Creation Unit

We are wrapping up the Creation Unit. It was a sweet introduction and we all enjoyed it. We are beginning a tradition where after each Unit, the children will present their projects and information they learned to their dad. We just finished doing this and Snicklebritches read “On the 7th day, God read.” not “rested”. That was cute.

Fair warning. I am a new blogger. I am not good with formatting. I will learn as I go. Here come the pictures.

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Snicklebritches was able to do her Creation book independently. She truly made it HER OWN.   This is why hers look all messy. And that is exactly why I love it! 

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Here is WiggleButt out at the park with us looking for things God created.

 

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God created leaves and berries. And flowers.
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God created ducks. 
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Their Creation books will become keepsakes. These are precious and I love their handprints they made in the land one.

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Man made this footpath. Not God.

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Snicklebritches working on her numbers of the days of Creation. This  banner is now hanging up in her room and she is very proud of it.

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I put together a sensory bin for creation unit. It has floral grass, dyed blue rice, white beans, and black beans. We read through Gerald McDermott’s book “Creation” as they play with the sensory bin.

ImageImageWigglebutt required heavy hands-on assistance with all his work, This is part of the package when you choose to home-educate your severely developmentally disabled child.

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The children enjoyed this gentle begin to their kindergarten year. Snicklebritches knows her numbers and she knows how to read, but this is perfect because she lacks the fine motor skills to write and to enunciate certain sounds. Kindergarten will give her time to gain the fine motor skills necessary for the more intense first grade program MFW offers. It also gives Wigglebutt a chance to learn alongside his younger sister at first.

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Both the children enjoyed this book, but as you can see, Wigglebutt hogged the week’s book to himself. He loved the bright crisp colorful pages that was busy enough to keep him engaged without sending him into sensory overload. His sister Snicklebritches loved how the letters were easy to read to herself and she enjoyed reading it aloud to us just to show us that she could. I tried to get a video clip, but she is still shy about reading on camera.

There it is- what we’ve done the past two weeks.

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!!!

Grabbing the bull by the horn

WiggleAngel has been rebelling at his state school. After some prayer, research, and personal investigation by surprising the teachers, I think I figured out why he loved it the first year and began to hate it this year. They use the exact same material, day after day, each year. My son remembers this from last year and the one before that. They use the same everything. They scribble on pictures of the same little boy, year after year. The first week of October’s worksheets has been the exact same thing each year and the exploratory sensory project from the second week of last April is the exact same thing sent home last week. They do not change things up and these children are in the same classroom from preK to 2nd learning life skills. My son is bored. He may be still mentally 3 years old, but he is bored. I realized that if I was to hold him back in any other school, that he would end up with a different teacher teaching different material. It’d still be at his level, but different.

 

For this reason, I will have WiggleAngel repeat kindergarten, but not repeat the same curriculum. This year, he will do My Father’s World Kindergarten and next year, it’ll be the Kindergarten from a different curriculum, like Heart of Dakota or Sonlight or something else. It’d still be at his level, kindergarten, but different. I am learning from the school’s mistakes of what NOT to do with my son and what to DO with my son. I attended a convention this weekend and I am energized. I am ready to tackle this educational bull by the horns and take it down. My WiggleAngel can learn! If the school won’t teach him, fine, I will. God help me.  Image

How can you teach your kids?

I was asked how do I teach the kids. Well, first, let me ask you. How did the parents in Biblical times teach their kids? There were not public schools. They did not send their kids to the house of the book until their kids were 12/13. Reading, writing, arithmetic were the parents’ responsibility and the rabbis expected the kids to already know these by the time they came to the house of the book. They would stay at the house of book from daybreak to noon then go have lunch and then go on to their respective apprenticeships (learning a trade). This kept up as late as the New Testament (Timothy was taught at home first before coming to be taught at the house of the book. So how did these parents teach their small children how to read, write, and do arithmetic? I can only assume it was through the natural ways of the Scripture, by using the Bible as a tool from morning to bedtime, like in Deuteronomy. Fathers were commanded to train their children by answering their questions. My daughter’s starting to ask questions and when we answer them, she’s learning. The teaching method that’s modeled in the bible is rote learning. Memorize genealogies, memorize the plagues, memorize the Biblical wars, kings, etc. Then as they get older, they’ll start asking questions about these facts. They went to the house of book already familiar with these facts. They were able to start asking their rabbi the hard questions right away, they didn’t have to waste time learning about the facts first. I don’t withhold the hard facts from my kids. For instance, today, I took my special needs son along with me to my women’s bible study. We dig deep into the historic roots of the Scriptures, we discuss wars, the horror stories, the atrocities committed. She was narrating the facts while showing us a map. My son shocked me by staring intently at the map she was holding up and then at home, he got my Bible out, flipped to the back where the maps are, there’s several, and I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized he had flipped to the map closest to the one that Carol had been using in Bible study. Who knows… perhaps my son understood every single word and it was a heavy dark topic. I do not shelter my kids from the brutality in the Bible, but I try to wait until they are able to dialogue with me about it. As I research how children learned in those times, I realized they listened to their father read the Scriptures out aloud, even the gory parts. After all, education boils down to the way of the Lord. (I found this information in the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, which is available on Bible study tools and here http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/tocnode?id=g9781405127202_chunk_g978140512720214 )

 

So, HOW do I teach my kids from scratch? I suppose it’s just by living. I get in the dirt with my daughter and I scribble in the mud with a stick showing her how to form her letters. I curl up with my son and read the Bible and other classic books aloud to him as he dozes off to sleep. I let my daughter peel potatoes for supper. I guide my son through the signs when worshipping God. I teach my children from scratch through Christ. If I was doing it all by myself, I am sure it would be an impossible task, with me being deaf, them hearing and autistic. But like the above source pointed out, education is the way of the Lord. How can I not teach my kids from scratch? It’s simply living for Christ.  

Why homeschool?

Our motto is “Seasoning our children’s souls through Christ”. This sums it all up. How am I to season my children’s souls through Christ if I don’t keep them at home to fill them up with salt, so that it is good and flavorful? (Matthew 5:13) We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) therefore we shall train our children so that when they are older they are set in their ways for life. (Proverbs 22:6) rather than sending them out into the secular world (public school system) before they have been trained to be set in their ways for life, lest the salt lose its savory properties and is cast out to be trampled under people’s feet.

For us, homeschooling isn’t simply an alternative to education. It’s a ministry we’ve been called into. It’s a discipleship to heed the Bible and raise our children the way God himself instructed us to do so. In essence, by homeschooling, I am obeying God by seeking a Christ-centered life for my children. This is also why we chose My Father’s World. It’s truly Christ-centered. Oh, we do drool over catalogs from WinterPromise, Sonlight, Timberdoodle, and so on, but none of these compare to how truly Christ-centered this curriculum is. We prayerfully make many choices on our children’s behalf as it is.

That being said, we looked around at how we can rear our children according to the Biblical model, by having them marinate themselves in God’s words from waking up to bedtime. Public school is no go because the Bible isn’t allowed to be openly discussed in the educational setting. Some schools are even forbidding students from praying. This is an non-supportive environment to a child’s floundering faith. Therefore, we investigated the local Christian schools. We liked what we saw until we looked at the price tag. We dropped that idea like a hot potato. They are simply out of our budget; period. Now, if God blesses my husband with a lucrative job, we will reconsider the private Christian school idea. For now, realistically, these schools all are beyond our ability to pay for it. It’s a struggle as it is to afford each year’s curriculum.

Also, I’ve noticed that if we do send them to a private school, there would be the dilemma of making sure our family comes first. It will become a lot more difficult to do so when everybody is gone at school/work for 8 hours a day, five days a week. A family centered lifestyle is possible doing this, but it would be a challenge. It made more financial sense to homeschool in order to have our children close by rather than surrendering them to the government.

Oh, speaking of the government, I’m doing a roundabout on my thinking. I think it’s wrong to release our children to authority figures before they can clearly understand the intricacy of right and wrong. After reading several books about protecting our children from predators, I learned that it’s simply too risky to allow a child to be away for many hours a day while a child is still in the developmental stage of learning about obeying authority figures. Children begin to comprehend the concept of telling another adult if they feel something is wrong at approximately age ten. Coincidentally, this happens to be the same age required for a child to be in order to go off on activities without the parent present, such as camping with boy scouts, sports in schools, and such.

Back to the authority figure point. I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that the parent is to be the authority figure in a child’s life when they are a child. I learned that Hebrew children in Biblical times did not go on to tutorships under teachers until they were 13, after their manhood rites. Wow. They learned everything else at home up to this point. This means if I am to follow the Biblical model, the family is responsible for their children’s education up to age 13 then that’s when they go on to learn from teachers, schools, synagogues, and such. I have friends that are sending their children to school beginning in preschool with the intention of pulling them out when they’re 12-13 years old. This is the reverse of the Biblical way children such as Jesus, David, Solomon, Samuel, and such were reared.

I believe the Bible to be relevant today, so I must obey it. If I am to raise my children to perceive their father as the authority in their lives, aside from God, who am I to introduce a teacher into their lives before they’re ready. I learned this the hard way, when a teacher disciplined my daughter for correcting her on a sign that the teacher was signing inaccurately. Yes, perhaps the public school teacher happens to be also a Christian, but the issue is that the law specifically forbids them from discussing the Bible with my children. My daughter had her britches in a bind for weeks after this incident and even a year later, she continues to be shy about using my language, ASL. All because I forced her to have another authority figure in her life. This greatly saddens me and frustrates this household to start over on learning how to communicate with each other. I am their mother. My language should trump your language in all instances.

My daughter would come home with the light gone from her face and that’s when I realized school was sucking the joy out of learning. I want both my children to become excited about learning. It’s a gift! Everything in this world and beyond is a gift to them from God for the discovering. How can learning not be a joy, when it brings one closer to knowing our Creator? With public school, it was not going to work out this way. However, with homeschooling, we have the ability to ignite a flame within our children’s minds and let them fan it into a blazing fire with hunger for learning. Homeschooling would allow us the flexibility to just be, to let the journey wind to and fro wherever God leads us, not what some curriculum tells them to do at this time on this day. God knows my children’s hearts, not some bigwig that decided all the children in public schools shall know this by first grade, but not this until second grade.

I am beginning to realize that homeschooling would allow me to make the educational experience a wholly-encompassing IEP for my children. No more hair-pulling IEP meetings where I must fight with the school to hold my child back in this subject, but push my child ahead in another subject. It’s a maddening lock-step system. Homeschooling enables us to have the freedom to dawdle on a concept if the children are having trouble grasping it right off the bat. They would have the opportunity to mull it over and hammer it firmly into their memories for retrieval later in life. Also, if they get it right away, we would have the freedom to quickly move on to the next concept, whereas in school the children would be bored while being stuck at the same level waiting on their peers to grasp what they already had.

That’s the thing. Children are individuals. 30 years old adults are not all the same with the same knowledge database. Why do we expect all children to know a certain set of concepts by invented due-dates according to when they were born? I am a grown woman and there are still many concepts I’m finally grasping that were gibberish to me when I was a teenager in school. Each child has an unique personality and a God-given purpose. They aren’t meant to be thrown into the oven of cookie-cutter education.

Another point on the cookie-cutter concept. In my school growing up, after each physical education class, we were required to change in the locker rooms. Those rooms were not set up like the ones at the YMCA where there are lockers set up in smaller rows creating many smaller private areas for friends to share and change in. The locker room at my school was one big room with showers along one wall. I was uncomfortable that the coach kept poking his head into the girls’ locker room and touching a few of us girls while we were nude. Even when he wasn’t being a nosy busybody, it was uncomfortable because I didn’t know where to put my eyes. If I stared at my feet, they would make fun of me for being shy, but if I looked around at the other girls, they would accuse me of being gay, when in fact, I am not. I ended up figuring out that their bra straps was a “safe” area to stare at. We also compared bodies. This girl has a chubby belly, but that girl has a big butt. Why does the boys like her? She’s fat! I do not want my daughter to experience this. Now, I am not saying I don’t want my daughter to ever experience a locker room. She’s been in several at the pool, the ymca, and such. But these locker rooms were set up differently and there were not any female adults present.

As my children’s mother, I wish to be fully informed of their health, since I am financially responsible for their medical bills as it is. I am concerned that more and more public schools are helping children obtain STD testing, prescriptions for birth control, and even abortions behind their guardians/parents’ backs. We, the parents, should have rights. Not the schools. I also worry about schools beginning to “help” families catch up on vaccinations whether or not they intentionally left a few vaccinations off their schedule because of religious objections, such as my family does. I would be sick to my stomach to discover schools have began to vaccine children against an unnecessary one such as the HPV. I am protective of my rights as a parent and I worry the schools are helping to erode them bit by bit.

Oh, I don’t mean to imply that schools are out to get our children. They aren’t. There are many good schools that truly care about the students. The problem is the government is growing too big as it is. Do they really need the additional responsibilities of trying to educate the nation’s children? They will fail dismally. The common core frightens me and I will not give them a chance to fail my children in the first place. It is a sad matter that the very good teachers are the ones that are paid a pittance and they also are the same ones that buy extra materials out of their own tiny paychecks and they devote their own unpaid time to help students. If all teachers begin sticking to only the government allocations and the lesson plans laid out by the government without supplements, you will see education decline. This is why curriculum choices should remain within each school district, decided upon by the school board, whom are voted for by the public.

There’s more, but that can wait for another blog post.