Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why Did You Do That? A Question Without An Answer

While cleaning house yesterday and vacuuming I began to think our lovable german shepherd, Roxie, was losing her hair. I kept finding tuffs of hair on the floor. When I moved a recliner to vacuum that's when I discovered the truth. There was a whole mound of hair hidden behind a basket.

I called to McLarin and I knew, as soon as I asked the question, what the answer was. After some hem hawing she came clean. Never did get an answer to my other question of, "Why did you do that?" I should know by now, after all these years of parenting that is a question that never gets answered. Asking a child that question is about as silly as believing the nurse when she says this won't hurt a bit.

So, we have an amateur barber for dogs living here, a dog who got a hair cut and doesn't care that she has a bad hair day, and I still don't know why the child did it. At least I found the dog hair and got it vacuumed up. I sure love this precious child and always will!

Our resident, amateur dog barber!

Roxie, the lovable dog who received the haircut!

It"s No Secret What The Lord Can Do

This week we have been having a relaxed week of school. We are in between unit studies.  I thought it was a good time to really get down to the nitty gritty of teaching why kindness and manners, empathy and compassion matter.

 I once heard a woman, who's name I have forgotten, speak at our church during a women's luncheon on sharing the gospel. I forgot her name, but I have never forgotten her message. The most important thing I took away from her message that day was this. People don't want to hear what they should or shouldn't be doing. They want to hear how the gospel has made a difference in YOUR life. MY life and how has the Lord made a difference?

I have a life that at times even I sometimes think sounds like a soap opera. On my own I would never have been able to get through these situations. I don't have a perfect life or even an easy one and many things I have gone through I would never have chosen. But, because I have went through them I have been able to reach out to others going through similar situations in a way that I never would have been able to before.

I have a  deeper understanding and compassion and my eyes have been opened to see hurting hearts and when another is aching and broken inside. I do believe the Lord heals and binds up our wounds, even our spiritual and mental ones. I also believe he uses others to come along side the heartbroken and help them move forward.

Ecc 4:10 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 

Yes, woe to him who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Grief can be consuming and a grieving individual with no one to help or care or have a loving hand extended is much more susceptible to depression and prolonged grief. I'm not saying there is a time table to grief either. I am saying lifting another up can help them move forward instead of being stuck in their grief.

Those who are hurting spiritually can be hard to get near and that is why kindness and manners, empathy and compassion are so important. They are important all the time, but especially when someone is hurting, grieving feeling alone.  

When my first husband died I wasn't in church. I had no relationship with the Lord and yet I turned to him. I've asked myself over the years why did I turn toward the Lord when so many turn away during times of crisis and grief? I think , for me, the answer was I had a friend who cared enough to call and keep calling and checking on me. She wasn't a friend at the time, but she became a very good friend over many months. When others forgot or turned away or my grief became something others felt should be over she kept coming back and lifting me up. In the beginning she didn't know me from Adam, but she saw that I was hurting and she was always there and she kept being there. I can tell you it did make a difference.

Over time she led me to the Lord. If she had turned away or forgotten my grief, if she hadn't kept lifting me up when I was down I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Because she made a difference in my life, years later I have been an influence in my daughter in laws life. I think it's important to note that by lifting one person up we never know how far reaching that will be. How many lives will be touched and effected by reaching out to one. Sometimes living our faith in  our lives touch more lives than we could ever imagine. God worked through a stranger who became a friend to reach me!

I found this movie on netflix and it had such a message of kindness, compassion, empathy and expressed manners so well that I want to share it. It's a bit of a tear jerker, but I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Watching this will definitely be  part of our school day today. Hope it blesses you as it did me.


The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry 2009 Official Trailer

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Easy Fall Days And Teaching Kindness Because It Matters

This week for school we are between unit studies and are concentrating on math and reading and fun. What that means is we are playing lots of educational games, reading and snuggling on the couch, eating tons of popcorn, cooking together, going on nature walks and crafting.

I know from experience that taking breaks and having a week ever so often so we can finish projects and concentrate on areas that need a little extra boost keeps me sane. It also keeps me from feeling the burnout. I used to try to get all of our schoolwork done by noon. It stressed me out and was ridiculous. Now we start later in the morning so the kids chores are all finished, breakfast is over, they are dressed and we aren't interrupted. We also have school all day and don't rush. If something isn't finished we know tomorrow is another day.

Below are some of the things we've done this week.

Made a sight word game and called it Word Splat.

                             We've practiced the days of the week and months of the year.

    We've made reading sticks to practice reading. 

    Sight Word Chant Sticks to work on more sight words.

    Google Eyed sticks out of popcicle sticks to help with reading and spacing when writing. 

     Made Sticker Sight Words to help with spelling.

     Pringles Can Math Manipulative to work on division, multiplication etc.

      Used this printable Life of Fred  poster to help when doing Life Of Fred.

We've also worked on letters of the alphabet with our youngest. This week we are working on the letter F. To help with learning ordinal and cardinal numbers we have played the game Trouble with our preschooler. She picked it up so fast we were amazed.

One area we are working on this week is manners and kindness. Things have gotten a little overly busy around here and I sensed the beginning of a spirit of ill will that I wanted nipped in the bud. Our youngest was beginning to say she hated this or that when frustrated and I didn't want that attitude to take root.  Her older sister was beginning to antagonize the situation at times and I certainly didn't want that to become an ingrained habit. It's easier to prevent a bad habit than to break one after it's formed!

I found the idea for a Kindness Chain on Pinterest and decided to adapt it for our use in our home. There are many more good ideas on this teachers blog.

In addition to the kindness chain idea I also found an idea for a Kindness Car on Pinterest. Every time a sibling does something nice for another sibling they place the Kindness car on the bed or dresser or where ever they did a kind deed. Since we have two girls still at home I decided we should use a Kindness Doll instead.  There is a large gap in age, but I don't think that will matter. Maybe I should have used a horse since they are both horse crazy!  I really like this Frugal Fun For Boys blog and her ideas!

These are a few of the things we have been up to this week. Hope this blog post and what we are doing blesses and helps you in your own homeschool adventure.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Take a Nature Walk With Your Child

The Great Outdoors, Time For Nature

This week we have gotten close to nature. In fact we have taken three nature walks with the girls and gathered many leaves, branches, nuts, vines and more. The highlight of this week was making nature wreaths with the things we gathered. The girls loved it and they also loved making plaster casts of animal tracks. We have slowly begun making a nature exhibit in our home with all the things we collect on our walks. Our latest find was a skull from a white tailed deer. It's amazing the things children learn just from observing things like this.

A few of the books we used.

Identify that leaf!


On top of a tall hill on our property.

A stately old cottonwood tree.

Some of the flora and fauna we saw on our nature walk the other day.

The girls holding their nature wreaths they created.

Be sure and visit our Homeschool-Nature Study board on Pinterest for more ideas, links and videos for nature study.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Child in Nature

About seven or more years ago we discovered our thirteen year old daughter  was playing in the wooded area behind our house. She was only about six at the time and she would play there daily. One day I decided to venture back there with her and discovered an over-grown, tangled growth of vines, branches, trees and bushes.

 It was easy to see why she was drawn to those woods. The way the light played through the branches of the trees, glimpses of sky could be seen, tunnels through trees and a roof of branches, a mossy meadow, an owl's home high in an old burr oak, birds and squirrels, the ground carpeted by patches of moss and leaves and acorns. Wild grasses and spider webs and seed pods and more all waiting for her to examine and explore.  When I told my husband that it was so over-grown though that I was concerned our daughter could barely play back there we decided to clear out just enough area to make our own nature trail. That's exactly what we did too. It took us a solid week of hard work, but we managed to make a wonderful nature trail in the woods behind our house.

Our daughter has discovered so many things about nature back there just by observing the natural world around her. We have incorporated nature into our daily lives by teaching the girls to fish, garden, camp, climb trees, collect rocks, hatch butterflies, grow flowers, visit nature preserves, bird watch, making casts of animal prints, learn about wildflowers and grasses, pile up underbrush to benefit wildlife, etc. But the biggest impact was probably when we made our own nature trail right behind our house.

Below is a video I found that explains the importance of experiencing nature.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Animal Tracks And Habitats

 Working on some worksheets about animal tracks before we venture outdoors. The girls had so much fun figuring out which track belonged to which animal. There was also a paper they did and they really had to look to find the hidden animals.

It showed them how animals use camouflage for protection and cover. Our plan today is to venture back outside and make some plaster casts of animal prints. We really want to make a print of a raccoon track.
 Can you see the front and back door to this burrow?

White tailed deer tracks crossing the road Not far from our house.

What lives here? Not a large animal since the hole isn't too large.

Well would you look at that! It's a raccoon track.

We're thinking a rat probably lives here. Or a mole or groundhog.

Turkey track, deer track and a couple of different animal homes.

Some of the resources we used.

 Animal Classification

Animal Classification Cards

Vertebrate Dichotomous Worksheet (teacherspayteachers)

Animal Tracks Unit

Woodland Animals Unit

Animal Classification Game for little ones

Animal Classification Game

Animal Tracks Guide Worksheet

More Animal Tracks Worksheets

Animal Homes and Habitats Worksheets

Books on Animal Tracks, Habitats and other Interesting Things

Tracks, Scat and Signs

Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints

Wild Tracks, A Guide To Natures Footprints

Tracking And The Art of Seeing: How To Read Animal Tracks and Sign

Animal Habitats 

Easy Make and Learn Projects, Animal Habitats

Videos We Watched


Animal Homes and Habitats


Animal Tracks



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Animals, Landmarks, Money and Language Of The Land Down Under

Today we have studied many of the diverse animals of the land down under. The girls and I were  both surprised to learn how small a duck billed platypus is when it's born. The mother lays an egg and ten days later it hatches. The baby platypus is the size of a lima bean at that point! As adults they are not very large either. The adult platypus is the size of a domestic cat. I always thought they were larger than that.

Another thing we were amazed by is that the platypus is venomous! Well the male is anyway. He has poisonous spines on his hind feet that he sticks into another animals when he is threatened. The male doesn't sound too cuddly. I look at, Perry the Platypus, in a whole new light now. tee hee  Below are all the things we covered today during school time.

Here is one of the videos we watched today that you may be interested in viewing.

A video on recreating the Sydney Opera House. McKenna was interested in what a model looked like and I found this for her.

We also learned a song about the Kookaburra and listened to it's laugh.

Coloring and info page for the Duck Billed Platypus 

 Koala @ Answers In Genesis

The Great barrier Reef @ National Geographic 

Ayers Rock

A fun quiz about Australia and other info

We also learned about Australian dollars and checked out what they look like.

Australia For Kids  easy to follow info for the little ones.

We finished up by watching a video called Waltzing Matilda. The girls and I loved it. There were many landmarks and slang terms throughout the video and helped us understand them better.

I hope you enjoy the videos as much as we did and can use the links I've shared!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Refuse To Empty Today Of It's Joy And Strength

Just as summer was about to begin I became sick this year. It happened suddenly and without warning. Three times this summer I had the same symptoms of extreme fatigue, fever, lethargy, joint pain, a rash and swelling in my bosom area. I made an appointment with my gynecologist, but wasn't able to get in for six weeks to see him. In the meantime, while waiting, each time I had a recurrent bout of sickness my main concern was taking care of my family and homeschooling. Each time I was able to recover and take care of my family. Once we began school this year the bouts of sickness didn't return.

Once I was able to see my doctor it was decided one of the first things to do was send me for a mammogram. A week and a half later I had one done and when I hadn't heard anything after a month I breathed a sigh of relief that I was in the clear. The very next day I received a call that something was seen on my mammogram and I needed to have a repeat one done and also an u/s. A few days later I had that done as well. By this time it was in the last half of September. After viewing the u/s and the mammogram the doctor decided the two areas were questionable and needed to be biopsied. Yes, both sides were involved.

Now I have to say in all these weeks I did wonder to myself how I would react if I received news that I had cancer, but I refused to dwell on that. I decided just like I had the first time I had a breast biopsy that no matter what God was with me. I prayed, I had others praying for me and I trusted that worrying would get me no where. In fact I refuse to use the word worry. If I am bothered by something I would rather take my concern to the Lord, trust in him and pray than worry.

Psalm 138:8 says: The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

This verse tells me that my Lord is concerned about what concerns me! He created me in my mothers womb, he knit me together and he has plans for me. He is merciful and loving. The day of the test I went alone since my husband works nights and needed to sleep. I wasn't concerned about the biopsy, but I was concerned about laying in one position for a long time and having both sides numbed. I asked friends to specifically pray at the time I was to have the procedure done. You know what those prayers carried me through!

When my named was called by the nurse I waltzed back to have the biopsy done after getting changed and putting that skimpy cape on with no concerns. The doctor and nurses were extremely calming and told me before they did anything and explained every noise, click, touch they did before they did it. They talked and included me in their conversation and honestly I had no idea that an hour and a half had passed when they said they were finished. It was a much better and calmer experience than the first time I had a biopsy done.

I was told depending on the testing needed I could hear something the next day or up to a week later. Today I received the wonderful news that both biopsies were benign! I was so happy and very glad I had trusted that the Lord would work things out. Very happy that I didn't waste any time worrying. I keep thinking over and over what Corrie Ten Boom said about worry.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow - it empties today of strength.” Corrie ten Boom

 I think that is so true. Worry empties our days of joy. It saps our strength. It effects our outlook and focus. And it also dampens our faith and clouds hope. Worry attaches shackles to what is bothering us and keeps us locked in worry instead of in prayer. Worry erodes. There is nothing that worry will add to my life and much it could steal if I gave into it.

When I received that phone call today telling me the biopsies were benign I was tickled and giddy, but not really surprised. One of the first things I did was give thanks to Jesus for the peace that had surrounded me all these months and a wonderful report from the doctor. Then I had to make phone calls and share the evidence with everyone how God was with me the whole time. I feel great today and I choose joy and strength over doom and gloom and worry that adds nothing to my life and could be a negative influence on others. Who knows who I might have had an influence on today by a positive attitude. I believe we can build God's Kingdom more than we realize by our attitudes. I also believe we can also damage the word of our testimony by being negative.

 Proverbs 14:1 cautions that,  The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. 

 My desire is to build my house and the Lord's Kingdom and whatever opportunities I'm given to do that I will be grateful for.  God is Good! He is faithful and I want to sing it from the rooftops!