Learning through giving…

We are missionaries, and have been since our oldest son was not even 2, so it’s all he’s really known. We live and serve full time in the heart of the inner city. We moved here almost 4 years ago from a quiet southern suburban neighborhood, living the “American Dream.” This is not the life I had intended to have for my children and family but it is certainly the life God has chosen for us and I love it. Being in full time ministry, you’d think it would be easy to teach my son about those less fortunate than us. We live amongst great poverty, crime, and filth. But I have noticed (at least at this age) he doesn’t even notice the differences around us, probably since it’s where he lives.

Recently a co-worker of ours went to Africa (Kenya) for 3 weeks to serve and P learned all about this since he is very close to her. This spurred an interest in Africa and for some reason he became very prayerful and concerned about people living in Africa who struggle to have clean water. We began reading about this and learning bits and pieces. I began praying about what to do with his interest.

Our family sponsors a little girl through Compassion. She lives in Rwanda, she is 11 years old right now, and we have sponsored her for over 5 years. As P became so interested in Africa it occured to me that sponsoring another child would be great for him. I decided to go with World Vision this time, just to change it up a bit, and I selected a boy, also in Rwanda, hoping we might be able to visit them someday. I found a boy with a birthday only 2 months apart from P, whose main chore is carrying water! I received the wonderful sponsorship packet in the mail a couple of weeks before Christmas and we gave it to him as one of his Christmas gifts this year. Our kids get very spoiled by the grandparents on both sides, we don’t buy them much at all, as we don’t believe in having tons of stuff. We felt that giving P the gift of sponsorship and a relationship to develop with another child would be one of the best things we could give him.

I’d like to introduce you to Albert, here is a tiny bit of info about him… (from the WV website)
Albert lives with his grandparents and has no brothers or sisters. His grandparents struggle to provide for the family.
Albert and his family live in a community severely affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. In some communities, AIDS affects the entire social structure as a generation of hardworking adults is being wiped out. Frightened children and exhausted grandparents rarely have money for food, school, or medical care.

Albert is not in school at this time. He likes to play ball games. He helps at home by carrying water. He is in satisfactory health.

I am planning to begin a lapbook focusing on Rwanda, where Albert lives. I want to teach P all about the country and the life children like Albert live. If anyone has done anything like this, please let me know!

Telling Time

In math we are working on telling time and this book Tell Time with The Very Busy Spider (The World of Eric Carle) which I have had for a long time finally came in handy! It was perfect for our lesson today! He’s been telling time to the hour for about a year now, but now we’re building on that. Today’s lesson was about am and pm, I had him organize our day and then we read this book together, as he moved the clock around. I added in am and pm as we read to help with that too. I love books and hands on learning, thus my love for this great book!

In the Works ~ Weather Lapbook

P chose weather as his next topic for a lapbook! One of the things we are focusing on is clouds, he is very into clouds. I got him this cool version of Little Cloud: A Draw-with-Chalk Book (The World of Eric Carle) a few weeks ago and was excited to show it to him for school today! He loved it!!

Here is the follow up activity we did, where he learned the names of different types of clouds.

Still Reading!

Independent reading is still happening and we are continuing to add 1 minute per day to the clock. I am beyond thrilled to report that P is loving it! I went searching the house for all of the books I could find to fill his box. I located his I Can Spell Words With Four Letters (I Can Spell) book, which he has never really liked much. He busted it out today and played almost the whole time with it, making and reading 4 letter words!

Independent Reading

We all hope our children will become kids who LOVE to read. I don’t know about you but my son was not born loving books. He likes them, he just doesn’t LOVE them, like I do! His little brother (19 mos) LOVES books, and of course it has me all excited! You can imagine my smile as I walked in on P reading and giggling today. He continued giggling long enough for me to capture this unstaged shot (thankfully the camera is always close by). I am having P read by himself using his easy reader box, we began at 10 minutes and are adding 1 minute per day. He is LOVING this. Until now, independent reading had been something that just sort of fit in the day. I have felt the need to plug this into our daily schedule now and already we are both loving it!

What does he read? Here’s some of the books that are in his easy reader box.
Brand New Readers (we have multiple sets of these)
Now I’m Reading!: Look Around! (we have this set and others)
Open Court Readers (we had these donated from a school)
Reading Rod Readers
Phonics books from his Calvert Curriculumn
A few Sunshine Readers (I used to teach public school K and we used these tons)
He also has a few Step Into Reading books that he really likes right now