Preschool: Trying Something New

I wrote about my easy-going preschool at home approach with Sprout. The method worked and Sprout was happy to “do school” most days until she got through the first of the dollar store workbooks she was using. That book was all about shapes and colors. The other three books were about numbers, letters, and handwriting… and were basically all writing practice. That’s where we hit a wall.

Sprout can write several letters on her own, but she struggles writing in a confined space. She doesn’t have the fine motor skills for that just yet. She became frustrated having to write on every single page, and began to protest school.

Curriculum Change

That was my clue to evaluate what we were doing and make a change. I bought an “official” preschool curriculum for 3-4 year olds. I knew it would begin with pages she could complete very easily, but I wanted the slow skill-building that such a curriculum offers. The dollar store workbook approach had no progression of skills.

We intend to use this publisher for most of our kids’ schooling (of course, being mindful if things aren’t going well or if it doesn’t suit a particular child), so it was the logical choice for preschool. There is a kindergarten (preschool for 4-5 year olds), and then it begins with first grade. According to current education laws in my state, Sprout will need to start kindergarten at age 5, which will be in 2019. So, I’m kind of starting her a year “early,” but I’m doing so with the plan to stop and evaluate with each set of books she completes. Maybe at 5 she will be ready for first grade work. Or maybe she will need another year of kindergarten work. I’m comfortable with either option and am in no rush to get her beginning first grade early.

Other Changes

Since we would begin a new curriculum, I considered it a great time to implement some other changes, too.

More Structure

I have always let Sprout decide whether we would do any school work each day. That works great when the school work is fun, but less so when it is challenging or new. My goal is to complete at least 3 pages per day, 3 days per week.

Also, we will begin our school time with prayer. I introduced Sprout to a simple prayer structure some time ago, which we will use for school time. I ask her to think of one thing she is thankful to God for and one thing for God to help her with. I sometimes feed her ideas, if she is struggling to think of something.

Bible Memory

I have wanted to introduce Bible memory work to Sprout for a long time. She has, like most children, an excellent memory. She remembers scripts from entire cartoon episodes, and she knows several kids’ songs and hymns. I know she is capable. It seemed natural to use before-school-time to work on this.

Then, I wasn’t sure where in the Bible to start. She doesn’t have the comprehension skills to memorize single verses of a broader story — it wouldn’t make any sense to her. Where can one find short, 1-2 verse sentences that are mostly single ideas? Proverbs, of course! So we are beginning in Proverbs. For now, I’m going to see if she can memorize one verse per week.

Record Keeping

Record keeping isn’t required in my state, for now, and especially not at this point when her schooling is optional. However, I considered it would be a good habit to begin. I will keep her daily records until she learns to read and write, then she can keep her own. This also provides us with some accountability to Nate and makes recalling our school day much easier.

I chose a small day planner. In each daily box, I write her praise and prayer request, which Bible verse we worked on, and which workbook pages she completed. On the monthly overview page, she puts a sticker on the day we have done school work.

Occupying Myself

Finally, I needed an occupation for myself during her schooling. I can’t work on house chores because she needs frequent assistance; and don’t want to work on house chores because the kids enjoy helping me. I found that being unoccupied while helping her with school caused me to over-praise her and to hover over her, giving too many reminders.

My solution is to do my own studying of the Bible during that time. I can be near her and ready to help when she needs me, but while she works on each page, I can read and busy my own mind. It worked wonderfully today, kept us all happy and calm, and I’m looking forward to the study time.

Fun Activities

Doing school work 3 days per week leaves one day for grocery shopping and, eventually, a library visit, and one day for something fun. I want to use our fun day for crafts or even some low-gear science “projects.” Having the time built into our schedule should help me feel less overwhelmed, I think.

Final Thoughts

This was our first day with this new approach, but I feel very encouraged by how well things went. I will try to give a progress report in a few weeks and let you know how it is working out!


Who Are You?

What is your role in this world? Are you a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend?

Are you a Christian?

Too often, “Christian” is the last role on our list when we define ourselves. Motherhood and wifely duties consume so much of our time and attention that those roles are most prominent to us. Lately, I have had these questions weighing on my heart: who am I? what is my purpose here? what/whom is my first priority?

It is tempting to think that my role as Mother is most important. After all, little Sprout requires my care to live. She needs me. But that relationship with her will be damaged if I neglect my role as Wife. So, maybe my first definition should be Wife. Nate needs my affection, attention, love, respect, and support.

But my relationship with him will suffer if I neglect my role as Christian. God does not need my fear, attention, time, effort, or love. He wants those from me for my benefit–when I give myself to Him, give my life to Him, I grow closer to Him. And being close to God is the best place to be.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked
{Psalm 84:10}

When I ruminate on the question, “Who am I?” my only answer ought to be “Christian.” My role as a child of God is the definition of my whole existence. That relationship is the base of every other relationship in my life. It is a factor in how I mother and how I serve my friends, family, spouse in Christian love. If you are honest, you will see that your relationship with Christ is also present in how you practice law or medicine, the tone in your phone calls and e-mails, the way you treat your clients or customers. It is the absolute foundation of you. Upon your relationship with Christ, you build rapport with your spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, clients. If that tie with Christ is suffering, if you are not fully trusting in God’s grace, mercy, eternal love, salvation, forgiveness, then every other exchange will suffer in turn.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
{Hebrews 13:8}

Is there any other person in your life you can say that about? Someday, the Wife may find herself without her husband, the Mother with grown children leaving her nest, the Lawyer with a weak mind, the Artist with crippled hands, the Church Member with a grossly sinning pastor. Yet the Christian will always have her God, her Redeemer, her Rock, her Savior, her Hope.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10

I need not despair when I find myself alone in this world without a talent or skill or friend to my name because I am a Christian. In that relationship, there is pure, unmovable, everlasting joy.

Though you have not seen him, you love him;
and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the end result of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9

How do you define yourself? Choose wisely. Perform your earthly duties (as Mother, Wife, Employee) with a heart of service, joy, and thanksgiving, but be first a child of God and make your relationship with Him your priority.


I thought this was worth repeating. When I look into my daughter’s face, I thank God the Father for His Son.

Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl

Imagine you have a debt–multiple credit cards maxed out, a home mortgage, student loans, a business loan, car loan. One lender and a huge debt. A debt so exorbitant–$50,000; $100,000; $1,000,000–you could never pay it in your lifetime. It is a debt your children’s children will be paying off. Your grand- or even great-grandchildren will be burdened by this debt, spending their hard-earned money whittling away at it through the years while the interest continues to mount against them.

Imagine it.

For some, this is a nightmare they face even today. Many others know that one slip, one moment of slack judgment or diligence could catapult them into this kind of hell.

Now imagine that lender who has loaned you all of this money–which is really his money, his hard work and diligence–calls you into his office today. You stand before his huge oak desk trembling. As he gathers his…

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We Are Dust

gardenia, soft and sweet

gardenia, soft and sweet

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

~ Psalm 103: 13-18 ~

From Psalms & Proverbs: God is everlasting

The Psalms are adamant that God is everlasting. He was and is and will be for ever and ever. There was no time He was not and there will ne’er be a time He isn’t.

Psalms 96:5 – For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. (He was in the beginning.)

Psalms 96:10 – Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” (He is in the present.)

Psalms 96:13 – … they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. (He will be in the future.)

I know that God has proven Himself in my past and in generations past. There is proof laced throughout the Old Testament of His faithfulness, His promise, His trustworthiness. I also know that God is God of the future, of my future. He will be there for all my tomorrows, providing a way through or around trouble, as He has been faithful to do in my past. I am confident of His character in times past and times to come.

Why, then, do I struggle with letting Him be God of my present? Why do I stubbornly fend for myself instead of leaning on and trusting in Him? He wants my life–He wants me to surrender my life to His will. I know that He loves me and that His plans are infinitely better than anything I could prepare for myself! I know this, but the struggle remains.

Psalms 90:2 – Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Lord, I know Your help of the past, and I trust fully in Your hope of the future. Help me to surrender my present to You each day. Amen.