Monthly Archives: February 2014

S is for…

A Verse Hid In Our Hearts...S is for
“So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm according to their kinds and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:21

A Hymn To Impart“This Is My Father’s World”

How Our Week Was Spent
mantis 1
We learned about flying bugs. We found a dead Praying Mantis and looked at all it’s parts. It had extra eyes on it’s forehead and hairs on it’s legs that it uses to taste stuff! (Nate, 6 1/2)
mantis 3
Gideon tried to eat the Praying Mantis! Gideon has teeth! (Sam, 4 1/2)
mantis 2
We started paddle practice with the canoe club and it was fun (Joel, 8 1/2).

A hui hou!

A hui hou!

Teacher’s Two-Cents
Growing up, I always assumed that my mother’s love of the outdoors and knowledge of nature had come from my father, The Handsome Park Ranger she had married at the age of 19. It wasn’t until later that I realized it came first from her own mother. In the spring we would always take drives out to wherever the wildflowers were putting on the biggest show and even as a child I marveled that my mom always knew the names of every single one. I wanted to know all their names, too. It’s amazing how our God-given dominion instinct manifests itself this way in children. If they know something’s name, quite simply, they own it. “His name is (insert any other child’s name that they have just met no more than 2 seconds ago). He is MY friend.” OR “This is MY (insert any bug, reptile, or amphibian just relocated into your kitchen here). I named him Marvin.” When children learn something’s name it suddenly becomes a legitimate part of THEIR world. From infancy much of their learning is the naming of the things around them and they absolutely delight in the accumulation of this knowledge.
I don’t know who coined the term “Delight Directed Learning” but they pretty much stole it straight out of Psalms 111:2 which reads, “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” My Mom delighted in God’s creation just as her own mother did and that was passed on to me. I may not be a trained Naturalist but I already have 2 of the most important qualifications for teaching the Natural Sciences to my children: I love the majestic works of the Lord AND I love my boys. 1 Corinthians 13:1,2 reads “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I… understand all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing.” Even though I wasn’t home-schooled that verse is the reason my Mom was the best teacher I ever had.
My Mom and The Handsome Park Ranger, 2011

My Mom and The Handsome Park Ranger, 2011



R is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsR is for
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you say ‘I have no pleasure in them’…When the sound of grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird.”
Ecclesiastes 12:1,4

A Hymn to Impart“Nearer My God to Thee”
Note: My boys just reminded me that this was the song playing in the background of the Genesis 1 reading by Apollo 8 which we posted here last year on our astronomy blog.

How Our Week Was Spent
I drowned an ant and then Mom put salt on it and it came back to life. We named the ant Lazarus (Nate, 6 1/2).
Experiment #1
We tried drowning ants too only they wouldn’t drown for a really long time and then when we put them on a plate with salt on them Dad washed all the dishes including our plate of salted ants so then they were really drowned so our experiment failed (Joel, 8 1/2).
Experiment #2
Dad said we should try the experiment again with a control ant so we drowned 3 but only put salt on 2. The one with no salt walked right off the plate but the other 2 are still there in their salt grave (Titus, 10).
Experiment #3
Teacher’s Two-Cents
If you haven’t had a look at this week’s memory verse make sure you check it out. It’s worth taking the time to read the whole thought-provoking chapter. When I read it aloud to the boys I could tell being around seniors all the time had really payed off in their comprehension of these riddles of old age. They have witnessed first hand the dimming vision, the trembling hands, the bent backs, the missing teeth, the impaired hearing, the nervousness and anxiety that come with advanced years. They didn’t know about the difficulty sleeping but they learned that this week too.
I myself thought I was being awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a bird but it turns out it was the referee’s whistle coming from the TV. All my little hockey fans had snuck out of bed with their Dad to watch the Olympic match between USA and Russia which here in Hawaii was broadcasted at 2:30 in the morning. So I did what any other already sleep-deprived mother would do. I made them hot chocolate and rice-krispy treats and we made a night of it. After the game, which the U.S. won in a shoot-out in case you were wondering, everyone went back to bed except my little early bird and I. The full moon was shining brightly over the water and it was Nate’s turn to take a neighborhood prayer walk with me (the boys consider themselves ‘Prayer Ninjas’ since we have to be VERY sneaky when we do this) so out we went into the moonlight.
Shocking how many others are up at 5 in the morning. Old people really do wake up early. And I’m pretty sure they hadn’t all been watching hockey. We prayed extra for all our elderly neighbors who had their lights on in those wee hours. Neighbors we know are suffering from loneliness, from recent loss of loved ones, from poor health, from worry.
When I am old and maybe alone and when I too will “rise up at the sound of a bird,” I thank the Lord for the treasure trove of memories I will have to feast upon in those quiet hours of the night. Memories of little boys snuggled up with their Dad trying desperately to contain their cheers so as not to disturb the neighbors. Memories of walking hand-in-hand with my Nathan in the moonlight and hearing his whispered prayers for those around us (he and Sam always pray that everyone else can get a new baby, too :)). And even though I was a pretty grumpy Mommy all the next day I hope that big heart shaped marshmallow I remembered to put on top of their cocoa made up for it.
hearts and hockey
For more on middle-of-the-night family fun click here.

Q is for…

A Verse Hid in Our Hearts…Q is for
“Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

A Hymn to Impart…“Come Holy Spirit, Come Heavenly Dove”

How Our Week Was Spent
Snowbirds are migrating old people. They don’t have wings but they fly here in airplanes. There is a big flock of them now at our condos. They are nice. They have potlucks and cook good food. And some can dance but some don’t like loud music or loud anything. And they don’t like snow. That’s why they are here (by Joel, 8 1/2 and Nate, 6 1/2).

You know you're at a Snowbirds potluck when the "kids table"-includes 50-and-60- year-olds

You know you’re at a Snowbirds potluck when the “kids table”-includes 50-and-60- year-olds

The real "kids table"
Teacher’s Two-Cents
“How did your day go?” Tom asked, with a quick kiss at the door.
“Loaded question dear. Do you want the long version or the short?”
Men always want the short version even though it’s never as interesting.
“I laughed. I cried. I yelled. I prayed. I cried some more. I canceled school FOREVER. And then one of the boys handed me this letter and it changed EVERYTHING. So yeah, it was an AWESOME day.”
letter to mom
Each Monday I post our new memory verse in two places where it is always in view. One is right on my desk and one is on the white board in the school room. This past week more than ever the words seemed to be jumping out at me every time I walked by. Even as I went about my daily duties and in the still hours of the night a variation of that first charge kept ringing in my ear, “Quench not [THEIR] spirit[s].”
Yes, life in a condo with 5 little boys can be a lot like being stuck in a stable with a herd of wild horses. And while I certainly want to train them up and teach them obedience, the last thing I want to do is break their spirits. Our place would be quieter, certainly cleaner, I might find myself blushing less at their behavior, and worrying less about keeping them out of peril but I would practically be guilty of murder in the process. As I mention on my Boy Tested, Teacher Approved page, God not only gives Adam some very specific directives in the first 2 chapters of Genesis, He also equips the sons of Adam with the drives necessary to carry those mandates out. Tragically, boys of today are routinely having that God-given spiritedness subdued through medication and television/computer screens (read The Plug-In Drug and Boys Adrift). But there are other ways to quench boys’ spirits in the hopes of obtaining some peace and pacifity. And I know I’ve been guilty of them at times. So while the expression of contriteness and repentance and obedience in the letter was certainly a welcome one, it is my constant prayer that those words would be the legitimate fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of my sons and not merely the result of a quenching of their own spirits through my over-parenting, guilt-tripping, or discouraging words. After all as the verse says, “the God of peace” will do the sanctifying, not me!
And yes, I know, the context of this verse has nothing to do with parenting and the “spirit” being referenced is The Actual Holy Spirit. But I’m not expositing here, I’m just trying to be a good mommy!
Also, my boys were quick to point out that this verse had nothing to do with birds which I was also manifestly aware of and just to save everyone some repeated disappointment in the future I will let you all know right now that the letters X and Z will also be foul-less. But hey, 23 out of 26 isn’t bad!

P is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsP is for
“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!” Psalm 148:7-10

A Hymn to Impart“Praise”

How Our Week Was Spent
We have lots of birds around our house. Sometimes they are very loud. The loudest bird is the Francolin but it’s good they don’t make noise all the time. When the Parrots fly over they are loud, too. They sound like they are yelling at each other. The Cardinals are little but they sing loud and when you sing at them they sing back. The Doves are not extremely loud but there are lot’s of them so we hear them all the time. And the Myna birds are noisy too. We have heard some tourists complain that all the birds are annoying but we like them. Especially the Francolins and the Parrots.
(by Titus, Joel, Nate, and Sam)
(The boys picked out a great video we took of a flock of Parrots flying over but apparently I have to pay extra to WordPress to upload my own videos. I also have to pay extra to block the periodic ads that appear on here and I’m too cheap to do either. Sorry about that.)

Teacher’s Two-Cents
E halelu aku oukou ia Lehova! Praise the Lord! This week’s verse was a review for us since we chose this chapter to memorize together as a family a couple years ago. We also used a portion of it last year when we were studying astronomy. Tom’s Mom had sent us a link to a great message by Louie Giglio on this same Psalm. I wanted to return to it again because I think it is such a powerful illustration of the cosmic worship happening all around us. From the tiniest sparrow to the grandest star, all of creation is proclaiming “How great is our God!”

If you haven’t clicked on this weeks hymn, please do. I don’t even know how the tune goes but I found the words in a little Mennonite hymnal for children and I was just blown away by their message. When all of creation is proclaiming God’s praise, who am I to withhold my own?
And one more thing. Verses 12 and 13 of Psalms 148 read “Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.” I love the picture given here of God’s people praising Him together, young and old, side by side, exalting His name along with all of creation. I am so thankful to have grown up in a corporate-worship setting listening to my elders singing their beloved hymns. The impression it made on me was life-lasting. Even as a little child I could tell that these folks meant every word they were singing and when they sang “I Love to Tell The Story” I knew in my heart that they really, really did.
E halelu aku oukou ia Lehova. Praise the Lord.