Saturday, July 14, 2007
Phillipians 2:14-15 tells us, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe"
If I'm reading this correctly, and I think I am, as I do all things, everything, without complaining and grumbling and arguing I become blameless before God. I become pure before God. I am without fault and shine like a star in God's eyes. Wow. Who knew that registering complaints was such a big deal? I mean, there are so many, many things we can find to complain about each day - things to complain about with our children, our husband, our house, our help, our lives.
Yet, it appears that if we button up our lips, we find ourselves in the midst of the amazing blessing of being in the center of God's will for our lives.
1 Corinthians 10 tells us how important complaining is to God as Paul describes what happened to the children of Israel, "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not set our hearts on the evil things they did." "Do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel."
Interestingly, the list of offenses were such things as fornication and idolatry, along with complaining. Yikes. God puts complaining right up there with the biggies.
I'm convinced. Now to convince my kids. We need to make it a family motto, a group effort to cease all complaining. The kids need to stop with the "Why did you put so much peanut butter on my sandwhich?" I need to stop with the, "The electrician said he would be here between 8 am and 5 pm and I have to wait here all day. Ugh. I just can't believe this. I had so many things planned for the day."
We are told, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thes 5:18
God's will for me! If anyone ever asks you what God's will is - here it is! LOL! So, I'm to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Even thanking Him for things that seem negative or bad. With Peter, I cry, "Lord! Increase my faith!"
My response would then be, "The electrician needs me to stay here all day. Thank you, Lord. You are in control and I'm going to trust that I'm supposed to be home for a reason."
Do all things....I hope it doesn't take long for God to transform me into a grateful, thankful, uncomplaining person. I'll give Him a week. LOL. How I wish it were that easy!
Lord, place a guard over my lips. Make me sensitive to your Holy Spirit and any attitudes of my heart that are not pleasing to you. Sanctify the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart. May me and my children have thankful hearts, hearts that are not displeased and easily annoyed. Remind me to give thanks in all circumstances. When I'm about to complain, remind me to give thanks instead. Lord, cause our walk to be blameless and pure. It's only through Your power that we can be thankful and not complain. For it is through You, and You alone, that I can overcome the desire to complain about the inconveniences or wrongs I suffer - I'm too weak and fleshly - You are able to work in me your good purposes. I surrender my tongue, my mouth, my thoughts, my attitudes to You.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I got this question on narration from my last post: “my oldest is going into first grade and is reading probably at a second grade level. one of my goals this coming year is to establish the habit of narration. how should i schedule it. should i pick a book (like aesop fables) and have him narrate from it once a week. or do i have him narrate from everything we read? and how do i keep our reading times from becoming tedious by all the narrations required. requiring too many narrations or requiring a paragraph by paragraph narration of a book can become tiring.
thank you for any tips!”
I don’t advocate using extensive narration with a kindergarten or first grader. They are naturally interested in telling their stories at that age. I informally asked them to relate what they learned to me. I didn’t make a big deal of it; it was an unserious conversation.
My older children (13, 11 and 9) are now avid narrators, able to tell me all that they have read and learned in great detail, in an orderly and logical manner. However, we slowly developed the habit of narration over a period of years.
I began when they were in about second grade, having them narrate from paragraphs I read to them (Aesop’s fables are great as well). We did this a couple of times a week. I recommend you schedule it into the week – ‘lest you forget, as we did for months on end.
When they were able to read well, instead of answering comprehension questions on their reading, I would have them tell me what they read. A simple but valuable exercise. We utilize Narration to ascertain our child’s understanding of a subject/book. Again, I had to put it on a little schedule so that it became a part of our day. They knew that when they completed their reading, they would have to tell me about it. This required that they pay attention to the selection. One of my children (dyslexic) said it made reading really stressful, knowing he was going to have to understand and explain it to me. However, it helped him a great deal in the end. He didn’t just skip over passages and skim the selections. It truly develops the habit of attention. Charlotte Mason says, “Attention is simply the act by which the whole mental force is applied to the subject at hand. The act of bringing the whole mind to bear.”
This is such an important skill for children (and adults) to master. If they know they have to narrate, they will learn to pay attention to what they are reading. Now, I don’t require narrations when they are reading for pleasure – although I do ask them to tell me about the story in a casual way because I’m interested.
Remember that narration has potential for great reward.
Develops Thinking Skills - logical ordering, sorting and reasoning
Enhances Listening Skills – They learn to pay attention during read alouds or lectures
Enhances the Habit of Attention – They pay attention when they are reading as well as when they are listening to reading
Develops Oratory Skills – Extraneous words such as, “uhm” and “like” are eliminated
Gives Child Opportunity to Teach - As they tell another what they have learned, they become the teacher
Transmits Ownership of Learning to the Child – Once a child has told another what they have learned – they own the knowledge.
Translates to clearly thought out compositions – A child that can orally narrate with clarity, can write with clarity.
Increases Retention – They’ll remember what they have been required to remember and retell.
Narration in Action
Begin at age 7 or 8 with small sections (read small section and have them orally narrate it).
Ask questions to prompt their memory.
Slowly increase narration selection (This is all oral until about 12 years old.)
As they mature, begin asking for written narrations.
Narration becomes composition in high school.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I've been putting detailed plans into an excel file for the kids to follow on their own. As Jay Ryan says in his fabulous blog post, our goal is to teach our children to be...oh! what was that word again?... hold on, I'll go check.
...I'm back. The word is autodidacts (self learners). I didn't realize there was such a highbrow word for how I teach. Anyway, I compile the plan and meticulously outline it in excel for them to follow on their own. Once it's all outlined for them, I simply facilitate the process and make sure they are reading and doing by asking for narrations and looking over their work.
Of course, there are some subjects I have to teach - and some subjects I love to teach - but as a general rule, my readers will read to learn most of their subjects and then teach me what they learned by narration (That way I still get to learn what they learned, but I learn through their narrations).
This will also be the first year that the boys will read from several different history resources in one day. This is because their reading has just now blossomed. Narration will be the most valuable and necessary part of each day. Narration has finally become a habit! This habit was acquired because I actually put it in their schedule as something they had to check off after they checked off their reading. So, after reading from science or history, they would check off the work; then they would come, narrate their reading, and check that off too. Now it's an automatic habit to orate what they have read.
I begin every day with devotions, prayer and worship. I haven't picked our devotional book this year. Last year we read through and studied A Purpose Driven Life and A Life God Rewards for Teens. This year, I would like to do something by Henry Blackaby, such as Experiencing God.
I'll begin with my plan for the youngest (6), the 11 year old and then the oldest (13). I hope to have my 4th grader figured out soon.
1st Grade Plans
Monday she will go to Master's Academy of Fine Arts to do Art, Music and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme.
The rest of the week:
1. Saxon Phonics 1st grade (A great intensive phonics curriculum)
2. Math U See Beta
3. English for the Thoughtful Child (This will alternate days with copywork/dictation)
4. Copywork (I'm creating a copywork book just for her based on Scriptures I want her to know)
5. Dictation (Using same copywork book)
6. Mystery of History and several assigned historical fiction books to read and notebook.
She loves to cut and paste, so I may get some materials for her to make minibooks, lapbooks or something out of her learning in addition to notebooking. This will keep her occupied as the other kids work later into the afternoon.
We are doing a great job of overcoming dyslexia. I believe this will be a landmark year. I think we're going to finally say, "We got it!" when this year is up. We've made a lot of progress, and now that he can "see" the words correctly, it's time to go back and relearn phonics again. So, we'll be doing Saxon Phonics Intervention - which will reteach all that he missed when he was seeing the words upside down, inside out and backwards and driving me bananas because I thought he was just lazy.
On Monday he will attend Master's Academy of Fine Arts to do Art, Music and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme. He will also take a human anatomy art class on another day.
The rest of the week:
1. Saxon Phonics Intervention - this includes reading/spelling/grammar and writing.
2. Teaching Textbooks 6 - TT for the younger grades is very well done.
3. Copywork/Dictation - A vitally important component for overcoming dyslexia.
4. Latin - Lively Latin - I'm so excited about this! It looks so straightforward!
5. Science - we'll do another year of my science, Robotics and Computer Technology
6. The second half of the year, I plan to begin IEW with him if we have made the progress I hope with reading and spelling through Phonics Intervention.
7. History - Diana Waring's wonderful and highly recommended CD's along with some sprinklings of Mystery of History and a ton of assigned reading on Ancient History. He'll especially love any books that have war, battles and weaponry - I've got quite a few picked out. I'll list them if you want.
My three younger children will do the core of history together (Waring and Mystery), but they will all have different novels to read each day based on their reading level and interests. My oldest is entering high school and will be working to prepare for the CLEP tests. So her curriculum will center around the various CLEP, AP and DANTES tests we plan to take to get her a college degree early (so that she can be the only young professional ballerina with a college degree. LOL). She's technically supposed to be in 8th grade, but she's ready for high school in most every subject. So, we're counting it as the 9th grade year.
Everyday, she will be train for ballet 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night, except Monday when she will attend Artios (Master's Academy's art program for high schoolers).
1. Cambridge Latin (Plans to take the AP Latin exams as a 12th grader and this program is highly rated for preparing them to do well on these exams. I prefer Latin over Spanish because I don't speak Spanish.)
2. Writeathome.com Essay and Research Paper Workshops
3. Analytical Grammar (She'll do the full course in one year)
4. Cursive Copywork (She still prefers print, so I'm trying to intervene with this. I'm creating a cursive book just for her using Scriptures that are important to know.)
5. Literature and History - Sonlight Core 100 (This American History focus will help prepare her for the US History I and US History II CLEP exams this summer. I added Uncle Tom's Cabin to the list of books she'll read and we'll study other resources, including Rea's to prepare).
6. Algebra I - either using A Fresh Approach or Video Text. I'm leaning towards A Fresh Approach because it is SO well written and explains algebra better than anything I've seen. I am vacillating, though, because she is such an auditory learner and I know she would benefit from hearing someone teach the course. We'll begin with A Fresh Approach and if it works well, we'll stick with it. I'll report back on this.
7. Apologia Physical Science (She's not very interested in science except as it relates to the anatomy of ballet. Though in every other area she is working a year ahead, she'll do Apologia's 8th grade course and we'll probably count it as a high school credit. One day, she'll take the Natural Sciences CLEP & Biology CLEP. However, I will make her take Chemistry anyway because I think every kid must have chemistry in high school.
Okay, that's it! Now I need to figure out who the next Rockin' Girl Bloggers are!
Additionally, I've been having a total blast planning for next year's homeschool adventure. No matter how long I've homeschooled, choosing books, resources, videos, curricula, making schedules on excel, discussing options with the kids and finalizing their educational plans for the year never ceases to thrill me to the very bones. I'm a homeschool nerd, I admit it.
So, what are the plans for next year? I'll tell you as soon as I get back from the pool; the kids are standing around me in bathing suits with towels in hand, flip flops on, looking forlorn. I can't concentrate with their big eyes staring at me so.
When I return, I'll also give my five rockin girl blogger picks as well.