Thursday, November 3, 2011

What He Will Do Through You

Roy Lessin says, “Grace enables you to do all God calls you to do today. Success is not based today upon what you can accomplish, but upon what He will do through you.”

I love this quote. It completely contradicts what most of the world (and to be honest, even myself at times) would define or evidence as "success". We often base success on what we can accomplish, achieve, get done, conquer, resolve, create. We're even rewarded financially or in positional status for a job well done, given accolades, or gain others' appreciation and respect. But God defines success differently. He doesn't look at the outward appearance, but God knows my heart. By God's grace we accomplish the unnatural - patience. understanding. forgiveness. perseverance. humility. selflessness. All by the grace of God that enables us to do all he calls us to do. I want to be refined through the challenges I face. I want to be more Spirit-filled rather than discouraged, frustrated, angry, or harsh. In light of the struggles I faced this last month with homeschooling (see previous post here), God's grace enabled me to do what he called me to do - each day. 

Take a look for yourselves. Below is a photo gallery of the fun and meaningful learning we've enjoyed last month (it wasn't a complete wash with my frustration!). These pictures make me smile, remind me that we have a good thing going here, and help me remember why we do what we do here at GPE.

Math & Science

 N is for Nest! Ellie focused on the stages of nest building and eggs hatching. 

We discovered how water is absorbed in different cloths, and here we see how water also is absorbed through colors (marker ink on a coffee filter).  

After reading "The Leaf Man", we collected twigs, leaves, and berries during a walk and made our own leaf man. This was lots of fun!

Abbie loves reading to Ben. Here's she's reading one of her books on stars.

Ellie's working hard at calendar math! 

She's mastered 1-10!

Geometry rods ... family favorite around here.

Literature & Composition

Library program! One hour a week with the amazing Ms. Rita. 
Note Ben checking out his neighbor friend's costume! He loved the Jeff Gordon get-up! 

We read "The Rag Coat" about a little girl who didn't have a winter coat, and was too poor to buy one. The community ladies decided to quilt her a coat using their scraps from their quilting projects. This is such a beautiful story! We used scraps from our friend Ms. Dana to create our own "rag coat" design. 

D is for Dinosaur! After making a paper-model of the T-Rex, they searched an illustrated book on dinos for all the T-Rex's they could find. 

This is perhaps my favorite picture. Oh I do hope she becomes an avid, life-long reader!

After using sentence strips to write her letter (pink strips are to "pink it up" - add more detail), she's writing her letter to her grandmothers! Thanks for the letters in response, by the way! She loved them. 

Abbie started piano lessons this fall and one of her assignments is to write her own music. I love it!

History & Social Studies

 Abbie spent a few weeks reading "Squanto" and learning about the Native American Indians. Here she's making a wigwam (house/shelter for one tribe).

Painting tee pees!

Our focus this month is on Thanksgiving, so we are making gratitude books. What treasures these will be to look back on! 

We're reading and talking a lot about how America became an independent country, so we've talked about the Declaration of Independence, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

We're writing our "John Hancock" with a quill pen and ink, just like on the Declaration of Independence.  Well ... just craft feathers and strawberry juice : )  But it was fun! 

Field Trips & Other Fun

Did you know that if you could travel as fast as light, it would take you one second to get from earth to the moon?  Guess how long it would take you to get from the earth to the sun? We set out from our house and walked 8 minutes, turned around to see our house and tried to imagine our house as earth and our destination after 8 minutes as the sun. Quite a lesson!

Visiting and riding horses has become an area of huge interest with the girls. 

Fire safety week and a trip to the local fire station with our neighbor friends! 

We drove to Bismarck for an afternoon at the Heritage Center, learning more about the Natives and other settlers in North Dakota. 

Spontaneous picnic at the park, and Daddy even joined us!

They are the crackiest cracked-pots I know! We were playing with bean bags (balance, coordination, and just plain fun!), and here they were supposed to wiggle the bean bag off their belly buttons. Quite the opportune time for much laughter : )

A dragon, a unicorn, and Lady Guinevere  

So there you have it: the month of October! God truly has worked through each of us, and for that we are thankful. I hope you enjoyed the photo tour, sharing in our fun through these pics. : )

Hugs and loves,


  1. Good grief, you got a LOT done in a month! Looks like a blast, great pics!!

  2. Oh Jenn, I have enjoyed watching your journey so much. These pictures made me smile, chuckle, and brought tears to my eyes at the dedication and love you have for your family. This is such is big commitment you have taken on, and I am so glad you were able to step back and see how many great things you accomplished last month in spite of all the rough spots and frustrating moments.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I love seeing how you go about things. Your creativity in teaching methods amaze me. I would never think of doing any of those things. You have a heart full of love for your children and a passion for what you are doing. Keep your eyes on the Father and your feet firmly planted and you will do just fine.

    Call me if you need to talk. I want to be there for you but I don't want to be in the way. That's why I haven't called much in the last year. But I would like to be more involved in your life if you need me. Blessings dear one!

  3. Love all the pictures, but especially the one with the quill pens! :-)

    Madison has really become interested in riding horses lately too, so I'm thinking a combined field trip may be in order some time.

    I agree that it's always helpful to look back at the pictures, crafts, and papers to see that learning really was accomplished, even when it didn't seem like it. Sometimes, among the trials, it's hard to remember all the good things that took place. My kids will oftentimes, out of the blue, surprise me by saying something we've learned about in the past, and it makes me realize that they really are learning (and retaining), so to not be so hard on myself.

    You're doing a wonderful job!

  4. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement! They all mean so much. :)

    Diane - you need to know that there are many other educators who have shared their ideas with me! I didn't come up with all of these on my own. I was once told by a professor that "good teachers beg, borrow, and steal ideas from each other". And I agree!

    Kristin - we have several families in our church who own horses, so anytime you and the fam want to join forces and go riding, let us know! We'd enjoy doing that together with you guys!