MFW Blog Roll

MFW Blog Roll


Stages of Play

ImagePennies in Playdough to improve fine motor skills 


Since I pulled my special needs son out of school, I’ve been researching how to give him what he needs at home. My son is mentally age 2, so I cannot expect him to do kindergarten work yet. I am starting him with Kindergarten, though, alongside his sister, then we’ll take it at his pace after his sister finishes kindergarten. If this means my son has to repeat kindergarten, that is okay. I will use different kindergarten curriculum so he isn’t bored. I think it will be good for him to be left behind in the “child’s garden” until he’s ready to move onto academically rigorous work. After all, kindergarten is literally the german words for “children’s garden”.


I have been researching the origin of kindergarten and I discovered that Friedrich Frobel started the movement as a transition from home to school. He named it children’s garden because he believed children are to be nourished like plants in a garden. He believed no educational activities should be part of kindergarten, only playing, experiences, social interaction, etc. That kindergarten is a place to develop playing skills.


That is what launched me into my current campaign for my son’s well being. “Playing skills”? What’s that? There are skills? What? I have an AA in developmental childhood and University of Maine did not teach us ANYTHING about the stages of play. Oh, yes, I learned about the purpose of play, the roles of adults in children’s play, etc. In my own independent research, I learned of Barnes, Lowe, Nicolich, Parten, and Wehman. I am somewhat angry that University of Maine did not teach us about this, yet gave us our degrees. Anyways, back to the point. I have learned so much and I want to share with you what I learned.


There are stages of play.


Unoccupied play; when the child is not playing but simply observing by remaining off to the side.
Exploratory play; when the child focuses on an activity, such as grasping, squeezing, mouthing toys, throwing, etc, but being uninterested in what others are doing.

Independent play; when the child learns navigate her environment as on playground equipment, manipulating toys together (puzzles, blocks, books, etc).

Parallel Play; when the child imitates other children at play, but stays separate. Not interested in interaction with other children, but interested in interacting with other children for the sake of the activity, such as coloring next to each other, swinging next to each other.

Associative play; when the child is interested in contact with peers, but not in coordinated play, for example, checking out what the other child has, but not sticking around to do the activity with the child. Example: throwing ball, but not sticking around to play catch.

Cooperative play; when the child is interested in doing an activity with a peer, for example, pulling a peer in a wagon, playing a true game of catch.

Symbolic play; when the child is cooperating with other peers to set up elaborate activities such as dress up and putting on a play, playing make believe with dolls, etc.


My daughter is at the associative play stage, which is only a year behind her actual age. This is a relief to have figured out. However, my son is still at the exploratory play stage. A child needs to get through all six stages of play to be successful in academics. Now I have a path marked out to take. Before, just knowing my son is developmentally/cognitively age 2 was daunting. How do I catch him up? But these stages of play encourages me. Now I have a map. I need to get him to master all the stages of play before I can realistically expect him to succeed in academics.


Play intervention will motivate my son to cooperate. If he is to succeed in school, he must learn to cooperate. Play will give him that motivation to want to be a cooperative little boy. It will also give him an experience to look for with everyone he’s around. Repetition is excellent, for example, popping bubbles and play will regulate his sensory system. I just pray that God inspires me with the perfect play activities to go with each unit we are doing this year.


Did you know about these stages? Has your kindergartener already passed all these stages?


Perfect Clarity

courtesy of


I’m legally blind and I must wear glasses. Without them, I can see only 1-2 inches in front of me if I’m reading and I can’t see people in the same room unless they move and if they’re moving, I see blobs. If the door and the wall are the same color, I can’t tell where the door is. That’s how bad my eyesight is. When I take showers, I put my glasses on the nearest flat surface by the shower and have a towel hanging and ready to go.


Today, I did the usual. My son stole my glasses while I was in the shower. I’m deaf, so I didn’t hear him. I finish my shower and reach for my glasses and my stomach dropped when I felt for them and didn’t find them. Uh oh. I wrap the towel around myself and start crawling around like Velma in Scooby Doo feeling for my glasses. I start praying “God, help me find my glasses before they get crushed.”


What I did not expect was for God to open a dialogue with me. He said, clear as crystal, this is why I gave you the Word. Just as the world is fuzzy to your physical eyes without your glasses, the world is fuzzy to your soul without the Word. The Bible is your soul’s glasses to view the world with clarity. When you become busy and neglect to immerse yourself in the Word, you are casting your glasses aside. Why are you indignant that you cannot physically see? That is a simple fix. You should be indignant that you cannot spiritually see!


It was a rebuke well received. Already being on my knees, I prayed. After I repented of getting lazy; for I had not deeply delved into the Bible since my Mereas women’s bible study group stopped for the summer, two weeks ago; after I repented my son brought me my glasses giggling and he ran away again with the glasses clutched in his fist. I stumble after him and God put another vision in my mind- the more diligently I pursue clear vision, the happier the Holy Spirit is to grant it to us. He promised to allow us to know everything with PERFECT CLARITY. I praised God for that promise. I finally get my glasses off the children’s bedroom floor.


I immediately did a topical keyword search for “perfect clarity” and there is only one result! God did indeed promise us perfect clarity in 1 Corinthians 13:12, which says Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.


Our Doctrine Statement

HarvestBell Academy’s Doctrine Statement


The Torah (Hebrew word Torah means “divine teaching”) is the Guideline by which we live. We believe that God reveals doctrine to us in the scriptures, concerning what we ought believe, how we ought behave, and when we ought react. The original word has an answer for every problem, covering all aspects of our lives, past, present, and future. We firmly believe that the very first Bible had no flaws, that it was the PERFECT divine breath of God. We believe that humans, no matter how carefully and diligently they work at it, will always produce imperfect translations of His Words. We are committed to the Bible in its original form as inerrant and authoritative Word of God. It is reliable and true from cover to cover. Matthew 5:18


11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so Acts 17:11 Let us strive to be like the Bereans, doing daily Bible study. The more we study, the more we allow God to work in us and help make things click in our minds and nudge us to investigate further on other passages. We must base our curriculum on the Scriptures.


27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. Psalm 119:27 God knows the right way to live. We can ask Him to help us understand. We won’t understand simply by studying the Scriptures, we must prayerfully petition to God to make us understand his perfect precepts. If one could understand instantly after reading the Word, why would David himself need to plead to the Lord to “make him understand?” It’s a two-fold process from what I’ve seen… to take the Bible literally within its original context with God at your side showing you the right way. Then test, test, and test it against other parts of the Bible. If it does not mesh anywhere else, try again because you misheard God. You must plead to God to make you understand.


17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth John 17:17 Scripture is pure and provides clarity, in other words, it sanctifies us. It illuminates the darkness of the world’s flaws and gives us wisdom in how to handle all kinds of issues; moral, ethical, and spiritual. God will light the candle and then we can shine it in dark corners to find out things. If it muddles and confuses you, that is not of God. The Bible will provide clear clarity. There are even verses pointing to this concept, like the psalm about lamp on feet.


16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 See the middle part…. “The gospel for it ***IS*** the power of God….” The gospel is how God’s power gives us salvation, the gospel is how we can come to believe in Jesus Christ, in Yeshua the Messiah. His name echoes throughout the Bible over and over.


16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 When we have the mind of Christ (by studying His Word), dilemmas become clear. Life itself is confusing and chaotic, but when we look for answers from God, the right answer will leave no doubt. We humans cannot claim to understand what the Lord meant to say, therefore how can translations be inerrant? But by inviting Christ into our study, are we able to have the mind of Christ and then gain glimpses into the mind of Lord himself, so that he may instruct us.


12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 There is NO spiritual weapon superior to the Bible. The Word of God is living and within us. That makes it unique. It becomes our inner being and our natures. It’s able to pierce deeply and cleanly, exposing our inner hearts to be naked for the world to see. This is another reason I stand reassured that the original word of God is inerrant. How can it be alive, sharper than a sword and able to slay souls and bring them to redemption if it isn’t true?


25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25 “The perfect law of liberty”. The Bible is our liberty. If we do, we will be blessed. If we see and not do, then we won’t be fulfilled. Bliss and satisfaction is part of what we do with the Word of God, with our obedience. The law that God handed down to Moses, whispered to Solomon, nudged Hosea, and many more is PERFECT. Let me be a doer that act. Let me not forget to put this into action.


2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– 1 Peter 2:2 What is the pure spiritual milk in this verse? The Bible? I think so. I admit I do not understand the context and nuances of this phrase just yet. I have more digging to do. I feel the Holy Spirit pressing me to investigate this further. Another example of asking Him to make me understand.


4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuternomy 6:4-9 The Word of God has always been all we need and we are required to pass them down to our children every moment we possibly can. God’s Word is THE resource for life and godliness. We are to ensure we focus our children’s attention on the words of the living God and make HIM the centerpiece of their lives. This is the basis of my decision to homeschool my daughter. If I cannot afford to send her to a Christian school where the curriculum is centered on the Scriptures, I must obey the Lord by taking it upon myself to seep her life in the Scriptures to provide her with a firm foundation in life.


15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 15-17 If we say the Bible isn’t inspired by God, we call him a liar. The Bible must be our backbone of the school. It gives us what we need for teaching, for disciplining, for training, for raising our children. The Bible will help my children become competent equipped disciples of Christ. The Bible has EVERYTHING we need to provide our children with a grounded education.



28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 I must get my children used to keeping the Word of God at the center of their lives. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household and it took a huge learning curve of how to properly place God in charge of my life. I kept on taking control back from him. I must allow my Messiah to bear the yoke of my burden, and if I desire for my children to experience this blessing, I must teach them obedience and how to keep his word.



33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119:33-34


130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. Psalm 119


1 John2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in him.


Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, ** unschooling is not Biblical. One must have teachers to equip them.**


Proverbs 312 For the LORD corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights



1 Corinthians 1:20=2120 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.


Wisdom is a gift from God; it is not something that the world can give us through secular education. True wisdom comes from an education rooted in God’s Word.

Thank you SizzleBop for this idea!

I just tried some new advice from the SHEM convention, Carol Barnier of Sizzle Bop told us if the kids come into the bathroom, well, put them to work on fractions.

In my case, that wouldn’t fit. But I took that idea and ran with it. WiggleAngel tends to come into the bathroom and sit on my lap while I’m seated on the royal throne. Aha! I’ll put him to work. There’s a sliding mirror door immediately next to the toilet so I put him to work drawing vertical lines, which he hates. Only, I did not expect it to work so beautifully. While he watched his reflection, I could see the wheels turning in his head. He then took my hands off him and went on to make more perfectly vertical lines!

I suppose he needed to see himself in the mirror as I guided him through the motions for him to understand how to move to make the vertical lines. I would have not tried the mirror with WiggleAngel if not for SizzleBop’s idea of using a white board with fractions in the bathroom to keep the kids out.

Just sharing, in the hopes that maybe you need to try letting your developmentally disabled child use a dry-erase marker on a mirror to help them learn to make marks with writing instruments.

Working on vertical lines for fine motor skills

Working on vertical lines for fine motor skills



Now… if only I could get WiggleAngel to quit using me as his personal handkerchief!!!