Monday, October 25, 2010

Hymn of the Week--Jesus I Am Resting, Resting

Either you're resting in Jesus or you have no rest at all. Isn't that the way it is? I long to rest in Jesus and cast my cares to him. For who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Hymn of the Week
Jesus I Am Resting, Resting
Words by Jean S. Pig­ott
Music by James Mount­ain

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Quotes: Like Brett Favre

Today is Tricia's birthday!  Happy birthday, Tric.  38!  When Ben found out this morning he said,
Whoa!  That's like Brett Favre!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Read Alouds--The Sign of the Beaver

Tonight we will finish our second read aloud from this year's curriculum list.  The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare has been a thoroughly enjoyable book.  It is the story of a thirteen-year-old boy who is left in the Maine wilderness after he and his father had built their house and begun to settle their land, while the father goes back to get his sister and mother.  While his father is away he meets an native boy named Attean.  Matt and Attean become friends and teach each other much.  Matt learns the most as Attean plays host to the forest and teaches Matt how to live in his country.  We have raced through this book because the boys have liked it almost as much as I have.  We have tried to get to bed earlier so that we can spend as much time with it as possible.

The book addresses many very interesting themes.  Published in 1983, it tries to paint a picture of the native people as knowing more about the country into which the white men were coming than the white men who came.  It also deals with the displacement of the native people because of over hunting.  Interestingly enough though, as I searched for more info on the book, native people are pretty critical of her handling of their culture.  She uses the word "squaw" a number of times, which I didn't know was seen as a derogatory term.  She also has the native people call themselves Indians, which apparently they wouldn't have done.

As with any picture of a culture written by someone outside of the culture, it appears that Speare has made some missteps.  I certainly appreciate that she has attempted though to address issues that need to be addressed.  The coming of the white man, in most ways, was no gift to the native cultures.  As we look at history it is important to be carefully critical.  As dominant cultures, we need to understand that mistakes were made.  It is less important to pass judgment on our predecessors than to work to not repeat their mistakes in our own time.

Read Alouds--Secret of the Andes

We have begun our home school curriculum read alouds for the year.  The kids and I are really enjoying them.  As I've stated before, we use the Sonlight curriculum read alouds.  We are only doing the read alouds and Ben's and Caleb's readers from Sonlight this year, not the rest of the Sonlight stuff.  This year's lists are focused on American history.  History was my minor in college and I took a lot of American history.

The two books that we've read so far are both Newberry award winners.  I think if you just went through and read all of the Newberry award winners to your kids, you'd be doing pretty well.  The first book, Secret of the Andes by Anne Nolan Clark was a gem.  I love a book where the words are as important as the characters and the plot.  Clark paints the landscape of the Andes mountains and the Inca people with beautiful words.  The story is one of a young boy who is raised as a llama herder with only his older tutor in a hidden valley.  He knows that there is something very special about his life and the golden plugs in his ear lobes.  He must discover the path that the Great Inca has laid out for him.

It was interesting how Ben especially picked up on the difference in the religion of the Incas and our faith.  When the older man would talk about how the Great Inca had made the sun and how they worshiped it, Ben would shake his head.  I didn't take a lot of time to do a comparative study, but it was interesting that the boys were recognizing differences.

I love that all of the books that we've read lately have been so well written.  Children's books should only be distinguished from well written adult works by their subjects and maybe some vocabulary.  As the boys get older, even these distinctions are disappearing.  I would recommend Secret of the Andes to anyone who is interested in a good story of Peru or for anyone interested in simply a good story. 

Read Alouds--The Borrowers Afield

At the end of the last edition of the The Borrowers we found Pod, Homily and Arrietty having to flee their home because then had been "seen."  The Borrowers Afield, traces the adventures of the the three as they find a new home in the great outdoors.  They meet some new friends and find that they can survive in a way that Homily never thought possible.

It is another adventure that all of the kids loved.  Mary Norton's writing is interesting and very descriptive of her characters and their settings.  I would recommend both of her books that we've read.  I think we'll be done with the Borrowers for a while now though.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some pictures I've wanted to post

I've wanted to share these for a while.  We've had an amazing fail weather wise.  We have spent as much time outside as possible, trying to bank all of the vitamin D we can for February.




I love this last one. Even though it's blurry, Lucy looks so pretty. The sweater is one that Shirley knit for Amanda lo so many years ago.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scripture memorization vs. Biblical literacy

Can you recite Romans 6:23 and Romans 3:23?  Could you give a brief summary of what the book of Romans is about, who it's written to, and who wrote it?

Which is more important?  Oh, come on.  They're both important.  But we put a pretty good emphasis on scripture memorization (at least our church does.)  But I think we put very little emphasis on biblical literacy.  I would biblical literacy as knowing the overall metanarative of the Bible as well as general knowledge of the content of individual books, passages, chapters, etc.

Why is biblical literacy important?  I think in today's world, we are much more apt to have a Bible available in moments of need.  When someone is struggling with self righteousness, wouldn't it be good to know that the book of Galatians is pretty much all about self-righteousness?  When someone you're struggling with depression, wouldn't it be great to be able to point to a few psalms of lament?  (I can't do this off hand.)  How about when you're looking to pray in public, wouldn't it be good to know where a couple of good prayers are in the Bible.

That's just half of it.  The overall metanarative is the most important.  If we want to know the main character of the Bible (God), then we need to know how he is revealed in the overall story.  We would never go the the Lord of the Rings and read one thing about Frodo and use that as what we say about him as a person. 

My question, is how do we teach this?  How do we teach biblical literacy to our kids?  Teaching our kids 100 memory verses is pretty straight forward.  I don't want to teach my kids 100 Bible stories that tell them to have courage like David or wisdom like Solomon.  I want them to know that God is a covenant God of steadfast love.  I want them to know how that is revealed in different ways throughout the Bible.  Tough, huh?!  What do you think?

Hymn of the Week--Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Our small group has decided to adopt the Hymn of the Week.  So, I'm not sure what this means exactly except that we are hopefully all singing this together this week and will sing it again when we get back together.  This week's hymn is an amazing one, telling of who our God is.  At church we often sing the new version by Bob Kauflin.  I like them both.  I love the piper organ rendition below.  Enjoy!

Hymn of the Week
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Words by Walter C. Smith
Music by John Roberts

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most bless├Ęd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.