Each month FEAST will highlight some of our featured speakers for the 2017 FEAST Home School Convention.
Valerie Felder is a home schooling mother of nine amazing kids, with experience of 25 years in her VAlLee Christian Academy. Living her manta “Diligent hands produce’, she is a long-standing childbirth instructor/breastfeeding counselor, a former president and current member of Toastmasters International adult and youth public speaking programs, a specialized certified personal trainer for senior citizens within Titan SenQuest system, and an adjunct professor providing business communications instruction to women incarcerated in federal prison camp. Valerie, alongside her amazing husband Lee, are cofounders and board members for the National Black Home Educators and formerly served on the Brazos Valley Christian Home Educators Association.
Affectionately known as the The MasterOverMayhem, Valerie is the Parenting Strategist who empowers parents to raise amazing children in a messy world – showing how to realistically and sensibly Take the Struggle out of the Juggle of Family, Fitness and Focus. She writes, keynotes, and provides workshops, retreats, and personal phone consults while also managing her self-help website (www.valeriefelder.com) – all outreaches to recharge families worldwide. Valerie is a military veteran with degrees from the University of Michigan and Troy University.
Valerie’s passion is being Lee’s amazing wife and an equally amazing mom, teacher, and cheerleader for their children (ages 9 – 27) – molding hearts and minds for the Lord. She currently teaches four children and has graduated five: Two are Texas A&M University graduates; three are students at Sam Houston State, Baylor University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Taking the Struggle Out of Fitness:
by Valerie Felder
Seeing people live their lives with greater zest and zeal is what drives my passion as a fitness trainer. My specialty is training the senior population. These are people on a vigorous mission to maintain their physical independence. They understand that, unless they exercise their bodies, they will lose the essence of their physical selves. Believers of Christ must also see how they can lose their zest to more fully witness due to poor fitness. Hence, my motto and call to Christians to stay on the fitness wagon, for “There’s no witness without fitness”.
My seniors battle against time and aged-body limitations to maintain reasonable functional fitness. Similarly, we parents battle against time and over-tasked body limitations. Yet, if we submit to the fact that our bodies are not our own, but temples of the living God, then we can choose to be more than conquerors in our quest to maintain our own physical essence – for the sake of our families, as well.
The issue of over-tasked bodies is a reality for time strapped parents – raising children is a 24/7 undertaking. I often see parents struggling to figure how much and when to exercise. For the “how much”, I encourage parents to start with basic Department of Health and Human Services standards. They recommend 30 minutes of daily physical activity to reduce the risk of adulthood chronic diseases. Studies show that lengthy fitness routines can be divided into several routines to still achieve physical benefit.
Here is my 103 (pronounced 10-Cubed) Fitness Plan that I developed for my time-strapped clients. It divides a workout into the 3 major fitness elements as shown here:
Segment I-Cardio, 10mins +
Segment II-Flexibility, 10mins +
Segment III-Strength, 10mins
Within each segment, focus only on that category of exercise. Next, move to the following segment, if time permits, or plan to do later. The goal is doing Segments I-III by the midpoint of your day to meet minimum standards. Repeating the process before bedtime upgrades your fitness. Do the 103 Fitness Plan every other day. Alternate days, a brisk walk or other cardio-based activity serves your temple well. Lastly, be sure to give yourself one day in seven to rest.
Come enjoy all the topics and tips that will help keep you physically and mentally fit to raise and home school your family. We look forward to seeing you at the 2017 FEAST Convention!
Scott Lane invites you to participate year round with creation science events in San Antonio.
SABBSA is the group that FEAST has entrusted for the past decade with providing the FEAST Science Workshops on the fourth Monday evenings of most months during the school year. February we covered, “The Discovery of Genesis in Chinese.”
SABBSA invites you to attend their meetings at the Jim’s Restaurant party room at the corner of San Pedro and Ramsey on the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Our monthly meetings have a full run down of all the upcoming creation events in the greater San Antonio area as well as a creation science presentation. On March 14, we will have a presentation by Dr. Alden Johnson who will give us a creationist perspective on the climate change controversy. Dates and presentation topics can be found on our website at www.sabbsa.org.
What is The Value of Creation Science?
by Scott Lane
This summer I will have the privilege of giving several presentations on different topics in the field of creation science at the FEAST Convention. I have been President of the San Antonio Bible Based Sciences Association (SABBSA) for 16 of the past 17 years. I also have over 30 years’ experience and study in the field of creation science, in addition to two degrees in education and four teaching certifications. I taught math and science for 33 years in the public schools and have spent the past 30 years doing creation science seminars like the ones we will present this summer.
The local creation group (SABBSA) that I represent has been around as an education body in the field of creation apologetics since 1997. We offer hundreds of titles of books and videos for sale at each one of our presentations, at costs which are usually half of retail since we are a total nonprofit and do not make anything from our sales. In fact, we subsidize many of the materials we sell to the public to make them readily available to all. We will do the same at our booth at the convention this summer.
Why? Why do we do this? Who cares? What is the value of Creation Science?
These are questions that are frequently asked of me. The answer is three-fold.
Creation science shows that the Bible is still relevant today and can be believed by modern man. Contrary to popular propaganda, there is no discordance between the Bible and modern science. The Bible has not been disproved by science, but instead shows more than 200 places in its pages an understanding of science thousands of years before man discovered it. With such knowledge individuals and churches can move boldly to follow the Bible as God’s infallible word “from the very first verse, till the last.” We need not compromise with the current cultural changes which try to change our religion and our beliefs, such as transgender identities, abortion, homosexuality and so much more. Right is still right and wrong is still wrong and you can have faith in the Creator of all things.
Finally, creation science can be the key to evangelizing millennials, and generations X and Y (the last two generations of young people). These groups have been inundated from schools, media and society that they are evolved apes, accidents of evolution, and that the Bible has been disproved. When it is revealed to them that none of these myths are true, it allows many of them to open themselves to God and the scriptures which they previously would close themselves off to since they thought both God and the Bible irrelevant and unscientific. I hope you will join us this summer as we explore the many wonders of this universe which reveal God’s presence and existence in our reality.
Steve Demme and his wife Sandra have been married since 1979. They have been blessed with four sons, three lovely daughters-in- law, and three special grandchildren. Their fourth son, John has Downs Syndrome and lives with them in Lititz, PA.
Steve has served in full or part time pastoral ministry for many years after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served on the board of Joni and Friends Eastern PA. He is the creator of Math-U- See and the founder of Building Faith Families. In addition to his weekly podcasts, he produces a monthly newsletter and other resources to strengthen and encourage parents. Learn more about these at www.buildingfaithfamilies.org.
Out of the Mouth of Babes
by Steve Demme
Last summer I had the privilege of speaking at a state home school convention. On Friday I led a few men’s workshops and offered the book, The Christian Home and Family Worship for free, to those who would commit to reading all 90 pages within thirty days of the event. Saturday morning, the very next day, one of the dads informed me he had read the entire book the previous night. Before he left for the second day of the convention, he spent some time with his eight year old daughter. He asked her if there was anything she would like to share with him so he could pray for her. She looked him in the eye and said, “Did you learn that at the conference?” The two of us looked at each other and burst into laughter. But as I pondered his words, my heart was stirred.
This short and wonderful father- daughter interaction spoke to me on several levels.
First, the dad diligently read the book in one evening, and applied what he learned at the first opportunity. He was not only a hearer, but a doer of the word. Kudos to him.
Secondly, he is a lifelong learner. He devoted two days to attend a conference to be a better husband and father and be with other kindred spirits who are seeking the same things. My eyes are welling with tears as I write these words. I love these guys for investing time to be a better servant leader in their home. May God bless and keep them!
Thirdly, eight year old children don’t miss much. That precious child was right on target. She knew her parents were attending a conference and was not surprised when they were different at home as a result. What an impression her dad made on her as she witnessed this humble man learning and growing.
We read in Genesis that Abraham was ninety-nine years old and still being taught life lessons from His Heavenly Father. One of my sons told me that the most encouraging thing about me was, I am always learning and growing. May God help us to always be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus has another name for humble lifelong learners. He calls these committed individuals, disciples. And not only disciples, but also brothers, sisters, and friends. “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50) Another encouraging passage is John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
I am looking forward to being with you in San Antonio in June. May our good God bless and keep us ever learning and growing.
Lyndsay Lambert is a graduate of Texas Tech University and home schooled her four now-grown children. She has assisted Tim, her husband of more than forty years, in serving the home school community, first in helping to start and lead their local support group and then, from 1990 to 2013, in running the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), the statewide organization committed to serving and protecting Texas home schoolers. Retired, she now has more time to be a grand- mother to her seven grandchildren and to be the “older woman” that she believes God has called her to be. Visit Lyndsay’s blog, fromanolderwoman.com.
Who’s Your Valentine?
by Lyndsay Lambert
Hey, home school moms? What have you got planned for Valentine’s Day this year? Do you like to bake heart-shaped cookies and have the children help you decorate them? Or will you attend a Valentine’s Day party at which the children share Valentine cards with all their friends?
But wait! Isn’t Valentine’s Day about romantic love (and things like roses, chocolates, and poetry)?
As home school moms, our focus is so often on our children as we prepare curricula, teach school, grade papers, worry over how each child is doing, etc., that our husbands are sometimes forgotten in all the busyness or become an after
thought when determining our priorities. Ladies, let’s use this Valentine’s Day to re-focus. How about putting some thought into what we can do to please our husbands? How can I show my man that he is the most important person in my life?
Keep in mind that a strong marriage will be better for your children, for from it they gain a stronger sense of security and a better understanding of what it takes for them to have a strong marriage. Therefore, time spent on your husband is not really time taken from the children. Everyone wins!
If you’ve never read (or you’ve forgotten) Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, I suggest you start there. The best way to show your love to your husband is to communicate it in his love language, or he might not understand. To do this, you must first know what his love language is.
Dr. Chapman talks about the five languages as being quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, and physical touch, and that there are even different dialects within a language. At first many women think that their husbands’ love language is touch, because it seems that they are so interested in the results of that. But to know the difference, you’ll need to read the book.
However, while we’re on that topic, how about putting out some extra effort in that area? Intimacy in the bedroom is important to any marriage, but it sometimes gets put on the back burner (or maybe off the stove completely) while the seemingly more urgent things get handled. After all, we’re busy home schooling our children, right?
Think about this: in most cases, your husband was around before the children. The hope is that he’ll be around after the children are grown and gone. However, if all your attention is going to the children now, he’ll probably focus on his work or hobbies or whatever makes him feel successful. When the children leave, you may find you no longer have anything in common or, worse, that he’s no longer there.
A good marriage needs to be cultivated over the years—yes, even the years of raising and home schooling the children.
This Valentine’s Day, put some thought, not just into what to do with the kids, but especially into communicating your love to your husband.
Then, let Valentine’s Day come more than once a year!
Pamela Gates is a Certified Learning Specialist in Dianne Craft’s Learning System. She has 16 years’ experience working with bright, hard-working, but struggling students. She is an Educational Consultant, offering Personal Consultations in Denver, Colorado. Pamela will be presenting six workshops at the 2017 FEAST convention, June 9-10, filled with unique, alternative teaching methods that parents find easy and inexpensive to implement. www.connecteducationco.com
Confessions Of A Left-Brained Mom
by Pamela Gates
There she was, my 8-year-old daughter, crying at the table with her phonics workbook in front of her. This was becoming an all-too-familiar scene. I thought, “What am I doing wrong?” I loved being a homeschool mom, but schooling should not be this hard! But my other kids learned this way
As a mother of six, I had learned to be efficient at assigning independent learning times. My older boys, (11 and 9), learned to read so easily using the regular curriculum. They breezed through the phonics games. Completing their workbook assignments was not a challenge for them. Checking off each assignment from their daily list was something that gave them a sense of completion. Oral instructions were no problem, and their spelling words were learned by using the spelling curriculum and writing each word multiple times. I thought that this homeschooling was actually pretty easy!
However, none of this worked for my daughter. “Slower – louder – more repetitions” didn’t help. In fact, it just seemed to make her feel like she was dumb. What to do? It was obvious that I needed to find alternative teaching methods for her. But what methods? I’m about as left-brained as they come. (Schedules, rules, auditory instructions, lists, etc., are my friends.) I like sticking with what I’m comfortable doing – what I’ve always done – NOT looking outside of the box.
I sought help.
I began asking other homeschool moms if they had any suggestions. Dianne Craft’s name came up as a specialist who works with struggling learners. I made an appointment. I watched and learned as Dianne worked with my daughter. At age eight, she still did not know all of the letters in her name. To give her an immediate boost in her confidence, Dianne wrote her name on a card with colored markers, adding picture and story on the letters to “jazz them up”. To help her access her photographic memory, she held the card up high and had her take a picture of it with her “camera”. She liked this new process of learning. Remarkably, she was able to spell her name forward and backward in less than a minute.
A grin appeared!
My daughter was a non-reader, despite hours of phonics games and sight word memorization. The words continued to be brand new every time she saw them. Dianne showed me how to teach her sight words using a whole new method of embedding color and picture on the words. She started with my daughter’s hardest word, “the”. Using this embedding technique, my daughter was able to read the word and spell it within a couple of minutes. By the end of this short session, she was able to read eleven new words and actually read a simple story from a book.
The grin got wider!
Tackling phonics using a whole new method was the next step. In teaching phonics, once again the sound and letter were superimposed on one another, so the brain could learn it as a “unit”.By employing her photographic, visual memory and bypassing her weaker auditory memory, my daughter was able to learn and retain many phonics combinations in one short afternoon. She experienced the instant success that had eluded her before. Dianne explained, “e are simply accessing the smart part of her brain.”
I knew the grin was here to stay.
Is my child a Right-Brained Learner?
Why did this process work? Dianne called this new teaching process I was learning, “Right Brain Learning Strategies”. The right brain is where the long term memory storage is. It learns best with color, picture, story, and emotion. This way of teaching is often thought of as the “universal learning method”. That means that when “Plan A” (more left-brained, black and white, rules, repetition, workbooks) don’t work with a child, then “Plan B”, the more right brain (visual, color, picture story, emotion) method always works. Does that mean that my daughter is a right brain learner? Not necessarily. It could mean that her auditory processing problem was blocking her normal method of learning. Then, this more visual approach is what moves her past this learning block.
A common question we hear from parents is, “Will I have to do this forever?” As your child begins to understand how well these simple strategies work for her, she will use them on her own. In fact, the more she develops her photographic memory, the more she will be able to “see” black and white information in her head. I found that my other children enjoyed right brain strategies because they were more fun. In fact my second daughter found that by adding color, picture, and emotion to her class notes in her college courses, she did better in tests. She said her friends questioned her about it at first, until they realized she was getting high marks, spending a fraction of the time they were spending studying their copious written notes. A picture really is worth a thousand words!
This new way of thinking about learning is stretching, to say the least, for a more Left-Brained mom. How do you do it? One of the best ways of adopting the use of these new (and strange) teaching strategies is by thinking “opposite” of the teaching strategies you have been using. For example:
- Think color embedded in words vs. black and white words.
- Think discussion vs. workbook writing.
- Think colored stick figures vs. oral instructions.
- Think embedding picture, story, and emotion vs. memorizing rules.
- Think picture notes vs. studying written notes for a test.
I had to train myself to ALWAYS have a colored marker in my hand when I was teaching. Words from my mouth were not working. I had to remember to draw what I was saying whenever possible. White boards everywhere! I am not an artist in any sense of the word. I found that when my children laughed at my “abstract” art, it just made things stick better!
This paradigm shift was uncomfortable for me. But I quickly became addicted to my daughter’s new-found enthusiasm. It is wonderful to hear from parents who tell us that their child is now asking for the next spelling word: “Give me something really hard, Mom!” Or, “I’m so smart!” Or, “Can I read more?” I saw my sad, discouraged little girl become a happy, confident, successful learner. When she was eight, I wondered if college would be an option for her. She recently graduated summa cum laude and is currently completing graduate school.
We all know that in many ways, home schooling requires us to be brave. It may be time to bravely move from Plan A to Plan B!
Doug Flanders is a home school dad as well as a published author and Chief of Staff at one of the largest Level 1 Trauma Centers in the Houston area. In his article below you can find out how to “World-Proof the Child”.
World-Proof the Child
by Doug Flanders
Protecting our children is one of the primary jobs of parenthood, and the list of dangers seems to be growing exponentially.
* There is BPA in your bottled water; there are hormones in your meat.
* There are predators on the Internet and cyber-bullies on social media.
* There are addictive drugs and addictive video games.
* There are terrorists hijacking our planes and the TSA hijacking our dignity.
It makes you long for the days when seesaws and merry-go-rounds were still allowed on playgrounds.
The fact is that new dangers are popping up every day, and it is impossible for even the most vigilant parents to keep up with them all. That doesn’t mean you can’t protect your children. It just means that doing so will become increasingly complex and require some added intentionality. There are three general principles that can help guide the process:
1. SET THE EXAMPLE. A culture of safety — whether at work or at home — starts at the top. If you want your kids to wear helmets when they ride bicycles, then you probably should, too. Same rule goes for seatbelts, overeating, cigarettes, alcohol, or anything else. Most values are “caught” not “taught.”
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works,
and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
and sound speech that cannot be condemned…” Titus 2:7-8 (ESV)
2. SET THE STANDARD. Talk with your kids. Point out the dangers as you become aware of them. Let them know what your expectations are. Set a curfew. Curfews aren’t tyranny; they are parents showing that they care! Then enforce the standards you have established. A rule that isn’t enforced is no rule at all.
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
3. SET THEM FREE. The ultimate goal of parenting isn’t to have large children, but to have fully functioning adults. The only way to achieve that goal is to gradually shift responsibility from your shoulders to theirs. This is probably the hardest, but most important, part of the whole process. You will never be able to make enough rules to protect your children. They must internalize safety consciousness themselves. They must make it their own. Making it their own often means making mistakes. It can be hard to watch as our children attend the school of hard-knocks, but sometimes “experience is the best teacher.”
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child;
when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)
The temptation is to simply be “helicopter parents” — ones that are always hovering, always micro-managing, always trying to smooth the way and make the decisions and manipulate the circumstances — but that is a fool’s game. No parent can child-proof the world. A parent’s job is to world-proof the child.
Tim Lambert is a home school dad as well as the President of our state organization The Texas Home School Coalition. In the article below you can find out why it is important to protect your parental rights. Enjoy your sneak peek below, and we will see you at the June, 2017 FEAST Convention!
WHY Can’t I Just Home School?
by Tim Lambert
Recently, a couple of our team members expressed negative concerns about the political newsletter I publish each Saturday. THSC publishes regular newsletters that can be subscribed to on the THSC website so readers can stay informed with a simple email. During the week I post a number of links to news articles that I find interesting on my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. Those are collected by a staff member and rolled into one newsletter that goes out on the weekends.
The complaints essentially stemmed from questioning why the political articles have anything to do with home schooling and, therefore, THSC? These kinds of complaints arise from time to time when a subscriber asks the same questions or makes the same observations. In fact, the usual complaint is “Why all the focus on politics? Let’s just focus on home schooling!”
Yes, that is the question, and it is a foundational one. Almost 30 years ago I came to the realization that my freedom to make the parenting decisions for my children was limited because those who were making public policy for the state of Texas believed that the government was better qualified than my wife and I.
At that time, the Texas Attorney General said he didn’t believe parents were qualified to raise their children, much less home school them. It became crystal clear to the home school community that if we wanted to home school, we had to be involved in the process by which public policy is made. That is, we had to become involved in the process by which Texas chooses its elected officials, or what we often refer to as “politics.”
January 6 a special election was held for the State House District 17 and THSC endorsed Brent Goleman, a long-time home school dad and business man whom I’ve known for many years. He will be in a runoff for that seat sometime in the near future. I was told that the counties where his support was strongest had very few polling places open, while the counties in which his opponent was strongest had all regular polling places open. (That sounds a little strange to me but that is not the point.)
A home school mom told Brent she drove 26 miles to a polling place to vote for him and only did that because he was endorsed by THSC. He is in a runoff now because of the commitment of home schoolers to elect those who support the fundamental constitutional right of parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children.
I know that many home schoolers believe they are too busy to pay attention to political issues. I would suggest to everyone that we can no longer afford to ignore the political issues of our day. Our parental rights depend on our participation. So what can you do?
1. If you are on Twitter or Facebook connect to THSC in that way.
2. If you want to follow me on Twitter and Facebook you may do that too.
3. You can sign up on the THSC website for legislative updates.
4. Join us at Capitol Days and involve your children in Keeping Texas Families Free.
Whatever approach you take, get connected. Don’t wake up one day and realize you lost a key freedom because you were too busy.
Vicki Bentley is the mother of eight daughters, foster mom of over fifty, and grandma to 21 wonderful grandbabies and two great-grandbabies (so far). Vicki has homeschooled 17 children since 1988, alongside her husband Jim, and led a local support group of over 250 families for 14 years. She has served on the executive board and convention committee of the Home Educators Association of Virginia and has addressed state and national conventions, university teacher organizations, and many mothers’ groups. She is the author of My Homeschool Planner, Everyday Cooking, The Everyday Family Chore System, Home Education 101: A Mentoring Program for New Homeschoolers, High School 101: Blueprint for Success, and other homeschool and homemaking helps. She currently serves as the Toddlers to Tweens consultant and Group Services director for HSLDA. Vicki has a heart for parents, with practical wisdom and encouraging words.
Everyday Math for Young Learners
by Vicki Bentley
Mathematics is simply the study of the patterns and order in the world that God has made. It ranges from elementary arithmetic—the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—to more advanced math, the language of the natural sciences, engineering, medicine, music, and more.
As Becky Clark and Dianne Kummer pointed out in the June 2011 HSLDA high school newsletter:
“Dealing with numbers is part of everyone’s life from counting change, to telling time, to calculating square footage for a new carpet, to doubling the measurements of ingredients in a recipe, to figuring out a grade point average. Remind your [children] that people in all walks of life use math—real estate agents who calculate principal and interest, economists who deal with trends and projections, machinists who calibrate tools, or construction workers who read blueprints and make scale conversions. Even those aspiring to be moms will use math in budgeting, comparison shopping, and putting that meal on the table!”
While most of us will use a textbook or organized teaching approach of some sort to teach math, the most effective learning—or at least reinforcement of concepts—often takes place in the context of everyday living or family activities, and many are free or very inexpensive. Remember, since math is simply the study of patterns and order, you can start by pointing out the patterns in the world around your child.
Count everyday objects –you probably started when he was very young by pointing out two eyes, five fingers, ten toes—now teach him to count to twenty, then more. Then try skip counting – 2, 4, 6….5, 10, 15…. How many houses do we pass to get home? How many legs are on the dining room chair? If we have five chairs, how many legs are there all together?
At the grocery store, let him pick out three apples, or three apples plus two more. Or the bunch with the most bananas, or the second box of crackers on the shelf. Let your child compare quantities and quantity pricing, weigh the vegetables, find a quart, a pint, a gallon, etc. Need a starting point? Try Grocery Cart Math.
• Introduce or reinforce math concepts with manipulatives such as beans, homemade flash cards, colored pieces for counting or pattern recognition, popsicle sticks (rubber-banded by tens for place value, with ten-stacks tied with ribbons to denote hundreds). Joyce Herzog’s Box of Ten is one example of a manipulative-based learning program for preschool through multiplication.
• Encourage preschoolers to set the table or pass things out—this teaches one-to-one correspondence, an early math skill. A very young child may count orally from one to ten but will count the same finger two or three (or five) times, or put all the plates at one place, all the
forks at another, and so on. A child who has learned that each person gets one fork, one spoon, one plate, and one cup has learned the basic concept of one-to-one correspondence.
• Use math games, such as Monopoly, Set, and Number Scrambler. Games don’t have to be specifically “math” games to be educational; we allowed pretty much anything with points or money—and we required them to rotate the banker duties. We actually assigned Friday as “math games day” in lieu of their regular math lesson, so the children could play math games if their other math studies were done.
• Brain teasers and puzzles help build logic and thinking skills as well as spatial reasoning.
• Find math in the Bible. From the seven days of Creation, to the animals entering the ark two by two, to all the references in the book of Numbers, to a timeline of Adam’s descendants, or even a scale model of Noah’s ark, the Bible is full of mathematical application.
• Kids love measuring cups, scales, and tape measures. A plastic bin of feed corn with old Tupperware cups, bowls, and measuring implements can occupy children for hours on a sheet on the lawn or floor. Give a child two rulers and see how long it takes him to figure out he can put them end over end over end to measure a ten-foot space.
• Teach basic operations and fractions using food or cooking. Cut the pizza in half, then into fourths, then eighths. Give a child ten cookies and tell him to divide them fairly with his siblings—not only will he figure out how to divide, he’ll probably figure out the remainder! Have your children double or triple a recipe. Need more ideas? Check out Single-Serve Recipes by Joyce Herzog or “Math Never Tasted So Good” by Cheryl Bastian (Crosswalk.com).
• Calculator skills can be fun and games for elementary students.
• Children can learn to budget their own allowance or earnings, or maybe you could let them help plan the budget for a family trip or the homeschool savings for next year’s curriculum. Teach them early that b-u-d-g-e-t is not an ugly word, but is simply a spending plan (and it must balance!).
• Teach your junior high student to balance a checkbook, even if it is with an imaginary account. It’s not practical for a young person to graduate with an A in calculus, yet not know how to reconcile a bank account.
• Calendars help children learn the concept of time and seasons. Mark special dates and let the children cross them off as each day passes. Go over the days of the week and months of the year.
• Teach your kids to read the car gauges (of course, you’ve probably noticed that they quickly learn to read the speedometer and keep you apprised of the needle’s position).
• Teach them to tell time using an analog clock (with traditional round clock face and numbers). Studies indicate the possibility that some children struggle with learning to tell time and then
later with time management because they’ve seen only digital clocks. A digital clock shows only that the time (the actual number) changes, but doesn’t illustrate the passage of time as an analog clock does. Another helpful tool is a Time Timer, which visually indicates the fraction of the hour passing by.
• Do you feel guilty building an occasional household catch-up day into your lesson plans? Putting the Legos away, sorting the Matchbox cars, tidying the colored pencils vs. the markers, reorganizing the linen closet or sorting the pantry, and other such tasks are classification and organization—valuable language arts, science, and math skills!
And a math activity for mom or dad? Count your blessings!
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)
Adapted from the Toddlers to Tweens e-newsletter, www.hslda.org/toddlerstotweens