22 August 2013

True Friendship

I have lived in the States for over a decade and want to assure my readers that I like living here. I believe God put me onto this continent for a reason.

With that being said, I do have to rant today......

Usually, when Americans ask me what I think of their country, I reply honestly very positive. In my opinion, every country on this planet has pros and cons to offer. No country is perfect because no human being is perfect. Leaders make mistakes, just as the little people do.

In general, I like to look at the bad things that I left being in my native Germany, and only look at what I gained in living here. Believe me, there are many things. Many advantages that make this country a good place to be.

BUT in the last four weeks, I have talked with many of my old German friends, and for some odd reason, they all have complained about one thing: Americans and friendship, or rather the lack of it. The lack of closeness and the lack of being able to rely on them. The superficiality of small talk and casual get-togethers are hard for us Germans to understand.

There is a saying that it's hard to become the friend of a German, but once you are, you'll be one for life. With friendships comes expectations and responsibilities. As a German myself, I can testify this to be true. It takes a long time to trust someone, but once that bridge is crossed, there is no doubt of relying on one another. It's mutual and enjoyable. It makes life less lonely.

Going through my mental friends list, I have to say that all my friends are Europeans spread all over the world. Some of them, I have not seen in almost two decades, or one, or a few years. But I email with them, talk to them on the phone, Skype, or interact personally in one way or another.
I can not say that about my American acquaintances! Nope! Americans like social media..... and social media is great to hide at home, have lots of acquaintances, but no expectations and no responsibilities with true friends. It's shallow and quick and easy.....
And I want to point out that it is not a lack of trying to integrate myself. I have tried and failed many times. I simply want more.

I don't know about you, but I do expect more from life. I want real friends to laugh with, to cry on their shoulders, and to make memories with. I want real conversations about small victories and about big dreams. I do not expect my friends to agree with each and every thing I do, but I do expect them to be honest - something that alot of Americans are lacking! Sorry. I don't want just friendly people around me, I want real friends with their strength and their weaknesses. I want deep and meaningful relationships.

So if you can see yourself in the phrase: "I call you later." but in YOUR mind, you have no intentions to do so, or to do so anytime soon - know that there might be an assumption, or hope, in the receiver's mind to hear from you soon. When I say later, I tend to call later - meaning literally in the next FEW days. And there are many 'empty' phrases that Americans like to bombard their opponent with, with no true intention behind them. Small talk. And most people on this earth just don't know what to do with it.

When approached with a question, Germans tell you what they really think - I do not always get that impression from the people on this continent. I feel I get excuses, coverups, apologies, and even deceptions - everything but true feelings. After all, if someone asks you something, I assume that they want to hear the truth,. But I had to learn the hard way that this is not the case here. People like to be buttered and honeyed up, flattered and smooched. To me, that is all just a different word for lying. Don't sugar-coat the answer, BE REAL!

As Christians, we are to speak kind words to encourage and build another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and we are not to use our tongue like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18).
But the bible also says in 1 John 3:18 "let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth". That means, don't just talk about how great a friend you are but really BE there when you are needed in time of trouble. And what is the truth? God's truth! And God's truth is not always wrapped in gift paper with a bow on it - God has spoken harsh words before, words that needed to be heard for a change to arrive, usually for the better.

In my opinion, friends are there for the good times and the hard times. They are there to sharpen another, just as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). A true friendship can be so rewarding. And I am blessed to have many friends around the world that I can call true friends, and that I can rely on.

I found a great article, that I agree with for the most part, you can click on the link below. Please read it.

09 August 2013

List of lapbooks 2012-2013

Our school days were definitely busy with the curriculum that we were using this year. Math and all kinds of English subjects like Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting, were great BUT it was lacking with the fun things like Science, History and Geography.

So I decided to fill in the blanks with lapbooks. These projects are fun and creative and can be done as deep (or not) as wished. We had some more broad view lapbooks, and then some very intense ones. No matter what, we enjoyed them very much this year.

Here is a list of all the lapbooks we have done:

- Native Indians
- Texas
- Numbers All Around Us
- All About Me
- Patriotic Day - American Flag and some American history
- Spiders lapbook
- Health lapbook
- Animal Classification
- Christopher Columbus
- Weather lapbook
- Thanksgiving lapbook
- Fables lapbook
- Christmas Around the World

- MLK Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Bee lapbook
- Poetry lapbook
- President's Day + George Washington + Abraham Lincoln
- Introduction into Art
- Books of the Bible
- St. Patrick's Day
- Easter lapbook
- Parts of Speech
- Good Citizenship
- Solar System
- Earth Day and Plant Life Cycle
- Introduction to Music + Orchestra lapbook
- Colonial Times
- Inventions and Technologies

We did a lapbook almost every week, just a few were done within two weeks. Most of our materials were either found online - the internet is a wonderful place for research - or in books that we bought or borrowed from the local library.

My kids love mazes and word searches and coloring pages, so we always included those.

In the beginning of the year, I thought I would only do these with Coqui (2nd grader), but Peanut quickly realized that she wanted to be a part of this as well. I let her join in a few like Thanksgiving and Christmas. She loved it and I could see that she was finally participating. So I had to adapt each theme for her. I came up with the following.

I took each week's theme and took one letter for her. Like during the Solar System week, she did letter S, and during St. Patrick's week, she worked on the letter P. This way, I figured, we will eventually cover the entire alphabet, AND she is learning many other things along the way. She felt included, got to work on a cover page and got to cut paper - her favorite thing to do in school.

Hopefully, we can give you ideas and/or help you find resources. Happy homeschooling.