Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jesse Tree

We are celebrating, anticipating, and learning about the season of Advent. Each year we learn about the names of God and the stories that go along with those names, but this year we're adding a new tradition. This journey of the Jesse Tree was created by Ann @ A Holy Experience and is so creatively written and easily followed that I just had to incorporate it in our season of Advent. This season of Advent has turned into a unit study for Drew. Drew is writing words associated with advent for spelling, we're counting "jesse trees" for Math, reading a few verses out of the Bible for reading, & memorizing names, verses and retelling stories (narration). 

I have been encouraged by Drew's sudden maturity this week, as an avid gardener I know that you invest and water and care for little seedlings, but it takes time and experience for those seedlings to grow and mature. Much of this years homeschooling journey has been just that. I haven't seen giant successes but  slow and quiet little whispers of change. We took Thanksgiving week off from formal school, though they both begged for circle time in the mornings even thought we were off. That made me smile, I'm glad they both enjoy our mornings together reading God's word, learning about the weather, calendar, studying geography, and reading stories. Drew showed great progress this week in narrating stories using transition words, in reading short sentences without getting frustrated, and in remembering his spelling words. Drew's progress, though slow and methodical and sometimes discouraging, is making me a much better mommy and teacher. I've learned so much this semester in working with Drew. It is not so much about the reading ,writing, and mathematics as it is about character. I'm very encouraged to see that our focus on character has changed him (and I)  into a little boy of wisdom and knowledge. Funny how when you focus on the character (wisdom) the knowledge can't help but keep up too!

This week we camped out in  Isaiah 11:1-2, discussing this complex passage about Jesse (King David's father) and the sin that we are all born into and the necessity for Christ to  come as a living sacrifice for all mankind's sin..
"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD"
 Drew works very well with question and answer type learning, so I came up with a lot of questions this week pertaining to this story. We also wove the stories of Creation, the Fall of Man, Noah's Ark,  Abraham's Covenant and Faithfulness into the Jesse tree story. I love creative writing with similes, metaphors, and analogies. The Bible is full of such writings, so Drew and  I had an exciting adventure this week thinking beyond the words and digging into the meat of these passages. That is why we're centering school around this, it takes a lot of time and Drew's attention can only focus on short 20 minute lessons.

Part of the week was centered on our heart attitude - smiling more, giving more, having thankfulness woven into our everyday lives. Our boxes for Mexico are ready to be mailed tomorrow! John took the boys out this week on a shopping trip for gifts to give to a child in Mexico. We're sending them to the Lockwoods who are missionaries across the border. The boys were so excited to serve, it made me smile watching them excitedly put all their gifts in their boxes! We also spent some time discussing other ministries they want to see under our Jesse tree. They tossed around giving a goat to someone in Asia or giving money to St. Jude for children who are sick. I think both might end up under the tree this year. Drew wants to send Samira some of his Christmas gifts but doesn't quite understand that we can't just ship things to Africa. We'll see what next week along our Jesse Tree Journey brings! Now I just have to come up with some chores for them to do so they can be included in the giving process.
Our Jesse Tree

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