Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Chapter 3 is Better": Lessons Learned from Our 3 Year Old

Last Sunday night our pastor was away so we were listening to a different preacher. Miss Lili was sitting next to me and offered a few comments along the way.

One of the first, and the one that made me laugh went like this:

Preacher: Jesus is eternal because He is God and God is eternal.

But he was talking kind of fast and Lili didn't hear him clearly because she leaned over to me and whispered fiercely, "Jesus is NOT a turtle!"

Guess those Baptist catechism questions are starting to pay off: at the very least she knows that Jesus is not a turtle.

The second thing she said during the sermon was when the preacher mentioned something like, "Which you can see in Chapter 4."

My daughter leaned over to me and - completely seriously - said, "Chapter 3 is better."

I laughed, of course, because what did this not-quite-4-year-old know about the book of the Bible the preacher was talking about and what those chapters contained?


Yet she was perfectly willing to state her opinion that one chapter was better than another. It was a funny moment and it made me smile, but then it made me think.

How often do we adults think something like this? How willing are we to state an opinion - possibly educated, possibly as uninformed as my 3 year old's - as an absolute fact?

I don't really watch any TV news any more (I get most of my news online these days) and one of the reasons was it felt like every news announcer, no matter which station, was saying the equivalent of "Chapter 3 is better."

Opinion, when you know it's opinion, is one thing. But when it's being stated as fact, that can be dangerous. What if the person stating their opinion as fact is as clueless as my three year old?

Miss Lili will grow up. She won't remember this sermon or the funny thing she said that Sunday night. I hope she'll learn to keep her opinions in their proper place, since what is funny in a preschooler is less so in an adult. (Please understand, I am definitely not saying all opinions are bad. I have quite a few myself. It's just that they need to be in subjection to facts and evidence, and, as far as spiritual matters are concerned, in submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Bible.)

And I hope I keep listening to the lessons my children are teaching.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mom's Education Matters Too: What I'm Excited to Learn in 2014-15

OK, so you've met my "students" and our class pet: Meet the Students.
You've seen some of the places & spaces where we "do" school: Living and Learning Together.
And you've looked over our list of curriculum and textbooks for the kids: Curriculum 2014-15. (Little homeschool mom secret: I want to learn a lot of the things I've chosen for my kids. Their books are so cool. And who knows? Maybe Algebra is better the second time around. I've heard rumors to that effect.)

But it probably won't surprise you to know there are a few things I'd like to learn this year, too. Here they are in no particular order:

1. How to make blogging more than just a hobby.

Steps I've taken in this area so far: joined a Google Plus community for blog improvement and encouragement; added a few more affiliates (you can find these in my right sidebar) and started researching others; printed off some blog planners and lists; started a Pinterest board on this subject; WRITE EVERYDAY. Well, I already did write every day. But now I'm trying to write something blog related every day, even if it's just a rough draft or a list of ideas.

2. What is needed to do necessary schoolwork every day, add some babysitting, keep the house in relatively good order, keep up with laundry, meals, etc. and still have time left for my own goals. 

Steps I've taken in this area so far: more lists. Lists for the older girls. Lists for myself. Discipline to do at least one load of laundry every day, run the dishwasher every day, and so. Good news: it's going well so far. And my goals {blogging, fiction writing, etc.} are on my list too.

3. What it's like to meet with other homeschool families on a regular basis.

Steps I've taken so far: joined a homeschool co-op. Our first co-op day isn't until September, but we're signed-up, paid up, and excited. (OK, certain of us are more excited than others...) The classes I signed the kids up for are all enrichment (phys ed, art, a hands-on science lab) instead of things we absolutely have to have.

One reason for that is I already had our curriculum picked out and purchased before I knew we were going to do co-op. I didn't want to buy any more curriculum or overburden my kids with too many challenging classes. I want co-op days to be days they're excited about (also, co-op is on a Monday. No one needs too much challenge on a Monday morning, right? Least of all me.)

4. What's the best way for us to make a meal plan every week.

This is kind of related to #2. I'm incredibly blessed that my husband loves to cook. I can cook, but I don't love it the way he does. What that means is we both cook meals throughout the week, but we need to have better communication about who is cooking what, when, and which ingredients they'll be using. Because I do not like going to the pantry only to find one of my necessary ingredients was used up last Monday. (Side goal: gently reminding other family members to list depleted ingredients on the grocery list. Also related: convincing children not to put empty packages BACK IN THE PANTRY.)

Steps taken so far: yes, another list. And talking about what we both want to fix, based on the sale papers BEFORE I go to the store. (Because my husband likes to cook but he does not do the grocery shopping.)

5. What I want to learn next, in whatever books grab my attention. (I'm a "Knowledge Collector", remember?)

For several weeks this summer I was mostly reading about the First World War. That made for fascinating reading but it also burned me out a little bit. I still had a stack of reading, including some books that had been in my stack all summer, but I just wasn't motivated to read them any longer. So yesterday I returned all but a couple of books in my stack.

Which means I'm looking for more books that demand to be read. I'm particularly looking for non-fiction that is NOT war related.
Because, even though I started very young (see above picture) there are still so many things I want to learn.

So, do you have any suggestions for my "must read" stack? And what are you hoping to learn this year?
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