Thursday, May 21, 2015

Examining the Heart




Examining the Heart – Two men looking within
Based on Luke 18:9-14

The heart is the spring of life. The Bible clearly tells us to examine our heart.  It is a deep looking within as we look at our motives, our responses, and our desires.  The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector can help to show how we should examine our heart and what it looks like.

Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector going to the temple to pray. As we read, we can learn what it means to examine our hearts. There are examples of both the good and the bad of what it means to examine our hearts, to look at our hearts the way God see them.

The Pharisee compared himself to others around him and not to God’s standard. We are always able to find people that we think are worse then ourselves but that is not really examining and looking at our own heart.  That is justifying, “I am not as bad as . . .” The Bible does not say, compare your hearts to others and see how you are doing but tells us to examine and search within. The words examine and search have a meaning of taking time, looking hard and deep. God sees the heart so we need to learn to look within our own heart. The tax collector does that by comparing himself to God’s standard. He looks within and sees his sin. He makes no excuses, does not compare it to others but just calls himself what he is, a sinner.

The Pharisee continues by listing all his accomplishments, the things that he has done for God – fasting and giving tithes. These are the outward things that he does. The only thing that the tax collector sees is his sin. He realizes that even his righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s eyes. How easy it is for us to do things, even doing things for God and want to list our accomplishments as good things but God wants our hearts. He wants the things deep within. When we come with all our accomplishments, we can easily have little need for God.  We need to come like the tax collector realizing the condition of our heart and thus our need for God.

The Pharisee is full of pride as he prayers. His prayer is full of “I’s”. The prayer is about himself, the things he has done. Even the posture of the tax collector displays his humble heart. He is bent down not even looking toward heaven.  He is focusing on his own heart and not those around him. He looks within and sees his heart as God sees it.  

Don’t look outward like the Pharisee at all the things that you do but look at your heart and see your heart as God sees it. See your sin and your need for a Savior but also see the mercy of God.  

We can learn a lesson on how to look within with from these two individuals. Learn to humble yourself, look inward and compare yourself to God’s standard. As you realize the condition of your heart, realize that God has grace and mercy as we humbly approach God. God wants our hearts.


Beth
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Homeschool Legacy - Review

There is something romantic and adventurous about castles, kings and queens, and knights.  Recently we had the opportunity to review Homeschool Legacy's Knights & Nobles. We received a digital copy of this Knights & Nobles Once-a-Week unit study.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Knights & Nobles is a four week unit study with an optional fifth week. Each week had a different focus.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Week 1 - Castles
Week 2 - Kings & Queens
Week 3 - Knights
Week 4 - Life on the Manor
Option Week 5 - A Royal Medieval Feast

These are designed to be done one day a week with the read aloud read through the week or you could do bits of it each day. Each week has a list of resource books including the Dewey Decimal numbers (I just request the books online).

I want to take every opportunity for learning even though it says there is "no-prep" I had to add some additional things to each week.

We used this one day a week but read the read aloud most days. That day I put aside some of other normal studies and we did the study for that there. There is a Bible/devotional included in each week, an art and craft, history, a bit of math, with ideas for field trips.

During Week 1 we studies castles. We read David Macalay's Castle. I have a confession that book has been on my shelf for years and we finally read it for the first time.

One of the extras that I found and included was a worksheet of the parts of the castle. This worked together with the book. As J drew his castle, he was telling me the various parts of the castle.

We did some artwork related to stained glass windows. J found some stained glass as we were driving around town.

We drove to one our favourite castles not far from our house.


Week 2 we learned about Kings and Queens. I spent the time focusing on English Kings and Queens including watching our favourite Horrible Histories. The Bible study that week was Esther so we had fun doing a puppet version of the story.


Week 3 was about knights and we enjoyed reading about knights and talking about different aspects of their life. Through the weeks I read The Door in the Wall another book that has been on our shelves but not read.

Week 4 was Life on the Manor which was about occupations and how people received their family name. One of the book that I found at the library which was just at Miss K's level was Usborne's See Inside the Middle Ages which had a great page on village life.  


I did add some extra things to each week mainly because it was a perfect time to do some artwork related to stained glass or to give the kids something to do hands-on.

We have studied the Middle Ages and done various activities over the years so in some ways I don't think there was anything new in this for my children. I think this would be great for a short unit study for a co-op. J is probably at the upper age limit for this and that might be a factor in how I viewed the product.

It was fun to put aside our regular studies one day a week and together studying Knights & Nobles of the Middle Ages.

Homeschool Legacy has a number of Once-a-Week unit studies.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Crew Disclaimer


Beth
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Books about Chess



Chess is a game of thinking and logic. Chess is also a historical game filled with the king, the queen, knights, castle, bishop, and the pawns.

I thought I would share some of the books that we have on chess. I think most of these are things we bought at thrift stores.



The Kids Book of Chess by Harvey Kidder - This is almost a storybook. It begins telling with what is chess and the history. Then it tells how to move the pieces and a bit about each piece. This is one of my favourite books about chess. I love that the illustrations have the medieval feel.


Then it teaches you how to play? This is an interesting book to read and learn to play while reading. Did you know that the term checkmate comes from the Persian shah mat meaning "the king is dead."

Osborne First Skills Starting Chess - This books introduces you to the pieces and then how the pieces move. There are puzzles throughout the book to test your skills. This book includes how to play queen and kings which is what Miss K is learning to play.

DK Chess for Kids by Michael Basman - This is a typical DK book with lots of photos. It includes the pieces and how they move and a bit about beginning, middle game, and end game. One nice feature is that it has a glossary which is helpful when you need to learn all the terms. This is a great resource as well.

Chess From first moves to checkmate by Daniel King - This is probably my least favourite of the books we have. It might be the metallic looking chess pieces. It is still a good reference book and does have quite a bit on some of the famous chess players though it is dated. I know that because my husband keeps me updated on the current top chess players.

There are numerous books written on chess but these are great books for beginners and to have to understand the historical aspect of the game.

Do you play chess?

Beth
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Walk in the Park

A friend mentioned wanting to go find the bluebells and then this morning at church she invited us to join them. I thought it would be something fun for Miss K and I to do as daddy and J had other plans.

The park was about a 10 minute drive through the countryside.


We walked a bit into the area and there were just bluebells all around. My friend said that last week they weren't quite blooming but this week they were beautiful.


Here is a close up.


One thing that we have come to enjoy is the public paths. This particular path was through the woods but also along the farmer's fields. There are signs saying to have your dog on a lead.


The narrow path lead through the wood. We walked and then went down the hill and back towards the car.


We walked along the wall next to this sheep field. The lambs here were a bit older.


Here are some lambs. You could hear the lambs calling for their mamas or the mamas calling for the babies. Miss K wanted to pet the sheep but these are not petting sheep.


The lambs in this field were a bit younger. They do seem a bit camera shy and not waiting to show their faces.


It was a great walk and Miss K did a good job walking for the most part. We did have some cookies along the way -- American cookies.

I am enjoying the natural beauty all around us here in the area where we live.


Beth
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

April in Review

It is May already. Quick I need to post my April review before it is the end of May.


We are enjoying spring though some days are still cold. The sun is rising early in the morning and the days are longer. Let me think about what I did in April.

Why is hospitality difficult at times? That was one of my goals for this year. My husband was traveling much of April and so that made hospitality difficult. We invited a few people over but schedules just didn't work. It is work as well but we will try again in May.

The bad news is I didn't finish any unfinished projects but the good news is I didn't begin any new projects either. Based on my unfinished projects count I currently have 10 unfinished projects.

I have been busy working on scrapbooking. I have do finish our photos from Switzerland and then I need to order more photos. I also need to order a few more books and insert pages. The children will often sit and look at these. I know it is part of keeping memories alive.

In some ways we are winding down our school year but in other ways we are continuing. Schools here don't get out until the middle of July so we still have a number of weeks remaining.

We did put on our hiking boots and go out for a short walk.


It seems like our Saturdays have been rainy and so we have not wanted to go out walking much.


I don't think I have knitted since January and then I ended up ripping out what I had done. I need to find my knitting.

I did finish another project that was on my list for this year in April. I am glad that I did thought it took quite a bit of time each week. I have been blessed and challenged through taking another CCEF course.

I am continuing to work to have less things at the end of the year. I have also been thinking about the issues of the heart that relate to this. I might post more about those thoughts later.

I know we are a week into May. I want to finish scrapbooking the photos that I have. I also want to order the books and inserts that I need.

I want to get out my camera and spend a bit of time playing around and learning how to really use it.

I think that is all for April. I hope you had a great May.

Beth
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Real Life Press - Review

I think two of my favourite Bible characters are Joseph and Moses. There are so many life lessons that can be learned from both of these men. I was recently given the opportunity to review Real Life Press's Firmly Planted, Book of Moses Part 2. I received the digital Family Study Guide and also the digital Student Workbook.

Real Life Press Review

Real Life Press is the publishing ministry of Jay and Heidi St. John. Firmly Planted is a series of Bible studies. Each series is just ten-weeks with a core idea or the seed, a reading, and discussion questions for each week. Each week's lesson is divided into four days. There is a Bible passage given in the Study Guide. Each lesson has the seed, which is a summary point for that week's lesson. Planting the seed is a memory verse for that week. The discussion questions are additional planting the seed. These questions are for ages 11 and above.

There are a number of books in the Firmly Planted series. It is not necessary to do them in order so if you are looking for a specific passage, you could get that study guide. We jumped in beginning with Joseph being sold into slavery in Genesis 37. The Student Workbook has various pages for the children to do complete. There are activities for the younger children as well as the older children.

Real Life Press Review

As were talked about Joseph being sold into slavery, one of the suggested activities for younger children was using spices as a tactile learning time for understanding about the merchants caravan. Miss K and I glued some spices on a paper. She enjoyed that learning activity and it did help her to understand and learn. I thought this as well as other activities were fun ways to teach the passage and help the children remember what they have learned.


I am a visual person. I am a paper and pencil person. I like to be able to see and write notes on my pages. Using this in the digital form was a challenge for me. I found it difficult to see what we are to be doing when I was just looking at one page at a time on the screen. The Bible passage was printed at the beginning of the week's lesson and then the discussion questions were later I did print out the pages that we were using just to help me but did not print the whole guide. It helped having it printed out but I realised one thing the week number was only printed at the beginning of each week and so as you are flipping through the pages it is difficult to see what week you are looking at.

I printed some of the workbook pages for the kids to do. The workbook is in colour but I just printed these on the black and white printer which worked fine for what the kids where doing. These were fun activities for the kids.

There were times as I was using this that I was struggling with how to use it. I was not always sure what I was to do each day. At the beginning of the week, we read the Bible passage and then the notes about that passage as well Day 1. Then on Day 2 through 4 we read the passage for that day and talked about the discussion questions. Some of the Bible readings was in the Study Guide but there were a day or two when we had to use our Bibles. There were times that I felt it was skipping and jumping. J even mentioned we were skipping parts. We know the story and so we filled in the missing parts.

The seeds from the lessons were excellent truths to take away as we studied each lesson. There are so many truths at we can learn from Joseph and Moses.

You can read other reviews from the crew by clicking below.

Real Life Press Review

Crew Disclaimer


Beth
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Therapy Thursday #11



I think the most success that I have with therapy is to work it into our daily routine and day and to be organised with activities.

Today we pulled out the Play-doh for therapy. There really is so much that you can do with Play-doh.


I like to have the kids work on cookie sheets. It keeps things contained and doesn't mark the table. We have some old cookies sheets that we use just for this purpose.


We made snakes. Some were fat and some were skinny. Some were short and some were long but they all used our finger muscles to form them.


Even squeezing the Play-doh can be good therapy. This particular container had a nice feel to it. I even squeezed it and rolled it.


We used scissors and cut the Play-doh. As I did some of these things, I realised just how it does exercise your hand and fingers.

That was therapy for today. Miss K enjoyed it and has fond memories of her therapy centre in the US so she asked for therapy again tomorrow. I guess I need to have some things organised.

I am at a point of evaluating if I will continue with Therapy Thursday. I will think about it for the next week or so. If you have thoughts, please let me know.



Beth
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