Run-Away Boy Meets Run-Away Goats

It’s amazing how God works sometimes when you surrender to him, rather then trying to control the situation yourself.

My young son was struggling to focus on homeschool this morning.  An emotional outburst was brewing, but I was determined that it would not be on my part.  Instead I was quietly praying, continually realigning my emotions with God.  If God be with me, who can be against me?  I called my son to prayer repeatedly, but he was resisting.  It didn’t look like anything was going to resolve easily this morning.  Sure enough, it didn’t take long.  He got frustrated, jumped up, and ran out the door.

Should I follow him?  Chase him down?  Make him come back?  Force him to put that pencil back on the paper and form words?

No.  I should pray.  And pray I did.  Lord, cover my son.  Call to his conscience.  Bring him back on his own please.  Diffuse the battle, if possible.  Nevertheless, not my will, but God’s be done.

I calmly got up and moved out the door to see what was happening.  I spotted him outside and thought maybe we’d need a brisk walk before we headed back in.  Instead, God had worked out something different.  Effective.  Amazing.

Out at the road was a county sheriff, trying to herd two beautiful goats out of the road.  It seems everyone at home was converging on the same spot, even grandma and grandpa.  Apparently the goats had escaped from some neighbor’s home and were out for an adventure.  I wondered what the sheriff was going to do with them.  Turns out, the sheriff was wondering the same thing.  Young son was drawn and started helping.  The goats turned right into our driveway.  Which is right by our chicken pen.  The chickens were out for the day, so into the pen went the goats.  Well, almost straight in, we had to lure them in with a little grain.  Now they are out there waiting for their owners to get home from work and realize that they have missing animals.  They were beautiful, well-cared for goats.

My son was so happy that he had goats at his house, even if for a little while, that he went straight back to his schoolwork, once they were settled in, without me telling him.  And in just over an hour he was finished.

It is amazing what happens to a run-away boy when he meets run-away goats.  Thanks to God for using it all for good.

Summer At Home – Activity Ideas

county-clipart-The-Word-Summer-Clip-Art

Summer time can be so busy with picnics and camping, gardening and food preservation. It is easy to breath a sigh of relief that the school year is over, put the books away and get on to other things. But summer time can be one of the best times for learning, because children want something interesting to do, and are glad to do things that don’t feel like school, but really involve learning.  Here are several ideas that might enhance summer learning at your house.

Have a theme for each day of the week.
Make Something Monday – Craft day
Try Something Tuesday – Try an activity or a science experiment and see what happens
Wander Somewhere Wednesday – Go out exploring and see or do something new
Thoughtful Thursday – Do something for someone else
Fabulous and Fun Friday – Think of the most fun thing you could do, something active

Or maybe you would like to make a list of activities you think would work for the summer. Write them on paper, cut them apart and put them in a jar. Choose a child to pull a paper out of the jar. Whatever is written on the paper is the activity of the day.

Another idea is to get out a calender, and a list of fun things to do, and have your children decide with you what will happen each day. Write it on the calender, and then look forward, and plan for fun times ahead.

Be sure to include some time in your summer schedule for inside activities, and outside activities, time with read books and time to run around. It is always good to have a little time to work in the week, helping with chores, working in the garden, doing things for other people or your church. And make sure there is some time to learn more about nature, and the God of creation. Do all these things, your children will love summer, learning and growing, even without homeschool curriculum in their hands.

I have collected links to quite a few interesting summer activities. What if you planned to do one at least once a week, or maybe even every day? If you know of other interesting summer learning activities, be sure to tell us about them in the comments, and add a link, if you would like.

 

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Painting and Drawing

How to make watercolor paints from flower petals
http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/14058-pineapple-pops.html

Footprint sailboat with poster paints
http://www.craftymorning.com/footprint-sailboat-craft-kids-make/

Fork dandelions and fingerprint fandelions
http://www.craftymorning.com/make-dandelions-using-fork-kids-craft/

Bubble paint flowers
http://www.craftymorning.com/make-dandelions-using-fork-kids-craft/

Watercolor painting ideas
http://www.howweelearn.com/easy-watercolor-painting-ideas/

Use sticks as your canvas
http://buggyandbuddy.com/art-kids-using-sticks/

Magic sidewalk squirt painting
http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/06/summer-fun-with-sidewalk-chalk.html

Wood spoon stakes – maybe a gift for someone

Crafts

A pipecleaner Chameleon
http://www.marthastewart.com/266158/pipe-cleaner-creatures

Great craft ideas
http://homesthetics.net/creative-fun-ages-easy-diy-wall-art-projects/

Nature objects from Maple tree seeds
http://www.filthwizardry.com/2012/10/autumn-woodland-treasure-sculpture.html

DIY Glitter Rainboots. (What other kind of shoe would your child like to glitter?)
http://www.homeheartcraft.com/blog/diy-glitter-rainboots

Avocado Cradle
http://www.parentingfuneveryday.com/do/nature-and-animal-crafts/how-to-make-a-corn-husk-doll/

Hands-On

100 Engineering Projects for Kids
http://thehomeschoolscientist.com/100-engineering-projects-kids/

Dandelion crown (or maybe daisies too)
http://wabisabiwanderings.blogspot.com/2010/05/crowned-with-flowers-tutorial.html

Summer Science Ideas
http://fun-a-day.com/summer-science-experiments-for-kids/

Rainbow bubble snakes
http://www.housingaforest.com/rainbow-bubble-snakes/

Kool-aid play dough – homemade
http://www.the36thavenue.com/kool-aid-playdough-recipe/

Frozen Boats – for the lake or the bathtub
http://www.readingconfetti.com/2012/07/natural-ice-boats.html

Botany activities for kids
http://www.readingconfetti.com/2013/05/10-botany-activities-for-kids-kids-co-op.html

Active Fun

Glow in the dark ring toss
http://mommadidit.blogspot.com/2012/07/light-up-night.html

Giant Backyard Scrabble
http://constantlylovestruck.blogspot.com/2012/05/so-much-fun.html

When you go to the water make some stone feet to show you were there
https://askepticaldesigners.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/artscrafts-26/

Build an outdoor race car track
https://nz.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/diy/h/13819630/how-to-build-a-race-car-track-for-the-kids/

Make bubbles that bounce
http://www.playathomemomllc.com/2011/09/bouncing-bubbles-2/

Pool noodle sprinkler
http://ziggityzoom.com/content/pool-noodle-sprinkler-summer-fun

Sponge ball toss
http://www.passionforsavings.com/2013/05/how-to-make-your-own-sponge-ball-toss/

Water activities for kids
http://anightowlblog.com/2013/07/25-water-activities-for-kids.html/#_a5y_p=3672919

Make some homemade stilts
http://teachmama.com/old-school-fun-coffee-can-stilts/

Make a tent, for playing, reading, dreaming, sleeping
http://www.craftionary.net/ways-to-make-tent

Fun in the Kitchen

Fresh Fruit Pops
<http://thenerdswife.com/bare-necessities-fresh-fruit-pops.html>

Healthy Summer Fruit Snacks

Grow Green Onions in your Windowsill
http://tercets.blogspot.com/2012/05/grow-green-onions-on-your-windowsill.html

Make your own solar oven
http://www.icanteachmychild.com/make-your-own-solar-oven/?_szp=367169

Banana snacks
http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/your-kids-will-go-banans-over-these-7-super-cute-snack-ideas/#banana-buddy

Playing with food
http://www.momtastic.com/food/400333-12-fun-healthy-snacks-for-kids/#/slide/1

Breakfast ideas
http://www.momtastic.com/food/400333-12-fun-healthy-snacks-for-kids/#/slide/1

Creative food plates
http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2014/03/creative-food-plates.html

Butterfly Ziplock snacks and other ideas
http://www.halfhourmeals.com/food-for-thought/fun-food-for-kids-10-cool-and-healthy-snacks/

Octopus Hotdogs
http://www.justputzing.com/2011/10/octopus-sausages.html

Apple Sandwiches and other fun food to make with your kids
http://www.eatwell101.com/easy-treats-recipes-for-kids

Tales of a Mother’s Day

To start the morning out, I was banished from our home.  The kids were working on a surprise, and they didn’t even allow me to be in my bedroom to wait.  So, I went to garage sales (there aren’t many on a Mother’s Day morning, but I scouted them out anyway), I bought gas, and went back home.  They said they weren’t done yet, only 10 more minutes though.  So Rob took me on a 20 minute walk.  They weren’t done when we got back, so they sent me to my room this time (am I in “time-out”), and around 30 minutes later I was finally called for breakfast.
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Ok, it was  worth it, waiting for breakfast until 10:30 A.M. this morning.  My kids made a gourmet meal for me, nicer then the finest restaurant around, and there is not chance of me getting “glutened’ here.

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My plate looked like a serving platter itself.  They made Baked Hashbrowns in a heart shaped pan, and then filled the center with my favorite recipe of scrambled tofu, garnished with fresh snow peas, and garden flowers, and served with homemade ketsup.  I could not have a lovelier, more tasty meal anywhere.

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And then after the meal there was music.  An original composition by my children, sung by my children, in harmony, with my daughter on the piano, and my son sitting on a giant exercise ball, bouncing in rhythm.  I am hoping to get them to sing it again soon, so I can make a recording to treasure forever.

If this is the fruit of a homeschool education, kids who can make a beautiful meal on their own, and compose and perform music without coaching, I’m all for it.  I love these kids.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the homeschool moms in our group!

The Earliest Home Education

 

She heard what I was saying, joining in my wonder about all the things that God had made. She was delighted to touch, to see, and to hold a flower in her chubby little hand.”

Today I am thinking back to some of the favorite things I have done with my homeschooled children. I was delighted to realize that my first experience in educating my children, started when I had only one baby, and she was only a few months old. When the first warm days of spring started happening, and new life started to spring out of old, I bundled her up and took her outside to see what we could see. Slowly we walked through the back yard, looking at every twig and bush. I talked to her the whole way, telling her about what we saw, and what I thought about it. We looked for the first swelling of a bud, and then a few days later came out together to find there were tiny white blossoms on the flowering tree. We searched the grass for violets, and then took turns smelling them, me telling her all my memories of violets from the past, and about my great grandma who first introduced me to them. When the sun was warm we sat in the greening grass, and watched insects. We found worms in the dirt. We watched birds fly by, and heard them sing their songs. We petted the neighbor’s cat and enjoyed the antics of the squirrels chasing each other up the tree. I told about how things grow, who made them to grow, and how much Jesus loves us.

And all of this before she could crawl or talk. But I knew she was taking it all in. She heard what I was saying, joining in my wonder about all the things that God had made. She was delighted to touch, to see, and to hold a flower in her chubby little hand.

When she could walk and talk, I started following her around the yard, to see what caught her eye. And we’d talk about everything, saying what color it was, how it felt to our fingers, and if it was good to eat. We filled a window sill full of all the little treasures we found on our walks, sticks, and seeds, rocks and flowers. In a couple years she started having questions that I couldn’t answer, so when we went back in the house, we’d look things up in the guidebooks to nature that I had purchased. This led into nature journalling when she was old enough to draw, with transcriptions of the story by Mama. And now she keeps a journal of her own, and loves nature. But it all started before she could talk, when I started teaching all about the things God had made.

Many people think that education begins in first grade. But I can see clearly that education really can start long before a child is in school, and that learning can really start when a child is a baby. Small children, even toddlers and babies learning at an amazing rate, taking in all they see, hear, touch and taste. They are forming their mental framework of the world and how it works. A happy home, full of loving deeds, kindness, wonder and delight are so good for children. Surrounded with loving family, they grow up safe and secure.

There are three special things you can do for your children, even before they can walk, that will greatly enrich their minds, helping to prepare them to be life long learners.

1. Talk to your children, even before they can talk. Tell them what you are doing and what you are going to do, and why. Show them things and tell them about it. Read to them, even things that are beyond what you think they can understand. It builds their vocabulary and and thinking skills.

2. Take your children outside, and slowly walk around with them, looking at everything and touching as many things as possible. Tell them the names of everything: trees, bushes, leaves, bark, flowers, grass, rocks, dirt, worms, insects and feathers. And if you know their individual names, tell them: oak, maple, spruce, dandelion, daisy, rose, banana slug, sugar ant, earthworm. Show them the leaves leaves, telling them about the colors and textures and differences from the leaves on other trees. Let them hold leaves, brush the soft ones on their face. Carefully touch the rough and pointy objects. Gently handle the live creatures. When ever you can, take objects into the house, and keep on a special shelf, so you can look at the objects.

In the winter time there isn’t as much to see, but even then there are still sticks, dry leaves, rocks. There is different textures of tree bark. There are varying clouds, frost, rain and snow, which means sometimes there are mud puddles to stomp or stir with the sticks that fell out of the tree. Mud feels squishy, and rocks can be smooth or rough.

3. Teach your child who made everything and how much God love them. It will give them respect for the Creator and His creation. It will help them develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about natural things that will stay with them all through life.

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.