-9.

Again, my girls were inspired by this story and promptly got out our drawing books!



Paul, age 10:

~ I am thankful that it was sunny a few days this week, even though it's been raining for over a day now.

~ I made an obstacle course outside that was fun for jumping for my sisters and me.

~ for my Easter bucket candy.

~ for playing basketball outside with my brother.

Peter, age 12

~ birds

~ trees

~ God

~ walking my dog and hugging him

~ for the book I'm reading about Saudi Arabia called Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover

Mary, age 7

~ for God

~ for my Easter bucket candy

~ for library books and family movies from the library

~ playing sports with my brothers

~ playing with my sister

~ that our dog Rudy loves me and hugs me

Beth, age 5

~ for my Easter bucket candy

~ for my dog Rudy

~ for the library

~ for my dollies

~ for God and my family


~ I am thankful that hard days are just single days, and that every morning his mercies are new.

~ For the beautiful changes spring brings, slowly, so we're able to savor them.

~ For books read aloud, which always change the mood for the better here

~ For my husband's hard work and love

~ For a solid church family

~ For the hope of a thrift store trip tomorrow--something that relaxes me as I look for clothes for each member of the family for upcoming seasons. Hoping also to score some church shoes.

~ For Bible verses that speak directly to what I'm feeling

~ For my Life Application Bible, which helps me as I lead the children in morning devotions. We're in the book of Hebrews, which isn't always simple to explain.

Scripture to Share:

I experienced headaches and depression this week so I needed these verses, and maybe someone out there does too?

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear. I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:14)

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

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

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?


1 comment:

Beth said...

The plant shelf sounds like a great blessing. I trust that you will be able to find some clothing at the thrift store. Have a great week.