What a wonderful blessing it has been to be able to come along side Jody and Jose and teach their three little girls. Many of you have been inquiring as to how they are doing in class and what they have been learning. Mikela, Rosie and Malaya are very different when it comes to learning styles, listening skills and discipline, but I find it so rewarding to witness how the Lord shapes each of our days with teachable moments in and outside the classroom. God’s Word tells us that we should train our children in the way he should go and I am a firm believer that we need to recognize that each child will not be trained in all things the same way or at the same time and level. Reaching not only their minds, but their hearts. The girls are no exception and the Lord has been so good at leading me to knew ideas to not only reach their hearts, but in how to teach them and challenge them. It is certainly not a normal classroom in the sense that each one is doing the same thing, but each one has something a litlle different to accompish for the day. We do have things that we do together, but then I break it down to their level of learning.
Mikela progressed quickly thru the writing of her alphabet and I began working more on preparing her to read. Introducing the sounds that each of the letters make. Just this past week we finished on a website that helps her to read and put the different sounds and combo’s of letter sounds together. She started to read a starter book that I brought in with me and to see her face light up when she finishes each page is priceless. She is excited to get started reading the books and looking forward to the stories I will bringing in after Christmas. We are working hard on addition problems and though she forgets how to write 11-19 (she does them backwards), she has just started recognizing she is wrong and fixes it. She is learning to recognize her groups of 10 and 2 and has just learned how to do problems >< and =. I gave her a set of these problems this past week and she returned it back to me with all correct. She asked me if she could do more. Mikela is almost always the first person to raise her hand to answer a question I might have from a story I have read and usually it is more than expected. She does love to tell stories and though this can be a good attribute it can also cause her trouble in knowing if her story is real or if it really happened. I have to do some probing with her to verify truth from fiction. Instilling the importance of truth and helping her see the difference is very much a heart issue. We pray together about this very thing and to hear her pray to God for His help is such a blessing and a joy to hear. I sometimes have her pray upstairs before a meal and to hear her heart blows my socks off. Just the other day she prayed for the little ones in the baby orphanage that they would stay healthy and would know Jesus. Mesi Jezi:>)
Rosie is being challenged everyday in that she is wanting to do what the other girls are doing, but her pace of learning isn’t quite where they are. I have to say God uses her to show not just her sisters, but me as well, how to persevere and not give up. She does have her days when she can get frustrated, but on those days we recall how the Lord has brought her to this point and that He is with her helping her to learn in His time and His way. There is such a huge difference from the time she began class in Sept. to now and I truly believe with continued encouragement and prayer that God has a special plan for her. I am reminded of Helen Keller and the struggles of life that she had to face and how she had such a spirit of perseverence. I see that spirit in Rosie, but I also see how she can turn the other way if the encouragement and prayer is lacking or if she is placed in a certain mold. I told her the other day, when she was struggling to remember what a square is, that I wasn’t going to give up on her and together we were going to tackle the challenges. She knows she has to work hard, but to know she has others cheering her on puts a light in her eyes and heart. It is so fun to watch. Just yesterday I wrote out the ABC’s for her and asked her to copy each one. For the very first time she copied almost every single one and it brought tears to my eyes and an excitement that made Rosie so very proud of herself. Her smile just blessed my heart. She can now recognize almost every letter as well. If you could see where she began and where she is now, it is truly amazing as to what the Lord is doing. She continues to progress in her speech as well as working on areas of balance and body movement. Courtney has found that she picks up sign language fairly easy and may incorporrate that with her as well. She reconizes and writes her numbers 1-10 though she forgets her 9 and 7 at times. She is progressively getting better at making lines and shape. Rosie is usually the first one into class each morning and early at that and much of the time she asks to do her alphabet, number, and shape flashcards. Her heart is so beautiful as well. With everyone gone Rosie has took it upon herself to sit with me at meal time so that I am not alone. She will even go as far as eat dinner at her house and then eat again with me:>) How precious is that? Mesi Jezi:>)
Malaya is my quiet one, but as the weeks have progressed, she has been spreading her wings. She enjoys going down to the Grand Moun to say hello to the folks and at first she would cower behind my skirt. We talked about shaking their hand and saying hello as well as looking at them with her sweet smile. I talked to her about how much they love that and makes them feel cared for. She walks down the stairs and begins her hello’s now before I reach the bottom of the stairs. Malaya will do any work I have for her to do and much of the time she will do more than I ask of her. I may ask her to write her G’s 8 times, but she will write them 20 times. I praise her for such a great job, but I also let her know we are learning how to listen and follow directions. She is to the point now that she will say “Miss Beth I didn’t do the directions” and she will start all over again. Malaya recognizes and writes all of her letters and numbers 1-10 and she can count to 30. Like Mikela she struggles with the teen numbers and writes them backwards as well as the letter S. We are also begining to do addition problems and she is picking up on this pretty well. She enjoys doing papers and enjoys coloring and drawing. We went a period of time where all she would draw was people which were always family and friends. It was basically the same picture all the time until one day I challenged her…I told her know people, but try animals or shapes. She had just a brief moment and then she went at it. She was so proud of herself. Now she is drawing houses. We have also have been working a bit on her speech and the way she makes some of the combo’s of sounds. She is always full of questions for me and with the biggest being “are we doing papers today” and “what are we doing next”. Patience Malaya Patience and she just smiles. You have to love that smile. Mesi Jezi:>)
In the midst of the girls lessons we read Bible stories and there is always a teachable moment to instill and show Christ’s character. From God’s promises to sharing the Gospel to praying for His help and guidance. Our days are filled with those moments and I tell the girls all the time I am watching for those moments in the choices they make and how they interact with each other and those on the Mission. The moments are endless, but the growth I see is a blessing.