When Bullies Become Friends

IMG_2752It’s always interesting to see how my kids will respond to children who pick on them. Although it doesn’t happen often because it isn’t easy to gang up on five children (okay Catalina doesn’t quite count yet since she is still a baby), the younger ones do get their share of unpleasant encounters with the bullying kind. When this happens Edric and I find ourselves having to weigh the appropriate response. Should we intervene? Should we tell them to fight back? To extend grace, to turn the other cheek and be Christ-like?

The other day Tiana came running out of Playdium in Fun Ranch sobbing. “I want to stay with you, mom. I don’t want to play anymore.”

This was uncharacteristic of her. At the time I didn’t know what was going on so I encouraged her to go back in. She obeyed but thirty minutes later, she was crying again.

Upon investigating the matter, it was brought to my attention and the other moms who were with me (my sister and two sisters in law), that there was a boy who was yelling at my children and their cousins. He was also throwing objects at them.

Tiana, my sweet 3 year old, was especially affected. Had her father been around he may have handled the situation differently. He is especially protective of our daughters!

I asked the kids to point out who the boy was, and I saw this cute five year old who was complaining to the attendant on duty that he was the one being victimized. As I watched him gesticulate and make all kinds of dramatic statements about the kids who were bothering him, I found it hard to believe that this same little boy could harass a group of 8 children, half of whom were larger than he was. But my kids confirmed that he was indeed the culprit who was being nasty to them.

From the outside of the play area I called to him, “Come here, what is your name?” He answered without hesitation. I asked him, “What happened?” He explained that he had built something that some kids had knocked down. It hadn’t been my kids or their cousins but he had blamed them. That’s why he yelled and threw objects at them. My children looked on as this boy gave his defense. They must have realized what I had, that he wasn’t really an unkind boy, that he was merely acting on an assumption.

Author and speaker, Craig Groeschel said, “hurt people hurt others.” Sometimes it’s worth it to find out where a “bully” is coming from. That afternoon I wanted to teach my children how to reach out to this boy who was in need of some friends to play with.

“Would you like to play with these kids?” I asked him. His furrowed eyebrows relaxed and his expression softened. “Yes.”

“If you want other kids to play with you, then don’t shout at them, okay?

He nodded his head.

I was still leaning over the rail as I introduced him to my kids and their cousins. Elijah immediately invited him to build a tower. And they all ran off to enjoy the rest of their time at Playdium.

My job is done here, I thought to myself. The kids got my cue.

I watched them run around the different obstacles together with this “bully” turned friend as part of their troop. At the end of the hour, he told them they were his best friends.

He was a very nice boy who had been misunderstood. I am not saying that all children who bully others are this sweet under their rough and tough exteriors. But I think it pays to try and understand what the root cause of their behavior is and what they are really after.

My nephew was in a big school and a boy drew on his shirt during class. But this same boy ended up wanting to be his friend. My nephew was kind to him and they became good friends during the course of the year.

Kindness may not always win against bullies but it’s worth trying as a first response. If it doesn’t work and a child keeps harassing your children, then do what we do…our kids have Muai Thai classes to defend themselves and those they love if necessary!

In the car, I told the kids that I was proud of them for playing with the boy.

“If someone isn’t nice to you then reach out to them, if they still are unkind, it’s not your problem anymore. At least you tried. We represent Christ so in our responses to people, we must treat others in such a way that they will be attracted to Christ. Now, if they fight you and try to physically hurt you, you guys do Muai Thai! You can defend yourselves!” ;)

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Home-made Birthday Parties Are the Best!

My niece celebrated her 4th birthday the other day. And my sister in law’s love for color was everywhere! What fun…homemade parties are so much more creative. I don’t know why people spend so much money for birthday parties when you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost and kids will still have fun.

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Montemar Beach Club

Our kids can never get enough of the water, especially if we are talking sea and sand. Two weekends ago, a friend invited us to celebrate his birthday at the Montemar Beach Club. We got two deluxe rooms with an ocean view and since it was considered their “lean season,” we paid about 4,700 per room. While the rooms are simple and straightforward, it’s the place that is worth going to. (There are member and non-member rates.)

Besides the beach, which is a long and wide stretch of fine sand, there are two very nice pools (a huge one for laps and the other for lounging around). Plus there are a ton of beach-related and water-related activities to do. The water stays shallow for about 50 or so meters which is great when you have little kids.

For our children, their highlight was getting to play for hours and hours in the sand. They were pretty toasty looking when we got home!

This is a great place to spend a family vacation. Not too pricey if you go during non-peak seasons and so accessible from Manila (about 3 hours). We stayed one night and it was just right for us.

Watching the sunset, reveling in God’s creation, being with the loves of my life, enjoying the company of friends…What a sweet time away from the harried pace of city-living.

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Mystery of History Volume I (Quarter 1)

Every time I tackle the book Mystery of History (MOH) with my kids I need ideas for crafts and projects to put in their portfolio. Sometimes, I use the suggested activities in the books. But other times, I think of an activity my kids can do using things I already have around the house. Or, I do my own research and find free stuff online. I love free stuff!

Right now, I have two kids going through MOH. My eldest son is doing Volume III and my second son is doing Volume I. Next year, I intend to do just one volume for the entire family. It was crazy covering two separate volumes this year. Learn from my mistake. It’s called a multi-level curriculum for good reason!

Here is what I have so far for Volume I – Creation to Christ (Quarter 1). I will add to this list whenever I can and if you have your own ideas, please let me know so I can include them here, too. Hope these help to make your homeschooling a little easier! (Some of these are home-made, some are ideas I picked up on-line, and others are free resources). With internet resources, please be present to monitor your child:

QUARTER 1

Lesson 1: Creation (c. 4004 b.c.)

Creation Mini-book

Lesson 2: Adam and Eve (c. 4004 b.c.)

Adam and Eve in the Garden (You Tube Cartoon Video)

Paper Chain Snake

Lesson 3: Jubal and Tubal-Cain (10 Generations After Adam)

Easy Instruments to Make at Home

Lesson 4: Noah and the Flood (2349 b.c.)

Streamer Rainbow

Noah’s Ark Paper Plate Craft

Lesson 5: The Ice Age (c. 2300–1600 b.c.)

Ice Cube Painting

Lesson 6: Dinosaurs (Created on the 5th and 6th Days)

Dinosaur Fossil Cookies Option 1

Dinosaur Fossil Cookies Option 2

Lesson 7: The Sumerians (c. 2300 b.c.)

Your Name In Cuneiform Writing

More About Ancient Sumer

Images of Ziggurats

Lesson 8: The Tower of Babel (2242 b.c.)

Tower of Babel Craft Page 1

Tower of Babel Craft Page 2

Lesson 9: The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000 b.c.)

Epic of Gilgamesh for Kids (Powerpoint)

Lesson 10: Stonehenge (c. 2000 b.c.)

Miniature Stonehenge

Lesson 11: Early Egypt (3rd and 4th Centuries b.c.)

Guide to Hieroglyphics (Interactive)

Write and Print Your Name in Hieroglyphics

Explore Ancient Egypt

The Two Lands and King Menes

Lesson 12: The Minoan Civilization (c. 2000 b.c.)

Minoan History for Kids

Printable Maze (Challenging)

Lesson 13: ABRAHAM (1922 b.c.)*

God’s Friend Abraham Game

A Promise for Abraham Bible Mini Book

Lesson 14: Jacob and Esau (1836 b.c.)

Lesson 15: Joseph (1728 b.c.)

Coat of Many Colors Pattern

Lesson 16: Hammurabi (1792 b.c.)

Hammurabi’s Code

Hammurabi Strategy Game

Lesson 17: The Israelites in Slavery (Date Unknown)

Make Mud Bricks

Brick making in Egypt (Video)

Lesson 18: China and the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 b.c.)

How Silk is Made Video

About the Silkworm

The Shang and Chou Dynasties

Lesson 19: Moses and the Exodus (1491 b.c.)

The 10 Plagues Page 1

The 10 Plagues Page 2

Ten Commandments Craft

Lesson 20: The Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle (1491 b.c.)

Make the Tabernacle Craft (3-D Model)

Tabernacle Diagrams

Lesson 21: Joshua, Jericho, and Rahab (1451 b.c.)

Joshua and Israel Destroy Jericho

Lesson 22: Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti (1353 b.c.)

How to Make a Queen Nefertiti Crown (Tutorial)

Lesson 23: TUTANKHAMEN (KING TUT) (1333 b.c.)*

Printable King Tut Mask

Paper Pyramid Craft

Lesson 24: Ramses II (the Great) (1304–1237 b.c.)

About Ramses II

Lesson 25: Legend of the Trojan Horse (c. 1200–1184 b.c.)

Make a Trojan Horse

Lesson 26: Ruth and Naomi (c. 1200 b.c.)

Ruth Gathering Grain Craft

Family Tree for Boaz and Ruth

Lesson 27: Gideon (1199 b.c.)

Gideon Torch

Gideon Trumpet

 

Other Resources: Downloadable Bible Story Books

 

 

 

 

Kindermusik Certificates Promo

I am giving away 20 Kindermusik Classes (2 sessions worth per certificate) to the first 20 respondents to this post. Send in a comment about your favorite bonding activity with your child and I will email you back and let you know where you can claim certificate! Get it, get it!:)

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My daughter, Tiana, took these classes and loved them.

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Kids Mandarin Club Program

Our Friday playgroup joined a trial mandarin class at Kids Mandarin Club. Their classes are play-based and incorporate singing, games, story-telling into their language instruction. They opened just this past June and their teachers are a good mix of personable, patient, and authoritative.

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20130705-193705.jpg According to Dr. Gao Lan who facilitated the older kids’ class, “children learn best when they are having fun and they learn effectively from each other, too.” She is from Beijing and has taught at International School Manila and European Campus, and she is also a journalist.

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If the kids’ faces were a positive indicator of whether the classes were indeed fun, I saw most of them smiling! Kind of hard to believe when you think of how difficult learning Mandarin can be. But since it was just a trial class, some of the content was breezed through a little too fast. And the younger class seemed to be more effective at engaging the kids. However, I like the club’s philosophy which is to make the learning experience more interactive and less lecture and drills-based. They don’t call themselves a school but a club because the emphasis is more on conversing in Mandarin, getting the kids to practice speaking with one another.

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Having an option like this gives parents the flexibility to enroll their kids in a school of their liking and not necessarily a Chinese school. Or, they can homeschool and still get the benefit of learning Mandarin, which is very important to Filipino-Chinese families.

Mandarin Kids Club
Unit 301 McKinley Park Residences
3rd Avenue cor 31st Street
Bonifacio Global City

Telephone no: 519-9148
Email: kidsmandarinclub@gmail.com
Facebook: KMC kidsmandarinclub

My Out-of-the-Box Child

I’ve said it before that Titus often fascinates me because he is such an out-of-the-box thinker and he has learned many things on his own.

One afternoon he was counting aloud by 10s (something I had not taught him). He counted all the way up to 100. I turned over to him and said, “Where did you learn that? Who taught you that?” His Jedi-like reply was, “I know many things, mom.”

At this statement I started laughing really hard. He meant it with all sincerity. I followed up with, “Yes, but HOW did you learn to count by 10s?” Once again, I found it comedic when he said, “I think, mom! I just think!” It was almost like he was insulted that I questioned his ability to understand concepts on his own.

Recently, when my nieces, nephews and kids were doing a puppet show with my sister-in-law she asked everyone to make their puppets stand on their heads. Titus was the only one that thought of bending his puppet in half so that its feet touched its head…literally, standing on its head!

Because I haven’t spent too much time “teaching” him formally, I will have to give credit to John Holt’s idea that children are learning all the time. When they are not forced to learn too early, but provided with a stimulating, enriching environment in which to explore, create, build, invent, and discover, they educate themselves. Learning happens naturally and very often in the context of play. Titus certainly needs character training like my other children, but he has caught on just fine with the academics even without too much one-on-one instruction from me.

At four years old, he can read, comprehend, he is beginning to write better, he understands fundamental math concepts, and he is developing normally. He may not be as articulate as his older brothers were at his age, but he is a loving, happy, curious, and determined child…with a very positive opinion about himself. When I am teaching him, he will say, “This is sooo easy, mom!” And then he will start working and be like, “How do you do this again?”

I laugh alot with Titus. He has a unique perspective that I treasure as a mom. I appreciate that he doesn’t think linearly and that he pays attention to things that others might take forgranted.

One time he picked up a flattened fruit loop that was left on the floor of our condominium lobby. Everyone else thought it was dirty. But he picked it up and put it in his pocket. I didn’t realize this until we were in the car and he was cradling it in his hand. I told him he should throw it. After all, who knows where that fruit loop came from or who stepped on it? But he begged me to keep it.

Heck. Why not, I thought. If it matters that much to him and it isn’t a life and death issue, why can’t he be himself and keep it? He’s the only one who thought of doing so anyway and it’s important to him. So I told him he could and that made his day. A little fruit loop. I made him promise not to eat it and he didn’t.Whew!

Titus has stretched my parenting muscles a lot. I used to get really frustrated with him because he would take things apart, break his toys, color and draw in his books, tear out pages, peel the labels off things like crayons (he still does), hide objects under his bed like marbles and cereal, get himself into precarious predicaments, and bullheadedly insist on his way.

For example, when he was 8 months old, he weaned himself from breastfeeding. I was so upset and sad about it. None of my other children did this. I really wanted him to breastfeed for longer to keep bonding with him. But he insisted that he was ready to move on to the bottle. My fear was he would be deprived of affection because he was my third child. Without those bonding sessions, I didn’t get to hold him as often.

This was my first experience with Titus’ different way of doing things. Initially, I wanted to control him. I wanted to force him to breastfeed. But he ended up biting me! So that was it, I surrendered that stage over to the Lord. Crying and depressed, I accepted his decision to wean.

Such was the beginning of my parenting adventures with Titus. It took me a while to recognize that God designed Titus with a personality that was hand-picked by Him for a reason and purpose.

Titus turned out to be one my most affectionate children, my big hugger. In fact, he is such a touch person, he will randomly head butt people to get their attention! On certain mornings, he will crawl into bed beside me after he wakes up and let me drape my whole self around him like a pillow. He is the only one who will lie there contentedly and still. He won’t squirm away or complain that I am too heavy. And he will come up to me and randomly hug and kiss me during the day without being asked to. Who would ever have thought my earliest weaned baby would have become like this?

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I love all my children equally but God taught me how to love my Titus. Through Titus, God has helped me to grow in character, especially in the area of patience!

His birthday is coming up in two days and I wanted to write this to celebrate the joy and color that he has brought into our lives. I could’ve missed out on appreciating him had I placed him in a mold of my own liking…to make my parenting “convenient.” But God made certain children out-of-the-box — children who make us see the world differently, who challenge the norm (in a good way), who keep us from getting complacent about our parenting, and who make us dependent upon the Lord for the creativity and wisdom we need to instruct them. Titus is special just the way he is and I hope that Edric and I can keep encouraging him to grow in the Lord and become the man that God wants him to be.



 

 

Dirty, Sweaty, Stinky

I was at the park with my kids one afternoon, when I heard a mom freaking out about her son’s dirty shoes. In the background, I caught sight of my own kids looking like a bunch of scalawags compared to the neat little boy who was being protected from mud at all costs. They were making soupy sand with a water hose and tossing sand bombs. Disheveled hair, sweaty bodies, and muddy feet and legs made for quite a sight as they and their cousins took over the sandbox.

I don’t mind dirt. Kids need dirt once in a while. As long as they don’t eat it and as long as they take baths after they are done rolling around in it, then that’s quite alright with me.

My parents were the same way with my siblings and I growing up. They let us run around barefoot in the yard, climb trees, dig traps, slip and slid down the grass, play house and make actual fires for cooking our “food.” We could explore any part of the house, even the roof, and we spent a whole lot of time with our stinky pets (I had a native monkey). My siblings displayed mud balls on the bathroom counter like little trophies and we almost always had black feet when we came back into the house. I don’t remember wearing much either. We were always half-naked or so it seemed (until we hit puberty, of course).

Those were fun years.

It’s harder to replicate that kind of childhood for our kids because we are urbanites. Living in the heart of the city doesn’t give them much opportunity for mud adventures. I miss that kind of outdoorsy lifestyle which has been replaced by computer games, tv, Internet, IPods, IPads, etc.

I did some research on outdoor play and discovered that playing outside has many benefits that we don’t always think about. It helps improve eyesight, it encourages an appreciation for God’s creation, it exposes children to many opportunities to enhance their gross motor skills. They also invent games when they are outdoors. Running around, leaping, jumping, swinging, climbing are all great for burning calories, and these activities keep kids less susceptible to developing obesity and heart disease. Exposure to vitamin D from the sun (during less intense times of the day) also keeps them healthier. Furthermore, being surrounded by nature engages all of their senses. The National Wildlife Federation even claims that kids who get outside “need less medication and are less prone to depression.”

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Edric and I have to be creative as city people homeschooling our kids. The fact that our kids’ default mode is to play inside is not their fault, but ours. Edric and I may go running on some mornings but the kids don’t join us because it is way too early. And we spend most of our day inside. So our kids do the same and will continue to do so unless we are more purposeful about their daily activities.

I remember how intentional my parents were with us. They had daily morning walks with us. We would swim in the nearby club together. They built a simple, outdoor playground, and a mini basketball court in the backyard. We had a rope that hung from a tree so we could swing on it. And they got us all kinds of pets.

Edric and I may not be able to do exactly the same for our kids because of space constraints, but recently, we have been trying harder to instill a love for the outdoors in them. Even if we live in the city, there are many things that we can do for free or inexpensively. A condo lifestyle shouldn’t be a hindrance or an excuse.

One of the things we have done is enroll our older boys in a Football (soccer) club – Azkals Global Football. We pay 300 pesos/child for every 2.5 hours of soccer training. The group we joined is an all homeschoolers group of kids, which is great. The coaches are more exacting of the kids, too (which we prefer.) They toughen up the boys. Our little kids accompany them and play beside the field. During the rest of the week, we try to take the kids to a nearby park or go to High Street. Sometimes, we take walks with the kids, too.

The good news is our kids are starting to really like playing outside, but it is still a pitiful amount of time compared to what we had growing up. We really hope to condition them to prefer the outdoors as their play area of choice. But Edric and I can’t just hope that our children will prefer to play outside, we have to go outside with them. So we are doing that whenever we can.

Today, our playgroup was at a park. The kids ran around with their friends and they invented all sorts of games. I loved hearing them laugh and shout out game rules. They would come panting back to where the moms were gathered to ask for a drink or a snack every now and then. I looked at all their sweaty faces and dirtied clothes and I thought, this is what kids should be doing in the afternoons…getting sweaty, dirty, and stinky while playing outside. That’s the stuff that childhood memories are made of!

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Star City – Surprisingly Fun

I never thought Star City could be a fun family place. My impression of it dated to way back when it seemed like a glorified local carnival which lacked the actual thrill factor of big amusement parks. But we were invited to spend the afternoon there for a birthday party and the kids couldn’t get enough of it! They especially loved the Snow World attraction which allowed them to experience icy cold weather and slide down an ice slide. (I recommend bringing your own coat and mittens to this one. I was in shorts and had to run out after about fifteen minutes even when they lent me a jacket.)

There were a couple of areas and rides that needed renovation to really make them world class, but for 350 pesos as an all-you-can-ride entrance fee, your kids will not be bored. And it’s a contained enough space that you won’t be dead tired walking around. If you are there during a weekday, like homeschoolers can afford to do, you will practically have the place all to yourselves! It’s open from Monday to Thursday, 4pm onwards. And Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 pm onwards. We went on Friday and it didn’t get crowded till about 5pm.

The 350 entrance fee gives you access to everything except Mid-way games, coin operated machines, Snow World, Lazer Blaster, 4D Theater, and Walk on Water. Check out their website for more details Star City

As a family bonding experience, I do recommend this place. It was very enjoyable for my kids and the kids in our playgroup. We were all so blessed. It was a great birthday celebration idea!

Just watch out for some of the rides which have visual experiences that may scare young children — like movable life-size people. Tiana and Edan didn’t like those. (Edan could not sleep very well afterwards). Also, we did not go into the rides like Dungeon, Gabi Ng Lagim, and Kilabot Ng Mummy.

One of the highlights for me was buying 3 wigs for 80 pesos each. I thought they were a steal. My kids like to do role playing games every now and then so I thought they would like having some wigs for their dramatics.

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Box Toys

My children love used boxes and so do I. Boxes can be cut up, collapsed, stacked, transformed, painted or decorated. This morning I made a baby carrier and a chair for the stuffed animals of my daughter, Tiana. The end product is a little bit crude looking because you can see all the tape on the edges. But kids don’t really care about details like that.

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If you have space enough to keep old boxes, store them somewhere for future projects. Unfortunately, condo living limits storage for us. But when I can, I keep boxes for the kids to play with. The kids find all kinds of uses for them and they are great for creative and imaginative play. Making toys out of boxes also encourages children to recycle. :)

Outside of the Coop

A majority of the time, homeschool kids are not weirdos who can’t relate well to children their age. But, I do believe parents have to give their kids opportunities to interact with and learn along-side other children because there are some very important benefits of social interaction.

They don’t NEED to be with their peers on a daily basis to have a learning advantage but they can learn how to cooperate, share, wait their turn, imitate positive behavior, listen to instructions delivered by other adults or older children, respect other people’s property and things, mind their manners, apply contentment, encourage one another, assist others and share the gospel…to name a few.

Personally, one of the reasons why I like to get the kids out and about is this: I get to observe facets of their personalities, commend good character and identify areas of improvement. So Edric and I give our children varied and diverse social experiences as part of their homeschooling.

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For our little brood, Edric and I do the following: We let our kids hang out with their cousins often. They attend regular music classes, sports activities and weekly playgroups. As often as possible, they also accompany Edric and I to our activities where they learn to communicate with adults and behave in socially appropriate ways like not picking their noses, speaking too loudly, or saying excuse me when they need our attention.

Thankfully, cooped up at home does not describe our children (and most homeschoolers). But, allowing our children to have lots of social interaction has its “risks.”

Our kids do encounter negative peer pressure and “undesirable” examples in other children or grown-ups. The key, however, is that we come alongside them to help them process and identify how to respond to the behavior they see in others. Most of the time, they are pretty open and will ask their questions. And our kids, like all other kids in the world, are not impervious to negative peer pressure. But we try to disciple and mentor them, so they have a fighting chance against it.

Yesterday my boys came up to me chuckling and partially embarrassed as they told me that they had a classmate in Taekwondo who was calling other students “Booby and Boobs.” Yet another classmate was saying “Barbie-butt.” (I don’t even know what that means.) Granted, these terms are not as bad as hearing elementary-aged children cussing.

My boys started cracking up as they told me this and I tried to be calm. “Do you know what boobs are?” I asked my boys. They explained. And I said, “Well, that is a private part and you don’t need to say the same things your friends do when it is not appropriate.”

“Yah, we know.” They also revealed that one of their good friends called booby-boobs friend “evil witch!”

“Well, that wasn’t nice either.”

I asked them, “What is our guideline for the words we speak? They must be glorifying to…” And they finished the sentence with,”God!”

I have already come to accept that homeschooling cannot bubble-wrap protect my kids from the world. And homeschoolers aren’t a perfect breed of children who always behave and act in the ways they should. (This includes my own.)

Like all other kids, homeschoolers need parents to spiritually mentor them and shape their character so they are equipped to stand for what they believe. Edric and I don’t always get it right but we are committed to do the following:

– First, we introduce our kids to Jesus Christ and trust in the transforming work of the Spirit of the Lord. “Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:2a)

– Next, we build bridges to the hearts of our kids by spending lots of time with them and communicating to them that they are loved, precious, and special to us.

– We train our children so they develop essential character traits — the foremost of these is obedience. (Proverbs 22:6)

– We pass on faith and what it means to love God, seek him and live for him. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

– We tell them that God has a plan for their lives and a purpose that is unique to their gifts, abilities, and personalities. (Jeremiah 29:11)

– We teach them to reject sin while loving the sinful and the broken to Jesus. The Bible tells us, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…” (Romans 12:9, 10 NASB)

– We equip them with social graces to convey respect and appreciation for cultural, societal, and racial differences in people because God loves all people and we should to. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God desires for all to come to repentance.

– We give them guidelines for choosing the right friends –friends who are wise and share the same biblical values.

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“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”(Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

– We teach them to point people to Jesus by sharing the gospel and living in a way that attracts people to Jesus.

– We encourage them to make it their highest goal to glorify God in everything they do (2 Corinthians 5:9).

– We pray for our children as often as possible, knowing that the task of raising them is beyond our capacity.

Homeschooling is counter-culture but it does not have to produce children who are socially awkward or disconnected from other children. They can be in the world but not of the world. More importantly, they can see greater purpose in winning friends and influencing people.

I don’t believe in isolationism because we are supposed to go out there and be a light for Jesus. Our kids are starting to get this. More than once they have asked me how they can share the gospel. I have tried to give them examples from my own experiences but they have to experience it for themselves. I can feel that time will be soon and I am excited! In the meantime, my encouragement to them is to live like Jesus is present in their hearts so that God can bring them the opportunity to share their faith when they are “socializing” and mingling outside of the coop.

Learning in the 21st Century

“The classroom of the future isn’t a classroom. Today’s students are wired for a digital world where time and place simply don’t matter.” Echo360

I read this on a website last year and I found it again when I was going through my files. If this is true it really makes you wonder why we insist on classrooms as the delivery mode for learning, and that subjects must be taught in a particular order and manner through the years. The reality is children of this day and age are so digitally different than children twenty years ago. What worked before is not as relevant today. For example,  children are not as dependent on teachers as they used to be. With the amount of information that is easily accessible online, children (by a certain age), can research about almost any topic they want to learn about. Children don’t have to be limited by a teacher’s lesson plan. Instead, they need to understand how to use the internet wisely and be protected from the junk that is just as accessible as the good stuff.

I told my kids some years ago, “If you ever see anything on the internet that shows naked people or something scary, just run away! And tell mommy or daddy. Don’t even look at it.” They aren’t aloud to be on sites like YouTube and as much as possible, we avoid having them online when we are not around. I often think of that verse, “The devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Surely, he is after our children, too. And if they are in a vulnerable situation, he can find an opening. Personally, I feel that the internet is a gateway. It is a gateway to the knowledge of good and of evil. Boys are especially susceptible to the smut that is out there. All it takes is one accidentally spelled word on the search bar and they could have their first introduction to pornography. And so we are a bit overprotective when it comes to the internet. Instead, our children use my Ipad, and only the apps that I have installed.

A few years ago, I was not a believer in technology as a means to educate kids. But after experiencing the wonders of Apple’s Ipad and talking to educators about the effects of computer-based learning, my mindset changed. I realized that technology is not the devil. Sure, we must safeguard our children from the evils that technology can introduce them to. But, there are very real benefits that gadgets like Ipads offer.

My children have played a game called  Stack the Countries and  Stack the States for about two months. They don’t play these games everyday. In fact, they only have extended time to play on the weekends. There are occasions when we are out at dinner and my Ipad helps to keep them in a contained space. Otherwise, their time on this device is very much monitored. But, this mode of learning is so effective that my kids (especially my two older boys) have memorized every single country in the world and its location. I taught them zero geography lessons. My geography is pathetic. But because of these apps, my kids know continents and countries and they began researching about other information — capitals, peoples, languages spoken, flags, etc. I provided them with an atlas, globe, map, and other useful tools to do their research. Yet, this isn’t “hard work” for them. It is enjoyable and fascinating. They get a sense of fulfillment out of learning these things.

We had a contest the other afternoon in the office to see who could name a country that my kids didn’t know. These are the silly ways we peddle our children’s intellects! It was all in good fun. People were asking them countries I didn’t even know. But they spun the globe around each time and pointed with crazy accuracy to the exact location of the country. I can’t take any credit for this ability they have. In fact, I often think that my kids are smarter than I am (intellect-wise…but wisdom-wise, well, that’s totally different!)

I’m sharing this to encourage parents to consider investing in an Ipad or something similar. Don’t ask me what these other devices might be. I’m not a techy person at all! If you have more than one child, it really helps to have a device that can assist you in the areas where you are academically weak. So, I research about educational apps that are worth $0.99 to $5 each because they are great supplements to what I teach them. And, my children can go far beyond my own capacities, too. They don’t have to be limited by what I know and don’t know.

Do my kids play other games on the Ipad, for entertainment purposes? At this point, no. They used to play a game called Plants vs. Zombies which I realized was doing nothing for their intellect. For now, the Ipad is for educational games only. If they are going to spent a good 30 minutes on that device, I want it to be something that makes a positive contribution to their lives. They are learning to internalize the value of wise time management — whatever you do, let it be purposeful, to help you grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)

And of course, never settle for just intellectual capacity in your kids. Their hearts and their character are still more important than knowing things like all the names of the countries in the world! :)