Acts of Love

On Motivation and Encouragement

Starting Small March 30, 2012

Filed under: Books,Creativity,Family,Teaching and Learning,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 1:34 am
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I have been wanting to share how we are ‘scratching the homeschool surface’ as it were. I am a certified teacher and hold a master’s degree in secondary education. Because I eat, live, and breath teaching and learning, we have chosen to homeschool our children. There are many other reasons, that I may go into in a later post. For now, I just want to share what it is we do each week.

This is our learning ‘space’. In reality however, we learn all over the house. I have this space designated for learning and teaching for organizations’ sake. Henry built our learning table. We created a vertical art and project station with items purchased from Ikea (stinking love that store).  We spend time here in the morning going over the date, weather, our letter/sound of the week, and our memory verse. We have been working on a bird watching station, but have yet to attract an actual bird.

We also keep most of our children’s books here. I love displaying the books on these picture ledges because I think it entices children to read, and is visually stimulating. We go to the library several times a week and keep our loaner books in one basket and our personal books in the other. The themes we are studying at the moment are ancient Egyptians, Seeds, and Elephants. Makayla always selects some pleasure reading books on  topics she is interested in as well.

This week we have been learning about the letter F. We made this nest out of paper mache, and then made this cute little bird family. Makayla named them Fluffy, Mr. fluffy, and Cheeky. I try to emphasize the sound of the letter, rather than the name. So we do activities and emphasise the sound, as in feather and fort! Makayla likes cutting and gluing (who doesn’t?) so we usually do a collage based on our letter/sound as well. I am working on basic math skills with some manipulative and everyday objects. Makayla loves to sort and categorize.

As  you can see, we are really just beginning to get the feel for homeschooling. I know the actual structured curriculum and such will not come for a few years. For now we are just getting comfortable and trying to figure out what type of routine will work for our family. I have been thinking about homeschooling since Makayla was a baby. As soon as she was born,  I knew there was no way I was going to hand her over to someone else at age 5, and essentially surrender my family’s rhythm and schedule. I love the ebb and flow of our learning as it is now, there is a natural flow from reading, to crafting, experimenting, and impromptu learning moments.

Happy Learning and Teaching,

Stephanie

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Preparing a Child’s Heart for Easter March 25, 2012

Filed under: Family,Keeping the House,Lesson Plans,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 11:37 am
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Lent is a time of preparing our hearts and homes for Easter and the celebration of the Risen King. As moms, we should also make it a point to prepare our children’s hearts and foster a sense of anticipation for this most blessed and miraculous event.

This year I did two things, created a set of resurrection eggs and planted an Easter garden. The eggs are used in a daily object lesson in the 11 days prior to Easter morning. The Garden is a representation of Jesus’s tomb and a hands on way for children to engage in the Easter Story.

To make our Easter Garden Makayla and I filled a shallow glass bowl with rocks and then soil. We partially buried a small terra-cotta pot to serve as the tomb (I have seen Easter Gardens with actual  caves that people either made or bought at an aquarium supply store). We planted cat grass which grows fast, and also thrives indoors. For some detail, we created a path leading up to the tomb, placed a cross on the ‘hill’,  and put a small Lamb in the tomb to represent Jesus.

This is (hopefully) what it will look like when the grass grows.

The garden can serve as the focal point for another tradition; using resurrection eggs. Resurrection eggs are a series of plastic Easter eggs that are filled with objects and a corresponding scripture. You can either hide them and open them all on Easter morning, or place one near the garden each morning and have a sort of Easter advent. I like the later option because it creates anticipation, and you can spend more time with each element of the story.

You will need to find objects to fill the eggs with, and I am certain you have all of these things in your home already. If you do not, you can make an appropriate substitution. You can buy resurrection egg kits already made, but I like creating my own. There are lots of different ways to do it, this is just mine. So if you do want to make your own set, be creative and make yours unique for your family.

 

Here are the directions for making the resurrection eggs I put together for my family.

Egg #1:

Message — Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.

Scripture — Matthew 21:1-11
Object– A donkey or a palm branch

Egg #2:

Message — Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.
Scripture — John 12:2-8
Object — A small perfume bottle or cotton ball sprayed with perfume. (There is a very strong connection between smell and memory, so anytime you can incorporate smell  into a lesson you should do it!)

Egg #3:

Message — Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.
Scripture– Matthew 26:17-19

Object– A piece of bread

Egg #4:

Message — Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Scripture– Matthew 27:3
Object– 3 dimes or plastic “silver” money

Egg #5:

Message — Jesus carried His own cross.

Scripture– John 19:17

Object – A cross

Egg #6:

Message — Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.

Scripture– John 19:2
Object– a branch with thorns

Egg #7:

Message — Soldiers parted Jesus’ garments and cast lots for His coat.

Scripture– John 19:23

Object– Dice

Egg #8:

Message — Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.

Scripture– John 19:18,37 & John 20:25-29
Object– A nail and/or a small play sword from an action figure

Egg #9:

Message — They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Scripture– Matthew 27:34
Object– A small sponge soaked in vinegar. (make sure the sponge is dry when you put it on the egg,  you just want the vinegar smell)

Egg #10:

Message — Jesus’ body was prepared for burial.
Scripture –John 19:40
Object– a roll of gauze (the kind you would find in a first aid kit) and some spices

Egg #11:

Message — The stone covering Jesus’ tomb was rolled away.
Scripture– John 20:1
Object — A rock

Egg #12:

Message — The tomb was empty,  He was not there. He has risen!
Scripture– John 20:6-7
Object — Nothing! The tomb is empty!

I play to place one of the eggs near our Easter Garden each morning. As part of our homeschool lesson  Makayla will open the egg and then I will share the story with her and read the scripture from our illustrated family bible.  Also,  some of the items can be added to the garden or placed in the tomb; for example the  shroud from egg #  10 can be left behind on Easter morning and the rock from Egg # 11 can be rolled away to reveal the empty tomb.

These are just two examples of ways we can honor God in our traditions, and make sure that the focus is on Him, rather than some made up story about a rabbit! I hope you have a blessed Easter season creating memories with your family.

There are many different ways to create resurrection eggs and an Easter Garden. Here are some links to some other versions of these ideas.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/03/a-family-christian-activity-for-easter-make-a-grace-garden-a-visual-parable/

http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/non-editible/other-non-edible/easter-garden.html#.T2dkLwUIHNs.pinterest

http://www.rainbowcastle.org/resurrectioneggs.html

http://www.livingonadime.com/recipes/reseggs.html

 

A Lesson on Mercy February 25, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans,Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 1:21 am
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Lent Day 3

Today I prepared a lesson on mercy for Makayla as a part of our homeschool time. Here is what we did:

Lesson: Jesus and Mercy

Objective: For the child to understand that Jesus teaches us to be merciful.

Materials Needed: fabric, glue, scissors, people cutouts, yarn, dowels, picture bible.

Time: 30 minutes

Procedure:

1) Using our illustrated family bible we read selections from Matthew chapter 4,6, and 7, Luke chapter 6, and also the Beatitudes.

2) We then talked about how Jesus teaches us to treat people including; feeding the hungry, loving people who hurt you, and caring for the poor and needy.

3) Using the cloth scraps, cutouts, and glue we then ‘dressed’ a figure who was in need of clothing.

Real Life Application: After the lesson and craft, we went through some of Makayla and Harper’s clothing and filled a bag which we dropped of at a local charity.

For tomorrow:

Cultivating a Heart for Mercy

 

Ladybugs Lesson February 18, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 6:42 pm
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Big Idea: Ladybugs are good and useful insects that help gardens to grow.

Time: 20-10 minutes

Age: Preschool

Materials Needed: Ladybug book, butcher paper, paint, celery bottom, green marker, glue, and red tissue paper.

Lesson:

1) Read Ladybugs by Cari Meister from the Checkerboard Science and Nature Series, or any other factual book on ladybugs.

2) Using the bottom of a celery stalk, stamp flowers onto butcher paper using multi-colored paint. With a green marker, add greenery to  your garden.

3) Using the tissue paper, make red balls for ladybugs. Attach them to the garden with glue.

4) Review how Ladybugs help gardens to grow by keeping out pests who would eat the plants.