Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer of Science: week 1

It has begun!  Summer vacation may be 3 weeks old, but our Summer of Science has (finally) officially begun!  Every Thursday I will share our journeys through science this summer.

Developing critical thinking through science: Book one
This is the book we are (loosely) using to inspire the kids to THINK.  But not just think... think scientifically.  I hope to use Book Two in Brenden and Brooke's science curriculum this next school year.  Book One is a good start for learning how to observe, experiment, observe, classify, observe, think, and did I mention observe?  You get the idea!

We started this week by discussing what observation is.  The kids and I collected some 'lost things' on a walk Tuesday which we then spread out to observe.

We discussed how there are different ways to observe (senses and implements).  I also pointed out that what looks plain or obvious at first glance, may not always be so when you get a closer look. 

Neighbor kids and cousins had toppled by when we began.  One young man (7 exactly!) was not very impressed that we seemed to be doing 'school work'!  However, as everyone else around the table used magnifiers to observe the obvious and find the interesting, he too was captivated and the only complaint was whose turn it was to use the high-power magnifier!

All-in-all our first installment of S.o.S. (Summer of Science) was a raving success!  If you would like to conduct your own S.o.S, it is simple.  Start with what you have!  If you would like to duplicate our adventures, here is what we did:

- We took a walk!  You don't have to, but it is so much more fun!  We carried plastic grocery bags and collected things.  I reminded the kids that not all things seem interesting at first, don't collect based on interest!  Just collect!  With younger children you may need to set perimeters so they aren't picking up yucky stuff!  With ages 8-13 I was able to say, "Don't pick up anything that can go in someone's mouth" and "If you aren't sure, ask me before you pick anything up".  That worked well ;-)

Example of some things collected:  leaves, sticks, broken plastic, fire cracker paper, pen, bottle caps and flower petals.

- Set up a table with magnifying glasses (we had cheep ones and they worked great) and, if you have it, a microscope and/or other high power magnifier.  I also had some pre-made slides from an old microscope set.  The kids loved these as much as their other finds!
 -  Ask leading questions to spark their interest and curiosity, then hang on and be ready for the ride.  It is amazing the things they will notice and think to look at (not just on the table) like toe nails, shirt hems and the inside of the pet's ears!  Be ready to look too, act interested, it inspires them.

-  Most important step:  have fun!

If you have any great science activities to share or a science blog to mention, please feel free to share in the comments section below!  I would love to see what science you are doing this summer!

Next week we use our observation skills to explore WATER!  Join us!

Blessings for lots of summer fun!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Humility in the Hard Places

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience is challenging readers/bloggers to write about humility.  She admits it is a difficult task, to hold humility.  I agree...

... as a matter of fact, I failed at humility miserably today.  I have been failing a lot lately.  Is it a woman thing, a human thing, a mom thing... or all of the above?  I don't know, but I did find myself journaling and praying over this alluded attribute today.

It doesn't matter who is right, sometimes it just matters that we handle situations with humility and love.  It doesn't mean we have to give in, it can mean that we stand for our beliefs... only we stand with humility and love.

Saying we are right in a over-the-head manner, pouting, stomping, even getting angry are all counterproductive to bringing the glory of God and showing humility in the hard spots.  But speaking with love, letting anger and frustration go in exchange for peace and softness... these are the ways we reflect God while staying firm in our needs and beliefs.

Humility is many things, and maybe the above is not what you think when you consider humility, but it is how I have found myself lacking today (and this whole last week!)  I don't want to get to the point of apology, I want to begin by doing right and acting in a way that sets myself below, not above, subjecting myself to God, not to man, and knowing peace that produces love in all my actions (and reactions!)... without the effort.

If you struggle, like I do, being humble in the rough places then you know it is all about letting go, letting God, trusting with all your heart, and praying each step of the way.  This is what I am working on this week.  This is where I know hearts learn to grow and bloom.

May you be led by God to reflect humility in the difficult places.

God Bless!

Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

L is for Living

I am sure you have heard the saying, "Children learn what they live".  Well, when we homeschool, children are learning and living every day in a way that can bring glory to God. 

Our homeschooled subjects are not stuck in desks and classrooms, they are at kitchen tables in the heart of the home or around coffee tables in living rooms.
They are watching and helping with laundry, cooking, and cleaning as they learn their grammar and long division.  They are traipsing through the garden, putting their hands in the dirt, and asking pertinent questions and listening intently for your answers about everything form "Why do bugs fly" to "Why is God so big?".

Homeschooling is learning to live instead of just living to learn.  It is finding out that knowledge and adventure are everywhere all at once, not stuck in a box or 8-3 schedule.  Life is the classroom and learning is the key to understanding, growing, becoming, and being.

We live before our kids and with our kids so they can learn, live, and love life!  Now that's a lot of "L"!

That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  - 2 Timothy 3:16

May you LIVE before and with your children in memorable and exalted ways this week!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays #151-180

I like the simple version, of simple listing, and simply stated thoughts like I did last week... I think I will do that again!

 #151  Deep in Philemon
#152  Deep in any part of God's Word is always rewarding
#153 ... which reminds me of the most inspirational verse to me in Philemon, encouraging me in my studies:

I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.  - Philemon 1:6 (NRSV)

#154 The greatest SBS staff to have... and her family with ours :0)
#155  Dinner with dear friends

 #156  A choir of voice in praise to God

#157  The lyrics of this song as I begin e-SBS (reminded as I listened to 2011 SBS Grads above sing it at their ceremony last week!)

 #158  Seeing friends one more time before they live for home countries

#159  The river gets higher but God keeps us safe... so true with all aspects of life!
 #160  God's sweetness in nature
#161  He cares about sweet moments in our lives too.

 #162  The soft glow of summer nights
#163  The protection of HIS divine light
 #164  Playing in the shadows
#165  Laughing hard with my sweetheart
#166  Feeling old-fashioned... even if only in silhouette

 #167  Taking the path less traveled
#168  Seeing new sites...
#169  Finding new perspective

 #170  Little girl smiles
#171  Little girl freckles!

 #172  Soap suds on asphalt
#173  Sopping wet summer days

 #174  Kabobs!  A fun and different way to eat dinner
#175  Celebrating the first day of summer with food and fun... even the Israelites celebrated with food and fun!
#176  Reconciliation with parents and son
#177  Like the reconciliation we find in our Heavenly Father... I am humbled
#178  Summer to-dos slowly being checked off by God's good strength
#179  Long walks with time to smell the flowers
#180  Soft green grass in golden rays of son

May all pastures seem GREEN from all sides because of the Father's Love.

God Bless!

Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Study Update #1

I have posted my first Saturday update over on Weebly if you are interested in how my SBS studies are going :-) 

In His Word... Philemon

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Mother's Homeschool Journal #9


In my life this week… 
...started with some heartache over a misunderstanding between my oldest and my husband.  As of today, it is mostly worked out, but it has caused many sleepless nights and tiered eyes on my part!  (Why can't they stay sweet and little forever?)
The heartache did affect other things as well... like my studies for SBS.  My celebrations and hardships inspired a new site, In His Word, where I can chronicle my trials and tribulations through my studies.  My hope and prayer is to inspire and encourage others in a dedicated study of the scriptures.

Aside from all the mushy stuff, we have had much homeschool/summer school/break success and fun this week :-)  Library time was better than I hoped.  I had feared it would be just little kids books and my kids would be bored because they are older.  Howerver, they split the big and little kids up and read a wonderful chapter book about a boy in Africa.  The crafts were challenging and fun as well!  The kids had a blast!  
I could write paragraph upon paragraph of our week, but instead I will share a few pictures.  First, I must share a special perspective we had through this week because of the book, "How To Be An Explorer Of the World" by Keri Smith.  She has a lot of fun books for parents and kids to share!

I would like to write an article later with greater focus on this book and how we are using it for adventure and fun this summer.  For now I can tell you, if you ask my children what they are doing.... they are suppose to say, "I am conducting research"!  And our senses were heightened in this context...

Not part of the adventure series... or was it?  Kids room clean, check!  The 17 year old's bed was disgusting!  Teenage boys... ugh!  I'm almost embarrassed of the before shots, but don't they reflect a great after?
Dad's day was delicious!
 The room clean allowed for a new cork-board area and place to keep track of reading time and to-do lists!

Honeysuckles wrapped around a tree (good eye Brooke!) and me and hubby being silly with shadows while on a walk!  (Looks like a 2-headed lady with a ball gown on... I have chuckled all week from this!)


 1st day of summer bike wash... always fun!

 I was TIRED!!  (haha) ... Because that same day of the library walk, railroad tracks, bike wash, and summer fiesta.... hubby and I cleaned out the storage area outside and made the deck look all pretty for my mom-in-law :-)

 Nothin' says "1st day of summer" like kabobs and grilled corn on the cob!  Only regret, not getting pictures of the yummy dessert slushy Ashley helped me make!

Summer means time to get rid of the mop on Brenden's head!  Outside leaves less of a trace than inside hair flying everywhere!  Look at that handsome face revealed!

YWAM SBS Graduation (the graduates above), marvelous and kicked off with wonderful worship... we felt blessed to be a part of it all!
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… 
Summer 1999, Ashley was 1 and Zach was 5
My oldest sweet little girl turns 13 next week!!!  Be still my heart ;)  Making plans for something extravagant but cheap!  Thankfully she has a simple heart; her greatest wish is to go to Murdoch's (a ranch supply store here) and buy a horse (the plastic variety) with her birthday money (she already knows about coming from her grandma!).

Otherwise, our usual boring selves!  Library story time, adventures and investigations, and finally the start of Picnic in the Park (I was wrong last week!)  Bus rides are out for now.  One of the drivers says I have to pay for Ashley to ride too... which makes it $4 round trip anywhere (I can go for less in gas).  Not the rule I was originally told :-( 

My favorite thing this week was…
Totally a favorite:  massive thunder storm that lasted for maybe 10 minutes!  Storms like this are not that common here and it was wonderful, refreshing, and noisy!  Better than a fireworks display!  (However, I'm sorry to those of you who wish these noisy storms would go away, my heart goes out to Tornado ravaged areas)
Things I’m working on…
 Sorting through what science goodies I have and determining what and how much of it to use for our summer of science.
Today I also need to call the IRS (fun, I know!) and talk to them about our 501c3 (did I say that right?) which will mean paperwork over the next few weeks to apply for non-profit status.

This week... shhhhh, don't tell Ashley, but I want to put together a little booklet of 13 tips and encouragements for her teenage years!  I brought some of my scrapbooking stuff out of storage and expect evenings for the next 5 days to be consumed by that :-)

I also hope to FINALLY get into the store room we use at the house here and clean it out... I am dreading the job because it will likely take ALL day+

... and I still need to go through the reading curriculum box and pick Brenden's reading books for next year so I can pack away the rest!
I’m reading…
How to Read the Bible for All Its WorthStill working on my e-SBS study documents online.  Reading Philemon a bunch more times!  And praying, God willing, to finish "How to Read a Book"

The kids and I still need to start the Bastable Children!  We did read various library picture books.  I am seeing a need to wind my mind down before bed and am thinking of either reading or finding what story books the kids will be reading this next year and reading them ahead.

I’m praying for…
... peace in rough seas, provision, and revelation.  My husband and I feel we are standing on the doorstep before an unlocked door but we can't figure out how to open it!  Clarity is needed with the revelation we seek.

Questions/thoughts I have… 
I am prayerfully contemplating my content on both websites right now.  Here at THS, I love all the memes I am part of, but considering some different directions one or two days a week to broaden the spectrum I write about. 
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Summer is here....

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   - John 1:4

Ok, so I know this is a bug zapper which actually takes life and doesn't give it... but it culminated our study of light this week and our study of light, reminded me of numerous scriptures including John 1!

I pray your summer weeks are blessed with wonderful memories!