December Disappointments

I've Got Your Christmas Spirit Right Here

In the category of “I No Longer Give a Flying Flip,” I offer this picture of my kitchen table, taken exactly 45 seconds ago.

This is what happens when you’ve had three kids throwing up for 16 of the past 24 hours, a homeschool Christmas party on Friday that prevented you from completing any school work due on Monday, and one non-sick kid who really wanted to make a gingerbread house. Today.

We crammed in a bunch of school tonight because a) I’m mean like that; and b) I really want to be able to take off school early this week (as in being done Wednesday). Promptly after reading 30 minutes of science books to Maddie and Chloe and completing 10 of their activity page questions, Chloe, who hadn’t thrown up in 6 hours, went back for another round, and then Maddie developed a low-grade fever.

What this means is that I crammed school in with them tonight for no particular reason, because they won’t be going to school tomorrow.

I’m still debating whether or not to clear off the table.

Three Months in Review

I thought it would be fun to string everyone along for three months, talk all about how hard I’m working, how late I’m staying up, and how crazy our life has been, but not really tell you why. For those just tuning in, I was a contract researcher for God’s World Publications for just over three months, and that contract ended when we hosted the publisher, founder, CFO, and GWN creative director for a meeting at our church on December 3, at which point we handed over our report.

It’s true I was nervous before the meeting, but I shouldn’t have been – a more gracious group of business men I’d be hard-pressed to find. They communicated to us they were glad for the report, the findings, and our work. Not everything we put in our report was new information, but we had the data to put behind their assumptions so they could go forward with what they need to do. Also, I’d like to think we presented some new ideas (I think we did) and I hope they implement some of those as well. I have no idea if they will, but that’s not for me to decide.

I also tried to give them my three-inch Binder of Angst (this is what I began lovingly calling my printed collection of parent input after about the fifth time I felt physically tense after reading some of the “suggestions”), but none of those guys wanted it. I don’t blame them…not one bit.

After the meeting I experienced a sort of four day “post-project depression.” I’m not sure what I was wanting to hear, but I wanted to hear something. From my perspective, I’d just turned in three months of my life. What I didn’t consider was that I was hired to do that so they wouldn’t have to give three months of theirs to the project. So, while I sat around all week wondering what they were thinking, they moved on with their normal busy dockets and our report was one of many things I’m sure they thought about that week.

They didn’t gush, and maybe I wanted them to. On Friday, I got a call that helped me with the closure I needed, as well as gave me hope for the possibility of working with them further. I needed that and I relaxed a lot after that call (thanks for calling, Nick). To sum it all up, I have no idea at this point what our future with GWP may be – they may decide they’ve had enough of the Craig-and-Megan show and move on, or they may think we can add something to what they are planning to do and ask us to climb aboard in some capacity. We’ll see. As much as I want to post the whole report, here’s a tiny snippet of what we did – the introduction. For those of you who have endured the process of all this, I hope this serves as an encouraging and challenging way of saying thanks for sticking with me these past three months.

Two years ago, some friends of ours had their second grader enrolled in a local Christian school here in St. Louis. All seemed to go well, but by the end of that school year, news broke that the second grade teacher had failed to teach any form of language arts to her students. Like many of her classmates, our friends’ daughter was strong in math and science, but had no vision, passion, or belief in the need for language arts as second graders.

When administrators found out about the teacher’s lack of achievement in this area, they were frustrated; how did you not teach language arts to your students, they asked? When parents found out, they were livid, both with the teacher and the administrators; how did you miss that language arts was not being taught to our children, they asked? Needless to say, the teacher was fired. At the time, neither our friends’ daughter, nor her classmates knew what they were missing in the area of language arts. None of them were wearing sensors that went off when their language arts tanks got low; no “check child” light came on mid-year to alert their parents as to what was going on. No, our friends’ daughter and her classmates simply missed out on an important aspect of their education that year because the teacher surely had never been taught the great importance of second grade language arts (and how to teach it) herself.

Perhaps the teacher was never properly trained in rationale and methods for teaching grammar and writing skills to young kids; maybe she didn’t have any resources she could find or use easily when she was faced with the unrelenting challenges of teaching young students day in and day out; could it be that there was little to no structure in place to support her when she needed it (and it’s obvious from the outcome that, somewhere along the way, she must have needed it)? Who really knows what happened? What we do know is the fired teacher was hired by another school (and the problems were repeated there), and our friends’ daughter and several of her classmates had to play catch up in learning language arts skills because, somewhere along the line, the teacher missed out learning how to teach them as well.

God’s World Publications is positioned uniquely to help educators who may be “missing out” like this second grade teacher, particularly in the arena of biblical worldview. Like our friends’ daughter, many parents and teachers don’t realize they are missing these key skills, but they are, and their deficit is passed on as a deficit belonging to their kids. In order to help kids think, we must help parents and teachers think, and provide for them resources they can use to learn to do so. As GWP publisher Nick Eicher stated to us at the beginning of the How Kids Think project, “It is not enough for God’s World Publications to simply be relevant; we need to become integral to the classrooms.” To become indispensable to parents and teachers means publishing that teaches them as they teach kids. How kids think has everything to do with how those who teach them think. By God’s grace, God’s World Publications can help both groups learn about and live out a biblical worldview.

The Visual Quiet Time

Craig periodically shows the Visual Bible in his New Testament class. Today I present you with the Visual Quiet Time:

My Visual Quiet Time

I’ve never claimed to be able to draw. I do claim, though, to need to draw. I’m a visual learner. I used to draw little application type pictures in my quiet time journal all the time, but haven’t done it in years. Like 12 years. I thought it was time to crack open the crayons today and do it again.

I had the girls do it too – read in their Bibles and illustrate what they learned. Here’s Katie’s version of Adam and Eve:

K5's Rendition of Adam and Eve

Advent

Jesse Tree

We had to catch up on some missed nights in our little Advent routine tonight. By missed, I mean we missed four nights of the Nativity calendar, four nights of another thing we do that marks the true reason for Christmas, and all ten nights of the Jesse Tree. We were that behind.

Part of my problem was not knowing where to put all the little things I’ve collected and/or made in years past to illustrate the Jesse Tree. I figured it out tonight by just putting the poster on the table and placing all the things on each spot as we went around and read everything. It worked tonight, but could be a bit of a troublesome hassle to have to do that every night. I’ll figure something out.

Anyway, the point of this whole post is the poster. I had another version of this that came with our God’s World News subscription several years ago. That poster traveled to about three homes in two states over four years and it was pretty raggedy. So I was really excited that we got an exact duplicate with our subscription this year. I had it laminated so that it wouldn’t suffer the same fate as our first. I’m pretty happy with the results.

And now we’re officially caught up on Advent. For today, at least.

Weird

I was just taking a look at someone's Facebook profile and noticed they were born in 1982. And they are 25 now. Someone born in 1982 is 25 now. No, I don't think it takes a math genius to figure this out, but somehow I missed the fact that folks born in the 80's, when I was smack in the middle of my primary-secondary education, are now in their mid-twenties. Because that puts me in my mid-thirties. And I'm still not sure how that happened.
It's just weird.
See what happens to me when I don't have a serious project to work on? I turn to all the deeper things in life and post them right here on my blog so all the rest of you can stand back and be taken in with amazement and wonder.