Archive for November, 2013

Inventors, Inventions and Missionaries

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Inventors, inventions and missionaries… an eclectic mix of information but a perfect way to celebrate the end of Year 3 Unit 2. Yes, before Thanksgiving our co-op has completed half a year of Tapestry of Grace!

We began our celebration with brunch.

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We then moved to the gym where all the student display boards and grammar-level art projects were set up.

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Next on the agenda.. a scavenger hunt! Our youngest co-op members colored sheets of various missionaries and inventors. After coloring, they were instructed to find a board that featured their character.

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All the “readers” of the group were given a scavenger hunt sheet that featured one question per board. Before our celebration, students sent in three questions of varying levels of difficulty that could be answered by reading their boards. Thus the 3rd-4th graders had a fairly simple question sheet, the 5th-6th graders had a “medium-difficulty” sheet, and the 7th-12th graders had a challenging one. Students had about 30 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt.

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I love this project-based format for end-of-units because all students learn from one another. In the past we’ve done more teacher-directed end-of-units such as skits, songs, recitations, etc. These are fun and meaningful as well, but the organization falls on the adults. Students are truly proud of their display-board projects and enjoy mingling and answering and asking questions of one another. I like that the unit focuses on their projects and accomplishments!

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It’s also just plain impressive to see 30+ boards – all missionaries and inventors of the 19th century – displayed at once! What a century this was!

I love the art the grammar students displayed. Shown here are pinatas, boomerangs, yarn art, spinning tops and log cabins.

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Some particularly fun displays included some “radium” punch served by two Marie Curie models –

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Tea cookies that Lottie Moon served to earn the trust of the Chinese chilren –

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And cotton –

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This end-of-unit began as an “invention fair” only. However, Year 3 church history is full of inspiring missionary stories. Unfortunately, we are unable to devote a whole class period this year at co-op to the discussion of these heroes of our faith. Thus we decided to incorporate their stories at our end-of-unit gatherings. Many of our students chose to focus their research on missionaries. This was perhaps one of my favorites –

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I’ll tell you why… Billy Graham does not enter the “Tapestry scene” until Year 4. However, the young student who made this board wanted to study Billy Graham because his daddy works for Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s ministry. This Daddy is currently traveling the United States visiting churches and telling others about Operation Christmas Child, the shoe-box ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. We are not legalistic at the Boone ToG Co-op. If a student wants to study the missionary who has reached more people with the gospel than any other, he may!

I enjoyed all the boards, but particularly loved reading about two female missionaries. One of the questions on the scavenger hunt was, “What missionary had a physical attribute that helped her relate to the people she ministered to? What was that attribute?” The answer – both Lottie Moon and Amy Carmichael. I found it quite interesting that Lottie Moon, who grew to only be 4’3″, was called to minister to the petite Chinese people. Darked-eyed Amy Carmichael ministered to the brown-eyed people of India. As a young girl, Amy longed for blue eyes, but God had plans for her, and those plans included her brown eyes. They helped the Indian people trust her!

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I love how His Story is told in his-tory! Just like God had a plan for Amy and Lottie, he has a plan for all of us. Will I allow Him to use me even in my weaknesses or areas I’d like to change? These are things I ponder as we wrap up our history studies and change our focus to the holidays ahead. And with Thanksgiving approaching next week, I can’t help but thank the Lord for our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, and all the students and parents in our co-op. Our first half-year of studies has been rich and I am grateful.

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Esther Is 6!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

I can’t believe my #6 is 6!

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Since the age of two, Esther has loved frogs. This was one of her favorite toddler toys.

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 And these were her favorite pajamas.

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 Her favorite place to get a treat is Sweet Frog (Frozen Yogurt.)

So, when Esther requested a frog cake for her birthday, the sisters and I were not surprised. We got on Pinterest and planned away. The cake … precious – and easy! (And one of the few things I prepared with the birthday girl’s help.)

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I was blessed not only with help from Sarah and Bethany, but also several other sweet girls. One of my dear friends is out of the country and her children came early this morning. By 9 am, they had prepared lunch, decorated the house, hung the banner (painted by Sarah), organized games, and even baked several mini cakes! I am spoiled when it comes to birthday party helpers, no doubt!

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Some of my favorite decorations are these adorable “apple frogs.” The girls got a little carried away making them.

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Esther wanted to decorate cakes for her craft. The girls did a fantastic job. I could not believe that cake- decorating held the attention of these 5-7 year olds for an entire hour!

The finished cakes were as unique as the beautiful girls who made them.

Ava enjoyed helping me gather all the cakes in their decorated boxes.

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We played “Kiss the Frog” which is like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” except the “tails” are “lip prints” aimed at the frog’s mouth. I think the girls enjoyed an opportunity to wear Anna’s stage lipstick!

The children also threw flies into frog buckets.

Esther thoroughly enjoyed her day and is thankful for all who came to celebrate. I am thankful for Sarah, Bethany, Ashlyn, Kayla, Hannah and Emma for making her day so special. I am beyond grateful to God for giving us six years with Esther. She is a gift from him, and we are blessed!

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Purple Crayon Catastrophe

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

About ten years ago I had a conversation with Bethany that went something like this:

Bethany at 5. She has always liked to accessorize.

Bethany: “Mommy, do people need clothes in Heaven?”

Me: “I don’t think so, Sweetie. Why do you ask?”

Bethany: “Well, I really like my clothes and I want to take them with me when I go to Heaven.”

Bethany’s love for pretty clothing and accessories has only increased over the years, and I must say, she gets it honestly. I “get” this child of mine, truly. So today when I heard a scream coming from the laundry room just three hours before she was to leave on a weekend youth retreat, my heart sank. “Did I do something?” I wondered. It’s not easy being the mom of three teenage girls with varying laundry schedules, rituals, and demands. I wondered if our 18-year old machine “greased” her favorites. Did a sister throw in a black hoodie with her favorite white tee? While I had no idea what awaited me as I entered the laundry room, one thing was certain … Bethany was not happy.

The culprit was, and I mean “was” in the most past tense possible… a purple crayon. The only thing left of the crayon was the wrapper. The rest of it was distributed in spots of varying sizes all over Bethany’s very favorite shirts. Yes, the shirts that she’d carefully selected and planned to wear on her weekend away – ruined.

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The culprit… the crayon that is no more.

Esther, seeing and seizing an opportunity to make a bad situation worse stated, “Bethany, just be glad you didn’t break the washing machine. Your clothes actually don’t matter too much, ya know.” (Did I mention our washing machine is old??)

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Sarah’s spotty camp shirt. Hoping it can be replaced this weekend

Sarah entered the scene and realized her camp T-shirt, a souvenir from one of her favorite weeks of her life, suffered the worst purple-spottiness of the whole load.

Anna and Christina were frantically trying to finish homework so they could enjoy their weekend away and needed quiet. There were some un-quiet requests for me to “Make it all stop!”

I will spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that the Jobe house experienced a wee bit of drama this morning. I know I should expect such tension right before a spiritual retreat. Doesn’t Satan like to attack on Sunday mornings as well?

I may or may not have added to the emotion. Haven’t I instructed these girls of mine to check pockets? Ugh. This was the day I was *supposed* to catch up on school work. We had stuff to do! The kitchen needed attention. I like rooms left clean. And there is always math. Besides, the girls do have other things they can wear, and I’m a believer in natural consequences. They’d just have to deal with it and get back to packing and leave me alone.

I instructed them to separate to cool down because there became a bit of blame-casting. Who *really* threw the clothes in the dryer where the setting-in-of-purple occurred? “Who really cares?” I thought. I told Bethany to google “wax-removal.” I went to my room to pray. And the Lord reminded me of an incident that happened on my wedding day.

A young child had thrown birdseed from a punch cup on me as my groom and I left our reception site. After leaving, we escaped to our new apartment to gather our suitcases before heading off to our honeymoon. I panicked and fought back tears as I noticed little spots all over my dress. Because I borrowed my wedding dress, I spent quite a bit of time selecting the “perfect” going-away dress. Money was scarce, and I got it at a good price, but I could not afford to replace it. I knew in my heart after seeing those spots that my “going-away dress”, after only a 20-minute debut, was truly “gone.” However, I spot-treated it, threw it in the wash, and hoped for the best. Of course, having only been married a few hours, I had not mastered the art of communication with my new husband. I failed to tell him it needed to drip dry. He, being quite eager to leave to make our dinner reservation, put the dress in the dryer once it completed the “gentle” wash cycle.

The dress, which was punch stained and, after drying, small enough to fit a doll, was certainly ruined. I tossed it in the pile of wedding-gift-wrap garbage before leaving for the first dinner of our new marriage.

Today, after I left the laundry-room fiasco and escaped to my room, the Lord reminded me of a precious gift and the ending to my wedding-day story. When Daniel and I returned from our honeymoon, a $100 check awaited me. My mother-in-law heard what happened and wanted to replace my dress. This gift spoke love to me. She cared about something that I felt silly admitting even mattered.

So, today, after a few minutes with the Lord, I left the house and headed to Old Navy, praying as I drove that I could find a blessing for Bethany… and quickly!

I love Jesus. I love how he cares about little things. Bethany lost a tan striped shirt, a true favorite of hers. I found one, slightly different, but very similar for only $7.50. Other casualties of the purple-crayon wash were two flannel button-downs. I found prettier ones that, with my coupons, cost only $10 each. I quickly glanced at the clearance section and spotted a coral cardigan that looked beautiful with the tan-striped shirt. On one of those manequins, a lovely tan scarf that would “tie it all together”caught my eye. It was 35% off.  So, I de-scarfed the dummy, and, in only ten minutes of total shopping time, left Old Navy with all these items for an extremely reasonable price. I have shopped multiple stores on all-day trips with much less success!

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After arriving home, I walked in the front door, glanced upstairs, and saw Bethany working on her soiled items. I eagerly walked up to the laundry room, handed her the bag and received one of those hugs that a mom does not quickly forget. The new clothes… a perfect fit. Another small miracle.

I document this event so that I will remember that the Lord doesn’t always care about those “natural consequences.” He wants me to love and show compassion. He wants for me to always be willing to alter my to-do list – a list I hold onto pretty tightly sometimes. He wants me to leave the drama that is so rampant in this highly hormonal home and ask him for direction. His ways are good.

It’s true that Bethany can’t take her clothes with her to Heaven. She has matured quite a bit since our conversation years ago and knows her stuff has no eternal value. However, a pretty new sweater for this weekend is a symbol.. her mama loves her and her father in Heaven loves her even more.

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