Book Reviews, Homeschooling

Psalm 23: Board Books for Christian Formation

The new school year tumbles in, with torrential rains, soaked earth, and flickering electric power. Online classes begin, with technology connecting us to classrooms in Serbia and Romania, classmates in Ethiopia and the United States, and language studies in Russian, Chinese, and Greek.

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I am a member of the Psalm 23 launch team. The publisher, Harvest House, provided me with a complimentary copy of Psalm 23 in exchange for writing and publishing this review. I was already a fan of the Baby Believer Primers by Catechesis Books before being selected for the launch team. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]

My third culture heart is so delighted we have been fortunate enough to build an intentionally global homeschool (after all, we serve a global God!) I love seeing how this plays out in little details, like virtual classrooms which span the globe, a world wall map centered on the Pacific Ocean, not the United States, and middle school math built around the UK framework. (Singapore math is my go-to for elementary grades.)

A Global Worldview Extends to the Very Youngest Members of Your Home

Seeing the world with a wide-angle lens also goes hand-in-hand, I think, with seeing kids as born persons. A global worldview sees all people, regardless of geographic location or age, as equal and equally deserving.

The eager 3-year-old deserves to learn something new each day, just the same as the 6th grader. There is no minimum age for learning, nor is there a maximum age for open-ended play. (The sixth grader can play with LEGO while I read aloud. The preschooler is not an afterthought to lessons, nor is he an interruption. And board books are just as valuable as Shakespeare. Yes, really.)

Lochlan started out the school year with the newest board book from author-illustrator team Danielle Hitchen and Jessica Blanchard, Psalm 23: A Colors Primer.

I love this series of books, and I love the concept behind them:

Baby Believer Primers help you teach your children the central tenets of the Christian faith that they may never know a day apart from the Lord. –catechesisbooks.com (emphasis mine)

Isn’t that beautiful?

Previous books in this series have derived their text entirely from hymns, creeds, and Bible verses, and the Psalm 23 primer is no different. Other than the colors, the text of Psalm 23 is all Scripture, with each colorful two-page spread illustrating a verse from the ESV translation.

Baby Believer Primers from Catechesis Books teach Christ-Centered Truth Alongside Preschool Basics

Since it’s a colors primer — prior Baby Believer books have included shapes, emotions, numbers, movement and more — Psalms 23 walks kids through ten colors:

  • brown
  • green
  • blue
  • grey
  • black
  • orange
  • purple
  • yellow
  • red, and
  • white.

A serene blue scene, for instance, is used to illustrate “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” while flowing oil and brilliant yellow sunshine brings to life “you anoint my head with oil.” The book ends with a gleaming celestial white, reminding us “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The illustrations are top-tier. Each page is drenched in deeply pigmented color. Lochlan recently learned his colors, so he was feeling pretty proud of himself as he “read” the book by shouting out the color for each page. He also loved how illustrations switched back and forth between horizontal and vertical spreads, since it required him to turn the book sideways — and this is quite hilarious when you’re three!

A side note: While I have no theological issue with depictions of Christ — I am typing this next to an icon of Christ the Shepherd — some readers may wish to know that this book contains an illustration of a shepherd cradling a lamb.

There are now NINE books in the Baby Believer series!

Baby Believer books have a special place in my heart. Aveline and Lochlan are actual miracles; click through to read my review of Jesus Heals, and the story of God’s miraculous healing hand.

(P.S. Lochlan is wearing a hand-me-down Småfolk shirt, which Aveline originally wore in kindergarten! I saved it out of pure hope. You can click here to see teeny-tiny four-year-old Aveline wearing the same exact shirt back in 2015. Once you click through, scroll down! She’s wearing it in 4 different photos. Oh, time!)

I’ve absolutely loved reading these primers with my dear kids —

I’m thrilled to add Psalm 23 to our regular rotation. It’s launched at a perfect time — the beginning of the school year — and Lochlan is thrilled he gets a new book, too, while sister digs in to her stack of school books.

You can purchase Baby Believer books directly from Catechesis Books, or shop at any major retailer.

My prayer is that Lochlan tucks Psalm 23 away in his heart, never doubts God’s endless love for him, and grows up to always love Jesus.

What is your prayer for your kids this year?

Book Reviews, Curriculum Reviews, Homeschooling

Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten Review: NEW Pre-K at Home with Montessori Updates

Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten Review: NEW Pre-K at Home with Montessori Updates

Pre-K at home with good books and hands-on lessons

Homeschoolers are opinionated when it comes to early childhood education. All you have to do is mention preschool or pre-kindergarten in a room full of homeschool moms, and you’ll instantly find yourself the recipient of a ton of free advice — whether or not you want it.

One of the most common bits of advice is to let kids play.

But have you ever stopped to ask, what is play?

Continue reading “Sonlight Pre-Kindergarten Review: NEW Pre-K at Home with Montessori Updates”
Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: In which we suddenly start school

2 - Preschool at Home - Oaxacaborn blog

Today, under the cover of an indecisive grey-and-blue sky on an otherwise uneventful morning, Aveline I got out the books and she started preschool.

This wasn’t a part of any grand scheme or as a result of any thought-out plans I had for March 2014. In fact, I kind of imagined her in a little class in the near future. But this was — is — a part of life and its ebb and flow; part of the surges and the pauses that make up this winding road.

4 - Preschool at Home - Oaxacaborn blog

For weeks now, I haven’t been able to keep her in printables. She’d trace the letters and numbers as soon as printed the worksheets, begging for more numbers, more letters, more words, asking “What’s it mean? What’s it mean? How many numbers is this? What’s it say?”

So I kept printing out worksheets, and in a moment of desperation while ordering preschool workbooks and realizing she wasn’t eligible for Pre-K until Fall 2015, I fired up kids’ Mandarin lessons on YouTube as a diversion.

While we waited for book orders to arrive, she latched onto Chinese. One week in, she requested miàn tiáo [noodles] for dinner. Two weeks in, she woke up singing Happy Birthday in Chinese.

5 - Preschool at Home - Oaxacaborn blog

See, the thing about kids is, they’re kind of unpredictable. We can make plans about what we think we might do with them, how we think they might act, what we think they might like, and when it’s all going to happen — but the truth is, we have no idea. Absolutely no idea.

The last of the workbooks came in the mail yesterday, as well as Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Practical Chinese (the last book is a little advanced for her right now, but I need a guidebook for myself).

3 - Preschool at Home - Oaxacaborn blog

Right away this morning, before I had even gotten out of bed, a small person appeared at my bedside, asking to trace letters and do school. And so, after breakfast, we began this journey into phonics and reading, counting and math, characters and pinyin.

A month ago, I wouldn’t have predicted this time to come so soon. But I love the places life takes us, and I love watching as my daughter’s distinct self emerges. She’s her own person; she is not me. (Note to self: I think this is probably an important point worth hanging on to as she grows older.) Right now, she’s here in front of me, looking to me and asking me to guide her. And when (i.e., every single day) I feel the weight of this sacred responsibility, I can ask wisdom of One who freely gives.

And He will meet me, He will answer me, and He will sustain me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links above are “affiliate links” provided in conjunction with my participation in Amazon.com’s Associates Program. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally, and I will always disclose any such links. Please note: this does NOT mean that the above is a sponsored post. I am NOT associated in any way with the products or companies linked above, and no person or agency has asked me to write on their behalf.  

Life in Photos

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Letters and Numbers

Aveline - January 2013 - Aveline's attempt to make 8's - Photo via Oaxacaborn dot com

Aveline - January 2013 - Coloring on Worksheets - Photo via Oaxacaborn dot com

We’re both sitting here this morning working on letters (well, she’s working on numbers, too.) I push little square plastic buttons on the keyboard and the letters appear, black and sans-serif, perfectly aligned; yet still I rearrange them endlessly.

She chooses from among sixty-four colors like marigold and cerulean and orchid, and fills in the centers of her O’s and 8’s and sings her version of the alphabet, which currently sounds like “O-O-B-O-E-E-E-O.”

I open another blank document; she runs to the printer for another worksheet.

We’re not that different, she and I.

(Thanks to Marie of A Sea Apart for the link to these great printable worksheets.)