Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy 14th Birthday, Rebekah Eunice!!

Until Then

It's been an uphill climb from the beginning 
And I could never come this far on my own
My weakness fades when I see you coming
And I see again that I am not alone

You never said it always would be easy 
Or that the road would not be this long
But it's everything you made it to be
And in the end you are never wrong

You've called me to leave this place that I call home
To break away from everything I knew
And I have nothing here to call my own
My home is anywhere when I have you 

And then someday the clouds will part above me 
I'll understand it all when I see you
I'll know the why's for all the ways you've led me 
But until then, I know you'll bring me through
- Rebekah Eunice Klein

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: 
but this one thing I do, 
forgetting those things which are behind, 
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 
I press toward the mark for the prize 
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13,14

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The goal of our instruction

But the goal of our instruction is love 

from a pure heart 

and a good conscience 

and a sincere faith.

I Timothy 1:5

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Happy 22nd Birthday, Abigail Michelle!

Baby Abi with Grandma Jemelie,
who is spoken of in the letter below

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

If Heaven was a Paradise 
of sweetness and delight
With every want I’ve ever had 
and not a care in sight
With mountains high, clear sunny skies, 
and sandy ocean shore
All natures beauty pure anew, 
as Eden was before
My favorite food, my favorite drink, 
and comforts there for me
No sickness, pain or sorrow, 
no death I’d ever see
If all my friends I missed so much 
were with me once again
To join me in a life of bliss 
that wouldn’t ever end
I wonder - in a place like this, 
a Paradise so fair
Could I be satisfied in Heaven 
if the Savior wasn’t there?
- Abigail Michelle Klein

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Following directions

Today, I sat with Joshie and we wrote a letter. He just turned 4 years old last week. I was thinking that I would share thoughts related to teaching reading with the Bible, because this is definitely laying groundwork for that, but not only that.

We are viewing reading instruction as a collection of many skills besides just sounding out words, so when we have him write, we try to keep that fact in view. Part of the skills employed are character related: in fact, on our best days, we consider all training just opportunities for learning character -- that is how the Lord even trains us as parents! Amen? (What I mean is, on our worst days, we get overwhelmed with A, B, C and operate in our own strength and waste opportunities. : ( )

So along with reading and writing, we work on following directions, obedience (very similar) and humility. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That sure goes against the wisdom of the world. And the partner of wisdom is humility, not self esteem.

When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

Anyway, today he wrote a two page letter to Auntie Soozie. I wrote it down with him, for him, of course. I kind of cued him in as to what we'd be talking about. I wrote it down in a permanent marker, but I am thinking a thick highlighter pen would have worked better for this purpose. He traced it in a green colored pencil, which isn't the easiest to write dark lines with. Oh well.

I took this video after he was on page 2 and he was really picking up steam. This was a really good session with him, which doesn't always happen, but makes for some good illustrations which I will bring up after the viewer views it. (Actually, it would not be unusual to have him write just a one page letter, but this one just evolved into a 2 pager, and that turned out to be just about right for today. I think it takes discernment to know how much is too much, without being directed by the child. We want them challenged, not overwhelmed.)

Be warned, this video it might invoke some nausea as my video skills are not the best. But it is very sweet to me!

So, again, this is the part where he is picking up steam, with very little encouragement from me. We started off much smaller and less accurate.

Okay, so here are a few things:

Joshie can kind of imitate some letters (drawing them). In the past, I was of the opinion of its no big deal about how he makes the shape at this age, just that he makes it. But now it seems wiser to really work on the obedience/following direction angle. Not with the goal of perfect penmanship at age 4!! So, what he does is not the benchmark for every 4 or 5 year old, and some 3 year olds may do much better than he. This is what takes discernment and a proper mindset for me as mom. The goal is obedience, not penmanship perfection.

How we do it: After the letters are written out by me, I sit him nearby. I use a regular pencil and demonstrate how to properly trace the letter (that is, indicating where to begin, what direction to go, etc.). We use Getty-Dubay Italic series, so that is what he is copying (although my example letters are not as accurate as some of the other children's penmanship). I found it interesting that by page 2, he is remembering the way to form the letters much better and correcting himself if he does it wrong at first. (Believe me, he was corrected plenty on the first page, but by page 2, he is really nailing them!)

With Joshie we are needing to work on following directions, doing what he is told. So, I am not stopping to "praise" him every time he does it right. I know some curriculums will push that, positive reinforcement, and I am not at all saying I don't show affection or happiness. But we want to convey that obedience and following directions is expected, even if you are writing a letter.

We want to train our children to follow directions, not follow praise, because in the real world, you don't get praised all the time for doing right. That can even mess up our hearts. We want our "well done" to be in heaven.

As we worked on the writing, we were talking about what each sentence conveyed, talking about big letters versus little letters, the period, etc. Some of it over his head, no doubt, but just kind of planting seeds.

What is neat is that while laying the groundwork for teaching reading, we are doing something useful and something that contributes to his overall training. In a school setting, you pretty much have to keep hitting that hammer on the nail over and over, but at home, in real life, you can make so much more of the opportunities. Praise the Lord.

Monday, September 03, 2012

CHEA 2012: More driving, and bus trouble (May 23)

And so we continue our tale of the Wisconsin CHEA conference trip.

After our evening fellowship bash, we enjoyed a nice breakfast and prepared to pack up camp.

Besides the conference, seeing friends and camping, another reason for going to Wisconsin was that the Menards in Wisconsin carry roaster over liners for just $1.99 a box! (We may have purchased the last 40 boxes, so call before you go!) This enables us to use our roaster oven at camp, without expending hours of scrubbing!

So we enjoyed yummy steel-cut oats, with the exhilaration of throwing away the mess afterward!

We did have to elevate the roaster, to avoid having a racoon jump in.

And yogurt.

And a final round of volleyball, before putting it away.

And some time with local friends.

And watermelon. The watermelons survived pretty well, with only a few lost from rolling hither and yon down the aisle of the 35 foot bus.

And cheese crackers.

And pretzels. Looks like we are morphing into lunch here.

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but picnic tables.

The Lindvalls had a desire to experience authentic Wisconsin river transportation, so here we are on the Wisconsin River.

In a bus.

Just like Lewis & Clark.

Daniel says, "I thought we were taking the ferry."

All ashore, and soon stopped safely at our favorite Wisconsin establishment of finer diesel, with a snapped belt. I forget which type it was. Looks like a big vacuum cleaner belt with teeth to me.

For you laymen, I'll explain: Buses are kind of like vacuum cleaners. They both make a lot of noise, but when the belt breaks you can't use them.

Fortunately, unlike vacuum cleaners, a bus can double as a waiting room.

While a party embarks in the Lindvalls' vehicle, looking for parts, we explore the area.

The guys locate the belt, bring it back, but have no clue as to how to install it, because there is no belt diagram (sometimes they post diagrams for these things under the hood). After consulting Uncle Danny, who cautions that we need a belt diagram, we track down a shop that is just about to close and the guy says he can install it for us if we get it there. Hmmm...

So, they put the belt on in the only way they can, so they can drive the bus to the shop. Then, they head out in the bus by faith, hoping to get there before the shop closes.

One adventure after another…

No lack of laps for sweet Daniel Amos.

Once the guys leave in the bus, just heading over the freeway to the shop, our waiting room is gone, so we play outside on the grass next to the parking lot.

After waiting at the shop for the mechanic to come out, the guys realize they must have all left for the night. So, they head back to meet up with the rest of us. The bus has run fine since then (still is) with the belt configuration we made up off the top of our heads.

We meet up at McDonalds for a thanksgiving feast before heading to the conference venue.