Sunday, March 18, 2012

X is for X-ray

X week was fun and relaxed. EVERYONE else we know was on Spring Break this week so we stopped school many times to meet up with friends or have people over. This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling! SO MUCH FLEXIBILITY! Especially if you are diligent to work ahead. I had originally planned to take Spring Break the same week as all our friends but we decided to go to Missouri a couple weeks ago instead. Taking some time off this week didn't put a big dent in Titus' curriculum goals but we will definitely not be done by Mid-April like we had hoped. It will be the beginning of May for Math and History but all the others he will be done by the end of April. As for Justus with Pre-School, I will probably move into some shapes/numbers weeks to help him while Titus finishes up but since Titus will be down to 2 subjects I won't need a lot of time filled for Justus.

For X week we did John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he will not see the Kingdom of God." This was a fantastic verse to ask questions that lead back to the Gospel like, "what is the Kingdom of God?" "How can a man be born again?" Titus really dialoged well and asked some good questions himself. He remembered the story from John 3 about Nicodemous so I let him recount it to us before we read it from Scripture.

Our God is Faithful board said, "God is Faithful, You can have New Life." We just continued to ask questions and let Titus talk out what was in his heart and mind about being born again and about the Kingdom of God and about New Life. We would redirect when we needed too. It was GREAT conversations!

For Justus' Pre-School work we did X is for X-Ray. Vernon's mom was a long time X-Ray Tech in a hospital and is always talking to the boys about X-Rays. Knowing X was coming up, she kindly sent us an X-ray of her hands. It was a HUGE hit!
I had Justus hold it up to the light then pull it away from the light so he could see how it worked.
Then I had him say the body part that was in the picture and point at the bones and we talked about the bones in his hands.

So for his Letter project we made an X out of bones to look like and X-Ray::

I had super hoped to do an "X marks the spot!" activity but we never got around to it....maybe next year :)

We did some book work while Titus did his book work::

And of course :: Play-doh::

We also learned a lesson this week. Never go to the zoo on Spring Break week! We had a GREAT time with friends but the Zoo was PACKED!!! Whoa, y'all. PACKED.

Only a few more weeks of posting on the Letter of The Week. I can't believe I have stuck with this! ha! But I am so glad I have. I hope you have enjoyed it and got some ideas along the way!

Happy Schooling!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

W is for Weather, Whale, Watermelon and Walrus

We let W last for three weeks! I did not originally plan for it to be more than one week...but week one::
the boys got sick on Wednesday and it lasted through the weekend.

Week two::
We took a spontaneous trip to meet up with Vernon in Missouri to break up his 17 days away.

So week three we re-did W week! It was great. I am so glad we did.

For our W Bible Verse we did Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." This was such a great verse for the 3 weeks. Vernon was out of town for a long trip to Missouri (he preached in 10 different cities in 15 days). We learned our verse and said it most nights when the boys tend to get scared. We read the verse in context and talked about how the Psalmist life was actually in danger when he wrote this. We talked about how being "Afraid" as an emotion is okay and a God given response to tell your body it is in danger. BUT it becomes sinful when we walk in our fear and/or lean on ourselves for courage.

Our "God is Faithful" board said, "God is Faithful, You can be Comforted." We talked about how God's continued faithfulness can comfort us as we are afraid. How knowing He will provide your needs and hear your prayer can comfort us when we are afraid. Very fitting for the boys and their ages.

Titus got a Weather Kit for W week. This was a fun way to integrate learning for both Justus and Titus (7 & 3 years old). They loved it and we even took it to Missouri with hopes to measure the weather with their cousins (which I don't think ever happened but it was a good idea though). The kit came with all kinds of information that was great for Titus. He showed Justus all the things he learned and how to use the tools.

For pre-school we did all kinds of things. For our letter project we did a Whale and a Walrus::

I got the Walrus idea from Totally Tots.

We did some writing in our workbook::
Thank you Target dollar bin for all the great workbooks!

For Pre-School math I made a watermelon counting game. I just took construction paper and made a pink circle and a green circle and glued them together. Then I cut out a bunch of black 'seeds' and glued them on in order. Then labeled the back with then corresponding number of seeds::
Then Justus was count the seeds and turn the piece over. Then we worked toward putting them in order.

In the boys Science class we are on the chapter on Birds. We talked about Wings and tied that into W. :) This week at co-op Science class we built bird houses. I didn't get any action shots but here is one of Justus with his while he waited for the last step.

The first week of W we went to the zoo for a W field trip (before the boys got sick). We said we were enjoying the "Wonderful Weather." Sometimes you have to stretch it :) We enjoyed the weather by celebrating the zoo opening the Train for Spring!

There are still a few things I have not mentioned on the blog that we use often and that I recommend. One is "My Giant Sticker Activity Book." This book has over 600 stickers. How it works is that it is by section. (Letters/Shapes/Colors/Patterns)

Between every so many pages are sticker pages that correspond with the Workbook pages. The stickers are all mixed up with the other workbook page's pictures. The child looks at the Workbook page then tries to find the correct sticker from the sticker pages. Then (I help pull sticker off the sticker page) the child places the sticker on the page. Here is an example of a page finished and a page not yet started.

Also I made these very quickly one day. I can use them for many things from matching to patterns. I just took a piece of black construction paper and cut out shapes. Then glued them on red card stock. SIMPLE and CHEAP! :) Justus loves them!

I hope School is going so well for yall! I would love to hear! We only have a month left for Pre-School and just a little longer than that for Titus' 2nd grade curriculum!!

Enjoy your littles and Happy Schooling!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Thoughts After Reading Jen Hatmaker's
7:: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

I wish I could think of some extremely clever way to begin this post but the honest truth is that if I don't write this review at this very moment, it will not get written. It is not that I do not want to write anything, in fact, quite the opposite is true. It is just that I have put off posting this for over a month. I have had so many thoughts reeling since I closed page 221 of Jen Hatmaker's 7. Writing this post would mean I would have to face the harsh reality that heart change is not satisfied until outward change shows its face. The Lord did so much in my heart as I loomed over the pages of 7 but speaking about said changes, well, writing them rather, makes it feel that much closer to actual, real, life change. I think the pop phrase for this is accountability :: if I say something out loud, people can hold me to it. Call it what you want, if change just stays in your heart or in your head, I would contend it is not actual change....I digress.

I read Jen's previous book, Interrupted, and quickly placed it in my top 10 books to recommend. I loved it. It was such an honest, raw, beautiful picture of the Lord doing something in a lady's heart and The Lord bring that something to fruition. It was superb. Knowing my love for Interrupted I got wonderfully excited when I heard the news that Jen would soon be releasing a new book. When the idea behind 7 began to circulate, I got even more excited. But friends, my excitement was not because I thought 7 would be a challenge to MY heart but rather, my excitement was for what I envisioned God doing in so many OTHER people's hearts. Ahem.

***if you have a lofty, angelic view of me that you would like to maintain, please excuse yourself here, its about to get ugly as I bare my prideful heart to the world***

You see, I heard that 7 was going to be about a 7 month experiment against excess. Excess of Clothes, Shopping, Waste, Food, Possessions, Media and lastly, Stress. I literally thought to myself, "I wear the same thing everyday (jeans and a v neck), I LOATH shopping, I am the only person I know in my city who recycles, we regularly eat organic/non-processed foods, we don't have enough money to have a lot of extra possessions, we have no TV and I am not easily stressed. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check and Check." I know, sickening, but welcome to my heart. I got excited about 7 knowing that Jen was hilarious and fun loving, yet still willing to tackle the hard issues. I mean, that IS the best type of book to recommend nicely to a friend...ahem (wink). Little did I know that it would be my heart's issue being addressed...not my friend's....ouch.

As I plunged into the pages of 7 I found a beautiful picture of heart change leading to outward, life altering change. Change that moves beyond personality and preference to God honoring worship.

For me, thinking of having only 7 items of clothes to wear for a month is somewhat of a relief. I am a simpleton. I hate clutter. I was raised to reuse and not waste. I sometimes have to remind myself that certain situations should arise a since of stress, because I am often way too laid back even in the times that stress would be appropriate. ALL of these things are just part of me, Amber Burger, my personality, my preference. What I learned from 7 was that, while these things might be considered "good, wholesome and healthy" ways to live, they have cost me nothing. It is normal to me to purge our home of excess clothes and clutter 2 to 3 times a year. Loading up our excess and hauling off to Goodwill is rather therapeutic to me. On the other hand, collecting our excess (and even harder:: things we are currently using), keeping them separated and nice while asking God where He wants them used in His Kingdom to spread His name...that is an entirely different song. The first is personal preference, the second is worship. 7 taught me that my personal leaning toward the simple life is not of great gain in the Kingdom of God with out personal sacrifice that leads to beautiful communion with Christ.

Throughout 7 Jen tells stories of God using the excess they relinquished to further His Kingdom and how she got to come face to face with the people God provided for. There is a big difference between 1) taking a trash bag full of extra house hold items & clothing to Salvation Army because they are annoying me and 2) walking around our house, perusing our closets asking the Lord what to give away and to whom to give it. The heart:: that is the difference. Communion with God:: that is the blessing.

With all of that said, I would like to highly recommend to you (not out of haughty, vein heart but out of an honest, changed heart) Jen Hatmaker's 7:: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It is hilarious, honest, straight-forward, practical and full of insight. You will laugh and cry and you will come face to face with honest facts about what our excess is doing globally.

HERE is a link to check it out.

And if you would like to win a copy of 7 :: leave a comment and check back on Saturday to see if you won!