Sunday, August 28, 2011

B is for Brown Bear and other ramblings of B

Hey yall! I hope the last two posts have been helpful for some of you. I have heard from many of you (although not via comments on the blog) that these posts have gotten your wheels turning and I am so glad! I personally never imagined I would actually ENJOY teaching pre-k and elementary school! ha! Its awesome what the Lord does in your heart when He is asking you to do something.

Week one went MUCH smoother than week 2. Justus was very into the letter A, the new routine and special attention but when it lasted beyond a week he was over it. So, I had to step up my game :) At this point in his life, I really want him to learn through play so remember these things I post only take about 10-20 minutes max and as you can see we only do a handful of things each week. I do however try to pull to the front or reintroduce him to his toys & and books that go along with the weekly least that's what I've done so far seeings as though its only week 2! Ha!

Like I have mentioned in previous, posts our Bible/Theology lessons this semester are all about "God is Faithful; You can be/have____" This week our 'B' Bible Verse was "Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5 So our "God is Faithful" saying was "God is Faithful. You can have HOPE!"
We did a few art project based on God making all things new. We talked a lot about the New Earth and God redeeming all things. I must say, it was a fun week. We collected things out side that had died and painted them like we thought they might be on the new earth. I had Titus do his writing lesson on this making complete sent
ences about the things he painted. (A fun side note is :: without planning ahead, Titus' history curriculum covered the exile of John to the Island of Patmus during the persecution of the Jew by the Romans. It was so fun to see Titus know the story and understand when the verse he was learning was written! fun!)

Justus painted leaves and a rock::
We started Operation World this week. In the mornings when the boys wake and I am finishing up breakfast, they sit at the table and 'read' their Bibles. Justus just looks at the pictures in his and Titus reads his out loud to all of us. We do this with their Jesus Story Book Bibles. Then we go the computer and look up the country Operation World has highlighted for the day. We talk about the statistics of the country, find it on the map and pray for the people there. Titus likes this a lot...Justus...well, he is extremely non-verbal so its hard to say if he likes it or not...he just takes it all in.

I still haven't posted about the curriculum we use for Titus for all the other subjects, I really hope to get around to that soon.

So here are some of the things we did with Justus for the letter B::

We read lots of B books like Brown Bear & The B Book::
We made the letter B into a bear and into a butterfly:: these animal letters have turned out to be Justus' favorite thing so we are going to try to do a couple each letter. I let him cut on some of these as you can tell on the eyes and mouth of the butterfly :)

We did more of the homemade B worksheets. We colored in Blue and we glued Buttons on a different day. We also did more letter stamping with B.
And no day is complete to Justus with out a little playdough so we did Blue playdough::

On the first blog I realized I forgot to tell about a few things that get LOTS of use around here during the day. The Tag Junior Reader. We LOVE this thing. It reads books to Justus and he loves doing this by himself. It makes him feel like he is reading.
And lastly....$.50 stickers. These have come in so handy. Each day I put a sticker of the letter we are focusing on on each of his hands. He loves it. Then he wants to put some on mine, so if you see me this week and I have a letter sticker on my will know why :)

A friend of ours is doing preschool with her son while her kiddos go to Classical School two days a week and they homeschool the others. We got to meet them at Cabella's for a "field trip" to see the animals. Justus had a blast finding Brown Bears, Black Bears and Polar Bears. He found Bass, Beavers, Bucks and Bison. It was so fun. I highly recommend it if you have little ones and live near a Cabella's or a Bass Pro.

Well, that was longer than I meant it to be...sorry. But I hope it helped y'all! It was fun for me to journal it. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Big A, Little A, What Begins With A?

Week one we began with the Letter A.

(before you read this you might want to read the Intro post. Also please know while you read that our boys are normal boys. It is sometimes fun and dreamy to think of things you want to do w/ your kiddos but the reality is some things flop...but somethings totally turn out fantastic and totally worth the effort. You will never know what they love if you dont try! hope this helps someone get there wheels turning!)

Our Memory Verse was " A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath" Proverbs 15:1 (because we were having some issues with the boys tones towards each other and towards us we thought this was only fitting :) We were going to use "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 but Titus already knew it and I was on this blog I found via Pinterest looking for 'A' activities and the mom was using this verse for 'A' and I thought it was great for our situation!

We are covering God's faithfulness (like I mentioned briefly in the Intro post) and with each week we are saying, "God is faithful. We can be ______" this things will not correspond with the letter of the week but will go along with stories we are reading / hope to read. We started this with "God is faithful. We can be courageous" We have a book of children's stories about virtue and one entire section is on courage and perseverance. So we read those to the boys this week. We talked about all kinds of ways God has been faithful to us and others we know. We read many Bible stories about men being courageous because they knew God was faithful.

For Titus' school he followed most all of his curriculum (which I plan to list out w/ links some day ) and it seems to be a good fit so far.

Here are some of the things we did with Justus::

I made shape flash cards. He loves them. We can hide them around the house. We can carry them around and match them with objects around the house, etc. Or just use them as flash cards. If they get biggy, I made them on a whim w/ a 3X5 card and a marker!

I mentioned in the Intro post that I had picked up some of these from the dollar bin at Target. They are fun and age appropriate. He is not as skilled w/ his pencil but he is catching on.
We did "A is for Apple" (found on this site) I just drew apples w/ a marker on a piece of printer paper and he glued tissue paper pieces on each one as I told him the color to use. This helped with motor skills (gluing/placing) and worked on his colors along with the obvious A sound.
This was another Pinterest find. (here is a fun link for letter projects) All the letters can become animals! A is for Alligator. This was a definite favorite for Justus!
A friend of mine made 5 sets of alphabet coloring sheets with just a maker and some printer paper. We paint them, marker them, color them, cut them...easy, quick and fun.
I found a super cheap set of wood stamps of all the letters at Jo-Ann Fabic on Teacher weekend. We have TONS of ink pads so this was another cheap activity that Justus LOVED. He seriously loved this. He did so many sheets just like this of A.
I found a set of the Letters that teachers use for their bulletin boards for a dollar or two and thought they would come in handy. They were a lot of fun. you can do all kinds of things with them!
I think that's about it for A. Hope this helps someone get their brain going for your home! Remember for the littles, they will only last about 10 mins on any given project so dont spend much time getting it ready just throw it together and they will love it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Welp, You Asked For It.

I am going to be honest and say that never in my wildest dreams did I ever (and let me stress EVER) think I would one day be blogging about how I homeschool my preschooler and 2nd grader. I'm telling you, I'm a little shocked that I even have a preschooler and a 2nd grader let a lone that I am their me, Lord!

Our story of coming to homeschooling is for another entry all to itself. We are not set on it for life, in fact, we pray each school year about what the next year will hold for our children. While we love it, we are not tied to it.

I decided to make this entry (and potentially a years worth of entries) because of the amount of feed back I have gotten from a few instagram photos and tweets I have put out over the last few weeks. Many of you have asked if I am using a curriculum or just coming up with it as I go or how I am coming up with ideas. Some have even asked about balancing the two grades, being that they are so far a apart (3yr old pre-k and 2nd grade). So with MUCH hesitation I decided to try one round of posting. If it goes well and I feel it is useful for others and I enjoy chronicling it for my own records, then I will continue as the year passes.

Justus (our 3 year old) has a speech delay along with other delays so I was hesitant to start anything super ridged with him and besides...he's three and he's a second child boy. BUT I did need our schedule to become pretty school heavy for Titus' (our 2nd grader) sake. I didn't want Justus to get lost in the mix of me schooling Titus so I needed a system that would work for both of them. I decided to do a week by week letter schedule that would help Justus his letters/sounds and we could have Titus' Bible verses correspond with that letter. Justus would then be included on lots of things!

Vernon and I decided that the entire semester was going to be focused on God's faithfulness. So each week we are trying to tell stories of faithfulness from Scripture, from history and from the present. I think for the sake of time and space, I'll write a post about what we are covering in way of theology / Bible this year as we plan it out.

While Titus has specific subjects he has to cover each day and pre-determined lessons he has to accomplish, Justus does not and will not until he enters Kindergarten which is 2 maybe 3 years away depending on his development. This gives me lots of flexibility through out the day but I still have to be prepared with ideas to set up his little station with something that will help him and maintain his attention. So the system I have come up with is simple. (and cheap!) Over the last year I have grabbed a few letter books from the dollar section at Target along with letter stickers and stamps.
Those right there are three different activities he can do with or without me. I just have to have them out and available if I want him doing them.
Other than those I have a bin full of goodies like play dough, pipe cleaners and all sorts of random things that begin with whatever letter we are covering that week.

And that bin stays right in the bookshelf next to Titus' desk so that at any moment I can have something for Justus to do.

One of my friends came over the other night and while we were chatting she made 5 sets of the entire alphabet so I can have coloring sheets for each day with the letter we are studying.
If I feel a bit stumped on things to do per letter I, so far, have just looked on Pinterest and found TONS of ideas within seconds...then my creative side gets going and the week is full!!
It is also nice that we dont have a "school" room so I am not separated from the rest of the home. I can be doing things in the kitchen and they boys are right there doing their own school things.
Here is a pic of Justus' little area but I dont have a picture of Titus' desk on this computer but is is on the wall across from this one and next to the bookshelf posted above.

Okay now that I have bored you with the basics. I'll start with the Letter A/ Week 1.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What's On My Play List

Since I am in a bit of a blogging rut, I thought I could answer a common question I get.

"What are you listening to?" or "You got any new music we should listen to?"

I'm an not sure why exactly I get this question so much but I have been getting it for years and years and, honestly, very few things bring me as much joy as sharing great music with people!

I make no claim to be the most savvy of music finders and I am not the "I only listen to the coolest, newest, most unique music" person either. I am sure some of you will see the below listed albums and roll your eyes as none of them are the "new, cool band," and well if that is you, theses suggestions are not for you :)

I value good music. Lyrics are often a big deal to me and when I find an album that is both lyrically and musically sound I love sharing them with friends. This spring/summer has been unique in that a slew of great worship albums were released all within months of eachother. So my playlist has been much bigger than normal. I am going to list out 3 of these albums, tell you why I have liked them and recommend a few songs from each album in case you are limited on funds and just cant purchase 3 albums right now.

#1 Be Lifted High :: Bethel Live
This album came out early spring of this year. It is a live worship album from Bethel Church from Redding, CA. It is the home church of Jesus Culture, in case you are familiar w/ their music. This album is enmeshed with full sound, Spirit lead, live worship. Some of my conservative cohorts and those skeptics of Spirit movement may be a little overwhelmed by the style of this album. It has live prayers and exhortations through out the songs, some songs more than others. I enjoy the richness of the lyrics paired with the loud, full sound of live music.
If I only had $5 to spend on music from this album I would pick::
  1. Furious- a song about the Love of Christ, His wide, deep, sweet, fierce, furious love. The first time I heard this I thought it was a crazy mix of U2 sounds mixed w/ t
    he unique sounds of Dave Matthews Band. I know those two dont really go together but that is why I loved the sound of this song. Very good.
  2. One Thing Remains- another song about Christ's Love never running out on us. This song is basically 3 very catchy choruses made into a song.
  3. Love Came Down- A great song about the Rescuing Love of Christ. Very easy to sing along with. ( and i heard recently, for those musicians reading, that this song rocks as an acoustic led song. apparently if you strip away the extra songs this song carries itself well...gotta love that!)
  4. One Thirst- This was my first experience w/ Bethel its gonna be a long time fave of mine. It's a great Guy/Girl song. My favorite thing about this song is it is ALL Scripture. So powerful! note to worship leaders:: GREAT congregational song, amazing night/morning starter song.
  5. God of The Redeemed- oh man, this song makes me want to jump out of my chair, hands raised, pleading others to join in...oh man I'm getting pumped just thinking of the song :) the bridge :: It's rising, It's rising the song of hope for those set free, It's rising, It's rising up! Hallelujah
#2 10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman
Y'all, this CD has been going in our home, our cars & through our earbuds consistently since its release. Just about the time I think I should move on, I find myself right back. There is something about Matt Redmen's music that has resonated with me since college. I love the humility and Truth in his songs. I also love the "British Pub Chant" feel of many of his songs and by that I mean easy to sing along with and some even make you want to swing your fist (elbow bent) back and forth across your body :) No seriously, these songs are full of bold, strong truth and worth singing along to!

If I only had a couple bucks to choose a few songs from this album, I'd choose
  1. Never Once- This is a powerful song of hope and a proclamation of God's faithfulness. The chorus :: Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say, Never once did we ever walk alone, Never once did you leave us on our own, You are Faithful, God You are Faithful.
  2. 10,000 Reasons- This is the title track and rightly so. The first time I heard this song I had to sit down and take a deep breath. This is a beautiful song and somehow as soon as you hear it, it's as if you've heard it your entire life, as if it was written on your heart years before the album release. Thank you, Matt Redman, for writing this song.
  3. Magnificent- A fantastic song about God's holiness. The pre-chorus goes:: You are higher than we ever could imagine and closer than our eyes could ever see! So great, y'all.
#2 God Is Able- Hillsong Live
Every year I get excited about the Hillsong Live albums because of the eclectic nature they bring to the ol' Hillsong playlist.
Hillsong's Live albums are different to the studio albums and to the United albums because they are a big mix of congregational songs led by all different band members. This album appeals to the entire church young and old. You will definitely find a song or two you like and a song or two your mom or friend would like but is not quite your favorite...does that make since? I love that about these Live Albums. God is Able is full of powerful lyrics and great always. If you buy the Deluxe Version you will be blessed with getting the acoustic video set of a few of the songs and they are AMAZING!

If I only had a few dollars to spend on this album I would chose::
  1. God Is Able- this is the title track. It is, just as the title suggests, about God being able. The chorus :: Lifted up You defeated the grave, raised to life our God is able. In His name, we over come for the Lord our God is able :: This is a great song for both personal and corporate worship. So good.
  2. You Are More- this is a sweet song. it is a prophetic/preaching to your soul type song. It's a song from the heart of someone going through a rough season but wanting to hold to Truth.
  3. The Lost are Found- a song with a ending anthem of hope for the Lost. It'll get you pumped, people.
  4. My Heart Is Overwhelmed- this is also a sweet, precious song. It is intimate and powerful. It is beautifully written both lyrically and musically.

And lastly, no music list on this blog could be complete with out Switchfoot :)

Dark Horses - Switchfoot
This is the only song released from their upcoming album Vice Verses. I promise you, if you love rock n roll, you will LOVE this song. Well worth every penny of your $ .99. and please look for Vice Verses coming in September!

If you are looking for more eclectic instrumental/experimental music let me highly suggest Seryn or Balmorhea. Both of these bands are also highly listened to around our home.

I hope this was helpful to someone :) It was fun for me!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Titus & Ladan Turn 7

Late June we made the hike back up to St. Louis. We had a good deal of meetings for HVG and Vernon was scheduled to preach the last weekend of June in O'fallon, so we made a week of it. It just so happened that that particular week was Titus' birthday. If you have been around the blog long you know we do parties...and I mean DO parties. We love having people over and making a big fuss over whomever's special day it is. Sooo, since Titus would not get his big party here in TX we through a family party in Missouri! Vernon's sister, Phyills and her family came over from IL and stayed the entire week! It was our nephew Ladan's birthday week as well (phyllis's son) because the boys are only a bit over a week apart!

We had a ball. We did all kinds of things that week:: we played in the water, went to the science center, made stepping stones, the kids watch movies with Grandma, visited friends and much more. Vernon worked, went to meetings, worked some more and Phyllis & I and the kiddos, well, we just had fun!! It was awesome. Here are some fun pictures::

Phyllis and I attempted making Lego cakes.

making stepping stones

movies w/ Grandma


yep. my blog is steee-rugglin' theses days and i would like to take a moment to excuse myself in hopes that finally writing something will spark ideas for future blog posts.

excuse #1 summer travel.
since mid may we have been home less that 30 days. vernon has been home even less than that. we love the summer travel season that working/running a non-profit brings but its not exactly blog-keep-up friendly.

excuse #2 summer travel.
ha. i know it was number one but i feel it deserves another paragraph. we have driven over 4000 miles this summer, 8 major cities, 6 states and still have one road trip to accomplish next week.

excuse #3 Instagram
i mean really, i love it. i really enjoy having twitter but Instagram just makes social media a little more appealing to me. This is one of my summer excuses because I have been able to post photos along the way of our travels from the convenience of my phone and feel as though i am contributing to the curiosity of those who would be satisfying said curiosity via this lovely blog. Also, I seem to get more comments from my social media friends than i do from this sweet blog so it spurs me on just a wee bit more to be consistent. :: not a shameless plug for more commenting...just fact.

excuse #4 brain fog
i remember very vividly the feeling of "baby brain" and it made me CRAZY. I hate not being able to keep my self and family organized and not being able to put my thoughts in an sort of sequential order. This is how I've felt since mid May. Coming off a big move back to Texas, getting the house unpacked and settled, establishing a routine just in time to hit the road for the summer has sent my head for a spin. I assure you it is NOT baby brain, although a few times this summer i have wondered solely based on my inability to have clear cognitive thought. since i have nothing to call this aformentioned "brain fog," then I will call it just that and hopefully the "fog" will lift soon. :)

so excuse me if you will, i do plan to be back in action soon.
thanks for sticking around all summer. hope yours has been great! ours has been fantastic!