One of my favourite poems. I quote it to myself often.
I have long loved the book of Ruth. As a teenager I memorized it. I had just finished memorizing Romans 6 and was looking for something that was a little more challenging. I don’t know what led me to Ruth, but I’m glad I memorized it.
One thing I have discovered about Scripture memorization is that the Scripture really becomes mine. I find that as I review what I have learned it becomes a form of meditation. It calms me. Sometimes when I can’t sleep I start thinking about verses I have memorized, and it helps me relax.
I’ve also found verses I’ve memorized coming to mind just when I need them. For example, I met my husband on a Thursday night at his church. Ten days later he came to our house for supper and by the end of the evening we were engaged. The next day I was thinking about how my life had changed so completely in such a short amount of time, and I thought, “What have I done? I don’t even know this guy really.” Immediately my mind was flooded with the verse, “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth 3:18. Right away I was at peace. God had answered my worries with a verse that really applied to me. Hugo had finished the job of finding a wife in one day. If I hadn’t memorized Ruth, I wouldn’t have had this verse come to mind. I’m not saying God couldn’t have given me peace in some other way, but I was so glad to have this verse.
I’ve said all this as an introduction to say that in the days and weeks to come I’d like to bring a series of posts on the book of Ruth. I’ve taught this book a couple of times as a Bible college course and in our church’s ladies group. I’m hoping it will bless you, and I want to remind myself of all the reasons why I love this story.
It’s that time of year when I look back on what I did from my “To Do” list for the summer and think about what I want to do for the fall.
At the beginning of the summer I made this graphic and used it for my laptop wallpaper to remind myself of all that I wanted to do.
- say “yes” lots – I still have a long way to go in this area. I need to remind myself often that their desires are big to them even though they may feel like an interruption to me. So within reason I am truly trying to say “yes” more.
- parks and picnics – Not as much as I wanted, but we still went to the park. We also had a planned picnic and an unplanned picnic. The planned picnic kind of bombed – bad weather and all the picnic tables were taken. It was a breakfast one too. Who would have thought that we wouldn’t be able to get a table at 9 a.m.?
- sewing – I still have to evaluate what exactly I did. I know I did quite a bit just not sure how it matches up with my list.
- teach Bekah to bake bread – Well, we started. She’s not yet at the point where she could do the whole process start to finish on her own, but then she’s only nine so we have some time to work on that. ☺
- teach Micah to read – I think this was my biggest success this summer. Micah’s reading went forward by leaps and bounds. I am so pleased at how well he is doing.
- scrapbooking – Do we ever get caught up? Enough said.
- plan next school year – This went really well. I’m happy with everything we’re doing this year especially with adding copywork into our schedule. In another post I’ll describe what my oldest son is doing for his literature. He’s studying Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, and thanks to some brainstorming with my youngest sister we came up with a really unique way for him to study this book.
- sing and smile more – I don’t know. I think you’d have to ask my children about this one. Overall, I felt pretty relaxed this summer. So I’m guessing I did smile more.
- read books outside – I have to admit I only did this once. I got some bug bites and decided I’d go for comfort over fresh air for the rest of the summer. Wimpy, I know.
- zoo trips – Sadly, our membership has run out, and we never got around to renewing it. We hope to do that this fall. We like going in the fall and spring better anyway when there aren’t as many people.
- canning – This really didn’t happen this year. I was enjoying relaxing so much I decided I didn’t want to pressure myself to can. Also, we figured out that it’s cheaper to buy canned tomatoes than to do it ourselves. I’ll probably still do apples sometime this fall. Homemade applesauce is so easy, and it’s an activity we enjoy working on.
- painting – Does picking out the colour and buying knobs for the one of the dressers count? Again, this is something that’s being shifted to my fall list because I really want to get this done. It’s been on my list for way to many years. Yes, I just said “years”. Don’t you hate those things you want to get done, but just keep having to shift them until another time? Ugh. This fall.
We also went to/were highly involved in a wedding this summer and threw an ice cream party for our church.
Now for my sewing goals
- a skirt for myself – I’ve had the fabric for ages – I didn’t get that particular skirt made, but I made another one
- a skirt for each of my daughters – I made two skirts each for my two youngest daughters and a skirt each for my oldest daughter and I
- a bag each to hold my two baby wraps and my mai tei – I will use the method I posted here only bigger, of course – still want to do this
- my oldest son’s quilt. I would really like to finish it this summer – did start up working on this quilt again. I love to quilt. It’s just so hard to find the time.
- a church dress each for my two youngest daughters – I did do this. Plus an extra one for my youngest daughter for a wedding we went to. My youngest daughter wanted an orange dress for the wedding. I told her I wasn’t sure I could find a nice orange fabric, but I did. It’s an orange gingham with tiny daisies embroidered all over it. It’s always nice when you can go with their first colour.
- some bread bags - not yet
- Lumber Jack hats for my two youngest boys for this winter – I’d forgotten about this. I need to look at the pattern again because it seemed like it would be such a fun project.
- wallet for myself - no
- a bag for holding my clothespins - no again
- some doll clothes with my middle daughter – I didn’t get to this but I did figure out how to convert patterns for 18″ dolls so we can use them for her 14″ doll. Now I just need to pick some patterns and get her to pick some fabric.
reusable paper towels – I have wanted to do this ever since I first saw it – sadly no again.
I made some pattern weights for myself. For a while now I’ve been using canned goods to hold down my patterns. I wish I had discovered pattern weights a long time ago. I hate the cutting out stage of sewing. Using weights saves time and effort making me enjoy the process more. I think I made them a tad too big. If so, they’re easy enough to make more.
All in all, we had a great summer. Lots accomplished but lots of relaxing too. One of the favourite things we did together in the afternoon? Watch “Cupcake Wars” on YouTube and try to guess who would win compared with who we wanted to win.
Last week I mentioned that this school work we started something new – copywork. I’d been seeing posts on this for a year or two now, but I just couldn’t face adding something else to our homeschool schedule.
Several things combined to convince me I should give it a try.
First, a couple of my children really have trouble focusing. As I talked about this with my husband he was convinced that having the children start their school day by doing copywork would also help them focus. He sent me a post he had read about copywork helping writers to hone their craft, and it also mentioned that it can strengthen memory and focus. Great writers including Robert Louis Stevenson and Benjamin Franklin used copywork to improve their skills. Copywork used to be a standard part of a child’s school day.
Then my mom sent me a post about how important knowing how to write cursive is. “Dr. Berninger goes so far as to suggest that cursive writing may train self-control ability in a way that other modes of writing do not…” That statement really caught my attention. The whole article is really interesting, and I would encourage you to read it.
Now, I’ll admit teaching penmanship is a weak link for me. It bores me, and I just haven’t done it like I should. My own penmanship is fairly good, but some of my children could use help. I determined that this year I needed to make penmanship more of a priority. Copywork would help. It would now fulfil two functions – focus and penmanship. I want my children to be able to write neatly AND to be able to read writing not just printing.
Then I discovered that my Grades 4 and 5 girls could barely write although they’d learned the basics. I knew I needed to change that.
So, to make it all more interesting I bought everyone their own composition book and told them they could make their own choice of what to copy – a favourite novel, a portion from the Bible, a poem or song. The only requirements were that we all do it together, no one talks (we’re still working on this one), no printing, and we’re going for quality of work not quantity.
I have to say that I’m a convert. I love the time of day when we all sit around the table doing our copywork, because, yes, I do it too. I’m copying out Pride and Prejudice. I figure if I do a chapter and a half a week I’ll finish it this school year.
For twenty minutes we all sit quietly (more or less) and write. The children are allowed to do any schoolwork they choose before breakfast if they want, but the one thing they have to wait for everyone to do together is copywork. The first couple of days my daughters struggled asking me again and again to show them how different letters were formed. However, by the end of the first week their penmanship had improved 100%, and they were writing with greater ease than they ever had before.
This has truly been a great experience for us. I would encourage any homeschooling mom to add this to her day and enjoy the benefits. Our days seem to go smoother. I feel more focused and calm after starting my day this way. I would say that so far we are having the best school year we’ve ever enjoyed.
And just because he’s too cute here’s what the baby’s up to while we quietly (more or less) write… Hanging out with three favourites – his books, sippy cup and ball.
A couple of other things…You can just see my Kindle in a couple of the pictures. I use it for copying from. I love not having to fight to keep a book open. Also, I know that not all of my children are exhibiting great penmanship posture, but we are just coming off of everyone being sick. Some of us are still in the recovery phase.
Recently I was talking to a dear friend. She’s going through a hard time right now. It was heartbreaking to listen to her. She’s feeling abandoned and hopeless. So, I said the best thing I could think of – I’m praying for you.
We’ve all been there. The pain is so bad, and we’re so shattered spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally that we almost feel paralyzed. Even to the point where we can’t pray. We’re at the end of our rope, just hanging on by a thread that seems ready to snap at any moment. I’ve been there, and I know you have.
In those moments it is such a blessed relief to know that I don’t have to pray. That God has others who will stand up for me. He understands our human frailties. He knows that sometimes we simply can’t pray – that’s when He puts a thought of us in someone else’s heart and mind. They then take up the task of praying and interceding in our behalf.
A beautiful hymn has been written about this. I’m sharing it with you today hoping it will bless and encourage you.
Someone Is Praying For You
Have the clouds round you gather’d in the midst of the storm,
Is your ship tossed and battered, are you weary and worn?
Don’t lose hope, someone’s praying for you this very day,
And peace be still is already on the way.
When it seems that you’ve prayed till your strength is all gone,
And your tears fall like raindrops all the day long;
He cares and He knows just how much you can bear,
He’ll speak your name to someone in prayer.
Someone is praying for you, someone is praying for you,
So when it seems you’re all alone and your heart will break in two;
Remember, someone is praying for you.
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I’ve been reading quite a few children’s books lately. Just checking that what my children are reading is indeed good for them to read. One that I really enjoyed was The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. It is a prequel to the “Mysterious Benedict Society” books. My children tell me that it is the best of them. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nicholas is very smart and uses his intelligence to evade bullies in his orphanage as well as to puzzle out the answer to a mystery. The books are all long but interesting enough for my ten-year-old daughter to not mind the need to persevere.
16-year-old daughter – Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. She says it’s much more interesting than the typical Christian romance. The historical aspect is more than just background, and there is an actual plot.
14-year-old son – The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
12-year-old son – The Rotten Romans (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary. These books talk about various time periods adding gory and frightening details. The boys love them. They don’t excite me, but then I’m not a guy. ☺
10-year-old daughter – Disneyland Hostage by Eric Wilson. This is one of her favourite Eric Wilson books.
8-year-old daughter – I’m Already Tucked In – a Family Circus book
6-year-old son – The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward. There’s a reason why this book keeps appearing on Micah’s list. It’s a really good book, and he loves it. Who can resist a cuddly, needy bear cub? The only problem is he grows into an oversized big bear who eats everything making a problem – What to do with Johnny’s bear? The neighbours have one plan, but it’s not very appealing to Johnny.
3-year-old son – Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. For some reason we don’t own this book. I had the joy of introducing Ethan to it this week. After we read it, I told him that the toddler “Sal” in this book is the big girl “Sal” in One Morning in Maine – a book we love.
20-month-old son – Any book he can find. It’s funny to watch his thought processes. His dad will call him over for a cuddle. Immediately Jonah starts casting around for a book to bring. He loves books.
Well, the first week of school is under our belts. It went quite well overall.
This year I started my three-year-old on a preschool programme that I found online. It has gone very well this first week. He studied the letter “X” and had fun. We also talked about the Bible being a treasure that God has given to us. I’m looking forward to continuing this with him. It has worked out for us to do one activity, and then he takes a break so I can deal with all the problems that have accumulated. When I’m done he comes back to do something else. It’s a great way to do school with a three year old.
Somehow this has been the easiest startup I can remember. Everything has gone smoothly. I’ve figured out a system for marking their work every day that seems to take less time than my old haphazard method. So in spite of having to do a lot of hands on help with my Grade One son and adding my three-year-old son to the mix I’ve still managed to get everything done in a reasonable time. God has been very gracious because while I was looking forward to school starting on the one hand on the other I was worried about falling back into old patterns of stress. I’m trusting for the rest of the school year to go as smoothly.
We have also started something else this year – copy work. I’ve seen it talked about on more than one homeschooling site. Then my husband started to talk about it helping with concentration. He sent me an post from a blog he follows that talked about doing copy work. I love this. I wish I had done it years ago. I think I’ll do a post about it with more thoughts.
This week has been brutally hot with today topping the heat. We haven’t done much except for school. We’ve just been concentrating on keeping cool. We did harvest some more zucchini. This has been an awesome year for us for zucchini. I’ve got a lot in the freezer that I can add to baked goods, stews, soups, etc. this winter.
So tomorrow starts school. We ended the summer with a big smash going to the Canadian National Exhibition. This is something we try to do every year although we missed last year.
We all thought this was our best year ever, but I’m pretty sure we say that every year. We stayed longer than we had planned because we were enjoying ourselves so much.
On the one hand this feels like it’s been a long, lazy summer. On the other hand it feels like just a couple of days ago that we ended the 2013-2014 school year. I have to say that this has been a relaxing summer. We’ve done parks and picnics and library time and games. We’ve watched “Cupcake Wars” and tried to guess who the winner would be.
I’m feeling ready to start school which is so much better than dreading it as I have other years. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m starting my three-year-old on a preschool programme. I’ll let you know how that’s going in a couple of weeks. This year I also have my first senior. It hardly seems possible that the little girl I could hardly wait to start school is now on her last year.