Thursday, October 16, 2008

Understanding, Knowledge, Wisdom & Lemon Drops

We just enjoyed another fun & easy Science Project out of our Story of the World activity book. It just seems to make SO much sense to me for young children to listen to the great stories of history unfold chronologically, while reading good corresponding (age appropriate) literature along the way, coloring beautiful maps of your travels and letting great science happen as... well, as it did! It makes each subject come to life so wonderfully!

We're in the Early Modern Times book and it's all kinds of excitement as usual! Jamestown, The Early Colonies, The Search for the Northwest Passage, the French in the New World, Henry Hudson's quest and so much more! At these young ages we don't focus too much on exact dates and trivia but on the continuous unfolding stories and characters of the great cultures in time! As they grow, they branch out into more challenging literature, but keep right along with the fun! So since around this time there was a lot of hoopla over a pretty deceiving little mineral called pyrite - a.k.a. Fool's Gold, how fun but to segue into a little science experiment on the qualities of real gold using yellow Playdough and lemon drops as our two mysterious treasures.

The Playdough turned out to mostly resemble real gold so we just went ahead and ate all the "Fool's gold"! Nothing like lemon drops to seal those memories into the best places in their little brains!
(Silas coloring Henry Hudson after having used half his Father's tube of hair butter to form his Mohawk)


I only have a high school education. (SCANDALOUS! I Knoww!) Some people might think it's ludicrous that I'm teaching my kids myself. That's an argument for another day (that I will eh, but for now I want to just extinguish one specific little fiery dart of discouragement that the enemy, or the world, or a woman's own sinful mind will shoot straight at the heart of this thing called raising happy, godly children.

So you don't have a teaching degree. Wait whaaaaat? Not even college? You whaaaat? Even slacked off in high school?! Will the scandals never end?!?! You hate to read because the books were always soooo boooring? So you in fact, are not stoked on say... history for instance? PERFECT! You may have just as much fun as your kids! Let's be honest though, you and I would really suck at teaching calculus to teenagers right now. But here's the thing: Before calculus comes 1+1 dude. And 1+1= you can do it dude. Catch my drift?

Surely we can teach our 2 year olds? 3 year olds? 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds? Do you realize how easy (and fun) this stuff is? It's stays soooooo eeeeassy for sooooooo many years! And these are the precious years! The foundational years. The years in which they will learn whether you want to be with them and whether they want to be with you. For now, it's all about love for learning! Whetting the appetite! Lighting the fire! What you will discover is that you, the parent will suddenly realize you are loving it because you are learning too. Very easily. Because you have an adult brain and you are learning basic stuff.

Home schooling is my second chance at learning! I get to acquire a lot of the knowledge that I didn't give a darn about at the time because duh! I was in schoool! And there were like...too many things to worry about! ;) I have an adult brain now and understand how wonderful knowledge is because I now have a little life experience to understand why. The heart of him that hath understanding, seeketh knowledge ~ Prov. 15:14 I'm a great reader (thanks to phonics at the Christian school while I was teeny), and I looove these little people more than any professional ever will. All it takes is a little planning and willingness.

But let me tell you... in just a few more years...possibly months, I will be no match for my eldest daughter in history. She takes an interest to someone like Queen Elizabeth or Abigail Adams, checks out every book in the library and suddenly I have a for real expert sitting right here in my dining room gazing back at me with these big knowing fawn eyes. I never know which direction her interest is going to go, or if I will be able to carry the library basket out that day or not. It has picked up more speed than I ever imagined it would! What my sweet, dear, precious daughter lacks, is the wisdom to know where to put all this beautiful knowledge. But that... is where I come in! For what I lack in calculus, prepositional phrases and the periodic table of elements... I make up for in wisdom gained right from the Source Itself. And my love and wisdom (and her Father's!) will guide and cover this precious child as she grows in that understanding and wisdom.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.~James 1:5

(But on't count me out on the other stuff either. I'm all stoked on memorizing my prepositions right now with my girls! And someday it may come to some pretty formal logic. Unless I want my boys running circles around me! Calculus? ...I may have a root canal scheduled that.... yeah.

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. - Prov. 23:12

But when that moment does come where you are outrun by your sweet kid and she pipes up to correct you on some Abigail Adams fact because she indeed is now an expert, let your wisdom guide her in the humble telling of it, and may you rejoice in that moment exceedingly! It will be sweeter than any lemon drop!

Through WISDOM is a house built; and by UNDERSTANDING it is established: and by KNOWLEDGE shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. - Prov. 24:3,4

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. - Prov. 2:6

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You can take the girl outta the Valley...

...but you can't take the Valley outta the girl! This is a late post due to some super funky illness we've been battling but too fun not to post. Saturday before last we headed up north to my old stomping grounds for the Annual Skagit Valley Festival of Farms with our friends "The Burns-is". Chris and Jenni invited us over for dinner after all the farm festivities. How can you resist produce, hayrides through vineyards, pony rides, carmel apples, curly fries and hanging out with friends of such likeminded...humor.

I sure as heck can't. The curly fries, that is... I'm pretty convincing here, huh.

It's a good thing we stopped to see the cows with the best hairdos first because we got rained out before touring any other farms. A wicka wicka wee on the little pony...
He knows he's utterly studly here. uh huh...get it. Cuzza the cows...
Owen: Hiee Eamon! What you guys talkin about?
Eamon: We're just having a quick little huddle about parental control.
Owen: Oh! Can I join you! I have lots of good tips...
Owen: Okay so who are we aimin for here?

Eamon: Well I'm feeling like it might be kind of fun to get my Dad today.

Owen: Great! Well I highly recommend waiting right until the fries get here and then just scream bloody hell.

Eamon: Thanks buddy! That sounds like fun!

Owen: Yeah man, don't mention it. Good luck! I'm sure you'll do great.

These are my favorite kinds of pictures. They just really, really, utterly amuse me.

While we were waiting for curly fries Jenni and I met a gal who reads both of our blogs. How fun is that? (Hi Tina!)

And the best thing about going back to my Skagit Valley is bumping into old friends. I bumped into my old gradeschool/highschool buddy Eddy and his wonderful family!Turtle fell asleep on the hayride. I guess he didn't realize he was sitting next to Eddy's brother Danny Zucco.

Juju had a great day. Look at those chompers! When posing for the Kirkman/Blau photo we discover one is missing. Can anyone guess?SILAS!!!

Thanks Chris!
But we forgot to get a Kirkman/Burns shot! :( Next year!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't EVER say the words "It can't get any worse"

In fact, don't even mutter those words, quietly under your breathe. Don't even... regardless of what state of feverish delirium you are in, or how many countless things have gone wrong to add up to your present despair... even think those words. Go ahead and feel the pain. But... don't say those words. Because..... things can always get worse. And there seems to be some scientific law that as soon as you do, they will. While lying feverish on the couch Wednesday night after three days of sudden Jane Austen levels of fever... chills, shakes, projectiles, aches, a three day migraine, a week of missed school, 527 unanswered phone calls and trying to block out the deafening sound of seven kids eating and cleaning up dinner in the kitchen, I came to the realization that it sounded like a food fight was now actually breaking out in my kitchen. And then I did it. I made the stuuuupid maverick mother mistake of forming those very words in my mind. Yes. "Could this beeeeee any worrr?!!?!....


Of course....only moments later came the most horrific sounds I think I have yet to hear in my lifetime. There was the horrible thud, Silas screaming bloody murder, everybody else screaming bloody mass murder, and the three oldest (normally calm-headed kids) running in to me in utter terror shrieking out the words "He's gouged his eye out!!!! Mom! His eyeball is gouged out!!! They were absolutely terror stricken which shook me up more than the scene itself... The "scene" happened to be Silas staggering around the kitchen with one very bloody eye, blood on his hands and screaming "I'm bliiiinded!" His vision was filled with blood so it was truly a scare for him. He had run into the cutting board that I knewww would eventually get left out and one day cause some real damage to some poor fool running by at high speeds.

(As Silas points out below)

I love this face. He looks like he's about to beat the crap out of the cutting board. Much in the same way we hear of mothers fighting off bears, running through burning buildings, to save their young, they can likewise overcome fever and projectiles, managing to run at very high speeds, even hurdling large pieces of furniture to tend to their injured young. It is a strong instinct for sure, and no doubt fueled by some pretty sweet adrenalin. Not even getting hung up by my bathrobe during my flight to the child (and the split second humiliating decision to shed it), was going to keep me from my young one. (I should mention here that I've been reading a lot of dramatic fiction during my days of invalidity)...

Isn't it amazing how quickly things can come into perspective for us? It's so ironic how for me things can seem so out of control until something really obviously out of my control happens and then I suddenly feel and remember how much out of my control it all is? Where nothing else matters. Where we realize nothing was really that bad a moment before when we were moaning that nothing could be worse?

I tend to do much better in those horrific-completely out of my control split second moments than I do in the sometimes overwhelming day to day little things that can feel we should have under "control". It takes a loud thud to jolt me out of my despair sometimes with what I know deep down. While scooping him up, grabbing a towel for the bleeding and hurrying him over to the light where I could assess the situation, I heard myself telling all of the panickers to "Calm down! Is God not in control? Did He not know this would happen? Does He not love Silas more than even we do and is He not the one who formed his little eyeball in the first place? Yes! He is! He did! He was and He still is in control!!! Everyone CHILL!"

This was met with silence, and true calmness that filled the room. We all (even the babies) gathered around him, laid hands on him and prayed. We cleaned him up and discovered that the cut (that has mostly healed before taking this picture), ran all the way up to the very tip of his lower eyelid, and even cut slightly inside of the lower lid (though not through). He also banged up the top lid pretty good which had been quite swollen before I took the picture today. I didn't see enough guts to call for stitches and by the time Brian got home it was old news (and I had my bathrobe back in place). eh hem.But I was so thankful for my fever and my back ache and my filthy house, unproductive week and my little boy at home with me instead of some ER somewhere. It is amazing how God needs to make things worse for us to see how good they really are, isn't it? We have so much. So, so much. Even when things go truly bad and we experience true tragedy or heartache, it can always be worse.

Oh Lord give us the grace to realize how much we have, how we deserve nothing good, and how you yourself took the horror of what we all really deserve. Help us to stay humbly on our feverish knees thanking you for each undeserved blessing. And when the thuds come, may we trust you because we know...we really know You and how much You love us.