I created this choice board for our children’s youth department for our church. It includes 9 activities: bible hero bio poem, letter of encouragement, testament timeline, fruit of the spirit bookmark, praise station, bible alphabet book, etc.
Education is not merely an exercise of pushing pencil onto paper. It encompasses fueling one’s life to actuality it’s full potential. To that end, Aya Academy has a series of 100 experiences for our children to engage in – some are fun, while others are life skills or professional endeavors. As the children go forward to complete them all, they will have been empowered to live their lives to the fullest.
Aya’s One Hundred
1. Complete a task using a SMART goal
2. Keep a plant alive
3. Care for a baby
4. Package a First Aid kit
5. Write a thank you note
6. Interview for a job, internship or volunteer position
7. Bake a birthday cake
8. Use a fire extinguisher
9. Use a compass
10. Demonstrate etiquette for a formal dinner
11. Tell a joke
12. Do a load of laundry
13. Read a map to get to a destination
14. Write legibly
15. Discuss the Fruits of the Spirit with a friend
16. Ask for assistance to solve a problem
17. Read the Book of Proverbs and write a reflection on wisdom
18. Be polite to someone with poor manners
19. Record your blessings daily for one month and celebrate them after 30 days
20. Dress appropriately for a professional situation
21. Type a letter without looking at the keyboard
22. Grow a plant from a seed
23. Read the technical writing of how to use a new device or technology
24. Compare features of different cars and judge which is best for your family
25. Set the table for lunch or dinner
26. Interview someone from another generation to learn about an important event
27. Play chess
28. Present a gift to a service member within the community
29. Make an emergency plan
30. Shine your shoes
31. Make your case in writing
32. Tie a scarf or tie
34. Make breakfast
35. Take notes
36. Make a simple meal for company
37. Wash a car
38. Present an idea to a large group
39. Ride a bike
40. Swim a lap around a pool
41. Use chopsticks
42. Make a new friend
43. Build something simple (ie: shelf, desk, treehouse)
44. Identify traits and skills needed for a job you would like to have
45. Congratulate another person on a job well done
46. Host a party to celebrate a special event
47. Speak in public
48. Select a song which describes you best
49. Iron clothes
50. Plan a field trip
52. Identify two different landscapes
53. Be a good listener
54. Be alone comfortably
55. Play a musical instrument
56. Develop a daily fitness routine to include stretching
57. Master a new skill
58. Be assertive and say no
59. Participate in an academic competitions
60. Create a budget
61. Make small talk in casual conversation
62. Memorize the books of the bible
63. Identify ways to de-stress and use them when you get frustrated
64. Organize your personal, physical space
65. Identify the location and a cultural feature of twenty world cities
66. Shuffle a deck of cards
67. Dance socially
68. Learn a second language
69. Pet a domesticated dog or cat
70. Start an entrepreneurial endeavor
71. Comprise a team to accomplish a goal
72. Create a healthy meal plan
73. Save for something important
74. Take a photo capturing movement
75. Keep a journal reflecting your thoughts
76. Create a poem to what makes you happy
77. Assist a peer with problem solving
78. Spend time with senior citizens
79. Create public art
80. Forgive someone for a mistake made
81. Discover a dozen new plants during a nature walk
82. Be punctual every day, for every activity, for one week
83. Make a little kid laugh
84. Write your autobiography
85. Reinterpret a piece of art you appreciate
86. Tie 3 types of basic knots
87. Shed a useless habit
88. Collect five artifacts demonstrating Jesus Christ impact on the world
89. Develop a personal motto
90. Acquire a useful habit
91. Create an action plan to solve a problem
92. Be a judge of good character
93. Participate in a public clean up
94. Give a compliment
95. Accept a compliment
96. Sing a song to a friend
97. Forgive yourself for a mistake
98. Calculate a tip
99. Read the biography of a person who made history
100. Learn how to juggle
For the past several weeks, the girls and I have been horribly off track. Our highly regimented schedule relaxed to the point of paralysis and countless distractions have impeded us from using our learning time wisely. But today is a brand new day and we are whipping out so e of the tools we created earlier in the year to get us back on track with all of our content areas and especially with our writing.
To assist with limiting distractions, the girls and I created personalized writing centers for them. Since this was our first year homeschooling they were used to some of the hallmarks of public education including individualized desks. The writing centers help transform our dining-room table from meal mode to learning zone. We created them out of two manila folders, construction paper, a slew of pictures and clear tape. The inside has plastic sleeves the girls use to store reference sheets and their best work.
Another aid to keep our writing on track are our writing prompt sticks. The girls randomly select from these to create short responses on varied topics. Today, Ava selected: What is Something You Feel Optimistic About? This was her first time using the term optimistic and she chose to craft her sentences on our puppy Bentley. She stated, she’s ‘optimistic that he will stay calm one day.’ We can only hope!
“You can’t understand Google unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kids. It’s really ingrained in their personalities. In Montessori school you go paint because you have something t express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so. Do something because it makes sense, not because some authority figure told you. This is really baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking, ‘Why should it be like that?’ It’s the way their brains were programmed early on.” – Marissa Mayer
At Google, employees have the option of using 20% of their work time autonomously. This is how Google has been able to foster an innovative culture. When teaching children, removing the barriers of a prescribed outcome encourages inspired learning and creativity.
Homeschooling can and does enable independent thinking. However, our public school children, under the tutelage of a teacher open to less restrictive academic approaches can as well. The outcomes can be amazing.
Each week, my girls and I pick up a slew of biographies from the library. These stories enlighten us to a time and place worth exploring and of the personal challenges remarkable people have triumphed over. Last night, my daughter selected a biography about Mary McLeod Bethune, the Black Rose, to read.
The Black Rose was an amazing woman. Her dedication to ensuring that African American children were educated prompted her to open her own school with just merely 5 children in its first year. The following year, she had twenty times that amount enrolled and three teachers. Her success, which later included having the ear of the President of the United States, is an example of the power of faith. The first building erected on her campus, which initially included boxes for desks, was named Faith Hall. She could not have known that her life, the embodiment of commitment and faithful stewardship would have later resulted in so many, including myself, to stay faithful in serving others. The lesson learned from her life is that our living our purpose builds an inspired legacy. And, tantamount to that, that this living may require the most humblest of starts.
Ava has expressed that she would like to see a black rose in person. Upon learning that black roses existed, Mrs. McLeod Bethune had several black rose bushes planted on campus. A visit to Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach next week may now be in order.
“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”
In business and in relationships, knowing how and when to apply ‘long-suffering’ is tricky. Giving up and moving on may very well result in an opportunity to get things done faster, healthier, more stress-free. But dealing with challenges, making the most of a daunting situation, grows your heart, your character and your spirit.
The best movies, the ones that tug on your heart strings, are the ones in which people hold on and press forward even in the most daunting situations. That’s why sports movies are so popular. Rudy is a testament to endurance. And who didnt succumb to the guilty pleasure of singing off-key to Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ as they pictured Jack holding on until the end for Rosé.
The greatest love story I’ve seen in sometime was a 22 photojournal story on Pinterest chronicling a couple’s relationship after the husband lost his limbs while serving as a Marine overseas. The most poignant image was of his wife carrying him on her back up the stairs. They didn’t give up.
Don’t give up. Not on your family, your purpose or yourself. Ever.
I have yet to meet a homeschooling family that isn’t pinching a few pennies. For our family, to make this work we have foregone some of the extras others indulge in normally. To fill in the gaps, we rely upon community resources quite heavily. Here are a few of our favs.
1. I love Goodwill. We just picked up an UNUSED Discovery kids volcano science kit from a nearby location today. For, get this…$2.02 AFTER TAX! Since we’ve been meaning to create one together as a connection to our Ancient Rome (Pompeii) unit, this was a Godsend.
2. The library system in our county is amazing. The activities, including yoga, are free and are often presented by community businesses.
3. The parks and rec department is also an outstanding resource. The varied green spaces and playscapes provide ample opportunities for learning and play.
4. YMCA – a monthly membership to the Y provides additional recreation activities indoors. This going to be most helpful as temps dip.
5. The homeschool education associations have a plethora of tips and resources. In the beginning, they were most helpful as we sought a co-op to join. The state association has a page for field trip information that alerted us to the GA Aquarium’s homeschool days. Tickets for tree would normally exceed $90. We picked up tickets for a total of $26!
***Bonus #1: Pinterest has been a great help in drilling down resources and activities. A quick search leads to numerous activities. The teachers and moms/dads on the site have fun, inventive activities.
***Bonus #2: http://www.homeschoolshare.com has free unit studies for a wide range of topics. It was a really helpful when we began the lap booking journey.
I’ve been plagued with doubt recently. During quiet moments, I’ve been lamenting over the valleys of leading a social entrepreneurial endeavor. Although I have not been doubting my purpose nor our mission, I’ve been in doubt whether I possess the capacity to make the impact that is much needed. It took a ten-hour, 400 mile journey for God to reaffirm that my doubt is needless and that when you do the work he commissions you to do, you will be successful.
While enroute, I kicked myself for not taking the car to get serviced before we departed. As the car ages, little quirks are springing up. So after a few days into our trip, I headed futilely to two Walmart locations to get an oil change. I ended up at one of several area Jiffy Lube locations in front of an affable check-in coordinator. He inquired, “Are you still teaching?” After mentally running down the contents of my car and realizing that he could not have known that from the debris tucked into the side door compartments, I studied his face to see if I recognized him. I didn’t. Was he part psychic and part psycho? How did this complete stranger pick up on the fact that I was once a classroom teacher? He shared that one of the crew was a former student. God never ceases to amaze.
After ten years and a few dozen teachers, this young man I shared a sixth grade classroom with remembered me. I am humbled by that. After hugging, chatting and mild coercion, my former student allowed me to snap a pic of him with his crew.
Impact. Whenever I write a grant to raise funds, engage a community partner or meet with our board, I discuss how we impact the lives of others. During my recent contemplation, I’ve been weighing the peaks of impact against the valleys of incremental progress. Is this journey worth it? Can I profoundly make a change within the community? With one brief, ‘coincidental’ encounter God reaffirmed that what I’m doing matters and that the reach of our work must continue.
It’s funny…very funny how old adages still ring true. When I became a parent, I picked up every learning toy imaginable for my daughter. I should have taken out stock in Fisher Price! My mom and others told me that kids are creative and would find as much joy or even more with a cardboard box. This is still so true.
Before we began homeschooling, I spent considerable time revamping our home. The never used living room became our learning center and our diningroom doubled as our writing space. After a few trips to Ikea, Target and a salvage shop we transformed our space so that we could learn. And guess what? Over the past few weeks the girls have spent just as much time in the family room to read and have even done what most kids do, worked right from bed.
Learning doesn’t have any boundaries. It doesn’t require goo-gobs of stuff to be dynamic. I love the story of Diogenes who sold all of his stuff, ‘Men think they own possessions but truly possessions own men.’ Letting go of the material expectations, including space allocation ‘requirements’ keeps the focus on the true mission: making learning inspired.
So today, as Ava pilfers my iPad to learn French on her volition, I realize that I am learning just as much from homeschooling as my children are…what a blessing!