Category Archives: ABC blogging

Nature Research – Blogging Through The Alphabet

N - Nature Research

One of the struggles we have been having is motivation to do what is needed with a good attitude. This goes for me, not just the students in our school. Frustrations have been a bit overwhelming lately so we have been working hard at changing things up a bit, creating a different example of school work and finding a different attitude towards said work. While this change has been beneficial in some ways, it has not been the magical fix I wish it were.

One of the changes we made was to have the girls begin working on research projects. They are not major research papers but are rather a short assignment of a topic. The girls and I work together to come up with a topic and the presentation of materials. This presentation could be just a paper on what was learned. But it could also be a play, a 3D showcase, a piece of artwork, a computer presentation – anything the student wants as long as they can convince me that their chosen presentation style will be able to accurately communicate the research done.

n nature research

This is a blank notebooking page from NotebookingPages.com.

 

Miss L has been working on some butterfly research. A couple of week ago, she researched the life cycle of a butterfly. Her chosen product was to illustrate and label the life cycle. It came out beautifully.

Last week, she researched butterfly museum, using the internet to take a few virtual tours of butterfly farms, museums, and research centers. The product chosen for this one was to simply write up what she learned.

These simple nature studies have helped Miss L feel a bit more motivated about the other school work she still has to do. Nature studies are interesting and can really help make a needed change in setting, motivation, and ideas. We will be continuing these types of nature studies so that research skills are gained but also the interest remains high.

At Home.

Motivation – Blogging Through the Alphabet & Middle School Monday

M motivation

Motivation

It is quite an intimidating word sometimes. How do you provide motivation? I don’t mean the “do it or else” kind of motivation. I am talking about the internal motivation that causes one to move forward on a project or assignment without someone else getting involved or reminding.

Motivation comes from within. While I like to think that I have some influence over it, I don’t. My middle schoolers (I kind of feel like I have two now that the school year is almost over and Miss L will officially be a 6th grader shortly) are independent thinkers, as they should be. They have hopes and desires and wills and frustrations that are all their own. They will do what I ask them to because it is right to do what your mother says but that isn’t really motivation, is it?

I have been pondering this motivation thing for a while, trying to find the right balance of curriculum choices made by me and made by the student. It is difficult. Do I push math in a day when their motivation has been to work diligently on history for 3 hours? Do I make the student add more to a research paper when she has written two full pages on research that she did that all-in-all took only 30 minutes from start to finish but is well-written and interesting to her? Do I have a child re-do work that is substandard in handwriting but excellent in content?

Where do you push and where do you give grace and allow for it not to be a high quality project?

Boy, do I wish I knew the answer to this!

What do I actually do? I figure it out from day to day and from week to week. This last week, I asked for more on that research but I didn’t push the math issue. Why each of those? Well, if you saw the concentration and intensity with which the history project was being pursued, there was a deep interest that was being fed. I don’t want to mess with that. Math will still be there later and she will work at it when I do choose to insist.

But the research, I felt like she needed more of a challenge. So the next day, I took that research project that I had invisioned being most of a week’s worth of writing and added a different element to the research, a different perspective and had her do some more. Of course, she loved it, spent a good bit of time reading through the websites I pulled up for her, and then wrote double the amount requested. So, she has now breezed through the assignments I expected to take two weeks in two days. What next? Well, her internal motivation is good to get it done so I guess we will just feed it more with a new research project. I have some ideas . . .

All of this rambling is to say, I think if I can continue to find a few ideas that spark an independent motivation, an internal motivation, in at least a single subject area, then we are on the right road. Right now, we have that mix going. I wish we could expand it and we’ll keep trying but for now, I will be happy with what is working and deal with that which is not getting done.

At Home.

This week’s Middle School Monday post is also serving as last week’s Blogging Through The Alphabet post since last week was incredibly busy.

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

Leadership with Lads to Leaders – Blogging Through The Alphabet

L Lads to Leaders

One of the things we all want to see developed in our children is leadership abilities. We desire them to be strong so that they are not tempted to follow but rather to lead. Our family works through this in several specific ways. I want to share one that permeates our whole life today.

Lads to Leaders

L2L, as this program is affectionately abbreviated, is a leadership training program to help develop abilities for leadership within the church. God’s desire is for us to be strong in Him and to lead others to know Him. We cannot effectively do this if we are not strong ourselves and know Him in such a thorough way that we can share about Him and the Bible.

L2L has a long, proven history of strengthening the participants, whether children, teens, or adults. There is much research that shows that if we have strengthened the leadership abilities and knowledge of the Christians, they are much less likely to fall away from the church during their young adult years and other times when life is a struggle.

Each of the giggly girls has different abilities and talents that we want to strengthen, though there is overlap there. There are also a couple of categories that we require the girls to participate in because it will help them to develop their own personal habits in these areas.

The two areas that we truly are requiring the girls to participate is in the Bible Bowl test and the Good Samaritan category. Bible Bowl is required because it is an in-depth study of part of the Bible, with a great focus on the theme of the year. We study it as part of our homeschool and the girls are supposed to do a daily reading of the material, as well. We have practices at church with others who are also studying for Bible Bowl. They then take a 100 question, 1 hour test over the material at the end of February. If they choose to, they can also participate in the competition at the annual Lads to Leaders convention that happens Easter weekend.

Good Samaritan is just that – being a good servant and helper to others in need. This is a year around event in which we look for ways to serve others and help. It could be a simple as helping to prepare the weekly Wednesday meals at church or writing a care to a shut-in. It could be as in-depth as going on a week long mission trip in the summer, helping at church camp, or working VBS. We have times where the girls help in the nursery at church, they volunteer at the building, they pick up trash. We find that the more you look for ways to help, the more ways you find to help.

In addition to these two categories, the girls pick and choose what appeals to them.

Miss E does sign language, art work, memorization, puppetry, bulletin boards, Bible reading, and writing articles for publication.

Miss L does Bible reading, song leading for ladies’ classes and kids’ activities, Keepers (learning about different ways to serve through various aspects of hospitality, as noted in Proverbs 31), puppetry and song writing (shared in a video presentation).

Miss J participated in puppetry, Bible reading, song leading, and Junior Leader (a study of Bible characters and ways they showed leadership).

There are additional categories for participation and they all are focused on the purpose of growing leaders for God’s church. We do spend quite a bit of time with these programs but our purpose as parents is to help guide our children towards God. This program assists us in what God has called us to do (Deut 6:6-9).

At Home.

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

 

Kids Can (and we should let them) – Blogging Through the Alphabet

K Kids can

Just so you know – this is not meant to step on toes but it might. Mine are right there being smashed along side another others I hit. But, I think this bear repeating.

Kids Can Do It.

We Should Let Them.

I have recently been privileged to be a part of some opportunities for kids to grow and show off their skills in various media outlets – Power Point presentations, video presentations, audio statements, and written articles. And puppet shows are coming up. I think these are amazing opportunities for the students to study and learn and grow. Especially when it comes to showcasing their love for God, which is what these specifically were about.

I was somewhat heartbroken, though. It was abundantly clear which students were doing their own work and which were not. When a student was presenting something they had worked hard on, it might not have been perfect but you could see their hearts in it. Knowing how hard my girls have worked on similar projects, I know how much growth occurs when a child has to struggle to meet rigid standards and guidelines and still get across what they so desperately want others to know about God.

So this is just an encouragement to you, whoever you are and in whatever way you might work with students:

Let them do it.

Yes, guide them. But don’t write that script for them. Don’t create their props. Don’t dictate what they should say. Don’t solve that math problem for them. Guide them through the struggle to put down on paper or to show on video what it is that they want to get across.

Let them do it.

Help them. Certainly.

But please, let them do the majority of the work. They will learn so much more and the lessons are so invaluable. They will not always have the benefit of your guidance right beside them. So apply this wherever you need it: guide, don’t do.

Kids can!

At Home.

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

Just Sit Still: 20+ activities for helping a child to sit still during recovery – Blogging Through The Alphabet

J just sit still

“Just sit still and do something.” – I have said that so many times in the past few days. One of the girls had a minor surgery this week and needs to take it easy for about 3 weeks. She doesn’t want to. In fact, she doesn’t even know how to slow down, let alone do nothing active for 3 weeks! In a single day, she has gone through everything special we have for her to do – books, movies, math games, board games, clay projects, rubber band projects, more books, more clay, creating doll clothing, computer games. And she is bored. So what now?

Take to social media, of course. Ask your friends what to do and get some really good responses! So, I thought I would share their ideas here since I know that we all have times when we need the kiddos to sit still for a while. Sometimes, they have to be still for a longer time.

j just sit still doll accessories

Some of these ideas are fantastic and we will probably implement. Some don’t apply since she already does them and/or she can’t stand or sit comfortably for any period of time. Restlessness is the name of the game for us right now and we are trying to beat it.

  • Learn cursive
  • Learn to type
  • Sewing
  • Needlework – cross stitch, crochet, knitting, embroidery
  • Puzzles – 1,000 pieces were suggested, wonder if that would keep her busy long?
  • Make paper dolls
  • Origami
  • Writing – a story, letters to nursing homes or deployed soldiers, an autobiography
  • Bakingj just sit still doll outfit
  • Lego challenges
  • Menu planning
  • Card games
  • Dice games
  • Learn/work on a foreign language
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Latch hook
  • Logic puzzles
  • Solar system model
  • Read books
  • Learn jokes
  • Do mazes
  • Design doll clothing and accessories
  • Write poetry
  • Color
  • Clay projects
  • Do anything with craft materials – make a raft with popsicle sticks, create thank you cards with glitter glue, do an art project with markers or paints

These are most of the ideas of things the giggly girl has done or someone suggested. We have been grateful for all the prayers and the cards and activity gifts send her way. It had made such a wonderful difference for her. There really is nothing quite like those who stop by and let their kiddos chat after Wednesday church, bring a bag of clay and glitter glue and stickers, drop off rubber band activities, or mail a fun little clutch bag to color. Add to that the wonderful cards received from friends and church family alike and we feel so amazingly blessed.

J just sit still fairy

Thank you to everyone who contributed, whether it be one of the specific things I named above or for ideas for helping keep her mind occupied while her body heals. You all are blessings.

At Home.

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

Ice Cream – Blogging Through The Alphabet

I Ice Cream

(Because I am slow on getting some things posted, yet again, I am combining the Middle School Monday post with my Blogging Through the Alphabet. Enjoy!)

Working through the Apologia Astronomy curriculum has given us a number of fun opportunities. One of the labs that was suggested was making ice cream. We could not ignore that experiment/lab!

The purpose of the experiment was to see the how chemicals (in this case – salt) could create a cooling effect. This was in relation to the gas giant planets, specifically Neptune,  that are cold not only because of the distance from the sun but also because of the chemicals in the atmosphere.

Ice Cream Making

The experiment was fun and tasty but there are a couple of things we would recommend in regards to it:

– Do it outside if at all possible; this is messy and salt water on some floors is not good

– Perhaps use a small plastic jar or container that will hold the liquid and put it in the large zipper bag with ice and salt. Trying to get ice cream out of a zipper bag that has salt all over it is difficult and salty ice cream is not my favorite.

All in all – a super easy and very tasty way to see the effects of chemicals mixing to create a lower freezing temperature.

At Home.

Join the ABC blogging group hosted by A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

A Net In Time Schooling
My ABC Posts:
H – How to let go?
I – Ice Cream
J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

How to let go? (Abandon) ~ FMF & Blogging Through The Alphabet

I am combining two tasks this week. The word for Five Minute Friday is ABANDON and the letter for Blogging Through The Alphabet is H.

H How to let go

GO –

We were on Spring Break this week and took some time. We abandoned all that we had been doing because we were physical, mentally, and emotionally worn out. We had abandon things. We went to a different place, relaxed, visited with loved ones, did some fun things, and recovered.

But in order to do that, we had to let go – abandon – what we were already doing. That is hard sometimes. I often tell myself that we have to keep on schedule; we have to keep going. We cannot stop. We cannot abandon the job. I have been given the job of guiding my children as they grow. I cannot abandon that!!!

But I often take that – I cannot abandon my job of guiding my children – to mean that I cannot stop doing the things that we are already doing. And that? That is wrong.

I can abandon, and should, many things. When something is causing daily grief? Abandon it and replace it with something that is better. When something is causing ache? Abandon it and replace it with something that brings joy. When something is causing a rift between family or friends or, worse, God’s people? Abandon it! Quickly.

We often think of abandoning things as bad. But how do we view letting go? Not as big a deal but just as permanent. So retrain your brain here – abandon/let go of the things that prevent you from doing whatever it is you need to be doing, whether it be guiding your children, helping others, or just carrying on daily with a cheerful heart and mind.

How do we let go? With joy, knowing that we are going to be refilling that space with better things.

At Home.

Visit Heading Home for the Five Minute Friday link-up.

Join the ABC blogging group hosted by A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

A Net In Time Schooling
My ABC Posts:
H – How to let go?
I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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