Thanks, Evil Queen

The book, Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour by Susan Perrow asks the question, “Could truths contained in the rich realm of story reach children more directly, and in a way more in tune with their innate imaginative capacities?” I can firmly say, “Yes!” – and sometimes itś from the least likely story and character!

kymee-6I do not fully understand how such a beautiful sweet little girl can struggle with such strong feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Rose has been adored and uplifted her entire life – by countless friends and family members who love her – she often complains that “no one loves her.” These feeling of being unlovable are exaggerated when those closest to her pay attention to anyone but her.

I told a little girl she had beautiful curly hair. Rose cried, “You don’t love me. You don’t think I’m beautiful.”

“You hate me – you are holding the baby and not me.”

“It is a horrible day – you love the dog more than me – he is always on your lap.”

I was singing praise and worship songs as I drove through traffic. Rose began screaming and crying uncontrollably. I finally got her to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong – “You love Jesus more than me!” she stated through her tears.

I am at a loss. I have no idea how to deal with this issue. I cannot reassure Rose of my love enough. I cannot stop loving others, complimenting others, or singing praises to God because of her insecurities.  I’ve been praying about how to deal with this egocentric need for love and affirmation.

Enter -stage left – Snow White’s stepmother – the Evil Queen.

stepmother-2

After a year had passed the King took to himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but proud and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her in beauty. She had a wonderful looking-glass, and when she stood in front of it and looked at herself in it, and said—

“Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall,

Who in this land is the fairest of all?”

the looking-glass answered—

“Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all!”

Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth.

But Snow-white was growing up, and grew more and more beautiful; and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the day, and more beautiful than the Queen herself. And once when the Queen asked her looking-glass —

“Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall,

Who in this land is the fairest of all?”

it answered—

“Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen.”

But more beautiful still is Snow-white, as I ween.”

Then the Queen was shocked, and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour, whenever she looked at Snow-white, her heart heaved in her breast, she hated the girl so much.

Little SnowWhite from Grimm’s Household Tales by Margaret Hunt

Rose’s eyes opened wide – “That’s not nice. She’s not nice.” Then she began to cry – not her uncontrollable meltdown sobs – but a watering trickle that brightening her already blue eyes. “I don’t want to be like her.”

I had expected Rose to relate to Snow White – beautiful, kindhearted, helpful – because that is how I see her. Instead, she was confronted with the self she struggles with.  Since the first step in changing is realizing and admitting you have a problem – I see her self-reflection as a huge breakthrough.

stepmother-1

Tomorrow, I’ll pray where to go from here, but today – I am thanking God for the Evil Queen.

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First Day K6

First day of official homeschooling. First day of Kindergarten Six. First day of Rhythm of Grace. First day’s rhythm in pictures.

first-day-12

Started my day with personal devotions. Daniel 5:23 “God in whose hand is your breath” – reminded me that living today is a blessing from Him and my life today should praise Him and bring Him glory.

first-day-1

Woke my sleepy head and 9:00. She crawled in bed with me and we cuddled and read “Autumn Story” from The Complete Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem.

first-day2

Rose loves to make the bed – even if I am still in it.

first-day-3

Rose chose to wear her new Sunday dress for our first day of school. Then we had her favorite breakfast – bagel with cream cheese. The CapriSun is a complete treat, left over from the holiday weekend.

first-day4

Morning outside exercise and counting practice. Rose jumped 163 times before falling!

first-day-5

Lighting our candle, and beginning to learn Psalm 8. “O Lord, Our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth.”

first-day-6

Rose acted out the “Snow White” with her figurines, while I told the story.

first-day-7

Dancing, chanting, singing, and finger-plays in Circle Time.

first-day-10

Coloring a self-portrait for the first day of school.

“Mommy – my picture of myself is beautiful – but yours is creepy!”

fave-day-14

“Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy and school at home. Thank you for colors, and Snow White, and music. Thank you for this happy day. Amen”

first-day-13

Chores. “Hey Mom, I’m just like Snow White – sweeping up the dwarfs house!”

Free Time choices: nature table, coloring, legos and …

Still life photography (Still life arranged & photographed by Rose herself)

All in all, a very good day – only 2,339 to go.

Read Aloud

The road down memory lane is paved with read-aloud books.Questions 15

I watched the clock intently. When the big hand was on ten and the little on three, my stomach started turning, I felt nauseous, occasionally I even threw-up. This ailment persisted for four years of elementary school – because at 10:30 I was pulled out of class and taken to remedial reading. I hated reading. I hated books. I hated being singled out for being “dumb.¨ Then in fifth grade something changed- instead of a sick feeling I got cookies and milk. At exactly 10:30 a cart rolled into the room with milk and cookies. I munched on my raisin oatmeal cookie and sipped my milk as mind traveled to unknown places as my teacher read aloud. Iḿ almost fifty and I can still remember the books Mr. Foley read aloud. “Mandy,” “The Great Brain” series, and my favorite childrenś book of all time, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I simply couldn’t wait til tomorrow to find out what happened to the Great Brain  – I went to the library, checked out the books – and this reluctant, remedial reader became obsessed with reading. I learned that the right book read aloud at the right time can change reluctant readers to book junkies.

I remember the last book my mom read aloud to me. I was in sixth grade. We lived in North Dakota and the winter felt like Danteś ninth layer of hell. After school, I cuddle up on the couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa, as my mom read aloud. She read, ¨The Girl of the Limberlost,¨ saying it was her favorite books when she was my age. To be perfectly honest, I thought  the story was boring – but it didn’t matter – I felt a close bond with my mom. In my mind, I pictured her sitting on a couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa as her older sister read the same book to her. My motherś words, as she read, floated around me and warmed my insides more than the cocoa. I learned that reading aloud creates a special bond between the reader and the listener.

Justification 6

When my oldest children were five and eight – I read a biography of Helen Keller After it was finished I asked the kids to tell me about the book. My eight-year-old told me a timeline of Helenś life – all the dates and places included – but he failed to mention that she had a disability. My five year old detailed her disability, saying how God made each of us special and can use each of us.You would have though I read two different books. I learned that children hear and process information differently.

Once, I read  “Johnny Tremain” out loud at lunchtime. My husband happened to be home for lunch – he forbid (or rather begged) me not to continue reading unless he was at home for lunch. He didn’t want to miss a moment. I learned reading aloud bonds a family together.

CPS called us to foster a fifteen year old girl. She had been sitting in the police station, for stealing a car for three days. She told us, all tough like, that she was being initiated into a gang. One of the things I remember most about her is that she would plop onto the couch next to me, as close as she could get, lay her head on my shoulder and ask me to read to her. I learned that reading aloud can melt hardened hearts.

Justification 4

Another sweet foster daughter we had was just a year old. The only book she wanted me to read was “Mama, Do you love me?” I must have read it dozens of times a day as she sat on my lap and twirled my hair in her little fingers. When we lost custody of her – I gave her the book. To this day, I can’t read the book aloud to my daughter or grandkids without sobbing. I learned that books are attached to memories and just the mention of a certain book that was read aloud at a certain time of your life will bring all the emotions of that time flooding back to you.

I remember reading “The Giver” in seventh grade, and I’ve read it to all of my kids. When many Junior High girls want little to do with their Mom, my daughter sat on my bed until two in the morning as I read it – we simply had to keep reading. One of my students came to me crying one day. She been assigned  “The GIver” by her English teacher. The content so upset her and she hated the book. I learned that the content of the book, the emotional maturity of the reader must be considered alongside the reading level. I also learned that heavy subject books are often better as read alouds – even with older students – because some books must be dissected  and discussed.

My eighteen year old just confessed that he has no clue how “Where the Red Fern Grows” ends – because I was crying so hard at the end of the book that he couldn’t understand a word I read. I told him he could read it himself. “No thanks – Iḿ not into dog books.” I learned one person’s favorite book is not another’s.

Inside the binding of a read-aloud lies not just a story but a Pandora box of memories.

Hereś a few of my favorite read alouds. They are not listed by subject. This is not the end all list. This will not be your list. This is my list of go to read- alouds. This is my list of books I love.

*Are my don’t miss books – my favorites.

1 Book  to read aloud to a One-Year-Old

  1. Doggies by Sandra Boynton (forget this is about numbers – but please make different sounds for each dog – promised to make your child laugh and say “Again! Again!”)

2 Books  to read aloud to a Two-Year-Old

  1. Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
  2. But Not the Hippopotamus  by Sandra Boynton

3 Books  to read aloud to the Three-Year-Old

  1. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  2. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Mem Fox*
  3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

4 Books  to read aloud to to the Four-Year-Old

  1. Curious George by H.A. Ray
  2. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  3. Weŕe Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  4. The Spooky Old Tree by  Stan and Jan Berenstain
Dragon 15

In my opinion, the BEST chapter book to read aloud

5 books to read aloud to Five-Year-Old

  1. The Story of the Root Children Sibylle von Olfers
  2. Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
  3. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood*
  4. My Fatherś Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (in my opinion the BEST first read-aloud chapter book)
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

 

 

 

 

6 Books  to read aloud to a Six-Year-Old

  1. Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
  2. Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess
  3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Ericsson*
  4. The Velveteen Rabbit  by Margery Williams*
  5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  6. Owls in the Family  by Farley Mowat
alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

7 Books  to read aloud to a Seven-Year-Old

  1. Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
  2. The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
  3. Charlotteś Web by E.B. White
  4. One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  5. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  7. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 

 

 

 

wind in willows

Wind in Willows

8 Books  to read aloud to a Eight-Year-Old

  1. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  2. Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
  3. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  6. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
  7. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame*

 

 

 

 

9 Books  to read aloud to a Nine-Year-Old

  1. Cricket in Time Square by George Selden
  2. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
  3. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  4. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  5. Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
  6. BFG by by Roald Dahl
  7. From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by  E. L. Konigsburg
  8. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  9. The Railway Children by E Nesbit

10 Books  to read aloud to a Ten-Year-Old

  1. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
  2. The Twenty One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
  3. Little Britches by Ralph Moody
  4. Caddy Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  5. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  6. The Courage of Sarah Noble  by Alice Dalgliesh
  7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  8. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  9. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
  10. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
secret garde

The Secret Garden

11 Books  to read aloud to  a Eleven-Year-Old

  1. The Great Brain by John Fitzgerald*
  2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls*
  3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  5. The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
  6. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  7. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray Vining
  8. Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
  9. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings
  10. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  11. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

12 Books  to read aloud to a Twelve-Year-Old

  1. The Hobbit by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. The Cay by Theodore Taylor*
  3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.*
  4. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare*
  5. Door in the Wall  by Marguerite de Angeli
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  7. Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  8. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  10. Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
  11. A Wrinkle in TIme by Madeleine L’Engle
  12. The Phantom Tollbooth  by Norton Juster
lettle women

Little Women

10 Books  to read aloud to a Junior Higher

  1. The Lord of the RIngs by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. And Then There were None by Agatha Christie
  3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne*
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  6. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  7. Shane  by Jack Schaefer
  8. Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Beowulf
  10. Godś Smuggler by Brother Andrew*

 

 

 

10 Books  to read aloud to  a Senior Higher (all lead to excellent discussion)

  1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton*
  3. My Sisterś Keeper by Jodi Picoult*
  4. The Giver  by Lois Lowry*
  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals*
  7. Freedom Writers  by Erin Gruwell and Freedom Writers
  8. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Lord of the Flies  by William Golding

 

 

Transitioning Rhythm

rhythm 2Sometimes it is hard to transition between the  musical improvisation of summer and the march of school year rhythm. The last couple of weeks of August become a jazz piece – with a steady beat but lots of improvisation thrown in.

I scramble to organize my calendar, school space, and household tasks. I make sure my school supplies and bookshelves are stocked, as well as checking the dresser drawers to see if they contain anything besides swimsuits and cover-ups.

When I was little – summer vacation ended and school began – changing everything about my day to day life in one swift swoop. It was exciting, but a little scary. Now, I slip from one rhythm to the next almost like embracing a new movement in the same symphony – a completely different tempo but carrying across the same motif.

Officially, we start our new rhythm the day after labor day – September 6th this year.

This is what I hope my new rhythm looks like:

Monday

8:00 – Wake, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

8:15- 9:00 Mom coffee, Slow Cook Dinner, Sack lunches

9:00 Leave for Co-Op

10:30 – 11:30 Co-Op

11:30 – 12:30 Socialize & Lunch

12:30 – 5:00 Errands & Groceries (every other week)  Zoo (every other week)

5:30 – 6:30 Family Dinner

6:30 – 9:30 Church Home Group

9:30 Bible, Prayers & Lights Out

Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep

10:15 – 10:30 Trampoline

10:30 – 10:35 Candle Lighting & Memory Verse

10:35 – 10:50  Story Time

10:50 – 11:30 Circle Time

11:30 – 12:15 Art or Handwork

12:15  -12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 Household Chores

2:00 – 2:30 Snack

2:30 – 5:00 Health Club

5:00 – 6:00 Mom cook, Rose free-play

6:00  – 7:00 Family Dinner & Clean up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time

Friday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:30 Breakfast, Sack lunch &  Dinner in Slow-Cooker

10:30 – 11:00 Household Chores

11:00 – 4:30 Forest Day

4:30 – 6:00 Free TIme

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner & Clean Up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – ? Mom & Dad time

Saturday

Sleep in as late as want

Extended Family Day

Family Field Trips

Free Time

Every other week – date night & babysitter

Sunday

9:00 Wake & Get ready for church, Mom

10:00 Breakfast & Lunch in Slow Cooker

10:30 – 12:30 Church

12:30 – 5:00 Extended Family

5:00 – 11:00 Mom’s much needed time alone, Dad’s turn with Rose

(Rabbit Trail: Notice I didn’t start early and we read aloud while cuddling in bed first. Being that neither Rose or I are morning people – I didn’t want to set us up for failure right off the bat. Also – I know that ART and HANDWORK should be separate events – but I also knew that if I pushed either back to after lunch – it wouldn’t get done. I also scheduled in flex time, driving time, and time away from Rose – for my own sanity.)

That’s my September march. My August jazz improv looks more like this:

rhythm 1Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep (That’s a crescendo from sleeping as long as possible every day)

10:15am – 8:00 pm Cut technology back to one hour a day for Rose: Free play; Run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do all the organization that I should have been doing all summer: Swim – don’t forget there are still swim days left in the year – so trying to take advantage! 

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack (I have three weeks to re-establish the bedtime routine we threw out the window when the days were long and nights were warm)

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time

Night Dance

So – I’m trying to start and end the day with the new rhythm – with total improve in the middle. As the days grow cooler and the march approaches – I can feel the excitement in my bones. My dance step is changing as I anticipate the andante days of summer turning into the allegro of a new school year.

What does you school year rhythm look like? What do you do to transition from summer?

 

Rhythm of Grace – K6 -Trial Curriculum

Questions 15

I am writing a Christian homeschool curriculum using Waldorf pedagogy entitled “Rhythm of Grace.” I am currently in the process of writing the Kinder6 curriculum, which I will be using for my own daughter this upcoming year. I would love to offer my curriculum FOR FREE to anyone who is willing to use it. It does not need to be used 100% as is – I know I have never used a curriculum 100%. It does need to be used with your children and not just read through. Here are some details about the offer:

Goal:

  • Develop a Christian curriculum using Waldorf pedagogy .
  • Provide an educational path that leads kids into a relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Blossom children into well rounded  people (heart, head, hands) for the purpose of loving the Lord with their hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

questions 14Elements of K6:

  • Fairytale Storytime
  • Circle TIme (Seasons, Fairytales, Bible Verses, Spanish, Counting, Waldorf Verses, and Classical Poetry)
  • Spanish as a Second Language
  • Handwork (Cooking,Fabrics, Gardening)
  • Art (Drawing,Modeling,Wet-on-Wet Painting)
  • Music (Incorporated in Storytime and Circle TIme)
  • Holiday Ideas for traditional holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, May Day)
  • Once a Week Forest Day
  • Daily Verses
  • Recommended Read-Alouds and Bible Stories
  • Samples of Daily, Weekly, and Seasonal Rhythm

history 3My Qualifications:

  • Experience
    • 24 Years Homeschooling
    • 20 Years Teaching Co-Ops and Private Schools
    • 20 Years Debate Coach
    • 10 Years Tutor for Reading and Writing
    • Taught Students (other than my own) at every grade level (K – 12)
    • Worked with gifted, typical, and special needs children
    • Written curriculum for homeschoolers, private schools, and churches
    • Homeschooled using: Unit Studies, Classical, Unschooling, Waldorf
  • Education
    • Studied Traditional Music & Theater Education
    • Minored in Literature
  • Waldorf
    • Self-taught and researched
    • Read All Articles and Books pertaining to Kindergarten on Waldorf Library waldorflibrary.org
    • Read Waldorf Blogs for homeschooling in practice

Nothing is Really Free: I’m willing to exchange my curriculum for:

  • Editing for grammar, spelling, organization
  • Helping me source materials used and obtain copyrights
  • Feedback on how to make the curriculum more user friendly
  • Feedback on content: what needs to be added or is not needed
  • Written Reviews I can use in the published curriculum
  • Free publicity: When I am ready to publish, I need people to write about the curriculum on their blogs and social media
  • Curriculum can not be republished as your own, given away to others without my consent, or quoted without permission

il_570xn-149738294My Basic Christian Beliefs:

  • God

I believe there is One God who exists in three persons: Father, Son/Jesus, Holy Spirit.

  • Bible

I believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. It should be read literally, taking into consideration the type of literature. It is the ultimate means of truth (truth is not relative).

  • Man

I believe man was created by God to bring Him glory (to make Him famous). Man is born sinful, which separates him from God. Salvation is through belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which restores our right relationship with God.

Disclaimer:

  • I do not claim this is a Waldorf Curriculum – It is a Christian Curriculum, using Waldorf pedagogy

questions 6Timeline:

  • Fall (Sept, Oct, Nov) will be delivered to you via google docs on or before July 31
  • Winter (Nov. Dec, Jan) will be delivered on or before September 30
  • Spring (Feb, Mar, April) will be delivered on or before November 30

If you are interested in using “Rhythm of Grace” Kinder6 Trial Curriculum, please send me an email at mrs.joyce.pinero@gmail.com. Please include information about your particular family and children. Include what you would like to do for me in exchange for the curriculum (see Nothing is Really Free section). Thank you for considering my curriculum.

 

Kiwi Branch of a School Year

Our school year didn’t go as planned. It never does, but this year more than most.

I look longingly at my “Kinder Rhythm and Verse” post from last July – visualizing the plans that never materialized. Oh, we may have followed the rhythm a few days, weeks, or months, but life got in the way.

Some years grow like plum branches straight and fruitful, but this year looked more like a kiwi branch: four surgeries, one birth and one death

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The year started with Grandpa, who lives with us, having open heart surgery.

1235485_1172177552815322_6665565665587265866_nLater in the fall, we learned Rose had lost all of hearing in her right ear as it had filled with liquid and pushed her eardrum back so it was touching her cranium. The ENT also suggested having a cranial specialist look into repairing her nose, as scar tissue from her cleft palate surgery had built up and completely blocked her nasal breathing. Thus Rose’s New Year began with ear surgery by the ENT, followed shortly after by a plastic surgeon repairing her nose and cleft palate. Both Rose’s hearing and breathing have been restored – praise God.

The month between the two surgeries, I got sick, and more and more of my energy was draining out of me. I held off going to the doctor until a week after Rose’s surgery. Two doctors, a nurse practitioner, an emergency room visit, three sets of blood work, and two ultrasounds later – everything but cancer had been ruled out. I underwent surgery and a biopsy three weeks after Rose’s plastic surgery.

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Before getting the results back, my daughter-in-law gave birth to twins. We’d been joyously anticipating their births. Rose had helped me search out cashmere sweaters, felt them,  cut them and design them into patterns. I taught her to hand sew – and she sat beside me making little hearts as I hand sewed the quilts. We talked about the babies and how they would play some day together. Every night Rose prayed and thanked God for them. Our baby boy was born healthy, but our baby girl had died shortly before birth. It was such a bitter-sweet moment in time.

Between the birth and the funeral I found out the results of my biopsy. It was benign! It was truly a miracle! The doctor said that after doing the surgery she was positive I had cancer. She had practiced medicine for over 20 years and never done a surgery like mine that wasn’t cancer. When she got the lab results back, she even recalled the lab to confirm the results – because she was so surprised. It can only be considered a miracle. So, it was determined that my health problems were the result of a complete imbalance of hormones. I started hormone treatment – and have been regaining energy little by little.

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Needless to say – Kindergarten wasn’t quite like I had planned.

Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I had plans for Rose’s Kindergarten year – but God had other plans.

Instead of learning to read and write – Rose learned:

That God is sovereign. He is in control of our days, and not we ourselves. God is the giver and taker of life.

With the death of Baby Girl, we talked about the fact that one day in the presence of God is better than a life lived on earth.

God is the Healer. He heals miraculously, and He heals through doctors. He chooses who and how He heals.

Loving and caring for others is more important than personal growth.  Reading and writing are not the most important things in life. People are.

A few years ago there was a survey done in which Christian Parents were asked what they want most for their kids – 80% said a good education, whereas less than half as many said a relationship with God. I’m glad God reminded me once again – through circumstances out of my control – what was really important to teach my daughter:

“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28 – 31)

kiwi-vine-branches_med

The Kiwi branch is beautiful – because God made it that way.  Our school year as well was beautiful because it was designed by God to teach us what He wanted us to learn.

 

 

History of Education in a Nutshell

Questions 15I was out to prove the book wrong.  It was a well-known, well-loved book on classical home education. I felt bipolar reading it. One paragraph, I’d be cheering, and the next I wanted to throw it against the wall. At one point it made the statement, “As soon as your child begins to talk (which will be early if she’s this immersed in language), teach her the alphabet…As a parent-educator, your number one goal should be to have your child reading fluently when she starts first-grade work.” – And then the thought hit me – That’s not “classical” that’s a fairly new – actually 21st Century concept. So I did what I always do – research…obsessive research.

What I found was bigger than the argument I wanted to make (which was correct, just for your information). Our very thoughts on what constitutes a “good education” lay on the shoulders of civilizations and philosophers of the past.  I truly believe that as a homeschooler – we should know what we believe the goal of education is, what subjects should be taught, and how they should be taught.  Reading the concepts of the past can help us to formulate our personal family education philosophies.

I’ve done the background work – and tried to summarize it in a simple format – chronologically. “Age” refers to the age in which children who attended school would attend – everything else is self-explanatory.

historyAncient Greece

                Age: 7 – 13 or 14 (Some 18)

Goal: Good Citizenship & Well Rounded Individuals

Methodology: Physical education (Gymnastics), Playing Instruments, Singing,   Memorization,  Acting

Subjects:  Athletics, Music, Art, Literature, Science, Philosophy, Math, Speech,  Logic

Philosophy: Outcome based education: Educate for the benefit of the State

Plato, “(boys) may learn to be more gentle, and harmonious, and                                   rhythmical, and so more fitted for speech and action; for the life of man in every part has need of harmony and rhythm.”

Ancient Hebrew

                Age: Age 6 – 13 (Some 18)

Goal: Instill values (Love of God and his laws and to interact in society in how God                   wants)

Methodology:  Imitation, Memorization, Practical Skills, Testing, Discipleship;

Subjects: Religion, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Geography, Agriculture,                             History, Accounting, Economics, Sociology, Medicine

 Philosophy: Educate for Eternity

history 1Ancient Roman

                Age: 6 or 7 – 18 or 20

Goal: Good Citizenship & Effective Speaker

Methodology: Technicalities of grammar, Memorization, Mechanics more important than understanding, Imitation and Apprenticeship

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Counting, Grammar, Literature, Latin, Greek,                                Literature, Law, History, Customs, Oration, Logic, Rhetoric

Philosophy: Outcome based education: Educate for the benefit of the State

The Middle Ageshistory 3

                Those Going Into Church Work and Educated by Clergy

Age: 6 – 16

Goal: Prepare for work in church

Methodology: Taught adults and children side by side – childhood did not exist

Subjects:  Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Latin; Quadrivium: Arithmetic,                          Geometry,  Music,   and Astronomy; Art if someone showed talent

Philosophy: Body “sinful” or evil – suppress physical needs in favor of the mind                     and spiritual; Childhood did not exist; Cannot question truth

Those Going into Secular Work

Age:  Varied by family

Goal: Prepare For Job or Place in Society

Methodology:  Apprenticeship, Code of Chivalry not Curriculum Based

Subjects:  Poetry, National History, Heraldry, Manners, Customs, Physical                                Training, Dancing, Music, Battle Skills

history 4

The Renaissance

                Age: 6 – Mid 20s

Goal: Well-Rounded Individuals

Methodology: Grammar studied for literature not technically,

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Math, Music, Art, History, Philosophy, Astronomy,                       Greek and Roman literature, Physical Education

                 Philosophies: Humanism, Learning is exciting and fun

 

17th- Century

In American Colonieshistory 5

                Age:  7 – 14

Goal: Training the Mind for God

Methodology: Apprenticeship, Memorization,

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Religion, Latin, Grammar

 

 

European Philosophers:

 Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670): “Education according to nature” – must understand the    nature of the child. Children are not miniature adults. Ideas come first as objects one can    understand with the senses, not as words – therefore, teachers must use objects to teach with.  Education should be pleasant not forced.

 

John Locke (1632 – 1704): “Tabula Rasa” – the mind is a blank tablet. All knowledge comes from   what is learned in the physical world, therefore personal experience is a better teacher than books. Subjects are taught for the purpose of training the mind to think.

 

18th-Century

                Goal: Practical Skills for living and contributing to society

Methodology: Drill and memorization,

               Philosopher:

history 7

Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790): Believed in student-led education and teach according to a child’s temperament and personality. Studying English is more important than Latin. Education should be humanistic and not religious. Education should be practical.

European Philosophers:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78): Children born “good” and the aim of education is training his  natural development. Character and morality are more important than teaching techniques. He believed in child development and developmentally appropriate teaching.  Child lead education  is best practice.

19th-Century

history 9

            Age: 6 – 13

Philosophers:

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827): Natural development of the individual child is the goal   of education. Education should start with concrete objects and move towards abstract words   and ideas. Teachers should guide to discover information not tell them facts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel (1782-1852): Developed the concept of Kindergarten (a garden where children are nurtured and bloom like flowers).  Children are not a blank slate but have knowledge within them that can be brought out by experiences that teachers provide.

Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841): Education’s purpose is to cultivate a child’s mind by  giving him knowledge. Understanding not rote memory should be focused on.  Teachers should    present knowledge in the ways that are best for children to understand it. Teachers should also inspire students to learn.

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1861 – 1925): The goal of education is to develop morally   responsible well rounded individuals. The whole child should be educated and  academics balances with artistic, physical, and practical skills.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952): Focused on individual development and children’s         independence.  Children learn by doing things themselves. The teacher’s job is to provide activities and objects that a child can learn on his own.

20th Century

history 8

Marie Clay (1926 – 2007): Developed the idea of “emergent literacy.”  Children learn to love language and have a desire to read when they reach school age if they are exposed to certain skills and knowledge before they reach formalized school age.  For example, they will learn to   read quicker if read to by a parent when they are young.

In the 20th Century the responsibility of teaching children under the age of 6 or 7 moved from  the parent to the government.

1950s – 1970s – Children begin learning to read around 6 ½. Before that, they       should be  exposed to books and language by their parents.

1970 – 1990s – “Emergent Literacy” and exposing children younger than 6 to books evolved into   teaching prerequisite skills for reading.  In the 70s the focus shifted from oral language,   vocabulary, and retelling stories which were read aloud to memorizing letter names and sounds  and learning to identify the letters in written print and beginning to write these letters.

For most of the twentieth century the National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC) has set the standards for what is taught in preschools.

A 1987 NAEYC document “Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs    Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8 “ declared preschools should be play based, with meaningful reading activities but skill work in recognizing single letters is inappropriate for child’s development. In 1997, they revised the document and stated preschoolers should learn  letter names, sounds, and combinations before entering Kindergarten.

questions 3

What are your thoughts? 

                Do you believe children are a blank slate or a flower to be watered?

Should learning be teacher lead or child lead?

Should understanding or rote memory be emphasized?

Should education be religiously led or should it be separate from one’s religion?

Are the arts (music and art) essential to a good education, or are they extras?

Should physical education be an intricate part of education?

Do students learn through concrete objects or imparted knowledge?

Should students be taught according to their own personal development, or                               should all children  be taught the same way?

Should “enjoyment of learning” be a priority in education?

Should education be based on society’s needs or individual needs and desires?

What age should one teach a child to read?

What is the ultimate goal of education?

Continue reading

Fairy Circle

 

Fairies R 10We are the sunshine fairies (Twirl clockwise)

And with our sparks of light (flick fingers as sparks – right hand flicks left side/left hand flicks right side)
We shimmer and glimmer in the air (Twirl counterclockwise)

Hugging flowers with colors so bright (hug self and rub hands up and down over folded arms)

 

 

 

 

 

fairy 2

Aquella hada* (flap arms like fairy)

Que va por el sol (Hands over head as sun)
En cada ramita (Arms out as tree twigs)
Que lleva una flor. (ballet arms above head, spin in circle)
(like presenting self at court)

Viva la gala (Right arm from left side body stretched out to right side of body)
Viva el amor (Left arm from right side of body stretched out to left side of body)
Viva la gala (both arms crossed to open up at sides of body)
De aquella hada (curtsy)

This fairy (flap arms like fairy)
That goes in the sun (Hands over head as sun)
On every twig (Arms out as tree twigs)
That bears a flower. (ballet arms above head, spin in circle)
(like presenting self at court)
Long live the elegance,
(Right arm from left side body stretched out to right side of body)
Long live the love (Left arm from right side of body stretched out to left side of body)
Long live the elegance (both arms crossed to open up at sides of body)
Of this fairy (curtsy)

* caracol/snail

(“Aquel Caracol” Rhymes from Mexico – http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=3374)

Fairy Edmond 2

(From Big Voice to Tiny Voice)

I am the giant. (Stomp march – very big steps)

When I mumble and grumble,

The whole earth doth rumble.

I am the gnome. (Shovel like movement)

I dig in the ground

That gold may be found.

I am the witch, (Gallop – pretending to ride on a broom)

And I spit, and I spat

With my skinny black cat.

I am the King. (Stand with hands on hips)

I hold in my hand

The laws of the land.

I am the Knight. (Move like riding a horse)

I fight the King’s foe

With battle-axe and bow.

I am the Queen (Twirl/dance holding “gown”)

In my shining crown

And silvery gown.

I am the Lady. (Wave self with “fan” while step-ball-change from side to side)

I primp and I preen

And I follow the Queen.

I am the fairy. (Fly and flitter)

I fly in the air

And live everywhere.

I am the elf. (Hop, skip, leap)

I whisper and peep.

I hop, skip and leap.

(An English Manual for Elementary School by Dorothy Harrer)

Fairies R 7

Deep in the kingdom there spreads a great forest, (Stand like a tree)
Deep in the forest a mountain soars high; (Pointed arms above head – like mountain)
Deep in the mountain a high vaulted cavern, (Arms straight in front of body with hands above head)
Secret and solemn, where fools may not pry. (Arms made like X over body)

Deep in the cavern there stands a great granite, (Arms form circle in front of body)
Solid and silent and strong as the earth; (Stand strong with arms at sides)
Deep in the granite there glistens and gleams (Bend down and scoop up jewel)
A radiant jewel of wondrous worth.  (Hold jewel in cupped hands in front of body)

(Hidden by Paul King)

(From Standing to sitting – Use silky – as magic carpet & picnic blanket to sit on floor)

Fairies R 8
A little magic carpet came sailing through the air (Run around with silky waving)

With some little fairy folk a sitting on it there*

Each had an acorn basket with a picnic lunch inside (Skip –silk in one hand – “basket” in other)

They stopped and ate their goodies (Lay silky on floor as picnic blanket)

On a stone – I sat beside it

They had frosted, tiny cookies – as round as that (Sit on silky and pretend to eat)

Some sandwiches of bees meat

And they sat and sat and sat

Lo, when the fairies flew away

A crumb could not be found (Crawl on the ground looking for crumbs)

Then I looked and looked and hunted

Over ev’ry inch of ground

*With some little pixie people

(“The Magic Carpet” from Rhymes for Little Hands by Maud Burnham)

Fairies R 6

Once I thought I heard some fairies (Cup ears)

And I looked the garden through (Hand over eyes – looking)

I peeped in every flower cup (Bend fingers slightly, keep hands together)

And in the wee buds too (Curl fingers into palms – hands still together)

I looked beneath the toadstools (On had top of toadstool other stem)

And the tufts of stripped green grass (Fingers up like grass)

Then I just sat down quietly (fold hands in lap)

To let the fairies pass!

(“In the Garden” from Rhymes for Little Hands by Maud Burnham)

Fairies R 2

Way up in the sky the fairies* fly,(Connect hands to make a fairies fly upward)
Down, Down in the flowers the fairies rest (Fly your hands downward)

With a wing on the left, (Show only one hand open to the left)
and a wing on the right, (Show the right hand open to the right)
We’ll let the dear fairies dance through the night. (Fingers wiggle and “dance)

*Little birds

(Way up in the sky – Traditional children’s verse)
Fairy 3One, two, three, (Slowly rise to feet from sitting)
The garden is growing.
Four, five, six, (Hoeing movement)
Now it needs hoeing.
Seven, eight, nine, (Pick weeds)
Down go the weeds.
Ten, eleven, twelve, (Water Garden)
Water it needs.
Thirteen, fourteen, (Hands make rain  – full movement from ceiling to floor)
Here comes a shower.
Fifteen, sixteen, (Full movement – from floor to arms above head – flower grows)
A fairies very own flower!*

*Changed line from “A carrot and a flower!”

(http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems72.html)

Challenges of an Unknown Syndrome

Kymee's Turning OneAt three months, Rose was diagnosed with Fetal Valproate Syndrome by a geneticist. That geneticist is the only doctor’s she’s ever had who knew what the diagnosis was without looking it up on google. If the doctors we deal with on a regular basis don’t know what it is – you can bet friends, family, babysitters, teachers, and random people who see her at the park or store have never heard of it.Kymee's Turning OneFetal Valproate Syndrome is a disorder caused by exposure in the womb to certain prescription drugs. For Rose, the symptoms included cleft lip and palate, a hole in her heart, specific facial and body features, and sticky ear – sometimes causing hearing loss. As she grows older, we are encountering both learning challenges and behavioral issues.d49c7-grandmaThere are many challenges with parenting a child with an “unknown” syndrome. There is next to no research and studies done on it. Little information is found through google. There are no other parents around whose kid has the same thing and I can compare notes. The lack of information available makes me as a parent questions everything I do – “Is this behavior because of the syndrome or am I doing something wrong in disciplining?” “Is this naughty behavior, or unavoidable behavior?” Another frustration is the inability to streamline all of her treatments and therapies. The Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center says this about treatment, “Currently there are no specific treatments for fetal valproate syndrome. Each symptom or birth defect associated with fetal valproate syndrome are managed individually, and may require a team of specialist.” The team thing never happens – it just means I have to go through a ridiculous intake program every time Rose sees a new doctor or therapist. This is time consuming and inefficient.3e604-12-may3So, what can you, the reader do?

  1. Be kind. Have empathy. If you see a kid having a melt down at the store don’t automatically assume the kid is a brat in need of better parents. Mom is frustrated – she doesn’t need your judgmental look or underhanded comment. You don’t know what that family is facing – so just be nice.
  2. Be informed. If someone with an “unknown syndrome” is in your acquaintance – find out about it – to the best of your ability.
  3. Don’t compare. My child is not like other kids her age. She is not like kids with other syndromes. She is not defined by her syndrome alone. She is beautiful and she has some challenging behaviors. She is herself – period. Let’s celebrate her growth – at whatever speed it is, and work on her challenges – without comparing them to others.
  4. Listen. I need a listening ear. I get frustrated and sometimes just need to talk about it.
  5. Ask.Don’t be afraid to ask, “How can I help you?”
  6. Do respite care. I trust few people with the care of my daughter – I trusted even less when she was smaller. If you are in the “trusted few” – I need you. I need you because somedays I need to get away or I am going to go mad. If you aren’t in the “trusted few” – spend some time with me and my daughter and become one of the few. My few are getting burnt out too, and I need you.
  7. Be patient with me when I am having a bad day. It probably isn’t directed at you – but at the frustrations of dealing with my child’s behavior, or the countless calls and visits I make to doctors and therapists.

Kymee 1

I remind myself often of the question the social worker asked us before we adopted Rose. “How do you feel about the possibility that she may have disabilities?” I responded, “God has given her everything she needs to accomplish everything He has set out for her to do.” Our job is to stay close to Him allowing him to direct us as we navigate this unknown syndrome – because it is not unknown to Him.