Sunday, August 7, 2011

To Motivate, Teach and Inspire

Another area I've been researching is motivation, personality, love languages, learning styles, birth order, gender differences and overall age development relative to learning. So, if hypothetically M is -in order- internally motivated, cautious, introverted, touch, kinesthetic, first born leader male during the toddler years (based on a mix of 'norms' and parts of what I see in him as his mother). How do I approach reaching him, making learning real so that M - eventually D- is understanding concepts and implementing life application lessons, rather than memorization for it's own knowledge sake? I don't want to pigeon hole or label my sons. Both M and D will grow and change exploring different ways and views until they ultimately decide for themselves the path God has for them. They are not the sum of a list of traits, sins, choices or accomplishments. They are a complex beautiful creation reflecting Our Maker. I do want to know their hearts, minds and what they are passionate about which in the end enriches their learning experiences and hopefully their overall walk with God. I believe by first knowing who you are then you know what to pray for. You become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. I don't believe any trait is in and of itself negative. Any strength taken too far or becomes harmful to yourself/others can be a weakness ultimately. Understanding where my children are coming from and how they view and process their world will help me to get in there with them.

I have seen some great ideas for organization from work boxes to schedules done in pocket charts to help give structure keeping the learning process moving on a daily basis. I'm very excited to start up a calendar time area in our learning space. I'm slowly putting together my Mom Binder full of lesson plans, ideas, goals, resources etc.

Specifically, I am an alphabet nerd lately. I have at least 22 pdf's full of activities for each letter of the alphabet folder to complete a Letter of the Week theme. Ideas like this from 1+1+1=1, Confessions of a Homeschooler, and File Folder Heaven have me all excited looking forward to the process of M and D understanding letters. These passionate teachers are incredibly generous sharing their time and talents for free online.

For Shapes, Colors and Numbers I've found great tools from sites like KidsSparkz, KizClub, GrowinginPreK, Preschool Palace, KidsLearningStation, as well as great books from Veggie Tales, Eric Carle - Brown Bear Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and others. I have games, puzzles and toys to reinforce concepts. Just last week, we worked on shapes and then spent the next 5 minutes pointing them out around the house. M would run, point and yell excitedly, "circle!"

The Unit Studies came mainly from 1+1+1=1, 2 Teaching Mommies, Homeschool Creations, Homeschool Share, Mama's Monkey's, Lawteedah, School Express with miscellaneous resources for support such as Moffatt Girls, Ingles360, and ABC & 123

The Montessori manipulatives like the movable alphabet, sandpaper letters, and the geoboard are on my wishlist. Other hands on tools like Education cubes, bottle cap activities, fridge phonics, window clings, play doh mats, lacing cards and push pins will aid with learning for our 2 year old lesson plans.

Other great resources are found on Pinterest, Teacher's Notebook and TpT. I will do my absolute best to give credit where it's due as I post about our learning experiences. I am so grateful for all of these sites as well as others in this learning adventure.

No matter how anyone chooses to educate their children, every parent is their child's first teacher. If my husband and I provide a loving, accepting home environment; M and D will ask us questions, tell us when we've failed them and challenge why we do the things we do, think that way, feel that way. Through the parenting process our very hearts and lives are laid open to these incredible human beings God has entrusted to us for how ever long He chooses. We are their role models on how to be an adult. We show them by our choices and actions what is acceptable and desirable adult behavior. I would pray that not only are our superficial acts, but the deeper heart reasons of why we live the life we've chosen becomes evident to them as they grow up. It's a conviction and calling for me to mature, to step up and self examine the kind of follower of God I am to my boys. I pray the story of my life, both failures, challenges and accomplishments in the end will bring them to a closer understanding of the love, acceptance, forgiveness and never ending presence of God in their hearts.

So, I ask myself am I providing a foundation that encourages them? Am I helping them see God working in our world, country, state, city, church, extended family, home and our hearts? Raising children is a motivation to me as well to stay intimately connected to the only source of true unshakable strength, courage and integrity.

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