Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Family Worship

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

(If anyone knows who does this lovely clipart, please let me know so I can tell him or her how much I enjoy this art.)

I’ve mentioned previously how much I enjoy the writing of Richard Phillips. He often contributes to blog posts on a site called Reformation 21. Today I read one of his posts on family worship. Here is a short quote from that post:

What is family worship? Family worship is the gathering of the father, mother, and children to worship God in the home. It involves two essential elements: the reading and teaching of God’s Word and prayer. It is also good for the family to sing together. Our family begins with a short prayer, after which we sing a psalm together (we use the Trinity Psalter). Next is a time of family Bible study in which I teach, allowing questions and discussion (presently, we are working through Acts). I have often been thrilled by the insightful questions asked by my children, which shows they really think about biblical things (and really are learning in Cat Kids and Sunday School!). After the Bible lesson, we pray together, with every member of the family participating. At the very end, we stand together, hold hands, and sing with the Doxology.

As a family, we have consistently engaged in family worship throughout our life together as a family. Like the Phillips family, we find this is a perfect time to discuss life issues in light of what God teaches us in His word. This is the time when we memorize the faithful catechisms of the Christian faith. This is the time when we answer doubts and questions of family members.

Blogs for Writers

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I was reading a few blogs before bed, and decided to try Stumble! It eventually led me to a site that looks quite interesting: Writing White Papers by Michael Stelzner. He provides a list of the top ten blogs for writers for 2007/2008. One of them, Freelance Parent, is written by two moms. Pretty cool, I think.

I very much enjoy the short bursts of writing I do for my blog entries, and don’t have high hopes really of ever moving beyond that. Still, reading about writing, about how to write better, appeals to me. How about you? Are you going to check out any of these blogs? 😀

Also, here are the 22 Best Writing Tips Ever!

In Defense of Childhood – a book

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Today I was reading about an upcoming event in Bellingham, WA that really struck a chord with me. Educator and author Chris Mercogliano will be talking about his book, In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness, at Village Books at 4pm this Saturday.

According to Kie Relyea, who wrote the Herald article, Mr. Mercogliano is concerned that children’s lives are being over structured, with too much homework and constant before and after school organized activities. He proposes that parents seek to nurture their children without over-scheduling them. He says,

“I really wanted to get across the message that the most important thing for parents to do is not to do. It’s important to let your kids have their own time and space. Don’t structure their day. Don’t structure their play.”

He also emphasizes reading to children, and getting them outdoors to investigate, play and explore.

I think I’ll try to make time to read this book. I wonder if Mr. Mercogliano actually does have the same philosophy of child-nurturing that I do. When the children were little, we did have order to our day. But once chores were done and meals were eaten, there was plenty of time left for the children to explore the forest behind the house, build forts in the bushes, put on plays in the living room and create works of art. When the children were indoors, I would sometimes spend hours a day reading to them, the length of time depending on how interested they were in the current book and whether it was a cozy, book-reading sort of day or not.

When the children were older, we homeschooled, in a laid-back sort of way. I taught the children to read and taught them the fundamentals of math. We did use some text books. But, mainly, we relied on the library and the rule, “You need to read as thick a stack of non-fiction as fiction books!” If there was a certain subject to which I wished to introduce a child, I would check out some books on the subject and leave them lying around. They were usually read, and soon thereafter the excited child would tell me all about the new interest.

Our homeschooling also involved taking the children everywhere with us, preparing them beforehand with what to expect, and what behavior would be expected of them. I let them know that if they weren’t able to behave, we would have to return home, but this rarely happened. Going out was a treat, and they wanted it!

At one point, three of the children told me they were interested in learning to play violin, so violins were purchased and private lessons ensued, with melodious consequences. For art, we kept the home well-supplied with all things artsy and craftsy. The children used their imaginations, and then decided to view all the art videos available at the Bellingham Library to learn such things as colored pencil techniques, and how to paint with oils, acrylics and watercolors.

I treasured those days of the children having time and opportunity to pursue interests and develop talents in a relaxed setting. There was plenty of time, too, to contribute to the work of the home, read books, go on hikes, and get enough rest!

I think that all of these things were beneficial to the children, and helped them to become the independent thinking, curious, and creative people that they are. There is so much more to be said, especially since some of the grown children think a more “normal” life would have been better. But this is a topic for another day, since I’m so tired!

Long time no post

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Our internet service has been on-again/off-again for the past several days. I’ve barely been able to check my mail. A very sorry state indeed. So, I’ve had some ideas for posts which have come and then, sadly, gone.

Additionally, a big change has occurred in my day-to-day life. I accepted a part-time position as a paraeducator at my children’s Middle School. I am mainly responsible to support the teachers in the sixth grade math classes, by circulating among the students to answer their questions and keep them on-task. I’m very excited about this work, but I am also EXHAUSTED after my first day at work, followed by an hour and a half of orientation. Whew!

I love working diligently, no matter where I am, but being in a new setting where I yet have so much to learn before I totally fit in, really drained me emotionally. I can’t wait for work to feel normal.

Here is what I love about this job, so far:

  1. My supervisor is a special education teacher whom I have known and admired for six years. She was instrumental in aiding our daughter who has some learning issues with the great successes in the language arts that our daughter has achieved. This supervisor was also one of my instructors at the technical college when I was studying to obtain certification as a paraeducator.
  2. I’m assisting two phenomenally competent teachers as they teach math concepts to sixth grade students. Their competency helps me know how to fit in and complement the work they are doing.
  3. I know so many of the teachers, paraeducators and administrators – thus increasing the COMFORT factor – since I have volunteered at this school for the past five or six years.
  4. Two of my children attend this school, so I would be spending hours volunteering here anyhow.
  5. Things have been slowing down so much for me at home (Five of the children are grown and gone elsewhere.). The four children left at home are so helpful that I am not at all overwhelmed with work, and was spending rather too much time on the Internet. 😛 So, this job helps me to feel more useful and productive.
  6. My husband says that when I’m working I won’t be shopping!
  7. I am hopeful that doing something outside my comfort zone will promote brain growth and stave off mental decline. It might help, you know!

So, I will try to keep up with everyone’s blogs, and post on my own blog, but my main focus is going to have to be truly ministering to my family’s needs as I attempt to add this new responsibility to my life.

Found some new blogs to read!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

As I was making my way through new blog posts on my Google Reader, I came to Tim Challies’ blog, Challies Dot Com. Under his A La Carte listings he recommended a post by Rev. Colin Adams on the blog Unashamed Workman. I really enjoyed the post, Ten Commandments for Our Day of Rest, and decided to subscribe to the blog.

Next I noticed that great online resources were listed on the sidebar, causing my enthusiasm to grow. This is something I can return to in the future! Next, I checked out the blog which Rev. Adams’ wife authors with two other pastors’ wives, titus2talk, and found that here was another blog to which I just HAD to subscribe! I do so enjoy hearing what other Christian ladies have to say, both in person and via blog.

My Google Reader is getting a bit crowded (I subscribe to 47 blogs at present). Thankfully not all writers publish daily (although some publish as many as five times daily!), so I haven’t had to cut down yet. I am thankful for this wonderful way to connect with others. I have been informed, challenged and edified. I have more interesting and varied topics of conversation with my husband and children, too, thanks to those whose blogs I read.

This morning was truly one of serendipity: the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. Now, I must return to the here and now: There are dishes to wash, a house to vacuum, a math meeting to attend at the Middle School, bread to bake, a dinner to plan, etc. Have a good day, my dear blog friends!

Some Favorite Children’s Books

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

My friend Mrs. Darling from Dishpan Dribble recently posted a recommended reading list for children at her site. Inspired by her effort, I went back through the records of some of the books the children read when they were little. This is a greatly abridged list of the most cherished books, and doesn’t include much of the nonfiction that they read. Were some of these books your children’s favorites as well?:

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Adler, David

The Cam Jansen series

Alcott, Louisa May

Little Women (and other books)

Alexander, Lloyd

Time Cat (and other books)

Arnosky, Jim

Crinkleroot’s Book of Animal Tracking

Barrett, Judi

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Bemelmans, Ludwig

The Madeline books

Boston, L.M.

The Stones of Green Knowe

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Caddie Woodlawn

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Winter Cottage

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Two are Better Than One

Burstein, Chaya M.

The Mystery of the Coins

Chenault

Parsifal Rides the Time Wave

Chute, Marchette

The Wonderful Winter