Bless Your Child

Is your child stressed and discouraged with a subject at school? Does he display anger because of an annoying sibling at home?

Are you tired and frustrated because the child is upset and disrespectful?  Is it time for a “consequence” for that “bad attitude”?

Don’t miss this precious opportunity given to train and empower your child with Scripture promised in His Word, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1,2)

How do you apply this to an out-of-control child? Instead of threats or punishment, put your arm around your young struggler and sympathize with his struggles to have a better attitude, then pray a blessing that fits his  case—one like this: “Bless (name) who has been learning Holy Scriptures all (her/his) life, and that these Scriptures are making (him/her) wise unto salvation.(2 Timothy 3:15) Thank you for making ______ perfect in You.”

Or, praise God aloud for His promise for the perfect mind of Jesus in place of any self-oriented thoughts: Thank Him that “Now unto Him that is able to keep (name) from falling, and to present (him, her) faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”  Jude 24

One mother realized  she was confusing disobedience with frustration because her son did not handle himself one day, under stress. After applying the above principles, the next day she said, “I cannot express how grateful I am.  Every day I realize another aspect of this truth.  It changes our relationships at home and my heart every time I come beside and offer comfort, scripture, blessings, and prayer.”

By Ellen Dana

Ellen Dana the Educational Director at Moore Academy. She enjoys helping families around the world to successfully homeschool their children. She strives to carefully and responsibly continue promoting a balanced educational effort with individualized curriculum planning and surveillance of enrolled families’ practice in using the Moore Formula type of education avidly taught by the Moores.

Dealing With Depression During the Holidays?

It’s the holidays season, and winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ve just had Christmas. It’s supposed to be a joyous time of the year, full of merry good cheer and all that. For some, though, this is the roughest time of the year.

Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, so the holidays make it hard to cope. Maybe it was your first Christmas apart from one of your children, like it was for me. Or perhaps just the fact that the daylight hours are so much shorter causes you to feel somewhat depressed.

I will admit: I, myself, have a hard time coping this time of year. If I could, I’d just hibernate from November to March! Either that, or move to the Southern Hemisphere (think Australia!) from about October through March.

Since I don’t see either happening any time soon (or, ever!), I have had to learn how to cope with these feelings of depression, gloominess, what have you. I’ll share with you a bit of what I’ve learned.

Here are some simple ways to help improve both your mental and physical health, using the simple acronym: NEW START. I’m sure you recognize it, from Weimar Institute.

Nutrition: be sure to eat plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and legumes.

Foods containing tryptophan are especially beneficial. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is needed for the production of niacin, serotonin, and melatonin. Serotonin is needed to transmit nerve impulses from the brain and is essential in regulating mood. It also works in conjunction with melatonin to regulate sleep rhythms. The body cannot produce tryptophan, so it is essential that you get enough from your food. (source)

Some foods high in tryptophan are:

Legumes: garbanzos, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, peanuts

Soy products: tofu, soy milk, soybeans

Whole Grains: brown rice, oats, wheat, wheat germ

Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios

Seeds: sesame, sunflower seeds, flax, pumpkin

Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, eggplant, winter squash, green peas, kelp, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumbers, potatoes

Fruits: avocados, apples, bananas, mangos, dates, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple

Of course there is tryptophan in some meats and dairy products, as well. Since I’m vegetarian, I’m sharing only those sources. (You can find a list of animal products which also contain tryptophan here, for what it’s worth.)

Also, as I’m sure you know, it’s a good idea to try having your meals about the same time each day, as consistently as possible.

Exercise: Even “just” a thirty-minute walk each day will prove very beneficial.

Water: Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Our brains especially need water. It’s important to drink at least 5-8 glasses of water each day. (And, no, substituting any of those glasses with soda, tea, coffee, fruit juice, won’t be as beneficial as plain water!)

Water on the outside of the body is also necessary. In fact, taking showers that alternate between hot and cold/very cool water several times during your shower act much like shock therapy! (Yeah, I’m not always brave enough to do that, myself! I don’t much like cold water.)

Sunshine: Ah, blessed sunshine. If you live in the northern United States or Canada, you know that winter daylight hours are very short this time of year. Sometimes here in the southern United States, even though our actual daylight hours may be longer, we can end up with days of cloudy, gloomy weather. So, it becomes really important to get that sunlight when at all possible, even as little as 30-60 minutes a day will help.

If you can’t get that much outdoor sunlight, then possibly investing in a special light that simulates sunshine would benefit you.

Temperance: Or abstemiousness. It is important to avoid those foods and substances that are not healthy (tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, etc.), as well as not over-doing those that are healthy. In other words: don’t overeat.

It is also important to have a regular schedule for eating and sleeping, at least. Try to eat at nearly the same times every day as possible. Try going to bed, and getting up, at nearly the same time every day, too. We tend to fall short on this around here.

Air: Fresh, outdoor air. Breathe deeply. Hopefully you don’t live in a smoggy city! 😉

Just think, if you take a walk each day, outdoors, you not only get exercise, but sunshine and fresh air as well!

Rest: You need adequate rest each day. God has also given us a rest day each week! Isn’t He good?!

You know the saying: Early to bed, and early to rise… Make sure you get your sleep (says the one who suffers from insomnia…).

Trust in God: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6.

“Casting all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

If you want to learn more about NEW START, you can read more here. Additionally, you can learn more about another acronym, CREATION.

Hidden Rabbits

We lived on a beautiful 2,500 acre sheep and cattle property on the southern highlands in the state of New South Wales, Australia. My husband, Michael, was gainfully employed to focus mostly on maintaining and landscaping the twenty five acres of gardens around the main homestead. This was a relatively new project for the property owner. The large, sprawling homestead looked gracefully over a glistening lake. Wide, open lawns of lush green, gently spread towards the shining waters. Landscaping plans were under way; young trees, flowering bushes, and garden beds freshly  planted were in place. A series of ponds that fed into one another had been constructed, with plans to soon grow colourful lilies and other water plants. A roughly built stone wall edged part of the garden, as the long driveway flowed gently by.

Coming into the property, before the approach to the landscaped gardens; bumping over the cattle stop, we would drive the rugged, dirt road past paddocks of rough, dry grasses, dotted with purple, flowering heath and scrubby gum trees. Large, creamy white Charolais beef cattle grazed nonchalantly in the paddocks, lifting their heads as we drove past in a flurry of dust. Heavily fleeced cross bred sheep ambled in neighbouring paddocks, enjoying the dry seeds in the grasses, that will in turn produce a high quality wool, that Australia is famous for. Among the cattle and sheep lived Australia’s wildlife, both Australian and those brought in from England. The local area supported the eastern grey kangaroos, the common wombat, echidnas and the forever multiplying rabbits, with foxes on the chase.

It was soon discovered that the kangaroos, rabbits and foxes created a problem in the young and beautiful garden. Bounding into the gardens at night and hiding by day, the kangaroos would nibble the tender, young leaves and shoots of the newly planted trees and bushes. However, the greatest threat the kangaroos presented was in the damage they created when the six foot males would box one another, kicking with their powerful ,hind legs as they balanced on their long, solid tails. They would break the freshly planted saplings, crush the seedlings and squash the small bushes. The rabbit situation produced a new set of problems. They too would take tender bites out of the growing plants, but they added their own speciality to their diet, ring barking young trees. The foxes just ran purposefully around the garden snacking on rabbits. It was all a problem, an expensive problem, that had to be solved immediately.

The solution to the situation of the kangaroos, rabbits and foxes being on a perpetual path of destruction within the gardens, came in the form of an electric fence. The idea was that the fence would keep them all out, allowing everything within to flourish and grow without hindrance. Hence came the construction of the wire fence, complete with an electrical charge surging through it and a campaign to trap and shoot any rabbits, foxes or kangaroos still inside the garden compound. The campaign of eradication appeared successful. There was stillness in the garden at night, the young shoots grew again, the saplings kept their bark and started to grow, the bushes and flowers thrived.

All appeared very well for several months and then it was discovered. Now, instead of the garden being nibbled at, it was being eaten in large chunks. Whole plants were being devoured. The damage was severe and the threat worse than before. How could this be and by what? After some investigation, the conclusion arrived upon was that hiding away in a quiet, undisturbed corner of the garden, had been at least two uncaught rabbits. Without the presence of the foxes, they had, over time, been able to prolifically reproduce to the point of creating havoc within the electric fence. Here was a fence designed to keep the plague of destruction out, but instead they had hidden successfully inside and created a problem worse than before.

My mind turns to the parable Jesus told. Matt 12:43- 45 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” God is calling to us to not just reform our lives on the outside, cleaning out of it things that keep us from Him, making resolutions and desiring to live a right life. When we do that, like the hidden rabbits we will discover hidden sins in our lives that just seem to multiply and bring us to a place of despair and despondency, where we want to just give up on Christianity. God wants us to open our hearts to Him. He wants our hearts to be empty not just of self but for self to be replaced with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

As the new year comes closer and we start to think of the things we want different in our lives may we not just eradicate the bad but let’s choose the good. Let’s choose to spend time with Jesus every day, building a relationship with Him  and loving Him so that through His Holy Spirit He may abide within.

Eph 3:16-19 “..that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Including the Three R’s in a Unit Study

Although using an inquiry approach to developing unit studies appeals to many homeschool parents, they sometimes ask “how do my children learn everything they need to know”? They are fearful that there will be gaps in their child’s education. They are most comfortable with a traditional school approach that incorporates a workbook and textbook style of education because that is what they are familiar with. But, with an emphasis on reading, investigating, and completing projects students can learn all subjects across the curriculum. Emphasis on reading, writing, and arithmetic can be integrated into all unit studies.

Here are some examples of how a variety of subjects can be taught with a unit study approach:

  • Reading is learned by listening to stories and books read orally. Additionally, silent or aloud reading by the student hones reading skills.
  • Language, grammar, composition, and penmanship are learned by the completion of written reports and papers on a unit study topic.
  • While investigating a subject, spelling skills and vocabulary are cultivated when word meanings and spellings are studied.
  • By incorporating use of the Internet, libraries, the encyclopedia, dictionary, and thesaurus, students can learn research skills.
  • Skills in organizing are learned throughout the steps in creating a learning project.
  • Investigating what the Bible says about a topic of study builds knowledge of the Bible and use of a concordance.
  • Mathematics is often taught as a separate subject, but it can be applied to any subject with the addition of story problems on a topic. Measuring skills, fractions, and application of mathematic formulas are easily incorporated into most unit study topics.

As the student initiates projects and takes an interest in learning new things, a successful homeschool parent can organize learning to create unit studies that are interesting and teach across the curriculum. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experience this engaging method of learning!

 

Plan a Winter Social

 

One of my favorite memories growing up was when our small country church would have a Saturday night social. The church rented a large room in town for these occasions, and everyone came, families, singles and grandparents. We had so much fun together and bonded as a church family. There was usually a potluck, but sometimes a planned dinner on a theme. And then there would be group games organized by some amazing people with great ideas in our church.

Recently a family that just moved into the area started inviting one to two other families to their home most Saturday evenings. They start with worship, and then enjoy supper together, followed by some group games. Everyone, young and old, participates, and everyone has a real nice time together. I was so inspired by their friendship and hospitality.

It seems that this kind of wholesome social activity is so good for families. It provides friendship and recreation for every age in the family, the children and the moms and dads.

It seems like now days these kind of social actives don’t happen much any more. Maybe because everyone is so busy, or it isn’t as much fun in a large church, or maybe kids who play computer games all the time don’t like to play real life games with real people? I don’t know the real answer, but I think that the best thing we could do about it was just to simply plan some social nights for our kids and a few other families. Be sure to invite grandparents and singles too, as they also like to socialize and are sometimes overlooked.

I know that homeschool mothers are busy and don’t have much extra time, so keep the organization responsibilities simple.

1. Location. Do it in your own family room if possible, or ask to use the fellowship room at the church or school.

2. Food. A potluck is always the easiest. Or choose a theme, and divide up the responsibilities between those who are coming.

3. Games. You can play board games, some work for even a couple families playing at a time. But I think it is more fun if you play group games where everyone is included, from young to old.

If your group is limited to 2 – 4 families, you can play group games all together, and do it in your own house. If your group is larger then that, you will need a larger facility. With a large group you may wish to divide up into teams and have multiple group games happening at once that the teams would play for a certain amount of time, and then rotate to the next game.

Here are some game suggestions I found on the Internet which would be fun with a wide range of ages.

Would You Rather.  The more creative you are, the more fun this game can be. For this game, the players move to one side of the room or another depending on what they prefer given two options. For example, the first set of options might be wearing shoes or going barefoot. The person who is “it” would announce, “Would you rather wear shoes or go barefoot?” If your answer is you prefer to wear shoes, you would go to the left, but if you would rather be barefoot, you would go to the right. Keep track of the answers to see who has the most in common with each other.

Never Have I Ever.  This game is a favorite of many people, but it must be played with at least a dozen people, preferably more. The concept is similar to musical chairs in that there is one less chair than there are people. Arrange the chairs in a circle looking inward. One person stands in the middle and announces one thing that they have never done. For instance, the person in the middle might announce, “Never have I ever ridden in a hot air balloon.” Anyone who has ridden in a hot air balloon would then get up, leaving their chair unoccupied, and find a new chair. The person in the middle would also find a chair. Whoever is left without a chair is the new person in the middle and will take a turn announcing what they have never done.

The Name Game. Give each player several strips of paper and a pen. Each player writes one name on each strip of paper. The names can be absolutely anyone—famous, non-famous, infamous, dead, alive, real, fictional, people you know, people you used to know, whatever. Once each strip of paper has a name, it should be folded and deposited into a large bowl, combined with all the others and stirred. Divide the group into two teams. One player from the first team takes the bowl full of names. Set a timer or stopwatch for one minute. The player holding the bowl takes out one slip of paper at a time and tries to get his team to guess the name, giving any clues he can without stating the name. Once the name has been guessed, the player can remove another name and begin giving clues until the time is up. If a name is still in mid-play when the timer goes off, the player should fold it up and place it back in the bowl. Count the number of correctly guessed names to keep score, and pass the bowl to the second team and repeat. The game ends when all the names have been guessed. The team with the most correct names wins.

The Dictionary Game. Each player is equipped with a piece of paper and something to write with. One player quickly searches the dictionary for a word that is most likely unfamiliar to the group. The player reads the chosen word to the rest of the group, spelling it if necessary, and each player writes it on his paper. Each player then writes a definition for the word, while the player with the dictionary writes out the correct definition. Players then pass their papers to the first player, who shuffles them and then reads the definitions one by one to the group, including the real definition. Players then vote on which definition they think is the correct one, and the first player scores the definitions (one point for each vote), then reveals the real definition. The dictionary is then passed to another player, the papers are dispersed, and the next round begins. The player with the most points for his definitions wins.

Laugh-in.  A perfect icebreaker to bring a bit of joy in everyone, this game begins by gathering the players into a standing circle. Tell everyone to remain as solemn and joyless as possible throughout the game. Pick one player to start by sounding the word, “Ha.” The person to her left has to say the words “Ha Ha.” This pattern continues with every new player adding another “Ha” as the game continues. Though the game prohibits laughter and signs of joy, players likely will find it hard to contain their giggles. Disqualify any players who end up laughing. The game ends when only one person remains in the circle.

SNOWBALL RACEThings Needed to Play: Large marshmallows, spoons and mittens for each team.
How to Play: Play this game as you would any relay race. Divide into teams. Each player takes turns putting on mittens and balancing a “snowball” on a spoon while racing to the other side of the room. Drop the snowball into a bucket, return to the team, pass the mittens and go to the back of the line. First team to complete the race wins

Things.  If you have ever played The Game of Things, you’ll be able to play this version of the game. Instead of paying full price for the actual board game, just make up the questions yourself. If you have never played The Game of Things, get ready for some side-splitting laughs. One person is “it” and will say a statement that will have a thing as the answer, such as “Things you shouldn’t do while at work.” Everyone then writes on a piece of paper something that shouldn’t be done at work, such as sleep. The person who is “it” then collects all the answers and reads them out loud. Then, go around the room letting people guess a match up of a person and an answer. If they are correct, that person gets a point, and the person whose answer was guessed is out. Continue going around the room until one person is left. That person gets three points.