Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Perfect Schedule

Finally, more pictures!

SS home kids!

Here are the directors of SS home and Beyond Barriers, George and Manju. I live in their apartment in the guest room.

These are the house parents I work with, Charles and Suddha:

Here are the two Hindu ladies who cook and clean for the children. I don't get to talk to them much because they don't speak English.

Here are the children hiking through the misty mountains (back two weeks ago when we went on that jungle outing).

The kids at the annual SS home spelling B:

Puniht, one of the two boys I homeschool in the mornings, all wrapped up against the night chill in the jungle during the jeep safari:

The fish George caught:

Well, now that the outing and decipleship training is over, I've been homeschooling two boys for the past week and have gotten into a kind of "regular schedule." Here's a sample of what my weekly schedule looks like:

7:00am I get up. I pray and study my Bible, have breakfast with George and Manju, and get ready for the day.

9:00am I fetch Sudeep (7) and Punith (9) from their room where they're usually playing, and home school them in preparation for entering school in June 2013, hopefully in the 2nd and 4th grades.

Every morning we start with the felt/Velcro calender. They paste on the month, date, day of the week, weather, and season. We sing a song about the weather and the days of the week. Then I set them up with some sort of craft, such as stitching with their stitching kits, tracing, drawing, or coloring. During this time they're also supposed to practice the piano; Punith and Sudeep alternate practice days.

From 9:30 to 10:00 they're working on their craft or practicing while I go to morning staff devotion. We sing 3-4 songs from a book and then talk about what God has been speaking to us and doing in our lives.

From 10:00-10:15, I teach Punith and Sudeep action songs to get their blood flowing again. From 10:15-10:45 we have reading. They both know their alphabet but Sudeep is still struggling with phonetics. He knows the sounds the letters make, but has a hard time sounding out the words, even easy 3-letter words. Mostly he just tries to guess, but I think he's slowly getting it! While I'm helping Sudeep, I usually have Punith read an easy book and copy the words to help him with spelling and penmanship. When he finishes that, he reads the book to me and shows me his work. Even though he reads better than Sudeep, he definitely needs help with handwriting, and I often have him go back and rewrite words he slopped over. When he focuses and writes slowly, his writing becomes much more legible.

From 10:45-11:15 is math time. Last week we worked on simple addition and subtraction and how to tell time. They're really struggling with time, because it's counter intuitive. Logically, they think, if the little hand is on the 3 and the big hand is on the 6, then is should be "3:6 o'clock." I've used lots of repetition and tried explaining that the short hand stands for hour and the long hand minutes, and that there are sixty minutes in an hour, but this is beyond their language skills and experience. They have no concept of "hours" and "minutes." Their idea of time is "snack time" "play time" and "lesson time." I've decided to drop the issue and come back to it a little later.

11:15-11:30 is snack time. Sometimes we watch an educational or Bible video too. Then music time is 11:30-12:00. I either give one of them a piano lesson while the other practices recorder, or I give them both a recorder lesson. We also sing songs, dance, and run around a bit.

12:00-12:30 is language time. Last week we did animals. I had a set of flashcards. If they got the animal right, they kept the card. At the end, they counted up the cards and the boy with the most cards got a sticker.

Ah, yes, the stickers. While I was teaching in Japan, I came up with a "passport" system. I got images of the flags of 15 different English-speaking countries and copied them to a single sheet of paper. Whenever one of my students does something well, they get a sticker. When they get 15 stickers, they get a small prize, like a plastic superman ring or a bracelet or candy. Both Punith and Sudeep, along with a few of the other children, have already filled up their 1st sticker sheets and are working on their 2nd.

From 12:30-1:00 we have lunch. Then Punith and Sudeep take a nap, and I plan for the next day. At 3:00 the other children come home and I help them with their homework until 4:00. They each have a designated twenty-minute piano practice time somewhere between 4:15 and 6:55, but most of them aren't interested in practicing, so I don't make them. I play with them until 6:00, when we sometimes have a recorder lesson. I usually take batches of 3 kids at a time for twenty to thirty minutes each. So far they've leaned hot crossed buns, the days of the week song, Seek Ye First, and Amazing Grace. At 7:00 we have devotions which I sometimes lead. They sings 2-3 songs and then I teach them something from the Bible. Often I tell a story and they have to tell me the moral. That's one of my favorite times!

Fridays are usually my day off, but this Friday I spent with the kids because Suddha, the house mother, was doing a discipleship training class. On Saturdays the kids either have off from school or they have a half day. On half days I teach Punith and Sudeep like every other day, but when the other kids have off, we all watch a movie together.

Sundays we go to church and rest. Thank God! By the end of the week, I need to recharge.

Prayer Requests for this week: George and Manju have both been sick off and on (due to the change from dry to rainy season, I suspect). Please pray for a full restoration of their health and that no one else will get sick. They're also beginning a big project of expansion in Beyond Barriers and SS home, and are trusting God to provide all the funds, resources, and time they need. Please pray for the two Hindu ladies who work for SS home. George and Manju have been talking and praying with them, but as of yet they have not accepted Jesus. (Evangelism is a touchy issue in this area. In all other states in India there is a secular government, but the government in Kanartika is Hindu and sharing faith in Jesus is even more illegal and punishable. So please pray too that the government will change!)

Personally, I'm struggling with a lot of anxiety and fear about the future and what to do (which I really shouldn't be thinking about right now anyway), and I just need to feel the peace of God and His love in and upon my life.

Until next time, keep loving and praying,
L.J. Popp

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