Learning Little by Little Each Day

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My family enjoys spending time together in many simple and wonderful ways. Through the activities we do, I pray that we connect with each other as our kids learn special things they are enthusiastic about.

As well as their parents, my children also have other teachers we trust to help them learn practical and special skills. For instance, every week, I have the opportunity to be with my eldest daughter and be her parent-partner as she learns the violin. Those times are special for both of us, and it has been that way since day one a couple of years back, because she loves to play the violin and she loves her teacher greatly. Lesson days are fun, though I admit learning the violin is difficult because it is very detailed. Instead of saying how hard it is, we always say it is so much fun! Hence, music still remains one of the very best ways we enjoy spending time together.

On our way to her lesson in the afternoon, we always have the chance to see the idyllic scenery of a countryside. Oh, the joy of driving on zigzag, hilly roads — going up the mountain and down the slopes while the sun is shining above, with cool breezes gently kissing our faces! There is also small-ish acre of land keeping watch over budding evergreen trees that will be ready for the holidays. It cheers us passing through this place. We praise God for His beautiful creations and the peace they bring.

For this short time, we savor completely the moment of solitude as we gaze through the beautiful scenery, and at other times, we also have precious conversations about nearly anything under the sun. Perhaps the best thing between us is that she knows that she can talk to me freely about anything she would like to. I do talk to her and encourage her to not be afraid speak her mind.

These moments are so precious to me. There’s nothing I would like to say and do more than to inspire her to learn. At home, we try to tell, demonstrate, and work side by side with her. And, we always look for ways we can inspire her to be what God needs her to be. I was once talking to her with something about learning. I remember telling her that learning the violin is like learning math with the use of the abacus, which we did earlier in the morning and which she has been learning this year.

I told her, “If you can play the violin, you can do math or anything that you would want to do as long as you put your heart to it. You pray, you claim God’s promise and work on it. See? You have done a lot of math in your music, and you are getting so good at it!” Our learning lifestyle flashed through my mind, and I continued, “And, it is okay to make mistakes when we are trying to learn. We learn little by little, every day. We just have to be patient and pay attention. With daily practice, we can be better every day at things we like to learn — just like how you learn the violin.”

By God’s grace and blessings, Nichole is doing wonderfully with her violin. And then, from the back of the car, my daughter’s gentle and soft voice called to me: “Mommy, I love you.”

Silence. Seconds passed.

“I love you, Mommy! Thank you for all the things you do for me. I love being with you. I love going to my lessons with you. I love that it’s fun. I love that you teach me the best way you can. I thank Jesus for you, Mommy.”

I was struck powerfully by those words she spoke. It’s not the first, but this time is special…different. My little girl that has been with me since birth! We are always together, and, thinking back on all the things that we have gone through, good and bad, my heart felt so full. I was empowered.

“Nichole, sweetie, thank you. I love you, too. I love you. I try to do the best that I can. I always pray to Jesus and ask His help. Mommy is not perfect, but I try my best every day. I keep praying. I love you very much…and remember that I am sorry for the times that I hurt your feelings, because Mommy makes mistakes, too. You know that, right? When we make mistakes, we ask for forgiveness, we say we’re sorry, and we forgive. We will be happier that way. God will help us every day to learn together and have fun along the way. I want us to be happy always, to have joy in our hearts.”

“Yes, Mommy. I understand. I remember your words. But Mommy, I want you to know that I always try to do my best, too. In everything. Even though things are hard to learn at the beginning. But, I try.”

“That is one thing I love about you, Nichole. But, no matter what, whatever it is, I love you just as you are, and that will never change.”

When I am bothered by so many things, I remember this moment. “Mommy, I try to do my best, too.” Surely this gives me wisdom to understand, wait, and teach my children kindly. I know that God taught me a great lesson that day, and also answered my prayers. I praise God for whom all blessings flow. God helps bind our children to our hearts. We are a work in progress; nevertheless, this homeschooling journey is worth every minute of our life.

Enjoy, savor, cherish, and celebrate your life, however domestic and simple or luxurious and adventurous your journey may be as you learn with your children. They are the most precious gifts ever given to us. Rest assured, that day when God asks us how we tended to our flock, we will be ready to present our family worthily. For with God, all things are possible, and with His grace, we will live!

Take the Miserable Out

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It’s a cool autumn day. By my estimation it’s a day that ought to be spent tramping through the leaves, perhaps making huge piles and jumping in them, gathering acorns, or enjoying the last rays of heat to be felt outside for months.

However, for right now, we’re all stuck inside mastering times tables, learning to read, studying the skeletons of the English language, or trying to remember which hands of the clock mean what — depending on which child (and therefore grade) we’re referring to.

My mind spins as I struggle to explain to a young mind that c-a-t spells cat — not because I said so, but because those letters make those sounds. My other ear is listening to the older child explaining why she can’t possibly understand her English lesson — and refusing to pronounce predicate, pre-di-cate.

Mission sufficiently accomplished for the time being, we move on to some arithmetic. “Now, remember. When the long hand points to the number 12, it means that it’s something o’clock. The short hand points to the number that you read as the hour.”

“No, 7×4 is not 30. You’re close, try again.”

“No, you read the hour from the short hand, not the long hand.”

“YES! 7×4 is 28. Great job. Now try the next one.”

“Alright let’s try some adding. Grab some toys.” And, I proceed to explain that when you have two trucks and add one more, you now have three trucks— that’s the same as 2+1=3!

That’s my description.

Perhaps you’d like to hear the 6-year-old version:

“We do descriptions that are very fun and I write ‘sis’ now. ‘Cause you made me get out cars, toys. We used them for counting. They made a road ‘s,’ and a road ‘t.’”

“The short hand and the long hand are hours. Wait, o’clock. Wait. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no …. The short hand is the time, and the long hand is the hours.”

“At school I write about my room. I have shelves under my bed — toys on my shelf under my bed — and I have drawing books and pencils and pens. I’ve got a dresser with three shelves.”

“Mommy reads a book to me when I’m done with school, and Sis takes me out to ride my bike. It’s fun, I like it, and it’s sometimes miserable.”

(On second thought, he says …) “That’s horrible! Take the miserable out — it’s fun!”

by Samantha Edeliant
(homeschooled graduate and daughter of blog author Sheila Edeliant)

Homeschool resources: Pathway of the Pioneers

Are you teaching SDA church history to your children? Today I’d like to share another resource to aid in that endeavor:

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These are dramatized stories of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, produced by the creative team of Your Story Hour, and are of the same high quality. You’ll follow the pathways of the faithful men and women who devoted their lives to spreading the gospel and establishing the Adventist church.

Beginning with the life of William Miller and concluding with the death of Ellen White, these stories will delight your children by bringing to life all the wonderful and difficult years of the early church history. The series contains more than 100 stories, and will bring about 23 1/2 hours of enjoyment.

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The 22-CD collection may be available from your Adventist Book Center, for $69.95. Also from Remnant Publications, or Amazon.

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Also available is a set of two MP3 discs, for $49.95.

Pathways of the Pioneers Scripts cover

Or, perhaps your homeschool group, Pathfinder club, or Sabbath school class would like to use skits for special church programs, Pathfinder programs, or maybe even for camporee. The scripts include optional prompts for music or sound effects. This package comes in a CD-ROM format, and includes written scripts in Microsoft Word, Acrobat PDF, and Plain Text. You can purchase it through the Adventist Book Center, for $19.95.

If you are on a very tight budget (and most homeschooling families are!), you can even listen online, or download to your computer from the Ellen G. White Estate website, as well as several church sites: Stevensville, MI, and University Park Community in Oregon.

These will be great for short car trips for errands and outings, or those long trips to visit the grandparents. Enjoy!

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.

A Personal Testimony: Singing and Beyond

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This photo was taken three years ago at Central Filipino Church at Glendale, CA. I’m with my favorite person I love to sing with — my wonderful and loving husband!

Singing is so much a part of our homeschool activities. We sing during our daily worships, when we are happy, when we want to easily memorized a passage, and when we want to minister to others, among other things. It is a worthy tool we can use anytime.

I remember there is a video that has gone viral online that features a family with the littlest young boy singing a beautiful Christian hymn at the church’s pulpit. The boy could be somewhere between two and three years old, and he is totally singing his heart out with his parents. It’s a beautiful thing to watch such a tiny boy and a joyful parents singing and praising the Lord together. So inspiring! How could such a young boy express so much of what he feels? I was beyond impressed! Of course, the parents are obviously one of the greatest influences of his good start.

A Short Story

Where I grew up, singing was nearly next to eating in importance. Everywhere, there were people who could hum a tune or belt one out with a beautiful voice. It was a prime pastime that people enjoyed. I was the exception. I was told in my early years that I had the tendency to go out of tune, and my voice was hoarse after a few songs because I didn’t learn the proper way of breathing until college years. I also had to learn to express, because my face looked blank. Fortunately, I still found myself a part of a children’s choir from elementary through high school: I had potential, but was one of the shy ones.

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This was early in my elementary years when I was asked to sing a duet with a classmate. It was fun to remember participating in school activities three decades ago.

My singing endeavor took a sharp turn when I joined Celestial Echoes, and then our university’s official choir, The AUP Ambassadors — now known as The Philippine Meistersingers. It is one of the highly acclaimed choirs in the Philippines today. It was in this group during my time where I found the love of my life, whom I am blessed to be with today. What an amazing gift for me! He has a beautiful tenor voice and was one of the soloists during our time in the group. Could you believe he couldn’t sing a note before joining the group? He is now very vocal in sharing his beautiful testimony of how His love for God helped him sing beautifully. Because of this choir, we were both able to go to places like the General Conference Session in Toronto, Canada, and were blessed to be a part of a three-month Goodwill Concert Tour in East and West Coast of the USA back in 2000.

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This is a photo of one of the choirs I joined when I was younger, The AUP Ambassadors, during a Gala Concert Tour in 2000. I am wearing the Korean costume in the middle of the group. It was fun singing a varied repertoire of songs!

 

Singing helps us in many ways. Here are some of them:

  • Improved Socialization. Singing taught me to overcome my shyness by being able to sing with a group for a long time. It gave me the chance to get out and talk with people  from different walks of life, expanding my horizons. We were able to meet wonderful people and learn how beautiful and truly interesting the world God has made.
  • Building Connections. Because we sing, we meet people with similar passion as well. While in Bangkok, we had a chance to be invited and represent Thailand in Xiamen, China, for the World Choir Games. It was such a memorable trip being with Thai people and seeing choirs from all over the world. We also made friends when we have the chance to render songs at church or any events.
  • Musical Development and Education. I learned to see the connections and apply the theory that I learned from books to life. The sense of appreciation for the higher aspects of music, performance, and musical and heart-felt expression has grown within me.
  • Musical Expression. I learned how to sing by understanding the songs and conveying what they said. When our group sang at the General Conference, we were reminded to sing with expression as we were singing to the glory of God. I couldn’t believe when the choir director and our friends told me, after we got done, how the cameraman had focused on me for so long. Truly, God has worked wonders with me!
  • Character Training. Looking back at that little girl from the beginning of the story, I wonder how I ever got the chance to have all those beautiful experiences. Yes, the Lord is not finished with me, and He continues to work with me today. My parents instilled in me the heart of willingness to serve God and a teachable spirit. Our amazing choir director accepted us because those were the qualities he was seeking in a member. The Lord has given me dose of confidence, and the ability to look past myself. I worked hard listening to myself, and to others, and prayed a lot to help me do my best for Him.
  • Service and Witnessing. Through singing, we are able to bring God to others, heal wounded souls, brighten someone’s day, lift up the weary and burdened. We join choirs, visit nursing homes and sick people, and even make our little ones calm down or learn about Jesus by singing a song. My husband encourages me to sing duets with him and even sing solos, which would have seemed impossible when I was younger. My heart is full when I hear people say they were blessed hearing our songs. I am more blessed. The Lord is to be praised! 

I’m sharing all these beautiful memories because I want to encourage our homeschooling families to know how our love for God can make us sing! God truly makes a difference in our lives. We can teach our kids the same. I love this article about 7 Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters. We can be just an ordinary person, with an ordinary voice, but with God’s confidence in our hearts, our voices and presentation will be completely different. Our songs will have meaning. They can lift ourselves and others to Christ.

In our church we encourage many who would say, “I can’t sing!” or, “I don’t have a voice to sing!” not to avoid anything singing-related. I have realized that what’s important is our attitude and our purpose. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God will give us the ability when we make ourselves available for Him? It is also an encouragement to know that God honors our efforts and our willingness to do our part for Him. Yes, He can work with us. He will equip us. Just like Moses, God sent Aaron to be his helper, and God is willing to do it with us, too. He will use us if we make ourselves available for Him.

We have been praying Luke 10:2 since we read Pastor Derek Morris’ book, The Radical Prayer: “Lord of the harvest, I earnestly beg You to throw out laborers into Your harvest, and You have my permission to begin with me.” The Lord has opened many wonderful opportunities through this prayer. Singing is one of the most wonderful instrument we can use today. It is readily available within us.

Close your eyes and think about songs that lift your spirits high. May this verse inspire you to sing today. It’s a fantastic day to sing and make our voices be heard. Sing while you walk, while you play with your children!

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” Psalm 100:1-2.

 

The Flood

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Ethan did it, and did it big, this morning!

Oh, I’m going to describe it to you…create a canvas of the scene that was my kitchen. Yet I know it’s not going to do it justice! It’s times like these you wish you had your camcorder set to record 24/7! Had it been rolling, I’d have won $10,000 on AFV!

Picture this: Ethan was fiddling in the laundry room, watched closely by his baby sister. Perhaps that had something to do with it. Showing off for the girls starts young and rarely involves intelligent activities!

First, he was doodling with an empty five-gallon jug for the water dispenser and when I put the kibosh on that, he reasoned that surely I wouldn’t mind if he began playing with the one full of water! I know…nine-year-old logic…

Next thing I hear is a big thump. A wet thump. A thump that tells me I better find out what’s going on…fast.

There was Ethan in the laundry room, looking surprised, staring at the water seeping from the now-broken five-gallon jug onto the rug. Laurie sat nearby observing with an air of mild amusement and curiosity. Ten-month olds always enjoy a good spill!

Well, it was about to get even better!

I grabbed ahold of the jug and hefted it into the sink, turning it upside down to stem the tide. In my mind, I heard the words, “That’s okay, I can just put it on the dispenser when the other one is empty.”

On the heels of that thought came my practical question: “Are you really going to leave it in the sink until you can put it on the dispenser?”

Immediately, I realized the impossibility of that as I got a picture in my mind of Whitney — no way in this life I’d be doing it! — trying to either get the lid off, the bottle upright, with water pouring out of the break in the bottom or trying to wrangle the lid off with the bottle upside down, trying to manhandle it onto the dispenser. Both images involved lots of water, all over. No, that’ll never do…

My second bright idea was quite practical…in theory. I’d simply take the empty jug and pour the water in it! In practice…well, you’ll see…

I cleared out the kitchen sink, grabbed the empty jug and realized the first obstacle. The broken jug, having lost a bit of its water, maybe a half gallon, was still quite heavy! It was going to pose quite the problem to try and lift the bottle up high enough to pour water from one to the other. I’m only five foot, four inches, after all!

Hmmm…my mind mulled this over…working at it like a monkey at a Tupperware party. The funnel! I have a big funnel that would work perfectly! Grabbed it out of the drawer, put it in the empty container and once again hefted the incapacitated water bottle setting it broken side down on the top of the funnel.

Drip…drip…drip. Oh, this will NEVER do!! It’ll take me all morning to get the water transferred! And while I’m interested in exercising, lifting four gallons of water for several hours wasn’t gonna be on the agenda!

“Ethan, come help me a second!”

The innocent child approached the trap. One his mother was going to spring in a matter of just a few moments.

“Do me a favor and take the lid off the bottle, would you?”

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Ethan and I stood there gasping, shocked, as the gushing water hit the funnel creating a fountain of water shooting in all directions! A giant bird bath!

Reacting instinctively, I up-ended the bottle to stop the splashing. Wrong move, although it took me several seconds to realize that the water I heard still splashing was not from the funnel, but from the effect of gravity on the remaining water in the bottle quickly draining from the hole!

After the initial spill from the funnel maneuver, there was water splashed lightly all over the kitchen counter on the left of the sink…not to mention Ethan and me. After my counter-move, it was standing a quarter of an inch all over the right-side counter and pooling on the floor.

At the end of this whole debacle, I had managed to pour over three gallons from one end of my kitchen to the other.

It was a brilliant start to a brilliant day!