30 October 2008
We've often lamented the fact that the rooster seems to know exactly where our bedroom window is and even before the sun rises, will position himself there and begin crowing for all he's worth. And contrary to what I had always thought - that roosters crow 5 or 6 times and then are finished for the day - this guy will go on and on - for and hour or longer, crowing every minute or so. We think he's trying to tell us he's hungry and to come out and feed him.
This morning, Tim said he was awakened at 5:30 by one of the young roosters... attempting to crow. And he said he woke up laughing, because the little guy was crowing, but he had it all backwards.
Meanwhile, Rebekah Joy sits here in chilly Michigan, bemoaning the fact that she wasn't there to hear his first crow...
28 October 2008
25 October 2008
22 October 2008
21 October 2008
18 October 2008
- For safety and smooth connections as we travel;
- For good health;
- For carpool and homework schedules Tim's trying to keep up with;
- For Tim as he has a busy studio schedule over the next few months;
- For our friends here who are pitching in to help;
- For a healthy mama and baby (preferably arriving sometime end of Nov/early Dec);
- For a quick and smooth passport/visa process for our new addition; and
- For God's sustaining grace as our family is apart.
17 October 2008
This is one of our favorite books (although he's enjoying reading about rockets and space, too). The "3-D" ladybugs, the colorful paintings and all the other little critters the kids get to name - this book has so many wonderful characteristics. We read it forwards as a pure story book (which is a little scary for the little ones as they think something bad is happening to all of the ladybugs) and backwards (when first learning how to count) and then forwards again when learning to count backwards, from 10 - 1. I've used this book to teach counting ever since Rebekah Joy received it as a Christmas present when she was 2 or 3 years old (Ladybugs are the subject of a family joke with her... from the time she was about 6 months old, she'd chased them down and eat them... and while that behavior has extinguished itself now, she says she can actually remember doing this... YUCK!). I'm pretty sure I can "read" it without even looking at the book any more! Jonathan loves it, as does Elsie Mae - they almost come to blows each morning as we practice counting with it - each wanting the privilege of holding the book on "their" lap. As you can imagine, our copy is well-worn. The binding is held together by packing tape - which is held together by more tape - and I've had to restrict general access to the book, trying to baby it along until the kids and I get back to the States and can buy another copy - which is a priority in our list of "things to do" once we get over jet lag!
Have any of you ever read or used this book in home schooling or otherwise? Do you have a favorite book to read? Let us know! We are always looking for good ideas!10 Little Ladybugs was written by Melanie Gerth, and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith.
14 October 2008
11 October 2008
10 October 2008
08 October 2008
06 October 2008
That was the first headline that popped up on Yahoo today as I popped on line to check our email after lunch. Sometimes I don't know what to do with information like that... after all, we always have chickens, lizards (geckos, margouillats, chameleons, etc.,), hedgehogs, gerboas, turtles, desert tortoises, parrots, finches, sparrows... around at any given time. Since when have chickens been classed as an exotic pet - I know several farmers that would find THAT amusing! Any and all of these have been "exotic pets" at our house - depending on the latest passion of our children and what creatures have been convenient to catch. And, we most definitely have children under the age of 5.
Reading something like this used to either terrify me or make me feel guilty; after all, what parent wants to see their child suffer, especially if the suffering is preventable. However, I think I'm learning that as a parent, I'm not able to protect my child from everything, pain and suffering are inevitable parts of this life and avoiding all such potential "danger" doesn't really protect or teach them anything. I can either program robots who do what they are told because they've not yet realized or been given any other choice or I can teach these little people to begin thinking through consequences (I'm talking age appropriately, here), developing good habits and to choose obedience to remain in relationship and avoid painful consequences.
So while I appreciate the advice of medical personal, personally, I think I'm much better off investing my time in teaching habits of cleanliness for during and after playing with any of our menagerie of critters, providing supervision so that we don't find Elsie Mae sharing a snack of millet from the same feeder as the chicks, and trusting that their little bodies are building immunity the way God created them to while letting our children experience a wealth of activities (under surveillance) to enrich and broaden their worlds, teach them independence, help them learn to choose obedience and letting them learn to respect, appreciate and wonder at the magnificent and amazing world God has created.
Anna came home from school on Friday all excited - she had been selected by her class to receive the "Bon de vertu," to be awarded Monday (i.e. TODAY!) morning. At École Alliance, they select a character trait that they choose to work on as a school - and focus on that trait for the next week... or sometimes two or three weeks. Most recently, their "vertu" has been assiduity (I personally thought it was a pretty good vocabulary word, too. How many people can recall the definition of assiduity to mind readily?) They take the character trait, define it and then discuss concrete examples of how they can demonstrate that particular trait in a classroom setting and then also elsewhere: the playground, in the car on the way to school, at home working on homework, at home helping their parents, out playing with friends, in the market...
So what have our children learned about "assiduity" the past couple of weeks? Well, here are some synonyms: application, attentiveness, constancy, diligence, indefatigability, industriousness, perseverance, persistence, steadiness, studiousness, tirelessness... They've learned that it is sticking with your job (whatever it is), until it is completed and done well. They've also learned that it is devoted attention and loyalty to your family and friends, even when it is hard and might cost you something. What valuable truths for them to learn, especially when at home, we add the Biblical authority in teaching truths such as:
- Col 3:23-24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
- Prov 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
- Prov 18:24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
And frankly, of all of our children, I can't think of a kid who deserves this award more so than Anna. Our other school age children (Brendan, Rebekah, Nadia and Victoria) have all been blessed with the ability to learn easily, quickly, and for the most part, without significant effort. For Anna, math comes that way - but reading and especially the mechanics of writing, are both challenging. The reading skills are progressing with maturity (she is understanding grade level reading in two languages) - but the writing seems to be a continual battle - neatness, legibility and speed... even remembering the mechanics of how to form certain letters. And this is a skill that is often taken for granted in academic settings - particularly in the French system which requires much copying, note taking (even at the 1st and 2nd grade levels), memorization and dictation work. Even in her best/easiest subjects - math and english - she has to contend in this writing battle. While most of our children spend a maximum of one hour on homework a night - it is not unusual for Anna to keep pluggin' away... for 2 or 2.5 hours... and for the most part, without too much complaining or whining about it. She's such a relational person, she loves the one on one time with whoever (Mom, Dad, brother, sister, friend...) is helping/supervising her work.
Apparently her teacher and classmates have noticed this same diligence and attention to her work, as well as her attention and devotion to her friends, because she was their choice to win the award this week. And I just received the telephone report from her daddy - who went to the ceremony to see her receive her award... she was grinning "like a Cheshire cat!" Even that, in and of itself, is a huge step. Last year when she was selected to receive an award, she was so nervous about standing up in front of the whole school that she was on the verge of tears the whole time. I think Anna recognizes what an accomplishment this is for her, that she is pleased to see her progress and I'm praying that all of this will encourage her to continue to progress in her academic abilities, with assiduity.
02 October 2008
I wish I had had working batteries in the camera - he did very well for a first try, the girls informed me that Daddy is much gentler than Mama, and now I know that at least he's capable to make sure the girls look presentable when they leave the house for the three months I'll be gone...Now, whether I can be sure he'll actually do it? Well, I won't go there yet - I've still got two weeks to keep working on him! --------------------------