Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

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

Soul Filling Friendship

True friends can be hard to find, especially for moms who busy themselves at home, as homemakers do. Do you ever find yourself feeling lonely for a friend who shares your heart for the Lord, fills your emotional and spiritual cup, and makes you want to be a better person after having spent time with her? Does it seem impossible to find a friend who initiates praying together, has similar family values and ideals and wants to talk about it, or shares with you what the Lord has been teaching her? It can be really hard to find like-minded depth of friendship for ourselves as moms, and its even harder to find good friend matches for each and every individual within our family. Although this is a struggle common in many families, we who closely disciple our children, can take heart in the amazing thought that someday, our children will grow up to become the closest of soul-filing friends in our lives, and we will be theirs.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Though we will have to wait for many years to realize this dream of soul filling friendship while our children are still small, we can be encouraged that there is much purpose in the continuous investing into relationships with each precious child, and initiating special times together for the purpose of creating closeness. When we talk together at the dinner table every night, plan and go out on special ‘mommy and me’ or ‘daddy and me’ dates, have intimate “tea for two” times, do service projects together, worship together at home, etc.; we are slowly building heart connections over the years with our children. We are building friendships that will eventually have the depth of intimacy that our souls have always been longing and waiting for in a friendship. As our children mature, we will have interesting and rich conversation with friends who truly love to talk about things that matter, and who love what we love. Though deep friendship with one’s own children is the desire of many, how many are willing to pay the price? Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. If we are willing to lay down our lives to disciple our children at home, the true friendship that results may just be God’s richest reward we ever experience.

Parents are designed by God to spiritually feed their children– literally as a nursing mother nurtures her infant. The Bible uses nurturing language to picture Biblical discipleship, which is very much how a parent should cultivate the life of Christ in a child: “as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” The words Paul uses to describe parents are: “gentle… tender… caring… exhorting… encouraging… imploring.” These heartfelt, warm, nurturing words describe the parent-child relationship. To more fully grasp how our children are spiritually fed from the very substance of our own hearts, think of the relationship between a nursing mother and a baby who receives daily sustenance from the mother’s own body. Metaphorically, our children are designed by God to receive spiritual food from us in the same way, directly from the life of God that fills our own hearts and lives. And as unnatural (and exasperating to the infant) as it is to deny the nursing baby its mothers milk, its the same in sending our children away for their spiritual food. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 In other words, sending our children away for spiritual sustenance can actually lead to frustration in our children, because children are designed to receive spiritual training from parents, especially dad. Children are designed by God to have a need, a void, an expectation for spiritual nurturing, and that hole can really only be filled by the spiritual food that is shared daily from the heart of parents.

As we lay down our lives to nurture our children, someday the friendships we have built with them will nurture us in return. Someday we will look into the eyes of our beloved children and realize that they have become our dearest friends. Then our hearts will find rest in their searching and exclaim, my soul is filled when I am with you! Discipleship at home that lavishly nurtures will someday provide the most soul satisfying relationships we could dream of.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love what God is growing between brothers and sister in our “love and friendship” theme at school this month.

Reading teacher

Brother is a reading teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silverware guy in training

Little silverware guy in training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentines Friendship Tea Party

Valentines Friendship Tea Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing in the sink all morning

Playing in the sink all morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word Building

Phonetic Faithy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindness Flags

Kindness Flags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith making a friendship necklace for Noah

Faith making a friendship necklace for Noah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship necklaces

Had to get a picture of this

Had to get a picture of this boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in love with Baby Bunny

So in love with Baby Bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodpecker Art

Woodpecker Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Servant in Training

Little Servant in Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Collector in Training

Learning to collect eggs under sister’s wing

Morning worship

Morning Worship

 

Worship time with instruments

Worship time with instruments

Decorating his own birthday cake

Noah Decorating his birthday cake

Teaching Faith to write

Teaching Faith to write

Pushing baby brother

Pushing baby brother


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February Lesson Plans

2014-2015 Kindergarten and Preschool

Etched in my mind as a sibling milestone marker, is this picture of my two little bitty sweeties taken in February 2012, around the time when I started this blog. Its an image for me that recalls the sweetness of a newly budding friendship between my children that I had not yet seen before. I remember being delighted that the Lord was moving on their heart strings for each other during our “love and friendship” theme in our new Little Lambs preschool we had recently started up at home. It was so so cute one day to hear two year old Noah leaning over and whispering to Faith, “Will you be my friend?” over and over. At 16 months, she was no doubt flattered, but definitely speechless. We had no idea how important in the years to come that question would become.

Will you be my friend?

The other week, Noah confided that he “loves playing with Faith” because with Faith, he has SO much fun. My heart melted to hear his open expression of love, and that his maturing perspective is allowing him to become more consciously appreciative of a sisters sweet presence in his life. To see the kindness and patience Noah has shown Faith through all 3 long years of her self-centered topsy turvey toddler time, and to see her fierce loyalty and admiration for her big brother, makes me love these two like crazy. I think some of the sweetest, tenderest, best friendships in the world, God reserves for brothers and sisters.

“It ought to make a young man’s heart exult to have a beautiful and noble sister to lean upon his arm and look up to him for protection, for counsel, for strong, holy friendship. And a sister ought to be proud and happy to have a brother growing into manly strength, to stand by her side, to bear her upon his arm and to shelter her from life’s storms.  Between brother and sister there should be a friendship deep, strong, close, confiding and faithful.”  –JR Miller

Doesn’t that quote stir your vision for your children’s incomparable friendship? Yet, we always seem to keep wondering……Where should my child make friends? Does my child need more friends? Should my child spend more time with friends? Then we search and pursue ways to bring our children in more contact with their peers.

And we also wonder why don’t my children get along with each other better? Will my children ever be best friends…. or friends at all?

“In every home where there are brothers and sisters, there is a field which needs only wise, patient culture—to yield life’s richest and loveliest things. Are we cultivating this field or is it lying neglected, covered, perhaps, with weeds and thorns, while we are spending all our strength in trying to make harvests grow on some bare, rocky hillside?” –JR Miller

Unless we, as parents, are willing to do the hard work to cultivate best friendships at home, we can expect nothing less than what comes naturally. Make them each others constant priority and each others keepers, helpers, cheerers, prayer partners, and protectors.

“A young man should be more polite to his own sister that to any other young woman under heaven; and a young woman should ever turn to her brother as the one nearest in all this world to her until a husband stands by her side. Brothers and sisters are each other’s natural keepers. They should shield each other. They should be an inspiration to each other in the direction of all noble thought and better life. They should be each other’s guardian angels in this world of danger and of false and fatal paths.” –JR Miller

What better way to demonstrate Biblical principles, and God’s agape love day by day, than to gently point out selfish, unacceptable behavior between siblings for the sin that it is, and then replace it with true Love? “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASB) You can use these lesson plans below as an opportunity to show your children scriptures and stories centered on love, friendship, kindness, courtesy, and manners, while asking the Holy Spirit to give your children a holy love unquenchable in strength for each other. Call up love to wreath itself over all your home life this month.

A few deep friendships outside the family can be a blessing in our children’s lives as well. Genuine friendship takes time to grow, is deep, and is indeed, a form of love. Although “having” friends is often our children’s natural focus, “being” a friend can and should be fostered along the way. “Being” a friend involves actively bringing someone higher, helping him to become his best. Befriending a friendless or less fortunate child can be a profoundly maturing experience for a child. Friendship that fosters our children’s moral development involves “being” a friend, rather than just “having” friends.

As I write here, God always seems to enlarge my vision, and I am thankful. Despite the bodily pain (late nights) and challenging work of drafting up my own lesson plans, as well as writing other posts, writing here has proved to be a most life changing instrument (if you try blogging, or any heart searching writing, I think you will see what I mean! 🙂 ) Wisdom that is searched for like silver and hidden treasure will be found, right? Every time I research and write, God seems to radically shift my perspective, renew my mind from the “norm” (AKA wordly thinking), give me more wisdom, and fan the flames of vision contained in my heart.

Whether you or I grew up in deep Godly friendships with our siblings, or grew up unaware or unable to experience God’s plan for sibling relationships, God wants to show us much much more than what we have formerly known. Receiving a small visionary glimpse of what it will be like someday when Noah, Faith, and Daniel grow to become each others most trusted confidants and watchful guardians over each others souls, spurs me to seek God’s will for brothers relating to sisters, and vice versa. As we seek Him for revelation, friends, I know the beauty of His will for our children’s relationships, will be more than we can even “think or imagine” at this time. And what He gives will be such a stark contrast to what the world gives, with its promises of inevitable sibling rivalry and rifts being the “norm.”

All glorious and beautiful made possible simply because of God’s goodness to us– His families that serve Him and look to Him for wisdom!!!

……Now I am thinking of the precious guardian angels in my own life, how much you have meant to me, and so I just want to say to my husband, parents, siblings, and dearest friends……

I love you!!!

My Angel Friend and Sister

Sister and Friend, My Angel

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THIS BOY is an angel brother!!!! Watch this clip.

The Cochran Family – Unsung Hero Award

Fun Theme: Valentines and Friendship

Seasonal Theme: Winter

Character/Habit: Kindness and Manners

Bible: Exodus

History/Geography: Ancient Egypt, Africa

Nature Study: Wasps

Parent Study:

  • Continue learning about creationism vs. evolution and young earth vs. old earth
  • Continue my own prayer journal and nature journal along with Noah.
  • Read some chapters out of JR Miller’s book, The Home Beautiful

Art, Music, and Poetry Study:

All Things Bright and Beautiful Blog

  • Poetry: Various selections from Favorite Poems Old and New
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach— selections, biographies, and other suggestions from All Things Bright
  • Artist: Rien Poortvliet, and paintings in his book, Noah’s Ark

Character/Habit Development:

Read one story a month from Storytime with the Millers.

Storytime with the Millers

Circle Time/Family Time:

Promise and Blessing Time:

Use God’s promise in Ephesians 4:29 to confess regularly over each other: “Let no corrupting talk come out of _____‘s mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Also take a minute in circle time to verbally build our children up with spoken blessings.

  • You have such a kind heart, ________.
  • Thank you for thinking of ________ (name the recipient of your child’s kindness), instead of yourself, ________.
  • Did you know God delights when He sees kindness (Jeremiah 9:24)? I bet He is happy right now.
  • ________, thank you for choosing not to pay back wrong for wrong.

(With each bullet above, try to include specific examples of obedience observed of each child as well)

Prayer Time:

  • Use scripture guided parent’s prayers and kid’s prayers to intercede for God’s help in the area of kindness
  • Use Instructions in Righteousness by Doorposts to help identify and attack selfishness and contention–two major roadblocks in siblings forming true friendship–using scripture. Also offers scriptural ideas for  rewards for generosity and peace making, and punishments for selfishness and arguing.

 Discussion Time:

  • Definitions: Kindness–friendly regard shown toward another, Courtesy–behavior marked by respect for and consideration of others, Manners–social rules of conduct shown in the prevalent customs
  • “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” –Amelia Earhart
  • This would be a great month to get familiar with the booklet, “The Brother-offended Checklist,” by Doorposts, and post its corresponding chart in the house.

  • “A young man should be more polite to his own sister that to any other young woman under heaven; and a young woman should ever turn to her brother as the one nearest in all this world to her until a husband stands by her side. Brothers and sisters are each other’s natural keepers. They should shield each other. They should be an inspiration to each other in the direction of all noble thought and better life. They should be each other’s guardian angels in this world of danger and of false and fatal paths.” –JR miller
  • Read online some of George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior (and use some for copywork)
  • Show these moving videos on various days as a source of inspiration:
  • Read:
  • A courteous person is gracious, always looking for kind things to say. Discuss how it can be much easier to complain than encourage. When things are wrong, we complain. However, when things are sunny and bright, we forget to express our thanks. What would it be like if we looked for things going right and thank those around us for their part? Meditate on Ephesians 4:29 together.
  • Make and use kindness flags
  • Brainstorm a list of ways to show kindness to siblings and try to do one each day. To follow up, on the following days at circle time, have children point out how they noticed each other being kind, so boasting can be avoided (and thankful encouragement can be practiced!).
  • Administer a fun quiz to figure out your kids love languages
  • The story of the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller is an excellent example of “being a friend,” and reading the story together will get children thinking of “friendship” in a different vein– as an opportunity to sacrifice, lay down our lives, and incite others to higher purposes.
  • Study and discuss the pictures in this awesome book, a page or two at a time:

Bible:

Read Exodus stories in the Children’s story Bible by Catherine Vos, and/or my ESV Study Bible.

Memory Verses:

  • Luke 6:31 “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Review February verses from previous years:
    • “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
    • “A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
  • Learn memory verse for our “Short Term Savings” coin bank (a gift store bank): “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20
  • Review previous coin bank verses:
    • “Tithing” coin bank (a church bank): “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
    • “Long Term Savings/Future Dreams Bank” (a rocket shaped bank): “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
    • “Charity and Missions” Coin bank verse (a lighthouse bank): “ If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” James 2:15

Hymns:

Lovely hymns are full of more truth than many sermons (2nd and 3rd verses are often especially theologically deep), and can imprint precious truths on our hearts.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
MP3Sheet Music Here

Poetry Recitation:

The Human Touch

’Tis the human touch
in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more
to the fainting heart
Than shelter and bread and wine.
For shelter is gone
when the night is o’er,
And bread lasts only a day.
But the touch of the hand
And the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul always.

-Spencer Michael Free

Handwriting:

Copywork–George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior, valentines, handwritten letters, notes of encouragement, Christmas and birthday cards, thank you cards, shopping lists, nature journal entries, prayer journal entries, poem or memory verse copywork.

Reading:

Word Building:

Preschooler Faith sounds out 3 and 4 letter phonetic words, and spells them out with letters (word building). Kindergartener Noah will build review sight words (non phonetic words) that he learned to read last year, practice building sight words from this years reader, as well as sound out and build an occasional phonetic word for phonics review (especially words with blends and digraphs).

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Literature Read Alouds:

History and Geography:

  • One lesson a day from SCM’s Genesis-Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt lesson plan book; living books that are suggested in the lesson plans

Math:

All lessons from Kathy Richardson’s “Developing Number Concepts” math books.

Noah’s Lessons:

Coming soon…..check back soon
Faith’s Lessons:

Week 1 Lets Pretend Stories (p. 105)

Provide counters (such as unifix cubes) and colored construction paper to represent different environments: ocean (blue), grass (green), cave (black). Tell a story for the children to act out (like a word problem). For example: “Its a stormy day on the ocean. The waves are high and it is starting to rain. There are four ships on the ocean. Show me the ships. Three of the ships decide to go back to the harbor…..” These pretend stories provide imaginative counting practice/ addition and subtraction practice by noticing how many are left or how many there are altogether (this step is not necessary unless children are ready).

Week 2 Pattern Task Cards (p.151)
Have children copy simple or complex patterns using pattern blocks, unifix cubes, or dot paint.

Week 3 Matching (p.146)

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, onjects glued on popsicle sticks. Each set should include at least 3 or 4 of each of the numbers from 1 to 10. Also 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 child use the collections and construction paper to (like a mat) to build a set that has the same number as the card. What size numbers can he work with? Does she copy the arrangement?

Week 4 Exploring at the Weighing Station (p. 61)

When children first start learning about weight, they need the type of scales that show how the weight of an object actually pull down the scale. Make homemade scales by hanging a container by a rubber band off the end of a ruler weighed down by books on the other end. Make two scales so that objects to be weighed can be compared. Say, “Which do you think is heavier–the can or the rock? Let’s find out.”.

Nature Study:

Videos:

Show children how the Kingdom of God IS advancing around the world. “Dispatches from the Front” is a thoughtful, moving, understated, and ultimately convicting series of videos depicting the work of the gospel in some of the most challenging corners of the world.” – D. A. Carson

19 science DVDs on creation

God of Wonders

Awesome Science is a high quality DVD series produced by a family that homeschools and works on the series together. Noah is the field guide and host for all 13 episodes which explore the globe to discover evidence of the accuracy of the Bible. Noah contends that the earth is NOT millions of years old and the dinosaurs did not die from a meteor. These videos provide excellent science content as well as a theological perspective. They are an effective way to challenge evolutionary assumptions with scientific evidence while providing a very visual science education.

6 Episodes all compliment study of the account of the flood in Genesis.

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Library series on ancient civilizations:

Book Jacket for: Ancient Mesopotamia [videorecording]Book Jacket for: Ancient China [videorecording]

The Berenstain Bears: Kindness, Caring And Sharing (Full Frame)

Traditions, Fun Friday Projects, and Other Ideas:

Hold a friendship teddy bear tea party, practice manners and serving

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Make valentine/friendship jewelry

Make a Sweet Valentine for Daddy. This card melts my heart.

Sew up a few special felt hearts (wool felt, large needles, and embroidery floss). Noah says he loooves to sew.

felt hearts

Healthy Valentines Treats

PaleOMG Chocolate Almond Butter Cups_3

Fieldtrips:

Visit our dear Lois in assisted living (previous neighbor).

IMG_4169

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February Lesson Plans

2013-2014

Welcome back to school! We take most of January off here, so we are excited to jump back into school for February. As we focus on how much we are loved by Jesus this month, February becomes a wonderful time of expressing our love to others through friendship necklaces and valentines, tea parties and crafts. We have such sweet memories of this theme from years past here at Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs.

Bible Theme: I am Loving (kind, thoughtful, forgiving)

Preschool Fun Theme: Valentines and Friendship

Mother Study:

Watch this video of a touching song and skit. Be reminded of how much Jesus loves you!

Special Dates:

February 4th–SHARING Who loves you? How can you tell?

February 11th–COMMUNITY OUTREACH Special delivery! Bring a valentine and some love to someone in the neighborhood who could use it.

February 13th–VALENTINES TEA PARTY Celebrate with a child size Friendship Tea Party. Bring a stuffed animal friend and valentines to pass out. Have the children find lots of ways to serve each other.

Bible Stories:

(The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos)

Week 1 Chapters 80-83

Week 2 Chapters 84-87

Week 3 Chapters 88-91

Week 4 Chapters 92-95

Memory Verse:

Review prior years verses: ‘We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

New Verse:

Classical Art Study:

We are reviewing our favorite images from the 2013 Metropolitan Museum of Art Day by Day Calendar right now.

Hymn:

Print out the sheet music each month, put in a binder and voila! A hymnal!

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

MP3

Sheet Music Here

Poetry:

Little Things

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of Eternity.

So the little errors
Lead the soul away
From the paths of virtue
Far in sin to stray.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Help to make earth happy
Like the Heaven above.

Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney

Handwriting:

The children will practice printing their name and the names of recipients on their homemade valentines.

Reading:

Materials:  printed fable, loose letters, word cards for “that his claws were stronger than your teeth. Moral: It is easy to kick a man that is down.”

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The Dogs and the Fox

By Aesop 

Some dogs, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, “If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth.”

Moral: It is easy to kick a man that is down.


Reading Lessons:
“that his claws were stronger than your teeth. Moral: It is easy to kick a man that is down.”

1. Write one word from the selection on the board

2. Discuss the word

3. Study it closely, then erase

4. Find the word card from a small pile of cards, then hide the card

5. Spell the word with loose letters (from memory if possible)

6. Find the word in the printed fable

7. Repeat steps 1-6 with each word

8. Do a review of all the words listed up on the board

Word Building Lessons (spelling):

Using loose letters, build words that rhyme with each of the words assigned for this month (ex: claws–jaws, paws, laws, straws, gnaws, thaws, draws, etc.).

(Lessons 11-14 in Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason)

History Books:

Literature:

 

                     

Math:

(Activities are from the book Developing Number Concepts by Kathy Richardson)

Week 1 Roll a Tower Race (p. 64)

Pages 12-14 here.

Week 2 Growing Pattern Task Cards (p.115)
Children use cubes or tiles to copy patterns they see on task cards such as these, and then extend the patterns. Or provide task cards that show only the first step of a pattern, and then the children may make the pattern grow in any way they like, as long as they make it grow in a consistent way.

Week 3 Build a Staircase (p. 57)

Take turns rolling a 1-6 and 4-9 dot or number cubes; build a stack of unifix cubes to match each roll. Children try to build a staircase with steps (using stacks) having from one to nine cubes. Choose which cube needs to be rolled in order to complete the staircase.

Week 4 Comparing Shape Puzzles (p. 165)

Choose two shape puzzles and predict which one will hold more. Fill puzzles with cubes, and then label each puzzle with a more/less card. Children who are ready can write a number sentence on paper such as “7 is more than 6” or “7 is 1 more than 6”.

Group Projects:

Throw a Friendship Tea Party to celebrate Valentines Day

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Make Friendship Bracelets/Necklaces Made with Sculpey Oven Bake Clay

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Decorate with Heart Garlands

Practice printing while reaching out–make homemade valentines for friends, family, shut ins, single parents, or widows.

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Crayon shaving hearts craft

Valentines Day crafty gift idea–DIY canvas art

Valentines treat cooking project

Nature Study:

Read tidbits from topics of interest in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock.

Love to You and Your Children!

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Charlotte Mason Friends Book Club

Home Education (Volume 1), Pages 1-75 Discussion

Mother as Teacher

First, a little encouragement about mother as teacher. Charlotte quotes the Reverend F.D. Maurice, “the woman received from the Spirit of God Himself the intuitions into the child’s character, the capacity of appreciating its strength and weakness, the faculty of calling forth the one and sustaining the other, in which lies the mystery of education, apart from which all its rules and measures are utterly in vain and ineffectual.” This is such an uncommon train of thought–mothers as best educators– but it is invaluable for homeschooling moms to meditate upon. Also, Charlotte felt that children “should have the best of their mother, her freshest, brightest hours.” That is a homeschool mom! Many parents today justify their long hours at work away from their children as a way to be fresher for their children when they finally reconvene in the evening. I know my best hours with the children are during the day when the demands of dinner, baths, dishes, clean up, etc. are not sucking up all my time.

Out of Doors

In the Out of Doors Life for Children section, Charlotte discusses lessons that can be taught while enjoying and learning in nature-nature study being a very important part of a Charlotte Mason education. (Some of what I read has been covered in my Nature is for Kids post, so I will only cover a few brand new ideas here.) Once the children have had an hour or two of vigorous play and wild scampering, while wits are still fresh and eyes keen, their mother can send them off on an Exploring Expedition. Who can see the most, and tell the most, about such and such off yonder. All done in the air of a game, the children come running back excited to tell all that they saw, and the mother clarifies and asks for specifics (“What side did you say you saw the fruit trees on?”), which ensures that the retelling includes the exactness of a lesson. “This is the mother’s chance to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of a child, which shall germinate, blossom and bear fruit, without further help or knowledge of hers.” Our own childhood memories are often hazy and fragmented because we were never trained to take the time and effort to fully see a scene. Training a child’s powers of observation while they are young is a gift you can give them that they will take into old age. What a delightful possession to have a set of unmarred beautiful images, feature by feature, in the sunny glow of a child’s mind.

Similarly, in the method of Picture Painting, the mother has her children stare at some patch of landscape until they can close their eyes and reproduce the picture before them verbally. If any bit is blurred, they look again. This is an exercise to do only every once in awhile because Charlotte says recalling and reproducing a picture is fatiguing for children. However, the benefit is that seeing fully and in detail is likely to be repeated unconsciously until it becomes a habit of a child required to do this exercise, and having the power to fully see is altogether pleasurable. This power of observation is what empowers every great artist and poet, and yet this act of seeing need not be some high poetic gift that the rest of us must only be content to admire. It is the reward for all who take the pains in the act of seeing– which parents may do a great deal to confer upon their children.

I think many of us view Nature Study as a type of “tour”, where mother or father take the kids on a walk and spout off names of every form of plant life that is passed by. This method of instruction, filling children’s minds like empty vessels, is very anti-Charlotte Mason style. The result is much teaching with no real learning. Doing Nature Study the Charlotte Mason way takes some of the pressure off of us to be botany experts……….some. A child who returns from an Exploring Expedition, for example, and can not describe whether a tree had pointed or rounded leaves, rough or smooth bark, etc. shall get no encouragement (ie. no tree identification help). Mother shall not move a foot in the direction of the tree to go see it until her child is sent off again and can come back with more descriptive detail. Finally when she concedes to give the name of the tree, the child is full of glee, and carries her off to go and see.

Wow, the way Charlotte puts it, receiving knowledge sounds like candy gumdrops, or drops of water upon a parched tongue. Information offered just when a child is hungry for it is gobbled up. I think any good educator knows this, and gives the uses and names of objects as the need for the knowledge arises and after interest has already been peaked–noted by ‘What is that?’ and ‘What is that for mother?’ type of questions. Information offered at the wrong time, or in the wrong manner (like a tour or like lecture style teaching at school), goes in one ear and out the other. A Charlotte Mason education is based on the premise that “Its not how much a child knows, its how much a child cares.” And of course this is the education method that teaches children to care, and the more they care, the more they really learn.

So we parents do need to know something about the native plants in our community in order to supply doses of knowledge at the right time, but we only need to offer a little information here and little there at the opportune moments. I must get my hands on the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock and start learning more about the plants around me while my kids are still little!

The last idea in the Out of Doors section that made an impression on me was that by doing Nature Study together, we are literally teaching our children to “consider the lilies of the field and how they grow”, as the Bible says. As they study nature, starting early on, they will become so absorbed and in love with nature over the years, that this passion implanted while young, will seem inborn. It will consume their thoughts and energy in a healthy way. With so much lure of glamour, materialism, and temptation for impure interests surrounding our older children and teenagers, a pure absorbing pursuit of “considering the lilies of the field” developed at a young age will do much to preserve our children from future recklessness. Imagine a young person’s room filled with her Nature Study collections of shells, fossils, and flowers, rather than littered with teen magazines and posters of pop stars. What an awesome side benefit of Nature Study.

Children Are Made to Know God

Finally, I would like to share Charlotte’s wise words about not hindering our children’s relationship with Almighty God: “perhaps it is not too beautiful a thing to believe in this redeemed world, that, as the babe turns to his mother though he has no power to say her name, as the flowers turn to the sun, so the hearts of the children turn to their Savior and God with unconscious delight and trust.” Because it is so natural for a child to come to Jesus, now, during childhood, is the time to nurture, not overlook, this relationship.

Let’s Consider the Lilies with Our Children this Spring!!!

Valentine’s Day Friendship Tea Party

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We Used Our Best Manners and Served Each Other

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Faith’s Hand Really Wanted to Put That Strawberry on Her Own Plate

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Noah Was All About the Food (“What’s Next Mommy?”)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts, Cinnamon Sugar Apple Hearts, and Coconut Cinnamon Banana Hearts

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Tayler’s Valentine from Noah and Faith

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Our Surprise Tea Party Guests

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Just a Few Days Old

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So Sleepy

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So Soft

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Even Comfy Upside Down

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Playtime with Chickies

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2/14/12 Loving Our Friends

Happy Valentines Day!

Making Friendship Necklaces Together

Miss Carol helps Noah make a popsicle stick frame al naturale, just the way he likes it.

David puff painting his frame with mommy.

       

Funny little things make us laugh at Little Lambs…..

How did a train track get in my PJs??

Awww the rewards of having a friend who loves me.

   

Tayler and Noah hugging…..and hugging…..and hugging……and hugging……..and hugging…..ok, now I think we are slow dancing.

Thank you sooooo much for my friendship necklace Tayler!

    

   

Setting up for the Tea Party Friendship Picnic

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