I have wanted a whiteboard almost as long as we have been homeschooling. I could never justify getting one because we used other items instead. The girls have small whiteboards that we would use for lessons and we have a magnetic calendar that we hang on the wall. Nevertheless, I wanted a whiteboard. That great expanse of white, begging for words to fill its blank space, called out to me as I passed it in the school supply aisle. Recently, I decided that I would get a white board to fill the drab beige space on our school wall. It would go under the alphabet cards and above the magnetic calendar. To my utter disappointment, the space at the store where my white board once waited patiently for me to claim it was vacant. Hoping a store employee could locate it, I waited patiently as she scanned the shelf tag. Her news was beyond disappointing: they were out of stock and would not be in for 2 weeks. I drug myself to the next aisle, hoping it wsa just a bad dream. As I looked up, I quickly forgot about the whiteboard because what I saw was breath-taking. Before me was a Crayola Dry Erase Poster. It had colorful lines (also begging to be filled with words), was 17 x 24" big and cost half the price of my white board. I quickly checked out and brought home my newest friend. We have kept the poster busy with discussions around the poster, all of us taking turns writing on it. The girls enjoy copying things from it, adding to it, and participating in group activities again. My wish came true!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
03/28/11It didn't take the girls long to realize that the homeschool board was different. They were excited about the prospect of a special trip. I warned them to be attentive this week because other surprises will be showing up. I'm not sure what the surprises will be, but April Fool's Day will definitely be fun this year.
Today is Monday, March 28, 2011. Our character quality this week is attentiveness. I am excited about the audition today at the theater. If we get our work finished early, we will go to the museum on the way to the theater.
As usual, I referred to The Character Journal for Bible verses, songs, and more. I also went to Character First! for more activities and ideas.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We give our oldest daughter a $100 budget for her birthday party each year. Wanting to stretch her budget, she decided to have a theme that would allow her to shop the clearance sales after Valentine's Day. The theme she landed on was a sugar-loaded Sweet Shoppe. She knew that she would save money on the candy that would serve as decorations as well as goody-bag fillers. The day after Valentine's Day, we hit Wal*Mart and bought lots of candy. Then we struck gold at Target. Their Valentine's partyware was pink, red, teal, green, orange and yellow striped. We got a table cloth, napkins, and plates. We filled in the gaps with plain cups, balloons, and less-expensive candy. This is what we did:
Activities: Pin the Lolly on the Pop (the girls decorated their lollies before the game), Make Your Own Candy Necklace (Valentine's deal), Decorate a Cupcake (the cupcakes were placed on a stand for later), Guess How Many Gumdrops in the Jar, Sweet Shoppe Bingo (with gummy bear markers)
Goody Bags: Prefilled with bracelets, candy flavored lip balm, toothbrushes, and bouncy balls. As they left, girls (and moms) could fill their bags with candy.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
When I woke up, I stared at my phone. Do I check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. like every other morning or do I give it a day off. What if it turns out like yesterday that I find out about something going on at work or with a friend that needs my immediate attention? Then I reminded myself that if someone needs me, they will call or message me, not post it on their Facebook status. After thoroughly thinking through every possible angle of this quandry for all of 30 seconds, I picked up my phone and started through the routine. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was needed and I wasn't going to get that call or message. As I read message after message, I realized that my prayers were needed immediately. Near the top of the page, a friend in Japan posted that he and his family were all safe. Another friend posted that her son who had just left for his duty station in Japan was accounted for, as well as all other U.S. military personnel. Then I read about the largest earthquake Japan had ever experienced. It reminded me of the morning I turned on the morning news like any other morning but what I saw took me to my knees. 9/11. The biggest difference between the two experiences is the delivery. Instead of watching the news footage, videos and photos taken by everyday people rolled across the computer. Isn't technology amazing? I'm so thankful for the ability to choose whether to know at a moment's notice what is going on.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
First thing every morning I grab my phone from the nightstand and check to see what's going on in the world. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, I check them all to see what happened while I was getting my beauty sleep. Sometimes I see that someone commented on a post, but usually I just browse through my group updates and delete lots of e-mail. Today there was a post on my employer's Facebook page, which is a rarity. I work on Thursdays at a local municipality, mostly doing their water billing, but performing other tasks as needed (like creating their Facebook page). The post, entered by a council member at 4:30 this morning, was short and sweet: City water is shut down due to a leak. Ugghhh...really? On the one day that I work. Actually, I worked last Monday to cover for another worker and the water was shut down due to a leak. It was chaos. I was the only person in the office and people went crazy. "I paid my bill, why is my water off?" "I know I'm late, can you turn my water on? I will pay the bill on Friday." "Why didn't you call and tell me my water was being shut off? I was getting ready tot ake a shower. By the way, my water bill is high, can someone take a look at my meter today?" "I just moved into town and need my water turned on. Today." The good thing last week was that I didn't know it was happening until I got to work. I had a relaxing morning with my family like any other day. Today, I got to think about it all morning as I rush to get ready and on my way to work. As a matter of fact, I started my work day at home, calling the media to alert them of the situation and fielding phone calls from the office. Tomorrow, I'm going to start my day with the Good Book rather than Facebook.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Our family recently began formally studying character qualitiesas part of our homeschool day. When looking for lessons, I had two main criteria:
1. I wanted something that all of my children would benefit from
2. I wanted something that went beyond the basics and incorporated scripture.
started with comprehensive lists of character qualities found at Character First and the Duggar Family's website. I used these lists to create a list for our family. Here is the entry on our list for humility:
Humility vs. Pride
Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
Generally, we begin a new quality on Wednesday. Each child receives a worksheet and writes the quality at the top of the page. On Wednesday, we talk about the word, the dictionary definition, its synonyms and antonyms, and the operational definition. We go through the operational definition word by word, taking it down to simple terms. Then each child tells me what it means to her. Lastly, we discuss other character qualities that work with this quality. On Thursday, we review the meaning of the word and relate it to the Bible. We discuss several verses relating to the quality. We then talk about a few key Bible figures who do and do not live this quality. We also talk about how Jesus shows this quality in his life. Over the weekend, I look for ways to remind the kids about the quality in every day life. On Monday, we review what we learned the prior week and move on to the application. We talk about how we can live out this quality as individuals and as a family. This is the best part, because the kids make connections to their life choices. On Tuesday, we again review what we learned over the past few days and the kids draw pictures of themselves displaying this quality. We wrap up the quality by putting the worksheets in a book the kids are each creating.
A few tips: I found it works well to begin the quality on Wednesdays for two reasons. Wednesday is the day that we are most consistently home so I can expect to have a good chunk of time to allocate for this. Also, it works well to be in the middle of a lesson on the weekend. The kids are still focused on what we are learning rather than in between lessons. Rather than being a gap, the weekends have become an extension of our learning time. Secondly, I naturally expect our older children to do more writing and thinking in these lessons that what I expect from our younger children. As with anything, don't allow your children to burn out. When I see that my younger ones have had enough, I help with the writing or change gears. Thirdly, with all of the language lessons built into these activities, you must count this time for language arts hours or you will be cheating yourself!
To study the character qualities, I pieced several things together for our family. In addition to the lists I mentioned above, I found a good start at Home Life Ministries. In their Character Journals, you will find a wealth of information including stories, Bible verses, and my favorite, a list of five "I Wills" for each quality. We work those into each week.
Do you have another great resource for character studies? Please comment and share them here.