Thursday, September 01, 2011

learnin' {a rambling post}

"a boy can be driven to learn
till he loses half his wits:
forced fruits have little flavor;
a man at five is a fool at fifteen."
{charles spurgeon}
{photo by aaron ruell via swiss miss}

many of you have school on the brain.
your kiddos are headed back for another year, chock full of lessons.
others of you have waved goodbye and fought back tears as your sweetie began kindergarten,
sending them away to school for the very first time ever.
and, some of you have embarked on your journey to teach your children at home.
this would make you home schoolers.
know what? i want to be one of those. a home schooler.
know what else? i also want to send my child to school.
for our family, there are many positive points to both options.
the decision will be made ultimately by what we feel the lord leading us to do.
when the time comes.
that time is not now. elijah isn't even three yet!

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him."
{james 1:5 esv}

i seem to be bombarded with information from friends
and acquaintances about educating my child.
as in starting to do school stuff. now.
have you seen my child?
he is the epitome of busy toddler-ness.

last week i read an excellent post on greta's blog.
by the way if you are not a reader of hers, become one today. food for the soul, i say!
her point was the importance of play time.
she shared some research information that really made my heart hurt.
children in most schools are not given nearly enough time to just play.
isn't that what children ought to be doing? like, as their main gig?
anyway, go read the post. you're welcome.

elijah plays hard. all. day. long.
and that makes me happy.
he isn't talking well yet, some may say he's behind. i might agree.
he is really smart though! just...not on demand.
i'll sit down with puzzles to do with him. totally not interested.
he's awesome at just tossing the puzzles into the air,
and dancing in the pieces as they rain down.
i sometimes get frustrated.
why doesn't he want to do the puzzles? doesn't he know how?
well, he does know how.
when i ask him to pick up the puzzles before we head out to the park,
he darts right over to them...and puts them together and puts them away.

elijah loves:
a roll of tape
lots more rolls of tape
a hundred blankets made into a fort
play doh
running, dancing and music
crayons and blank paper
folding clothes
hot wheels cars
scooping out ingredients for baking cookies
eating cookies

playing is important for him right now. and i am working on being ok with that.
i was letting myself get all fussed up about all he doesn't know.
pediatricians, and smart people in general, can intimidate me sometimes.
in the future, we may discover that elijah has been behind for a reason. right now though,
he is still two years old, and i just think that is most of what his "problem" is.
feel free to pray for wisdom for our family as we continue to grow with our sweet boy!

all that being said about play...i have been doing some "educational" things with elijah sometimes.
nothing structured, and all done as part of his play. it is really a hit with him. it's a hit with me, too!

of course, my goal is to teach my child the gospel.
i want elijah-and lord willing future siblings-to know christ and walk in his ways.
in addition to scripture reading though,
here's what we're doing a bit of:
 these three kumon books. i think these books are just too stinkin' adorable.
they are simple, colorful and even educational.
elijah isn't exactly 100% correct on his cutting, folding or tracing.
he tries though. and he enjoys trying. he is playing at it:)
his favorite part so far has been holding pencils to trace and draw lines.
next we have this book.
my cousin ashley suggested this months ago, and i bought a copy right away!
it is filled with activities to do weekly with your child. 
every activity has a principle to teach or a sense to stimulate. many of the things in here are every day things you are probably doing anyway in your home! the beauty is, it directs you in how to make these activities work for teaching your child something. almost without teaching them. does that make sense?
i highly recommend you snag a copy-if for nothing else, the awesome cover design. ha.

wow. my spiritual gift might be rambling.

i'm excited to learn what our future holds!
fretting about educating just isn't a part of our lives right now.
playing and taking advantage of every opportunity is.

whether you homeschool or not,
what are some practical ways you teach at home?

"She opens her mouth with wisdom,
   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
{proverbs 31:26 esv}


  1. With the daycare kids I use the Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood by Pam Schiller and Pat Phipps. It follows Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory which explains that children are all different and learn differently. So each "theme" incorporates linguistic, logical, spatial, bodily, musical, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

    It includes songs, stories, finger play, crafts, and books that go along with the theme. The themes are simple and you can do as much or as little as you'd like.

    I have a child that is a hands on learner (like myself) so your typical school work can be challenging for him; especially tests. He learns from doing... not reading and writing it. Multiple Intelligence Theory allows ALL kids to learn how they were designed to learn.

  2. We have the best of both worlds. I home school 2 days a week and my daughter goes to school 3 days a week. We LOVE it!!! My son has been in intensive speech therapy and now they want to test him for some developmental delay. He's a smart kid and I feel like the doctors and therapists are the ones making him feel inadequate. He's 4 1/2 and like Elijah some might consider him behind but I know he's right on for who he is! He can play all day but has taken an entire year to learn how to write the letter A. They will eventually get it. Sorry for rambling :) Good luck with whatever you do decide!!

  3. my friend is a pediatric nurse and she knew alot of children that had NOTHING wrong with them, they just weren't on the society timeline of development, each child is indivudal and each child is blessed and most importantly, they are children, they want to play! lol. i found this article awhile back, i thought it was interesting... you might enjoy it, not to say its what to do or anything at all like that but i just thought the premise of what learning is and can be was cool. i think there is a balance to it but still a cool article.
    you are a great mama!



  4. Smart people in general....
    Haha! Loved that line! Me too!
    I keep reminding myself & it's a 'known' on my heart that if I seek Him & His wisdom. He'll make me wise in blogging (someday) & in life! :)
    Loved your mix of funny & informative here!
    My husband has 5 brothers & sisters. All homeschool & we are strongly leaning the other direction!
    Thanks for this!!! Good day!

  5. You are such a loving mama, Hannah. We were really hoping to do a homeschool hybrid program which for me is the best of both worlds. 2 days of homeschool, 3 days in the classroom. Next year, God willing. I love the suggestions you shared.

  6. I don't have much to say in terms of advice, but I can emphasize with you. I find myself doing this too with Jude. Focusing on what he isn't doing rather than celebrating what he is mastering. It's very unfair to little Jude. He's not even 2 yet. Come on, Alyss. Thanks for this post and for your little suggestions.

    And I totes agree with you on the tug-a-war between homeschooling and regular school. There are so many good points to both options. I think we just have to lay it at God's feet and pray for His guidance. The decision is too heavy to make on our own! Praying for your fam, Hannah.

  7. Hannah,
    You are doing GREAT with Elijah, and he is just perfect the way he is. Every child is different, and God showed me a LONG time ago that HE will give me wisdom with each one; when Faith was very very young (infant), I was getting all kinds of advice, and being the people pleaser/self-doubter/God-untrusting person that I am, I was so overwhelmed and frightened that I was doing everything wrong--until one day God showed me, all the well- meaning advice was contradicting one another. There was no way to do everything I was being told. And He showed me, she was given to us and He would show us what He wanted us to do. Now, have I always followed this and never worried or been overwhelmed? Of course not; you probably know how I worry. And if you check out all the unused homeschool cuuriculum I bought because I saw someone else had it and knew I was cheating my kids (but it didn't work for our fam or child), you would see how I still give in....But when I do trust and follow Jesus, it works. (duh!)Elijah is yours, and God arranged for him to be in your home for you and Patrick to parent and love. You (and all these other young moms) are doing a terrific job rearing him! I think loving them unconditionally (as possible) and training them in the way God wants is the most important thing, and you are doing that. The rest will come in time. All 5 of mine are different. One was so hands on, needing to move, I had them read a sentence or word, then run around the couch, etc. One read at 4, one at 5, 2 at 6, and 1 at 7. (not in any order, to protect their identities :>} ). It's all good. Two went to speech therapy; what a lousy mom I felt at the time--someone else had to point out that they needed it! It's ok. They are all functioning, trying to follow God, young adults now. We love them and they love us. What more can I ask? I hope this does not sound preachy or holier than thou! I do NOT mean it that way; I want to encourage you because I admire you and all the other young moms who are doing such a much better job than I ! God is so wonderful and in spite of me, His grace accomplishes. Oh, and it can change in a minute; life is not perfect and things have to be readjusted and changed at times. Anyway, I love you, dear girl, and will continue to be praying! I think you are AWESOME!

  8. Oh, and one of my gifts is rambling, too :>)

  9. We ALL need to play more. Great for Elijah showing us how. Grab your teachable moments and then just play, play, play. Two is soooo young yet, play is learning.

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  11. Oh Hannah, how often I have to remind myself, "he is only _____". Because all of my boys are doing just fine, even though I sometimes get eager to push them along a little more quickly. You are doing a GREAT job and good for you for engaging him. My boys could play with cars and trucks ALL DAY LONG. And you know what? That's fine by me, because life happens quickly enough. Bless you, my dear!

  12. ah. here's the rub. when we are anticipating a child, we parents often say that nothing else matters except that they healthy and normal. then when the child starts to grow, we compare and measure and mark their progress against others (often with the help of well meaning friends, family, nurses, and doctors).

    do we not remember that each one was created individual by an almighty God? there are no two alike! why do we compare? so not fair the children. i have found myself comparing in the past...and it accomplished nothing. a diagnosis sometimes doesn't mean squat!

    pray and pray and pray! I constantly ask God for wisdom. wisdom concerning each of my (3) children. "if any one lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives freely to all" (my paraphrase there)

    here's what i know: Obedience is the key to everything. I prayed about what we should do for school when my oldest was 4. i felt like He was telling me to homeschool. i did not want to homeschool, so I presented the lord with my (very suitable) alternative: private christian school. we filled out all of the paperwork, interviewed, sent off our registration check, and promptly got a call from the school administrar. apparently, it had never happened before, but they mysteriously ran out of spaces, and our son just missed being admitted by a hair. I was trying to do it my way, and God shut the door. again He told us to homeschool. i was mad and sad and now...very unprepared feeling, but i grudgingly obeyed.

    it worked. it worked crazy good. like it never should have worked. not because of me (the last thing i ever wanted to do was teach...ever), but it worked wonders beacuse God blessed the grudging obedience that i offered.

    there are many seasons to raising our children, and i am not committed to homeschooling forever! each year, my husband and i seek the lord for what he would have us do for THAT YEAR. if He says keep homeschooling...we do. if he says send them to school...we will. obedience is key.

    also, obedience is what we work on for the first year(s) in our home. everything about homeschooling hinges on that obedience. if a child is struggling with obeying...we do no school until the heart is in line.

    so god taught me to be obediant and i teach the children obedience. funny to be learning along with my kids:)

    love ya

  13. great stuff as usual, friend! please don't fret about schooling--God's got a great plan for Elijah and I know you're praying about it! He'll let you know step-by-step what His plan is.....He's always been faithful to do that for me :) great stuff you recommended--thanks!!

  14. God will lead you in the direction you should go for your child when it is time. wait and enjoy every moment till then.

    in the meantime one book i would recommend is the children's version of the devotional "Jesus Calling." my husband reads this to us every school morning and it has encouraged great conversation. i think it is good for young children, tailoring your conversation to fit him.

  15. Spiritual gift might be rambling! Ha! That made me laugh!! :) Mine might be procrastinating! :)

    You are doing great things for your little one letting him play and looking into these wonderful activities! He is so blessed to have you!! One of my kids does a homeschool co-op, so he kind of gets the best of both worlds. We've really loved it!

  16. That second book looks awesome... The cover, too...haha. Thanks for sharing all the great ideas. I am going to head over to Greta's blog since you rave about it. :0)
    I didn't realize Elijah was two. For some reason, maybe from all his pics, I thought he was older. He looks older. My little guy is two and has such a chubby baby face but he's tall so people are always thinking he's older. To me he still looks like such a baby! :0) Okay... why am I rambling on about myself on your blog? LOL! I didn't get the greatest sleep last night.

    Thanks again for the great info.

  17. i am SO grateful for all of you ladies! thanks for your sweet and helpful comments. xo