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Story Telling

Posted by Eileen Miller on August 14, 2012 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Story telling with NOL techniques can return us to one of the greatest elements to moral education.  The stories read to our children contain extrinsic value in that we learn from other characters what they value... outside of ourselves...whether virtue or vice.  When our children begin to form their own descriptions and opinions into sentences and paragraphs for their journals, they begin to apply their own learned and nurtured values to the story.  Afterwards, keywords are chosen and utilized to search for bible verses which help the story and/or process take on a positive intrinsic value of strengthening faith, loving others, staying safe, and infusing creativity into their thinking skills.  God's ways open up the door to freedom and limit the need to feel bogged down in details.

Let's face that our children will one day encounter characters in stories that "make no attempt to delineate character in a moral dilemma, have any ties to any social particularities (traditions, loyalties, locations, or histories), or leave to judgement the character's life not fully lived or mission incomplete."  (How to Teach Virtue: Why Telling Stories to our Children is the Best Kind of Character Education, William Kirk Kilpatrick)  It is a strange new way of teaching.  Parents have the ability in the moral treasure of Christian principles to put limits on flaws in stories presented today and into the future by infusing biblical realities and encounters in nurturing into story telling.  NOL techniques give parents an effective and enjoyable approach to present this moral treasure to their children while building up other beneficial skills of writing, communicating, and drawing at the same time.  Time can be valuable and this simple NOL process can ensure a fruitful outcome for children in a manageable block of time.

Positive intrinsic values through bible reading learn to be sought after and experienced in the child's thinking about the stories and in our every day life.  The bible becomes the authority or final word in any dilemma a story presents.  External values are still observed through good and/or bad behaviors from characters without your child feeling as though he has been given the authority to determine what is good and bad before he has learned it.  God has already told us what is good and our children need to apply this goodness to life events.  One of the closest paths to mirror life events for the very young is through story telling.  The NOL process trains our children to navigate toward the proper leaders and friends to emulate in life and navigate away from danger.

NOL Sample Stories - Group #1

Posted by Eileen Miller on June 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is a list of more sample stories and bible verses you can enjoy with your child.  My son and I will be revisiting and rereading these bible verses later by going through his journal together.

1)  The Land of Hungry Armadillos by Lawrence David (Gus should have served God and shared his crayons with Wendy.)

Bible Verses re: Sharing and Love of Neighbor:

Acts 20:35....."I have always pointed out to you that it is by such hard work that you must help the weak.  You need to recall the words of the Lord Jesus himself, who said, 'There is more happiness in giving than receiving."

Matt. 19:19b....."Honor your father and your mother; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself."

Gal. 5:14....."The whole law has found its fulfillment in this one saying: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Gal. 6:10....."While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men - but especially those of the household of the faith."

Rom. 12: 10b....."Love one another with the affection of brothers.  Anticipate each other in showing respect."

2)  Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candice Fleming (A rich king invites a poor boy to a party.)

Bible Verse re: Inviting the Poor to the Banquet:

Luke 14:12-14....."He said to the one who had invited him:  'Whenever you give a lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or wealthy neighbors.  They might invite you in return and thus repay you.  No, when you have a reception, invite beggars and the crippled, the lame and the blind.  You should be pleased that they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.' "

3)  Thunder Boomer by Shutta Crum (Tom saw dad's underwear flying in the storm.)

Bible Verses re:  Laughter:

Gen. 21:6....."Sarah then said, 'God has given me cause to laugh, and all who hear of it will laugh with me.' "

Job 8:21....."Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with refoicing."

4)  Dimity Dumpty, The Story of Humpty's Little Sister by Bob Graham (Dimity saved her brother Humpty.)

Bible Verses re:  To Save (many more too)

Luke 10: 29-37.....Parable of the Good Samaritan

5)  The Pigrates Clean Up by Steven Kroll (Pigrates clean the ship.)

Bible Verse re:  Keeping Clean while Fasting

Matt. 6:16....."When you fast, you are not to look glum as the hypocrites do.  They change the appearance of their faces so that others may see they are fasting.  I assure you, they are already repaid"

6)  R. Robot Saves Lunch by R. Nicholas Kuszyk (R. Robot found the missing robot.)

Bible Verses re: Lost / Found

Luke 15:1.....Lost Sheep 

Luke 15:8.....Lost Coin 

Matt. 13:45.....Found Pearl 

Matt. 13:44.....Found Treasure

7)  Jacobs Tree by Holly Keller (Jacob couldn't wait to grow.)

Bible Verse re:  Growth

Matt. 13: 31-35.....Mustard Seed

8.  James and the Rain by Karla Kuskin (James walked in the rain with the animals.)

Bible Verse re:  Rain

Genisis 7:12....."For forty days and forty nights heavy rain poured down on the earth."

9)  Grandfather's Dream by Holly Keller (The crains came back to Vietnam.)

Bible Verse re: Coming Back

Luke 15:  11-32.....Prodigal Son

10)  Nugget and Darling by Barbara M. Joosse (Nugget learned not to be jealous.)

Bible Verse re: Learning

Matt. 11: 28-30....."Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.  Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.  Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light."

Feel free to share your experience with your child here.  When Patrick and I revisit the stories later, we will not have the story book (They were all library materials and have to be returned).  We will just have the bible and the journal created by my son whose sentences and pictures will bring up the main point of the story.  The journal is a great keepsake too. Patrick will be learning to search the bible to find and read the appropriate passages to me.   Also, feel free to share any new stories you do on your own.

NOL Sample Story: Ten Days and Nine Nights

Posted by Eileen Miller on June 22, 2012 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Ten Days and Nine Nights by Yumi Heo is a wonderful adoption story told from the perspective of the future big sister of the new baby as she counts up the days to the joyful arrival her mother soon brings home.  We also had to discuss our verses with small breaks in between them because I do not want to overwhelm my son.  When he actually read the verses out loud from the bible, it was music to my ears!   While he just turned six and we completed one sentence, we incorporated three separate bible verses that were applied to our discussion.  They are (remember to look up or explain underlined words):

1)  Galatians 4: 4-5   "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption."

****  My son wrote his sentence with the word 'adopted' in it.  We also spoke of Mary as 'the woman.'  The 'fullness of time' was when God saw that it was right to send Jesus.

(I have to tell you...I have three sons.  At the beach, two of my sons were talking about the birthmarks on their side and back.  My third son said, "I don't have one."  My six year old said, "maybe that means your adopted."  We laughed.  He knew it was a joke too.)

2)  John 14:  1-4   "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in me.  In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be."

****  From the pictures in this story, the big sister and her father prepare the baby's room.  One can see how this verse can tie in nicely.  The pictures almost act like a parable does.

3)  Mark 1:8   "I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy spirit."

****  The picture my son drew was when the mother presented paperwork to the adoption agency.  I told him, "we don't need paperwork to be part of God's family.  This is why we are baptized."

Have fun with your child and enjoy the story and the Word of God!  Remember too that your child must know that the story does not replace the Word of God.  It just helps to conceptualize its meaning.

NOL Sample Story: Something from Nothing

Posted by Eileen Miller on April 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This post is an example of how I would dialogue with my children about the simple stories we've read together from pre-school through third or fourth grade.  I would often try to apply a biblical principle to our discussion and written summary of the story in their journal.  I love to key in on acts of virtue or vice shown by the characters so that my children would enjoy learning about beneficial or detrimental behavior.  I also had the children draw a simple picture about the story on their journal page.  In the beginning, I just helped them sketch out shapes if they needed help.  They soon followed my example.  With this story, I prepared a tracing activity of some simple drawings.  The more practice the children have...the more advanced their pictures and coloring will be.  

The story I've chosen to show as my example is so sweet.  It is a picture book called "Something from Nothing" by Phoebe Gilman.  After you read this story to your child, develop questions to ask them (or use the ones I've provided below).  Everyone writes differently and my example is only a guide.  Please be creative where ever the spirit leads you and your child.  There are many bible passages that reference the theme of EXPRESSING JOY that I've zeroed in on as the Main Idea (MI).


1.)  ASK:  What is this story about?  (Opportunity to explain meaning of Main Idea)

Answer:  SHOWING JOY (Lead your child into developing a sentence with these two words in it.  Important:  Actions can SHOW / PORTRAY something...which is a great word to use and know.)  If your child is a very early beginner, the sentence can naturally be shorter or done piecemeal (a little every day).  You don't want to overwhelm them.  Mom knows best when her child needs a little pushing or taking a break. 


Topic Sentence:  A young boy shows joy over the blanket his grandfather made for him by writing a story about it.


2.)  ASK:  Why is this good and/or how can it apply to my life?  (The underlined word should be looked up in the dictionary together.)


Middle Sentence:  We should all show joy for the good things we experience in life.


3.)  ASK:  Can you think of or can we find (use Concordance or Internet) a bible verse to conclude the paragraph with?  (Remember to look up underlined words in dictionary).


Conclusion:  Even Saint Peter expresses joy in Acts Two of the bible when thousands of people converted after hearing the good news about Our Lord.


or something like:


Conclusion - Option 2:  This is the reason people wrote the bible because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and joyful about God's Revelation.  They wanted to share their joy with the world.


Developed Paragraph:

     A young boy shows joy over the blanket his grandfather made for him by writing a story about it.  We should all show joy for the good things we experience in life.  This is the same reason poeple wrote the bible because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and joyful about God's Revelation.  They wanted to share their joy with the world.


(I believe if they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, they were also joyful about the task at hand.)


This is an older child's journal entry that was taught in the classroom.  Therefore, some copywork was involved with the use of a whiteboard.  Nevertheless, I had them answer these questions:


1)  What is this story about?

2)  Who did what in the story?

3)  How did the blanket change?  What is my picture about?

4)  What was the result of this action?  How did Joseph respond?

5)  How can I tie in a bible verse?

6)  Conclusion:  What should we do in our life?  How should I feel or act?


Developed Paragraph

     This is a story of the joy and love between a grandfather and his grandson.  Joseph's grandfather made him a blanket that became worn and tattered through the years.  His grandfather gets creative each time the material becomes worn by making it into a jacket, vest, tie, handkerchief, and button.  Joseph decides to express his joy for these acts of love from his grandfather by writing a story about it.  St. Peter in Acts Two also expresses his joy in Jesus Christ at Pentecost by proclaiming the Gospel.  We should all express joy for the virtue we see in life.




Little One's Come to Mary

Posted by Eileen Miller on October 21, 2011 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

We just finished learning about the Joyful Mysteries in our Kindergarten Co-op class.  There are four little boys in the class.  We all recite one decade of the rosary after I read them a short story of the Gospel lesson.  It is music to my ears!  In the beginning of the year, I don't think they all knew exactly how to say the "Hail Mary."  Now they are starting to sound like experts.  In just five short classes, the boys are realizing how Mary takes care of her children and leads them to her Son!


I also make a list of the nouns that the Bible lesson speaks of so that it gives the children something more tangible when they start to develop a sentence in their journal for the specific mystery we are learning about.  If it is applicable, they are starting to choose verbs too for their sentence.  The boys are just learning to write so they just color their picture during class time.  They will write their sentence at home with Mom so that the class time does not wear them out.  Later, I hope to have them begin to write their sentences during the class.


It is such a joy to see the boys learning about their Faith together.  When young boys pray together, they will carry this action into their adulthood.  Sometimes it is often hard for men to realize their leadership roles for Faith building because their careers take up so much of their time.  Instilling prayer into the life of young boys is extremely important.  Girls seem to take more naturally to prayer life where boys benefit when they come together and bond in prayers together. 


Therefore, if you can bring your very young sons into a circle of friendships with other boys where they can pray and learn about our Lord together, I highly recommend this.  I've seen the positive outcome of our little homeschool co-op class this year, and it is amazing.

Moral Formation

Posted by Eileen Miller on November 13, 2010 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Homeschooling offers our children the opportunity to enter deep into the attitudes of Christ.  As parents continuously give their time and lives to their children, their children become real witnesses to Christian attitudes.  Children do not only learn biblical truth, but are armed with the real joy of being a Christian.  Christian joy is like an armor of love that Christ freely gives us.  Every relationship and encounter our children experience is contemplated with Christ as its foundation.  All the virtues from the Holy Spirit come into play when children have witnessed their own parents poring out their hearts to them.


Older children naturally pass on Christian attitudes to their younger siblings and the whole family unites together.  Christ brings the Old Testament to fulfillment as we're brought deeper into the meaning of Christianity with the Beatitudes in the New Testament.  This is the true way to happiness.  The graces from Christ giving us this joy and happiness cause our children to search for the truth about life.  The actions we show others can come from our personal quest to always aim our sights on what the Lord would do in the same situation.  His graces provide an anchor of hope that cannot be shaken in the lives of our children. 


We not only need to know Christ but to live Christ by putting the Gospel into action.  Our morals can be consistently in line with the Gospel message by providing our children the care and love they need to know the truth about life and learning the skills to succeed.  One of the most important aspects to a child's success is having a love for learning.  Just try to teach any large group of students.  You will immediately see who has a good attitude for the learning process.  It is the parent who can inspire their younger children toward these ends the best.

Promoting Knowledge of the Faith

Posted by Eileen Miller on November 10, 2010 at 5:56 AM Comments comments (0)

As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the Faith in our families.  We must present knowledge of Christ to our children so they can encounter him.  This will instill a desire to know him all the more.  A desire to foster a search for the best way to handle relationships and situations in the minds of our children as they go through their daily activities and schedules. 


Parents will begin to see the fruit of this knowledge in the friendships their children make and the work ethic put forth to achieve beneficial results in studies and relationships.  This knowledge brings forth a natural, not contrived, adherence to the faith life.  Our Catholic tradition enhances this assimilation of the Christian life like no other.  This tradition acts as an anchor for love and justice to flourish in lives by participating in the life of the Church. 


As the application of Christian principles takes place in one's encounters,  God's love develops for others and in their chosen vocations.  It is this love which is elevated as the real entity which is remembered and cherished in the heights of God's glory bringing forth salvation through the redemption of Christ.  The sublime Science of Christ is knowledge of tradition and scripture which disciples need to bring forth deeds and words of goodness, truth, and beauty set as the standard by the Divine Author of life.

Opportunity to Serve

Posted by Eileen Miller on February 9, 2010 at 5:29 PM Comments comments (0)

We were blessed with a wonderful opportunity to teach pre-schoolers through kindergarten children two dance and movement classes at a local dance studio.  My two daughters loved to assist me teaching the young girls.  My girls really learned how to be responsible and assist me in meeting the needs of these little angels. 


Today I told them that the money I made for teaching these classes never came before the service I provided to the little ones.  I told them that it is important that they do not focus on their own personal gain in their vocations but the ability to effectively serve others should be their main motivational force to succeed.  It is through serving others that real success and happiness comes to us. 


It was a real learning experience for my daughters that we gained so much from as we grow and learn from these memories.  Homeschooling allowed us to take advantage of this wonderful growth experience in our lives.  We talked about Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15 and how he fell in love with the money he could make by doing wrong.  "He was a man attracted to dishonest gain..." and let his selfish greed get the best of him.  Thinking of ourselves is not how Our Lord shows us how to live.  We must put others first as we did teaching the dance classes. 


Our classes of little dancers grew as more mothers learned of the good work we provided for their daughters.  The growth of students in our classes was a direct result of how we met the needs of all these children and not focused on how much profit we would gain from more members. 


We were doubly blessed because my young daughters were given this opportunity to work with children too.  It is a skill that is too often overlooked in our society.  My daughters really fell in love with our little students and enjoyed every minute teaching and assisting them.  I am grateful for the valuable experience they learned from this endeavor. 


As you go through your day, notice how others serve you when you are out and about with your children.  Comment on the positive and/or negative aspects to how people serve you.  Ofentimes, one can see if there is genuine care given in the service received from others.  Let it be a learning experience for your own children!


Posted by Eileen Miller on February 6, 2010 at 6:27 AM Comments comments (1)

There exists no greater human model of reciprocal love for us to emulate than that of the Holy Family consisting of Mary as Mother, Joseph as foster-father, and Jesus as Child and Savior. I once heard some Christian leaders say that "reciprocity is not the goal." I'm not to sure if they were applying it to family life but possibly individual spiritual development. How much reciprocal love should we, as Christian mothers, aim to instill in our families? Reciprocity of a caring nature seems to be a major goal for my family!  It leads us to see the other as our other self or, better yet, Christ Himself.

Choose Discipleship

Posted by Eileen Miller on Comments comments (0)

Discipleship with the Lord permits one to carry with them a stable satisfaction of their lot in life no matter the situation.  It permits an echoing and enthusiastic resonance to our unique existence to be readily available for us in most any event.  We help make this happen by strengthening the relationship with Christ in ourselves and those around us.

God has laid out very clearly that our response to His love entails strengthening our relationship with Him through his Son and thus building up God's Kingdom on earth.  Our relationship with Christ helps us to be open and welcoming to our neighbors which is suggested by God's law and the teachings of Christ.  Journeying to adulthood with Christ does not leave us alone and vulnerable but provides us with a secure place wherever we find ourselves.

Comfortable satisfaction can come to us with Christ even though no person or thing will ever be enough to satisfy the full breadth of our human potential.  We no longer look for moments of satisfaction with things or with people but are granted partial fulfillment with the grace of Christ present in our hearts and minds.  Thus, we find ourselves through this sustaining discipleship with the Lord.  We remember the hour of peace at Mass throughout our daily toils.  Therefore, choose discipleship with the Lord to provide you with the strength and courage to withstand trials from this vast and ravaged world and give you peace of heart throughout your life.