Thursday, March 28, 2013


I have a vague memory of being able to do this long, long ago. Long, long, long ago.
They do this every day. Lydia is almost at the halfway mark.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Profound discovery

In Taipei, Ken used to read scripture in Chinese for Joseph to repeat and eventually memorize. When we moved to Dulan, we befriended a family who introduced Ken to a slightly different method of teaching Joseph Chinese. After memorizing a passage, Ken had Joseph "read" the Chinese (from a large character book of the gospels, also Psalms and Proverbs) while pointing at each word. Eventually, some of the characters would stick in his mind as he said the word while pointing at the corresponding character. For over a month now, Ken and Joseph have daily taken long walks while Ken would read one verse, and Joseph would repeat it. Sometimes, Joseph would sit and read the entire chapter several times. Gradually, Ken added more repetitions and fine tuning. He taught Joseph how to speak boldly and clearly, and to look into his eyes while speaking. Now they are up to reading a chapter (not verse) 15 times a day. As of a few days ago, Ken has been training Joseph to recite part of the sermon on the mount to guests. With a promise of a swiss army knife in the next few months, Joseph has willingly accepted the challenge. Ken asks him to introduce himself, which he does, and then tells him what chapter to recite. Joseph clasps his hands together behind his back and dives right in. He always starts with his eyes hopping down the line of faces in the audience while his head is frozen. Then gradually he loosens up and starts to move his head along with his eyes. Ken has been working on this with him.
I stand amazed at all that is being accomplished in this simple exercise: Perseverence - Sometimes they go through all 15 times in one go.
Public Speaking
Recognizing Chinese Characters
Voice modulation
Wisdom - He asks quite a few questions about what he is repeating. Ken doesn't do a whole lot of explaining in the beginning. He lets Joseph try to hear and understand for himself, then gradually offers explanations here and there.
The Bible has a mysterious power. It is amazing the effect it is having on Joseph, just be being spoken aloud again and again.
Probably the most simple and most powerful homeschooling activity ever.

Joseph is now taking ownership of this daily exercise. Ken allows him to decide if he wants to break up the readings into three sessions, or do it all at once. Joseph loves the feeling of being in control and making decisions for himself. Yesterday, Ken told me that Joseph had asked him to purposefully say some words incorrectly to see if he could catch them. He did, and he did.
I'm losing track of how many chapters he has already memorized. At least five chapters in Psalms, and most of the sermon on the mount.

Anna has just recently begun occasional readings.

I'm going publish this first before attempting to post pictures...

(finally worked!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our pets

Hmm...This photo worked. No shut down yet. We have four pups and for cats. The dogs are a lot bigger and shinier now. We just completed a round of injections to treat scabies. Also a stray beagle that we sort of adopted.

having difficulty

It has happened twice now. When I started uploading photos from the external drive, the computer completely shut down. It shuts down at other random times. One pattern I've noticed is talking on skype with a video causes it to shut down. Without a video doesn't seem to be a problem. It is not over-heating. What could be the problem? Does anyone know? Could it be because we keep our external drive plugged into our computer? Is that not a good idea? I'll try one more time...

Friday, March 8, 2013

We are farmers

If this doesn't qualify us as farmers, I don't know what will. (Well, a successful yield of crops might be good. Our garden has given us a few wild tomatoes so far. It's a bit of a joke) At least this is a step in that direction: We butchered our first chicken a few days ago. I stayed up till midnight the night before pouring over youtube, trying to gather skills and nerve. Finally, I just prayed, "Lord, I can't kill a chicken. Please help!"
He did.
He sent us a friend named Wendy. Thanks Wendy! She documented, encouraged, and helped pluck and cut up the chicken. She also brought delicious pasta to accompany our chicken lunch. Not only that, but she was back with the most fragrant fish for supper. Thanks again and again.
So I gathered from all the websites, that a quick jab into the brain from below the beak would first shock the chicken so it would not feel the knife slicing its throat. It worked! The chicken was still when I cut through its jugular. Not one drop of blood splattered out of the trash bag. I only realized later that I had not severed the trachea. I hope he was truly dead. Now we feel empowered to bring our chicken husbandry full circle.
We are almost farmers.