Summer Road Trip Link Up: 6/24

Summer Road Trip Link Up: 6/24Welcome to the 4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up! Share your favorite summer posts below. Each week, we gather the best summer time content around. Have a favorite Bible Verse that gets you through the long, hot days? Have a go-to summer time activity to keep your kids occupied? Or do you have a favorite destination you want everyone to know about? Share your link below!

And while you are busying road tripping to all those fabulous places, don’t forget to download Sproutville, from the App Store! Sproutville, the Bible Playground,  is the perfect wholesome app for your children.

Rules for the Link Up:

  • The 4soils Summer Road Trip Link Up opens every Tuesday throughout the Summer.
  • Link up any post with a Summer time theme–recipes, crafts, homeschooling tips, field trips, vacations, destinations, inspiration, Bible verses or lessons.
  • Content should be family friendly.
  • Be sure to check back and comment on the other linked posts!
  • Share with your network!
  • Happy Linking!

 

Using Technology in Homeschooling

Using Technology in HomeschoolingFaith & Family Guest Blogger Heather McCurdy shares how she integrates technology into homeschooling. 
Sometimes when I am chatting with people I am pretty sure they think I live in the Dark Ages. After all, I’m one of THEM–you know, one of those parents who HOMESCHOOL.  It’s okay. Truly, sometimes when I see portrayals of homeschooling I can’t really blame them. If that’s all I saw I would think the same. They haven’t seen my house. We strongly believe technology is a useful tool in homeschooling.
We have somehow accumulated a serious amount of technology. We are careful with our children in how much technology they actually use and what purpose it is used for, but we love the benefits technology brings to our home school world.

Technology is a great tool to reinforce what they learn around them. Hearing a story, reading a story, acting out a story, and playing trivia games about a story all mean that children are getting the same information in four different ways.

This is perfect especially for children who have different learning styles. I feel that it is important for children to learn in more than just “their” learning style. Not only do they need to learn in their best and most conducive way but they need to be stretched and learn in other ways because some day in life they are going to be in a big world that doesn’t cater to “their way”. By using technology we can intertwine their learning strengths and weaknesses to ensure they learn their best way and a stretching way. Technology plays a huge role in reinforcing these different styles of learning.

  • Computer Games - Computer games can be anything from pure entertainment that helps children build good reaction times and coordination to educational, enriching their math and reading skills.  They have fun in what they THINK is their 30 minutes of down time and I score in the homework department.
  • Video - Too much screen time isn’t good. We’ve heard this all our parenting days. I agree to a certain point, but screen time CAN indeed help teach our children. When we teach them counting up and down the stairs, then they sit and watch a show with counting, that technology reinforces what they are learning. You can take any number of “lessons” and translate that over – colors, direction, music, math skills, geography, history, and science – I can think of many shows and movies that reinforce these and educate in a fun new way.
  • Apps - “There’s an app for that.” Why yes, yes there is. There is an app for that and everything in between. A simple search shows you great apps that teach shapes, colors, math skills, and reading skills. Again, it’s all about reinforcement in a new way.
  • eReaders - I have children who love to read. They love to read even more when there is technology involved. Using the eReader is a special opportunity and we like to mix it in with regular paper books. eReaders are also so much easier to load up and take on a trip-no lost library books and one less bag, because my children gather piles of books to take every time!

In an ideal world I see a mix of traditional bookwork education and new technological education. Utilizing technology in our homeschool day prepares my children for this new world we live in where technology runs everything. I especially love to find apps, games, or videos that help them build skills in new ways. When my son was struggling with fractions and division, I searched for games he could play that would help him grow his skills. Sometimes it just takes introducing a concept in a new way to help them “get it”. Technology does this. It reaches them where they are at and helps them see concepts in a new fun way.

How do you use technology to help your children learn?

Using Technology in HomeschoolingHeather has 3 children and been homeschooling for 6 years now. While it makes her a little crazy she wouldn’t trade it for anything. She is also part of the team at EDvaCAtion Network, where education and travel collide into one great educational enrichment or homeschooling experience on the road. Come check out where they are headed next!

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonLast night, I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32 to my two older children.

After I finished, the first thing the girls asked was:

“Why did the bad son get a party?”

Why, indeed? What does Christ want to teach us in the parable of the prodigal son? In the story we meet two sons—one who stays and nurtures his father’s financial legacy and another who leaves and squanders it.

But then the squanderer returns to the fold and his father rejoices.

I think that sometimes, each of us are the squanders. God doles out His everlasting and infinite love in equal portions to each of us. He hands out His legacy to everyone who is around and then, He lets us run away with it.

Some of us run far. Others of us stay nearby. But most of us, leave and come back over and over again. And God accepts us and when we return, He rejoices. We’ve been found!

To my children, I asked them how they would feel if they left the family, made mistakes and needed to come home—wouldn’t they want and need open arms and joyous hearts to fortify their resolve to do better?

We all need that fortification. And we all need to be reminded that it is never too late to be found and God, like our earthly fathers, is waiting up late for us to return home. God is waiting to give us the gift of unconditional love and everlasting life.

Our heavenly Father and our earthly Fathers give us so many gifts—we inherit their legacies and how we choose to spend it is entirely up to us. No matter how we choose, we can rest assured that our Fathers will forgive us, guide us and celebrate us!

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has ben found.” (Luke 15:32)

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonWant to teach your children more about The Parable of the Prodigal Son? Share the story of the Prodigal Son, available in the App Store and as part of Sproutville! Sproutville is a great compliment to your family Bible reading and a great activity to get your children excited about the greatest story ever told!

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up: June 3

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up: June 3

 

Welcome to the 4soils Summer Road Trip Link Up! Summer is such a great season to make family memories, enjoy the warm sun, eat outside and bask in God’s glory! We can’t wait to see what great inspiration you share with us!  Link up your favorite summer recipes, worksheets, activities and inspiration for families!

Guest Post: Trust

Guest Post: Trust We are so excited to share a guest post from Jo-Lynne Shane from Musings of a Housewife. Jo-Lynne shares with us why trust in Christ is simply enough. 

trust |trəst|

noun
1 firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something

verb [ trans. ]
1 believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of

We Christians talk a lot about trust. And faith. And hope.

In the car, my children often sing along to this song:

When I am afraid, I will trust in you
I will trust in you
I will trust in you

When I am afraid, I will trust in you
in God whose word I praise.

In church, we occasionally sing this song:

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know “Thus saith the Lord.”

We say we trust His promises, but what promises does He make to us, exactly?

Does He promise that everything will be just peachy as long as we trust Him?

Surely not, as any believer who has lost a child or suffered a debilitating illness or had a spouse walk away can attest.

No, we trust in this simple promise:

I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

Nothing more, nothing less.

And that is enough.

Guest Post: Trust About Jo-Lynne

Jo-Lynne is a wife, mom, Christ follower, writer, runner, style watcher, foodie, fast talker, over-thinker and hopeless coffee addict. Named one of Nielsen’s 50 Most Influential Women in Social Media, Jo-Lynne is best known for her award-winning lifestyle blog, Musings of a Housewife where she dishes up an assortment of food, fashion, fitness and family travel.  Follow Jo-Lynne on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. 

 

 

 

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up

 

It is officially summer! Join 4soils every Tuesday, all summer long, for a Link Up featuring some of the best in summer inspiration, activities and joy for families! Stop by every Tuesday and share your most faithful stories, recipes, activities and inspirational wisdom for the long, hot summer. We can’t wait to read and share all the amazing links! Happy Summer.

After you share your link, share the love and read some of the other posts!

 

And if you are looking for the perfect Bible App to keep your kiddos busy in the car, don’t forgot to download Sproutville, the Bible Playground, free in the App Store! 

Guest Post: Re-embracing Motherhood

Guest Post: Re embracing MotherhoodWe are happy to share a guest post from one of our Faith & Family Bloggers, Cindy Dudas from Whatever Works. Cindy shares how she finds herself re-embracing motherhood. 

One of the things I’ve learned while dabbling in the social media field is that people like to read statisics.  Well, here’s one for ya: I’ve been a mom for more than 1/4 of my entire life.

For the past 10 of my 39 years here on this earth, I’ve spent a lot of time changing diapers, fixing lunches, arguing the importance of completing the before-school ritual prior to playing video games, making beds (ok, not really so much on the “making beds” part because I do hold to that theory that Hey, you’re just going to get back in it in a couple hours so why make it), BUT I digress…

Bottom line: I’m a mom.

Out of those 10 years ( minus time spent completing all the motherly tasks and sometimes sleeping), I think I have spent the majority of my time playing with my kids.  After about year 8, I got tired of it.

Yes, you read that right.  I didn’t want to play anymore.

I got tired of Candyland.  I didn’t want to make forts.  I completely stopped enjoying the swing set.

I just wanted to sit back and observe.

I started to get annoyed when my kids would ask me to join them in every single thing they did.

No, I don’t want to ride bikes.

No, I don’t want to jump in the sprinklers.

No, I don’t want to play.

Then one day I heard myself say that out loud.  And it sounded so incredibly horrible that I wanted to jump out a window.  I felt like Mommy Dearest.  What was wrong with me?  Why couldn’t I just play?

All I could think of was the catch phrase “Seven Year Itch”, but in my case it was about motherhood.  At the same time my kids craved my attention, I craved to go off to foreign lands…like any store other than Target, Justice or Five Below.  My kids wanted another teammate for a pick up game of tag, and I wanted to sit in the sun.  I wanted quiet.

Was I becoming a horrible person?  Was I really done with all the fun of motherhood?  Did I give up on my kids?

No.  To all of that self-depricating talk. . .  Just no.

When I was playing all the time and not enjoying it, I was feeling down on myself.  I wasn’t really playing; I was fake playing.  And how is that good for anyone?  The kids might have an extra body to complete their basketball team, but that’s it.  I wasn’t teaching them anything.  I wasn’t smiling.  I was actually quite childish when I forced myself into their games.  I’m not proud of it by any means.

I felt very selfish about wanting to be alone for a while.  But I realize that I must have needed it.  In some way, God was telling me to step back and reevaluate the situation.

So I said no when my kids asked me to race them in MarioKart.  I declined their invitation to a dance party.  I chose to talk with my friend on the bench instead of climbing the equipment at the playground.

I needed to show my kids that I am a person outside of being Mom.  They needed to see me doing things that I like.   And to be honest, I needed to remind myself what activities and things I actually do like!

As weird as it may sound, it made me feel strong again. Once I re-embraced my own self, I was able to re-embrace motherhood, too.  Now I feel like I can do anything.

…Even play a game of Monopoly all the way through.

 

Guest Post: Re embracing MotherhoodMeet Cindy

Cindy Dudas is a work-at-home mom who started blogging as a way to get her feelings out there.  She is a freelance writer currently writing for the Parental Guidance section of NJ.com and her own blogs Whatever Works and What the heck’s a bonbon?  

Follow Cindy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Guest Post: Mom’s Night Out Movie Review

We are happy to share a review of the new movie “Mom’s Night Out,” from our 4soils Faith and Family Blogger, Trish Adkins.

 

Guest Post: Moms Night Out Movie Review

A few weeks ago, I was treated to a sneak peak of Mom’s Night Out the movie. I went knowing it was a comedy; but not realizing that the film is absolutely Jesusy and real—funny, delightful, truthful and the best comedy I’ve seen in a long time.

The movie chronicles a failed Mom’s Night Out. Main character Allyson is at the end of her rope, following a very trying Mother’s Day weekend. She arms herself with a Groupon, invites her best pal and the minister’s wife for a girl’s night out.

Of course, there are a few, tiny missteps here and there (which have you laughing until you cry and then crying because it all works out and is just so adorably beautiful.).

The movie has an all-star cast: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt, Andrea Logan White, Robert Amaya, Abbie Cobb, Harry Shum Jr. Kevin Downes, Alex Kundrick and Trace Adkins. Heaton nails it as the delightful and super normal Pastor’s wife, which the right side of wisdom. And Adkins has a voice made for telling Biblical truths (and selling oatmeal and doing that whole country music thing).

Mom’s Night Out does this marvelous job of portraying Christian mothers as who we are—beautiful disasters who are just trying to survive and at the same time raise children who love God. The characters in the movie are as real as they get—with imperfections and insecurity and sin. There is nothing artificial about the main characters—they love God and their families; but at the same time, they just want to run away screaming.

You will laugh and you will go home totally recharged and ready to tackle motherhood head on, because, you are not alone. You’ve always got God on your side to remind you to laugh at the chaos and you’ve got your girlfriends to laugh right along with you.

Not convinced? Here are my ten reasons why you must go see Mom’s Night Out this weekend with your best girl friends:

  1. Your beautiful, artistic children painted your walls with nail polish (or poop or peanut butter or sharpies) at some point this week.
  2. You may or may not have spent a tiny part of church on Sunday in a very non-zen place kicking your husband to keep him awake during the sermon, while one of your beautiful, artistic children pulled a stranger’s hair and another lifted up their dress and screamed that they hated underwear.
  3. You have these GORGEOUS going out shoes that you’ve never worn. And since the movie theater will be dark, no one will see you stumbling and wobbling in your heels.
  4. If you don’t laugh at the nail polish and the hair pulling and the strange, horrific smell emanating from the refrigerator, you will go mad.
  5. You compulsively purchase Groupons/Living Social Deals/etc for fancy restaurants.
  6. Apparently, a preschooler requests his or her mom’s attention 210 times a day; but this is a low ball estimate. In my house it is approximately 210 MILLION times a day.
  7. You’ve text messaged during Bible Study about things not directly related to Jesus/The Holy Ghost/God/The Bible
  8. Your children deserve a night with Dad—and well, you don’t care what happens as long as everyone is alive.
  9. You want to see Christian motherhood portrayed in areal-way, complete with the humor.
  10. And of course, because of Proverbs 17:22:

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

So, go, grab your mom, your best friend and see Moms Night Out the movie, opening nationwide, May 9.

Guest Post: Moms Night Out Movie Review

About Trish Adkins (Yoke

Trish writes over at Yoke and is a lover of Jesus, her husband and her three kiddos. Her three children are true miracles: Lily born at 29 weeks and a survivor of ependymoma, a type of brain tumor; Chloe, born at 31 weeks and Nicholas, her full term miracle that she never thought be. When Trish isn’t blogging or avoiding blogging, she is raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, cheering for Temple Lacrosse and the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, and teaching yoga. Trish writes. She teaches yoga. She starts reading books she will never finish. She forgets to switch the laundry. And she curses. 

But God loves her anyway.

Follow Trish on Twitter:
@trish_adkins