Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

4/24 & 4/26 Down on the Farm

Love can not be forced.

I used to try to force my kitten to love me by holding her down when she wanted to get away. I wanted her to love me more like a dog would so I tried to force her to cuddle with me. Now she is a feisty, bitter cat that swats at innocent children walking by. How many times have I wished that someone in my life would love me more or differently only to find it go awry? I wish my husband was more romantic, my parents spent more time with me, my children were more affectionate, my friends more loyal. There hasn’t been a single person in my life that I am close to that hasn’t disappointed me at one time or another. Ouch. And then sometimes I try to change them so they will love me more, which usually pushes them away. I wonder if I am alone in this, a strangely overly needy person, or if others share in this propensity for forcing love?

Grace.

Now I find myself wanting every Little Lamb family to love school so much that they do everything I hope they will. We are a cooperative and everyone has done a great job of working together. But when some things fell through the cracks and didn’t happen, or didn’t get done on time, I wondered what we were supposed to do. If Little Lambs belongs to Jesus, will it work if we really just put it all in His hands and not take matters into our own hands? Is His conviction more poignant than man’s? OR…….do we write “I will remember to……” on the chalkboard 100x? Charge late fees? Assign makeup work? The more my mind went down this ridiculous road, the more reasons I found to be disappointed, and thus more need for “punishment”. Envisioned penalties were stacking up like pancakes. I realized I was in a negative downward spiral that only caused me to have unhappy feelings towards others. This must not be God’s way for our school. Plus, petty penalties seem so much like the pattern of this world. Do petty penalties ever really change someone’s heart to want to do right? Its how businesses and other schools are run, but this is Jesus’ school. What would Jesus do? What did He do with his own disciples? I know He never fired anyone, not even Judas. I know his teachings of grace, patience, and forgiveness were superior to the law. The Old testament law only shows us how wrong we are so that we are acutely aware of our need for grace, and New Testament grace given through Jesus Christ actually changes hearts to want to do right. Love naturally flows out of hearts that want to do right, and hearts that want to do right are because of grace. The methods used by most schools or businesses will keep some order through their law like discipline, but never change hearts. Hence, rarely do people LOVE going to work. When grace does not dominate, love is weak. After wrestling with these thoughts, I knew that my highest dream for Little Lambs is for grace to abound so that our hearts are changed rather than merely disciplined.

Choice.

I am so pleased with all the hard work families put into Little Lambs and it shows our love. My desire for Little Lambs is that we all serve in excellence because we LOVE what we are doing here like crazy. If we do our duties here out of necessity or obligation, I think we suck the love of God out of the atmosphere. Is it even possible to love out of obligation? I don’t think obligation and love co-exist together well. For example, even God gives us all free will to love Him or not because being loved by people who are forced to love Him, would not be real love at all. Giving people choice allows Him to be truly loved by those who choose to. We who are called to do this homeschooling journey together are tied together by a true bond: love that is chosen. My dream for Little Lambs is that nothing would be done out of compulsion, and all things, incredible things would happen because of the strength of our love. Love is an unstoppable force.

May grace abound in all your relationships and love be fiercer than the noonday sun.

Farm Animal Science with Miss Cherie

Bacon comes from pigs (actually its turkey bacon mommy)

Wool comes from sheep

What’s its like to milk a cow?

Food coloring and dish soap in milk makes an exploding kaleidoscope of colors

Down on the Farm Centers

Piggy bank coin counting was fun

Making a bird feeder all by myself

Tayler’s proud “p” for “pig” handwriting

Cooking Project Using Farm Veggies

Doing my own cutting

Taste Tester

Mmmmm! Gruyere, asparagus, artichoke, and bell pepper frittata

Getting Ready for Mother’s Day

Tea party invitations for Grandmas

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May Lesson Plans by Cherie

Week 1

Center: Tie die butter flies http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Tie-Dyed-Butterflies.html

Materials: Coffee filters, food coloring, eye dropper, pipe cleaners, beads

Science:Butterfly Life Cycle

Week 2

Center: Hole punching numbers.  Children will be given cards with a number on them.  They will need to hole punch that card the number of times that is written on the card.

Week 3

Center: Fun with magnets.  Children will be provided with magnets and metals.  No rules, just have fun and explore.

Science: More fun with magnets!  More structured play and exploration with magnets.

Week 4

Center: Lady bug painted rocks.  Show children a picture of a lady bug (or real lady bug) and have them paint a rock like a lady bug. Glue on legs.

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May Lesson Plans

Joy, Bugs, and Butterflies

Memory Verse: “My heart leaps for joy and with my song I will praise Him.” Psalms 28:7

Week 1

“b” is for butterfly

Bible: Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

Math Center: Butterfly Perception Puzzle

Math Center: Build a butterfly with pattern blocks

Group (art): “b” for butterfly art project

Group (science): Miss Cherie–Raising Our Own Butterflies to learn about the lifecycle

Week 2

“m” is for mother

Bible: Psalms are for singing with joy (Book of Psalms)

Math Center: Bugs Number Puzzles

Math Center: Butterfly Symmetry

Match up the wings

Group (art): Make a Tea Cup Candle for Grandma

Group (celebration): Mother’s Day Tea Party with Mommy and Grandma

Week 3

“a” is for ant

Bible: Paul and Silas Praise the Lord even while shackled in jail

Fine Motor/Imagination Center: Play dough and plastic bugs

for making prints, burying in the “mud”, or making anthills


Math Center: Insect Stickers

Stick reusable bug stickers on habitats and then count them up

Group: Bug Snacks–ants on a log, caterpillars, etc

Group: Science with Miss Cherie

Week 4

“d” is for dragonfly

Bible: Heaven is a wonderful place of perfect unending joy (Revelation 21-22)

Math Center: Ladybug Puzzle

Math Center: Counting Flies

Each child has a handful of 8 plastic flies. They throw them onto the table, and count how many flies are dead (on their backs) and how many flies are alive (on their feet).

Group (art): Caterpillar names

Dot paint a patterned border and a caterpillar with child’s name

Group (celebration): Water Play

We will do some fun outdoor water activities to celebrate the joy of summer soon arriving, friendships grown, and the close of a very special first school year!

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Backyard Naturalists

While I seem to be on the topic of making children into naturalists lately, I want to share a great little guide I found containing ideas for making your backyard a place for nature play. Simple things that don’t cost much money, but ideas that don’t always cross our commercially brainwashed minds. Too many of our suburbia yards are simply a block of grass and cement, too prisitine, too sterile for accomodating a true experience with nature. Growing up on a unkempt 3/4 acre property provided me all the best childhood memories of exploration, freedom, invention, and wild fun that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am determined for my children to have equally life forming experiences with nature even if we do have a small yard.

Every spring, I start racking my brain–what outdoor toys do I need to go buy that would really engage our kids outdoors this year?? Do I need to splurge on a big expensive plastic play structure? Do you start thinking this direction too as soon as the weather warms up? The thing is, I hate buying stuff that just becomes stuff sitting around unloved like too many backyard play structures, gimmicky outdoor “fun” equipment, and cobwebbed ride-ons I have noticed. So I have vacillated to the point that we have accumulated very few outdoor toys. But admittedly what sways me even more is that I almost hate toys in general, and especially the commercialism directed towards our children.  I agree with what Teaching the Trivium says, “Give the child plenty of time to explore and play. Do not buy ‘toystore’ toys – they are expensive and are usually forgotten after the newness wears off. Invest in real things. Garage sales and auctions are an unending source for things like sewing machines, small tools for working in the garden, hammers, nails, and things for building, some wooden blocks, and dress-up clothes. Buy tools for exploring (a good microscope, telescope, binoculars, etc), not toys for adoring. When your children are young, spend your money on the tools of exploration, and motivate them to learn how to use the tools and enjoy using the tools.”

Thankfully this spring, I feel that my perspective has shifted just enough to really believe that we can have more meaningful fun without buying lots more outdoor toys. A few things have certainly helped grow my perspecitve–getting hens and chicks, planting and tending a vegetable garden, and letting the kids just play in the dirt. Noah proudly holding up a grub that he found in our raised garden bed while preparing the soil for planting, insisting on a night time frog hunt with flashlights to find our resident croaker (and finding slugs instead), excitedly bringing a snail inside to see if this time it would come out of its shell for us (it did)–these are the formative experiences with nature that mean so much to children. In past years, the excitement over seeing hummingbirds and collecting ladybugs are some of my favorite memories with Noah. Nature fun can be never ending. Our future naturey backyard plans include keeping fish in the fountain, feeding the birds and the squirrels, and planting butterfly plants to study their lifecycle. So the more my mind wraps around building a “nature” centered yard rather than a “stuff” centered yard, the more non-toy ideas come, and I know these nature ideas will provide the basis for incredible learning experiences. Lets ask ourselves, why would we want our children learning about creation from a lifeless science textbook inside the 4 walls of a classroom when they could learn about it through the rich impressions of real life experience? Nothing beats the world as your classroom!!

May your backyard grow more wild this spring too!

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4/17/12 Gardening

Did you plant a garden yet this spring? Are you thinking about planting one someday with your children? Take a look at my fave books about gardening and check them out from the library!

Our Favorite Annual Springtime Read

Mortimer’s First Garden is one of my favorite children’s picture books. We have read it to Noah the last two springs at sunflower planting time. The book tied in soooo perfectly with our themes of faith like a seed and gardening at Little Lambs as well.

Publishers Weekly Review:

Mortimer can’t imagine that seeds have any use beyond the immediate gratification of being eaten, but when he sees the human family in his house plant a garden, he decides to use his last sunflower seed to give it a whirl himself. Convinced that the miracle won’t happen, tempted to dig up the seed and eat it, Mortimer hears the voice of God: Wait. Suddenly, even though he was drenched with rain, Mortimer felt warm and protected. With hard work and prayer, Mortimer produces a miracle sunflower and a bumper crop of seeds, which in turn prompts the book’s final teachable moment: And please, God, says a fat and contented Mortimer, I wouldn’t mind a friend to help me eat these. This book celebrates the miracle of springtime.

Gardening with Imagination– Create a Whimsical Garden with Your Little Naturalist

If you would like some fun inspiration for gardening with your children, take a look at Sharon Lovejoy’s books. From sunflower houses to toad cottages to fairy mailboxes, her books are full of incredibly whimsical gardening activities that would fire up the imagination of any child. Her books are about gardening from the heart and creating lasting gardening memories with your little ones. Also, take a look at her book written for gardening grandmothers and making visits with grandchildren a treasured time. It could be a great gift for mother’s day this year. If you would love for your mom to pull your children more into the love of gardening, take a look at Lovejoy’s wonder inspiring ideas written for grandparents to share with their grandchildren. The ideas are quite magical and really made me look forward to becoming a grandma someday myself!!

Gardening Day at Little Lambs

Tilling the Soil

Planting Peppers

Planting Corn

Planting Carrots

Two Pumpkins Planting a Giant Pumpkin

Smiles All Around for A Job Well Done

Tayler’s Play-doh Garden

Noah Fishing

David Playing the Letter “g” Guessing Game

Little Gardener, Faith, Studies Seeds

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4/12/12 Chickens

Apparently, I needed a personal reminder about mountain moving faith this week. In Little Lambs, we are teaching Matthew 17:20 which basically says that faith as small as a mustard seed can say to this mountain MOVE. Mountains are things like disappointment, irritation, frustration, sickness, and often accompanied by satan’s accusatory voice. (When I hear a voice in my mind that is accusing me or accusing others in my life, I can be sure that satan, “the accuser of the brethren”, is working against me and needs to be dealt with.) Matthew 17:20 says that the way mountains move is by SPEAKING directly to them…..not by mulling it over, not by talking it over with a confidant, not by feeling sorry for myself, not even through my typical prayer and devotional routines. I know this, so why did I forget this week (as per usual) what to do? Thankfully, a ray of hope dawned inside when the Holy Spirit reminded me of Matthew 17:20 and how much it has always worked for me. I finally knew what I was supposed to be doing. First, I recognized that there was a mountain–something negative had crept into my otherwise peaceful and happy mentality. Something was standing in the way, in between me and my peace. I think ‘something in the way’ is what Matthew 17:20 means by mountain. Second, I found a name for the mountain, so that I could speak to it by name. Third, I used an auditory voice and authoritatively spoke to that mountain, “Mountain of accusing voices move!”  In the spirit realm, I knew a mountain moved over because peace returned that same day. Thats the proof.

When we try to implore methods other than speaking, we become weary. Coping with mountains of hurt and hardship our way is like trying to travel around the mountain (longer and harder) or climb over the mountain (exhausting), but Jesus said that is not necessary, just tell it to move out of your way so you can forge ahead! Speaking to the problem is God’s way of setting you free. Christians let problems keep them out of commission for way too long because we don’t know, or we forget, how to use the powerful Word of God in our mouths like a weapon. God has given us the tools in His Word (Matthew 17:20 is a tool!) to move mountains aside so that we don’t have to skip a beat in His calling on our life.

Name whatever is bothering you, tell it to move out, and forge ahead for Him.

In Little Lambs today, we talked about mountain moving faith, and later I was blessed to see Tayler and Noah thrilled to build mountains in the mud. We also introduced our Little Lambs to the hens that Papa from Ontario brought us a few days ago. The hens laid some eggs seemingly on cue for the kids, the chicks in a nest art projects turned out adorable, and somehow Tayler and Noah’s muddy hands and shoes made me feel like these kids are really living the good life. I can’t thank God enough for these times!

In the Coop

Betsy and Buttercup

Our First Time Gathering Eggs

We Are Making a Mountain!

Baby Chicks In a Nest

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4/10/12 Chicks!

The kids have a couple of new playmates around the house. Avery and Amelia, our new 1 week old baby chicks, have added to the delightful brood underfoot in my kitchen. Raising chickens is my (very) small time farm dream come true–our home feeling more like a homestead, our children turning into naturalists. The best practical part about raising chickens for eggs is that they are as easy to tend to as a stray cat.

Naturally, we were excited to share our new chickies with Little Lambs! It was cute to see the children learning how to hold chicks for the very first time. Chicks and puddle jumping formed our homeschool curriculum of the day. Puddle jumping, curriculum? Yes, having fun is the foundation of a good curriculum for young children. And the more freedom a schooling situation can allow, the more opportunity for fun!!

Kitchen Brood

Amelia Practices Her Perching

Everyone Gets Acquainted with the Girls

David Tries to Hold Avery

Its Grandma Day at School

Jack and Owen, a Couple Neighborhood Boys Join Us

Picture Perfect

A Few of Our Chicks Themed Centers

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Worshipful Weekend with Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We set apart a few minutes tonight to do a family devotion with our little ones. While we lit the candles in our Easter Garden Basket, we reminded ourselves that today, on Good Friday, Jesus died on the cross and was buried in a tomb. Then we sang a few simple songs, and the voice of a little angel was heard singing in our family worship time. I saw daddy smile, surprised to see that Noah learned Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, a song I have been singing with Noah over the past few weeks. I am sharing our worship set for the night because it worked quite well for a short Easter family devo.

I hope you too can make some time this weekend to do family devotions! No matter how simple they are, it will be rewarding, and it will turn your children’s hearts toward the true meaning of Easter.

Jesus Saved Me

(Tune: Jesus Loves Me)

Jesus saved me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Nailed to the cross for my own sins,

died, and buried, and raised again!

Yes, Jesus saved me!

Yes, Jesus saved me

Yes, Jesus saved me

He saved me from my sins

Nothing But the blood of Jesus

(a timeless hymn)

What can wash away my sins?

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

What can make me whole again

Oh, precious is the flow

That makes me white as snow

No other fount I know

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

At the Cross

(a timeless hymn)

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light

and the burden of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day!

Which led nicely into this……(you might recognize from Sister Act)

Oh Happy Day

Oh happy day (echo)

Oh happy day (echo)

When Jesus washed (echo)

When Jesus washed (echo)

He washed my sins away (Oh happy day)

Oh happy day (echo)

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Faith Like a Seed Can Move Mountains

Our Little Lambs themes for April are chickens, farming, gardening, and along with all that agricultural fun, faith like a seed. So to get ready, we sharpen ourselves as moms by studying the topic of faith to better impart God’s Word to our little ones. And I would love to share some of these things with this entire blogging community of moms and grandmas as we are iron sharpening iron.

So do you ever wonder if God intends for your faith to be more powerful? More effective, more outreaching, more believing, changing more lives? My Pastor holds a group called Academy for those who want serious discipleship type of training, and the current series is called Powerful Christianity. Watching the videos online is where I derived most of what I have brought to share with you. I think it will help renew your mind too if your desire, like mine, is to be powerful.

Our Little Lambs memory verse this month goes like this:

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

That verse sounds like faith powerful enough to catch the attention of the world. I think most of us desire to be powerful Christians, rather than weak and powerless Christians unable to reach anyone for Christ. So the question is…..if we serve an all powerful God, why are we are not all powerful? Yah, but that is God. Well, were the apostles ever limited by disease, sickness, or death? No, but that was apostolic. Ok well, these miraculous signs will follow those who believe: they will cast out demons in my name, they will speak in new languages…….they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18) Hmmmm.

Anything that flows from the All Powerful is powerful. If God is flowing out of us, we will be powerful. Power so powerful that sometimes not one word need be uttered; no preaching necessary. Hearts reached and changed simply by the power of God.

 Power or Philosophy?

The gospel is meant to carry power. We belittle it when it becomes only crafty, intellectual words. It takes the power of God to make the gospel real in someone’s life, you can’t intellectualize or emotionalize it into someone. If the Christian gospel preached is only philosophy (intellectual words), it holds no more power to change lives than the gospel of all other religions—religions built entirely on philosophy, and devoid of all power. That is why Paul said, “I didn’t come to you with persuasive words of mans wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1Cor. 2:4-5) Wow, did you hear that? The gospel must be demonstrated with power (like that of apostolic times), otherwise our faith rests in man, not God. Woah that is serious. Apostolic demonstration of power still occurs today in church bodies, but unfortunately, these places are rare gems. Honestly and sadly, churches everywhere are full of beautifully preached sermons but have little to no demonstration of power. With services devoid of the amazing life giving synergy of God’s active power, pastors must heavily rely on all they have—wise words. We are hungry for revival in the Bay Area and God’s glory. Revival and the manifested glory of God come through the power of God, not wise words.

 God’s Chooses the Weak

We cannot contain within our entity a system of wordly power: self serving ways, and then also have Christ’s power. The degree that we operate in the world’s system of power is the degree to which we are rendered spiritually powerless. The world’s system of power and God’s system of power, or God’s kingdom, are strikingly different.

What can we liken God’s kingdom to? Jesus could find no earthly power or government that would sufficiently symbolize the power of His kingdom. Instead he had to look to a tiny mustard seed. “It is like a grain of mustard seed,” He said, “which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth, yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all garden plants, and puts out great branches; so that the birds of the heaven can lodge under the shadow thereof.” (Mark 4:31-32)

The work of grace in people’s hearts is small in its beginning, small like a mustard seed. A word is spoken, a ray of light is shed into the soul, an influence is exerted that is the beginning of new life….but who can measure its results? When we share Jesus with others, by preaching, teaching, testifying, or discipling, we are obediently planting mustard seeds, seeds which may seem so insignificant in the beginning, but grow magnificently through the miraculous power of God.

As we keep sowing seeds in the hearts of others, God will use what seems so small to become mountain moving big. We can keep on doing what we know to do, obeying what God has recently shown us to do, and then we will see the power of God’s mustard seed system unfold in lives around us. Praying for the sick, praying for the broken, simply praying, and then seeing God use our growing faith to help move mighty mountains in people’s lives. With growing faith, things that used to appear impossible, will become possible.

Remember God’s ways are often backwards from our ways–small is big, and foolish is wise. ”God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, God has chosen, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are”……..”that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” ((1 Cor. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 2:5).

 Make us weak in worldly things so that nothing will be impossible for us. Grow our faith to move bigger and bigger mountains.

As a side note…..Do You See God’s Masterful Arrangement of Themes in Little Lambs?

Our school themes, originally seeming unrelated to each other, I see now are building blocks, one resting on the understanding of another. February we studied love because nothing works except by love, even faith works only in the midst of love. March we studied the work of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who endues us with power to be effective witnesses to an unbelieving world, and also the work of the cross, the origin of the power of our faith. Now we study faith, powerful faith that is. I see God ordering our plans!

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