Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liberty or License?

Last night in church, my little girl selected the song, "Did You Think To Pray?"

E'er you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?

I was struck by the question. I have been having difficulties with my prayer life lately, difficulties keeping up with my Bible reading, difficulties finding my Daily Bible. I asked myself, do I think to pray when I leave my room each morning? When I'm met with great temptation? When my heart is filled with anger? When sore trials come upon me?

I realized that I actually think of Googling at least as often as I think of prayer. I was shocked at myself.

Then this morning I got up and absentmindedly clicked over to my blog feeds as I waited for the coffee to make, and found Cindy's post. She is going to be done with blogging for awhile. This paragraph especially struck me as apt:

And in the midst of my small world comes the Internet, almost like a god, vast, unmeasured. Always like a siren wooing me with good things, great things, better things. It is almost like if I have a problem my first thought is Google not God. I can search everything from marriage to murder, Bible verses to bedtime stories. The Internet really is a replacement for our current concept of God and it is a clue. It lets me know that something must be vastly wrong with my concept of God. I have never been able to get God to cooperate with me the way Google does.

Exactly. And another terribly appropriate quote:

I would love to write another story about that beautiful evil Pandora. In my story, she would release a box full of a million good things leaving restraint in the box.

Read the rest here. I have printed it out to post on my refrigerator.

"To be free without authority is license." --Charlotte Mason

"All things are lawful unto me; but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." --The Apostle Paul

How does one repent in sackcloth and ashes in this day and age?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Interactive Math Links

Teaching Time

Useful, free games to help kids remember addition/multiplication with regrouping, order of operations, negative and positive numbers and word problems. They also have some games that are available to play for a licensing fee.

MathCafe has online flashcards with immediate feedback.

Update: I found another set of games at Math Playground this morning. The kids haven't played any of these yet, but I have tried Math at the Mall. These look like good games for older elementary students.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Helpful Technique for Memory Work

I learned this from a singing instructor at a Singing School one year when the verses of theme song were harder than usual to remember. We are using it to memorize blocks of scripture. First you post the scripture in its entirety and have the kids read it aloud every so often:

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Then every so often, you remove a few words, and have them read the verses again:

Put on the _____ _____ __ ___, that ye may be able to withstand the _____ __ ___ _____.

For we wrestle not against _____ ___ _____, but against ______________ and powers, against powers, against ___ ______ __ ___ ________ __ ____ _____, against spiritual wickedness __ ____ ______.

Wherefore take unto you ___ _____ _____ __ ___, that ye may be able to _________ in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with _____, and having on the ___________ __ _____________; and your feet shod with ___ ___________ __ ___ ______ __ _____; above all, taking the ______ __ _____, wherewith ye shall be able to quench ___ ___ _____ _____ __ ___ ______.

And take the ______ __ _________, and the _____ __ ___ ______, which is ___ ____ __ ___: praying always with ___ ______ ___ ______________ __ ___ ______, and watching thereunto with all ____________ and ____________ for all saints.

Eventually, you remove all but a few words, and then you eliminate it all.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Poetry Recitation Collective

This is Cornflower's current recitation assignment. She chose it herself. At first she said she would memorize only the first two stanzas, but once she got started, she couldn't stop herself.

We had fun with her poem one evening this week at supper. When she wanted to recite it to Daddy, but couldn’t remember all the words, the rest of us chimed in to help and realized that we have all memorized it-- but only if we are all together to prompt one another. We must be The Poetry Recitation Collective, lol!

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that's right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath tonight?
The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny's dressing gown on the door.
It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood and if I lie in bed,
And put the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.

Oh! Thank you God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember. God bless Me.

Little boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head,
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

"Vespers" by A.A. Milne

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Salvation! O, the joyful sound!
'Tis pleasure to our ears;
A sovereign balm for every wound,
A cordial for our fears.

Buried in sorrow and in sin,
At hell's dark door we lay;
But we arise by grace divine
To see a heavenly day.

Salvation! let the echo fly
The spacious earth around,
While all the armies of the sky
Conspire to raise the sound.

--Isaac Watts

Hear the tune (midi).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Pearl of Great Price

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

–Matthew 13:46-47

It is necessary to be willing to give up everything in order to attain this pearl. In terms of training up children, this means nothing can be valued above the child’s citizenship in the kingdom of heaven and her awareness of it—not a method, not a curriculum, not a school subject, not appearances, not membership in a group, not academic scholarship, not practical considerations. Nothing. The kingdom of heaven must be valued above all else. If we get nothing else, we must have the attitude of Paul:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…” --Philippians 3:7-9

We must be willing to ignore other lessons when necessary in order to focus on the heavenly citizenship of the child, as Father Bhaer demonstrated in the book Little Men:

"Don't work so hard, my boy; you will tire yourself out, and there is time enough."

"But I must work hard, or I can't catch up with the others. They know heaps, and I don't know anything," said Nat, who had been reduced to a state of despair by hearing the boys recite their grammar, history, and geography with what he thought amazing ease and accuracy.

"You know a good many things which they don't," said Mr. Bhaer, sitting down beside him, while Franz led a class of small students through the intricacies of the multiplication table.

"Do I?" and Nat looked utterly incredulous.

"Yes; for one thing, you can keep your temper, and Jack, who is quick at numbers, cannot; that is an excellent lesson, and I think you have learned it well. Then, you can play the violin, and not one of the lads can, though they want to do it very much. But, best of all, Nat, you really care to learn something, and that is half the battle. It seems hard at first, and you will feel discouraged, but plod away, and things will get easier and easier as you go on."

Nat's face had brightened more and more as he listened, for, small as the list of his learning was, it cheered him immensely to feel that he had anything to fall back upon. "Yes, I can keep my temper father's beating taught me that; and I can fiddle, though I don't know where the Bay of Biscay is," he thought, with a sense of comfort impossible to express. Then he said aloud, and so earnestly that Demi heard him:

"I do want to learn, and I will try. I never went to school, but I couldn't help it; and if the fellows don't laugh at me, I guess I'll get on first rate you and the lady are so good to me."

"They shan't laugh at you; if they do, I'll I'll tell them not to," cried Demi, quite forgetting where he was.

The class stopped in the middle of 7 times 9, and everyone looked up to see what was going on.

Thinking that a lesson in learning to help one another was better than arithmetic just then, Mr. Bhaer told them about Nat, making such an interesting and touching little story out of it that the good-hearted lads all promised to lend him a hand, and felt quite honored to be called upon to impart their stores of wisdom to the chap who fiddled so capitally.

--Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, chapter 4

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

--Matthew 16:26

Friday, January 25, 2008

Natural History

Cornflower's Science Display

Cornflower's science display.

(Our very live rabbit, Thumper, is the second bunny from the left.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Have you heard of this Ben Stein movie?

One quote in the trailer, by a Darwinist scientist, astonished me in its veracity: "As a scientist, I am hostile to a rival.... uh, doctrine."

This statement flies in the face of science as a discipline. My kids would be disqualified from the science fair if they attempted to prove their hypotheses by touting doctrine or beliefs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oops! Missed Sketch Tuesday Deadline

I'm coming off my blogging sabbatical (lol) briefly, in order to post my daughters' contributions to Harmony Art Mom's Sketch Tuesday activity. The pictures have been done since the weekend, but with one thing and another, I completely forgot to submit them until this morning. Here they are on my blog-- that the kids might not be disappointed.

They were to sketch Something Warm.


Mariel sketched her Fuzzy Socks.


Yes, you guessed right. Cornflower sketched her vision of our Thermostat. A colorful thermostat decorated with a rainbow-- it warms the soul as well as the body, does it not?

These next two sketches feature a precious gift I received this Christmas from the girls. Nine years ago I participated in a friendship quilt square exchange. I have never quilted, and what with this, that and the other thing, those quilt squares sat in with my sewing things for almost a decade. Over the years the girls occasionally got them out and rearranged them in patterns on the floor before putting them back into the project graveyard. Finally, at the beginning of December I handed the stack to Triss and suggested that she ask Grammy to help them put the squares together in a quilt. This is the beautiful result:

Friendship Quilt 2

When the Sketch Tuesday assignment was "Something Warm", Triss came up with this:

Love, a Homemade Quilt and a Good Book

At the top she wrote, "What keeps me warm? Love, a homemade quilt and a good book."


And I sat down to sketch with the kids, and decided to draw the quilt as well.

Something Warm

The responsibilities of the household kept me from completing the project on time, but I plan to finish coloring it as soon as I can.

That's all for now.