Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Training a Child

The past two Sundays evenings Dawson has refused to stay in the nursery at church.  So I have tried taking him into church with me.  He does well during the music, but as soon as any talking starts he cannot be still or quiet.  I have read different methods on how to train a child to sit still during church; however, I do not expect a 2 year old to sit still for an hour all of a sudden when he has never had to do so before.  So I have been thinking of ways that I can help train him to sit still and quiet during church.

We read him Bible stories at home and even listen/sing children's Bible songs.  However, there has never been any structure to when or how or what we do.  On Monday, I decided to have more structure by adding in a designated Bible Story/worship time for him.  So after breakfast I sang "This is the Day the Lord Has Made," prayed, read him the creation story from one of his Bible story books, prayed again, and finally sang "My God is so Big" to him.  Of course, when I started off he fought it, but after a little time he settled down.  We did the same thing today, and he actually was pretty quiet and still, except for pictures he had to point out in his Bible.  This worship time right now is only lasting about 10 or 15 minutes, but I figured it was a start.  Hopefully we will be able to add more time to it soon.

I would love to hear other ways to train a small child to sit still for long periods of time.  So if you have any suggestions, please comment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Living the Dream

Growing up I was always taught that getting an education is important.  It almost seemed as though the only way I would get anywhere in life was to go to college and get a good job.  While I agree that an education is important; I realized later that it was not the only way to have a good life.

I went to college, received my Bachelor's degree in mathematics, then continued my education getting two Master's Degrees in statistics.  Why did I get two?  Because I was originally going for my PhD. the second time around when I realized that it was not the life I wanted.  I had enough hours to get another Master's degree when I decided to quit school.  I didn't know exactly know what God had in store for me to do, but I realized some things about myself that I had never wanted to admit before.  I had been thinking about all the money I could make, and what I could do with it (even giving a good portion of it to missions and other's in need).  I had also wanted to please other people, in particular my family, who I knew were proud of how far I had gone in my education.

I realized that even if I never became rich, I could still have a great life, especially, if I allowed God to lead me.  In the short time we have been married, God has taken my husband and I on a journey of ups and downs.  We know what it is like to not have money, but like Paul stated in Philippians "I have learned to be content with whatever the circumstances."  God has always provided for our needs during the difficult times, whether it be through random gifts or random jobs.  While my life has not gone the way I planned, it is better than I could have ever imagined.  I always desired life in the country.  However, I never imagined I would move back home where I grew up with my awesome husband, my energetic little boy, and soon to be precious daughter.  I am getting my country life, and I hope that my kids will enjoy it as much as I do.  I really enjoy watching Dawson run around outside, ride his tricycle, and play in the dirt without a lot of worries...although we do have to watch out for snakes, spiders, ants, etc...he doesn't think about those things yet.

The life where Christ leads, is the life I chose.  It is the dream life!

Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is greater than silver or gold."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reasons I want to Homeschool

A question I often ask myself is, "What would be best for my children?"  One answer to this question is homeschooling.  I know some have negative feelings toward homeschooling while others like the idea.  I have thought about it and researched it a lot, even though my oldest just turned 2 a month ago.  I want to make sure I know everything about homeschooling and the different methods that exists before my children are school aged.  Here are some reasons I am heavily considering homeschooling as an option:

1.  Public schools require kids to all go at the same pace.  Often this results in some students falling behind while others are bored because they are moving to slow.  I know this is the way it has to be when you have such a high student to teacher ratio.  I just want to make sure my kids are moving at the pace that is right for them so they do not get bored or they do not feel stupid because they cannot keep up.

2.  Public schools hardly ever allow kids to explore their own interests.  I remember when I was in school I hated to read and write.  I read a lot at home when I could read books that interested me.  However, school required me to read books that I did not enjoy, and thus, did not usually understand enough so I could answer questions/write a paper about them.  Also, writing topics in school were usually picked for you, and because I had no interest in these pre-chosen topics I had a hard time writing. I want my kids to enjoy reading and writing, and that means they should be allowed to chose their own age-appropriate books to read and write about things that interest them.

3.  Young children are now required to learn too much too fast so that they are not allowed to just be kids.  I believe that playtime is vital to a child's learning and development, especially for young children.  Children are naturally curious, and will learn things by observing the world around them.  They need to spend time outside.  They need to be able to explore and ask questions when they have them.  I see this especially now with my 2 year old.  He is always asking "What's that?" and I know eventually he will probably go through a "Why?" stage.  I love this because that shows he wants to learn.  

4.  Just because students are not answering questions correctly does not mean they are not learning something.  Public schools require very strict testing that could be detrimental to a child's self-esteem.  I remember in school,  being tested over books we were forced to read.  I often did not answer questions correctly because what I learned from the book was not what they wanted me to learn.  I hated mulitple choice questions like "What is the main idea?" or "Give a Summary of the book?"  What I thought was the main idea was often not what those writing the test thought.  

I experienced this with my own child not too long ago.  I decided that I should start teaching Dawson his colors.  I thought I would start with the color blue because we have lots of it around our house.  So I spent a week really focusing on pointing out the color blue.  However, instead of learning the color blue, he learned green.  He still doesn't know the color blue.  However, not only has he learned green but he has learned the colors orange, purple, white, and brown without any focus on them.  

I want to be able to document what my kid's are learning, not necessarily everything they are not learning.

5.  Also, not necessarily the school's fault, but children learn way too much information from other children before they should.  Many parents today let their kid's do whatever they want.  Children are watching movies that are way too mature for them and they hear bad language whether on tv or from their parents.  Then they bring that information to school and tell other students about it.  I would like my children to be sheltered from some things until I think they are mature enough to handle the information. I know I cannot shelter them forever, and I do not plan to.  I just feel like this information is causing kids to "grow up" too quickly, and therefore they are more immature than ever.

These 5 points are my top reasons for wanting to homeschool.  So what will I teach my children?  I believe it is important that children learn the basics (reading, writing, and arithmetic), but they should be able to pick their own books to read and write about what they want (within reason).  They will also learn history and science, but these will be more interest-led.  For instance, if they are interested in sports they can learn the history behind a certain sport (which may require reading), learn the biology (the way we move)/physics (ex: calculate the curve of a ball)/statistics (ex:batting averages) involved in the sport and write a paper about it.

Now the question is, "What about their social lives?"  I do not have all the answers to this question yet, but I do know that my kids will be able to socialize at church.  Also, I do plan to allow them to be involved in sports, theater, or other extracurricular activities if they have the desire to do so.  I also know that some extracurricular options are only available at school, especially once they are in high school.  When I believe my children have reached a certain level of maturity, I will give them the chance to go to public school if they wish.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Reasons I Chose to be a Stay at Home Mom

Many people often ask me if I plan to go back to work after the baby is here.  This is the same question I have been getting since I found out I was pregnant with our first child.  When I was pregnant with our son, I truly didn't know what my plan was.  I had always thought I would want to take off work for the first couple of years after he was born, but it wasn't until he was actually here that I realized how important it is for me to stay home with him and all our children.  Although I have an education (more than most) and I did work part time last year because we had some financial hardships, I do not intend to go back to work at least until our children are out of the house.

Now, I know some people may not agree with the reasons I chose to stay home, and I am in no way saying that it is wrong for a mother to work.  I know that there are meany reason mothers have to or choose to work, and many mothers are able to balance work with family life.  So here are my reasons (or convictions):

1.  I believe God has put mother's in charge of nurturing their children.  While father's play an important role in parenting, it is the mother's who make sure the children are fed, cleaned, and dressed.  We also, often times, are in charge of making sure that our children pick up their toys and do other "chore-like" items, as well as, teach them things like sharing with others.  I believe from the beginning of time this was God's plan for mother's.  If we go back to the fall of mankind, when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.  God told Adam that he would have to labor hard in the fields (to provide for his family), and He told Eve that she would have labor pains during childbirth.  Many agree that the father/husband is supposed to be the primary provider, but what I myself gather from this is that the mother is supposed to have children and take care of them.

2.  Mother's can stay real busy at home, not only taking care of the children, but cleaning and cooking.  It seems that in today's society, a lot of women do not really cook, and I have noticed many don't clean much either.  Making food is now so convenient because everything comes in a box or can be ordered already made.  However, the majority of the food is not really good for us, and while it may work for some people I try not to rely on this unhealthy stuff too much.  This is any area that I am still struggling with myself because many days I do not feel like cooking or cleaning and resort to convenience, especially while pregnant.  However, when I do cook good nutritious food and clean some part of the house I am much happier knowing that I have done my job.  There is real joy in this basic living; a joy I never had while working.  I love knowing that my husband and kids have a clean house to live in and food I prepared on the table.

3.  I feel guilty when other's spend more time with my children than I do.  If I worked full time, I would be working approximately 8 hours a day 5 days a week.  How much time does that leave with our kids?  Who knows what are children are learning during those 8 hours each day.  Even if they are in the hands of people you can trust.  Think about the first couple of years when a child learns and grows so much.  I would hate to miss out on my child learning to walk, talk, and do other basic things.  I watch my son everyday exploring the world around him, saying new words/phrases, and trying new things.  I do not want to miss out on any of that.

These are just the main reasons I chose to stay home.  I know many are probably thinking, "Well, what about when they are in school?"  I actually plan to homeschool, and I will write more about my reasoning behind that maybe next time.  Until then, I challenge each of you to love your kids and spend as much time with them as you can.  You do not want to miss out on their life; after all, God trusted you with them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What does it mean to be a servant of the King?

I thought I would start off my blogging career explaining the name of my blog.  A couple of years ago, I wrote the lyrics for a song for my husband and I to sing at my son's baby dedication.  It was called "God Is Your Hero", and basically, it was about our promises to our son to teach him about God and who he is in Christ.  Also,the song portrayed God as the one who can "do it all", and us just as God's sidekicks that will undoubtedly make mistakes.  I thought the song was special because not only did I write the lyrics, but my husband wrote the music.  It was our song to our son.  So being pregnant with a girl this time, I decided I wanted to write another song for our daughter.

One day while sitting in church "listening to the sermon", I was distracted by lyrics (or at least ideas for lyrics) for a song.  I started thinking about how our children are not really ours but God's, and He has given them to us so we can take care of them here on earth.  So I have now written the chorus to the song for our daughter, which for now I will call "Daughter of a King".  The idea of the song is that we (my husband and I) promise to raise our daughter up to be a daughter of the King.  After all, we are just the King's servants who are not actually raising our daughter but raising His daughter.

So what does it mean to be a servant of the King?  Well, we are here on earth to serve God (the King) in everything we do.  I believe that we are all meant to spread the good news that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die on the cross for our sins.  For some, this may mean going overseas to other countries or becoming a pastor in your own country.  For others, this may mean being a witness to others at work or school.  Yet, for those like me, a stay at home mom, I think it is important to teach our children this "Good News".  I am not saying we cannot be a witness outside the home as well, but that our children should be our priority.  If we cannot teach our children about Christ, how can we truly teach others about Christ?

While spreading this "Good News" is important, there are other ways to show Christ's love to others, as well. We serve Christ by serving others, so we should all find ways to serve, whether it be serving our spouse, pastor, the needy, the sick, the elderly,  or our neighbors.  How will you serve Christ?