Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Small boy with the BIGGEST heart!

Last week at the park - "Mom...I decided that I shouldn't SELL these awesome rocks that I found, I should just GIVE them away to people here because that would make their heart happy!" 

A few days back - "Mom!  We should take some muffins over to a neighbor.  I bet they would like that!"

Yesterday morning, peeking out the kitchen window - "Mom!  It's so cold outside and those guys are working super hard!  We should bring them something, like hot chocolate!"

These are the sweet words from my big 6 year old! 

His personality is developing and changing daily, sometimes it's lovely, sometimes it's aweful - but his love for helping others remains...as you can clearly see and hear in above.  

So today instead of sticking to THIS:
At our Morning Meeting, I write out a list with J of his daily tasks and goals.  This was todays.

We did THIS:

 We measured and poured and spooned 10 servings of HOT Oatmeal into styrofoam coffee cups, (added some butter and brown sugar) and drove around our area of Austin and handed them to the Homeless that were sitting at the intersections in the icy weather.

My heart was FULL and so happy!!  What a memory made based on the sweetness of J's heart for others.  

We came home and had a not so good afternoon - LONG story! - Tired kids to blame...

And after a nasty, long afternoon of crying kids, my heart exploded with Joy 
when the first thing my 4 year old told his Daddy was 
"we made oatmeal for people today!"

My kids have a pretty, darn perfect world...but beyond this happy house, they need to see that others are in need.  And we can serve, help, and show love even if it's a small cup of warm oatmeal on a cold day.

Thanks Jax for your inspiration and love for others - 

"If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time."

-Marian Edelman Wright

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Purpose-driven life ... Confirmed!

I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher - I remember teaching multiple Cabbage Patch Dolls, my little brother (which was my best student), and even "laminating" pieces of paper with clear packing tape just so I could write with erasable markers!

God had planted that desire in my heart LONG ago and LONG before I ever knew what
 passion and purpose were!

Then you all know that I proudly went on to be a public school teacher and a Reading Coach.  And actually got to use a REAL laminator - and yes!  I laminated EVERYTHING!

And then, my children were born and my husband and I made the decision to homeschool...

I have never doubted our decision to homeschool - and I will be very honest - there have been THOSE days, I wish I had a morning that included the gym, maybe brunch with some girlfriends, then a nap with my littlest guy before jumping in my Mom-mobile to sit in the car line to pick up my 6 yr old from Kindergarten.  Yes...there have been THOSE days of wishful thinking.

But something magical happen this month that strongly confirmed that I am living out my God-given purpose!  Homeschooling was just another great decision that my husband and I had made together...and another awesome path God is leading me down.

At the beginning of the month, I plan and taught another workshop for Little Learners.  I had been doing these workshop for parents and their kiddos for a few months now...but this one was going to be different!

I asked THIS special guy to join me!  I just simply asked him if he could come and help me teach other Moms and kids about how we do learning at home....and his answer was a BIG "YES!!!", followed by a hug!

We introduced our audience to one of our special and "well-loved" books - Todd Parr's The I love You Book.

We wrote a special Valentine together - and the funny thing is - he told me in the car he was going to write a Valentine to his cousin, Addie.  But during the lesson, he had changed his mind and decided to write one to  ME...his mom!

He wrote, we shared and we had a very special moment that day!

And I had an amazing realization...

Purpose-driven life...just confirmed!  God gave me the passion and the gift of teaching and here I was teaching OTHER Moms, OTHER children while teaching MY kiddo at the same time.

WOW!  What a magical day and one that I will NEVER forget!  This guy...this 6 year old...is why my heart is full and my life is blessed.  God blessed me with him and now it's time for US (he and I) to bless others through our gift of teaching...together.

So whatever your passion is...cooking, sports, singing, teaching, reading, art, gardening...the list can go on!
Show them and incorporate them into what you love and you'll be amazed at how that connects you with your kids!

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!  And my they TEACH you just as much or more than you've taught them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I have to be their PE instructor too?

In January, I sat down with "my principal" and we discussed our semester goals for THIS school.  One of them was to incorporate PE.  My kids already play, ride bikes, run at parks many hours during our school day, but we were thinking more focused-type Physical Educational activities....And honestly - I know Literacy...NOT Boys Physical Education!!

But when you commit to homeschool, you commit to stretching yourself and going out of your comfort zone, just to better your family!  God blessed me with 3 boys for a reason - and praise GOD he gave me an extra dose of Mom energy to keep up with them all.

With the help of my mother-in-law (which taught elementary PE), we came up with some great ideas to incorporate instructional PE into our homeschooling day.  And this one - I just have to share with you!!!

Obstacle Courses - also known as American Ninja Warrior around this house...LOL!
(Which starts back up in May!

This is our New backyard - a boys dream, right?  SO much room, so many trees and so many perfect ways to create an obstacle course!

We started on Day 1 with just jumping from paver to paver...which takes some coordination!  
"Watch out for the alligators swimming in the grassy swamp!"    

Day 2 - We added balancing along the logs that line that paved area towards the back.  
"Don't fall off into the quick sand!!"

Day 3 - By this day, they HAD it!  I handed off the creative torch!  

Before I knew it, these 2 had created one sweet PE masterpiece!  They added a buzzer button onto of the top of their slide, incorporated their web swing and a few plastic chairs.

We pulled out the iPhone to time ourselves - using technology...check! And yes I even was timed and challenged! 

This was working and was becoming so much fun!!! 
Learning, imaginative play, and PE class rolled all into 1 = awesome!

While the boys were taking a good water break, I rolled out a piece of chart paper and threw down a few writing tools.  

I showed them how to sketch out a quick map of the backyard starting with our fence, where our house set and so on.  I handed the pen to J and asked him to draw up the tree with the swing while Nix worked on the circle pavers (age appropriate, right?)  

Once we had our backyard penciled out, we rein-acted our obstacle course with 2 plastic spacemen.  This was a comprehension check to see if they remembered what happened  first, next, and last in their course.  

To my surprise...they did this over and over...and then "in reverse!".

"Now that's Homeschooling!" 

Happy Learning, Jumping, Playing and Creating with your Little Learners!

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