Saturday, November 1, 2014

10 Ways to Support Adoption in Your Community

10 Ways to Support Adoption in Your Community
Image Credit:  RitaE - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

10 Ways to Support Adoption in Your Community

The month of November is known as National Adoption Awareness Month. Here are a few ways to support adoptive parents and adoptive processes in your community.

1. Read adoption related books and stories. You can search online for great adoption stories or you can go to your local library and check out books. Stories, articles, and books are filled with inspiring accounts of children and families successfully united through adoption.

2. Support the adoption process. Even if you do not plan to adopt a child, you can support the adoption process. Search your local listings and give financially to adoption foundations or help support a family raising money to adopt a child.

3. Host a fund raiser. As an extension of point number 2, if you can’t give financially from your own pocket to help an adoptive family, host a fundraiser for them. You might consider a car wash or a bake sale. Someone in my church once raised money to help support an adoption by bringing boxes full of empty baby bottles to church. The bottles were placed in various locations around the building. Church members filled the baby bottles with cash to help support an adoption.

4. Write a “thank you letter.” Your community is probably filled with families who have adopted children. Write a “Thank You” letter and send it to your local newspaper for publication. In your letter, thank adoptive families for their decision to adopt a child. Also include a section directed to the adopted child. Let the child know how special he is and how much his new family loves him.

5. Host a party or pic-nic for adoptive families. This might take a lot of work and organization but it will be worth it to get as many adoptive families together as possible to celebrate their families.

6. Create adoption awareness on social media sites. The National Adoption Awareness Facebook Page posts information about adoptions and events. Share their posts and help them spread their news. Search for other adoption pages and share their news too.

7. Gather and share booklets and pamphlets about adoption. Go to one or several of your local adoption foundations and ask for written media information. Gather materials and share them with everyone you know. Some business owners might allow you to leave information in their places of business.

8. Help care for the birth mother. So often, as in my first seven points, we focus on the adoptive families while neglecting the birth mother. We don’t mean to but it happens. Birth mothers need care too and many times, they can’t afford all their needs. While talking with your local foundations, attorneys. and adoptive families, ask if there is anything you can do to help provide for the needs of the birth mother.

9. If you are over 18 years of age, vote for elected officials who support adoption. If elected officials get involved with families and the adoption process, community members will become more aware of ways they can be more involved.

10. Volunteer at a pregnancy care center.  Many communities have pregnancy and care centers for mothers who choose to give birth to their unborn babies with the intention of giving them up for adoption. Search for one in your community and volunteer your time and any resources you can offer.

If you have the opportunity to work with adoptive families, birth mothers, adoption attorneys, and adoption foundations and groups, enjoy your experience and share what you learn with others. Anything we can do to help unite these precious families is greatly appreciated by all involved. 
10 Ways to Support Adoption in Your Community
10 Ways to Recognize and Celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Image Credit:  Olidefan - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

Bible Study Topic:  Anticipation

Scripture Passage:  Joshua 3:1-6

The following are my notes taken during my pastor's sermon.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he and all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan, and they lodged there before they crossed.  At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp;  and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.  However, there shall be between you and it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”  And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people. - Joshua 3:1-6 (NASB)
Points to Ponder

1.  God is leading the way.  He is sovereign.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pumpkin Activities for Kids

Pumpkin Activities for Kids
Image Credit – PublicDomainPictures/18043 – CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

Pumpkin Activities for Kids

Kids love visiting pumpkin farms and picking out that special pumpkin. Sometimes those special treasures are large and end up on the family front porch. Sometimes they are small and end up, as was true when my own children were small, rotting in a toy box or at the back of a closet . . . only to be found sometime in November or December when someone noticed an odor.

There are ways to preserve and enjoy those special pumpkins. They make great subjects for crafts, games, and lesson activities and there are many, many activities from which to choose. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Wipe-Off Pumpkins

Each child needs a small pumpkin and either washable markers or dry-erase markers. The children can write messages on their pumpkins and then wipe them off.  Baby wipes make great “erasers.”

Children can draw faces, create make-believe characters, or just color them. They may choose to leave it as it is or they can wipe it off and start all over. Easily frustrated children and little perfectionists benefit from wipe-off pumpkins because they can keep wiping off and starting over until they get it just the way they want it. Children can practice writing letters and numbers. They can practice solving math problems. These are great for trial and error activities because children can wipe off their errors and try again. Teachers can use a large wipe-off pumpkin in the front of their classrooms. Write daily announcements, student awards, or daily challenge questions – just to name a few ideas. Create a “Wipe-Off Center” in your classroom or home for children to enjoy during center time.  Supply the center station with a couple of pumpkins of various sizes, a box of washable or dry-erase markers, a box of baby wipes, and a trash can for disposing of used wipes. Have fun with this idea!

 Musical Instruments: Drums

Pumpkins are hallow. If you beat on one with your hands or a drum stick, you will recognize the drumming sound. Gather several different sizes and allow each child to strike each one with his hand as if striking a regular drum. Then allow each child to strike the pumpkin with a drum stick. Remind the children to strike with care so they don’t damage it. After each child has had a chance to hear the pumpkin drum sounds, arrange the pumpkins together in a group to create a “drum set.” Give each child, or perhaps groups of children, an opportunity to create their own musical masterpieces. Once they have perfected their musical routine, give them a chance to perform for the rest of the class.

If you want to get especially creative with this, you can divide the class into groups and give each group a pumpkin drum set. Allow each group to paint their pumpkins and arrange them in a drum line. Allow the groups to name their group, set up their painted pumpkin drum line, and perform for different groups within the school.

Bowling with Pumpkins

Collect toilet paper rolls. You can use them after all the paper is gone or you can use them with the paper still on. Stack the toilet paper up to create a pyramid.  You should have three rolls on the bottom, two positioned on top of the three bottom rolls, and then one lone roll on top.  You can create more pyramid levels if you wish but three works just fine with younger children. Stack the toilet paper pyramid so that you have a little bit of space behind it.  You don’t want to stack it against a wall or piece of furniture.  Allow the children to roll a small or medium sized pumpkin into the toilet paper pyramid and count how many rolls fall down. You can divide the children up into teams and keep score for several rounds.

If you like, you can substitute the toilet paper rolls with cans.   Just remember . . . cans make a lot more noise. You can use empty soup cans or paint cans, depending on how large you want the pyramid. You can paint the cans orange or decorate them for the fall season.

Do Pumpkins Sink or Float?

Pumpkins are heavy. Even small pumpkins are heavy for their size. Fill a container with water. The container should be large enough to accommodate enough water to experiment with a small pumpkin. Ask each child to hold and feel the weight of the pumpkin. Then, ask the child to guess whether or not the pumpkin will sink or float. The child will usually guess the pumpkin will sink because it feels heavy. Instruct the child to place the pumpkin into the water. Most children will be surprised to see the pumpkin float.  Explain to the children that pumpkins are hallow.  For older children, you can expand this lesson and explain density of water and density of pumpkins.  Some younger children may be able to grasp the concept of density as well.

Finally, cut the top from the pumpkin and allow the children to scoop out the pumpkin fruit and seeds so that they can see the inside of the hallow pumpkin.

Pumpkin Weight Station

Set up a pumpkin weight station. Include pumpkins of several different weights and sizes, a set of scales like bathroom scales, paper, pencils, and a calculator. Instruct the children who visit the station to weigh a pumpkin and then weigh themselves. Then, guess how many pumpkins it would take to equal their own weights. Tell them to try this with several different pumpkins. They may use the paper, pencils, and acalculator to calculate their answers.

Pumpkin Activities for Kids
Pumpkin Crafts and Activities for Kids

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Airplane Crafts for Kids

Airplane Crafts for Kids
Image Credit – skeeze – CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

Airplane Crafts

Toilet Paper Roll Airplane

Kids love toilet paper roll crafts.  They are usually simple and versatile.  Instruct your kids to paint or color the paper roll.  For smaller planes, use a toilet paper roll or cut a paper towel roll in half.  For larger planes, use the entire paper towel roll.  Remind the kids that too much paint will make the paper roll soggy so only use a little bit of paint.  After the paint dries, glue the tubes together so that one is perpendicular to the other.  Then, split the tail end with a pair of scissors.  Add a strip of paper through the slit.  You might have to glue or paper clip the strip of paper in so that it stays in place while in flight.  If weather permits, take the kids outside to enjoy their planes.

Laundry Pin Airplane

Use wooden laundry pins and tongue depressors to make this cute wooden airplane.  Allow the children to paint the wooden pins and depressors in whatever colors they like.  After the paint dries, glue the pieces together.  Cut tail spikes out of craft foam and let the children paint them to match their planes.

Play-Doh Planes

Get out the Play-Doh and allow the kids to craft their own planes.  They can mold and shape small planes, large planes, various shaped planes, and unusual planes.  Don’t expect aerodynamically correct planes.  Allow the kids to use their imaginations and create whatever sort of plane they want.  The purpose of this activity is to exercise fine motor skills as they work.

Field Trip:  Air Show

If possible, schedule a field trip to an air show.  The kids can see the planes in motion.  They might even get a chance to climb on-board a grounded plane and learn about the inside and how pilots fly planes.

Read Books about Planes

This one should have been at the top of the list!  Read, read, read.  Go to the library, download books on your eReader devices, iPads, etc.  Find all the books you can find about airplanes and read them with your kids.

Airplane Snack

Obtain the old fashioned pre-wrapped Smarties candies, sticks of gum, Life Savers or any kind of mint with a hole in the middle, and a rubber-band.  Glue the gum stick onto the Smarties candy so that the two snacks are perpendicular to one another.  Then run the rubber band through the Life Saver holes and wrap them around the candy.  Secure the Life Saver wheels in place by hooking the rubber-band around the ends of the gum-stick.

Just Draw

Give the children crayons, pencils, colored pencils, pens, and a lot of paper.  Allow the children to draw planes.  Allow them to use their imaginations and draw, draw, draw.

Airplane Crafts for Kids
Keep the Kids Entertained on a Rainy Day at Home

Lesson Ideas for Water Quality Month (August)

Lesson Ideas for Water Quality Month (August)
Image Credit:  cvjm-th - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Lesson Ideas for Teaching Children About Water Quality

The month of August is known as Water Quality Month. Include lesson plans, activities, and crafts into your daily lesson plans which encourage students to appreciate the environment in which they live and help them learn the importance of good water quality.

Field Trip

Take students on a field trip to a nearby water treatment facility. Students will learn how water is filtered and recycled into the environment.


Include games, activities, and crafts that help reinforce your lessons. Encourage children to create habitats, build aquariums, and develop poster board presentations which demonstrate the water cycle. Instruct students to create seashore collages, construct rainbows from melted crayons or tissue paper squares, and “paint” with colored sand.

Test Water Quality 

How clean is the water in your home or classroom?  Test your water quality using a water test kit.


Show videos which teach children the importance of good water quality. Check in your local libraries, school media centers, and online for good quality videos. PBS Teacher provides great teacher resources.

Websites: PBS Teacher and Lesson Planet 

PBS Teacher provides a wealth of resources for teachers and students. Teachers will find complete units containing detailed lesson plans which outline learning objectives. The site provides a complete list of materials, class organization tips for teaching the unit, a detailed lesson plan, student hand-outs, rubrics, and assessments. The unit on water quality provides teachers with eight separate lesson plans and links to great videos to aid in instruction. PBS Teacher provides everything teachers need to develop complete instructional units which satisfies state standards and provides quality instruction which makes learning fun for both students and teachers. The site is free to use.

Lesson Planet is another site which provides teachers with good quality lesson plans. Teachers can access state standards from the site. Simply click on “standards”, and then choose a state. Lesson plan ideas are provided for all grade levels from Preschool through higher education. Lesson are ranked based on the “five star” system. Teachers may browse the site for ideas, but membership is required to access complete units and lesson plans. The cost is low and Lesson Planet generally offers the first month or two for free. Teachers can easily cancel their subscription at any time.

Lesson Ideas for Water Quality Month (August)

Image Credit – cvjm-th CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

Lesson Ideas for Water Quality Month (August)
Lesson Activities About Inventors and Inventions

Watermelon Activities for Kids

Watermelon Activities for Kids
Watermelon Activities for Kids

Watermelon Activities for Kids

Summer season is watermelon season.  Besides eating it, here are several watermelon activities you can do with your kids.

Make Watermelon Shakers

Provide each child with one paper plate, dried beans, red paint, green paint, and dried watermelon seeds. Instruct the children to fold the plate in half. Staple the plate together. Leave enough space for children to add beans to make the shaker. Then, finish stapling the plate together. Tell the children to paint the rippled, stapled portion of the plate green to resemble the rind of a sliced watermelon. Then paint the rest of the plate red to resemble the watermelon fruit. After the paint dries, instruct the children to glue watermelon seeds to the red portion of the plate. After the watermelon shakers are complete, allow the children to shake away!

Watermelon Seed Letters and Counters

Save and dry watermelon seeds. Give each child a piece of writing paper with the first letter of their names already written on it. Instruct the children to glue the watermelon seeds on the letters.

Make water melon name plates. Give each child a short sentence strip with their names written on it. Allow the children to outline their names with watermelon seeds.

Give the children laminated mats with several circles drawn on it. Provide each child with one slice of watermelon and instruct them to save the seeds. After eating the watermelon, dry the mats with a paper towel and tell the children to count their seeds. Then tell them to place two seeds in each circle and count by twos. Do the same activity with five seeds in each circle and count by fives, and so forth.


Make watermelon rulers. Cut poster board into strips measuring approximately one half inch wide and several inches long. Glue on watermelon seeds so that they touch end to end. Use the ruler to measure “watermelon seed length” of various objects around the classroom. Students might determine that a crayon measures ten watermelon seeds or the length of a book measures 40 watermelon seeds.

Watermelon Circle Time

Sing watermelon songs and play watermelon games. Before slicing into a watermelon, ask students to guess how many seeds are in the watermelon. Ask the children to save the seeds from their slice of watermelon and then count the seeds. Offer a prize to the student with the closest estimate. Have the children make up a watermelon rhyme using each letter in the word “watermelon.”

Watermelon Snacks

Either bake watermelon cookies at home and bring them to share with your students or ask a parent to bake the cookies and bring them in for a special watermelon snack. Students might also enjoy watermelon flavored lollipops and watermelon punch. Ask students and parents to share their favorite watermelon recipes and make a class “Watermelon Recipe Book.” Send a copy of the recipe book home with each student and don’t forget to keep one for yourself.

These activities not only teach children to appreciate watermelon, but they also provide children with opportunities to learn letters, numbers, counting, measurement, and develop small motor skills. Such basic skills will provide a foundation for academic success. 
You may also like this cute wall hanging flower counter craft.

Watermelon Activities for Kids
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Coffee Filter Wall Hanging Flower Craft
Coffee Filter Wall Hanging Flower Craft

To Save A Life (Movie Review)

To Save A Life Movie Review
Image Obtained via

  To Save a Life

Every teenager should watch the movie To Save A Life. To Save A Life deals with faith in God (and the struggle to keep it) in the midst of the challenges teenagers face today: drugs, sex, alcohol, teen pregnancy, divorce, and teen suicide. To Save A Life teaches that every life matters – the unborn, the outcast, the popular, the young, the old – every life is valuable.

The movie is a Samuel Goldwyn film and New Song Pictures production with Outreach Films in association with Accelerated Entertainment. The movie features Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, and Joshua Weigel. The movie is rated PG-13.

Jake Taylor is a popular teenager with a future including a basketball scholarship. He is a popular athlete who dates a popular cheerleader.

Jake grew up with Roger, his childhood best friend. Roger’s young life is very different from Jake’s. A childhood injury hindered Roger’s athletic abilities. His skin is a different color. He has no girlfriend and fewer friends in general. Shortly after entering high-school, their lives take different turns and their friendship fades into the past. While Jake is living the dream of every teenager, Roger is pushed aside into a life of rejection and loneliness. Roger eventually makes a drastic decision that changes Jake’s life forever.

In the midst of many teen struggles, Jake cannot shake the question, “Could I have helped Roger?"
Jake makes a new friend, Chris, a local youth minister. Chris shows Jake that there is meaning to life and that every life is valuable. As Jake reaches out to others who are outcast, lonely, and rejected ,he finds himself placing his faith in God. Jake’s new friend and his new faith gives him the support he needs to endure the effects of a life spinning out of control.

Will Jake’s new-found faith cost him his girlfriend? his popularity?

Will Jake be able to help another new friend, Johnny, who was also a lonely outcast?

Will Jake be able to get control of his life?

How will Jake’s decisions affect his future?

To Save A Life places all the challenges and temptations our teenagers face on a daily basis into perspective. Teenagers make decisions every day that can change their future and the future of others around them.

Teenagers and adults struggle to keep their faith in God when things are not going well. Teenagers and adults question why God allows bad things to happen to people.

Worlds fall apart. Faith is shaken. Lives are changed.

God’s love for every life remains steadfast, but not everyone knows that. It is up to those who know the value of human life and the importance of faith in an unfailing God to let others know how valuable they are.

Every teenager and every adult should see this movie.

Getting Help

Lesson Activities About Inventors and Inventions

Lessons and Activities About Inventors and Inventions
Image Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

 Lesson Activities About Inventors and Inventions

Here are 4 activities that will enhance science lessons involving both historical and newer inventions. Encourage children to use their imaginations and think about their futures and inventions that might make their lives easier or more productive.

1. Divide the children into groups of three or four per group. Give each group a piece of poster board cut into strips approximately 8 inches by 12 inches. Assign each group a time period. Instruct the students to choose an inventor and invention significant to the time period assigned to them. Tell them to either draw, print, or cut out pictures of the inventor and the famous invention. They must also include a few paragraphs describing the inventor and his or her invention. Tell them to include information explaining why the invention was needed or why it was important. How has it shaped the world we know today? Include the time period on the poster strip.
After each group has completed the assignment. Attach the poster strips in chronological order to create a detailed, colorfully illustrated timeline of inventions and their inventors.
2. Instruct students to choose a famous inventor and create a poster display describing the inventor and invention. If possible, have the student include props and/or demonstrate how the invention works. Allow each student to present his project to the class. Display the projects somewhere in the school for others to enjoy such as the media center.
3. Develop a lesson plan around Louis Braille. Louis Braille is responsible for the “Raised Dot Alphabet” that we know as Braille. Provide students with sentence strips and paper clips or another object sharp enough to create holes or raised bumps in the paper, but safe enough for students to use. After studying about Louis Braille, provide students with samples of Braille material. Contact a local media center or The American Foundation for the Blind for materials. Allow the students to explore the materials with their fingers. Have them close their eyes and run their fingers across the Braille pages. Then, ask them to create a sentence in Braille using the materials provided. When their sentences are complete, have them switch with other students and attempt to read the sentences with their eyes closed as the run their fingers across the sentences.
4. If possible, take a field trip to a museum featuring inventors and inventions. After returning to the classroom and discussing the experiences at the museum, instruct the children to imagine themselves as inventors and work on a few inventions of their own! Allow them to share their inventions with the class. You never know, you might be inspiring a future famous inventor right there in your classroom! 
Lesson Activities About Inventors and Inventions
Here Comes the Sun from Groovy Lab in a Box

How to Teach Scripture Memorization to Children

How to Teach Scripture Memorization to Children
Image Credit – StockSnap CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

How to Teach Scripture Memorization to Children 

It is never too early or too late to begin teaching children to memorize scripture. Scripture memorization is a learned skill which benefits the youngest of children to the oldest of adults. Some find memorizing scripture much more difficult than others, but some creative memorization methods might help make scripture memory a little easier. Scripture memorization doesn’t have to be dull and boring.  It can be fun.

 Make Scripture Memory a Family Routine

Make scripture memorization part of your daily family routine. Sit down together and decide on a few shorter Bible verses which are easier for children to understand. You might choose from the following suggestions:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  John 3:16

Children, obey your parents in all things for this pleases the Lord.  Colossians 3:20

Wherever your treasure is; that is where your heart will be.  Matthew 6:21

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 4:32

But the fruits of the spirit are these: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There is no law that can say these things are wrong.  Galatians 5:22-23

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13
Once your children memorize a few shorter verses, they will feel successful, realizing that scripture memorization is not as difficult as they might have thought. Then, you can add a few more challenging memory verses to your family scripture memory list.

Make Scripture Memorization a Game 

Children love games and the matching game of concentration is a favorite.

 Make a Scripture Memory Concentration Game

Choose a scripture memory verse. Cut several index cards in half. Write the words onto the index cards, one word per card. Don’t forget to include the scripture “address,” the place in the Bible where the scripture is found, such as “John 3:16.” Write several other random words onto extra cards so that you can mix up all the words and lay them all out face down to create a square. For example, you will have four rows of cards with four index cards in each row – or more, depending on the length of the verse.

Tell the first child to flip over a card. If the first flipped card reveals the first word in the Bible memory verse, he may leave the card right-side-up and then flip over a second. If the second card reveals the second word in the verse, he may leave it right side up and collect two points, one for each card flipped. Then, the next person gets a chance. If the first person flips over a card which does not reveal the first word in the verse, he must turn the card back over, collect no points, and let the next person try. The game continues until all the words are revealed in order, but each child can only turn over two cards at a time and collect no more than two points for each turn.

If your children are memorizing longer, more challenging verses you can opt to write short phrases on the cards instead of individual words.

Both adults and children can get their creative juices flowing and create other scripture memory games. Some games might be based on already well-known games and some games might be completely made up from scratch. Either way, children will love the games and memorize scripture verses while they play.

Use Music to Teach Children to Memorize Scripture 

Add music and movement to your scripture memory routine. Check your church library for DVDs and CDs which use music to encourage scripture memory.

Encourage children to make up their own memory verse songs. They can use the tunes to songs they already know, substituting the words from their Bible memory verses. They might even like to make up a dance or movement routine to go along with their memory verse song.

Make Scripture Memory Booklets 

Help your child create a scripture memory booklet. Create a booklet which suits your child’s personality. Your child might benefit more from a small booklet made from index cards with only a few simple embellishments and bound with a single ring.  If you have an especially creative little Bible scholar, she might like to create her Bible memory booklet from a full sized three ring album or scrapbook. She can write her memory verse on each page and then decorate the page to correspond with the verse. The process of creating the pages, whether simple or elaborate, will help children memorize the verses. Then, get out the books each day and spend time going over the verses together. Encourage your child to share her booklet with other children, family members, and friends. The more often she reads and shares her memory booklet, the better she knows the verses.

Add Scripture to Crafts

Add scripture verses to your child’s artwork and crafts. When your child draws a picture, write a favorite Bible verse at the top. Choose one that relates to the picture in someway. Display the picture on your refrigerator or in another visible location to aid in scripture memorization. When your child completes a craft project, choose a scripture verse that goes along with the craft and write the verse somewhere on the project. 

Bathe Your Home in Scripture 

Posting sight words around the room is a good way to teach children to read. For example, write the word “chair” on an index card and then tape it to a chair. Write the word “book” on a card and tape it to a book. You get the idea. Use this method to teach children to memorize scripture. Once you pick out the verses you want your child to memorize, write the entire verse on several cards. You can decorate the cards and make them all cute or you can just write the words. Then, tape the cards all around the house. Tape a card to the bathroom mirror so that your child sees the card as he gets ready for school in the morning. Tape another one to the breakfast table, the refrigerator, the snack cabinet, his bed-post, and any other place he might look during the day. The more often he sees the scripture memory card, the faster he will memorize the verse and the more deeply he will know it. Learning to memorize scriptures gives children a solid Bible-based foundation on which to build their faith into adulthood.

How to Teach Scripture Memorization to Children
The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids

How to Teach Scripture Memorization to Children
Image Credit – StockSnap CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

You'll find this post and others here at the Faith 'n Friends Friday Link-Up.  Come check out all the great posts!
Counting My Blessings

Things To Do With Your Daughter On Daughter's Day

You have heard of Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Well, daughters get a day too! Daughter’s Day is in August. Plan a special day for your daughter.

Things To Do With Your Daughter On Daughter's Day
Image Credits:  2081671 - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay and katrena - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

  Things To Do On Daughter’s Day

See a Movie Together

My daughters love movies.  If we aren't interested in any of the movies playing at the theater, we can usually find something on Netflix or we rent one from Redbox.  Pick something your daughter will love and enjoy spending a few hours together watching one of her favorite films.

Mother-Daughter Crafts

Crafting is a fun way to spend time with your daughter.  When I was a young girl, my mother and I used to make ornaments using Plaster of Paris.  We had so much fun painting the ornaments.  My grandmother taught me to crochet.  I loved the time I spent with her as she showed me how top make granny squares, crocheted ornaments, and afghans.  My other grandmother used to make hair bows from ribbons and buttons.  Sometimes she let me help and I treasure those memories.

Plan a Shopping Trip

Plan a shopping trip that includes much more than just shopping. Begin the day with a nice breakfast. Get your hair and nails done. Younger little girls still enjoy mother-daughter dresses. Older girls prefer to sport their own style, but you can still get away with coordinating colors and go home dressed in the latest fashion styles.

Attend a Class Together

Think of a skill both you and your daughter would like to learn together. Check with your local school system to see what evening community classes are available. Check local newspaper and magazine listings. Choose a class you both enjoy such as crafting, sewing, painting, sculpting, cake decorating, or card making. If you and your daughter tend to enjoy more adventurous activities, choose a class such as water skiing or sky diving.

Enjoy a Relaxing Day

You don’t have to plan trips, shop, or spend any amount of money to give your daughter a special Daughter’s Day. Just spend time with her. Let her know how important she is to you. Let her know you love her. You can stay home and enjoy a long conversation with her, spend a quiet day out by the family pool, or just watch television together. The important thing is that you take time to spend with her and make her feel special. Relax and enjoy Daughter’s Day together.

Things to do With Your Daughter on Daughter's Day
Characteristics of an Influential Mother

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Teach a Child to Talk

How to Teach a Child to Talk
Image Credit – Public Domain Pictures – CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

How to Teach a Child to Talk

Babies Love Attention

Babies love attention and they learn early that making noises gets them lots of it. They begin by making strange little noises and then soon they add consonant and vowel sounds. All children develop language skills at different rates. Some begin to babble earlier than others, but parents can encourage their babies to talk by naturally caring for their physical needs, listening to them, talking to them, reading to them, singing with them, and engaging in play activities.

Baby Babble

When your baby babbles, he is talking to you so respond to him. As your baby adds consonant and vowel sounds, he will enjoy making noises. Enjoy the “conversation.”  Listen to him and then when he pauses, take your turn to talk to him. After a while, your baby will notice that when he babbles and pauses, you talk back. He wants your attention so he will learn to babble and pause, waiting for you to take your turn. Before you know it, you and your baby are practicing the social art of conversation, even if neither of you know what he is saying.

Baby Health

Nourish your baby’s health. Make sure your baby eats healthy foods and gets enough sleep. A tired, hungry baby can only concentrate on eating and sleeping. Stay current with your baby’s pediatric check-ups. Healthier babies have healthier brains and healthier brains absorb more information about language. The more your baby learns about sounds and language, the more likely she is to use her knowledge to talk to you.

Read to Your Baby

Read to your baby. Studies show that reading to babies increases their IQ. Choose an age appropriate book. If you are introducing books to a young baby, pick out a picture book. Tell your baby a story that goes along with the pictures. Point to objects on the page and say the words. Eventually, your baby will attempt to repeat the words. As your baby grows, add books with words. Your baby will realize that words have meanings and represent objects. As you teach your baby to say words, you will be teaching him to read as well.

Play With Your Child

Play with your child. Engaging in playful activities with your child provides a naturally language-rich environment and presents opportunities for parents and children to communicate. Talk to your child while shaking and rattling toys, rolling cars on the floor, rocking a baby doll, pretending to bake a cake in your child’s play kitchen, just to name a few examples. Sing songs with your child. Engage in music and movement while emphasizing words to body parts such as the “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” song.

Additional Advice

Don’t worry. Babies develop at different rates. Some babies talk early while others wait a little longer to vocally express themselves.

While teaching your child to talk, take care not to expect too much too soon so your baby doesn’t become frustrated. Reading, natural conversations, and everyday nurturing will help your baby develop at his own pace. If you become concerned that your baby is truly delayed in his language development, talk to your baby’s doctor about ways to help him progress.

Music Education and Student Achievement

Music Education and Student Achievement
Image Credit:  imumpancy0 - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

The Case for Keeping Music Education in Our Schools

Music education is important for successful academic performance.  My personal experiences with my own children confirm my belief that music education is vital to student achievement.  My children showed marked improvement when music education was added to their daily routine, either within their school curriculum or through private lessons. My son’s academic performance improved when he began playing the trombone in his high school marching band. When my daughter began playing the piano, her ability to recall information improved along with her reading comprehension skills.  After a little more than one year of lessons, she now excels in every subject area.  Both children’s level of self confidence has greatly increased.  They both feel successful and now enjoy school and lead more fulfilled lives.

If you have the resources, and your child is willing, then music tuition is a great option. From classical piano to a guitar and looping pedal, every musical taste can be catered for. 

Many other parents have told me similar stories of both typical and special needs children. I am constantly hearing about how music helps their children focus, memorize things, and improve grades.
Our local teachers and administrators feel strongly that music education is directly correlated to student achievement.

Our middle school principal, Brad Brown, states, “When I was a HS principal in Calhoun GA ….. our STAR student/teacher area consisted of about 40 high schools ….every year at the awards banquet, students told a little about themselves and their plan for the future ….. I can say with confidence that about 80%+ were involved in some sort of music education (band, chorus, literary-quartet-trio, etc)”

Various teachers in our local schools state the following:

“I am a FIRM believer in music education in the schools! I have many students who don’t do well in other classes, but do very well for me. Also, I believe that music training lengthens attention span. In a world where students are bombarded with commercials every 10-15 minutes of a television show, things like music (which can go uninterrupted for 30-50 minutes sometimes) strengthen their ability to focus on one thing. Many students (even some that I don’t teach) pile in my room in the morning just to play the piano…even boys who wouldn’t be caught dead in a chorus class love music and enjoy playing an instrument.” – Ashley Conway, North Hall Middle School, Gainesville, Georgia

“Based on well over 23 years experience with hundreds and hundreds of top 10% students, I have always said that there is a strong correlation between intelligence, achievement, and music… I noticed very early in my career, especially while teaching advanced placement and honors classes, that large percentages of these students played musical instruments in the band or orchestra; sang in choir or in school plays, or used music as a basis for completing certain projects in social studies… I’m 100% convinced that the correlation is high!” – Rand Bissell, North Hall High School, Gainesville, Georgia

“I use a couple of songs in math to teach concepts. I have one for teaching mean, median, mode and range and then at the end of the last 9 weeks, I have one that teaches adding and subtracting integers. I know a couple of other teachers that use songs to teach concepts also.  My niece and nephew went to Athens Christian School and they can still sing some of the songs they used to learn formulas…” – Martha Hulsey, North Hall Middle School, Gainesville, Georgia

Although I have completed enough personal research to make my case, there is a wealth of information and research already available to anyone who wishes to educate themselves on the correlation between music education and student achievement.  An article written by Eileen Bailey in March of 2008 suggests that music helps students with Dyslexia. Her research revealed that the ability to process parts of the spoken language improved with mastering a musical instrument. When students hum to themselves or put mathematical facts or other information to music, their school performance improves. [Music Helps Children with Dyslexia, March 14, 2008, Eileen Bailey].

Many schools use Music Therapists to satisfy IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals. Music Therapists are utilized to help mainstreamed learners as well as improve communication skills and physical coordination [American Music Therapy Association, 1999, AMTA Website].

Music education helps both typical and special needs children improve performance in school. Parents, school administrators, teachers, and professionals around the nation agree. Music Education must continue to be a vital tool for improving student achievement. It is my hope that every school district in the nation will continue to make music education a priority and find a way to keep music education a part of the school curriculum.

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