2.24.2011

Words of Wisdom from My Great Grandmother

My mom just sent her kids an email that had some wordsGreat Grandmother Rachel Chambers Evans had written in 1982 (she was in her mid-80's at the time).   I wanted to post it here so I could save it in a more permanent place and because I think it is very wise indeed! 

"Forget your troubles. We think of our own age as being more perplexing, more troublesome than yesteryear. And yet, medical science is learning that more than any other factor, our own thinking is responsible for sickness and health. It is our response to modern stresses, and not the stresses themselves, that can lead to ulcers, heart disease, and other maladies. So it is that the advice of Robert Louis Stevenson, offered a century ago, is still a valid formula for health and happiness." (I think the following is what she quoted from Robert Louis Stevenson, but I'm not sure).

'Forget Your Troubles
(1) Make up your own mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
(2) Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with the gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
(3) Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
(4) You can't please everybody. Don't let criticism worry you.
(5) Don't let your neighbors set your standards. Be yourself.
(6) Do the things you enjoy doing, but stay out of debt.
(7) Don't borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than the actual ones.
(8) Since hate poisons the soul, do not, do not cherish enmities or grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
(9) Have many interests. If you can't travel, read about new places.
(10) Don't hold postmortems. Don't spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
(11) Don't be one who never gets over things.
(12) Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.'
at the bottom she wrote, "I try to carry out this program." (Grandma Rachel Chambers Evans)

Mom also remembered this about Grandma Evans:

Grandma was always so cute and positive about life. I remember staying with her for a few days when I was sixteen. I made Jello one night for dinner. I remember her big blue eyes getting bigger and she exclaimed, "Janet, you made Jello!?!?" She was so impressed! I still laugh when I think about it! She always was in charge of her kitchen and never let my mother cook when Mom was growing up. I'm glad Mother didn't follow that particular example of Grandma, because we always got to cook and bake when I was growing up. From the time I was very young, I was baking cookies.


There is strength in remembering the lives of our ancestors.  I can't wait to hear more stories like these as time goes on.  :-)

2.17.2011

What I'm Learning

This week I am learning that I am not in control of my life.  :-)  Fortunately, I have pregnancy to blame it on, right?!  :-) 

 

I'm learning that my mornings are so precious, and I have given way too many of those up this month. 

I'm learning that appointments take up a huge part of my life right now.



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My 3yo





I'm learning that my three year old really is the one in charge around here.




I'm learning that my kids are getting older and busier.  And that I'm adding another child to make life even more busy.

I'm learning that sleep is essential in my life!! 

I'm learning that I love being home and I'm not there nearly as much as I want to be. 

I'm learning that some things can wait while more important things are taken care of.

I'm learning that my kids are fabulous, even when I'm not! 

I'm learning that I really don't like messes and I really don't like clutter. 

I'm learning to turn my emotions over to the Lord, and to control my tongue.

I'm learning to be patient with myself. 

I'm learning to remind myself just that....I'm Learning!

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: - - Isaiah 28:10

For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. - - D&C 98:12


2.09.2011

Mentoring Mothers: Inspire!

Okay, can I just say that I am loving our Mentoring Mothers discussions these days.  This morning's discussion was very enlightening and thought-provoking. Putting this morning's discussion together with things I learned at the conference with Andrew Pudewa this weekend, my mind  whirling with all sorts of good stuff.  So this post will have some glimpses of what Pudewa taught along with what we discussed at our meeting this morning (but notes were sparse, the discussion was that rivetting!). 

Mentoring Mothers:  Inspire!

Introduction: "Nowhere in the Thomas Jefferson model do we advocate ignoring the student.  There are two easy shortcuts...to education:  ignore or require.  The third type of education, Inspire, is extremely challenging.  The conveyor belt seems to have conditioned this generation to believe that if you are not requiring, you are neglecting, and to say "inspire" is just an excuse to ignore (Leadership Education p. 86)."

"Leadership education wants . . . real "men with chests"... who stand with courage and wisdom and do what is needed, and real women who face the world with knowledge of what is right and the virtue and strength to bring it to pass (p.85)." 

What inspires you to learn? 
Some of our answers:  reading & that internal thirst for knowledge, needs of the family, an early solid phase leads naturally to that desire to learn, and exposure to lots of different things.

Three Types of Motivation (from Pudewa)
 1.  Intrinsic:  this is the best form and the one we want to eventually acheive.  But that intrinsic desire won't come with everything every time.

2. Inspire:  being inspired by something or someone else.  When you're around someone who loves something, you can't help but start to love it yourself. 

3. Coercive:  external rewards.   When do we use these?  When they are relevent, when it is you following inspiration, when we know that the eventual outcome will be what the child needs to be motivated. 

Pudewa shared an example of helping his dyslexic son learn how to read.  His son wanted an air soft gun, so Dad would pay him $.01/word.  For any whining, the kid was charged $.10.  No other money could go toward the gun.  This motivated his son into greater learning opportunities than had he not used an external reward. 

What happens when there's a "slump?"
"Parents should seek inspiration to prioritize and invest themselves in the study of [the loves of their children] as much as possible in order to b prepared when the child asks questions or needs help or validation (LE, p. 163).

What do you do when you get in a slump?
Our answers:  take time to see what is distracting you from your priorities, friends/each other, revisit the TJEd books, etc....

This led to a tangent discussion on Friends and the need for Building a Community  (see ingredient #47).  Most of us in the group agree that a scholar phase community is a definite need.  However, the need for formal & organized activities for the younger groups...maybe not as necessary.  I think we came to some conclusion that small group activities may be more beneficial during the early phases and one mom said that it completely depends on each child. 

My Three E's of Inspiring
Exposure
Andrew Pudewa fully advocates the Suzuki method of teaching (Earliest age, best environment, best teacher, best method).  What I took home from this is making all subjects part of your natural environment.  Exposing our children to many different topics, ideas, questions and experiences gives them that thirst for learning and shows them all the possibilities that are out there. 

One way to expose them to different things is through what TJEd calls Kidschool (we at our house call it "Group Learning Time").  This is where I have the opportuniy to expose them to what I am learning OR what I'm excited about them learning.  For me this involves a lot of reading, games and a project here or there.

Here we went on yet another tangent topic:  MATH EXPOSURE and making math just as much part of your daily living as reading AND getting rid of our fears of math so that we can teach and inspire our children to enjoy math.  Also, we must know the facts before we understand the concept.

Example
Mothers can't teach what they aren't excited about.  Wait, they can, but if they aren't excited about it that's when the requiring usually takes presidence over the inspiring.  The idea of You, Not Them takes on a whole different meaning when we look at it as YOU set the exampe, YOU focus on what is needed in the family and take THEM along with you.  You, not Them does not mean only focus on yourself and ignore your children (remember:  TJEd does not advocate ignoring). 

Emancipation (or Elbow Room....Whatever E word means "freedom" to you).  :-)
I have noticed with my children that when we are overscheduled there is much less inspired learning going on.  When I free the calendar and leave plenty of room in our day for exploring and questions and imagination, that is when the inspiring truly takes place.  "The effectiveness of freedom truly recommends itself.  More people should try it (p.68)."

Articles to Read
Are We There Yet? - Rebekah Joy Anast
Changes, Changes Everywhere - Oliver DeMille

Math Resources & Books
Kumon Math
Fermat's Enigma  (the first math inspiring book I read)
Life of Fred series

Next Month:  Transition to Scholar Phase

2.07.2011

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

We just finished reading aloud Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.  I remembered loving this book in 5th grade and my kids seemed to love it now!  I love those kind.  :-)  So, to follow up our discussion about wolves and life in the arctic, we made a wolf lapbook.


Map of lattitude & longitude, wolf population is in the northern latitude section.


 How wolves communicate, words that describe wolves starting with each letter of the word "Wolves," outer body parts of an arctic wolf (E's contribution), B's mini book report on Julie of the Wolves.
Changing  words to plurals (i.e. wolf to wolves), prey of wolves, wolf math problems, the developmental cycle of a wolf pup, and wolf idioms.

This was my favorite part (below) . . . finding scriptures in the Bible that referenced wolves.  Very fun!  The kids then copied the verses on the pages.   
 
Last, but not least, where we can find wolves in the U.S.

More Words from a 3 Year Old

The other night the kids thought it would be great to jump on the trampoline while eating dinner.  I said, "Nope" and called them in.  As they came through the back door E. said, "Yeah, you made bad choice, so you are like Laman."  You can tell which story we've been going over and over again at our house. 

2.03.2011

Building Your Family Library

I was asked a few weeks ago to put together a display on "Building Your Family Library" for our stake Relief Society meeting that happened tonight.   I had a lot of fun putting this together and read some great articles to prepare.  Here is the information I put on the handout:


Establish a House of Learning:

Building Your Family Library

“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:  And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”   -- Proverbs 24:3-4 - -


In his talk entitled Hallmarks of a Happy Home, President Thomas S. Monson said, "…a happy home is discovered when home is a library of learning. Whether we are preparing to establish our own family or simply considering how to bring heaven closer to our present home, we can learn from the Lord. He is the master architect. He has taught us how we must build." So, how do we build our family libraries, how do we know what to place in our homes of learning, and where do we find these “precious and pleasant riches?”


What Do You Put on Your Shelves?
Books, Music & Movies are the obvious three. When trying to decide on the best of these materials ask yourself three questions:
     1. Does it uplift and inspire - “All good things come from God.”
     2. Will I read, watch or listen to this again?
     3. Is this going to teach my children the lessons I want them to learn, build their character, or give them   the ideas I want them to think when idle?


** Don’t be afraid of the word “classics.” Oftentimes, when we hear “classics” we think of old books with difficult language. Those books do have their place & value, but if a book, a movie or music meets the criteria above for your family, that item becomes a classic in your home. Needless to say, the scriptures should become the number one classic of the family.

"…if you think the ideas that were lived by the apostle Paul or Emerson or Shakespeare or Jesus of Nazareth, your mind will start responding as their minds did." - - Sterling W. Sill

Cultural Events: This is the intangible part of your home library. Exposing your family this way enhances their desire to seek refined and “wholesome recreational activities.”
"Your mind is a cupboard and you stock the shelves." -Thomas S. Monson

Family History: President Monson reminds us, "As parents, we should remember that our lives may be the book from the famiy library which the children most treasure." Place family journals, scrapbooks, and records within reach of your children.

You may also want to include games, magazines, books on CD, and other such items in building a house of learning.


Where Do You Start? Where Do You Look? Where Do You Put it all?
Start with what you love! As you become more well-read, your tastes will change & grow.
Start with what you have. Go through your shelves at home and see if you have only the best surrounding your family.
Start at the library.  “To be well-read...it is not necessary to possess expensive collections of literature, for they are available to rich and poor alike in the libraries of the world.” - Douglas Callister


Our family mantra: Rarely pay full price for anything! I started my own collection on www.paperbackswap.com. I went through my shelves, got rid of the things I didn’t want to keep & only ordered hardbound classics I wanted.


“Most modern homes are not built with large libraries in mind. But all you really need to start a home library collection is a simple bookshelf, table, or cabinet in a frequently used area of the home where your books can be kept in order (Ensign, Apr. 1982).”

“Seek Ye Out of the Best Books”

Best Books Resources
Books that Build Character by William Kilpatrick
What Your Child Needs to Know series by E.D. Hirsch
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
http://www.books4yourkids.com/ (search by author, genre or level)
http://www.goodreads.com/ (share reviews with friends)
www.amazon.com (reviews)

Best Places to Look
websites:
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.half.com/
http://www.thriftbooks.com/
http://www.abebooks.com/
local stores:
Adventures Underground
The Book Worm
Local yard sales & thrift stores

Best Articles to Inspire You
Hallmarks of a Happy Home - President Thomas S. Monson
Your Refined Heavenly Home - Douglas L. Callister (BYU Speeches)
Bottles and Books - Sterling W. Sill (BYU Speeches)
Mothers Teaching Children in the Home - Elder L Tom Perry
The Educated Woman within us - Elaine S. Sorensen, Mar. 1983

2.02.2011

Projects Galore

This month we met with our consultant and so the kids each displayed a project.  Here's what they came up with:

JL created a Bat Mobile (not a Batmobile from Batman, mind you). 
We read great books about bats and then wrote facts on the backs of bat-shaped paper.
Yes, these bats are now hanging directly above our kitchen table. 

A. read her very first chapter book, The Littles!!
She loved the story and created a very detailed, very beautiful diorama based on what she read.

B. read a book about horses and then showed how a foal grows in just the first five months of life.  This girl loves anything that can be done on a poster board. 

I really love project month!

2.01.2011

We Did It!

We accomplished our goal of 100 Books!  Granted, the last day was all speed reading and easy readers.  BUT those count, too!  So, we did it!  Yay!  Thus, the kids have earned an All Day Movie Day.  Happy Reading!!

 
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