Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

A couple of weeks ago, we started on an ambitious art project — making a paper mache globe. I had envisioned it to show some elevation on the continents and our labels would be relatively simple — just the continents and oceans. I thought it would be a perfect project that would match our science lesson on Creation (days of creation / living and non-living things).

We used glue + water mix for the first layer and started with a balloon as a mold.

IMG_1431 IMG_1433

 

We switched to a flour + water mix for the next couple of layers. The kids would tear the paper and help out with laying down the pieces onto the mold, but honestly, most of the work was done by mom. I read that you had to make sure each layer is completely dry before adding another layer to prevent the growth of molds. So we figured since we needed around 6-7 layers for it to be really sturdy, it would take more than a week before we could start painting our globe.

Then one fine sunny day, mom had a brilliant idea: Why not let the paper mache dry outdoors under the sun? That would speed things up. Or so I thought….

IMG_1492

BOOM! This is what we came home to that night. The balloon inside exploded because of the extreme afternoon heat.

I had a couple of more brilliant ideas to try and rescue our project, but generally lost interest for a while…

Then today, I cut up some shapes for my daughter for her to put together and make some sort of artwork during her free time.

And this is what she decided to make: The days of creation.

It then dawned on me how sometimes, as parents, we tend to be overly ambitious with our kids’ projects and presentations, trying to make them as unique, eye-catching and as amazing as those projects we see on pinterest and all those mommy-blogs out there. Or maybe it’s just me.

The Lord reminded me today of our memory verse last week, that each individual is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I had been trying to make her do something really complicated, and in truth that means I am going to have to do most of the work to make it. And upon reflection, my desire to make an amazing project was so that I could have something to show off — rather than to really make it part of the learning process. I had wanted for her project to be at par with those that I also see on the internet. I had wanted her to be like the other wonderfully-talented homeschooled kids — and I had wanted me to be like the other cool and creative homeschooling moms. I had forgotten to let our own uniqueness shine and bring out the best from what God has so graciously showered us with.

Today, all I had to do was to cut up some colored paper and she did all the work — from conceptualizing (I suggested she do a self-portrait but she said she wanted to do days of creation), to designing her work and putting them all together.

IMG_1582 IMG_1584

And she did it all with a smile. No need for pushing or coaxing or bribing. She finished it all on her own and even cleaned up afterward. 🙂

Keeping it simple. Making learning fun. Celebrating how God made us special.

Thank You, LORD!

” I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14

 

 

 

 

 

When people see us with our kids, one of the first questions is usually, “Where does your child go to school?” When I say I homeschool them, especially our 6-year-old daughter, it goes without saying I have to have some sort of follow-up explanation as to why we chose to homeschool instead of enrolling her in a “real” school.

Well, aside from the fact that homeschool is, in fact, a REAL school, here are some of my other reasons to answer the question, “Why homeschool?”

1. I just love my kids so much I want to spend all day with them.

IMG_1418

This sounds like a selfish answer, and maybe it is, but in truth, our kids are only small for a very short time. Soon enough, they will prefer the company of their friends more than family, and one day they will have to leave home for college and eventually to be independent adults. And when that day comes, I will have all these memories of them with me while they were young to cherish and hold dear in my heart.

2. I believe this is what God has called our family to do. Homeschooling is not just another schooling option — it is a calling. Not everyone is suited for this kind of educational setup and even we are sometimes tempted to give up because of the many challenges we encounter day to day. I am far from being a great teacher and I make a lot of mistakes, but what keeps me going is knowing in my heart God has called me to teach my children. So everyday, it’s about praying to God, asking Him for wisdom (and patience!) as well as relying on His grace to fulfill this calling. And as an added bonus, Daddy gets to teach them too!

IMG_1502

3. I want my children to learn the TRUTH and not just the facts. We only have secular schools where we are. In these schools, children are not taught about God or how He gives meaning to all that we have to learn. When they learn about animals, for example, they just learn about the theory of evolution and learn to classify them according to species but there is no reference to God creating them “each according to its kind”(Gen. 1:24). Quite simply, there is no biblical integration whatsoever, and we do not want our children to grow up with that kind of education. We believe that the Bible is the source and standard of TRUTH. Facts and theories and concepts are important, but learning what God has to say about these things are even more so.

  • Bible: We always start with a lesson from the Bible, and values education is always based on scripture.

IMG_1522

  • English: When we study words and phonics and spelling, we first learned that the Bible is God’s Word. When we started with a lesson on “self,” we learned that we are unique and special and “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). 
  • Math: When we study numbers, we learn that God is the “inventor” of math. In the first book of the Bible, we learn how God counted the days as He created our world and how he commanded man and the animals to “increase in number.”
  • Science: When we study about living things and non-living things, we discover that God makes all living things and there is no living thing that is man-made. God gave man a mind to think and make tools and make something out of what He has already provided. But man does not have the ability to create something from nothing; only God has that power.

IMG_1518 (2)

Truly, this verse sums it up:

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4

Granted, parents who have enrolled their children to regular schools can teach their kids about God’s Word at home. But in our case, as I mentioned, homeschooling was also our calling, and it carries with it this greater responsibility to ensure that we strive to excel not only in academic pursuits, but more importantly, in “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

OTHER BENEFITS:

And then, of course, there are other things that make homeschooling such a fun family adventure. Things like:

1. Being able to homeschool anywhere. Like in the hospital or dental clinic for example (good thing there was a kid’s play area in the pedia section of the clinic!).

IMG_1447IMG_1478IMG_1480

2. Getting creative with crafts.

IMG_1519 (2)

3. Having your little brother as your classmate. (And learning basic electronics while in your jammies!)

IMG_1515

These are just a few of the other simple joys we get to experience in our homeschool adventure.

So, why homeschool? Just because. 🙂

IMG_1426B

IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK!

It’s been roughly 4 months since my last post. We went on vacation again as a family and just like last year, we became too busy living life and I had no time to write. We just got back a few days ago and our little princess is now officially in Grade 1. Yey! Our little prince is 2 years old and is excited to homeschool too! 🙂

NEW CURRICULUM!

Our family decided to take on a new adventure this year. We are now officially enrolled in the Prince of Peace and we’re using a mix of Lifepac books and Philippine local books. We have a teacher-coordinator in the Philippines to help with the academic guide and to with the exams but this time, we’re going to depend largely on God’s leading and grace regarding the curriculum and how to go about each day. All for God’s glory!

Bible-based learning: We are going to embark on a family mission to study the bible together this year. This means regular memory verses, writing weekly devotionals, and making prayer and bible reading a priority. We are going to dive in to Phil Vischer’s “What’s in the Bible” more deeply as we study the Old and New Testament one book at a time. This is going to be fun!!!

Grade 1 in a Year: We started school unofficially while on summer vacation, with Allyra enrolled in tutoring classes for Filipino, Sibika, Mother Tongue and MAPE for a month. She also took up swimming lessons and finished Basic Swimming Level 1 after 12 days. Now that we’re back, we’re looking at speeding things up for about five months (June – October 2014) and homeschooling maybe even up to 6 days a week in preparation for our grand family reunion by the end of October or early November. By reunion, I mean being united as a family as we welcome our 3rd blessing from the Lord. Yey!!! We’ll then most likely slow down significantly for a month or so, then we’ll see how we’re going to adjust our pacing as we settle down with a new baby in the house. 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll be done by February 2015 in time for us to go on summer vacation again. We’re still kid-centered and will move along according to their own pace — while taking advantage of that sponge-like brain while we can!

Weekly Lesson Plans: Since I’m highly disorganized, it is an extreme challenge to plot out our year but I will try my best to update our weekly planner as best as I could. Most likely, I’ll be writing it down as we go along. My plan is to make a weekly lesson guide in diagram form and to just put in what we accomplish each week — no sense in making a daily schedule we can’t keep!

Mind-mapping: Speaking of diagrams, we’re also going to try using mind-mapping to make our lessons and note-taking become a creative activity. Early on, I knew my daughter is a good reader, but she wasn’t  very enthusiastic about about writing long sentences. Now, that only means we have to be much more creative in expressing what’s inside our brains. She likes to make her own books and little cards for any occasion, and we’re going to tap into all that creativity and make note-taking a fun thing to do.

Toddler School: Our little boy wants to be involved in everything we do! It’s become a lot more challenging with no more videos to do the teaching and with a toddler trying to join in our discussions, so we’ll have to come up with ways to keep him busy too! This should be another fun adventure for us. 🙂 This means more play-based learning even for our little lady. And crafts. And singing and dancing. And fun. 🙂

HOPE YOU HAVE A FUN YEAR WITH US!

That’s all for now. Will start posting our daily adventure’s soon! God bless you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 4– Gentleness (Matthew 11:29)

Bible Story: John 13: 1-20

It was the day before the Passover festival, and Jesus just had supper with his disciples. Judas was about to betray Jesus, but Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power and that He was going to return to the Father soon. So Jesus rose from the table and poured some water onto a washbasin. He began to wash his disciple’s feet and wiped them with a towel which he tied around his waist. When it was Peter’s turn, Peter objected, but Jesus answered, “If I do not wash your feet, you will be no longer my disciple.” Upon hearing this, Peter then said he wanted Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his hands and head also!

Jesus told them that those who have taken a bath are clean and only need their feet to be washed. And he also said that all those present were clean, except one, because Jesus knew one of them was the betrayer.

When he had finished, Jesus explained what he did. Verse 13-16 tells us this, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Points to Ponder:

  1. The act of washing another person’s feet is a truly humbling experience. During Jesus’ time, it was something that was usually done by non-Jewish slaves. But in this account, we see the Son of God himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, taking on the role of a very lowly servant and instructing the disciples to follow his example. Jesus tells his disciples that because their Lord and Teacher served them, so too must they be willing to show sacrificial love by serving others in the same way.
  2. The human kings that came before Jesus (and even current world leaders as well) acted superior to their subjects and ordered everyone around – they expected to be served. But Jesus wanted to show a better way to lead – and that is to be a true leader, one must be willing to humble oneself and to serve others. And thus Jesus presents to us a great challenge that can He repeats in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
  3. Let us be reminded that “humility” is the attitude of the heart that produces an outward manifestation of “gentleness.” The apostle Peter learned this well when he remind us of the truth, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
  4. The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Truly, it all goes back to ‘LOVE.’ It is when we seek to imitate God’s love as demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice can we find rest in our souls and peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus himself tells us this, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

Feb 17 2014 Matthew 11 29 coloring page

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 3 – Gentleness (Titus 3:2b)

Lesson: GENTLENESS (Be considerate)

Memory Verse: Be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:2b

Lesson: Gentleness in this verse is taken from the greek word “epieikēs” (pronounced as epi-yay-keis) which means “suitable” or “fair.” It implies acting in a manner that is moderate and careful; it is responding in a way that is not harsh nor quick to judge. Rather, being “gentle” in how we treat others is a way of letting God’s love flow through us and be experienced by the people around us. It is “loving our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It is also the same word used in the following related verses:

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:1-2

This shows us that being “gentle” means – it is being considerate of others. In other words, it is being conscious about how our words and actions can affect others, and it implies taking that extra step to be careful with what we say and do so that we do not hurt other people’s feelings.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17

The KJV version translates the word “considerate” as “gentle.” Notice the following similarities:

Titus 3: 1-2 James 3:17
be subject to rulers and authorities and be obedient submissive
be ready to do what is good full of… good fruit
slander no one Impartial and sincere
be peacable peace-loving

 

Gentleness is then best viewed along with these other virtues or characteristics which go hand-in-hand to show us a more complete picture of what it means to be a “gentle Christian.” It is something which we should remember not only when we are with good people; but more so when there are others around us who hurt us or cause us much stress.

Even in correcting others, the bible tells us to do it gently – because God calls us to be humble and recognize that none of us is perfect and we have “different measures of faith” (Romans 12:3). It is acknowledging that though some may seem better than others, the truth is, an honest estimate of ourselves would show us all to be living way below God’s standard – which is holy and perfect – a standard only Jesus was able to meet. Jesus actually tells us to learn this virtue from him, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Therefore, we leave it up to God to judge; our role is to encourage one another and to be gentle and kind and most of all, to pray that God will touch people’s hearts and bring them to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ so that they might be saved.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Feb 17 2014 Titus 3 2 coloring page

Here’s a fun review for a lesson on “adjectives.”

20140217-155225.jpg

Page is from ihavenogreaterjoy’s valentine post.

LOVE.

I had a revelation a few days ago about the word love.

My daughter admired our newly scrubbed bathtub and exclaimed, “I looove our bathtub! It’s so white and shiny and I love it! Love it! Looove it!” Somehow, that just did not feel right.

I told her she probably meant that she “liked” our shiny bathtub, well, she liked it a lot, that’s for sure, but “love” is too strong a word.

We all know “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and it dawned on me that it would be a good idea to also think more carefully how we use this word, so as not to “diminish” its significance.

Like, I can say I “love” my mom, but do I really “love” her shoes? Or I can understand how one can “love” her school, but maybe she doesn’t really “love” chocolates (or maybe, she does?”)?

Does using the word “love” so casually make it somehow not seem so precious and pure? Does using love for common things like food or fashion make it less pure and holy?

God is love. Love is of God. It is not just any other word. The whole bible is about God’s amazing love. The greatest commandment is to love. The whole Christian faith rests on God’s love.

God is love. So when we are commanded not to use the name of God in vain, would you consider being careful not to use the name “Love” for trivial and sometimes senseless things as well?

There are other words to describe a desire, admiration or affection for something, and it seems appropriate to think more carefully about how we use this word that is ascribed to the Creator Himself. That was what came to my mind during my “Aha!” moment.

What are your thoughts on this?

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 2 – Gentleness (1 Kings 19:12)

LESSON: GENTLENESS (The Spirit’s still, small voice)

Memory Verse: “And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:12 (NKJV)

Background:

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah, a prophet of God had a “showdown” on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, wherein they set up two altars and declared that whoever is able to call on their god to bring down fire on the sacrifice is the true God. Sure enough, even when 450 prophets of Baal cried out to their false god from morning to evening, shouting and dancing and even slashing themselves as was their practice when offering sacrifices, nothing happened. But when Elijah had the people pour water on the sacrifice and drench the whole altar in water, he simply prayed that God would show the people that He, the Lord, is God, and fire fell from heaven and burned the sacrifice, the altar, even the stones and soil and dried up all the water. This miracle resulted in the Israelites’ repentance and they killed all the false prophets. This also greatly angered King Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, so much that she sought to kill Elijah, and Elijah ran for his life and hid in the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath.

Here we find Elijah after all his running and hiding. He was feeling very much sorry for himself and he didn’t know what to do. But God had a message for him; a plan, a message and a word of instruction; and in Elijah’s case, this is how He let His presence be known.

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 19:11-12

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

Points to Ponder:

  • When we are troubled, we sometimes want God to make all things right again and we wish for miracles to happen so that all will be well. We want to feel His presence through a supernatural experience, thinking that it is through feeling, seeing and hearing great and amazing things will we know He is with us.
  • The Lord is able to make Himself known in wondrous ways, such as fire from heaven or as we know from the history of God’s people, through the parting of the Red Sea or manna from heaven. He is able to show His glory in all it’s grandness and magnificence and with so much power that people are left in awe of His majesty.
  • But when there is a conflict inside our hearts, when the struggle in inward and we’re feeling lost and alone, God can patiently wait for us to calm down and choose to speak to us through a “still small voice.” Our God is both powerful and mighty, and yet he is also gentle. He is the God of peace and tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
  • Elijah was so troubled that even a display of spectacular things such as a great wind, earthquake and fire did not do anything to change his mood. Eventually, it was God’s gentle questioning and instruction that got him refocused on what he needed to do.

Application:

  • This “gentle whisper” or “still, small voice” can be a prompting which we hear in our spirit, much like our conscience. It prompts us to act according to God’s will. God also speaks in a “still, small voice” through the Bible. Scripture is the written Word of God and when we read it while seeking God’s will, often, God answers by leading us to a particular verse or story in the Bible that can be either a word of encouragement, a gentle rebuke or correction, the solution to our problem or a word of instruction on what to do next.
  • Our God always has a good plan; the solution to our problem; a greater purpose for our trials and sufferings, and He wants to make His will known to His children. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and be still, so that we may be able to hear God’s gentle whisper in our hearts.

Prayer: (A prayer by Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.)

LORD, Look down upon us, this day, this hour. Regardless of what has gone before, or what will come after, give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You—all the actions of our body and soul.

May all the thoughts that come to us be true.

May all the things to which our hearts go out be beautiful, with the beauty of God.

May all the things we want be good.

Give us the light to see Your will, the grace to love it, and the courage and strength to do it.

We ask You this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Feb 10 2014 1 Kings 19 12 coloring page