Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The 5 R's of Early Education

The 5 R's of early education are: read together, rhyme and play with words, set consistent routines, reward with praise, and develop a strong relationship. 

{Dr. Pamela High}

Success & Peer Groups

“I can't think of one great human being in the arts, or in history generally, who conformed, who succeeded, as educational experts tell us children must succeed, with his peer group...If a child in their classrooms does not succeed with his peer group, then it would seem to many that both child and teacher have failed. Have they? If we ever, God forbid, manage to make each child succeed with his peer group, we will produce a race of bland and faceless nonentities, and all poetry and mystery will vanish from the face of the earth.”

― Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Two if by Tea

A favorite writer of mine is Ce'leste perrino Walker who writes from Rutland, Vermont. I think I enjoy her writing because it her topics deal with real life things. In the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Vibrant Life magazine she wrote an article that I've saved called One if by Land; Two if by Tea. In it she shares how a friend introduced her (and her French blood) to the gentle art of the English afternoon tea. She learned that tea is much more than a beverage in a cup, but rather something emotionally fulfilling, and a refreshing pause to the day. 

  • To quote her: "Teatime fills a need for peace in our stressed-out society. Not only that, but the manner in which you 'take tea' lifts the spirits and fills the senses with beauty. Everything about tea time contributes in some small way to this: beautiful tea linens, gorgeous china, luscious tea, delicious tea biscuits or cookies (or other even more scrumptious treats). Teatime 'for the soul' can be compared to dropping everything to spend a few stolen moments in a beautiful garden." 
  • She goes on to say: "I've decided to give 'teatime' a try. I'm not sure how it works. Maybe it's the special feeling you get from using the pretty teapot and china on yourself for a change. Maybe it's the ritual of preparig the tea, boiling the water, smelling the aroma of the tea as you measure it out, the rhythm of the procedure that won't be hurried. But teatime really is all they say it is."

Her advice to her readers is to take a little time for yourself this week and discover teatime, the pause that refreshes. Then thank the English. They were right all along. C'est la vie.

*The photo shown with the article reminds me of the children's teas that my mother used to conduct. She taught kindergarten for thirty years. Sometimes her school would have a benefit auction, and mother would donate a children's tea party. They were always popular and mothers and daughters would enjoy a lovely afternoon tea with all the trimmings at mom's house if they were the winners of the auction bid. Her beautiful children's china tea set was put to good use!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Scripture Memorization

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children.”  Deuteronomy 6:6-7
These words clearly instruct that God’s word should be committed to memory and passed on from generation to generation.  Committing portions of scripture to memory is vital in retaining knowledge of the scriptures.
In Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8 share that prosperity and success in life come from scripture memorization, as it creates familiarity with God’s word and causes the learner to meditate upon the principles of God which promote these things.
Memorization takes discipline, and that can become tedious if not handled with some creative care.  A teacher-mom or dad can help speed along the process of memory work by building fun and interest into the process.   In her book, Building Your Child’s Faith,  Alice Chapin outlines some great techniques for accomplishing this.  She recommends:
  • Set up contests between adults and kids.  Offer fun prizes.  Draw up a “contract.”  For instance, if the kids memorize the verses more quickly than the adults, the adults will take out the trash for a week.  But if the adults memorize them first, the kids will do the supper cleanup for a week.  Be sure to sign the contract to make it official!
  • Help little children learn by repetition.  Review while rocking, bathing, and playing with them.  Repeat while driving or waiting in line at the grocery store.
  • Post current memory work on the refrigerator, closet door, or kitchen bulletin board.  Or stretch a “clothesline” and clothespin verses for the month to it.
  • Have memory charts.  Award stickers, stars, or seals for each learned verse, prizes for every five stickers.
  • Purchase a Scripture songbook, and sing Bible verses right into the minds of the family.  Or make your own music for favorite verses.
  • Use flannel-graph letters or verse flashcards.  Mix up letters and words, and take turns straightening them out.
  • Write the verse on a chalkboard.  Take turns erasing one word at a time.  Repeat the whole verse after each erasure.
  • Print different verses on 5×8 cards.  Cut each card into pieces.  Put the pieces for each verse in an envelope.  Pass out the envelopes, and use a timer to see who can put the verse-puzzle together the most quickly.  Have each member read his or her assembled verse.
  • Let the leader begin quoting a verse, stopping after every few words to ask another person to add the next four words, or two words, and so on.  Have a stick of gum or a lollipop ready for the first person to identify where the verse is located.
  • Let the small children use magic markers to print the verse of the week on sheets of construction paper.  Add stickers or magazine pictures and use for placemats at dinner.
  • Give each youngster an empty photo album with see-through plastic pages.  Insert weekly memory cards for an individual record of verses learned and for easy private review.
  • Once in a while assign short Scripture verses to be memorized by the following day.  Celebrate completion of the assignment with a yummy treat.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ideas for Keeping Summer Fun & Productive

Summer can be a busy time.  Family vacations, tending gardens, canning and freezing fruits and vegetables, swimming lessons, and more take up our days.  For most homeschool families, the pace of home education changes during this time.  Even for those who school year-around, the more traditional academics are usually set aside while my active pursuits take precedence for education.  Even though we are busy with our children during these days, sometimes individual time and attention can be lost unless specific attention is given to spending time doing things together that promote communication and togetherness.  In her book, Survival for Busy Women, Emilie Barnes shares a list of ideas that promote planned family events.  She suggests that these be combined with a family conference (discussion time where family issues are discussed) on a weekly basis.  Here are some of her suggested activities:
  • Make a collage on love.
  • Make and fly kites.
  • Assemble a puzzle.
  • Write and produce a play.
  • View family movies or videos.
  • Have family celebrations.
  • Exercise together.
  • Have a make-up party.
  • Have a fix-it night.
  • Make a terrarium.
  • Write letters to grandparents.
  • Cook and bake.
  • Make and sail a boat.
  • Play board games.
  • Tell stories.
  • Put on a puppet show.
  • Go on picnics.
  • Model clay.
  • Ride bicycles.
  • Play charades.
  • Visit a farm.
  • Have discussions and debates.
  • Have a fire drill.
  • Go to a pow-wow.
  • Make Christmas ornaments and candles in preparation.
Emilie Barnes shares that a list of family activities is limited only by our imagination!  These times play a valuable part in establishing harmony, respect, and pride in the family unit.