First Day Pictures

First Day of First Grade. 
Our tradition (for the past two years) has been to take a first day of school picture. I told the boys to pick their favorite shirt for their First Day of School Picture.  This inadvertently lead to them holding the chalkboard above their heads so that I could see their shirts in the individual pictures.

That Eyebrow is all from his Daddy.  I can not do it, and it cracks me up every time!

First Grade Curriculum

We are continuing with My Father's World for First Grade. MFW has revised their 1st grade curriculum, but I chose to stay with the 1st edition because all the materials were already given to us.  We only had to buy the old student sheets by calling MFW directly.

Should you Buy Revised Edition or not?
I already had the 1st edition teacher's manual with all the older books, so it was a no-brainer for me. The differences between the 1st and 2nd edition of My Father's World 1st Grade seemed to mainly be the updated  girds, phonics, and math.We use Math-U-See, so there was no need for me to worry about the Math in the 1st edition. I also found several great free phonics supplements online and at the library.

Here is the blog post of how I organized the 1st grade MFW materials AFTER making this list.   I updated my 1st edition by making  my own weekly Planning Grid and list of our materials listed by Subjects. I put these all in a three ring binder along with other helpful lists, like Nature Walk Ideas and 1st grade Materials list.

FIRST GRADE Curriculum
*Supplement to MFW

· Proverbs memorization and copy work (Mamma Jenn's Blog for NIV)
· Bible activities listed in Teacher’s Manual
· Bible Reader & Notebook
· Bible Timeline
· 5 minute Family Devotionals

· Student Sheets & Bible Reader
·  Book Basket Lists

Language Arts/Phonics Supplements
· Student Workbook 
· First  Language Lessons 1*
· Audio Disc of poems for 1st  Language Lessons*
· Frog & Toad  literature Study at Co-Op*
· Phonics Readers  and BOB Books from library*

· Calendar  Journal Page & 100’s chart
· Hands-on activities in MFW Teacher's Manual
· Wooden Pattern Blocks
· Book Basket Math Books
· Math U See Alpha– Student Book & Blocks, Manual & DVD, Math Songbook*

· Things Outdoors
· Science with Water
· Science with Plants
· Activities listed in Teacher’s Manual for above books
· Book Basket Science Books (teacher’s Manual appendix)
· Co-Op All About Animals Class*
· Nature Walks 

· Come Look With Me-Art Books
· Drawing with Children
·  Seasonal art projects like making homemade Christmas gifts  *
· Experimentation with different art mediums- tempera paint, pastels, collage with magazines,charcoal, paper mache*

· Peter and the Wolf Disc (listen to while using above medium)
· Math U See Songbook*
· Cd’s from Library of different styles of music (play throughout the day)*

· Co-Op Gym Class*
· Outdoors activities* 
· Dance/ movements CD’s from Library*

Technology Skills
·  1st grade Typing and Educational Games*

UPDATE 3/2014: Since writing this we have stopped using "Drawing with Children" and use "Draw, Write, Now" Books for art.  

We also have stopped supplementing with First Language Lessons and just use the reading program in Teacher's Manual and phonic readers for Language Arts. First Language Lesson is good L.A. curriculum, but my boys were not reading yet so we needed to focus on phonics and the Manual and Workbook were plenty. By the end of the Workbook both boys were reading!

Homeschool Name and Logo

Higher Rock Academy
 Psalm 61:2 has been a theme in our family, so it was only natural it be part of our name.  We wanted a name that would work through high school and look nice on transcripts, so we stayed away from our last name and cutesy names.

The name works on many levels. Firstly, it reminds me as a teacher that I am not the highest rock in this house.  I may be the organizer of our day, but our schooling can not be built upon my strength and knowledge (thank you Lord!). Second it reminds all of us of the whole point of this who school-thing.  We are learning about our world in relation to our Creator. He is the point to everything we do in school, from learning to read so we can read His Holy Word or understanding how objects in His creation relate to each-other.

I wanted a logo that would easily fit at the top of transcripts, and also look nice hung up in our classroom and printed on my teacher binder.

I have a very talented friend who designs custom graphic art with an etsy store called Fuller Words.  She loves custom work and has very reasonable prices!  All I did was tell her the name, the verse and meaning behind the name, and a color scheme we liked.  With that little info she came up with the awesome logo above!

The two small mountains are my twin sons.  The two mountains in the middle are me & my husband, then of course the tallest is our Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ.

To see how you can get your own personalized Home school Logo at a reasonable price, visit Fuller Words on Etsy.

He Sees Me: Power of Vulnerability

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." C.S. Lewis

God built us with a very deep need to be in BE SEEN.    

From the very beginning of Creation  God himself gives us the divine example of relationship, with the complex relationship of the Holy Trinity. This is an awesome intimacy that our hearts and heads can never competently  fathom.  Even though I may never fully understand it, the Trinity has taught me to appreciate the relational characteristics of our God.  We are created in His image, with a need for relationships.  

God saw her.

In Genesis, we see how our relational God seeks out us, in the form of Hagar ,a pregnant servant girl, in the wilderness when she was hurting and running from sin & pain. 
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen The One who sees me." Genesis 16:13 

Hagar uses the name of God, El Roi- The God Who Sees Me, to describe her intimate encounter with the Almighty.  This is the only time in the Bible where this particular name is used for God.  What awesome beauty in that.  

God saw Hagar.  God saw a scared, lonely, hurting, and broken girl.

 Most of us can admit that we want to sought after like Hagar was in the wilderness.  God saw her.  He sees us.  He sees me, the broken, lonely girl that I am.  

Vulnerability is a two way Street.
Paul prays that the church at Phillipi would have love that abounded in knowledge and depth of insight. Phil 1:9  Seeking out anothers' heart is an exercise in learning to love with insight.

 We are called to be observant of those in need, to always seek a love of understanding. While I wholeheartedly encourage transparency and authenticity, there are seasons in life where others may be too raw to share what they need to others.  

 If you see someone hinting at a struggle, let them know you are safe place to talk.  Ask open-ended questions and allow them to process.  

In my experiences, vulnerability and true intimacy begins when you feel like some genuinely wants to know your story, just for the sake getting to know you better, no judging involved

My prayer is to discern how I can see another's unspoken needs ; like providing a meal for a worn out mother, or arranging a date night with my spouse when it isn't expected, but sorely needed. Many times in seasons of extreme hurt a person does not have the courage or strength to even ask for help, or discern what help they need.

The intimacy we seek only comes from courage to be vulnerable and honest. 
We must be open and honest to our own need to be seen.   Yes, there are seasons when you have nothing to give and need someone to pull you of the pit without being asked, but we must also recognize that no one can supernaturally see into our hearts but God.   

I have been guilty of unfairly thinking loved ones can only show love if they first observe my need without me saying it (anyone else unfairly expect your husband to be a mind reader?!?!)  I have failed to be honest when I am feeling worn, out of fear of being "needy".   I love that my husband can sometimes mistake me for Super Mom, but admitting him to him I need help is best for me and our marriage.   

It also just plain unfair, and fruitless, to expect others to supernaturally see those places that are emotionally raw. Remember God is the only who can See your heart, but he graciously gives us friends and family who would love to know you, to see you.

Honesty about my heart goes double in my relationship with God, I have to be honest with him about my doubts, my sins, and my heart.  The beauty is he has already seen it all, and still loves me.  From that confidence in knowing He loves me, I can be courageous with others about my heart.

Seeing others can help you heal. 
 God will shape and change your own heart  through the process of sharing another's hurt.  My personal experience has been that sharing vulnerable moments with another can unexpectedly bring about the healing you were seeking.  

In genuine conversations others who are hurting, the Holy Spirit has often brought me  a new perceptive on on my own pain, or has given me the wondrous  gift of comforting someone else.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4   Comforting others is a tried and true road to healing.

The need to be seen is valid,  but in our need, sometimes I worry  we forget to see others.  I know I can get so blinded by my own hurt and grief, that seeing others is almost impossible. I am not saying there are not season of grief; there are times where we must feel the pain of loss. Jesus himself wept over his friend Lazarus's death, but vulnerability to share our pain & burdens with our sisters and brothers in Christ is what the church was designed for, and ultimately one of the ways God brought me healing. After hearing of John the Baptist's death in Mark 5, Jesus invited his friends, the disciples, to come away with him to rest & recover. Jesus teaches us we are better together.

Vulnerability leads to intimacy, and intimacy leads to accountability.

God sees our whole heart, the yucky parts too.  If we are not willing to also share the worse parts of us, then we are not truly genuine when we share the good.  "Being seen" means also receiving truth from others.  

I heard once that everyone needs a biblical "Jonathan and Nathan" in their lives.  The Jonathan will bring you unconditional affection and love in all circumstances   The Nathan loves you enough to speak truth in way that brings about repentance.   

Warning for those who think themselves natural "Nathans". Many people believe they are 'Nathans' when they "speak truth", but they inadvertently become a Pharisee. "Speaking truth in love" means you love the PERSON as much as they love the truth you need to share.   Nathan loved David.  He knew and studied David.  He knew the most effective way to bring about a better intimacy with God for David.  

Be careful not to take the name of "Nathan" until you check your motivation.  Are you wanting another to repent to you (i.e admit you were right?), or to repent to God and grow closer to Him?

Vulnerability demands discernment   
 Godly Wisdom is essential when deciding who let see your true heart.  Below are three important rules  I have learned (some of the hard way).
  1. A person can  be inappropriate for you to be intimate with, based solely on their gender or your other relationships. For example, it is inappropriate for a married woman  sharing her deep heart struggles to a man who isn't her husband, in turn creating an intimacy that is to be reserved solely for your mate.  
  2. Vulnerability 'spread too thin' can also be unwise. It can be a challenge to discern where to be vulnerable in a world of social media, with hundreds, if not thousands, of online "friends". Some feel perfectly comfortable with dozens of "deep' friendships,  but my experience  has proved a few deep relationships are much more fulfilling to my need "to be seen" than several acquaintances. 
  3.  There are people who seek  only to be seen, with no intention of 'seeing' you. John Townsend and Henry Cloud discuss in their book,  “Boundaries”,  discernment when forming deep relationships.  Some people may expect you to carry their everyday loads, with no effort on their part to carry their own load, and with no reciprocity involved.  While there is healing to be found in helping someone through their crisis, be aware of a lop-sided relationship that will eventually become unhealthy for both parties (i.e. Co-dependent) .If you feel like you are in a lop-sided relationship, I highly recommend by "Boundaries" Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

 Only because we are made in His image can we see others, I praise Him for that gift. I pray I use it wisely for His glory.