Monday, November 29, 2010

We learn a lot from things going wrong

One comparison that can be made between homeschooling and institutional schooling is that in an institution, presentation is everything. Since you don't have "real life," the theory is that you present the information in logical steps so that the student can properly learn. Even though this is totally opposite of how a child learns from their first day of life, somehow this is considered the best method in school. Great debates are waged, for example, over the order in which letter sounds should be taught. At least one author cautioned that emotional damage could occur to a child who didn't receive reading instruction according to his recommended sequence.

How does a child learn language? Do they start off hearing nothing of English until they reach a certain known level of cognition, and then they are sat down and introduced to how to conjugate "to be"? No, of course not. They absorb language from before they are born, and each day they acquire more and more context along with words, so language is effortlessly learned. Yes, corrections to our children's speech are necessary, but even without that, the tendency is to learn better and better speech.

How does a child learn self-control and discipline? Do they start off with no correction at all until they reach a certain known level of cognition (like many people recommend), and then one day they are sat down and introduced to the concept of "no"? Various pictures of objects, or video clips of actions, are displayed before them, preferable in a large group of age-mates, and they all learn to recite "no" in unison? No, of course not. They learn "no" (or should learn "no"!!) each day along with proper context, and consequences. In fact, we learned that our younger children learned a lot, before we knew they were capable, simply by watching the OLDER children receive discipline! (God sure designed efficiency into the family!)

But back to the institution. Years ago, a teacher friend cautioned, when she heard we intended to keep our children home from school and teach them, "That's fine as long as they have a quiet place to study."

Now, even as inexperienced parents, we saw some holes in that principle. We do look for organization and coordination in our day, and we LOVE quiet! However, there are benefits to learning in a real-life environment with the occasional (or frequent) interruption, discipline issue, plumbing emergency or smoke alarm malfunction which causes you to open all your windows on a day when its 20 degrees out, and have to load all the children into a running vehicle with heat because you cannot figure out how to shut off the beep which is emanating throughout the entire house.

When I was in grade school, there was a month in which the school received a series of bomb threats, and we were all evacuated into the back field of the school while the fire department searched the school top to bottom. It was several times a week. During the hours we spent in the yard, all "learning" stopped. The teachers were just trying to keep law and order. Books were left in the classrooms. There was no apparent thing to study. Nobody even took the time to explain the problem of the false threats, the procedure of searching the school, or the names of the weeds we were sitting on. Real life was an interruption.

What do we learn from things going wrong?

Well, most obviously, we learn how to go on when things go wrong, when we are inconvenienced, when things break and we have to make do, when illness or accidents happen. That is the real world. In fact, if we are trying to follow the Bible and place its priories ahead of man's priorities, we have MUCH to learn:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 1:2-8

Interesting that though wisdom is mentioned, it is patience that we read which makes us "perfect and entire, wanting nothing." In our family, we certainly need both.

We want to finish up the rest of our scheduling post (partly because of the benefit for us in reviewing how we got to where we are), but we LOST THE PHOTO we were going to use! Real life! But a memory that came to me was how when we started the schedule, it was hard to break the frustrated thought pattern when interruptions to the schedule come up.

That is real life. I loved how Teri Maxwell compared interruptions to the storms that come up, often bringing unexpected variations to normal peaceful seasons, and how we can learn to recognize these interruptions as from the Lord and learn in the midst of them (here is a link to a similar article she wrote on this topic). It does not mean the schedule goes out the window...not if we have prayerfully put that schedule together. The schedule still represents a normal day's priorities. But as we read in James above, the interruptions, trials, etc which God allows are STILL part of his will for our day.

If we are anchored in God's Word, not our emotions, we can learn to roll with the interruptions, walking in His Spirit which guides us moment by moment. We learn the character qualities of patience and humility too...which are the best foundation for all other learning!

We can learn a lot from things going wrong.

That is our prayer.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


We interrupt tortilla frying for the following important news:

Now, back to those tortillas!

In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Joshie goes shopping!

A delegation of Kleins went shopping at Walmart today. It has been pouring rain much of the day, and inside there was much bustle among the shoppers. The children all know we are not shopping on "Black Friday." That is why we thought we'd go today and avoid the crowds -- wrongo!

We took five shopping carts (two were for people-transport and outerwear). We actually didn't need that many for cargo, as it turned out. We took our time, since we hoped to stock up for the weekend.

Abi jotted down some cute comments on various Walmart products by our littlest shopper, Joshie, 2 years and 3 mos.

Pink Bath Pouf...
"That's a fishy. That's a pink fishy.
When I take a bath, I wear that."

Hand soap bottles...
"Those are tiny soaps for me!"

Oral-B circular floss container...
"That's a tiny wheel."

"That's for brushing your toofies."

Garnier shampoo and conditioner...
"That's paint."

Sewing Machine...
"That's for Mogan!"

Picture of a Killer Whale...
"That's a penguin...?"

Dishwasher detergent squares...
"That's nummy!"
(Abi corrected that one.)

AXE deodorant pack...
"That's for boys, who use the vacuum."

Dove soap gift collection...
"That's for girls. It's a person." (meaning purse)

Nectarine-scented Dove body bars...
"Is that orange juice?"

Corn husks (for making tamales) ...
"That's spaghetti."

Baubles on a Christmas tree...
"Those are apples."


We are enjoying a week with Dave off work and hope to cook some enchiladas tomorrow. We are staying home, as a few of us have colds, so it will just be the 15 of us. We have so much for which to be THANKFUL!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The best cheesecake we've had in a long time! Pt 2

And the photos continue, thanks to the overwhelming demands of our blog audience....

We took a day of rest on Sunday, and enjoyed a visit with our family at Madison Grace Fellowship. Our brother, Dan, joined us...everyone enjoyed meeting him. We had a yummy meal after the meeting, and we stayed pretty late.

Joshie enjoyed getting loved up by sister Icy!

We had very cooperative weather, praise the Lord, and made rapid advances with precious friends who brought a meal, fellowship, and more helpers!

Dave had the week off, a total gift from the Lord, so he rolled up his sleeves, cut some plywood, and made a few trips to Home Depot....

We enjoyed spending some time with our much missed neighbors, Rachel and Azzy! Boy, has that boy grown!

We thank the Lord for few close calls with our team on the roof. Daddy and Mommy declined working on the roof, so we just experienced nausea from below.

We felt the need to clean!

Reciting lines from Pilgrim's Progress makes the work go faster, as does a nail gun!

Zak's previous experiences helped tremendously in the challenges of this roof.

Hannah and Sarah were a big help, once they got their "shingle-legs."

Joshie enjoyed tearing around with the shingle-mover, our tough little solid wheeled transporter. Stay off the sidewalk!

One of the hardest jobs -- hauling shingles up the ladder!

Nearing the end of the job, the kids' thoughts turned to finding the proper victory pose...

Fifty bundles of Heatherbrook gray, 25 year, architectural shingles. They resist winds to 80 mph. Raked the ground clean (except for the occasional nail) and filled the dumpster.

Loaded up the rest of our stuff from the garage, left for St Louis by 4 PM.

Opting for one more gravity-defying, parent-nauseating feat, they settled on this pose -- though some of those who helped the most were absent for the photo we thank you so very much for your help and encouragement and tools!

And now, to explain the title.

Many moons ago, our brother Dan told us the story of when he was once served cheesecake. His hostess asked him how he liked it. Not wanting to disclose that he found cheesecake disgusting, he answered, "It's the best cheesecake I've had in a long time."

His perceptive hostess then asked, "Yes, but do you LIKE it."

At that point, says he, he explained (graciously we are sure) that he didn't really care for cheesecake at all.

So after hearing that story, our family has adopted his politely evasive reply into the pool of Klein inside jokes, to be used and over-used into the immediate future...and beyond!

"So, how do you like the cheesecake, Dan?"

(Ha ha ha ha ha ..... ha ha ha ha!!!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The best cheesecake we've had in a long time! Pt 1

Here are some of MANY photos from our recent 10 day trip to Wisconsin! Our mission was to re-roof the old homestead for some tenants who are moving in this month. It was a whole lotta: work, fun, wonderful weather, chili, fellowship, late nights, cold mornings and other wonderful memories and character building experiences.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to reshuffle all the photos, as they get uploaded in reverse order. So keeping that in mind, you can kind of let the pictures speak for themselves! Remember, reverse order, and this is about the first 1/3 in reverse order!

Bekah hauling chairs out to the firepit for our first campfire!

Winning the prize for longest distance to come visit us is our dear brother Dan from Rhinelander, who also inspired the title of this post. This is day 3 of the tear-off.

Shingles from days gone by...

We had planned to have yogurt and oats every morning, but soon switched to chorizo and egg burritos because: a) We preferred a hot breakfast, and b) The local Aldis carries chorizo! Who'd have thought?

Chili by the campfire!

Catching up with more dear friends!

Ahhh..... fall in Wisconsin.

Little buddies, reunited.

The Dyer's newest blessing, born after our move to St Louis.

Surveying the progress of the tear-off.

Joshie was so happy to have his own work gubs.

Zak supervised the project.

The asphalt tsunami!

First efforts at tear-off were without roof shovels. Slow going!

Raking leaves.

Keep this in mind as the "before" picture of the dumpster!

The morning after our arrival. Getting down to business.

Mmmmm...what's for dinner? Chili? Yay!

The wardrobe.

Fueling up at one of our favorite stations on the route. After taking our order for 30 dollar sandwiches, the lady running the adjoining fast food restaurant shouted the staff into high gear, gave me a free soda "to drink while you wait" and profusely thanked me for our business! Not the usual response!

More photos to come!

Monday, November 08, 2010

We're back!

We had a great week and half up in Wisconsin together.. re-roofing our old house in preparation for a family who is moving in this month. It was a wonderful time, yet grueling at times! There was plenty to keep us all busy until we finally HAD to head back to St Louis.

The weather was just right for roofing, everyone was healthy, and we had some good visits with friends.

We arrived back home in the middle of the night Saturday, during that time when you are supposed to set your clocks back an hour! When we woke up, the house was 55 degrees inside! No heat! We got off to church and when we came back, it was warmer outside the house than inside, so we opened the windows and turned on the whole house fan to warm up!

Later that afternoon, our friends came over and Jerry was able to find and fix the problem, so we are toasty this morning! Praise the LORD!

Now we are unpacking and putting things back to normal. We will complete the rest of our "schedule" post soon. Would like to post some roofing photos, too. We are so thankful to the LORD for helping us and keeping everyone safe up there!