Monthly Archives: September 2013

D is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsD is for
“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.” Proverbs 23:4,5

A Hymn to Impart“Flee as a Bird”

A Sweet Little Prayer“God’s Love”

A Poem to Share“The Last Word of a Bluebird”

How Our Week Was Spent

Lego Literati

Lego Literati

We went to Story Time at the book store and got a coupon for a free book so we got the Lego Book of Ideas. We read Make Way for Ducklings and I made little ducks like I saw in the Lego Book and Mom squealed a lot about them (Joel, 8).
Lego Ducks
We used to have a pet duck. It just flew in our yard one day and stayed for like two months. It would come when we called and wag it’s tail when we gave it bread. We named it Rick but it was a girl only we didn’t know that (Titus, 9 1/2).


D is for dove. They come on our lanai sometimes. Yesterday a dove came in and then couldn’t figure out how to leave so it stayed in my room all morning till Mom got it with a net (Nate, 6).
Zebra Dove
Teacher’s Two-Cents
I couldn’t help laughing out loud as we read together “Make Way for Ducklings.” What Mama of little ones isn’t just like Mrs. Mallard? First, we have to find the perfect nest, where there aren’t any foxes or turtles or things with wheels rushing about that might harm our ducklings. We devote ourselves to keeping them warm and are careful to count often to make sure they are all there. We teach them to swim and dive, walk in a straight line, come when they’re called and stay away from things with wheels. And then we lead them through this grand adventure called life as proud as can be when on-lookers stop to comment on our beautiful family never knowing the perils we are inadvertently avoiding at every turn because Our Protector is directing traffic all along the way.
We met a dear older couple at Church on Sunday whose own children had all left the nest to go on the mission field in a country where Christians are routinely put to death. I was imagining my own little ducklings under such perilous circumstances when the gentleman said “I’d be more afraid for their physical safety if they were home with us and not doing the Lord’s will. There’s no safer place for them to be than in the center of His will.” As David Livingstone once said “I am immortal until my work is accomplished.”
God has a work for our children to do and my work isn’t to protect them from all the dangers associated with it. Just like the policemen in the story, the Lord is directing the traffic all around us. My job is to teach them to come when called and in learning to follow me they are learning to follow their Master and when He calls, to go without question. And even if that be to The Valley of the Shadow of Death they need fear no evil.
Lord, help me not to parent in fear, but in accordance with your will. Strengthen me to train up these little ones you have entrusted to my care
so that they would be well equipped to do the work you have set out for them to accomplish. And surely, goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their life.
(almost) All My Ducks in a Row

(almost) All My Ducks in a Row


C is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsC is for
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” Luke 12:24

A Hymn to Impart“I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”

A Sweet Little Prayer“Lord, Teach a Child”

A Poem to Share“No Shop Does The Bird Use”

How Our Week Was Spent
C is for Cardinals which we have a lot of at our house. We set up a bird feeder and a Mommy, Daddy and Baby cardinal come eat out of it all the time. They are picky eaters and only like the black sunflower seeds though and all the other bird food is just wasted (by Joel, 8).
Cardinal at Feeder
Lots of birds come on our lanai to eat our crumbs. The little red-headed birds come right into the house all the time. Mom always says “Shoo bird!” but they don’t even listen to her and just hop all over looking for crumbs. They are cardinals too but they are smaller and don’t have crests (by Titus, 9 1/2).
red head
Teacher’s Two-Cents
One of my all-time favorite books is “Laddie” by Gene Stratton Porter. In it Little Sister is pulled out of the local school to be taught at home after the following incident. The students were memorizing this little rhyme by Isaac Watts,
“Birds in their little nest agree;
and ‘Tis a shameful sight,
when children of one family
fall out, and chide, and fight.”

Well, Little Sister had observed baby birds in their nests enough to know that they fought like anything and shouldn’t be used at all as an example to get children to be nice. She would have loved to have had a peak into our little nest yesterday morning.
For some reason our baby birds weren’t “agreeing” with each other at all and before we even had a chance to start school Mama Bird had all ready had enough of the “falling out and chiding and fighting.” As we were sitting down for our devotions yet another argument sprung up prompting me to announce that school was canceled for the day because if I couldn’t teach my boys to be kind to each other then I wasn’t going to even try to teach them anything else and since I didn’t have a lesson plan ready on kindness they might as well just go do whatever they wanted. This pleased little Sam just fine and he grabbed his squirt gun and headed outside. Surprisingly, the other boys all joined together in arguing with me about not doing school (finally, they agreed on something). I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at hearing them actually beg to do school and almost lost it completely when they pleaded for me to at least let them do spelling. Spelling! (kudos to the creators of Sequential Spelling, I guess). Well anyway, with school canceled I set about giving the house a serious cleaning (I’ve happened to notice a direct correlation between a disorderly home and disorderly conduct) and giving the Lord a serious appeal for patience and wisdom.
By late afternoon the house, it’s smaller occupants, and my own spirit had all been whipped into shape so school was back in session. This time we started with an in-depth-look at James 4:1-12 which begins, “What causes quarrels and what causes fight among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” The Bible must be the best teacher’s resource ever! There it was, a ready-made lesson plan all written out for me! So this morning, I am thankful to say we were able to finish our school week with a bang rather than a whimper, a whine, and a fight.
brotherly love

B is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsB is for
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” Psalm 103:2-5

A Hymn to Impart“Sweet Hour of Prayer”

A Sweet Little Prayer“Lord, Teach a Child”

A Poem to Share“The Frog and The Bird”

A poem to share...
How Our Week Was Spent
B is for Black Crowned Night Heron. We saw one on the coconut tree next to our lanai. It just landed there and wasn’t doing anything wrong but a bunch of Mynah birds got mad at it anyway and started flying around it’s head and yelling at it. The Heron wasn’t even afraid though because it was way bigger than all the Mynah birds combined. But finally it got tired of all their squaking and just flew off. Then all the Mynah birds landed right where he had been sitting and just sat their gossiping about him (by Titus, 9 1/2 and Joel, 8).
A finished flock
We painted our own wooden birds. Mom painted one for Gideon because he is too little to paint or do school. Also I got an A on my first spelling test (by Nate, 6).
Artist at work
Teacher’s Two-Cents
The cute little kit we painted our birds from also included a dozen or so little leaves. The picture on the box showed them in beautiful, cool, green hues scattered among the brightly colored birds. But when my oldest son and I sat down to paint them I couldn’t help but splash on warm autumnal shades of gold and orange and red. This, and an involuntary squeal of delight when I spied candy corn in the grocery ad this week might clue you in to the fact that I am a true lover of Fall. Once dried, however, my pretty little autumn leaves looked sadly out of place in their tropical environs, just like the gilded evergreens and inflatable snowmen in the shopping centers will in a few months. The truth is, all the cheap, artificial decorations and warm and fuzzy Starbucks flavorings in the world can never truly usher in a change of seasons here. Hawaii is, and always will be, endless summer.
Homeschooling is also a season. The all-consuming fullness of days that is having children in the house 24/7 will pass just like every other season of life. And when it is over and the results have been tried in the fire, I want to know that the work I have done is at least authentic. I can decorate a school room, buy glittering educational products, and keep my students busy for hours doing worksheets but that doesn’t make for a real education anymore than a Pumpkin Spice Latte makes for Fall.
In the light of eternity, I don’t want any of what we are learning to look cheaply out of place. I don’t want to be distracted by the endless amassing of facts. I want to have constantly as my goal the very real, authentic knowledge that only comes from deeply-rooted fear of Lord and a genuine delight in His works.

A is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartA is for
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matthew 10:29

A Hymn to Impart“God Sees the Little Sparrow”

A Sweet Little Prayer“Lord, Teach a Child”

A Poem to Share“Overheard in an Orchard”

How Our School Week Was Spent

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We learned about how birds fly and how their wings work. Wings need lift and drag and thrust to make a bird fly and they need to be aerodynamic (Titus, 9 1/2).

We built gliders and did an experiment with Opa to see what kind of wings fly the farthest and we made egg cookies and I painted one camo because that is my favorite color (Nate, 6).

We flew our new kites on the golf course and when we were flying them there were 6 albatrosses flying in circles over us. Albatrosses start with A and they can fly around the world in 42 days. They can fly a whole year without stopping because they eat and sleep in the air. They don’t even have to flap their wings for hundreds of miles and they will fly 10,000 miles just to bring food to their babies (Joel, 8).

Teacher’s Two-Cents
Sometimes the Lord just drops special gifts in on our school day. One was an especially breezy day combined with the recent gift of brand new kites and the current closed status of the neighboring golf course making for the perfect chance to get even more hands on with our study of flight. The icing on the cake was the presence of 6 albatross circling overhead just when we happen to be studying the letter ‘A’. We’ve seen these pre-historic looking birds before and were already impressed by what we had learned about them but our awe just increased all the more by this week’s study. I was excited to learn the oldest known Albatross has lived right here in Hawaii for over 50 years and the name of this “Winged” wonder just happens to be “Wisdom”! How cool is that! I’m thinking of making her the mascot for our blog. Speaking of wisdom and old stuff, we were especially blessed to have Oma and Opa with us for our first week of school (love ya guys, especially your sense of humor:) ). Having an experienced physics teacher on hand for our study of flight took things to a whole new level. I just want to remind all you other homeschoolers out there (as I mentioned in a post on our godmadeknown blog) that older folks can be an amazing resource and are typically delighted to be involved. So here’s to a great first week and to wings and to wisdom. “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” Psalm 111

Happy Back-at-Homeschool!

What a Hoot!  Hunting up all their Back-to-School loot.
Because we start school the day after, the highlight of our Labor Day weekend has always been our annual treasure hunt. I try to match the hunt with our theme (i.e. the year we studied geology our oldest had to rappel down an abandoned mine shaft for the map to their school supplies or to see last year’s glow-in-the-dark hunt click here. This year Dad hid all the supplies, as well as a bunch of easter eggs containing various bird-themed treats and treasures up in the boys favorite banyan tree.

Something new we are trying this year in order to teach a little personal responsibility is giving the boys their own sets of school supplies which are color-coded or have their initials on them. When they run out or something gets lost or ruined they will have to replace it themselves (I have an extra stock pile of everything that I purchased at dirt cheap back-to-school prices so they can buy replacements from me instead of paying top dollar when the time comes). We’ll see how it works.
Color-coded school supplies and treats
Another tradition we hold dear is hosting a back-to-school benediction. This year we were especially blessed to have Opa and Oma here to help kick things off with a special time of prayer and a back-to-school devotional.
What special back-to-school traditions does your family enjoy?