Monday, September 26, 2011

Careful What You Say

My son was standing on top of his Bible today and so I said to him, "You do not stand on the Word of God!"  Then I realized what I said, and add, " . . . well, not physically anyway."  Hope that clears it up!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rachel's Hope

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Glad you no longer suffer friend, glad there is no more pain. Thankful for your faith in death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that through this you have everlasting life. Sorrow for your family, your husband, you boys, your circle of friends and of course, myself, because we will all miss you terribly, dear Rachel. You have left your mark on all of us, we will never feel far from you, and by God's grace, we will join you one day.

You have made me laugh so hard. Our moms nights out will not be the same with out you, but your presence will be in our memories we shared with you.  When I praise God in church, I will feel the joy of you praising God face to face.  

One of the best gifts we get during our lifetime is a good friend.  A person who thinks like you, has the same interests, one who splits your sides with laughter, someone you can talk hours to and who accepts you as you are, period.  While I have not known her for a long time, Rachel was that kind of friend.  It is hard to let someone go, but it is much harder to know your friend is suffering so much.  Now my friend is home in heaven, and she suffers no more.    

Rachel fought a hard battle with cancer, with much suffering and pain.  She never gave up hope or her faith in God. The cancer won over her life, but Jesus won victory over her death.  He defeated death on the cross when He died for our sins.  I am not really sure what makes me cry more, the loss of my friend or the beauty of what God has done for us - through his own suffering, he redeemed us, forgave us, and on his Believers he has bestowed everlasting life with Him.  There is a remarkable beauty in the  gathering of believers, in different places, but at all at once, hearts turned toward God. 

Her sister started this blog about the special diet they used for Rachel and to update us all about how Rachel was doing.  It is a beautiful record of hope, hardship, and a family's love for one another.

Here is Rachel giving her testimony, it is a really good one, I hope you watch it.  She truly is a beautiful person inside and out. Thanks be to God for the work done in Rachel's life, for God sharing her with us, and using her for His glory.   

Monday, September 12, 2011

When Your Child Hates School UPDATE

My one son hated school for Kindergarten and 1st Grade(we homeschool). The night before we started 2nd Grade he cried. However, once he started school, he loved it. Here I wrote a post about some things that helped us through the last two years. Looking back I realize what I think the problem was and how I could have avoided it.  Also, I added some general lessons I learned from all my children that have helped us all to love school.

  • I should have used a curriculum that required mastery in 1st grade (not Kindergarten). Like Suzuki music lessons, the child can move at their own pace. They do not feel bored or lost.  They do not move on until they master the lesson, and when they do move on, they continue to review what they mastered.
  • Kindergarten and 1st Grade uses a lot of repetitive busy work. Some kids need it, and it is good for kids. However, it bored my son to death and I was not in tuned to that fact.  Bored kids will sometimes act like they do not know the answer, when they no all along.  No longer do I make him do boring work.  
  • While I require them to do hard work and have discipline, I no longer do it at the sake of their love of learning.  There are always exceptions to any rule, but in general, I find this approach actually results in them learning more not less.  Also, the learning that does occur is not forced, but out of genuine interest.  
For example, my son hated writing the numbers 1 to 100.  His curriculum had him do it 6 times, I had him do it twice - once to show me he knew it and once for a test.  Truth be told, I should have only done it once.  He knows it, I know he knows it.  Why would I want to risk his love for math ( he begs to do math ), for the "character" he would get from doing something he hated 6 times.  There are lots of other opportunities for him to learn that lesson, such as saying, "yes mommy," when he doesn't want to.  He will learn discipline from those areas.  People make the argument that when he gets a job he will have to do tasks he finds boring, but he will have to do them.  However, I say, how is he even going to get to that professional job if he hates school.  Instead I want to show him flexibility, reason and thinking outside the box, all of those things are applied in my examples above.    Those are useful lessons as well, and there are plenty of opportunities to show him he needs to do undesirable tasks. 

  • Just as I found not to give him tasks that were too easy for him, I also found not to give tasks that were beyond what he is capable at the moment.  If writing is very hard for him, I will have him narrate his notebook page to me instead of writing out by hand.  He will do some written work, but not to the point it over loads him.  Also, sometimes it seems like they are not paying attention or being rebellious, but they may just have a delay.  Remember, delays can be emotional or be in communication as well as scholastic delays.  If this is the case, I may need to find a new way to teach them while being patient with my expectations.  This was really hard to except because I had to see they were not being bad, but wanted to be good, and just did not have the tools to do it.  Also, I had to learn to relax.  They will learn to do it.  I had the most frustrating time teaching him to use scissors to no avail, and I should have just waited because it cuts great now.  
  • Lastly, setting boundaries helps make the school day more enjoyable in the long run.  If he knows he will have to finish his work at night with his Dad instead of playing with his Dad, he learns to finish his work on time.  If he interrupts our read aloud with his shenanigans, and I start over at the beginning of the page or paragraph, he realizes goofing off makes school longer.  He learns school is more fun in the boundaries.   This last part only works if I adhere to what I learned above.  
One good question in all of this is how do you know if it is boredom, a delay or laziness?  If it is a delay, it will show up when the child wants to do tasks, like remembering lines in a play they want to participate in, but cannot.  Remember our struggle with scissors, my son could not use scissors when I asked him to for school, nor when he badly wanted to himself.  This is clearly a delay.  Always rule out the delay first. If it is not a delay, boredom is easily defined by their constant, consistent lack of interest/focus, silly answers, and whining.  While with laziness, it will be the same reactions, but periodically, not every time the task is required.   Boredom and laziness can happen for several reasons, neither will change unless you find the reason - too hard, too easy, not enough sleep, not a good breakfast, etc.  

What have you done that has made school more lovable?  One thing for sure, the answer will not be the same for all of us, and the answer will keep changing for each of us!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Year Old's Take on 9/11

At our church today, we remember those who lost their lives in the attack on our country on September 11, 2001.  My daughter was only a few months old when the attacks happened, but she is ten now.  During the church service, when a picture of the skyline with the twin towers flashed up on the screen, I leaned over to tell her that on this day enemies of our country flew planes into those buildings and they fell down.  Then she made the connection that the event was like the game "Angry Birds."  Not getting upset about her sweet, innocent connection, I told her yes, except that those buildings were full of people and the planes were full of people.

A few minutes later I told her that many firefighters and policemen lost their lives that day saving other people from those buildings.  Also, I mentioned those brave men who stopped that 4th plane from its intended target.  My daughter responded by saying, "It is like a freedom day." Children are so observant.

It is hard to explain the horrors of this world to our children.  It is not good to watch news on TV in front of them.  Not that we want to overprotect them, but somethings are better handled when you are more mature.  Tragic events effect children differently than adults, that is my personal experience and opinion.  I personally think it is more scaring to a child, and that it can greatly effect their adult life.  I don't want my children to watch the planes flying into the towers, or other horrible images seen that day.

However, I want them to know what we are remembering, and it is our job to pass down the events to future generations, so they will not forget.  We want to limit scaring, and not with hold information at the same time.  Children see and hear and know a lot more than we give them credit for.  They also can confuse events easily, like my 4 year old that thought my husband's home was at work!  It is best to simply, appropriately to inform them on their level.  If we seem confident and in control of our emotions, they will feel more secure.  The information will not frighten them as much, as they feed off our emotions.  How many times have you heard that the mom sets the tone in the house?  It is a good rule of thumb to remember, like George W. Bush remembered when he got the news that day, eyes are watching you, you need to remain calm, so they may be reassured.  Show your courage, your faith in an almighty God and they will reflect you.