Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschool Conference

Josh and I were able to attend a homeschooling conference a couple of weeks ago very close to home and it was such a blessing.  My parents came up and took the boys to their house for a couple of nights so we could just focus on the conference.  Thomas was super excited about going to Grandpa's house and didn't really care what we were doing because he knew the world was going to revolve around he and Josiah for a couple of days! 

While we aren't formally homeschooling yet, it was a good chance for us to explore what is out there, especially in terms of curriculum.  If you have never been to a curriculum hall, it is so overwhelming.  Who knew that so many people wrote curriculum for history, science, reading, spelling, writing, etc.?  And it seems like everyone has a different opinion on what they like best!  We are pretty set on wanting to give our children a classical education, so most of our sessions were geared at training our children classically.  We were able to hear Susan Wise Bauer a couple of times, as well as a seminar on helping children learn to read (which I am actually beginning to do now with Thomas!), traveling the Southeast with children, teaching history from a biblical worldview, and Josh went to a seminar from Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis

One of the most important realizations we came away with is that we want to make sure to buy curriculum that is in line with our worldview, especially as it relates to history and science.  So many of the history curriculums don't begin with creation and don't incorporate the biblical narrative into history.  Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum The Story of The World is hugely popular among classical homeschoolers, but Josh and I will not use it because she begins with the nomads and not with creation.  We may use it to supplement a primary history text, but it certainly won't be our main history curriculum.  We also want to be careful with science curriculums too, because so many assume evolution and not creation.  While we plan to expose our children to the theory of evolution, they will be much older when they can understand the difference between between fact and fiction.

I almost forgot one of the best parts of the conference: we got to see Tim Hawkins in concert!  And for those of you who know who he is, it was a treat!  We laughed until we cried and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The best part: it was only $5 for each ticket!  If you don't know who Tim Hawkins is, follow the link or look him up on YouTube. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin

When I was in high school we weren't required to read many books and especially classic literature.  I remember reading The Scarlet Letter in 11th grade and I think we read Of Mice and Men in 10th grade.  Some of the other classics were not read, but we just watched the movie.  Ten years later I really regret that I haven't read much classic literature and since we want to give our children a classical education, my goal has been to read more of the classics every year.  Thus far I have read Pride & Prejudice, Emma, The Tale of Two Cities, and yesterday I finished Uncle Tom's Cabin

Josh read it first and couldn't put it down.  When he finished it last week, I picked it up, but started reading it slowly.  I honestly wasn't sure I could read it because the opening chapters tell of one of the main characters escaping so she can save her four year old son from being sold to a slave trader.  I don't know if you read like I do, but I put myself in the shoes of the characters and all I could think about was someone trying to take one of my boys.  As I got further into the story (and Eliza and Harry were okay), I could not put the book down either. 

My emotions through reading Uncle Tom's Cabin were varied:  sadness, repulsion, anger, hope, and even elation.  Harriet Beecher Stowe did a great job of portraying slavery from the perspective of all people involved: benevolent owners, harsh owners, slave traders, abolitionists, and of course the slaves themselves.  I was struck with how slaves were treated as mere property and it didn't matter if an owner broke up a marriage or took children from their mothers (one of the hardest aspects of slavery for me).  There were some kind owners who were very good to their slaves, but it seems for every kind owner there were two who were harsh and inhumane in their treatment of their slaves. 

After reading this book, it really gives me a new perspective on the evils of slavery, but also on the faithfulness of God to His people.  Many slaves were introduced to the gospel for the first time through slavery and Uncle Tom (the main character) is such a godly man even through all his suffering.  The gospel is woven throughout the book and that's what gives hope to the slaves.  Uncle Tom repeatedly says, "They may kill my body, but my soul is with Jesus."  One quote from the book is especially moving:

Tom looked up to his master, and answered, "Mas'r, if you was sick, or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I'd give ye my heart's blood; and if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I'd give 'em freely, as the Lord gave his for me. O, Mas'r! don't bring this great sin on your soul! It will hurt you more than 'twill me! Do the worst you can, my trouble'll be over soon; but, if ye don't repent, yours won't never end."  (p. 407)

Josh and I have talked about what is comparable to American slavery in our modern world and we can think of two things: abortion and sex trafficking around the world.  Both the unborn babies and those enslaved now are not treated as persons, but as something you can treat and do with as the mother or owner wishes.  While sex trafficking is not legal in this country (hopefully, not any country) abortion is and it is truly horrendous.  Psalm 139 clearly tells me that the Lord knit together every baby in the womb and He is the creator and sustainer of life. 

If you haven't read Uncle Tom's Cabin or if it has been a long time, I would highly recommend it.  Not only did I learn much about slavery (it was written in 1852), but was so encouraged to persevere to the end no matter the circumstances of this life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Limping Josiah

In mid-February, we noticed that Josiah was limping with his left leg.  Not only was he limping, he was also crying when we put his left shoe on or sometimes even when we put his left pants leg on.  If he fell down on his left side, he would just cry and not want to get up.  We don't run to our kids and pick them up when they fall; instead we usually say, "You are okay. Come one let's get up."  We also aren't parents who are quick to take their kids to the doctor; we like to wait and see if they recover without medical intervention. After a week of continued limping and people at church sharing their concerns with us about it, we decided to call the pediatrician on Thursday morning.

Thankfully, I took Josiah to the pediatrician alone (Thomas went to work with Josh) because it ended up being a very long process.  We had to wait about 30 minutes to see the doctor, but when she came in Josiah was not happy if she was touching him.  Therefore, she really couldn't examine him to see where the pain might be because he cried at the sight of her!  Since he is too young to tell us what is wrong, the only choice was to have x-rays taken of his left leg.

Our pediatrician's office is located in a small hospital, so we didn't have to travel far for the x-rays.  We did have to go the business office of the hospital so they could get all our information, but thankfully the wait wasn't too long.  However, the same cannot be said for the waiting room for the x-rays.  We waited over an hour to be seen, but Josiah was a champ through it all.  He was so well-behaved and happy through it all (I think the goldfish I had in his bag certainly helped!).  I was really glad that Thomas was with Josh as it would have been much more difficult to take care of both of them for the long wait.

Once we were taken back for the x-rays, it wasn't long at all.  The worst part was that I could not hold Josiah or be with him while he had the x-rays because of my pregnancy.  Josiah cried and called my name and it took everything I had not to cry along with him.  Thankfully, they were quick and I could see him the whole time.      

The results didn't show anything, so the doctor thinks most likely he twisted his ankle or pulled a muscle.  He has been doing much better now and the limp is completely gone.  We are thankful he did not fracture a bone or anything more serious.  Somehow I think this won't be the last time one of my boys has to have an x-ray since they are so active and sometimes play rough.  Maybe this was just preparing me for the future!