homeschool

Know nothing except... a lesson in teaching my kids

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You want the best for your kids. Admittedly I want my kids to be little geniuses that create astonishing advancements for the good of mankind. Because who doesn’t want their kid to succeed? Who doesn’t want their kid to ace their exams, stand head and shoulders above the rest, and lead the world in making it a better place? I often find myself pressured to produce greatness in my children. As a homeschooler, I have seen the kids who graduated at 15, became lawyers at 18, and are on their way to presidency by 25, and I think “yup, I’m doing it all wrong. My kid isn’t a concert pianist, or a rocket scientist, or a brilliant mathematician.” And I hang my head.

I succumb to comparison. I get sucked into my own schooling goals for excellence. And pretty soon a drive that was once a healthy desire for strong academics becomes unrealistic expectations, lack of vision, and frustrated teaching.

“God, I can’t do it. I can’t be the teacher or the mom I need to be. I didn’t check all the boxes. I’m not reaching my goals. I’m not being the person I want to be. My kid isn’t being the kid I want him to be. I’m failing. Someone can do this so much better, with so much more grace.”

It was one of those days. Two kids under two demanding all my attention, while my older two are trying to wade through their homework and barraging me with frustrated questions. Then God directed me to these words...“Know nothing... but Christ.”

Paul writes to Corinth as a spiritual father who wants to teach those under his care. There are many things Paul can teach them. Yet he chooses to forget everything else but one thing- Jesus. “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” He goes on to say that he shared Jesus in such a way that demonstrated the power of the Spirit, ensuring that their faith would not rest on human wisdom.

I resolved to know nothing... except Jesus

This whole chapter blows my mind. It challenges every priority I set forth and shifts every aim to center around Christ first.

What if all I ever achieved was to demonstrate the love of God? What if my kids never really excel at basics like reading and math, but they leave my home as adults living and loving like Jesus? What if all they really know is Christ?

Paul continues to say that there is wisdom to be gained; that we can strive to grow in knowledge, and our wise Creator has endless wonders for us to explore and discover in our schooling journey! But Paul qualifies all our wisdom and knowledge seeking with this important first premise- first, know Christ.

Know His heart. Know His boundless love. Know Christ’s humility that serves generously and heartily. Know Christ’s deep compassion that moves us beyond complacency. Know Christ’s great grace that washes away our failures and equips us to forgive one another. Know Christ’s goodness that calls us to enjoy Him in all the beauty displayed in the world around us.

Know His Heart.
Know His boundless love.
Know His humility that serves generously and heartily.

Know Christ. For as we know Him, we will indeed grow, and seek knowledge, and gain wisdom. As they know Christ, my children will desire to unveil the wonders of God through applied study. And then, when they are ready to tackle the world on their own, and find their own voice, they will tackle it with love, and servanthood, and goodness. Their voices will be the ones to sing praises, and speak life, and cry out for justice until it appears. They will not only know things, they will do good things with what they know.

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As we Know Him,
we will indeed grow, and seek knowledge, and gain wisdom.

So maybe the boxes won’t all get checked. Maybe we won’t reach all our goals. Maybe my kid won’t be a genius. But if I can love like Jesus, and walk in grace toward my children, and invite them to know Christ, then even in my failures they will know more goodness than any math book could ever give.

They will not only know things,
they will do good things with what they know.

Biology Basics: How Animals Reproduce

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Two types of two-parent reproduction (sexual) and two types of one parent reproduction (aseuxual) are seen in animals. It seems crazy to think that animals can reproduce with only one parent, but with more simple creatures like worms and jellyfish, it happens!

Two-parents Reproduction

Two parent reproduction ensures genetic variation in each new offspring. This makes for unique traits of each young, and allows for greater protection from disease. However the animals must find a mate in order to have new babies. The two types of two-parent reproduction are live birth and eggs.

One-Parent Reproduction

Most animals that reproduce asexually are invertebrates, like worms, jellyfish and sea stars.  Fragmentation and Budding can also be called cloning, because the offspring are identical to the parents. The advantage to asexual reproduction is that these animals can reproduce even if they cannot find a mate. However the offspring that are created have identical genetic information as the parent, and therefore one disease can kill off an entire population of cloned animals. They can also reproduce much quicker, but that means they can easily overpopulate and compete for resources.

Download the PDF for more fun facts and the quiz!

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Vertebrates- Animals with Backbones

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Enjoy the FREE printable vertebrate packet below, with a poster, study guide and short quiz!

Vertebrates are animals with a backbone (think vertebrae). These are the creatures we usually think of when we think of animals. Vertebrates have tremendous diversity in shape, size, ability, and characteristics. They are truly wondrous creatures! The 5 classes of vertebrates are:
Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals, and Birds.

Fish (Gills, Fins, Scales, Cold Blooded)
Fish are the only group of vertebrates that live entirely in water. All of them have gills, which is special breathing tissue that allows fish to breathe oxygen underwater. Usually fish have 4 gill slits, but sharks and some others have 5 or more. Gills have comb-like filaments that filter oxygen out of the water and into their bloodstream, and carry water filled with carbon dioxide back out of their bodies.
Fish have fins which help them paddle and maneuver through water. They also have scales that often reflect light or give fish their color. Scales are like plates that protect the bodies of fish. You can actually determine the age of fish by counting the rings on their scales! Fish are also cold blooded animals which means their bodies become cooler or hotter depending on the temperature of the water. Fish will swim slowly below the ice during winter, or even sleep in icy waters. Some fish actually produce antifreeze molecules called glycoprotein that keep their bodies from freezing in really cold temperatures!

Amphibians (Slimy skin, Metamorphosis, Four Legs, Cold Blooded)
Amphibians like frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians are born in water and develop the ability to live on land. This means almost all amphibians will go through metamorphosis. (Think of how tadpoles become frogs.) Most are born with gills and then develop lungs and four legs, though caecilians do not have legs. They have permeable, wet, slimy skin that absorbs water and oxygen, and usually have webbed feet. Amphibian eggs have no shell, but are covered in a jelly-like substance. Amphibians are also cold blooded, so they are quick and active when it is warm, but slow and sluggish when it is cold.

Reptiles (Scales, Eggs, Four Legs, Cold blooded)
Reptiles like turtles, snakes, crocodilians, and lizards are covered with scales, and usually have claws. Reptiles are cold blooded creatures and lay eggs. They are tetrapods, meaning they have four legs, or in the case of snakes, “descended” from creatures with four legs. Interestingly there are a number of snake fossils with legs, and some pythons have vestiges of legs. (Consider Genesis 3:14.) Scientists believe most dinosaurs were reptiles.

Mammals (Hair, Milk, Live Birth, Warm blooded)
Mammals can be bears, bunnies, or even whales. All mammals have hair or fur that help them maintain their warm blooded bodies. Mammals give birth to live young, most supported in the womb by a placenta and born fully developed. Marsupials, however, are born very small and further develop in their motherʻs pouch. The platypus and echidna are the exception to the mammal world, laying soft eggs. All mammals have lungs and breathe air, so most mammals live on land, but some live in the sea. There are five types of marine mammals, including pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), cetaceans (whales, porpoises), sea otters, sirenians (manatees), and polar bears. Mammals get their names from mammary glands which produce milk. All mammals produce milk in some way to feed their babies.

Birds (Feathers, Beak, Eggs)
Birds can be as tiny as a hummingbird or as large as an ostrich. All birds have feathers. Contour and flight feathers have an interlocking structure like velcro that makes them perfect for flight but also repels water. Down feathers store heat for their warm blooded bodies. Filoplumes are sensory feathers that are believed to provide information about wind, air pressure and feather movements to aid in flight. Though all birds have feathers, not all of them fly. Penguins have feathers, but they swim. Ostriches and emus have large feathers, but their sternum is not attached to their pectoral muscles, making them too weak to fly. Birds bones are lightweight and hollow which makes them light and helps them fly. All birds have a beak. Beaks come in many shapes and sizes, and are used different purposes. Because birds donʻt have teeth they use their beaks for either tearing meat, breaking seeds, sipping nectar, fishing, or finding and eating insects.

For more fun consider studying:

  • Different types of feathers

  • Four types of fish scales (Placoid, Cosmoid, Ganoid, Cycloid)

  • Explore reptiles!

  • Go find some frogs at your local pond! Be sure to wash your hands…

  • Try making a list of the mammals that live in your neighborhood. Or try one of these cool ideas!

  • Visit the local pet shop and see if you can identify what creatures belong in which vertebrate class!

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