Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creative Me, Creative You! Enjoying our Creative Blessings

I am a very opinionated individual. Ask any of my family members. They'll be GLAD to tell you! An acquaintance of mine posted a link to a report on Youthful Tendency Disorder. Here's the link and my response:,248/
Omword! Seriously? I love the fact that my 5 year old has a "disconnect" with reality. I dance with her in the rain, hop over the white parking stripes, run shadow-to-shadow...I break down 3-step jobs into tiny pieces for my hyper 8 year old. We play together and enjoy life together. Isn't that what God wants? For us to take care of our children? To grow them according to His Way? Doesn't He delight in us and dance over us with singing and rejoicing?
I think the break with reality is in the parents' heads. They're parents! Stop being so responsible that you can't laugh when your child runs over and says "Chicken Butt!" (Which may be inappropriate to us but is so funny for them to hear. And some of them do it just to get a reaction from us!) I was coloring in 1st grade - and getting my hand spanked with a ruler if I used my left hand instead of my right. However, my kindergartener HATES to color so we're stacking blocks, looking at letters everywhere, coming up with silly rhymes, etc. and encouraging her education through a more hands-on approach than a "hands-off".
What breed of adult are we creating when we tell a 4 year old to "grow up"?
We know the psychiatrist is right. Children play to learn how to deal with reality. They have to process what they've learned, experienced, felt and done throughout the day. I know for me, personally, if I have to stick to a strict routine, being force-fed information (work and researching curriculum, comparing publishers and available textbooks/workbooks), my brain goes into overload. I can either lay down & take a nap or get up and play with my kids. The one recharges my body. The other recharges my soul.
And maybe I'm just different, but for my autistic cousin, who is only 3 weeks older than my 8 year old, if I take a few minutes to engage in his fantasy play, I can get him to follow directions a lot better than when I get mad at him and grow frustrated. They pick up on our moods and affections.
Is there a true malady? Or is this just another way of adults feeling better about themselves because they've completely forgotten how to play? How to kick back and relax, just enjoy life? 

Do we need to teach responsibility to our children? Absolutely. Do we need to teach them to squelch their creativity? Horror fills my voice as I yell "NO!" I love reading CoM's plays and stories, watching her design and create something from my scraps. I love to listen to LB sing her songs, watching her dance and march to a beat only she can hear. I dread the day that she no longer creates or performs because someone told her to grow up and she's not good enough. 
Parents, where have you failed in this today? Or where have you succeeded? I'm not perfect. I had a terrible headache all day. I took some medicine but ended up yelling at the girls because they were yelling at each other. As soon as the medicine kicked in, LB took me for a walk. We hopped and skipped all the way to the mailbox. I felt 10x better by the time we returned and was ready to interact with the creative twosome. 

(I have to admit, though, that as much I as try to appreciate my girls' creativity, finding my 5 year old playing with her spit [ewww!] is a little off-putting.)

Oh, and I could keep writing. Talking about how those in the prisons need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions, how parents need to start taking responsibility for their children and start being parents. Our minds and our culture just are not programmed for such thinking. And yes, there are days I could do better. When I recognize that, I ask their forgiveness and we try again. How humbling to have my 8 year old gifted daughter climb into my lap and ask me to play with her. These days are too fleeting. Don't grow up yet, baby! Be a little girl just a little longer. Don't rush through life - enjoy it! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Professional Biography?

How does this sound, my friends? "Emma Shows is a graduate student at Liberty University and will begin pursuing a Master's in Professional Counseling this Fall. As a certified professional counselor, she hopes to empower and encourage individuals in life skills and personal growth. Her goal is to work with children in the ministry and call of our Lord Jesus Christ. Emma is a student member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)." I could also say that I am a newbie to homeschooling. That my children both have special needs for behavior and medical issues. I felt that a more professional approach for job applications would be better but feel that it lacks a personal touch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Homeschool Challenge

I have been accused of not taking my children's education seriously. I have also been accused of not using nationally approved curriculum, ignoring national and state core standards. My answer? GOOD.

So CoM went to her dad's for Spring Break. He asked for an extra week because she doesn't attend a "real" classroom. I prepared her work, staying up the night before she left to check the lessons against the standards for 2nd grade. I had ordered the BrainQuest for 2nd Grade, copyright 2008, and wanted to send something that would not be a hassle for her grandmother and aunt to use for her.
While she was gone, I utilized my time researching state and national standards, comparing curriculum, verifying that I already use 3rd grade math with CoM, often staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning just to discover new and exciting methods of instruction. I learned A LOT.
LB was still home with me, so she would stay up as late as she could, watching the Goodnight Show, and being Mommy's little helper. Now, since LB is a tactile learner, we played a lot of games. We stacked blocks for math, we played in homemade sand (thanks, Pinterest!), we worked on jewelry, we read books, studied letters, and I even introduced her to my computer. She learned how to navigate really well. Oh, and we have been working on our rhyming words. We did coloring sheets, painting, building, reading and we even spent a couple days where I worked on the computer and she learned how to work the Roku remote and watch "her shows" on Netflix. I took her swimming and to the playground to get her heart moving and my dad and I took her to the mall to get some walking exercise and practice her manners.
While I was doing all this research, teaching my child, I also had to maintain the house/apartment, tend to my family's needs (including the dog), and I managed to make several pieces of jewelry to go in our Etsy store. New material came in so LB helped me cut it out and prep it for stitching. I reorganized the school room, finally laminated my wall boards, threw up a manuscript sheet (which gave LB another opportunity to work on her letters - one for which she volunteered!). I probably have logged the same amount of time developing this week's lessons as any other (public/private) school teacher. I have my dad's experience, familiarity working with my mom, and the 16 years I've spent as a teacher's aide or a substitute teacher. And now, in my new position, I am researching and developing curriculum for a virtual academy. All the research must meet CORE Standards. (Did I mention this as part of my busy 2 weeks?)

I have researched AOP, CLP, R&S, TGHTGW, etc. I've compared items through, buying what looks informative and easy to apply. We are gearing up to go in many directions with work and I grow excited by the prospects. But then I get told that I'm not good enough because I'm not a teacher and that my daughter's education is lacking. Could I have finished my education degree? Yes. But that's not the direction in which God has led me. Instead, I have my business management degree that will come in handy in operating another branch of the ministry/charity. I have my psychology degree in Christian counseling. I start the masters program for Licensed Professional Counseling in the fall and I will begin my specialization in Child Mental Health with techniques in Play Therapy at the same time. I am blessed to be able to implement what I learn into our lives and have happier, more inquisitive and expressive children as a result. We're learning 2 foreign languages, music, dance, art, science, reading and language arts (okay, I could do more with the grammar and CoM will be surprised when she reviews her lessons for the week), and we're starting a session on ancient civilizations. We learn through manipulatives and books, arts and crafts, computer and just spending time with each other.
In the end, I am satisfied with my daughter. I've been reassured that next year I can have her tested in the public school system but not to worry or stress overmuch. I'm encouraged by friends and HSLDA attorneys to continue pressing on for the prize. What prize? A child who is excited to learn and does so, actually remembering that which she has experienced. So what if she doesn't rank "gifted" by national education standards? So what if she's not a "prodigy" according to their definition? So what if she's limited by time constraints and test anxiety in the public school policy? We know the truth of her performance in school because we're here with her, encouraging her and working with her. The same for LB - so what if she has a "developmental delay"? I've seen her blossom these last few weeks. Yes, in some ways she's regressing. In others, she's progressing. I can compromise with her because I'm thrilled to just have her for my daughter.
My little blooms are blossoming and my garden is beautiful!

What are some ways you encourage your children to learn and experience the world around them?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Physical Education
Bodies in Motion – written for an upper-level P.E. class that ran away with a life of its own.
If you have a Wii, PS2/PS3 or an XBOX Kinect, it will be easy to keep track of your weight, calories burned and your overall “points”.

This table is for your personal use. Turn it in at the end of the week to show your progress.
Week Start Date
Target Weight (Gain or Loss)*
Healthy Eating &
Healthy Snacks
Time Spent on Exercise
Calories Burned
Hours of Sleep per Night
Week End Date


* For target weight gain – I weighed 110-115 at the beginning of the school year. While I’m in a healthy weight, I needed to gain a few more pounds. 120-125 is the topmost of my target weight and that’s what I aimed for; I now hover between 118-125. While I’ve gained the weight I needed, I now need to tone and strengthen. So that’s what my personal workout routine is geared toward. I am also “border-line diabetic” so I have to control my eating habits.
Our bodies convert natural sugars into energy. Protein and calcium help our bodies keep the sugars in balance. I currently have a Vitamin-D/Calcium deficiency because my body cannot process protein properly, so end up with a build-up of too much excess. This excess of junk in my body leads to fatigue, dizziness/syncopation, fuzzy thinking and mis-speaking. Exercise helps our bodies regulate our internal functions, our chemical make-up and needs, better. Healthy eating helps our bodies get the necessary nutrients: vitamins, minerals, etc., that they require. Sleep also helps our bodies recover and rejuvenate. We expend loads of energy and our bodies need to replenish the energy. Our bodies also need to rest. When our bodies and our minds can rest, we are recharged, renewed, and ready to face the new day.
The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning*. It also tells us that we can rest in Jesus by giving Him our burdens*. When we become overwhelmed by our busy-ness or are anxious about our upcoming exams, work deadlines or other obligations, we tend to forget to rest. We waste our energy on worrying about the things we cannot control. So practice letting go of the excess build-up of junk in our bodies, all the chemicals, the poisons and the mixed emotions our anxiety produces within us, and find your rest*. Go work out, read a good book, study the Bible, enjoy a nice cuppa, listen to some praise and worship music or something that relaxes the soul, and enter into the presence of our Lord. 

For my non-Believer friends, you, too, can find physical rest by exercising, reading a good book, relaxing with a cuppa and enjoying some music. Take a bubble bath. Experiment with aromatherapy. Pamper yourself with items found around the house.
When you realize that there’s more, that the stress and anxiety are too much to handle alone, you can always call or email me! I would love to share the peace that passes all human knowledge and understanding*. There’s a free listening ear here, or a shoulder to cry on, laughs to be had, friendship to share. Know, too, that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

One of my favorite ways to “rest” is to put on some boogie music and let go with my girls. We dance the stress away, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes. I especially like to put on the praise & worship, dance to the good stuff, and then have a session of worship where we Sign our prayers and praise. 

What’s one of your favorite ways to de-stress at the end of the day or workweek? Or your favorite blends of joe or tea?

*God’s mercies are new every morning: Lamentations 3:22-23

 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
*Jesus gives us rest: Matthew 11:28-30
 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
*Let go of anxiety: Philippians 4:6-9
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you
 *Peace beyond human comprehension: Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

New International Version.