Monday, February 4, 2013

The longer we educate our children at home, the more comfortable I become evaluating what is working and not working in this big goal we have - to educate our children. Each September begins with new goals, plans, and books. Each January and February brings reflection, redefining of goals, and making changes accordingly.

I can have the most amazing plans and my children can have many goals and ideas but some don't work, some don't work as well as they should, some work as expected, and others exceed our wildest imaginings.

For those of you wanting to know, here is an example of what I mean:

Elnora has been interested in insects since she was a very young tot. We bought her a guide book to North American bus when she could read a little.

Best science resource purchased
 At first she perused the glossy photographs and would compare any bugs she found with the photo in the book. Then as her reading skills improved, she began reading all the information in the book. As a result we have a well-thumbed guide book and a daughter who has us and others coming to her with different bugs needing to be identified. This book was not part of any school curriculum but met an educational desire of one of our children. As you can imagine, this is one resource Mr. Beaver and I have no regrets buying! This guide book has exceeded our wildest imaginings for our daughter's science.

Since Elnora is also interested in the rainforest, and in animal classification, she thought learning Latin would be very helpful. So we purchased the Latin Road to English Grammar for her to try this year. Big mistake for all these reasons:

- It requires significant parental involvement. I am trying to teach two boys to read and I have a toddler. One of my boys has lots of medical appointments. Sorry, my name is not Supermom so early on in the school year, I told poor Elnora if she wanted to do this Latin, she would need to see how much she could manage on her own. Ahem! There's a reason this program requires significant parental involvement so it has been reclining on the shelf for a while.

- This Latin requires more than a cursory knowledge of Grammar which is something we have not pursued too strenuously yet.

- The program focuses on classical Latin but my daughter wants to know Latin as a language to classify bugs.

Needless to say, this whole program has come under my "January magnifying glass". The end result is that Latin will remain on the shelf until further notice. Elnora is much more interested in learning Portuguese as the Amazon is in Brazil and they speak Portuguese in Brazil. If she wants to go to the rainforest there to study bugs, she needs Portuguese more than Latin. I mean, you gotta be able to communicate with the locals, no?!

On that note, any cheap resources out there to study Portuguese?

Do any of you home school moms out there pull out your big lens at this time of the year?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Five Reasons To Teach Your Children the Psalms

Our children learn one stanza per week of a psalm from the Book of Psalms for Worship.

I don't know who benefits more from this memorization - the children or me.

Here are five reasons why I teach these psalms to my kids:

1) God commands parents to teach "these words" to our children as we sit together, walk together (Deuteronomy 6). The Psalmist also "hid God's Word in his heart" (Psalm 119).

2) Memorizing songs is especially easy since the words often rhyme and since they can be sung and not just recited.

3) Knowing God's Word by heart will cause His Word to come to us in times of need even when we have no Bible handy. I have met old people who remember nothing anymore and don't even recognize their loved ones but when psalms they learned as children are sung to them, they begin singing too!

4) Our children are able to sing along in church and also pay better attention when we read the Psalms they know after dinner. I am thankful for this version of the psalms since it is so close to Scripture that the children can recognize when that particular psalm is read to them.

5) Many times my two-year-old has sung these Psalms as she plays near me. Unknown to her, I am being blessed by the words she sings. The other children also break into song many times and many times they just "happen" to sing the very verse of a Psalm I need to hear right then.

A Year

Exactly one year ago I wrote my last post. I guess now is as good a time as any to begin writing again!

This past year has definitely not been a slow year of getting nothing done. The house is a little more organized than it was last year. The children have learned a little more and grown a little more.

I keep learning about myself, about others, and about the God I serve. One thing has especially been more and more impressed upon me. God is trustworthy, faithful and a very kind, loving Father.