Bright and early Monday morning I took the kids to sing "Back at the Creekbank" with their home school group at a local assisted living home. I met one of the residents there who taught school for 40 years, first in the public school system and then in private schools. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous because former educators are not always accepting of home schoolers, but I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction to our group. She was very complimentary of what the children had presented and very positive about homeschooling in general. She also asked me some questions about what and how I teach. She was particularly interested in whether or not I am teaching my kids to put their own ideas down on paper and I told her that we have struggled in that area and asked if she had any ideas on how to get them to write. She did, of course, and I really like the way she did it in her classroom and plan to try it with the kids. I think that once we get a story written I will try and send the lady a copy of it.
The other side of this story is that my children are typically terrified of dogs and I had to take them to a place where the residents are allowed to bring their pets with them. I had to speak very carefully when I told them where we were going and that they must go in and they couldn't do anything crazy like climbing furniture (or me) to get away from the dogs, they would just have to be calm and know that they wouldn't have dogs there that would hurt children. I was amazed by the kids ... they didn't go berserk and they actually petted some of the dogs ... I think we have made a real breakthrough here.
I have had two very interesting meetings this week. The first was our local home school group mom's meeting. One of our members spoke about dyslexia. Both of her younger sons are dyslexic and it is the reason she is homeschooling them. The information she shared about learning styles and the importance of understanding how your child learns was great even though I don't have children with this particular challenge.
Last night, I met with our local "area team" for Operation Christmas Child. If you aren't familiar with what this is, it is a project of Samaritan's Purse (which is Franklin Graham's international relief organization). One of these days I will do a post dedicated to OCC. This is the mission project that I do all year long and absolutely have no doubt that God has called me to be a part of. Our group last night talked about goals for the year and ways to involve more people in the project and we listened to two people who were able to go and actually participate in shoebox distributions in the last year. It is amazing to hear these stories of how God uses simple shoe boxes to touch the lives of children and to impact their families and communities. Anyway, I am looking forward to the coming months and being more involved this year. *If you aren't familiar with this project and would like more information, just ask, I will be glad to talk about it!
Okay, now to my final bit of randomness for the week ...
What I learned in the garden yesterday ...
- I learned that I wish I had my Granny's knack for using a hoe. She made it look like an extension of her arm; I look like my 4 year old using a farm implement much too big for him.
- I learned that it is hard to tell the difference between weeds and cucumber plants.
- I learned that my 9 year old daughter really likes playing in the mud much more than she likes planting tomatoes and while she is pretty good with the latter, she is even better at the former. I really wish I had taken my camera to the garden to capture her hands covered in mud almost halfway up to her elbow ... so ladylike!
- I learned that my sons would much rather watch their uncle build a storage shed than help their Mama plant tomatoes. (Okay, so there is no big surprise there, which would you choose as a little boy, playing with a hammer or helping in the garden? That's what I thought!)
- Last, but not least, I learned that the morning after you spend 2 1/2 hours hoeing and planting 78 tomato plants, it is best to get out of bed slowly!