Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Simply Magical

Math.  In our home math has almost become a bad word.  My daughter HATES math, while her younger brother LOVES it.  Samuel has no issue with math other than he dislikes having to actually sit down and write out answers.  It comes easily and naturally to him and he excels in it.  Most math he can do in his head, but for the sake of knowing the how-to of math, I make him work it out.  {He really doesn't need to, but no one tell him that, m'kay?}  This further irritates his sister, who while is incredibly smart, she has to work her math.

So this week I really wanted to just chuck the curriculum and do some practical math.  I am eclectic homeschool mom, who would really like to turn totally unschool mom, but I have an addiction to planning. No really, I may need an intervention.  The feel of my planner, the pencils and colored pens for color coding, laying out lessons. . . . Where was I?  Oh yes, the kind of math used in everyday life, how we use it and why it's so important to understand this principles.  They have both been loving math this week, because I've made it fun.  It's exciting to watch them get this excited about this practical math project and everyday they have BEGGED to keep going.  Twice this week I asked where my real children had gone.  I mean seriously, more?

So today, feeling pretty proud of myself for my valiant math effort and the great progress we've made, I sat down to log hours and score other work; my son walks into the office and told me something.  Honestly, I can't even remember what now because the next question had me laughing so hard it didn't even matter what he had said in the beginning.  

"So Mom, is this more of that magical math or regular bookish math?"

What?!?!  Bookish??  Magical??  Well, once I got my laughing over with, I asked, "you mean practical math?"

He responds, "yes, practical math.  I like that math, I'm a practical kind of guy."

More laughing.

Then it hits me!  He can do it, but can't remember what it's called?!?

Maybe we should work more on vocabulary.   {wink}

Monday, June 23, 2014

Green Mom or Grace Mom?

How many times have I read online all the things some homeschooling moms get done in a day and I walk away thinking, "wow Val, you need to get on the ball!"  I mean I'm a super mom too. . . .I just have a feeling that I'm more like the green guy below and not the perfectly coiffed, cape wearing, I've got this hero. . . .

Super hero??  Not the kind of super hero most mamas are striving to be right?  Do you ever feel like this?  I love my kids and they are wonderful kids, but they aren't perfect and they have an imperfect mother.  They argue and push my buttons and each others button so well it's scary.  And well, while my Samuel is amazingly bright, he is VERY active.  Samuel needs his hands to be busy the ALL. THE. TIME.  And honestly, it's tiring sometimes.  And sometimes this mama is more like Hulk than a Godly, gentle woman.  Did I mention that this would be a very transparent post?  

I read a scripture a couple of years ago that has stuck in my head.  1 Peter 4:10 states "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:" and that scripture just kind of reached off the page and poked me in the forehead.  The mental image that came to me was this:  I was standing under a pitcher of water being poured into me and I had one hand outstretched and that water flowed through me and out my fingers to someone else.  See, I am sure that I often push the good Lord's buttons.  I am sure that my whining and complaining, lack of patience and gentleness make the Lord shake His head.  I am DAILY in need of His grace, which He freely gives.  My children are also in need of grace, because they are children.  But because I'm tired or in pain (chronic pain disease is no walk in the park) or overwhelmed I too often do not extend grace like I should.  I want them to know grace and how to give it to others and I'm the one teaching, or should be, what that looks like.  *Sigh*  And even on the days where all the schoolwork gets done, but Hulk-mom made an appearance, I go to bed feeling like a failure.  

Thankfully, I wake up to new mercies every morning and if I chose to accept that precious gift I can make the new day a better one.  I'm learning.  I'm learning to be an extender of grace.  Grace is unmerited and undeserved and God freely gives it to me when I need it most, our children deserve the same from us.  Grace doesn't mean punishment isn't given for wrongdoing, but it means punishment from a place of love instead of frustration.  I admit this is hard because it's frustrating.  ~Laughter~  I know I'm not alone in this feeling.  Constant arguing, fidgeting during reading time, poking one another evoking arguing or crying is all frustrating.  But if an Almighty God, creator of the universe can extend grace to me in all my mistakes; surely I can offer the same to my babies.  

A couple of weeks ago we were out driving in a storm.  The storm finally moved on and I pulled off the highway because we were trying to decide where to go for dinner and right there was a GORGEOUS rainbow.  A beautiful reminder of God's promise and my youngest, Daniel said, "wow, that's a blessing".  He saw in that moment the significance of God's promise and His grace.  I want my children to know that even in the most stormy situation, whether of their own making or that of someone else, that grace can be given and it's a blessing.  

Hulk mom doesn't appear very often anymore and for that I'm thankful and I give God all the glory for it!  I'm not perfect, but I'm striving to be the woman, wife and mama God wants me to be and that includes being a good steward of God's grace.  I want it to flow from me with ease, even in the most uneasy and frustrating situations.

By the way, Hulk mom only used her voice, but it was enough.  I would hate for you to think I was smashing things.  And this is not a post about letting things slide when punishment is necessary {like lying}, but it is about knowing how to extend grace while teaching right and wrong, without turning into a giant green mom with a deep voice and speaking in one syllable words.    ~Smile~  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Expo Did Something To Me, Part 1

My perspective has been greatly changed since being at the expo two weeks ago.  All of the speakers were good but one of the gentlemen there said something that has me re-evaluating everything we do and why we do it.

First let me say that the concept he was teaching on isn't foreign to me, but for some reason it made a more lasting impression on me.  It prompted me to think about all the areas of our Lovelock life that directly or indirectly connect to the principle of:  finding your child's bent and fostering it.

Again, not a new concept at all.  But on this day, this speaker and the whole lesson just got me really thinking about my kids and their individuality.  It also go me to thinking about my own bent and how have I, either fostered it or stifled it.

I am hoping this blog post, accompanied by other posts, will in fact make sense.  I currently have a lot of stuff floating around in this head of mine and while I can easily see the connection, I may not accurately get it out in an understandable post.  But I'm going to try.

When hubby and I decided long ago, before kids were even in the picture that we would homeschool we had very specific reasons.  None of those reasons included finding our child's bent and fostering it.  We had and still have excellent reasons, but the older I get and the older they get I realize it is about so much more than just what they are learning from a book.  It's always been about the Biblical knowledge (one of our biggest reasons) and about developing good character.  But over the years the burden weighed heavy that academically they must learn and the Bible lessons and character lessons didn't always get the time and attention they needed (I'm just being real here people).  Don't get me wrong they get a lot of Bible in their life and character development through daily life, but my original plan had a more structured idea of teaching those two things.  Just like the Bible and character lessons, developing their interests or their bent had to play second fiddle to the "this is required and we must get this done, the other stuff will have to wait".  Honestly, that takes the fun out of homeschooling and you find yourself in a rut.

Please don't take this out of context, I am acutely aware that solid academics are important and need to be taught.  But along the way the gifts and talents that God gave them need to be, must be, developed.  There is a vital reason that those gifts and talents were grafted into our children and who are we to decide that's not who they are or that something else would be better for them??

And that, folks, is the end of part one.  Part two will be posted in the next couple of days!