Lessons in Humility

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This is a short and sweet post… just to share with you a neat little story about a flute.

But first I’d like to tell you– we’ve been working on the character quality of humility at my house this week.  We’ve used a curriculum that I mentioned before, and I love it!  It’s called Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue, and it’s available for immediate download HERE.   Each week (or two), we learn all about a new character quality– it’s definition, a corresponding Bible verse, activities, prayers, and 3 “I wills.”  Here’s a peek at this week’s main page.

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We learned that humility is not taking credit for what God and others have done for me.

We usually try to make up hand motions to go with the week’s “I wills…” and here’s Jack showing his hand motions this week.

I will…

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The curriculum suggested that I act out the Bible verse for this week…

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humility verse jack

Finally, here is the flute story!  :)

I’d love to share this with you in hopes that your children might benefit from it as much as mine did…

       Imagine that you are at a symphony and a world-premier flautist has taken center stage.  People have traveled from all over to hear him bring his flute to life.  That evening the audience is not disappointed.  When the final note is played, the crowd jumps to its feet in a standing ovation.

         Then something strange happens.  The flute jumps out of the man’s hands and begins bowing and blowing kisses to the audience.  “Thank you!  Thank you!” it chimes. 

          The audience laughs uproariously at this spectacle.  They know the truth:  A flute is just the instrument.  It is the person breathing life into it who deserves the credit.

Don’t you love that picture?  :)

And the author continues…

        We can explain to our children that it is just as silly to brag when we do something great.  It is God who has given us the abilities and gifts to succeed.  We should enjoy them, but give God the praise.

I hope you and your kiddos enjoy the flute story as much as we did!  It is from this super neat book…

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Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel  

 Well, there you have it.  Short and sweet… I think.  ;)

Here is a related post with an activity I did with my kiddos to teach them “the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”  You can also find copy work for “humility” and other character qualities HERE.

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P.S…. I don’t think that’s a flute in my picture up there, is it?  :-/

Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix

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Oh, ya’ll!  Have you noticed the yummy, pumpkin-y, fall deliciousness at the store lately???

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And Krispy Kreme…

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One of my favorite fall snacks is candy corn with peanuts!  YU-UM!  Salty and sweet… it’s like a candy corn flavored Payday bar!  This snack mix has the great salty-sweet flavors of candy corn and peanuts– spiced up a bit with white chocolate, raisins, peanut buttery goodness– AND pumpkin spice marshmallows!   Yes, I know it’s not very good for you!  ;)  It is a treat!  It’s such a fun kid snack… but I like it, too!

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We got a big bowl and dumped in ingredients to our liking.  We used:

  • dry roasted peanuts
  • candy corn
  • golden raisins
  • white chocolate chips
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Candy Corn M&M’s
  • Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows  (You’ll want to get an extra bag of these… I like to nibble on a few with my coffee in the mornings!)

It makes a ton, so plan to share!  :)

We’ve been making this snack mix every fall for a few years now.  When we did our Pumpkin Party unit our first year of home schooling, we found this recipe.  It inspired us to make our own version!

You might also want to check out…

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Blessing Mix treat bags… each part of the snack has a meaning and tells about Thanksgiving!  Fun!

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!  {ALMOST}

 

 

 

Farming in Faith… Teaching Character in Our Homeshcool

“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice,   even mine.”  

Proverbs 23:15

Before I tell you about all of the stacks of curriculum and books we are using this year in our homeschool, I want to about the most important thing we are learning…

“…if you love your children, let the simple Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all other books go down and take the second place.”

“No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests.  No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die.”

- J. C. Ryle,  The Duties of Parents

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My husband is a farmer, and our house is smack-dab in the middle of cotton, corn, soybean, and milo fields.   No matter which direction I look, from nearly every window, I can see crops in the field, nearly ripe for harvest.  What a gift!  From every window of my house, I have evidence of God’s provision and promises and faithfulness smiling back at me!  Each spring, my husband readies the fields and drops those teeny, tiny seeds in the dirt in hope, expectancy, faith of what is to be.   He spends long, hot summers tending to the tender plants, all the while anticipating with confidence the harvest he will reap in due season.

But it’s the crop of olive shoots around the table that are the most important!

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Raising children, godly seed, is a lot like farming.  We plow the tough ground so that the seed can take root and grow.  We plant and water in faith– faith that we will see FRUIT!  We prune the fruitful vines so that they will bear more fruit.  We weed (hopefully before those weeds are too big and hard to pull!).    We do it all in faith that we will reap if we do not grow weary in doing good, faith in our God and His promises!  When I think about reaping the harvest, it’s a harvest of righteousness, good character, wisdom, and fear of the Lord that is most valuable to me.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth!”  3 John 1:4

In our homeschool, I spend a lot of time planting seeds of Biblical character.  If you are a homeschooling mama, I know you do, too!  Whew!  From the formal character lessons to the everyday opportunities that just present themselves in life, we teach character A LOT!   We talk about delighting in the ways of the Lord and loving Him with all our hearts, souls, and might.  We talk about it when are home during the day, when we’re out, before bed at night,  and again when we get up in the mornings– all of the time!  (Deut 6:7)  :)

I want to share some of the things we are doing to teach our children godly character, Christlikeness, that it may go well with them!  And while there are many times I fail, God does not.  His faithfulness is great, and He uses ME in His plans!

1.  Formal Character-Training Lessons

We are enjoying 2 easy-to-use resources that make it quick and simple for me to introduce character qualities without a lot of searching or planning!  All of the books coordinate so well together!

  • A Child’s Book of Character Building — I have volumes 1 and 2.  They each contain character qualities, definitions, Bible verses, and stories from the Bible or life that illustrate the character quality.
  • Little Lads & Ladies of Virtue —  I got this e-book through an online curriculum sale, and I love it!  Each week there is a character quality along with a definition, Bible memory verse, activities, 3 “I will…”s, and a coloring page.   At the end of the week, after the children recite the definition, verse, and I wills, they can put a badge on their charts!  Fun!

character curriculum

  • My big kids have used character definitions and verses as copy work.  You can download a chart of 49 Character Qualities and cursive or print copy work from my Character Training post from last school year.  Just click the pic…

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2.  Informal Character Lessons… AKA:  Life!  ;)

Whew!  Isn’t this a tough one?  I think a great way to encourage wise choices and good character is to recognize it and praise it!  That goes a long way!   But then… there are those unwise, foolish choices.   I sometimes feel like I say the same things over and over!  What about you?  Does the soil seem a little tough, like maybe it needs some extra plowing sometimes?  (I need some extra plowing and weeding and pruning, too!)

  • “Count others more significant than yourself.”
  • “Be a good steward.  A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”
  • “Yes?  Yes what?  Yes ma’am.  Honor your father and your mother.”
  • “Is that good manners?”
  • “Are you being a peacemaker?”
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
  • “Why did God make you?  For His own glory.  Does that glorify God?”
  • … and on and on…. :)

Another thing that I find myself saying over and over is “Our actions have consequences; you reap what you sow.”  Yet, instead of giving consequences, I remind, and as a good friend reminded ;) me, I am not teaching them to think for themselves.

We talk a lot about taking off training wheels in our house.  When the training wheels are off, when Mom and Dad aren’t around, do you ride on your own or fall over?  The training wheels have to come off one day, and my kiddos have to be able to ride.  Are they hearers or doers?

In an effort to have easy-for-mom consequences, I made this chart.  I’ll be the first to admit, it needs some tweaking.  I am already planning to change the consequences!

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(My inspiration for this cart can be found here.)

 The Lord gives us so many opportunities each day to disciple our children, and something else that we try to teach through everyday opportunities is dying to self and serving others.  Elisabeth Elliot said love means sacrifice.  Isn’t that part of being in a family or a church, knowing that you are part of something bigger than yourself?

“Love means sacrifice.  Each member of the family has to learn to give in, give up, and give over for the sake of the rest…  Give up.  Give in.  Give way.  Give thanks.  Be ye kind.  Wait your turn.  Serve one another in love.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot

Don’t you love that?  ;)

3.  Planning and Praying for Each Child

I had grand plans to spend one morning each week of vacation at the beach this year praying and planning and praying and setting goals and praying some more for each child.  (I got the idea from this great post on Hodgepodge… one of my very favorite blogs!)….

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However, there’s something  about vacation that makes my kiddos want to get up earlier than usual.  Here are my girlies playing on the deck in their pi’s!  Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!….

girls on deck

I’ve had to find nuggets of time other places, and that’s okay!  I always turn back to this book time and time again to help with my prayers and goals for each child.

TAKING A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY FOR EACH CHILD– CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

  • STRENGTHS — physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, socially
  • WEAKNESSES — that enable God to later use us and Him to receive glory
  • OBSERVATIONS — become students of our children
  • APPLICATION — something I can do to help my child develop into the person God wants him to become… a strength to enhance or a weakness to overcome

When I find or make (!) the time to do this and really pray for each child, I see the Spirit working in their little hearts.

How is the farming going in your home this year?  How are you planting seeds of character?  Are you harvesting lots of fruit?  :)

Last night, as I was thinking about this post, one of my kiddos said, “Oh look!  Look at the moon!”  It was a HARVEST MOON… a big, bright, harvest moon.  It’s like God was saying to me, “Trust me.  I’ve got this.  You will reap, my daughter!”  I snapped this pic, and you can see the cotton and milo and that big moon smiling at us!

harvest moon

“He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him!”  Psalm 126:6   (I’m not weeping, by the way.)

I just love Proverbs 23:15.  “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.”

I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verse…

“The wisdom of children will be the joy of their parents and teachers, who have no greater joy than to see them walk in the truth…
Children, if you be wise and good, devout and conscientious, God will be pleased with you, and that will be our joy:  we shall think our labour in instructing you well bestowed; it will be a comfortable answer for the many prayers we have put up for you; we shall be eased of a great deal of care, shall not need to be so strict and severe in watching over you, and shall consequently be the easier both to you and to ourselves.  We shall rejoice in hope that you will be a credit and comfort to us, if we should live to be old, and

that you will bear up the name of Christ in your generation, and that you will live comfortably in this world and happily in another.

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Happy Farming, friends!

Oh, and soon I’d like to share how we are learning to be little ants!  :)

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Poetry Notebooks for Kindergarten

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Hi there, friends!  I’ve missed being here and missed you!  Wait, did anyone even notice I’ve been gone?  :)  If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to this summer, I’ll happily tell you…  GROWING!  Ha ha!  Here is a pic that one of the kids snapped of me… and Baby.  Yes, mamas, that’s juice and kitchen wipes in the background.  ;)  But maybe you couldn’t even tell because it’s so fuzzy.  ;)

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Well, I’m glad to be back in blogland!  I am looking forward to sharing our school-year fun with you here at i have no greater joy!

My crew did some school over the summer– 4 weeks of 4 subjects in July.  We took off in August and look forward to an “official first day of school” with all subjects next week.  This year I’ll have students ages 9, 8, 5, and 5 in 4th grade and Kindergarten.  I will be sharing all of our curriculum choices soon.  For now, I wanted to share with you the reason that my twinnies LOVE Mondays– new poem day!  

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Poetry Notebooks for Kindergarten

My new little kindergarteners have been keeping poetry notebooks.  I got the idea for our poetry notebooks from my big kids’ sweet K schoolteacher.  I’ve treasured my bigs’ notebooks for four years, and now my littles have their own.

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Each week the twins get a new poem to add to their notebooks.  I find one in a book or online and type it in a large, easy-to-read font.  This one activity has so many benefits…

  • sharpens memory skills
  • provides cutting practice (Ooooh, we need it!)
  • gives pasting practice.. when I let them do it :P
  • can provide exposure to great poetry– of course!
  • helps kiddos learn to read– phonics and sight words
  • provides exposure to rhyme and rhythm
  • provides oral speaking & reading practice
  • and more :)

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We read our poem of the week each morning and sometimes again later in the day.   Just look at all the words we are practicing!  (We could even take this into 1st grade and practice word endings, compound words, blends, the list goes on and on!)  We take turns reading the entire poem or alternate lines.  I ask them to find specific words.  Sometimes I cover a word and ask them what goes in that place.

I’ve recently started adding in some sight word poems.  Great practice!

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Oh, it will be so fun to add in poems for fall and winter and Christmas and Valentine’s Day

My 4th graders keep handwriting notebooks (Thanks for the idea, Julie!) and sometimes this includes poetry, too!  What a great way to sneak in a little poetry exposure without spending a lot of time on it!

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Poetry notebooks are just one of the many ways we are strengthening reading skills in our Kindergarten this year!  Check back for more ways that we are making reading FUN!

You might also be interested in…

Easy Ideas for Learning Letters

image4Calendar Activities (a reeeaaalllly old post)

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Olive Shoots, a Mother’s Day Gift, Blessed

Things have been quiet around the blog lately, but it’s been as loud and as busy as ever around our house!   Here’s a snapshot of our latest celebration…

baby post

That’s right!  Little olive shoot # 5 is on the way!  We are so very thankful, so blessed.

“Blessed the man that fears Jehovah and that walketh in His ways; he shall eat of thy hands’ labor and be prospered all thy days.  Like a vine with fruit abounding in thy house thy wife is found, and like olive plants thy children compassing thy table round.”       (from Psalm 128, my favorite psalm to sing ~ You can read all about it here.)

My husband and I had known about our newest blessing since early April… for a whole month before we told our other children. It was hard to keep such joyous news a secret for so long!  However, we wanted to wait and share our excitement with all of the grandparents on Mother’s Day, and we knew the other kiddos would “spill the beans” to everyone they saw if they found out!  Meanwhile, they continued to pray for another baby each and every day.  :)

A couple of days before Mother’s Day, we decided to finally share the big secret with the kids.  We all sat around the table eating dinner as usual when Dad showed them a picture from the first ultrasound.

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That’s when I received the best Mother’s Day gift ever…  It was better than flowers, jewelry, sleeping late, having a day off.  It was one that I will ‘treasure up- pondering it in my heart’.  My sweet kiddos jumped up from their seats and shouted and laughed and hugged each other.  I heard #1 say, “This is the best day of my life!”   They danced around and jumped and were filled with joy– and so was I.  They forgot all about dinner!  I heard “Thank you, Father!”  and even “Woo hoo!”  It was a par-tay!  Then I heard the soft, sweet voice of my teeny, youngest daughter trying to be heard over the shouts.  “Come on guys!  Let’s go play!”   “Yeah!”  The four bounded into the den.

What?!  I don’t think so.  My mama-brain clicked into high gear.  We aren’t going skip dinner!

I walked into the den and found my kids kneeling, not playing but PRAYING.

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My little one had suggested that they pray, not play.  My heart melted.  They wanted to thank the One from Whom all blessings flow.  They knew that this tiny miracle was knit together by the Lord and their hearts wanted to praise Him and thank Him!  Seeing my children kneeling and praying that day was the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received.  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  No.  Greater.  Joy.

Later that night, after all of the excitement and laughter and answers to questions and imagining what our baby will look like or when Baby’s birthday will be or what we will name our baby, I found my thoughtful, sweet, five-year-old son working to write something at the kitchen table.  He was copying from the Psalter.

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“It’s for you.  It’s your favorite, Mom.”

Blessed.  Blessed indeed.

“For Jehovah out of Zion will to thee His blessing send!”    Psalm 128:5