Friday, March 28, 2008

Easter fun!

We had such a wonderful Easter Sunday! Lael and Jaden were part of the bell choir at church and enjoyed that so much. Then we had Brent's family over for Easter dinner and also a celebration of Grandma's birthday. We even had time to sneak over to the park for half an hour (trying to run off some of the Easter candy we ate)!

But the best part of the day was when we opened our final Resurrection Egg to find that it, like the tomb, was empty. We worship a LIVING Savior! Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!

By the way, here are my cuties all dressed up for Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Oh, the wonderful cross . . .

It's Good Friday . . . and I've been meditating much today on the cross and what that means to me. The words of this song really speak to me -- it's a combination of a hymn that I've sung since my childhood, along with an additional chorus which reminds me that it's only through death that we can truly live.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride
See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown
Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die
And find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here
By grace draw near
And bless Your name
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an off'ring far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul my life my all

Jesus' death on the cross not only purchased our salvation, but through that death and resurrection, He makes available to us the power that we need to live a victorious, abundant life here on earth. In exchange for His great sacrifice, how can I do less than give my life to Him . . . to live for Him who died for me?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jelly Bean Math . . . How yummy!

Lael and Jaden could hardly wait for math time today . . . because I promised them "Jelly Bean Math"! We had so much fun, and practiced some math skills at the same time -- sorting, counting, comparing numbers to see which was larger or smaller, graphing, adding -- who knew you could learn so much from some jelly beans! (I know I would have enjoyed math much more when I was growing up if my teachers had combined it with candy!)

We thought some pictures would enable you to enjoy our fun time --

Here are the eager students hard at work . . .
Working on their graphs (sorting bags of jelly beans)

The finished graphs . . .

. . . And the proud, jelly bean-filled students!

Learning . . . how sweet it is!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A sweet sibling moment

It's been one of those days today . . . when I felt like all I did today was referee between two children that love each other completely and drive each other crazy almost at the same time! In the relative calm after dinner, I was checking my email and then cleaning up from dinner while they played. All of a sudden, I tuned in to what was going on in the other room. Lael was snuggled up next to Jaden on the couch, reading him a story. That's actually a rather common occurrence here as she loves to read and he loved to be read to. What made this especially sweet was the story she chose to read. It's The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Wahlberg, which is the book we are focusing on in homeschooling this week.

The children have heard this story for two days so far (we read our "focus book" every day for five days), so there were a few words that she didn't yet remember and spelled to me so I could help her out. It's a beautiful story of the true meaning of Easter, but it also features the love of a brother for his older sister who was sick. As I listened to my little princess reading, I could hear in her voice the same enthusiastic expressions that I used in reading the story to them this morning. And as Jaden commented on the events of the story, I heard bits and pieces of discussions we had yesterday about the main character and his feelings.

As I blinked back a tear or two, I realized that when you think they aren't listening . . . they are. When you feel like you haven't gotten anything across . . . you have. And when it seems like it won't make a difference . . . it does. Parenting these two treasures from God is a huge task, often overwhelming. But in moments like these, God gives me a reminder of how blessed I am -- and I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

School fun!

What fun we had today! Our art project came out of two books we read recently: Mouse Paint and Rechenka's Eggs.
The kids had fun making their own "mouse paint" this morning and then painting egg cut-outs.

Lael was very intent on making designs with shapes, just like Babushka did in Rechenka's Eggs:

Jaden especially enjoyed seeing what happened as he mixed different colors together.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Blessed to be homeschooling!

I love our homeschooling adventure! One of the best things about homeschooling, in my opinion, is being right there with my children as they learn and discover things about the world around them. I am so blessed to be able to do this!

Here are some of our recent exciting discoveries and everyday moments on our journey:

  • During the month of February, we read biographies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The books we read mentioned that both of these men were educated at least in part at home. When Jaden heard that part, he said, "Wow, Mom! They were homeschooled just like me!"

  • Lael read a book that showed different methods of telling time, including sundials, water clocks and even using candles as alarm clocks. At the end of the book, it showed how to make a simple water clock using materials from around the house. She asked to make one, and so we did! In the process, she realized that she could change the rate at which the bottle filled with water by making a larger hole for the water to pass through. A simple discovery? Maybe, but it was her discovery and we celebrated it together!

  • Jaden wrote his name by himself for the first time (and it is legible)! He's never even attempted that before, so we all were impressed.

  • Several skills that Lael has been working on have recently "clicked" -- like telling time and putting lists in alphabetical order. It's so much fun to watch her learn. And she has become quite the reader . . . these days it's very common to find her curled up with a book, reading away!
On another note, we had a fun field trip on President's Day to the Crayola Factory . . . we took our family friend "Miss Paula" along. Here are a few of the trip highlights:

Ready or not, here we come! (Lael and Jaden with Miss Paula)

Making some cool creations with Model Magic

Jaden painting with watercolors (one of his favorite art activities)

Lael working on a boat design (she decided that was a lot of work)

Jaden was fascinated with this old railroad light that was part of the Canal Museum (upstairs at the Crayola Factory)

This is the largest crayon ever made! Lael thought it would be hard to color with it, but she wouldn't mind trying!