Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

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

“d” is for dragonfly, “d” is for discipline

Disciplining Through Work Brings Joy

Why does my son whine so much?? Spankings and timeouts have been effective for other misbehaviors, but seem to have little effect on whininess. I was praying for guidance and searching my heart for answers. Then I found this article (I highly recommend reading it!) which presented a slightly new slant on discipline, and I thought aha, WORK the whine out of him. Funny, I had been feeling it was time to balance out Noah’s play to workload ratio around here anyway (thanks Holy Spirit). Dean and I have noticed that his imagination while playing has taken off lately, and his pretending skills have made a developmental jump. He is getting so good at playing; he is getting more done in less time, so to speak, during his play hours. So now my intuition (ie spirit) is telling me that its also time to increase the work he does to help around the house in order to keep him balanced. Ever so often I get this tugging inside that tells me its time to bring Noah to another level of maturity by adding to his chores. To begin with, when Noah was little, work was all pretend work, pretending to vacuum like mommy or rake like daddy, but after awhile kids lose interest in pretending if it doesn’t turn into the real thing. Pretending is great still, but why keep it at a pretend level when a child is showing that they are highly interested in getting to work? The first time I felt the tugging inside to get Noah to work was when he was two and a half, and that is when he started washing his own plate after a meal. Now he is able to wash the whole family’s plates! And little Faithy suddenly snaps out of being cranky before dinner when I ask her to help set the table. Young children feel honored to be useful to others, and some crankiness can be averted by making them feel useful to their family.

Dean and I are both huge on teaching work ethic, and work, in a sense, is celebrated in our household, heralded higher than the value of play. Our kids, and most little kids, have oodles upon oodles of playtime; they suffer not for recreational time. What most of us need to consider is: are our children receiving the proper amount of time spent doing chores? Not so much as to crush their fun loving spirits by overburdening them, but placing the proper weight of responsiblity to keep them growing. Working into them a Godly attitude of servanthood, shaping them through the weight of work, just as muscles are toned and strengthened by lifting weights.

After reading the awesome article about discipline mentioned above, I immediately had a chance to implement work as a form of discipline. One afternoon, as Noah was playing himself silly, he wasn’t doing anything wrong that I could pinpoint, but I had a feeling that whininess and a bit of ingratitude or entitlement were creeping in. Plus, Dean and I happened to be slaving away to get the house back in order after a fun weekend, and it just didn’t feel right that Noah was not participating in the work. When I asked Noah to do one small thing and was met with resistance, I decided it was time to put that attitude to work. So we had him put away a mountain of laundry with Daddy, and when I checked in with Daddy to see how good of a job Noah was doing, I decided a little more work was in order. He vacuumed in the kitchen and put toys away. Eventually I was pleased to feel a peaceful atmosphere and pleasant shift of attitude in Noah return when all was said and done. Work works! What an effective hands on lesson about disciplining for mommy!

Mommy, Teach Me is a really awesome book about teaching your preschooler at home with a Montessori perspective. I just love what Barbara Curtis has to say about young children and serving at home, “The sensitive period for serving others–which in the life of a believer will later be translated into serving God–is in the preschool years. Remember what that means: if the environment provides appropriate encouragement and direction during those years, the child will learn to serve with joy, but if the environment or caregivers thwart the preschooler’s natural desire, any later attempt to make the child “learn” to serve will meet with resistance. Serving will not be fun, but something the child will want to avoid.” If you haven’t realized it by now ya’ll, I am screaming the message across this blog, “PRESCHOOL YEARS ARE AN INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE WINDOW OF TIME TO LEARN AT HOME!” Just today I read in a New York Times archived article, “Indeed, a 4-year-old’s brain uses more energy than it ever will again. Brain development cannot be put on pause, so the critical question is how to provide the best possible context to support it.” What an incredible time in life: to be raising a preschooler!!! Praise God it is never dull, and not a time to save parental investments for later.

Home is where we teach our children to serve. Preschool outside the home can only offer very limited and artificially structured ways to be helpers, but at home you can make work an awesome life shaping part of your daily routines. There is indeed much joy to be found in daily work! If we are joyful about it, our kids will never grow out of finding the joy in it.

I’d love to know what your preschooler helps out with around the house to give me more ideas for Noah (ie leave a comment!! :)). Here is what Noah does at our house to give you some ideas (none are done on a daily basis yet).

Washes dishes

Vaccuums the food explosion under the table

Sets the table/Clears the table

Helps put me put away everyone’s laundry

Tidies the house

Feeds Faith

We Caught Our Garden Cross Dragonfly!

Small miracles do happen here everyday

Dragonfly observation on “d” is for dragonfly week

Our New Favorite Game: Butterflies

“It” is the “netter”; the cross is base, a safe place for butterflies to land

Noah “taking care of  bunny” charmed me

He really didn’t want bunny to be caught by the netter (perhaps because we have been reading the Peter Rabbit series a lot lately).

Gabby’s “d” for dragonfly handwriting

Very Hungry Caterpillar Art

5 Comments »

“d” is for dragonfly, “d” is for discipline

Disciplining Through Work Brings Joy

Why does my son whine so much?? Spankings and timeouts have been effective for other misbehaviors, but seem to have little effect on whininess. I was praying for guidance and searching my heart for answers. Then I found this article (I highly recommend reading it!) which presented a slightly new slant on discipline, and I thought aha, WORK the whine out of him. Funny, I had been feeling it was time to balance out Noah’s play to workload ratio around here anyway (thanks Holy Spirit). Dean and I have noticed that his imagination while playing has taken off lately, and his pretending skills have made a developmental jump. He is getting so good at playing; he is getting more done in less time, so to speak, during his play hours. So now my intuition (ie spirit) is telling me that its also time to increase the work he does to help around the house in order to keep him balanced. Ever so often I get this tugging inside that tells me its time to bring Noah to another level of maturity by adding to his chores. To begin with, when Noah was little, work was all pretend work, pretending to vacuum like mommy or rake like daddy, but after awhile kids lose interest in pretending if it doesn’t turn into the real thing. Pretending is great still, but why keep it at a pretend level when a child is showing that they are highly interested in getting to work? The first time I felt the tugging inside to get Noah to work was when he was two and a half, and that is when he started washing his own plate after a meal. Now he is able to wash the whole family’s plates! And little Faithy suddenly snaps out of being cranky before dinner when I ask her to help set the table. Young children feel honored to be useful to others, and some crankiness can be averted by making them feel useful to their family.

Dean and I are both huge on teaching work ethic, and work, in a sense, is celebrated in our household, heralded higher than the value of play. Our kids, and most little kids, have oodles upon oodles of playtime; they suffer not for recreational time. What most of us need to consider is: are our children receiving the proper amount of time spent doing chores? Not so much as to crush their fun loving spirits by overburdening them, but placing the proper weight of responsiblity to keep them growing. Working into them a Godly attitude of servanthood, shaping them through the weight of work, just as muscles are toned and strengthened by lifting weights.

After reading the awesome article about discipline mentioned above, I immediately had a chance to implement work as a form of discipline. One afternoon, as Noah was playing himself silly, he wasn’t doing anything wrong that I could pinpoint, but I had a feeling that whininess and a bit of ingratitude or entitlement were creeping in. Plus, Dean and I happened to be slaving away to get the house back in order after a fun weekend, and it just didn’t feel right that Noah was not participating in the work. When I asked Noah to do one small thing and was met with resistance, I decided it was time to put that attitude to work. So we had him put away a mountain of laundry with Daddy, and when I checked in with Daddy to see how good of a job Noah was doing, I decided a little more work was in order. He vacuumed in the kitchen and put toys away. Eventually I was pleased to feel a peaceful atmosphere and pleasant shift of attitude in Noah return when all was said and done. Work works! What an effective hands on lesson about disciplining for mommy!

Mommy, Teach Me is a really awesome book about teaching your preschooler at home with a Montessori perspective. I just love what Barbara Curtis has to say about young children and serving at home, “The sensitive period for serving others–which in the life of a believer will later be translated into serving God–is in the preschool years. Remember what that means: if the environment provides appropriate encouragement and direction during those years, the child will learn to serve with joy, but if the environment or caregivers thwart the preschooler’s natural desire, any later attempt to make the child “learn” to serve will meet with resistance. Serving will not be fun, but something the child will want to avoid.” If you haven’t realized it by now ya’ll, I am screaming the message across this blog, “PRESCHOOL YEARS ARE AN INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE WINDOW OF TIME TO LEARN AT HOME!” Just today I read in a New York Times archived article, “Indeed, a 4-year-old’s brain uses more energy than it ever will again. Brain development cannot be put on pause, so the critical question is how to provide the best possible context to support it.” What an incredible time in life: to be raising a preschooler!!! Praise God it is never dull, and not a time to save parental investments for later.

Home is where we teach our children to serve. Preschool outside the home can only offer very limited and artificially structured ways to be helpers, but at home you can make work an awesome life shaping part of your daily routines. There is indeed much joy to be found in daily work! If we are joyful about it, our kids will never grow out of finding the joy in it.

I’d love to know what your preschooler helps out with around the house to give me more ideas for Noah (ie leave a comment!! :)). Here is what Noah does at our house to give you some ideas (none are done on a daily basis yet).

Washes dishes

Vaccuums the food explosion under the table

Sets the table/Clears the table

Helps put me put away everyone’s laundry

Tidies the house

Feeds Faith

We Caught Our Garden Cross Dragonfly!

Small miracles do happen here everyday

Dragonfly observation on “d” is for dragonfly week

Our New Favorite Game: Butterflies

“It” is the “netter”; the cross is base, a safe place for butterflies to land

Noah “taking care of  bunny” charmed me

He really didn’t want bunny to be caught by the netter (perhaps because we have been reading the Peter Rabbit series a lot lately).

Gabby’s “d” for dragonfly handwriting

Very Hungry Caterpillar Art

5 Comments »

5/22/12 Butterflies

We are happy to have a new friend, Gabby, joining us at Little Lambs for the last two weeks of school! She gave me a hug when I met her for the first time the other day, and has hugged me every time she comes in or out my door since. 🙂 Although she strongly dislikes bugs, which happens to be our current preschool theme, she is fitting right in anyway. After easing her in with a little exposure, today she handled plastic bugs, and calmly ate lunch on the patio while bugs buzzed around her–two things intolerable just yesterday. I also appreciated how Gabby enthusiastically chimed in with all the other kids on a choral read aloud of The Very Hungry Caterpillar during circle today. She is very bright and all the kids enjoy playing with her!

It was a bittersweet today saying goodbye to the butterflies that we have been raising. The kids (and I!) have been able to witness the lifecycle of butterflies for the very first time. After ordering caterpillars from Insect Lore, we watched them grow, form chrysalis’, and emerge as Painted Lady butterflies–all in only two weeks time. Today the kids climbed into a play tent to get face to face with their butterflies before letting them fly away. As one by one, each butterfly escaped, we sent them off with a heartfelt salute, “Goodbye, butterfly!” I loved seeing Noah gently hold the butterflies in his little hands like it was perfectly natural. Noah apparently has no fear of any type of bug; though he has been stung before, he tried to pick up a bumblebee today. Anyway, Miss Cherie and I just had to climb in the tent too; we admit that we always want to experience everything the kids do. We joke that we do homeschooling half for the kid inside ourselves, but in all seriousness, as we teach, I think we are learning even more than our children are.

David’s Butterflies

Goodbye Butterflies

Butterfly Handler

Our Turn!

Caterpillar Snack

Ants on a Log

Gabby Making Buggy Play Dough Prints

Tayler and Her Mamama (grandma) Making a Butterfly

Noah Painting a Lady Bug Rock for our Garden

A Dragonfly Alighted On Our Garden Cross

“d” is for dragonfly is the letter of the week

5 Comments »

“b” is for beautiful babies

To Tayler, David, Noah, and Cole & Madelyn too,

Our school year is already coming to a close in a few weeks, and what sweet memories my heart will always hold of our very first year of school. I am a little choked up saying goodbye to our first year, to little babes in their first school experience, but thank God, there are many more years to come. Is there anything in the world more precious than teaching 3 year olds? I can not imagine anywhere else I would rather be, or doing anything else in the world, than teaching your hearts. My dearest memories this year are with you and because of you. Your presence has been like sunshine in my home, your innocence making our days so bright, as we together opened ourselves up to the light of the Son. To witness your growth has been like beholding a continuously unfolding miracle. Your transformation more magnificent to watch than the emerging of a butterfly from a chrysalis. Little wings unfurling for the very first time; destinations unknown, but no matter, because wings will surely take you to the heavens. With what you accomplished this year, I stand amazed. It blows me away that at a preschool, most of you would have been in the 2 year olds class this year. I know of no 2’s class learning all that we did this year. I know that these memories will be so dim, barely remembered or not at all, when you are grown, but I believe that the mark of eternity has been indelibly placed upon you. Now my insides are screaming, “Don’t grow up!!!” I absolutely cherish your lingering baby fat, mispronounced words, and babyish ways. Yet something even stronger in me yearns to see the way God will pour out His glory in your life as you grow. A yearning that pulls so hard I feel all turned inside out. Noah, you are the apple of my eye, you made me a mommy, and my heart is cut in covenant with yours.

May all your days be this bright.

I love you, Miss Lynn

The Lord makes His face shine upon you. Numbers 6:25

Your light shall break forth like the morning. Isaiah 58:8

Arise! Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is upon you. Isaiah 60:1

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Isaiah 60:19

To Miss Cherie,

How can I thank you enough for being constantly present to share in the daily joys and miracles of our schooldays? How can I thank you enough for loyaly remaining through frustrations, weariness, and even occasional differing viewpoints? Our hearts beat the same as we share the insatiable desire to witness every precious moment of our young ones growing and learning. This journey would have been lonely without you friend, and entirely less encouraging without you to exchange ideas, stories, and dreams with on a daily basis. God has brought us together, equally passionate about homeschooling, and I pray that we will remain an unstoppable team united in our vision. You did not have to stay and help teach everyday, but you did, and I am so grateful.

To Miss Emily, Miss Sheila, Miss Carol, Miss Afton, Miriah, and all the Grandmas,

This would not have been possible without all of your love and support. We have done this together, and what an honor to be serving with such an incredible group of ladies. Thank you for loving our little ones so much, for all the kindness you have shown me, for humbly allowing God to form your very life. I pray you all are blessed in return a thousand fold over for the priceless things you have invested into our children all for the glory of the kingdom of God. If you want a heart that is totally given to your children, head over heels in love, keep homeschooling them. I know of no better way to lay down your life as a mother who wants to love and protect her children fiercely.

To Dean,

Thank you for being a dad who plays with his kids and is willing to answer a zillion questions. You were born to be a homeschool dad as you patiently explain and demonstrate your vast array of knowledge. You are so good at everything I am not, which assures me that our children will have diversified educations. I am thankful that you have seen the advantages of homeschool from day one as I eagerly shared every tidbit of information that I was discovering. Training up our own children will bring our family together intimately–no fragments. The sacrifice required will cause us to love more than we could have imagined as we learn to die to self together.

To My Heavenly Father,

My God, my God, what if you had not shown my spirit the possibilities of homeschool? I feel like we would have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime. I would never have experienced the highs and lows that come from being acutely aware of how human I am in this experience, and how much I need you in an endeavour like this. I feel so alive, like you are allowing me to truly experience life, so that I can pass on what I learn to my own children. Every spiritual concept and thing worth learning is coming more alive to me as your Spirit shows me what I need to know…..simply because I accepted your call to teach my own children. While many people of the world go their whole life numbly engaged in unfulfilling careers, I feel extremely privileged and favored to be serving you in this exciting homeschooling adventure that fully awakens my senses. I feel fully awake while the rest of the world is sleeping. More fully aware of this life, your creation, your design for family, eternal things, motherhood, and your calling on me. Only you know the late nights and the giving of myself it takes to homeschool my children. You have been there in the wee hours of the morning, you have been there when no one else was…..where can I go from your Spirit?, where can I flee from your presence?…..If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide, your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139). So many years ago, before I was the least bit interested in homeschooling, I stumbled on a homeschooling moms blog that tore me up inside for the way she understood her calling of motherhood and spoke with an intense love for her children such as I have never seen. All I knew is that I wanted that kind of passionate heart, and now I am humbled to see how You are beginning to create that kind of heart in me. That makes me want to fall at Your feet and praise you endlessly for Your love for me. Why do you love me so much?! I want to tell the world of your goodness to me, my piece of heaven on earth.

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Mothers Day Tea Party

Mothers are Homemakers

I think nostalgic is the word that sums up our lovely mother’s day tea party. Nostalgic: a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. Fine china, frilly doilies, fresh cut garden roses, celebration of family, a hot pot of tea, time with loved ones, homemade goodies, a time to give honor. I think my grandma would be pleased to know that her begonia china is still being used to gather together women of several generations who enjoy the pleasures of tea time. To me it seems priorities and interests have changed over time, as Cherie and I both realized that we know no one our age who owns fine china. People are busier with things outside the home now days and naturally moms aren’t as thrilled about spending an afternoon hand washing fine china after a party. So paper plates, plastic tablecloths, and plastic silverware are the norm. Our society is becoming more casual as our lack of time demands it and as many women work outside the home.

I understand that many mothers have to work now, but for the children, it makes me sad!! I am not against mothers making money as I am sure the Proverbs 31 woman did, but only when it effects a woman’s first calling to her home. I think it is too much to ask a full time working mom to spend 40 hours at work, and also have her heart fully into her calling to be a homemaker (Titus 2:4-5). Homemakers are so important because strong homes do not happen coincidentally, strong homes are made. Homes are made from the hearts of mothers, or homemakers. As a mother duck plucks feathers from her own breast to line her nest, mothers take the best of what they have and make their own home. The sacrifice may hurt, but out of our own bosom, and nothing less, our nest is built. Our best is given to our children in the form of lessons; lessons of perseverance, courage, kindness, and love. It takes time at home and serious dedication at home to give our very best to our children. These life lessons are among the key lessons of home and community life, not lessons learned at school. Unfortunately, between school outside the home and stresses peculiar to two income families, family time is swallowed up. Family time at home is where pillar lessons of charity, work, faith, making a home, and becoming a whole man or woman are fleshed out day in and day out.

Financially speaking, while sending off children to do school outside the home, families today are buying houses they can not really afford in order to get into better schools. Households dependent on two incomes can actually become a trap for middle class families in many ways, and our middle class is actually more broke, with less discretionary income, than the single income middle class households of the past. I seriously wonder if this could be due to our collective and individual choices to violate God’s order for the home as stated in Titus 2:4-5. We have seen how sending women into the workforce has not had the positive impact our society had hoped for. Many working women are stressed out because they are misplaced. Children are confused, indifferent, violent, immature and dependent, with low self-esteem because they are displaced. However, God’s intended plan is for children to be securely placed within the warmth of a home, and learning life’s lessons from a loving mother (Deuteronomy 6:7). The happy hearts of children raised by the ever present, life shaping love of a mother contented at home is beautifully nostalgic.

Homemakers, rejoice if you must scrape by to stay home with your kids. God provides for those who stay in his order! Lets remember generations past, our grandmothers who set forth timeless principles of honoring God at home, and be homemakers ourselves, willing to raise and teach our own children for the glory of God.

Lovely Tea Cup Candles We Made for the Grandmas

Jelly Jar Candles We Made for Tayler’s Mommy and Aunty

Whimsical Tea Table Decor 

Tea Time is Nostalgic

My Sweeties

Tamsey, David, Cherie, and Dalila

Sheila, Miriah, Tayler, and Afton

Cherie Honors Grandmother’s with Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes

Little Ones Honor Grandmas with a Song and Scripture Performance

Girls and Grandmas

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5/1 & 5/3 Joy is a Fruit

As all of nature is coming alive this spring, our joy is blossoming as well! In Little Lambs we are focusing on JOY this month, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Fruit picking season happens to be just around the corner, and cherries are actually already here! For little ones, spiritual concepts like fruit of the Spirit are more tangible after spending a day at a U pick farm, or tending some backyard fruit trees all season long. Even I understand spiritual things more through tangible analogies, so it works for big people too. We can take our cue from Jesus, using everyday items (like fruit trees) as He did constantly, and teach our own children hard to grasp spiritual concepts. Turn everyday experiences into a holy moment by praying for the sight to see common things turned spiritual. I hope that something from our Little Lambs lesson this week will help you to explain the fruit of the Spirit to your little one.

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit

Can something dead make fruit? Can that wood table over there make fruit? No! Trees make fruit because they are alive. Joy comes out of life, the life of God He put inside you. Joy appears as a growth. Without Jesus people are not alive inside and cannot make fruit like joy.

Do trees start out with fruit right away? No! It takes time. You will surely grow in the fruit of the Spirit as you stay planted in God. The Bible says joy comes as a result of faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  (Romans 10:17 & John 15:11) So read, read, read your Bible and pray, pray, pray, pray so that you will grow.

Does fruit need to be cared for? Yes! It must be watched and tended. Don’t let one cold night, insects, or worms spoil your fruit. Don’t let one angry, grumpy, selfish person, or a difficult night take YOUR joy fruit away.

Do trees only make fruit once? No! Fruit grows again and again, fruit makes more fruit. In a similar way, when Christians tell others about Jesus, Christians help others become Christians. There is no greater joy than this.

 What makes YOU happy (smile, laugh)? …….We all want to be happy, don’t we? But joy is better than happiness.

Happiness is short lasting. Apart from the Holy Spirit, you may find some happiness, but not joy. Joy comes from the inside from things like faith in Jesus; happiness comes from things on the outside and outside things always change. The happiness of receiving a new toy fades away, the happiness of keeping things all for ourselves doesn’t last long, friends cannot always keep us happy, money can buy us things that make us happy only for a little while.

Holy Spirit joy lasts and lasts…..even when I have to clean up, when I don’t get my own way, when my friend gets what I want, when someone is unkind to me…..because no one and nothing can take my Jesus away. Joy comes from the inside.

Lasting Joy comes from things like:

  • having faith in God (opposite of faith is fear and worry. you aren’t joyful when you are worried)
  • knowing you have done the right thing before God
  • doing something for someone else (thinking about what someone else needs, giving up and giving away)
  • knowing what God wants you to do with your life
  • feeling so close to Jesus (sharing thoughts and feelings, worship)
  • sharing your life with other Christians in friendship
  • hearing the words of God and understanding (like a light going on inside)
  • and bringing someone to Christ!

Noah’s First Cherry Picking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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