Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Do You Learn?

You've started a new school year, and you may already be swamped with homework, tests and the dreaded science fair project.

If you find yourself struggling to learn, unable to memorize what your teacher assigns or having trouble remembering what you read in your text books, you might be trying to learn in the wrong way!

Some people learn best by seeing something. For them, maps, diagrams, charts and written instructions are the best way to learn.

Some people learn best by hearing information. Having someone read new material to them or even reading it aloud is the best way to learn. Having music on in the background while studying also helps them focus.

If you learn best by seeing and hearing, you probably can learn what your teacher says or shows on the screen in your classroom. But if you're the third kind of learner, those things are as effective for you. You need to do something in order to learn or retain it.

Not sure which kind of learner you are? Here's a quiz from The Christian Girl's Guide: The Quiz Book to help you find out.
Order it Here or at your local Christian bookstore.

 Circle the letter in front of the answer that sound most like what you would do. Try to choose an answer for each question even if you’ve never been in that situation.
1. You’ve moved to a new school. You aren’t really sure where everything is located. The best way for you to find things would be to have:
a. Studying a map that shows you where everything is.
b. Someone to explain to you where to find what you need.
c. A guide to walk you where you need to go.

2. You are going to take a test about the states. You have to be able to label them on a blank map. The best way for you to learn them would be:
a. Studying a map with the states labeled on it, and then trying to write the state names on a blank map.
b. Singing or saying the states' names out loud while pointing to them on a map.
c. Cutting the practice map your teacher gave you into pieces and trying to put it back together like a puzzle.

3. It’s time to work with fractions: dividing shapes into halves, thirds, and fourths. The best way for you to learn this is to:
a. Study the drawings in your book.
b. Have the teacher or friend explain to you how to do it.
c. Practice cutting pizzas into those fractions.

4. You need to learn a verse for your Sunday school class. The best way to learn it would be:
a. Write it on your dry-erase board where you can see it. Erase a word at a time and try to see the missing word in your mind. Do this until you know the whole verse.
b. Say the verse to a rhythm until you can say it without looking.
c. Bounce a basketball. Say one word for each bounce. Do this until you can “bounce out” the whole verse.

5.  Your teacher gives the first word of a spelling test. You know how to spell the word because:
a. You can see the word in your mind.
b.  You can hear yourself spelling the word.
c.  You know how it feels to write the word.

6. You have a book report due. You haven’t read the book yet. You prefer to:
a. Read the book.
b. Listen to the audio book.
c.  See the movie with friends. (although the movie often isn't the same as the book!)

7. You need to get the book report ready. You plan to:
a. Do a written report.
b. Do an oral report.
c.  Act out a scene.

8. You need to do a science project about how crystals form. You think the best way is to:
a. Write a report and include charts and graphs to illustrate the process.
b. Do a recorded presentation on how crystals form.
c.  Grow crystals at home and take them in to science class.

9. You need to know how many cups are in a pint, how many pints in a quart and how many quarts in a gallon. The best way to remember is:
   a. Draw a picture showing the amounts.
b. Make up a rhyme about the correct amounts.
c. Take measuring cups and different-sized cartons to the sink and learn it by doing it.

10.  You have to memorize the Gettysburg address. You practice by:
a. Writing it out until you can do it by memory.
b. Singing it until you can do it by memory.
c. Acting it out with hand motions.

Count up how many a’s, b’s, and c’s you have.
     Many people learn in more than one way, so if you have some a’s, b’s, and c’s, that’s okay. The best way to learn something is to see it, hear it, and do it. But there is probably one way that is the best for you.
If you have mostly:
a’s You are a visual learner. That means you learn best when you see things. You would rather read a book than hear it read. Charts, graphs, maps, flashcards, and illustrations all help you when it’s time to study. If you have to remember something, try drawing it or writing it out.
B’s  You are an auditory learner. That means you learn best when you hear things. You would rather hear a story read to you than read it silently to yourself. Songs, rhymes, and saying things aloud help you when it’s time to study. If you have to remember something, sing it to a tune you know or rap it out.
C’s  You are a kinesthetic learner. That means you learn best when you can do an experiment or activity, or when you can use your body to learn. You would enjoy acting out a book as a play more than reading it or hearing it read. If you have to remember something, doing it will help you. You might use magnetic letters to practice your spelling words, or write them on paper then cut them up and put them back together like a puzzle.You might also want to learn sign language and use the signs for each letter or word to learn new things.

Knowing your learning style can help you study better and remember more.

Try this:
Pick three different ways to learn your spelling words (or something else that you have to memorize) this week. Try writing words and erasing a letter at a time until you can spell them. Learn them to a tune, or try spelling them to a rhythm while bouncing a ball or jump roping.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Best Christian Books for Preteen Girls

I'm compiling a list of the best books--devos, non fiction and fiction--for 8-12's. Some of the books are exclusively for girls and others are for both boys and girls.

What books would you add to this list?

Best Christian Books for Preteen Girls

Devotions for the God Girl, Hayley Di Marco
Each one-page devo contains a scripture verse of the day along with a brief reflection that unpacks spiritual truths about becoming a woman of God. And in each entry Hayley challenges girls to choose God's way in every area of their life--with their thoughts, actions, and daily choices about everything from friends and fashion to faith.

God's Girl series, Karen Whiting
Each book sparkles with faith and fun as the girls learn about Bible women and create a cool craft to go with each one. Each book is packed with tips on how to personalize their crafts as well as space for journaling their deepest thoughts. Both inner and outer beauty will be celebrated by the girls as they learn to be faithful Christians who enjoy God and life.

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, Sarah Young
Devotions written as if Jesus is speaking directly to a child's heart. Based on her original Jesus Calling, this version has been adapted in a language and fashion that kids and tweens can relate to their everyday lives. 

The One Year Be-Tween You and God: Devotions for Girls, Sandra Byrd
The book emphasizes that tween girls can have a relationship with God and that they can share their intimate thoughts, fears, insecurities, joys, etc. It lets girls know: it's between you and God. 

The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids, Katrina Cassel
This One Year book features 365 trivia questions that lead into meaningful devotions about the questions. Each devotion also includes a For You section, which gives a simple application to kid’s lives. And the answer to the opening question wraps up the devotion and gives readers biblical references to read. This book will keep curious kids on their toes and give them a reason to open their devotional and Bible daily.

The One Year Devos for Animal Lovers, Dandi Daley Mackall
Each devotion begins with a fun or interesting fact about an animal; this fact then introduces a concept of life and godliness that is reinforced by a scripture verse. The devotion concludes with an activity to do that day that relates to the devotion; there is also a sidebar with more fun/interesting facts.

The One Year Devotions for Girls Starring Women of the Bible, Katrina Cassel
This devotional features women of the Bible and how their stories apply to tween girls today.  In 365 days, girls will know more about the women in the Bible who faced the same troubles and issues girls today face, and they will be more committed to following the godly examples and avoiding the ungodly ones. At the end of each day’s reading, girls are encouraged to “Think It Through,” a section that asks them questions related to the devotion and prompts them to apply the lesson to their lives. After each week of devotions a full page is devoted to activities utilizing information from the prior week’s devotions (puzzles, quizzes, etc.).

The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions, Jesse Florea
Each of the 365 devotions begins with an introductory story, then daddy-daughter time provides discussion questions, activities, or other practical applications of the daily lesson.

The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo, Dannah Gresh
The devotion will strengthen mother-daughter relationships as well as their relationships with God. Topics for the devotions are centered around issues that the best-selling author (Dannah Gresh) is known for addressing through her books and mother-daughter conferences. 

Promises for God's Princesses, Katrina Cassel
This devotional book is full of Scriptures about God’s love, protection, and promises. The book’s 100 devotions tie in the Scriptures to help young girls apply them to their lives. This diary-style book will attract the growing girl while still making her feel like a princess, a special child of God.

Non Fiction

Between: A Girl's Guide to Life, Vicki Courtney
Through colorful articles, quizzes, games, and lists, girls age eight to twelve are encouraged to grow spiritually and socially in every major area of life.

Body Talk, Nancy Rue
Body Talk gives you the information you need on all the really weird body stuff—and shows you how all this weird stuff is actually part of God’s plan for the beautiful, confident, grown-up you!

The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best, Katrina Cassel
God wants girls to do their best and be their best. Encourage preteen girls with this fun how-to manual for living out God's plan for their lives. Through stores about real and fictional girls, Scripture, journaling, quizzes, crafts and other activities, girls can explore what it means to be their best according to God's special plan for them. 

The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible, Katrina Cassel
Take girls on a wonderful walk through the Bible! Preteens will marvel at God's Word as they make their way from Genesis to Revelation and discover the beauty of God's message for them. Puzzles, crafts, quizzes and fiction add to the creativity of this special guide.

The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book, Katrina Cassel
The quizzes in The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book are jam packed with all kinds of advice to help you discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Learn how you can make more friends, how to get closer to your family, and how to let God do totally amazing works through you! 

Everyone Tells Me to be Myself But I Don't Know Who I Am, Nancy Rue
If you think it’s easy to say “just be yourself” but it’s not so easy to do it, then this book is so for you! It will help you figure out who you really are deep down inside. You’ll learn to be that person no matter who you’re with through surveys, helpful tips, and places to write down your thoughts. You’ll learn to be the young women God created you to be!

A Girl After God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George
Upbeat and positive, Elizabeth provides biblical truths and suggestions so tweens can thrive. She reaches out to girls where they're at and addresses daily issues that concern them. 

A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls, Dannah Gresh
A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls springs from the life and example of Jesus, a tween girl's true BFF. It helps her explore questions such as: Who should I choose for friends? How can I keep my friends? How can my parents help me? What do I do about jealousy and hurts in my friendships? How can I be Jesus' friend, and how do I introduce others to him?

A Girl's Guide to Making Really Good Choices, Elizabeth George
Discussing such topics as attitude, friendships, crushes, parents, school, and avoiding bad situations, Elizabeth helps girls see that the very best choice of all is a choice to live within God’s will. Perfect for individuals, small groups, and mentoring.

Heaven for Kids, Randy Alcorn
The book features ten chapters of questions, and answers based on scripture and written in a style relevant to today's kids. The book also has a summary of the Gospel for those who want to be sure they are going to Heaven someday. Randy encourages kids to live “in Light of Heaven.”

The Middle School Survival Manual, Katrina Cassel
With the manual, middle schoolers will learn to: Give grades a boost, Make testing as easy as 1, 2, 3, Face life in a new school, Set goals, Deal with old and new friends, Live their faith at school, Plan their own activities, and lots more!

My Mini Dream Room, Karen Whiting
This book is about having fun by making little things. Why? Because the littlest action matters to God. In My Mini Dream Room dive right into these mini crafts and devotions to make furniture, curtains, baskets of flowers, pillows, teddy bears and other total amazing decorations. Let your creativity shine by making your very own dream room.

You! A Christian Girl's Guide to Growing Up, Nancy Rue
In this book you’ll discover all the really weird body stuff you’re going through is actually part of God’s plan for the beautiful, confident, grown-up you! In addition to health and beauty tips, you’ll find answers to some awkward, changing-body questions, ways to create a unique style all your own, and most importantly, you’ll discover the true beauty that is revealed as you grow closer to God in this fun, inspirational and interactive book.

The Backyard Horses Series, Dandi Daley Mackall
Book One: Fourth-grader Ellie James has a great imagination. She spends a lot of time daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. But when the answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life, will Ellie be able to recognize it? Join Ellie and her quirky family in their exciting, horse-loving adventures.

Boarding School Mysteries, Kristi Holl
Book One: Twelve-year-old Jeri McKane knew that attending boarding school hundreds of miles from home would be hard, but she never imagined anything like this. The school bus carrying Jeri’s roommate Rosa mysteriously disappears. A natural sleuth, Jeri knows there are leads to be followed and follows her instincts to discover new dimensions of faith and courage. 

The Carmen Browne Series, Stephanie Perry Moore
Book One: Carmen Browne is a ten-year-old African-American girl beginning fifth grade. With her family moving to a new city, Carmen is anguished to give up her friends and comfortable home. As her family adapts to a new location, Carmen learns that finding new friends and fitting in is not easy. Part of her doesn't even want to try. Family issues become complicated when Carmen's brother learns he is adopted. Dealing with unpopularity, fitting in, and cultural differences are Carmen's issues in the first book of the Carmen Browne series.

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years, enchanting them with a magical realm where worlds come and go at the toss of a ring, where boys and girls become kings and queens, where there are more talking creatures than people.

Dragons in Our Midst, Bryan Davis
Book One: A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome evil, a slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.

Girls Only Series, Beverly Lewis
Books 1-4: Jenna, Livvy, Heather, and Manda strive for their best in their respective sports: gymnastics, figure skating, ice-dancing, and downhill skiing. Their ultimate goal: the Olympics. As each girl struggles with life's challenges and rejoices with each triumph, the encouragement of the other Girls Only club members and their faith in God give the girls the moral support needed to push their limits and learn important lessons.

Grandma's Attic Series, Arleta Richardson
A young girl’s discovery of her grandmother’s keepsakes inspires heartwarming tales of her grandmother’s childhood and the lessons learned on a nineteenth-century farm.

The Lily Series, Nancy Rue
This best-selling, biblically based fiction series for girls—with a fresh new look and updated content—addresses social issues and coming-of-age topics, all with the spunk and humor of Lily Robbins as she fumbles her way through unfamiliar territory.

London Confidential Series, Sandra Byrd
London Confidential is a new series where British fashion, friendships, and guys collide, and where an all-American girl learns to love life and live out her faith.

Mandie Series, Lois Gladys Leppard
First five books set: Readers will discover anew the charms of the impulsive Mandie Shaw as she faces the ups and downs of first losing her father and then finding her long-lost family in Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. Many more mysteries follow for Mandie and her friends in Mandie and the Cherokee Legend, Mandie and the Ghost Bandits, Mandie and the Forbidden Attic, and Mandie and the Trunk's Secret.

Secret Sister Series, Sandra Byrd
Book One: After a lonely time in the fifth grade, Tess Thomas dreads the beginning of the next school year. Then the exclusive Coronado Club invites her to join. She thinks she'll do anything to belong--until she finds out just what "anything" means. How far is too far to keep a friend? When does belonging cost more than you should pay?

Sophie Series, Nancy Rue

Book One: When future film director Sophie LaCroix visits Williamsburg, Virginia, her imagination sends her straight into the eighteenth century. An unlikely heroine, Sophie’s forced to use her new-found war tactics to foil a heinous plot and save a friend from impending humiliation by the popular girls. 

What books would you add to this list?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Indoor Tic Tac Toe

The third chapter of Just for Me: My Family has instructions for an outside tic tac toe game, but we adapted it for indoors.

I used four shoelaces and colored stones.

They played three way tic tac toe, each with their own color of stones.

Three in a row wins.

They played in two's also.

This is a good rainy weather game.
This idea and more in this book:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Candy Tic Tac Toe

This is definitely a favorite activity from Just for Me: My Family.

Candy tic tac toe! (But you could use dry spaghetti noodles and fruit or veggie pieces too!)

This is from chapter three.

The book is for girls, but the activities are for the whole family.

If you aren't reading through the book with us, you're missing out on some fun activities :)

(And if you think I'm promoting this book so much to get rich, well, I get about 40 cents a book that sells, so that's not likely to happen :)  It's just a fun book.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Owls and More

We haven't made much progress on the Just for Me: My Family book this week. It's been kind of crazy with activities. But we did part of Chapter Three: My Family is Special. We made the Owl Craft, but haven't had a chance to do the Tic Tac Toe Games.

The blue owl still needs a nose!

I have bags for everyone who is reading through Just for Me: My Family. I have a few with the Trivia book cover on the front for boys.

Kaleb used his bag to take his Bible to church on Sunday.

If your child is doing the book, send me a photo with the book or a craft, and I'll send you a bag and pencils.

Be sure to do the activities with the whole family. We have candy tic tac toe coming up and no one here wants to miss that!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Children from Hard Places

In the last post, you saw the penguin cupcakes we made. After that, we played the Protect the Egg game on pages 33-34.

Here are some pictures from it.
We weighed down the eggs with marbles.

Those are Kaleb's marbles on the floor. Good thing he's not really a penguin dad!

Each chapter has a theme. There is an opening story, a Bible family rebus story, a Bible verse puzzle, a craft and a family activity in each chapter. Chapter Two is called "Part of the Family" and talks about ways families help each other and that each family member is special. The Bible story is about Moses' family looking out for him. The animal information is about how Emperor penguins care for the eggs and the young. 

This chapter encourages families to talk about what each family member does to help in the family and what makes the family special. For children who have been adopted out of an orphanage, it's a chance to bring up how the orphanage was run, how it's different from being in a family. You can compare the roles of the nannies with the roles of family members. It might be a chance to talk about why their own families couldn't care for them and how they chose adoption so the children could be part of a family that could care for them.

For children from abusive situations or foster care it's a chance to talk about why they came into care or were adopted. And to point out, without criticizing the birth parents, things that made their homelife unsafe for them. 

Each chapter provides opportunities to instill family values in children from hard places who have no clue what families are supposed to be like. And of course every family is different, but some things (protection, nurturing etc) should be part of all families.

Some of the discussion questions or writing opportunities in the book are: (All of these are part of a story, game, activity etc. so they come up naturally)
List three ways your parents care for you.
How does the mother koala protect her baby? Can you think of two ways your parents protect you?
List three things each family member does to care for each other.
Can you think of two things you need that your family provides?
What is one job that you could do to help at home?
Can you think of a good choice you made this week? What happened?
Can you think of a bad choice you made this week? What happened?
Can you think of a time sibling rivalry happened at your house? 
What are two ways you can show kindness and compassion to your siblings today?
What is something you fight about with your brother or sister? How do you work it out?

If you read through the book, try just doing a section at a time and leaving time for questions. And if it's like here, be aware of children using it for manipulation or "game playing." But mostly they have responded well to the discussions, and I let them lead as far as what and how much we discuss. And they have gotten along beautifully while we read the book and do the activities. What more could you want?

If your child is reading through the book and doing the activities, just send me a photo of your child with the book or with the finished craft etc, and I'll send you one of these bags.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Penguin Cupcakes

 Last night we baked the cupcakes for our penguin cupcakes and made sure we had everything. We ended up getting Oreos for the wings.
Reading chapter two that talks about Miriam and Moses and penguins. Hmmm. What do they have in common?

Mixing the cupcake batter.

Everything ready for the cupcakes. Yeah, it's not a very healthy project but I guess you could substitute fruit and veggies for the candy, cookies and roll ups.
Half done penguin.
Lots of smiles and lots of teamwork again today as we worked on the project.
And almost no arguing.

The kids each made a pratice penguin and then one for our penguin family picture. This is the practice one.

Looks like we have upside down wings.

Even Rick got in on it. And he did a lot more than he wanted to! I said we needed to make one for Jessica and Adam who were working. Then someone said we needed one for Hunter. So since we were doing it for Hunter, we needed to do one for Ty and Jeff (who are both in KY) and then that left out Ashley, so we made one for her too. Then we added Mrs. Ginger, our children's minister who has played a big role in our kids' lives at church.
So here's our family. We are missing our extended families, but we ran out of cupcakes! (I think a few got eaten before we started the project)

Who will be in your penguin family?

Send a photo. Let's see how creative everyone can be. (Especially if you figure out how to make them healthy! :) )