Month: March 2013 (page 2 of 2)

DEAR Time

Did any of you have DEAR time when you were in school?  You know, Drop Everything And Read? I remember doing this in 5th grade.  I had a really great teacher, Mrs. O’Dell, who was really great with reading and writing.  I can remember loving DEAR time and journal time because she made it so much fun.

Anyway, I am continuously looking for ways to make our school day more fun and exciting.  It can get pretty monotonous when there are only the three of us!  I realized about a week ago that we were not really spending any time in independent, free reading.  I mean, we were reading together, but I wasn’t giving the kids time to read on their own, just for fun!  Isn’t that what really builds lifetime readers?

So, we implemented DEAR time for 30 minutes each day.  I was really worried that Ben would struggle with staying focused during this time, but WOW, he just sits and reads and reads from his basket of books.  Grace loves this time, because I let her choose whatever she likes to read.  She usually wants to keep reading when our time is up.  That’s a really GOOD thing!

Each child has a basket with 10 books that they have chosen and they read from this basket all week.  At the end of the week, they can change out their books.  Sometimes they keep several of them or all of them.  It is totally their choice.

It was so funny because yesterday I needed to get something done during this time (I usually read at the same time), so I was upstairs.  It was completely silent, and Micah came in.  He was impressed, I think!

Anyway, DEAR time is great!  Have yourself a little DEAR time today!

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One WILD Sunday!

Well, I told you that we had a WILD Sunday!  We went for our first visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  So, there is the San Diego Zoo, located in San Diego’s Balboa Park.  This is the zoo with the Polar Bears and Pandas.  There is also a San Diego Zoo Safari Park located right outside of Escondido, which is the town we go to for everything.  When I knew we were moving here, I really thought that we would take the kids to the San Diego Zoo immediately, since that is one of the premier tourist attractions in San Diego.  Well, time has been flying past, and I decided that we would get annual zoo passes as one of Grace’s birthday gifts.  Let me just say that we have never gotten zoo passes because the Houston Zoo just seemed too far away for a day trip.  That makes me laugh now that I would pretty much drive 2 hours anywhere and feel as though it was just “right there.”  (That’s because EVERYTHING is at least 1 hour away.  PERSPECTIVE…it’s a lovely thin!)

So, yesterday we left the house at 8:00 am to head to church.  After church, we set our GPS and headed for the Safari Park.  It was only like 15 minutes from church!  CRAZY and AWESOME!!!!  We had a great time.  The Safari Park has African animals and you definitely feel very close to the animals.  There is an awesome African Safari tram ride that takes you through the wide open animal safari, but there are also tons of animals and exhibits for you to walk around and see.  My pictures never do justice to what we actually experienced, but I hope you enjoy!

I think this one speaks for itself!
Riding the Rhino!
This was the first exhibit we got to.  Everything was very open like this!

Pelican!  Pelicans are REALLY big birds!

We were super excited about the Gorillas and…

We totally lucked out because it was feeding time!  There is a male, female, great-great-great-grandma, and baby.

See his carrot?!

The poor little baby had to crawl down the rock wall to get some broccoli.  It was funny watching the male gorilla stake his claim to the food.

These gorillas weren’t messing around!  “Don’t you take my bell pepper you little “whipper-snapper!” (I think that is what this gorilla was trying to say with his body language.)  They ate bell peppers, broccoli and carrots.  I told the kids that I was going to call them gorillas now, and not rabbits!  We eat those veggies on a regular basis at our house!

Ben was REALLY into the map this time.  Grace was too, and could actually follow it and tell us where we were going.  It was hilarious to watch them with their maps.

Ready for the safari ride!

This is the view overlooking the african safari area.  Beautiful!

Zebras!  Did you know that zebras do not play well with others?  They had to be in a fenced in area!

My sweet (soon-to-be) 10 year old girl looking at the giraffes.

This poor giraffe kept licking the caging around the tree.  Maybe he was cleaning his tongue?!

Of course the Lion was sleeping!

An the lioness was HUGE.  They said that the car they play on/in has been reinforced with steel so that it doesn’t cave in.

At this point we were all going a little “batty” because we could not find out how to get to the elephants, so I made them take a picture!  LOL!

We finally found the elephants!

Super fun day, and I cannot wait to visit over and over again with the kids!  Ben even said, “Mom, we need to go home and have school so we can learn all about these animals!”  That’s encouraging!  Maybe we are going to be successful at this homeschool thing after all!

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The TRUTH

One thing that I LOVE about homeschooling, is the time that the kids and I get to spend on bible reading and scripture memory.  It’s really a special time of our day, and I think we all enjoy it.

We have been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible that my in-laws gave the kids for Christmas.  If you do not have one of these, you really must get one.  Here is what it looks like:

I may be enjoying reading each story from this bible more than my children.  There is just something about the way that it is written that really helps with the understanding of who God is.  As I read each story aloud, I can hear God’s TRUTH ever so clearly.  You know, I have heard these stories and read these stories over and over, but there is just something that happens when you are reading aloud about God’s amazing love to your own children.  As you read it aloud, you HEAR it!  (It’s kind of like that moment when you say something and realize you sound like your parents.  LOL!)

Maybe this occurs for me because this is how I process information.  OUT LOUD!  Maybe it is because it is simple, yet TRUE.  All I know is that I really enjoy reading this each day as we talk about God and his people and their mistakes and his love and grace and their lack of ability and his power in them.  (Okay, how was that for the longest run-on ever!  Sorry, I just needed to make a point.)

In recent years, I have really come to understand that God’s word is where I must go for the TRUTH! I mean, I always knew this in my head, but I have put it into practice more than I ever did before.   I have been blessed to live my life surrounded by Christians, yet I have found that so many times when I sought “Christian advice” for various situations/decisions from people, I would come away confused, emotional, and not at peace.  However, when I go to the Word first, before anyone else says anything, I am at peace and can see and hear clearly.  The TRUTH is where we must always start and end.  We must check EVERYTHING against God’s word, not the words of others.

Now, I am not saying that the Jesus Storybook Bible is an exact translation and should take the place of your actual bible.  For me, it has just been the catalyst by which I am “hearing” the stories in a different way.  It makes me want to read more, and it is helping my children ask questions they have not asked before.  I love that!  It is one more way that God shows me that our family is in the right place for this time.  I am so thankful for His constant reassurance and encouragement to me as I “climb this mountain” of new experiences each day! So, “grab up” a Storybook Bible for your house, and start reading!

***Make sure you check the blog in the next few days…we had a WILD Sunday and I can’t wait to share some pictures!  Oh, and this is Grace’s 10th Birthday week, so pray that I don’t get ridiculously emotional!  I really can’t stand that my precious baby girl is going to be 10!  CRAZY!!!!!!!

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