Friday, August 24, 2012

Teaching Missions

 Here are a few ideas and resources for teaching your children about missions.  Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples and I think it is important for children to learn at an early age to be a part of what God is doing in the world, that He made us for that very purpose.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) - This organization publishes material perfect for teaching about missionaries.  There are picture stories, often in 5 or 6 parts, that work well for Vacation Bible school or Sunday school type settings.  Our church used the one on Hudson Taylor this summer for our Mission Club.

Wycliffe for Kids - some downloadable curriculum to do with your kids or church group.  This summer I used "Bread for All" lesson and "Phonics Lesson"

Some books that our on our reading list for the future include some of YWAM publishing, a series of biographies of heros of the faith.

And a book that my husband and I are currently reading: Becoming a World Changing FamilyBecoming World Changing Family

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Adventure

While scanning the web looking for language arts curriculum I came across a great website for encouraging reading!  It's Book Adventure, similar to the accelerated reading programs in the public schools.  Kids log in to the website and take a 5-10 question quiz on a book they have read to earn points.  There is an online prize catalog to redeem your points, things like books and games.  There is also a parent section of the website, where parents can input their own prizes to reward their children for reading progress.

We have read two short books and taken the quizzes.  So far, my daughter has 150 points.  Most prizes are for over 1000 points.  Now, of course, not every book your child read will be found on this website, but there is a pretty good list of books at all different reading levels.  You can search for books by reading level, category of book, title, author, etc.  Today, we tried testing on "The Little Red Hen" but discovered that it must have been a different version of the story - our version wasn't listed.

I have been impressed with this website thus far and intend to incorporate this into our reading curriculum for next year.  It will be great to combine computer skills with reading and comprehension.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Over in the Meadow

Here's a fun book if you like one with a sing-song rhythm.  Over in the Meadow by John Langstaff

We loved chanting through this book and then found that it has the music at the back of the book if you want to actually sing the whole book.   There is a repetitive pattern throughout, but unique words for each animal in the meadow.

Our favorite library book of the week will probably become an all time favorite.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jesse Tree

This Christmas Season, my family and I are doing a Jesse tree, where we daily put on ornaments concerning the line of Jesus, reading Scripture each day about prophesies of Jesus up to through the birth of Jesus.

I won't add a lot of detail here, but point you to resources that my friends have sent me to.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Making up Games/Being Creative

After several times of playing our Family Trivia Game, the kids began making up their own game....

With a regular deck of cards, my four year old explained this new game to me.  You draw a card.  If the card is a heart, then you have to make your arms into the shape of a heart.  If you draw a diamond, you have to say rhyming words.  If you draw a club you have to stand on one foot. I don't remember the rule they came up with for spades... because my five year old took over my place and played the games as instructed by her sister, as if it was the most natural game in the world.  Maybe some day my girls will be good at playing that card game Mau, where you are never told all the rules, you just figure them out as you go and you add new rules as you go.

Another game my four year old made up is "Splatch, Splatch!"  I guess its kind of a combination of match and splash.  You play a regular type match game, but if you get a match, then the other players get to wrestle you.  Not really my favorite game, but she sure loves it.

Our babysitter (and homeschool mom of 8) commented about my four year old, she doesn't just think outside the box, she doesn't even know there is a box.  It's exciting and sometimes overwhelming to encourage creativity in our children.  What will they think of next?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Trivia Game

I come from a family of game players and have been anxiously awaiting playing games with my children.  But I hadn't found one that works for all the members of my family - something that would be fun for my husband and I but not too hard for the kids.

So, I made up on our Family Trivia Game.  I took the CandyLand board and cards, with only a slight modification: I taped two small pieces of card stock to the board over some of the character pictures.  These cards read:

             Yellow - Spelling                         Blue - Reading
             Red - Math                                  Orange - Bible
             Green - Extra                              Purple - Extra

We use different coins for our playing pieces.  On your turn, you draw a CandyLand color card.  Before you can move, you have to answer a question in the designated category.  The questions are made up by the other players.  For the green and purple, you draw a card from the Extra pile to determine the category.  These Extra cards include categories such as Opposites, Vocabulary, Music, Drama, Art, Science, Geography, Family, Friends, TV, Library Book, Clock, Calendar, Measuring, etc.

Since we make up the questions as we go along, it keeps the game truly dynamic.  We can taylor the questions to range in difficulty for our two year old on up to the adult players.  We can work on reviewing anything recently learned with the kids.  My husband and I try to stump each other or its fun to let the kids come up with the questions in each category.  One Sunday afternoon, the kids kept asking questions that had to do with our church lesson and we got to review it in game form.

When we play, we discard the specialty cards (like the Peppermint and Peanut Brittle, etc).  We also make regular cards equal a double and the double color cards equal triple so that we move the game along faster.  I also keep handy some paper and pencils for any writing/drawing etc necessary for questions as well as a few other tools - our spelling word list page to be used for spelling and reading, our practice clock, a US map for geography, etc.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Science Journal

Inspired by a friend who has her daughters keep a science/nature journal, we began our own journal last spring.  It began naturally as we began planning and planting our first vegetable garden.  It was a learning experience for mommy as well as the kids.

Some items that we included in our science journal/notebook:
* hand drawn pictures of our garden
* a list written by my daughter of vegetables we should plant
* coloring sheets relating to gardens (rain, seeds, etc)
* a color sheet from the children's museum about seed growth
* a graph showing the number of different insects/pests we found outside while digging
* a Bible verse - Zech 10:1 "Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime. For it is the Lord who sends the thunder clouds."
* drawings of insects and other things found in our yard
* an iron pressed leaf
* leaf tracings and observations of how leaves shrivel over time

We haven't added much as of late, but as the weather cools down, we will get outside some more to make more observations.