Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fishing

Yesterday we had a fun family day.  We went fishing.  We drove around most of the day trying to find a good spot to fish.  We tried out a couple.  Finally we found a great spot.   As we stood on the dock, my husband got all the poles ready, I baited a couple.  My older two know how to cast, my youngest does not.  I was trying to explain what to do.  My husband and I both showed her once using her hands to guide her.  She did not want our help.  She wanted to do it all by herself, she's a big girl now you know.  So we backed off.  She cast and threw her brand new pink princess fishing pole right into the lake.  Somehow she had a part of the line in her hand but nothing else.  I jumped forward in time to see it sink below visibility.  She stood there with her line in her hand not sure if she had done it right or not with a confused look on her face.  I pulled on the line and realized it was just going to keep coming and coming.  My husband got a water bottle to wrap it around and we reeled in her pretty pink pole.  Her brother's comment, "Look you caught a fishing pole."

Luckily the line had tangled itself, so we didn't have to reel in a 100 yards of line.  My husband fixed her pole, re-baited it and we explained again how to cast.  I made sure to add "when you let go of the button and throw keep holding the fishing pole, don't throw it in too."  We took her hands and showed her how to do it and this time she paid close attention.  Anxious to try again, she cast beautifully.  She continued to fish singing away for the fishys to come eat her worm.  Unfortunately she didn't catch anything, but she learned how to fish and that was exciting enough for her.  Since we came home she keeps asking, "Can we go fishin now, I want to fish again."

It made me think of how often I get impatient with God.  How often I think I got this, I know how, just hand it over and let me do it.  In those times I usually mess up, things sink, get tangled, messes are made.   In those moments I look to God confused, hurt, sad and God graciously  reels me back in, mess and all,  and patiently shows me his way.  If I can imitate HIS way I can do it right, and while I might not get the fish or get to the destination immediately, as long as I'm following God and trying to do things HIS way I'm doing better than I could ever do on my own.

 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." Ephesians 5:1

Just as our children learn to do tasks by watching us, we can learn from God our father, through HIS word. How can you imitate God today? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

All About Reading

I absolutely love our All About Reading Curriculum.  I love it because after years of teaching and working as a tutor I finally feel like I know how to teach a child to read.  I love it because it works.  The primary idea is that there are 72 basic phonograms, if you know the phonograms and you know the rules you can read and spell anything.  I also love it because my kids love it.  My son looks forward to the activities, at the age of 5 is reading at his own pace, which happens to be 2nd grade level. I love the joy and excitement of doing the activities together. 

He's enjoyed feeding a whale words that have the "wh" phonogram sound. The most recent activity he did had a gum ball machine with gum ball cards with words on the back. He turned the gumballs over read them, and pretended to put money in the paper gum ball machine, slid the paper gum ball down and handed it to me to eat.  I pretended to chew it and then blow a giant bubble which he would then "pop".  As it popped on my face I would cry out words like, "Yuck, I'm so sticky."

Each time he'd laugh, mouth wide open, eyes shining laughter.  His laughter is contagious.  The minute he smiles in my direction and laughs, it's as if nothing else in all the world matters, and laughter flows through me and the rest of our household.  When a curriculum brings that much enjoyment you know you've made the right choice.  With All About Reading between the fun activities, we have time that he reads to me and we cuddle up on the couch.  This lesson can be done anywhere.  Sometimes we sprawl across the floor, other times we're cuddled up and once in a while we sit at a table to do our lesson.

I also use All About Spelling.  There are not the fun activities but it is great as it teaches the spelling rules and gives spelling words for practice.  My youngest who's only 4 likes to sit with her siblings and pretend to do school with them.  I use my magnetic white board with magnet letter tiles and we build words, she watches and tries to copy them down. I used to think the English language made no sense.  I didn't know why c sometimes said 'k' and sometimes 's'.  I didn't know why you use a c, k, ck, or ch for the 'k' sound.  This program explains the phonograms, when they say what and what the rules are. Now it makes sense. 

Right now All About Reading is having a GIVE AWAY.  You can click on any of my links to get to their site.  Go to their blog and try to win $100.00 of curriculum.  You can also enjoy my links to get free activities from AAR. I hope you will try out All About Reading and All About Spelling, so that you too can discover the joy of teaching reading and hear your child's contagious laughter.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

Mother's day is linked with both joy and sorrow as I'm sure it is for many people.  Sometimes the sorrow is due to the death of a mother or a child. Other times sorrow comes from wishing for a mother "worthy" of the many hallmark sayings or wishing to be a mother receiving a happy mother's day wish.

I have stood in many of these places.  Years ago after miscarrying our second time mother's day was approaching and all I could do was cry.  I desperately wanted to be a mother, to be recognized as a mother, yet to the world I was barren.  I knew I had two precious babies in heaven, but that did not fill my arms here on earth. I ached to have a child and I cried through the Mother's Day service on Hannah who like me often cried out to the Lord for a child.

After my first precious daughter was born, for my first official mother's day my husband presented me with a beautiful plate of me holding my new baby while she was still in the NICU.  It's a very precious plate that I will cherish forever.  I hope one day to round out my collection and have a plate for each of my children.  That mother's day I felt elated. I was finally a mother to children here on earth, and I was recognized as a mother by others.  I didn't have to feel a heavy heart that day. 

While my parents are living I unfortunately do not have a relationship with my mother.  She walked away from me many years ago and has never met 2 of her three grandchildren.  Every year holidays bring to mind the mother I worry about. I do not know where she is or even if she's alive.  Months turn into years and every once in a while I'll learn through a short email that she's okay.  Mother's day is especially hard.  I look at all the cards lining every store and I know she does not even have an address that I know that I could send a card to.  I read countless e-greetings only to be burdened of heart again.  I can't say things about her being a wonderful mother or a best friend. I can only say I love you, thinking of you and hope you're safe, where ever you are.

If you are a woman that is saddened by Mother's Day, either because of wishing for a child or wishing for a mother, know you are not alone.  I pray that you will feel the peace of God and that this day will not be a day filled with sorrow but that you may experience HIS joys and HIS love.  I'd like to wish you a happy mother's day whether your child is in the Lord's arms or in yours.  I'd like to wish you a Happy Mother's day whether your mother is the classic hallmark card or nonexistent.  May you have a blessed day knowing that it is a gift ~another day to be apart of the amazing creation of our Heavenly Father.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Dates

We are having a great time visiting with my grandmother now.  Each child has gotten to have their own date. My 8 year old's idea for her date was to go down town to a quaint book store and find a treasure among the many shelves of book.  She found the Chronicles of Narnia, the whole series bound in one book so wide, she could hardly hold it in her hands  She was so excited.  Jumping up and down.  My grandmother looked astonished and said, "Certainly you can't read that, are you sure that's what you want."  My daughter looked with pleading eyes, opened it up and in one breath read the first paragraph without a pause.  She got the book and I found many other gems there. We then went through the passageways and cobblestone streets  to many art galleries on their opening night and met artists.  We looked at their techniques and picked out the ones we liked best. As we headed back to our car for the evening on an old trolley we heard the street musicians and  saw the lights of the city.  We ended our evening with a cup of cocoa while talking about the greatness of the evening and my grandmother's surprise at what a wonderful date my little girl planned.

We try to have family fun days and rotate date nights so each child has a chance to do something special with a parent of their choice, a date of their planning.  I love our date nights. Getting each kid one on one and seeing them flourish in a new setting.  Sitting close and listening intently to just them.  I find even these dates are opportunities for educating our children or seeing how their education is paying off.  It's a time when the cares of everyday norm disappear and I can just enjoy my kids.

What kind of date nights do you have with your children?