A three day tour

Texas Capital building

“It is 4:50 a.m., a few minutes into my captivity. The buses full of 200 fourth graders rocked back and forth with the excited footfalls of their adrenaline-filled passengers. Moms and dads blinked, moaning for coffee or any other available caffeine sources. The bus driver lectured on the evils of gummy bears left behind on the seats.”

That was the beginning of a 3-day field study with eldest’s school.

I tried to focus on the fun ahead. We would see the Texas capital, several museums, the Alamo, Sea World, and even Natural Bridge caverns before returning. But there was a part of me thinking, “I’m going to be trapped underground with 200 wild fourth graders.”

The separation from Rachel, my 8 y/o with autism, was tangible, a painful stretching of the mommy apron strings. Would she think I had abandoned her? Would she understand we were coming home in a few days?

When I thought the situation through, I knew it was important for me to go. Even from the time Rachel was an infant, people warned me not to make the family life revolve around Rachel’s disabilities. It has been difficult. The set up of the house is often out of deference to what Rachel will like or won’t destroy. The dog we chose was one that wouldn’t bark and scare her. We don’t go out to dinner as a family because Rachel isn’t ready for that yet, and we don’t take vacations as a family yet.

So, a field trip with my other daughter is the least I could do.

I am so glad I went. By the last day my verbal filter was gone. I said a few snarky things I wish I hadn’t. I lectured (sorry everyone!) several people around me about how Genesis and science are compatible and why. I thought mean thoughts about some of the people around me. In other words, my flesh was showing.

Sea World birds–love the blue duck bill!

That was good for me too. One, I have an even deeper appreciation for home, but I also was reminded of my incredible and deep need for a savior. Left on my own, I am not a nice person.

So, thank you to both Grandparents for your help in keeping the kids and providing funds for eldest and I to explore our state’s history. Thanks to hubby for keeping the home from burning down in our absence. And thanks to Jesus who keeps my big mouth shut most of the time. :-)

Read More

Telling time–a fun way to teach.

by Jennifer Dyer

Telling time--the trampoline is not just for jumping.

A few years ago, when eldest was in kindergarten, she was having trouble remembering how to tell time and count using the clock. One day, while jumping outside, I had an idea. Our trampoline was round, just like a clock. So, we started at the zipper for 12 o’clock and went from there. First, we jumped around counting to 12, one jump per hour around the trampoline’s circle. One o’clock, two o’clock and so forth. Then we marked off the minutes. Jumping in the same 12 places around the circle, we counted by fives.

After she mastered that, we moved on to telling time. We took turns calling out a time: 12:35. The other person had to jump to that time. So, the first landing place for the hour, 12, would be near the net. We had to count the hour points as we passed them. If we started at 6 then we counted to the 12 mark. Then we had to jump around until we got to the minute mark. We went forward and backward from the 12 spot. So, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35. OR 5, 10, 15…

When we got tired of jumping, we used our arms and legs as the clock hands. Legs, the minute hand because they are longer, and arms the hour hand. Obviously, this got quite silly as she tried to come up with times that would contort me in the greatest way. It was fun!

After those few hours on the trampoline, she had it down, plus her adding by fives had improved dramatically.

Fun times!

Read More