It was hard on all of us to say goodbye, but especially my oldest, AA (near 9yr). We had a long talk about how we need to be where God wants us to be and when she gets married, she will need to live where God wants her and her husband to be. I will admit that it does make things a bit difficult when Brian and I need some alone time. Or someone to watch the kids in an emergency.
After dropping my mom off, I was able to drop by a dear dear friend for a visit. I had not planned on staying, but her warm and inviting hospitality welcomed our whole family (for over two hours)! :D Her family is so wonderful! Her oldest took to JJ and watching after him. Her youngest son took to the girls and got them all making books! :D Thus allowing my friend and me to fellowship. She is a VERY relaxed homeschooler and has always encouraged me.
Her words of advice:
TEACH IN CONTEXT. I have always heard that you use real life to teach. And I am pretty good with that. Teaching in context is new to me. And it really opened up my eyes on more ways to teach.
She also encouraged me to play post office with the girls. I have always had them "write" letters, but those letters are usually pictures. Now that they are of writing age, they REALLY should be writing. So instead of just saying to write a letter, let them address it, stamp it, and mail it off as well. I know my girls and I know that if they knew they could address the envelope themselves, they would most definitely WRITE a letter! :)
I was also reminded of a number exercise which I hope to do with the girls sometime this week. We were talking about numbers and she went to look for something but could not find it. When she was describing what it was, it sounded similar to making things out of numbers. I hope to make a book, one page for each number, for the girls to work on. :)
She also talked about playing restaurant where you have the menu, they come and take an order, tally up the order and exchange money. MUCH more "in context" than just a worksheet!! :)
She also brought out and shared a book by Dinah Zike called Big Book of Books. This book looks SO COOL!!! I will have to see if I can check it out from the library!! :)
Brian bought the book Teaching Hearts, Training Minds. The author takes one question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism and spends a whole week on each question/answer, giving Biblical references and explanations as well as word pictures to help make personal application and understanding. Each day has a VERY short meditation (nor more than 3 paragraphs in most cases) to go through with the children (or for yourself). I got a copy through the library through ILL.
I like what he says in the introduction. After talking about the importance of teaching doctrine, and how, sadly, most churches, especially the youth departments, have replaced teaching substantial truth of doctrine with entertainment he says:
"Even where teaching the Bible to children is a priority, teaching Bible doctrine seldom is. Children hear the same Bible stories repeatedly, almost always as moral lessons on how to behave. Typical Sunday school lessons reduce Bible stories to moral tales much like Aesop's fables. The focus is on the human being in the story, who becomes its main character. So the teacher comes to the end and conclude, 'And you must be like David and God will bless you,' or 'You must not act as Ahab did or you will find trouble.'... Children seldom learn to see that God Himself is the main character of every Bible story. They do not learn to ask about each account they read, 'What does this story tell me about God?' They never learn to read all the biblical narratives in the light of God's overall purpose to redeem a people for Himself. All they learn is: Be good and God blesses; be bad, and He does not."The author then goes on to say how sad it is that we are not equipping our children in the foundations of doctrinal truth. That when adults are being asked simple questions based on doctrine, they stumble for the answers. Whereas if they had been taught the catechism, they would have a doctrinal response ready.
I pictured Jay Leno asking questions like "When was the War of 1812?" and no one having a correct answer. How really silly those people look when simple questions are asked of them and they cannot answer. And how silly we as proclaimed Christians must look when we cannot answer simple questions about what we believe.
There is nothing wrong with teaching memorization. I mean, think about it. The things you remember best from your childhood are the things you memorized. The "ABC" song, common nursery rhymes, the small handfull of BIble verses like John 3:16. I want my children (and honestly myself) to be ready with an answer.