The weight of the world on tiny shoulders

As I watch my children growing up in this chaotic world, I am a little stunned about something. It seems that the adults have put all the “hope” for the future on the shoulders of people who don’t even shave yet. When I surf the kiddie cable channels I am amazed at the steady stream of so-called news and environmental propaganda aimed at children. The message is “you can save the world.” Um, isn’t that a lot of pressure to put on a child who probably doesn’t have all their permanent teeth yet?

Why not let children be children? With the availability of media today it is easy for a child to learn about with local murder statistics on a TV at a local restaurant, terrorism plots during talk radio news breaks or read about child molestation cases in the newspaper stand. I think where our children are concerned the children’s song is a great rule of thumb: “Oh be careful little eyes what you see…”

I do not encourage my children to “save the planet” or expose them to unfettered input of the latest worldwide catastrophes or other disasters. (Of course age does make a difference.) I do not keep my children from all news but I do filter what they know because it is my responsibility to keep them safe, and to me that includes emotional safety. I cannot in good conscience fill their heads with the myriad of troubles in today’s world. They do not have the perspective or the frame of reference to process the information they receive. They are egocentric by nature, so it is easy to make everything their fault or to distort their relationship to it.

Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. The Message 2 Cor. 12:14

As I Christian parent it is up to me to keep drawing my children to God, to nurture that special relationship. If I allow them to repeatedly dwell on the problems in the world their eyes are not on the solution, but the problem. They are not looking to God. They are only filled with anxiety and dismal foreboding.

13 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. 14 The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. 15 Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” 16 Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.               The Message Mark 10:13-16

We talk about our responsibility to the planet as God’s stewards and to our fellow man. We are filled with compassion kept in perspective by scripture and prayer. We, as parents, must be careful to keep our children from taking on too much pressure and responsibility before they are adults. Childhood is a time for wonder, for exploration and for learning, not for saving the world. There’s plenty of time for that when they are grown.

18 Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.        The Message Deut. 11:18, 19

Well that explains it…

I went to the new Wal-Mart clinic earlier this week because they were running a special on a battery of tests for women (thyroid, fasting glucose, CBC, etc.) and I never go to the doctor, so I was overdue. I was glad I went.

Hemoglobin

I have been terribly tired lately. I mean tired to the bone, even when I first get up. And any heavy physical work just about did me in. I kept pushing through, thinking I could just “shake it off” and the tired would go away. Then the Nurse Practioner called last night and it made sense why I am so tired. I am anemic. My hemoglobin should be at least 13.2–mine is 9.6. Hgb is how your red blood cells get oxygen to your cells. If you can’t carry oxygen, you can’t burn energy. If you can’t produce energy, you are tired. Really tired. Really.

Iron deficiency anemia affects an estimated one in five women and as many as half of all pregnant women. The high level of incidence associated with females is due to the reproductive cycle unique to the gender. Women lose a variable amount of iron each month during menstruation and significantly greater amounts when pregnant due to the fetal requirements for the nutrient. (read more here)

This condition isn’t new to me (it’s not due to a disease or chronic condition). Off and on since my teenage years I have struggled with anemia. So to bring my Hgb up about 40%, I will take some Slow FE, eat more dark greens and maybe treat myself to a nice steak. And I’ll go easy on myself–at least for a few days. Any tips on boosting the iron content in my diet is greatly appreciated. And when I feel better I will have to tell you about that too. Now I’m off to talk my 3yo into a nap so I can lay down…

Rooted in love

Last week in botany we talked about roots. We discussed two reasons for roots–nutrition and support. To see what God has to say about roots, we went to Ephesians 3:17-19 “...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be also able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–“

God says we are to be rooted in love. Princess G reasoned what it means to be rooted in love–that you will feel secure, peaceful, loving, etc. She also reasoned that these amount to the Fruit of the Spirit. We eat of the fruit of the Spirit when we are rooted in God’s love. As we take it in we are nourished by this Heavenly fruit.
Then, as she was a tree with her branches out wide and her leaf fingers wriggling in the wind, she also reasoned that as she takes in the Fruit of the Spirit through her roots, her branches will also produce that same fruit. She will then be able to offer to others that same fruit, changing her world with peace, love, joy, etc (and, of course, self-control!). What a wonderful picture! She drew it for her notebook, with herself as a tree, rooted in a heart with branches that offer the nine fruits of the Spirit. (see Psalm 1, revelation 22:2.)
It is these moments that remind me why I do this. I am teaching her to reason from the Word of God and to apply it to her life. God, help me to be rooted in Your love. Help me to feast on the Love that only You can give, and help me to be so full of that love that it changes everyone I meet.

Classic science texts

The book I am using for science this year is from the 1800’s, entitled The Child’s Book of Nature by Dr. Worthington Hooker. My volume is three books in one that I got on eBay. It contains botany, zoology and light heat & air, etc. The title page says “… for the use of families and schools intended to aid mothers and teachers in training children in the observation of nature.”

I want to give you a peek into his books because it is a gentle science text that your kids will love. It is from a Christian/creationist perspective, so God is glorified throughout. And the writing is eloquent, so I enjoy reading it just for that. Let me give you an example.

Sample of Botany Chapter 1: Our Love for Flowers

Everybody likes flowers. We like them wherever we see them. How pleasant they are to our eyes as we see them in the garden! How their various colors please us as we look along the borders! Some are red, some are white, some are blue, and some are yellow. All these different colors, mingled with the fresh green leaves, make a feast for our eyes….

It was in a garden that Adam and Eve were placed. While they were innocent and pure God surrounded them with beautiful things, because he loved them so much. Before they sinned they lived among the flowers and trees of the garden of Eden. It was more beautiful than any garden that has been since that time. It was so beautiful that God would not let Adam and Eve stay in it after they had sinned.

Dr. Worthington Hooker

Some of the chapter titles in the botany book include:

  • Our love of flowers
  • What live on flowers
  • The sap in leaves
  • The leaves in autumn
  • Life in the seed
  • What seeds are for
  • Leaf-buds
  • what roots are for
  • the bark of trees and shrubs
  • the wood in trees and shrubs
  • circulation of the sap

This year-long study of plants will give your child a wonderful understanding of botany–why we need to study plants and the wonderful way God created them to function. And it goes from whole to parts, making it easy for children to understand. It begins with what you see and small and then moves to what you cannot see. Biblical principles are also easy to identify and highlight. And I cannot stress enough how this book, with its gentle approach to learning, excites your children to learn without overwhelming them with information. It’s one of my favorite books to use. (You can see some lessons we have done under my “science” heading” and in “general lesson plans”.)

This book also lends itself very well to notebooking, with its reasoning questions at the end of each chapter. The subject matter makes it so easy to develop notebook ideas that kids love to do. Ms. Katherine Dang has a supplement that follows Dr. Hooker’s books, with experiments and the like. I recommend it.

Dr. Hooker also has written volumes on chemistry, natural history, philosophy and more. He has a small bio here. He is known as the “Father of American Medical Ethics.”

I am so happy with this gentle study of the sciences. Princess G begs to study from this book every day (no joke) and she loves for me to read to her from it. She has learned a lot about flowers and I look forward to seeing what she has learned at the end of the year.

You can see some for sale on eBay here. There is a new reprint in softcover you can see there. (I have an original 1888 three-in-one edition in good shape that I love.) You can also get a digital version here. And you can get his book on animals here.

Last week’s lessons Nov 14-18

As I said a couple of posts back, I’m back to creating my own plans, which I really enjoy. Here’s what went on at our house in the way of lessons.

Bible

Principle: Law of Love

Leading idea: theme from JBC in Ex. 20:1-2

We read the account of giving the Ten Commandments. That was interesting, and we painted “word pictures” to really set the tone. We talked about how the Children of Israel must have felt, knowing God was physically coming to the mountain in three days. How would that make us feel? How are things different now that we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in our hearts? How does that affect our “law”? (law moved from the outward ten commandments to the inward Christian self-government). She did a great job reasoning these things and we talked quite informally over the week about it. Then we read the commandments and talked about what each of them meant. We will continue next week.

History

Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character

Leading idea: Pilgrims had a strong work ethic

We read from “Of Plimoth Plantation,” reading some and paraphrasing some. We talked about the leading idea and gave examples from the story. I love reading the account from William Bradford. I recommend using primary sources as much a possible. Don’t take a writer’s word that something happened the way they say. Find out for yourself. So the more we read from it each year the more familiar we will become. I highlight different things each year. We rehearse the basic account and then I focus on one particular trait of the Pilgrims. This year it is diligence and hard work. Nothing for the notebook, just reading and discussing. Notebook will be next week. Geography has been with history this week, looking at Holland, England and Cape Cod.

Science

Principle: God’s creation communicates His Truth and love to man.

Leading idea: God made flowers for us to enjoy

I cannot believe how much I love our science text, The Child’s Book of Nature, by Dr. Worthington Hooker. If you are struggling with this subject and you have kids in the elementary ages, you should at least get a copy and see it for yourself. He’s a Christian scientist who wrote these books in the late 1800’s and they are gentle, godly and terribly educational. I will write more about this in another post. The chapter we read this week was the first chapter on why we love flowers. We created a botany cover page and we also made a violet with tissue paper for our notebooks. They had fun with the paper and glue. She reasoned several things: why nature can teach us about God, how flowers teach us and how she would feel about a plant that taught her things.

Mathematics

Principle: God uses the concept of measurement to express His plans for man. (Jer. 33:22, Gen 14:16)

Leading idea: measurement is an expression of the mathematics language

We are still working on her multiplication tables to 12. She’s doing great. Also we are talking about how math is a language and that we must express it precisely or we will communicate the wrong idea (answer).

Economics

Principle: God is the source of all good work

Leading idea: work is good and we need to do it

Now my 7dd is interested in money and how the economy works, so each Wednesday we take time in math to discuss economic principles. This week was work. If you have Mr. Rose’s Guide, I took it straight from there. We discussed the importance or work, defined it, and discussed “producing”. We are all producers, even if we don’t work outside the home. We also read the poem “Work” by Angela Morgan(we printed the first and last stanzas and she drew pictures of tools around it). I include a paragraph about John Smith and Jamestown because it ties in so beautifully (from this web page).

When Captain John Smith was made the leader of the colonialists at Jamestown, Virginia, he discouraged the get rich quick seekers of gold by announcing flatly “He who will not work shall not eat”. This rule made Jamestown the first permanent English settlement in the new world, but work does more than lead to success; it gives an outlet from sorrow, restrains wild desires, ripens and refines character, enables human beings to cooperate with God, and when well done, brings to life it’s consummate satisfaction. Every man is a prince of possibilities, but by work alone can he become into his kingship.

Work! Thank God for the might of it,

The ardor, the urge, the delight of it.

Work that springs from the heart’s desire,

Setting the brain and the soul on fire,

Oh what is so good as the heat of it,

And what is so glad as the beat of it!

And what is so kind as the stern command,

Challenging brain and heart and hand.

Work!Thank God for the pride of it,

For the beautiful conquering tide of it,

Sweeping the life in it’s furious flood,

Thrilling the arteries, cleansing the blood,

Mastering stupor and dull despair,

Moving the dreamer to do and dare,

Oh, what is so good as the urge of it,

And what is so glad as the surge of it,

And what is so strong as the summons deep,

Rousing the torpid soul from sleep!

Work!Thank God for the pace of it,

For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;

Fiery steeds in full control,

Nostrils a-quiver to greet the goal.

Work, the power that drives behind,

Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,

Holding the runaway wishes back,

Reining the will to one steady track.

Speeding the energies faster, faster,

Triumphing over disaster.

Oh, what is so good as the pain of it,

And what is so great as the gain of it?

And what is so kind as the cruel goad,

Forcing us on through the rugged road?

Work! Thank God for the swing of it,

For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,

Passion and labor daily hurled,

On the mighty anvils of the world.

Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it?

And what is so huge as the aim of it?

Thundering on through dearth and doubt,

Calling the plan of the maker out.

Work, the Titan; work, the friend,

Shaping the earth to a glorious end,

Draining the swamps and blasting the hills,

Doing whatever the spirit wills-

Rending a continent apart,

To answer the dream of the master heart.

Thank God for a world where none may shirk.

Thank God for the splendor of work!

Princess G enjoyed the poem and drawing the tools. She reasoned that the tool is dictated by the job. And that the right tool makes the work easier. That’s a good thing to know!


Literature

Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character

Leading idea: God prepared people in America to help the settlers

We read the D’Aulaire’s Pocahontas. Their illustrations are great and the story is nice. (They don’t tell the kids that she dies in England.) We were impressed by her story and how she conducted herself in England, being a girl raised in America in the woods and not in a palace. In England they were all very impressed by her. We were too. Princess G reasoned the leading idea and we discussed the principle from that.

English was thrown in among the other lessons, with definitions, Daily Grams, and review of the basic parts of speech using text we were reading.

If you are still reading this, I’m impressed. I can’t believe how I’ve gone on and on and on… God is good and we are learning so much. I cannot wait to tell you about Dr. Hooker’s book…and the importance of original sources…and more Thanksgiving fun stuff…so much to blog, so little time!

About the stars

Princess G (7 yo) is doing a great job of reasoning from the scriptures. She was reading the story in McGuffey’s second reader about the stars. It goes into detail about their beauty and how they point to God. We know that because we reasoned from scripture that all of creation reveals God’s character and nature.

She then looked up the scripture that she remembered a part of:

Phi 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
 

She reasoned she, like the stars, was a light. She then said according to this scripture she should be obedient and do things without complaining so she can be like a piece of glass and not a piece of cardboard, letting God’s light shine. She said the light is God revealing His character to her. Wow! I don’t think I would see that. God is so good!

Principles of God’s Biological Creation

These are helpful for planning your science lessons. The list is not exhaustive, but almost anything you will study can be found here. If you are new to the Principle Approach, reading through these can help give you an idea of a subject’s principles and how they are found. As you can see, the seven Principles of America’s Christian history aren’t found here (from David Holmes of Heritage Christian Academy).

Principles of God’s Biological Creation

1. God created the elements, each one a distinct individual, with specific arrangement and numbers of parts, so that they can work individually or in complex combinations to form all the material universe, especially to perform those functions necessary for life. Gen. 1:1, Gen. 2:7

2. God’s creation will show evidence of having a master designer, not the appearance of chance happeneings. This will be seen in the complexity of life and the fact that many systems will be similar throughout the creation. Job 12:7-9, Rom. 1:20

3. Eveywhere God’s creation will show the evidence of order, not chaos. 1 Cor. 14:40, Gen. 1:31

4. God’s creation is complete and finished. Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The world is designed so that only transformation, conservation and preservation are now taking place. Gen. 2:1-3, Ex. 20:11, Neh. 9:6, Heb. 1:2-3, 2 Pet. 3:7

5. The creation is deteriorating because of the entrance of sin into the world. Processes in nature will always eventually go towards less order. Variations in God’s original design, because of deterioration, will cause harmful effects. Gen. 3:6, 14-19; Is. 51:6; Rom. 8:20-22; Heb. 1:10-11

6. Elements, molecules, and cells are capable of producing motion, resulting in locomotion of the whole organism or the internal motion of the parts of the organism. Gen. 1:2

7. Living organisms consume nutrients, break down the nutrients, then build bonds between the elements and molecules to make the materials necessary for growth, repair, energy, and control. The waste products will be eliminated for conservation. Gen. 1:29-30, Ps. 104:14, Matt. 6:11

8. Life activities depend upon a constant supply of energy, obtained from the breakdown of bonds in food molecules. In animals this is accomplished by adding oxygen to food (respiration). Gen. 1:29-30, Gen. 7:22, Acts 27:34

9. Life can only come from pre-existing life, which originated with the creative hand of God. Gen. 2:7, Ps. 33:6-9, Acts 17:25-28, Heb. 11:3, Rev. 10:6

10. Life activities require complex sequences of chemical reactions which require a balance in the amounts and concentrations of the chemicals in the organism.

11. Chemicals are complexly organized into structures called cells which make up all living organisms, and carry on their functions, either individually or in larger systems.

12. The individual or diverse parts of an organism will work together with unity to make and benefit the whole. 1 Cor. 12: 12,18,24

13. The information needed for all life and all life activities must be passed from cell to cell and from generation to generation. Ecc. 3:20

14. God has created a system of control for life activities which invloves a complex series of interconnections between all parts of the living creation. The basis of this control is DNA, and its ability to make proteins. These controls operate at optimal efficiency despite changes in the internal and external environments.

16. Organisms are capable of growth, and do so by an increase in cell number, accomplished by cell division, or by an increase in cell size. Gen. 2:9, Ecc. 11:5, Luke 12:27

17. Organisms are capable of reproduction. They can make other organisms like themselves (asexual) or similar to themselves (sexual). God has allowed for certain created kinds with diversity within the kinds. Gen. 1:11-25, 8:17; Lev. 11:13-32; 1 Cor. 15:38-39

17. God has chosen to use men to uncover the truths about His creation, on a timetable according to His sovereign plans. Dan. 2:22, Amos 3:7, Eph. 1:11

18. God created man in His own image, apart from all other creations, with a body, soul and a spirit. Man is now responsible to God in salvation, good works, subduing the environment, and being a wise steward of what God has given him. Gen. 2:7; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:10; Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:6-8; Ps. 24:1; Prov. 27:23,26-27; Rom. 14:12

19. All organisms have a life span and will eventually die. Eccl. 12:7, Heb. 9:27, 1 Pet. 1:24

20. Compliance with biblical principles will always result in an improving of the biological situation, whether it concerns plants, animals, or man. Ex. 15:26