Monkey See Monkey Do

Hulk Man,

You don’t even have to try to be good at things!  You just are!  You’ll be starting with some new curriculum on Monday.  I’m excited for you to move on to this new stuff.  You are growing up so fast, but not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for you.  I’m so glad to be your mommy!  And I’m so glad and lucky to be your teacher!  I can’t wait to watch you learn so many new things!

The Start of Week 3

My weeks are all messed up – no surprise since I can hardly remember what happened yesterday or what I’m supposed to do tomorrow.  I have been working really hard to get everything ready for you for school.  I stay up too late, and I’m tired in the morning, but everything is ready so that our day can run as smooth as possible.  It’s a lot of work, and it’s work that I truly look forward to doing!

Batman, you continue to make me so proud.  I wish I learned as easily as you do!  Keep trying your best, and try to be helpful.  When you are diligent, you enjoy what you’re doing, and we have so much fun.  Your little brothers look up to you so much, and I love it when you are a good role model for them.  They will learn so many good things from you.

Enjoy the week!

Week 2 Complete (this post is a couple days behind!)

You continued to progress very quickly through math this week – so quickly that you’ll be taking a test to see if you are ready for the next grade of math instead of finishing first grade math.  This doesn’t surprise me, since last year as a kindergartner you loved math so much and so we spent a lot of time on it.  We should know by the end of the week when and if you’ll move up.  I hope your love of math will continue, because there are a lot of ways that it gets used in your adult life.  Today we had someone measure our yard for a fence, and he talked to you about how he measured (in feet) and how he determined the cost (by multiplying the distance and the cost of the products).  I was glad that you had the opportunity to start seeing how math is used by some people in their jobs as adults.  Daddy and Papa will be able to give you a lot of great examples of this also!  And Grammy and Nana too!  There is a lot of math to be done when you build a house or give someone medicine!

In Language Arts, you love to hear the stories for the literature component of the class, and you do such a good job comprehending the story and remembering a lot of details (some that I don’t even notice as I read the story to you!).  I think that reading to you and with you is one of my favorite things to do.  I really love to hear you read, and I love talking to you about the stories and watching you and Hulk act them out later.  You read easily, and I know that it can frustrate you when Spelling doesn’t come as easily.  I think it will eventually, so try to be patient.  Proper spelling is important, as we’ve been learning during our Vocabulary lessons on homophones.  Spelling a word incorrectly can make it a completely different word!

Science and Social Studies/History take us the longest to complete, which is fine because you really seem to enjoy these subjects.  We don’t do these every day, but you seem happy to do them on the days when we study them.  Reading might not be your favorite subject right now, even though you do so well at it, but in order to continue enjoying Social Studies and History, you’ll want to keep working on your reading, because you do a lot of it in those subjects.  Daddy’s brother can tell you about that!

I love being your teacher, Batman.  I hope that someday you’ll be able to appreciate it.  It is hard work.  Probably the hardest job I’ve ever had.  It makes me get tears in my eyes when I think about how hard it is.  It takes a long time to get your lessons prepared and reading all of the material ahead of time.  I always get excited, and I imagine your reactions and questions to the different activities.  I will be praying for your heart to be happy, that you will complete activities for school or for home without complaining (Philippians 2:14 ), and that you will always try your very best (Colossians 3:23).

 

Do all  things without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.  Colossians 3:23

From Firsts to First Grade (Week 1)

Batman,

It’s hard to believe that you’re six years old.  I like to remember the day you were born, my first born son, and all the firsts that came with having a new baby for the first time – first smile, first laugh, first time rolling and sitting, first words, first full night of sleep…  This year it’s another first, but it’s FIRST grade.  How you have grown!

We have completed your first official week of homeschooling for the year.  It had its ups and downs, but I’m trying to concentrate on the ups. 🙂  Once we get started in your lessons, you are so creative and your vocabulary is so sweet.  I love hearing your responses to questions, and the words you choose to use.  You are very quick with the math lessons we’re working on, and you love playing math games.  You have such an easy time remembering the things you learn in Science and Social Studies.  I wish I still had a memory like that!  Fortunately, you do a good job helping me remember things too.  Your heart can be so big, and I just love it when you show compassion and kindness to your brothers and other people.

My goals this week are to keep your emotions calm and your motivation high, and for me to be more organized so that I can have an easier time staying a step ahead of you.  Thank you for all the hard work you do.  God has blessed me with you as my son, and while you are learning from and with your mama every day, I am going to try to make sure that I use YOU to teach me new things too.

I’m so proud of you and I love you so much!

Love,

Mommy

When I grow up, I want to be an AUTHOR!

Watching them grow…watching them go…

I’ve read two articles this week, and although I am somewhere between the struggles of learning how to be a parent for the first time and sending my grown sons off to serve the world, these articles have served as a reminder of how much I’ve grown, and how much more I will grow!

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.  (1 Samuel 1:27-28)

An article by Simcha Fisher, To the Mother of Only One Child, justifies the struggles and rewards of parenting, whether you have one child or one dozen children. She writes about how the struggles and suffering we mothers do happen to us, “…so that [we] can become strong enough to be [women] who will be left.”  These children are not mine.  They belong to God, who has entrusted them to me.  I must be a stronger, better, more trusting servant!  To be a parent is a sacred responsibility.  It is a ministry.

Children are a gift from God; they are a sweet reward.  (Psalm 127:3)

A blog post by Ann Voskamp, What a Parent Wants to Say Before a Child Leaves(and the rest can also be found here), spoke to my heart again.  My sons are still babies at the ages of 5, 3, and 1. I’ve felt the joy of watching those babies take their first steps…only to watch as they walk farther and farther…looking back less and less often.

And the child grew…

I know that the joy I feel from hearing them hiding God’s word in their sweet little hearts…watching those little hearts grow and swell as they start to understand…making my heart do the same!

…and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40)

That joy that fills me will eventually be the same joy that puts a lump in my throat and causes tears to be overflowing my eyes when those walking feet take that big heart farther away from me – but closer to God. And thank goodness for that, for it will be so much better for them to be closer to Him.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proberbs 29:17)

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing it its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.  (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. Deuteronomy 28:6

 

Words

Words have the ability to inspire or to depress; to make one happy and feel validated or to deplete and discourage.  When we live with our children day after day, we either build an inheritance, a treasure chest of inspiration, confidence, validation, OR memories of anger, criticism, while storing up in their souls hostility, insecurity, and bitterness.

Sally Clarkson

This Labor is Not in Vain

As a parent, I am a teacher.  Not because I am a homeschooling parent, but because I am a parent.  Parents are children’s’ first teachers, and that ministry is such an honor.  An honor, but definitely not easy!  As I watch these boys grow up, I find myself always hoping they will turn out “better” than me.  I don’t want them to make the same mistakes that I’ve made.  But how does that happen?  “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  (Luke 6:40)  Be like his teacher?  Be like me?  I think to myself (and to the blogging world), “That’s what I don’t want!”

On the days when my patience is being tested, and my ability to balance responsibilities of housekeeping and teaching, or of being a compassionate friend or a creative parent, or commitments outside the home and my duties as a wife seems to be off-balance, I try to remember that if I want my children to be better than me, then I must be better.  I must do my best to present myself to God as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).  I must “show [myself] in all respects to be a model of good works, and in [my] teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech…” (Titus 2:7-8)

Fall and stumble, I do.  This is hard.  Without question, parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  When I feel like the kids are being rowdy or picking on one another, I have observed that my heart has not been in parent mode and that I am not fully present with them – I’m paying bills, or scheduling appointments, or creating lessons, or working with one child and not the others.  Being fully present with them sometimes takes a lot of effort and planning.  I will work to remember that when they aren’t behaving the way I want them to behave, then I need to take a step back and determine whether or not my behaviors are appropriate.

There are so many beautiful moments – moments when I want to be able to record them and play them over and over and over and never forget how proud I am of these boys that have been lent to me.  These are the moments I want to focus on.  Must focus on.  There are times when I replay those frustrating moments – telling my husband or talking to friends.  That’s not right.  Silly as it might be, my childhood days of singing songs by Jewel still impact me as an adult:

I have this theory that if we’re told we’re bad
Then that’s the only idea we’ll ever have
But maybe if we are surrounded in beauty
Someday we will become what we see
‘Cause anyone can start a conflict
It’s harder yet to disregard it
I’d rather see the world from another angle
We are everyday angels
Be careful with me ’cause I’d like to stay that way

Don’t complain about the hard days.  They’re going to be hard.  Be what I want the children to become.  It’s hard to disregard conflict, but the joy of seeing the world from another angle is more than worth the effort.  Surround myself in beauty, and give my children the opportunity as well.

“…Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord the labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. Deuteronomy 28:6