Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

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

Fabulous Fours and Fives!

Pre-K Curriculum Plans for 2013-2014

(Also see 2014-2015 Stupendous Fives and Sixes, and 2015-2016 Sweet Sixes and Sevens)

Wow, next school year will be the last year of preschool for our four year olds, Noah and Tayler! We are now entering our third year of preschool at Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs. We have built up our curriculum each successive year in order to gradually prepare our little ones for the demands and delights of the high reaching goals of a Charlotte Mason elementary homeschool (Noah will be 5 and 2/3 years old when we he begins elementary school in fall 2014). I have done much thought and research in order to come up with our Pre-K curriculum for next fall, and I am excited to be able to share it with those of you who may also have a four or five year old!! You will notice that there are no textbooks and no workbooks in our curriculum selection, but rather all living books (written by a single author passionate about his/her subject); a Charlotte Mason education is a “living education.”

Before we get into curriculum, I need to mention something important. Anyone can take a book list and a string of methods and put them into practice. What makes a Charlotte Mason education come alive is an internal agreement with Charlotte’s reasons for choosing those books, for using that method. The thought process and belief system behind the methodology give life to the method. So I give you our booklist for next school year to offer suggestions for your own homeschool, but I emphasize that this list is only a list, and not so effective unless you are familiar with Charlotte Mason methods. I highly recommend researching and meditating on Charlotte’s methods this summer: definitely read her 6 volume Original Homeschooling Series or at least a book by another author that brings light to her methods, consider taking a DVD course on planning a CM education by SimplyCharlotteMason.com (especially if you have a school age child), and join my Charlotte Mason Friends Book Club! You will feel more confident, inspired, motivated, and prepared if you know all about the “why” and “how” as you prepare for your first, or next, season of homeschool. Your education methods will be living when you truly understand Charlotte’s methods.

If you are interested in some guidance for next school year, first take a look at Welcome Back to School, my 2012-2013 curriculum post. Every area of study listed there is the foundation of our Charlotte Mason preschool. We will continue those same foundational studies in the 2013-2014 school year, and add some new things as well. This post previews the brand new things we will be building into our 2013-2014 school year.

Overview of Curriculum for 2013-2014

Mother Study

Mothers should cultivate their souls so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.

Home education begins with you staying educated and staying passionate about God, family, homemaking, and homeschool. Passion comes from cultivating yourself! Reading will feed your soul the ideas it hungers to grow upon, and keep your enthusiasm kindled. What you read will largely depend upon your own interests, but here are a couple essentials in my estimation:

Get a really good study Bible! I did some research recently and this is the Bible I ended up ordering. It has great reviews, and if you are in the market for a Bible, see what you think for yourself!

Charlotte Mason’s 6 Volume Original Homeschooling Series! I don’t know, have I made my point clear yet? 🙂

Bible

See my Teaching Children the Bible post for lots of teaching tips.

Is it your aim as a mom to really learn the Word of God? Perhaps you have realized, as I have, that God has given you children to disciple and raise up, and a large part of succeeding at the high calling of motherhood depends on your heart being filled with the knowledge of God? So preparing to teach our children the Bible can and should grow us as moms.

Next year, I plan on studying each Bible story of the week (from the Masterplan) from my adult Bible. Next I will either retell the story to the children in my own words and/or read portions from my Bible (preferably from the King James Version), and also read the story from a quality Children’s Bible storybook on another day. Having to tell a story in my own words really solidifies the details of stories in my own heart. Its amazing how God will shed light on different aspects of how the story relates to our lives if we will meditate on the story and pray about it. Oral storytelling allows the children to practice actively imagining the story themselves instead of passively taking in pictures from a Bible storybook all the time. Since we spend a week on each Bible story at Jesus Precious Little Lambs (actually only two days per week since we meet on T/Th), sometimes we mix things up by acting out a Bible story instead of rereading it (like making a boat on the floor out of the couch cushions and acting out the story of Jesus speaking to the Storm). This is narration in action!

The Child’s Story Bible is one of the few Bible storybooks that accurately retells, and includes over 200 stories told in simple language, yet not watered down. The Child’s Story Bible is great for teaching Bible to children of all grades at once, as a combined family subject, since its appropriate for 4 to 12 year olds. There are very few pictures, just to let you know. You can view the language of the stories at Christianbook.com. We plan to use this Bible storybook next school year.

The Preschoolers Bible is Faith, my two year old’s, Bible. The language is incredibly simple, yet there are a large variety of stories, and so its a great Bible for a 2-3 year old (other than having cartoon pictures, ugh). Noah really benefits from this Bible too because we have started asking him to narrate the story back to us when Daddy finishes reading. Although narration is not easy for a four year old, the stories in this Bible are simple enough that he is able to succeed. Thanks to Faith’s Bible, Noah is starting to practice the oh-so-important art of narration–the backbone of Charlotte Mason methods. Yay!

Besides reading children’s Bibles occasionally at school, we do read them every night with Daddy, and this is when Faith gets to hear from “her Bible”. Even though this devotional time is not during Little Lambs “school time”, it definitely still counts as “curriculum”. Family homeschool happens all throughout the day, and just before bed is a perfect time to include Dad in teaching some “curriculum”–whether its Bible, History, Literature, Science. However, I would say Bible tops the list in importance since it gives Dad the chance to be the spiritual leader of your home.

And don’t forget Scripture Memory and Hymns as part of your Bible curriculum! We will continue to memorize one scripture a month and learn 1-2 new hymns a month. Singing hymns for worship is pretty new for me, but I am loving it!!

History

Adding history studies will be the biggest change in our homeschool next year, and I am very excited to for our little ones hearts to be filled with a patriotic spirit as they learn about “My America”. For school age history studies, we will most likely be using Simply Charlotte Mason’s curriculum guide which contains all living book suggestions. Their history curriculum is divided into time periods, beginning with Bible history and how it fits into world history, which makes perfect sense. I look forward to starting this curriculum when Noah begins kindergarten. My only concern is that American history is not part of the curriculum until much later– like year 6. So my solution is to spend Noah’s Pre-K year studying American history. I want him to know some of the special stories about the history of his country while he is young, and my heart is pulled towards Early American studies, as both he and I love everything “old fashioned”.

Teaching history is about giving our children the right kind of heros to look up to. Boys especially need strong heros to admire and emulate in order to grow up into courageous honorable mighty men of valor. Charlotte strongly believed in focusing on the story part of history when teaching young children, and this completely resonates with me! Politics and philosophies can be examined later, but for now we should fill them with examples of good, noble, exemplary deeds of history heros. Our children will learn to discern the consequences of actions and their bearings upon that historical time period as well as life today. If we read them history in the form of inspiring biographies, we will find our children “playing” or acting out imaginary scenes from their history lessons. Charlotte so wisely stated, “….for it is only as we have it in us to let a person or cause fill the whole stage of the mind, to the exclusion of self-occupation, that we are capable of large-hearted action on behalf of that person or cause.” So true! Doesn’t the truth of that quote hit home as a Christian who relates to Christ in this very way? The more we become consumed with Christ, our hero, the more we become Christ-like.

Since we personally prefer not to have any kind of Spiderman or Batman or Captain America or Iron Man or Disney Princess type of paraphernalia around our house, our kids are unfamiliar with modern day kids “heros.” I have often wondered what will fill the gap for hero admiration in our home. So learning that Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching history is hero study was an “AHA!” moment for me. I am soooooo thankful that true hero admiration will fill the hearts of my children and no comic or TV heros will be needed. What a wonderful way to teach history!

Note: we will skip reading Leif the Lucky because the story revolves around Norse gods.

FYI, Beautiful Feet, a history through literature publisher, has a great K-3 Early American literature pack, as well as literature packs for other grades and historical time periods. High caliber books such as the ones pictured above are the type of books you receive in the literature pack……. but they are really pricey. I am not going to spend $200 on a literature pack to teach one subject! I have done some research and many of the books can be found at the library. Phew! (Plus, I do not recommend the Beautiful Feet teaching guide that goes with the Early American books because the activities are way too difficult for early elementary students.)

Here are some more optional living books that we may check out/buy:

Hands On Ideas for Colonial America Studies

A best friend for planning history studies!

Amazon and Rainbow Resource describe All Through the Ages:

Bring the “story” back into “history” by using this exhaustive guide to over 7000 of the best in quality historical narratives, historical fiction, literature, and “living books”! With nothing more than a library card, parents or educators can effectively teach their children both World and American history using this guide. No more hours of researching historical books that are accurate, engaging, and age-appropriate. All Through the Ages has rendered all that work unnecessary. They have created a comprehensive list from some of the best resources, including Beautiful Feet, Books Children Love, Honey for a Child’s Heart, Greenleaf Press, Newberry Award books, Great Books of Western Civilization, Let the Authors Speak, Veritas, and 18 other publishers. This book merely combines all these lists (along with some of the author’s personal finds) into one volume to save you the legwork of finding and comparing numerous book lists. It doesn’t matter whether the children are pre-readers or college-bound seniors; books of every reading level are included for every era, from picture books and beginning readers through the great books of Western Civilization.

Literature

American pioneer spirit, love of family and God, adventures in homesteading, hard working obedient children, siblings as playmates–Little House on the Prairie is a collection of heartwarming and wholesome stories that resonates so well with my own values. I am SO excited to read the Little House on the Prairie series to my children next year! I never read them as a child and I feel like I have missed out on something that I would have loved. I was so happy when it dawned on me that the Little House series complements our Early American Pioneer studies for history, and that the reading level is not difficult for young children (as a read aloud).

We will also continue reading other classic, non-twaddle literature such as:

Winnie the Pooh series

Beatrix Potter series

Aesop’s Fables

A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa

Reading

Next fall, we will be using a complete reading curriculum kit that faithfully reproduces Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching reading. This curriculum uses a combination of word building (like we have been doing all along) and learning words by sight. For the convenience and easy storage, we may purchase a montessori moveable alphabet for word building rather than use Delightful Reading’s provided letter tiles. This curriculum is perfect for 5 and 6 year olds who have limited reading ability or no prior reading experience. If you are not familiar with Charlotte’s methods for teaching reading, here it is in a nutshell. However, reading up on why she believes these methods are superior to learning phonics and using readers (the most common modern day method), is important. I would encourage you to read p.199- p.222 in Home Education, Vol.1.

Math

This is the next book in the math curriculum series that we are already using and loving (we currently use Developing Math Concepts in Pre-Kindergarten by Kathy Richardson). I found this curriculum while working in the teaching world, loved it, and am happy to be using it in homeschool with my own children. By the way, I have an extra new copy of this book and I will send it to you if you let me know you would like it!

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SimplyCharlotteMason.com recommends two good math curriculums: Right Start Math and Math U See. For me, Math U See seems like it might be too worksheet based. Right Start Math seems a little one dimensional as all computations are made off of an abacus, the primary learning tool. So I will continue using Kathy Richardson’s curriculum for now since I am very happy with. However, I really like the idea of the Right Start abacus as a supplement to other hands on math activities. The abacus is grouped in fives and tens for quick recognition of quantities–genius! Children develop visual computation strategies as they use this manipulative. As the abacus can be purchased separately from the curriculum, we will purchase one to play around with next year as part of our math studies. This is a picture of a Rainbow colored Melissa and Doug abacus repainted by someone to look like the Right Start Math abacus:

Nature Study

Also see my Nature is For Kids post.

A science curriculum is not necessary for preschoolers, because science for young children should mostly be about getting out into nature and experiencing it! However, The Handbook of Nature Study, is a book that is used as the backbone of Charlotte Mason nature study throughout the school age years, so you might as well become familiarized with it now even if you don’t end up actually using it much during the preschool years.

Other optional Nature Study books suitable for Pre-K and up:

Handwriting

Next school year, we will likely begin to use pencil and paper while continuing to use chalkboard and chalk for handwriting.

I recently posted lots of info about our handwriting methods and materials:

-Use a chalkboard! Whether starting to print or do cursive, don’t let your child’s handwriting be chicken scratch on paper or the whiteboard. Everyday, your child is forming either chicken scratch habits or beautiful letter formation habits that may persist for a lifetime. The roughness of chalkboards provide the necessary tactile feedback for optimal letter formation.

-Use small chalk bits! Small writing utensils force children to use the correct tripod grip. An incorrect grip practiced for too long can be hard to change later. Even coloring matters–use small broken crayons to encourage the tripod grip. Always correct an incorrect grip so that a poor habit does not become engrained. When a child is ready to switch to pencil and paper for handwriting, do not use regular pencils or jumbo size kindergarten pencils, use golf size pencils. Small hands require small tools in order to write correctly. The weight of large pencils make the tripod grip more difficult.

-Two lines are the easiest format for writing. The standard three line kindergarten paper is very confusing for children, and very unnecessary. Make your own wide ruled two line paper if you want. Otherwise, two line paper, chalk bits, and two line chalkboards can be purchased at Handwriting without Tears.

-We choose to learn handwriting through one theme relevant word a month, rather than writing a string of letters one letter at a time, because it makes handwriting more meaningful. Review of known letters is automatically built in as well, which is great! By writing words rather than letters, the children see that handwriting is for the purpose of making words, which is for the purpose of reading. That is satisfying. We are in no hurry to try get all 26 letters covered in a certain time frame anyway.

-I started doing a mini lesson every time before the children write because I realized they need to be drilled in order to remember some things (and it makes handwriting practice go much smoother):

-I ask, “What letter comes first, next, next, last?,” to push them to recall the spelling of a word without looking at a reference. They were previously not remembering the spelling of a word after a whole month of practicing writing it. Children need to be able to close their eyes and visualize a word in order to be good spellers–so start this habit of observation now!

-I ask, “Where does ‘b’ start?” “Now what do I do?” (go down, up, over, and around) “Where does ‘i’ start?” “Now what do I do?” and so on. The correct starting point of each letter is the hardest thing to remember about each letter and requires special mention every time.

-I point out an area of concern if necessary: today, Noah I want you to work on making your ‘b’ and ‘d’ bellies nice and fat rather than skinny. Today, Tayler I want you to make sure your letters don’t have too much space in between.

-During practice time, the children use my written word sample as a reference while they are writing, even tracing my letters on my chalkboard first if needed to recall directionality. But they do little tracing because usually after all this thorough instruction, they do not require me to write letters on their board to trace, they just take off writing all on their own!

Habit Training

We will continue to choose one habit/character trait per moth to work on as a whole family. I would love to have this little Simply Charlotte Mason goody for teaching habits of good character.

Foreign Language

Whenever I think of it, I am going to throw in Spanish vocabulary here and there as we go about our day, just for fun. I may pull out my old Spanish textbook, if I can find it, so that I can brush up on “items around the house” type of vocabulary. Dean can help me out here since he speaks some Spanish to his crew at work everyday.

Geography

Since we are studying American history, we will follow the stories and journeys of our historical figures across the map of the US. I am talking about really simple geography here–simply pointing out the names of relevant states on a map and thats about it. Our map may in fact be a place mat of the US that we already own.

Handicrafts

We will just have fun with hands on crafts that may be related to a theme, a holiday, a season, or are done just because! Here is a great list of handicrafts to get you thinking.

Miss Mason’s students practiced “various handicrafts that he may know the feel of wood, clay, leather, and the joy of handling tools, that is, that he may establish a due relation with materials…”About the role of daily handiwork in her schools she wrote: The points to be borne in mind in children’s handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as “pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like”; that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not allowed.

Poetry, Art Appreciation, and Music Appreciation

Last, but not least, is the humanities, refreshingly central to a Charlotte Mason education. Charlotte Mason believed that children deserved direct contact with the best art.The great ideas of men and women of history are revealed in their works, whether paintings or writings or music.To quote Miss Mason, “Ideas must reach us directly from the mind of the thinker, and it is chiefly by the means of the books they have written that we get in touch with the best minds.” This includes all forms of human expression–paintings, poetry, music, dance, etc. This is why Charlotte said the Bible and “varied human reading as well as the appreciation of the humanities (culture) is not a luxury, a tidbit, to be given to children now and then, but their very bread of life.”

Welcome Back to School, my 2012-2013 curriculum post will show you how simple it is to incorporate humanities in preschool.

Phew! That’s it! So after all that, maybe you wonder, what else am I going to have to do once kindergarten starts!?! Nothing much actually–these are all the same areas Charlotte Mason kindergarteners study, just a little more in depth. The major difference in preschool is that I will require essentially little to no narration, but in kinder, Noah will be required to narrate back to me everything I read to him. If you are able to introduce all these areas of study listed for Pre-K, you will fly right into kindergarten without breaking a sweat. Go ahead and get your feet wet this year, and you will be so thankful for the ease with which you are able to start up your official homeschool kindergarten.

Basic Budget for Pre-K

So how much will this coming year of homeschool cost?

Necessary Books

The Child’s Story Bible $18

Delightful Reading $50

Developing Number Concepts $38

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Total: $106 

(+ shipping)

Very affordable for private school! The rest of the curriculum is optional and so purchasing more books than the “necessary ones” may depend on one’s budget. Plus, many books can be checked out for free from the library.

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See Part II: Getting Ready for School!

 Pretty Good Handwriting for Mid-Month

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Planting Tomatoes

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Planting a Giant Pumpkin

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Planting Sunflowers

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Building Our Playhouse

Scarlet Runner Beans and Birdhouse Gourds are planted at the bottom of each tree stake, and will hopefully cover the playhouse as the grow up.

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Simple Pleasures

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Cute Clay Mushrooms for the Garden

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Our First Crop Harvested

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Cooking Project: Cream, Berries, Honey, and Stevia “Frozen Yogurt”.

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Art Project: Sunflowers

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Look at Me Grow!

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May Lesson Plans

2012-2013

What a joyful time of year, reflecting on all the goodness of God these last 9 school months, while looking forward to the delights of summer! Time for some extra exuberant praise sessions with the kids!!
 
I can’t believe its already the last month of school before summer break, and that this is the last official lesson plan until fall! Time flies when you are having fun! We will keep learning over the summer, but learning will be more unstructured. Time to get outdoors more and go on more fieldtrips! We hope you will keep learning with us! (Our Fall curriculum plans are underway and we will share soon.)
 
If you are new here, we invite you to join our Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs school by following along with our lesson plans at home! You are welcome to do homeschool together with us! Please take a look at Welcome Back to School for a basic explanation of each area of study that you see here in this monthly lesson plan (bold blue headings), as well as a description of the beauty of Charlotte Mason education methods. If you would like to preview other themes planned for the year, also see our 2013 masterplan. If you would like to call your school Little Lambs as well, see my post Founding Message of Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs, a sweet Bible lesson I presented during one of our very first circle times that you might want to use with your kids too!

Bible Theme: I have Joy

Preschool Fun Theme: Bugs and Butterflies

Mother Study:

Before teaching your children, enrich yourself on the topic of Biblical joy with Charles Spurgeon’s sermon: The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People

Special Dates:

May 7th–Mother’s Day Tea Party We will celebrate moms and grandmas today with a frilly tea party. (See last years ideas for planning your own party)

Bible Stories:

Week 1 Joy Comes as a Result of Faith (1 Peter 1:3-9 –mom look over New Life Version for a simple way to explain, but present King James Version to children for literary value)

Week 2 Psalms 100, & spend some extra time singing and dancing

Week 3 Paul and Silas (Acts 16)

Week 4 Heaven (Revelation 21–22)

Memory Verse:

Review last years verse: “My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him. ” Psalms 28:7

Learn new verse: “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Classical Art Study:

Choose from hundreds of Mother and Child Paintings here.

The Young Mother by Mary Cassatt, 1900

Hymns:

To God Be the Glory

MP3   Sheet Music

Come Now Fount

MP3 and Sheet Music

Poetry for memorization:

Select favorite verses from Jane Taylor’s poem:

My Mother

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hush’d me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother.

When sleep forsook my open eye,
Who was it sung sweet hushaby,
And rock’d me that I should not cry?
My Mother.

Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping in my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My Mother.

When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who dress’d my doll in clothes so gay,
And taught me pretty how to play.
And minded all I had to say?
My Mother.

Who taught my infant lips to pray,
And love God’s holy book and day.
And walk in Wisdom’s pleasant way?
My Mother.

And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who was so very kind to me?
My Mother

Ah, no! the thought I cannot bear;
And if God please my life to spare,
I hope I shall reward thy care,
My Mother.

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My Mother.

When thou art feeble, old, and gray,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away.
My Mother.

And when I see thee hang thy head,
‘Twill be my turn to watch thy bed.
And tears of sweet affection shed,
My Mother.

Handwriting:

The children will practice printing:

mother

Word Building:

Use lowercase letters to build:

Week 1 mom

Week 2 bug

Week 3 grub

Week 4 ant

Extension: After building the assigned words, select other beginning consonant letters that form a new word from the same word ending (this can be done by the child or the teacher). For example, you could lay out letters b, c, f, m, p, r, s, to choose from and then have children make new words by taking off the h in hat and replacing it with a new consonant. However, half the fun for the kids is finding the initial consonants that form new words for themselves, so I have my kids try letters one by one to find new words through trial and error. Either way, have the children sound out their new word and announce what word they built. The children will see that many words can be built from the same word endings ( word endings being –om, –ug, –ub, –ant). See Welcome Back to School post for more Word Building information.

Provide real objects or pictures to represent the word of the week during your word building lesson if you want.

Literature and Reference Books:

Place books on hold on your library’s website today, or order from an online bookstore, so they will be ready for you on time!

Insect fables, like The Grasshopper and the Ants, in:

Math:

(Activities are from the book Developing Math Concepts in Pre-Kindergarten)

Week 1  Patterning (p. 151)

Object: to copy and extend patterns. Provide several unifix cube patterns (trains) and have the children choose one that they feel comfortable extending the pattern (by building onto the provided pattern). Ask the children to tell you/show you their pattern. Extension: have the children make up their own pattern train. What is the level of complexity of the patterns the child is able to work with? Do the children simplify the pattern and always make an AB pattern?

Week 2 Sorting Number Sets (p.144)

Object: To count and place number set materials in the correct sections of a number line, and to notice how the same number can be represented in many different ways. Make number set cards (like the toothpick set pictured in my December lesson plan) with varying objects such as buttons, paper clips, bread tags, beads on bracelets, beads strung on yarn, objects glued on popsicle sticks. Make two number lines: lay out two long pieces of butcher paper, each marked off into five sections labeled with numerals 1-5 and 6-10 (and corresponding number of dots next to each numeral). You can use one number line at a time to make the activity easier. After the children have placed several cards in one section on the number line, say, “Let’s check and see if all these are fours, sixes, threes (and so on).” Extension: If children are ready, have them sort the number set materials and put them in order without using the paper strip. Do children notice that the numbers get bigger to the right and smaller to the left, or do they search randomly for where to put their card? Are they comfortable choosing small numbers or big numbers? Are they able to sort the small numbers quickly? Do they need to recount the dots on the paper strip before placing their card? Are they accurate? Do they check and recheck to make sure they counted right?

Week 3 Matching (p.146)

Object: To practice making two sets of the same number of objects, either by using one-to-one correspondence or by counting. Use the same number set cards used in the previous “Sorting Number Sets” lesson. Provide collections of various items (buttons, keys, nuts and blots, etc) and several sheets of construction paper. Have the child choose one of the number set cards. Then, have the children use the collections and construction paper (like a mat) to build a set that has the same number as the card. What size numbers can thhe work with? Do they copy the arrangement?

Week 4 More or Less (p. 148)

Object: To compare a group of objects to determine which group has more and which has less. This is a game that can be played by two children, or you and a child. Use the number set cards from the two previous lessons, and create a More/Less spinner (use a spinner you already own, cover one half with paper labeled “More” and one half with paper labeled “Less”). Have each partner draw a card out of the pile of number set cards. One partner spins the More/Less spinner. If it lands on “More,” the partner whose card has more wins and takes both cards. If it lands on “Less,” the partner whose card has less on it wins and takes both cards. Play continues until they run out of cards. Are the children able to tell immediately which is more or which is less, or do they need to count?

Group Projects:

Craft a tea party invitation.

Paint your own Bug Barn–Only $3.75 at Rainbow Resource!

Order a ‘Grow Your Own Butterflies’ Kit

Raise a Snail Family

Dig for Worms and then Make a Worm Farm

Make a Buggy Snack

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Listen to Relaxing Sounds of Insects

Have some end of the year fun making Sharpie Tye Dye T-shirts!

Nature Study:

Catch and Study Your Own Bugs

Field Guides, The Handbook of Nature Study, and the website whatsthatbug.com can help you with insect identification.

The scriptures say that God reveals Himself in the Word, in the conscience, and in creation. Therefore, just as studying the Bible reveals truths of God to your children, so does studying nature! Most Christian families would never omit Bible study, but how many Christian families are missing out on the enjoyment and theological significance of studying nature?

Go enjoy nature with your children this month!

All good things are inspired by God! We share freely here to be a blessing to you with all that He has given us. Thank you for sharing what you have been given with others too. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8

 

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Giddy About Family

So you didn’t make it to the Christian Homeschool Convention, bummer…………..but I brought you back a small piece of what the convention had to offer because its just too good to miss!!


Curriculum at the Convention

Dean and I really enjoyed ourselves at the Christian Home Educators Association of California convention last weekend. I decided to attend CHEA’s convention on a trial basis you could say–sure that I wanted to go once, but not sure that I would feel that it would be necessary to continue returning. I mean how many times do you need to attend a homeschool conference? We paid nothing to go because our oldest child is under 6 years of age–a nice perk at the CHEA convention. The convention consisted of two parts: the curriculum exhibit hall and the workshop sessions covering a wide range of homeschooling topics.

I went mainly for the workshops because I knew that the curriculum expo portion of the convention wouldn’t be highly useful to me since I already know what materials and methods I want to use with my kids, and that those specific materials wouldn’t be present at a general convention. However, it was a relief to be able to just mosey around the expo room for fun, not feeling overwhelmed by having to make any selections from the vast amount of Christian curriculum available. Following Charlotte Mason methods makes curriculum selection really easy because staying true to her philosophies really narrows down the choices. Basically, at the convention, there were no complete homeschool curriculum packages, or boxed curriculum, that 100 % follows Charlotte Mason methods. No big surprise. I am not sure such curriculum exists, and that is why those of us who teach Charlotte’s way, plan our own curriculum, and/or pull from online sources like the free curriculum guides at SimplyCharlotteMason.com and Amblesideonline.org. The only complete curriculum package at the convention expo that resonates with me at all is My Father’s World, a curriculum that attempts to use Charlotte Mason methods. I perused their kindergarten curriculum package and liked their Bible lessons, but in my opinion, the kindergarten level seems a little easy overall and perhaps not challenging enough, and therfore does not support Charlotte’s foundational belief that children have great powers of mind. If one really couldn’t spend any time before next school year putting a custom plan together using suggestions from SimplyCharlotteMason’s curriculum guide, I would recommend My Father’s World as plan B. However, once you get into My Father’s World, you will probably find that you have to tweak MFW, and any type of “one size fits all” curriculum so much, that you may find yourself wishing you had just spent the extra planning time on the front end in order to have a custom family curriculum that really works for you. That being said, we did glean some things from the CHEA bookstore booth, the creation science booth, and the highly energetic Spanish curriculum saleslady really got me thinking about starting Spanish with my children early on (probably on my own, although her curriculum did look fun).

CHEA Convention is All About Family

I found the atmosphere at the convention to be very family oriented and even rejuvenating for marriages. Dean and I held hands all weekend as we were child free– and we are hardly able to do this anymore with our little ones always in our arms or holding our hands. We were drawn together, but I think it was more than just being away from the kids. I would say that there was a special anointing, a strength, a power due to prayers prayed over the convention for oneness of family vision, which begins in healthy marriages. The information presented at the workshops was thought provoking and discussion stirring for us. We sat at lunch discussing the dearness of family and vision for our own family, since the gladness of what we had just received during the workshops was bubbling over in our hearts. I felt so much family pride, a deeper understanding of a family calling, and so much feeling for my family awakened! I even felt giddy. Giddy thinking about the children God has given us and thinking about the children He may yet give us. I finally understood why homeschool families often grow so large when the speaker (with a family of 6 boys and 2 girls!) said, “60 % of homeschool families have 3 or more children. Homeschool families are on the front lines of God’s army. Children are a reward, and the Bible says children are our arrows going into battle. You could go into battle with one or two arrows (like most of the world), but wouldn’t you want to go into battle with more arrows? ” I noticed that many many husbands accompanied their wives to the convention, and I imagine that other couples experienced the same impartation of vision as well as special opportunities for discussion. I look forward to attending the secular Homeschool Association of California’s convention someday as well, but I suspect that this special Godly family anointing I felt at CHEA is something unique to the Christian convention.

Originally I thought that a homeschool convention might be a one time event, but now I see the CHEA convention as a recharging time that would be an annual benefit to our family. So I encourage you for the same reasons to think about going next year with your husband. Not only will you receive an incredible amount of homeschool guidance all in one convenient time and place, but a rejuvenation for your vision and your family so unique that is hard to put into words. And if your oldest child will be 5 or younger next April, and its your first time attending, its free to go ($99 otherwise). Yay!

Hal and Melanie Young

After hearing Hal and Melanie Young in the Saturday morning keynote session, we followed them around all day to hear whatever workshops they were leading. Incredible speakers with an incredible heart for family! We heard Never, Never Give Up; Raising Real Men; and My Friend, My Beloved (available in the CHEA audio store soon). I LOVED listening to their homeschool success stories and imagining that our family could experience the same………If only we could sit at the feet of such wise people more often! God put that kind of heart in me and my husband!!

Hal and Melanie’s website, RaisingRealMen.com, is worth looking into if you have a son. I bought their book called Raising Real Men because I desire for my little Noah to grow up and be a MAN, not a grown up boy. Hal and Melanie have so much Godly insight into raising boys, and their 6 boys are such good role models of what God can do in a homeschooling family. After implementing just a couple things the Young’s mentioned about setting little boys sights on what it is to be a man, I have already seen Noah’s little chest puff out as mommy acknowledges how strong he is, or what a hard worker he is, “just like a man”.

I really want to share the keynote session, Never, Never Give Up by Hal and Melanie Young with you. Will you please please listen?? I know you will be blessed.


(audio may take a few minutes to load)

Called to Serve Your Family

My heart burns for you. For you best friend, dear friends, loved ones, and beloved readers to know that you are capable of homeschooling your children. Deep down you wonder how do I know if I am capable??? In the introduction session at the convention, the speaker mentioned that this is the one and only thing that stops many parents from homeschooling. He said there is one answer to that question, and it is enough. Who did God give your children to? He gave your children to you. That is how you know that you are capable. If other parents would have been more capable of raising your children, He would have given them to those parents. But He gave them to you. Its that simple.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 tells us to that every opportunity should be taken to instil the knowledge of divine things into the tender minds of our children. Homeschool affords us those opportunities for true discipleship.

“You are to love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Let these words that I’m commanding you today be always on your heart. Teach them repeatedly to your children. Talk about them while sitting in your house or walking on the road, and as you lie down or get up. Tie them as reminders on your forearm, bind them on your forehead, and write them on the door frames of your house and on your gates.”

Giddy About My Little Man

Noah Trying to Climb Trees

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Letting Boys Take Risks Is Part of Raising Them to Be Men

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Math: Concentration

I changed this matching numbers game from 12 cups to 8, and the kids did so much better. We needed to adjust our original plans as 12 cups was too overwhelming for Tayler and Noah. See April Lesson Plans for Concentration math game instructions.

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Noah Using His Own Hymnal in Circle Time

Noah begged me for his own hymnal. He insists that I point to the words for him while we sing. So cute. If you look closely, you can see that this month I started writing out definitions of difficult words in the hymnal, like “conscience”, to go over with the children before singing. Now they know what they are singing about, I don’t have to come up with explanations off the top of my head, and wonderfully wordy hymns are made more accessible to our young ones.

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Raising a Man Who Knows How to Seek the Lord For Himself

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Is Kindergarten the Best Training Ground for a Child?

Charlotte Mason Friends Book Club, Home Education (Vol. 1) pages 150-225

  • This post dovetails my To Preschool or Not to Preschool post–one of my very favorite posts ever written!! If you have, or will have, a preschool age child please read it!
  • FYI, when Charlotte Mason refers to kindergarten, she is referring to nursery school, a pre-school: a place intended to get 2 to 6 year olds ready for school (Charlotte’s kindergarten years 2-6 = American preschool + kindergarten years). Charlotte Mason’s methods recommend beginning formal lessons at age 6.

Kinder-Garden, A False Analogy

The first kindergarten was established in Germany in 1840, and “kindergarten” originally meant “children’s garden” because it was intended to be a place for children to be taken care of and nourished like plants in a garden. No doubt kindergarten, or preschool, was originally intended to be an out of door life in the garden for children. A beautiful idea in theory, however, we must admit that modern kindergartens and preschools resemble nothing of the sort.

Charlotte notes the homogenizing effect on children in a kinder-garden tended by a teacher: “the exactly due sunshine and shade, pruning and training, are good for a plant whose uses are subordinate, so to say, to the needs and pleasures of its owner.” Plants are not created to have purpose, but children are. Learning is hampered in the traditional learning environment where twenty children are focused and dependent on the teacher, and where children become dependent upon her constant direction. Everything is planned, expected, suggested by her–nothing gets to the children without her processing it first. Children lose a lot of their individuality and purpose. On the other hand, learning at home is more spontaneous and child centered, rather than teacher centered; individuality is inherent in a homeschool environment because children direct much of their own learning. The habit of self direction over the years becomes a powerful momentum in their education and lends to a very gratifying sense of purpose.

We are so proud when our preschooler comes home from preschool able to identify a rhomboid from a pentagon, a primary color from a secondary color, when he can cut and fold paper–we feel like “my child is learning!” But Charlotte believes “this is at the expense of much of that real knowledge of the external world which at no time of his life will he be so fitted to acquire.” Real learning for our young ones is giving them as much outdoor time as possible, and to guide them toward developing powerful habits of attention during that outdoor time. Spending hours in nature every day far surpass the results of the organized academic work they get in even the best kindergarten situation. Developing powers of observation in young children is the main goal of early education, and home is the growing place that provides countless observation opportunities–like straightening a tablecloth or a picture, or wrapping a package–which would never present themselves in a classroom setting. Unfortunately, the contrived lessons taught in the artificially controlled environment of a classroom make for a poor growing place with much less opportunity for real life observation skills to be honed.

Masterly Inactivity

Children must be given the freedom and time to learn to direct themselves and think for themselves. The direction parents give in the continual guarding of habits and guidance of character is very important. However, the other part of raising children is leaving them alone, or what Charlotte Mason calls providing “Masterly Inactivity’. Children should be left alone to develop according to their own nature as long as they do not become spoiled. They should be left alone to create their own games and imaginary play with no adult influence. A few good quotes from Charlotte on Masterly Inactivity:

“Children must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens; for of the evils of modern education few are worse than this––that the perpetual cackle of his elders leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherein to wonder––and grow.” 

“Children need time to make up episodes, carry on pretend adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and defend forts, even if the fort is only an old armchair. Adults must not interfere or tell the children what to play. They need to accept the fact that this is something they don’t understand, and, even more, their very presence carries the cold breath of reality that makes the pretend illusion dissipate and fade away. Think what it must be like for a commanding general leading his soldiers when some intruder into his play-world tells him to tie his shoes!”

“The educational error of our day is that we believe too much in mediators. Now, Nature is her own mediator, undertakes, herself, to find work for eyes and ears, taste and touch; she will prick the brain with problems and the heart with feelings; and the part of the mother or teacher in the early years (indeed, all through life) is to sow opportunities, and then to keep in the background, ready with a guiding or restraining hand only when these are badly wanted. Mothers shirk their work and put it, as they would say, into better hands than their own, because they do not recognize that wise letting alone is the chief thing asked of them, seeing that every mother has in Nature an all-sufficient handmaid, who arranges for due work and due rest of mind, muscles, and senses.”

The Perfect Teacher

Imagine the perfect kindergarten teacher–a sweet voiced goddess, a joyful singing enchantress who makes the classroom like a little piece of heaven below. She lulls children into nice little games of frisking like lambs, flapping their fins, and flying around the room like butterflies.” Its not exaggerating to say that the direction exerted by preschool/kindergarten teachers over the children even extends into the area of play. (“However, put the commonplace woman in charge of a large group of children, and “the charmingly devised gifts and games and occupations become so many instruments of wooden teaching.” So true!)

Ah, but the children in a good preschool classroom look so happy! Charlotte says, “It is a curious thing about human nature that we all like to be managed by persons who take the pains to play on our amiabilities.” It is little wonder that children can be wooed to do anything by someone who charms them. Be assured that there is a kindergarten teacher even more perfectly suited for your children than that singing goddess……….and Charlotte asserts that it is you: “If the very essence of the Kindergarten method is personal influence, a sort of spiritual mesmerism, it follows that the mother is naturally the best Kindergarten teacher; for who so likely as she to have the needful tact, sympathy, common sense, culture?”

Small Children Have Great Powers of Mind

Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher once said, “I don’t want any more Kindergarten materials . . . I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think, whereas if the child is left to himself he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things, and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences.”

The biggest problem with preschools is that they are notorious for having a great deal of twaddle in song and story and projects–stripped down, dumbed down, spoon fed ideas and language. In preschool, not only are ideas and information constantly distilled and interpreted by the teacher herself, not only are children taught how to play by adults as if the child’s whole job was continual imitation, but children are exposed constantly to very simply worded books, poems, and songs. I never realized how much people undervalue the intelligence of little children until I discovered how uneasy I felt about replicating what other children are learning at preschool in my own homeschool preschool. Charlotte says, “Generally, children who grow up with adults and never have juvenile books are better able to glean from the literature of adults.” I believe that more and more as I follow Charlotte Mason methods. I just read the original tale of Beauty and the Beast to my children during story time at school and was thrilled that they enjoyed the beautiful fairytale while being exposed to incredibly rich literary language and wonderful examples of moral character. Try reading more classic literature like this to your young ones, and then decide for yourself if anything offered at preschool or any other school could ever equally lay the foundation for one day forming a highly educated young person.

Instead of being taught how to play at baaing like lambs with a teacher at preschool, little children can join in the play of older siblings at home in complicated imaginative play like Robinson Crusoe or Treasure Island. Instead of learning from the weak literature presented at preschool, little children can benefit from joining in with some of the higher studies of older siblings at home–poetry, history, nature study, Bible, art, and foreign language–family friendly subjects (rather than skill dependent ones like math and handwriting). Or in homes where all the children are still young, they can thrive from intelligence valuing homeschool lessons developed just for them– like the lessons we do at Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs :).

Give Your Child Free Growing Time!

Preschool at home is anything but a scene of orderly peace on some days, but it is the better growing place. The children grow with vigor and individuality apart from the preschool environment where there is no letting alone, no immersion in rich literary language, no influence of older siblings, no significant time in nature, no masterly inactivity, no thinking for themselves, no growing time. Provide your little ones with a quiet growing time at home.

In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air. ~Charlotte Mason

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  • Reading instruction was another important topic covered in this month’s reading. It is too technical to cover here, so I encourage you to read for yourself Charlotte’s methods for doing reading lessons with children ages 5-6 (p.199-230). Especially helpful if you are not sure how to teach reading at home or if the method you are currently using is drudgery! I personally will be using Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason, a great curriculum that follows Charlotte’s methods to a tee.
  • Do you want to be a part of my Charlotte Mason Friends Book Club? Read pages 225-300 in Home Education and bring some thoughts to share on the Little Lambs blog by May 15th. Together we can inspire others to bring the atmosphere of a living education into their home too!

Our Praying Mantis’ Hatched!

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We Found this Egg Case in Our Yard and Kept it in a Jar Since Last February

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Look at All of Them!

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Praise Dance at Circle Time (Kids Idea)

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Rainy Day Art

Yay, Noah made something besides “traffic” (scribble)!!

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Watering the Radishes

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The Spiritual Side of Habit Training

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth” Psalm 127:4.

Psalm 127:4 makes me think of the role of the parent and the child in habit training. Through habit training, parents have the ability to aim their children while they are young towards the right targets, which will ultimately effect who their children become someday. Matthew Henry comments on Psalm 127:4, “Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God’s glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents.”

How do you feel about your aim? Do you feel like your arrows are zig zagging all over unsure of their target? Are you yourself not sure where the target is? Habit training requires much spiritual perception–spiritually speaking, archers must be trained and skilled, and arrows must be sharp, in order for the target to be hit. Your child has a destiny and its up to you to help him or her find it. Do you remember how lost you felt after highschool or college as to what to do with your life? Or feeling like you just didn’t have what it took yet to start fulfilling your dreams? Can we save our own children from the same sad, and all too common, fate upon graduation?? I think we can if we are purposefully aiming our children like arrows: staying in prayer in order to know each child’s target (or prophetic destiny), and learning how to aim them there.

How We Are Aiming Our Arrows

When Noah was 1, I noticed that our prayers were focused on two goals: Noah being helpful and Noah being obedient. So we wrote it down as his Year 1 Goals and included some specific behaviors under each category/goal that we would like to see emerge. We found this practice to be so helpful that we do it every year now. So rather than praying haphazardly about the habits, character traits, and destiny of our children, we continue to develop yearly goals in these areas that we purposefully and consistently pray over and work towards. Most importantly, we select one scripture to pray for each goal. Our goals are founded on the Word of God because only scripture provides the divine supernatural power for change. Praying the Word of God, as opposed to our own words all the time, is very important. I John 5:14-15 tells us that if we pray in accordance with His will, which is His Word, and believe that He is hearing us pray His Word, then we will receive answers and results from our prayers. The Bible is full of people praying this way, by quoting other Scriptures. The word of God is alive and powerful. Words being alive is hard to imagine but it is true. God created the world and the universe by SPEAKING. When we speak the Word of God back to Him, we are praying in agreement with what He has already spoken, thereby releasing His power into our lives. Without this power our prayers and lives are empty, and habit training is frustrating.

Dean and I take each child’s birthday month to reflect on what goals we would love to see them achieve over the next year. We start by looking for areas of need in our children, researching scriptures that apply, selecting our favorites, and then over the next year, we regularly use those scriptures to “speak those things that are not as though they are” (Romans 4:17). We are bringing those qualities that do not yet exist in our children into existence through the creative power of the Word. We make each scripture personal by praying it with the child’s name, “Faith has a happy heart that does good like medicine,” or “Noah can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.” Now that our children are old enough to learn memory verses, we can even have our children open their mouths every day to speak God’s own powerful words over their lives, and together our prayers will avail much!

Standing on Promises of Truth

Dean and I have stood on scriptures for specific needs since we were dating and as a result we have seen God intervene many times. I can share a personal homeschool related example of how powerful the Word of God is to do what is sent to accomplish. Way back in October I taught our Little Lambs about standing on the promises of God. Perhaps you remember this blurb from our October lesson plans?: “October 9th–SHARING Bring a prepared scripture verse promise or two to Circle Time for you and your child to stand on together this month. Make it personal and based on your child’s needs. We will swap all our promises at school, and then faithfully hold each others needs close to our hearts in prayer this entire school year. Involve your child in praying over his or her friends and what they are believing for.”

This was one of the best God ideas of the whole school year!! I can not begin to tell you how instrumental Noah’s promises from last October have been to his development. One promise I chose for Noah was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in Philippians 4:13, and we have been praying it and confessing it ever since. Even still today, when a frustrating experience or activity causing feelings of insecurity happens to come up for Noah, rather than letting him bask in feelings of defeat, I suggest that we say his promise out loud with lots of faith.

See, the fact is ever since we started homeschool, Noah’s confidence level has been the biggest obstacle challenging our success. For the entire first year of school, more days than not, my three year old was very difficult to teach because he was whiny, clingy, tearful, frustrated, uncooperative, and having large outbursts of temper. Its not that he didn’t like school, but he was very insecure about it all–especially during Circle when we did Bible and delved into the most important content of the day. At Centers, I almost had to do the work for him as he didn’t even want to try an activity unless he was sitting on my lap and having his hand held through every step. I would get so frustrated because he made it very difficult to teach anything, plus I had a small group of kids attending Little Lambs at the time that I needed to attend to as well. I tried all sorts of things to try to remedy the problem, but nothing made a difference.

So after a year of going on like this, hoping things would get better, but not seeing any change, our October theme rolled around, and the Holy Spirit gave me the idea of sharing scripture promises at school. I was so ready to allow the power of scripture to do what I simply could not. We started confessing Noah’s promise in October, and by November, only one month later, I was elated to see how much things at school were smoothing out. It was like Noah’s fears were dissolving and the confident boy I always knew he could be, was finally emerging. He was becoming calm and peaceful at Circle Time, and happily diving into challenging activities at Center Time. Now days I can hardly believe the confidence struggles we used to have in homeschool because there are no signs of it in my little boy anymore. Praise God!!! The fact was that Noah was a fearful boy, but the truth is, he is a confident boy (in Christ). Chalking up his changes to maturity or experience or coincidence is what some people would do. But I know that I know that change in Noah aligned with our “Standing on the Promises” theme last October, and there was a spiritual breakthrough that definitely happened as we stood on the amazing Word of God.

The wonderful news is that all the children have benefited from their promises. Boy did our Faith need her promise last October: “A happy heart does good like medicine” Proverbs 17:22. What a change we have seen in Faith!! I was just telling someone the other day that the terrible two’s has just not been the case for Faith (she turned two last October). Everyday at nap I pray Tayler’s promise with her, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you” Psalms 32:8, and she is certainly going in the direction of the Lord this year! The truth is becoming the facts as we stand on the Word of God.

Let the Enemy Know You are Serious

The Bible says, Be serious! Be alert! Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Let him know that he may not devour your family up with mounds of bad habits! Be watchful against his snares and attempted assaults against your children. He is called our enemy because he resists all our efforts to obey God and the salvation of our souls. However, the enemy shivers when he hears the Word of God come out of our mouths. Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, quoted scripture to him in order to defeat him. The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword according to Hebrews 4:12. It is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul is speaking to us about the armor of God and it’s place in enabling us to be able to fight and stand against the wiles of the devil during times of spiritual warfare.

Don’t allow the enemy to mound and compound problems onto your children year by year by taking the mindset that this is just how things are, or this is just how my child is. Think about the average 18 year old you know and how encumbered they are with a load of bad habits and personal issues, compared to your light and unencumbered preschooler. Satan’s influence being silent and cunning, exerts a stronger grip over our children through the years if parents do not stand on watchful guard, using the Word to fight off every unwanted attitude, habit, and circumstance that creep into their family’s lives. (We can expect our child’s needs to grow as our child grows, and so our list of goals may grow too. Just take a look Noah’s growing list of needs already at age 4 compared to Faith’s at age 2 on the list below). The way satan does his work in parents is by planting the thought that things are the way they are. “My kids just get sick all winter, my daughter just does what she wants to do, my son is just aloof to people he doesn’t know, my daughter just has a bad temper, my son just has a short attention span, my toddler is just uncooperative…….” These are the facts, but they are not the truth. Let the enemy know that you are serious about upholding the truth, whatever God’s Word says, in your family and he will have to back down.

Written Goals

This blog is my recording place of everything near and dear to me, a place for organizing Holy Spirit inspired thoughts so they will not be forgotten or lost, and a place to rejoice over hallmark moments of God’s glory in our lives. I have pulled some personal notes out of my journal to record on this blog for your sake as well as mine, the goals for our children that are near and dear to us. If you know us personally, or if you have it in your heart, we would love if you would consider upholding our children’s goals in prayer this year. If you don’t have written goals, or vision, for your children yet, I encourage you to write something down– writing vision makes it plain so that you may run with it (Habukkuk 2:2). And then please share your goals with us because we would love to agree with you in prayer too!

Faith’s Year 2 Goals

Happy

“A happy heart does good like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Calm and Peaceful

“…..agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11

Taught of the Lord

“All your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Helpful

“Do good to people who need help.” Proverbs 3:27

Cooperative

“Let them turn away from doing evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11

Noah’s Year 4 Goals

Confident

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Perfect Health

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you.” Exodus 23:25

Educated

“Youths without blemish, well-favored in appearance and skillful in all wisdom, discernment, and understanding, apt in learning knowledge, competent to stand and serve in the kings palace.” Daniel 1:4

Selfless

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Restful Sleep

“….for He gives sleep to His beloved.” Psalms 127:2

Friendly to Everyone

“Beloved let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Hungry for God

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Freedom from Generational Curses

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will our my spirit upon your descendents, and my blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3

Preach for Christ

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  Isaiah 52:7

Happy 4th Birthday Tayler!

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Dying Easter Eggs with Vinegar and Food Coloring

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The Best Part Was Swirling the Colors Around in a Colander

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Tye Dye Easter Eggs

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Resurrection Egg Hunt Held Indoors Due to Rain

IMG_9611Symbolic Items Inside Each Egg Help Tell the Easter Story

I was so blessed that Noah had an answer each time we opened an egg and I asked, “What does this item remind you of from the Easter story in the Bible?” Last year he hardly knew what any of the items in the eggs stood for, except the cross. I had been reading/retelling the Easter story over several days prior to our Resurrection Egg hunt, challenging a 4 year old’s comprehension by using my adult Bible. However, his comments during the egg hunt proved he had been listening and comprehending!! I am so excited to realize that the Word of God is sinking into his heart, and to see that all our homeschool and family Bible training efforts are really paying off.

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Tayler Gets the Cross Again! So Special and Reminiscent of Last Years Picture.

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Math: Copy a Design Math Lesson Was a PERFECT Challenge

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Look Its a Little Girl!

Tayler was having some trouble coming up with designs–in fact on Tuesday her design was simply one hexagon with one triangle on top. Look what happened on Thursday, her second attempt! At first it seemed like she was building a design that didn’t seem to have much drawing power, symmetry, repetition, or anything, and then lo and behold, she says, “Its a girl!” I had to think for a second, turn the paper so the red pigtails were on top, and wa-lah! There she was. It was a delightful moment! As copying a design is always harder than building, Tayler presented herself quite a challenge when it came to pasting time. She barely made it through the activity, but Miss Lynn encouraged her to finish in order that the habit of ‘finishing our work’ could be instilled. And here she is 20 minutes later all done– weary, but pleased!

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Handwriting: Noah Succeeded In Giving His b’s and d’s Fat Tummies

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Faith is Ready for Storytime (Our Helper Books are Now Her Favorites)

We have always done “booktime” in between lunch and nap, where the kids read books to themselves for half an hour, and then mommy might meander over to read a little something to someone when she gets the chance. I decided that I really need to work on making more read aloud time during the day and that it was a pity that too many of our wonderful themed books from the library were going unread at times. So I implemented a new routine in the day–storytime! The kids still do some booktime, reading books of their choice independently, as this is an important habit to cultivate. However, now I choose a lovely, well-written book to read to everyone at once during storytime. Everyone comes and lays down with blankets and stuffed animals on the carpet for a long enjoyable literature read aloud. Since my children are about to go off to dreamland, I feel that this is the perfect time of day to implement Charlotte’s admonishment to read “tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times, heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales in which they are never roughly pulled up by the impossible–even where all is impossible, and they know it, and yet believe.” Before we had storytime as part of our schedule, I found that we would go through too many days of rushed, “pick a short one”, child selected lift the flap or count the objects or half finished books before bed without enough daily, intense, real, literature exposure. As you can see, by the third day of our new routine, the kids couldn’t wait for storytime, and even Faith readied herself on the carpet long before I announced “storytime!”

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Noah Transitions From Nap to Quiet Time

This is another one of my favorite recent changes to our daily schedule. I snuck into Noah’s room to snap a picture of him doing his quiet time activities on the first day we transitioned. Noah is now doing independent learning instead of tossing and turning for an hour and a half on his bed like he was previously. With Tayler and Faith constantly around to provide social play, I get concerned that Noah will have enough solitary play time, which is what feeds emergent learning. Emergent learning–initiative, interests, creative solitude and play, original ideas, imagination, reflection, independent momentum– is surprisingly much more important to the maturation and development of a child than social learning. I also see quiet time as an opportunity for independent spiritual growth, and so I try to emphasize to Noah that he is not alone during quiet time, Jesus is right there, and he can talk to him like a friend while he is playing–its him and Jesus time. Quiet time is very refreshing in a homeschool setting as its important for everyone to separate for a time and have some time to ourselves. I love quiet time. The end of afternoon naps does not have to mean the end of mom’s sanity or time of peace. We can schedule regular quiet time into the day no matter how old our children get. Its healthy for everyone!

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