Saturday, July 17, 2010

day 194: our missionary daughter

"Preach Christ always, and if necessary, use words." Francis of Asissi

We have been having an interesting summer at the Reishes! While our almost-eighteen and twenty year olds have gone away for the summer working and traveling with a drama ministry, our next-to-the oldest has been home for the summer itinerating for her first full time missionary appointment.

I wanted to share with our readers a little about Kayla and her upcoming mission work. I think Positive Parenting 3*6*5 readers will especially be interested in how Kayla first felt her calling to missions twelve years ago—while our family read aloud from a “discipleship” book by Philip Yancy. And how did it begin and grow? Through her father challenging her to minister at home first—and to trust God to give her a future ministry. It is an amazing testimony that we thank God for continually.

Please pray for her if you think of her—and if any of you would like to know more about her work; possibly have her speak to your church, missions board, or small group; or learn about how your family can support this new, young missionary girl, feel free to email her at She is anxious to get on the mission field, but like most missionaries nowadays, is working hard to raise her monthly support to get out there—while working a couple of jobs to help herself through “tent making.”

Check out her website—read articles, poetry, and updates about her work as a missionary nurse all around the world--

Here is one of our “parent letters” that Ray and I have written to introduce Kayla’s mission work to friends and associates:

Dear Friend,

You may have heard via Facebook (!) or other source that the Reish family has a newly-appointed missionary in it! It is with great joy that we write this letter to introduce you (or re-introduce you, for those who have already heard from Kayla) to the exciting life and work that God has planned for our daughter.

Twenty years ago (when Kayla was only four years old) we began reading about missionaries, evangelists, and other godly people who “counted all but loss for the sake of the gospel.” We told Kayla that she was destined to do great things —and she believed us.

Not only did she believe us, but she also acted on that challenge throughout her childhood and teen years. When Kayla was thirteen, she was called specifically into missions as our family read aloud from a challenging book by Philip Yancey. About that time, Ray questioned Kayla about her future, what God was showing her, what she thought she should be doing, who she was going to minister to, etc.

She told him that she was going to be a missionary to Central or South America.

Ray questioned her further: “No, I mean now. Who are you going to minister to right now in your life?”

Kayla thought for a quick moment, looked up at Ray and said, "Right now, my ministry will be Mom."

Kayla had already been the most diligent child I had ever seen, but now she pressed in even harder. She would get up early, before anyone else was up, work in the kitchen, do dishes, fix breakfast. She never tired of it; her “ministry” was not just a passing phase. And she continued this—her ministry to her family has never ended.

Fast forward a few years later and Kayla found herself ministering to homeschooled students through speech, debate, Spanish, writing, and science classes she taught. She, along with her sister and another teen girl, wrote a newsletter for young girls for six years (and earned the money herself to mail it out—she didn’t charge the girls and wouldn’t let her parents pay for her ministry!). Kayla taught and preached at the young adults’ services on Sunday evenings for a couple of years, then she joined a Spanish church for a couple of years to further her Spanish speaking skills—and help those people right here in her own community. She continued to serve in many capacities--holding weekend retreats, mini seminars and workshops; speaking at homeschool conventions; helping us raise and train her younger siblings, and much more—all in an effort to “minister where she was planted” until her time came to “go out into all the world.”

Here we are, ten years after she was called to the mission field and practiced on this mission field known as home, and she has completed the degrees that she felt she needed in order to serve God in medical missions—RN, BSN (nursing), and BA (biblical studies). (She received her associates of nursing first so that she could work as a nurse while getting the other two degrees—and graduate debt free.)

And she is ready to go—as a health educator with Global Aids Partnership, developing materials, going into existing missions to help missionaries learn how to reach out to those affected by AIDS, and training pastors in other nations (especially Africa and Central and South America—she knew she would get there someday, even when she was only thirteen!).

So here we are writing this letter to friends, old and new, to let you know the needs that Kayla has in order to get on the mission field. Because she is a missionary associate with the Assembly of God International Missions, she must partner with individuals, churches, groups, etc. to raise her support herself. She must raise nearly $3,000 per month in order to maintain her home base, travel to train missionaries and leaders of indigenous churches, and develop materials to be used to safely reach those affected by AIDS around the world.

Why should you support Kayla ?

- She felt the call to missions at age 13 and has been preparing herself ever since.

o Academic Prep

 Three college degrees--Associate in Nursing, BS in Nursing. and BA in Biblical Studies

 3.83 GPA taking 20-23 hours per semester (while working 24 hrs/wk!)

o Technical Prep

 2 yr experience as RN at Baylor Hospital (Dallas)

 1 summer as head camp nurse for 700-900 campers per week

o Speaking Prep

 Four times national competitor in multiple high school speech and debate categories

 National semi-finalist in impromptu speaking

Teaching Prep

 Co wrote and produced GRACE – Christian newsletter to young girls

 Taught Sunday School

 Taught Young Adult group services and Sunday school

 Taught numerous science, Bible, language arts, speech classes to home schoolers

o Foreign Language Prep

 Five years of Spanish

 Teaching high school Spanish classes for homeschoolers

 Immersion in Spanish only speaking church for 2 years

o Financial Pep

 Worked full time to graduate college – Debt Free

- Her character is above reproach

- You can support someone you personally know (or at least you personally know her family)

Why should you support Kayla in Global Aids Partnership?

- Partnership: Everything is done in partnership with on the ground missionaries and congregations

- Sustainability: Everything has to be carried on long term with resources available to the local leadership

- Christ focused and God honoring: GAP is more than just another relief group because of its consistent and appropriate declaration of Jesus as Lord

- They secure payment of large projects from foundations and grants to offset large project costs

Why get involved with a ministry to people with AIDS ?

- AIDS has ravished lives and families the world over with over 33 million individuals infected

- Jesus commanded Christians to be his lights in a dark and sin-sick world

- It is serving people in their greatest time of spiritual, social, and physical need

Why are you getting this letter?

- Kayla needs to greatly expand her network of friends, family, and churches

o Most of her peers aren’t financially ready to support her

o She need contacts to other churches, groups, etc

- Kayla needs financial support

Kayla needs to raise support (via pledges) of $3000 per month for the next two years. While there are many good people and ministries that can be supported, I can think of no one who has better prepared herself for what God has called them to do. Please consider making a monthly pledge for Kayla's work. Also consider how you can help her expand her network of friends and churches. She is quite the orator and can speak to churches, civic groups, Sunday school classes, etc. about her mission work (or about another inspirational or motivational subject should you need a speaker). Thank you for your support.


Ray and Donna Reish

Friday, July 16, 2010

day 193: building math skills in the summer

If you want to help your child increase in skills in a certain subject area, I do not recommend the “summer” type of workbooks. Those workbooks are just that—workbooks. They are not TEACHING books.

In other words, they are great for practicing already learned skills, but they are not so good for learning new ones. (The exception to this is if you are planning to sit down and “teach” the concepts on each page before your child does the workbook page.) They might have a sentence or two explaining the concept, but they expect, for the most part, that your child is using the book for review or for practice. So what do you do to increase your child’s skills?

Today we will focus on keeping and/or increasing your child’s math skills:

1. If it’s math drill you are after, consider getting our personal favorite daily drill—Calculadders. These drill sheets have the same exact problems for ten days, then move onto another set of ten, etc. (If you are trying to keep skills in math, you might want your student to just do each set two or three days in a row, then go to the next set. You can always use the extra pages for school breaks, extra help during the academic year, a younger sibling, or next summer.)

2. If you know the specific math skills that your child needs extra help in, consider subscribing to a worksheet provider that has a good search engine and easily-maneuvering site. The subscription to the one that follows is a good price—and you can use the worksheets for multiple children, choosing what each child needs to practice, creating tailor-made worksheets. Here is what Timberdoodle says about this site:

“The Math Worksheet Site is an online math worksheet generator located at . The Math Worksheet Site‘s subscription area currently has over 190 different types of worksheets with more added regularly. Each worksheet is unique and randomly generated within parameters that you select. Your child could work the same type of problems every day and each time have different problems, or have the same problems in a different order so he wouldn't simply memorize the placement. Topics currently covered include the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, you get much more than just that: counting, fractions, sequencing, place value, percents, money, geometry, , exponents, Roman numerals, graphing, telling time, area, volume, and much, much more. Not only that, but each worksheet is very easy to customize. For instance, are you adding decimal numbers? Select how many digits you want to the left of the decimal, how many digits to the right, how many addends and print. Answer keys are readily available and even show the problems worked out.”

Amazing, huh? Follow this link for more info:

3. If your child knows his facts but has application problems, consider these simple workbooks that do nothing but build word problem solving skills. These books are amazing for helping kids who do not seem to know which operation to use when faced with a word/story problem:

4. If a workbook sounds too “schoolish” for you for the summer, consider a cd rom math drill program. Timberdoodle has one that they rave about and others seem to like it too:

5. If you have multiple ages of children and you want to purchase one cd for all of them grades three through nine, consider this cd drill, also available from Timberdoodle:

Tomorrow—content area helps for your student this summer….

Thursday, July 15, 2010

day 192: parents’ prayer from Psalm 12:1—“help, lord!”

’Help, Lord,’ will suit us living and dying, suffering or laboring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him.” Charles Spurgeon

There is perhaps no other vocation in which it is harder to know what to pray or how to pray than that of parenting. I mean, after all, we are Moms and Dads who want sunshine, rainbows, hearts, and flowers for our kids all of their lives. And yet, we know that continual sunshine (were it even possible) is not the way to shape a life into what God wants for it to be.

So how do we pray? “Lord, please give my child whatever she wants and make her happy all the days of her life?” OR “Lord, please do whatever it takes to bring this child to you all the days of her life?” (Gasp…)

And those just sum up the “ongoing prayers.” What about in times of trial and great difficulty? The times in which we are so overcome with grief or worry that we cannot even form the words, even if we did know what to pray?

Those scenarios are why I believe that the Psalm 12:1 prayer that the psalmist prayed should aptly be termed the “Parents’ Prayer.” Yes, David was mourning in this psalm over the few faithful men he had; he felt weak; he felt alone. He felt hopelessness and despair. He was concerned about what would happen in their future. His situation was completely different than that of parenting. And yet, it was completely similar as well.

“Help, Lord” is the appropriate prayer for us as parents. For the times in which we feel weak, times that we feel alone. Times in which we feel hopelessness and despair. And yes, times in which we are more than a little concerned about what will happen in our kids’ futures.

My favorite Bible verse has been, ever since I can remember, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” I mean, if we are honest, don’t we all love verses that benefit our lives in amazing ways? However, after ten years of having children entering adulthood, a close second, sometimes surpassing my number one verse, has become the Parents’ Prayer—Psalm 12:1—“Help, Lord.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

day 191: other academic help—“summer” workbooks

What if your child is a terrific reader but has trouble with math? What about history and social studies? How can you help your child in the content areas this summer?

I will start today with the idea of keeping the skills your child has already developed during the academic year and then moving in to helping to build his skills in specific subjects.

If your child is at grade level and you do not feel a need to INCREASE his skills this summer but rather just help him keep the skills he has, you will probably do well with any of those “summer” workbooks. I personally like the “Comprehensive Curriculum” books.

With the “summer” type of workbooks, you would get the one for the grade level your child just finished (not the one he is about to go into).

I personally like the general ones that have a little bit of each subject. The one that Jakie is doing this summer has five areas of study (reading, writing, math, social studies, science), and he has to complete one page from each area on our “summer school” days. This makes it simple for him and for me.

These types (especially the Comprehensive Curriculum ones) are super inexpensive (and in color—actually amazingly affordable for such high quality).

I get mine at the wholesale club, but here is a link for some you may order online: or

Another option is to just print off various types of worksheets online for your child to do. I prefer having all of the pages in one book in a systematic order—and the color of the workbooks makes it more appealing than isolated workbook pages. However, if you just want to have him practice just writing or just math, you might want to do a search for free worksheets online. The internet is a plethora of materials for you to use with your student.

I can’t end a “keep your child’s academic skills alive” post without reminding you of the two things that can do more to build reading, content area (history, science, etc.), and thinking skills than any workbook could: (1) reading together; and (2) discussion. Don’t overlook these two avenues for keeping your child’s school skills sharp.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

day 189: summertime—WHAT to read with your child

“I love the library; the magnificent books; I require books as I require air.” unknown

One of the keys to getting your child to enjoy reading with you is to read what he enjoys. This can be difficult if your child is not a strong reader and does not choose to read for himself for pleasure. Reading will quite possibly be looked at as a negative experience. Why would I choose to read when it is so hard and lacks fulfillment?

One way to counteract this is to choose materials that he enjoys. Consider these tips*:

1. Let him choose the book, if you are reading a chapter book.

2. Choose a book with multiple stories rather than one long story. For example, the popular Encyclopedia Brown series (and a new Christian fiction series called Scripture Sleuth for fourth to fifth grader readers) contains chapters in which each one contains its own separate story. Each chapter stands alone. This is a good strategy for students who do not feel that they can read lengthy chapter books yet. Additionally, school readers can have interesting stories that are self contained. When you are done reading for that session, you will be done with the entire story. This can be very satisfying to kids. Ask your librarian to direct you to other books that contain short stories that might interest your student as opposed to one story throughout the entire “chapter book.”

3. Consider non-book reading. Some kids do well with magazines. Others enjoy comic books. Newspapers or sports magazines appeal to some kids. You do not have to read “a book” in order to read with your child everyday.

4. Daily devotionals are good to read together. They generally contain extremely short excerpts that can be read silently in five to ten minutes (orally a little longer), and can provide much discussion and application material.

5. Adult texts can also be enjoyed by older students. Specifically, I am thinking of Guideposts or Reader’s Digest, but there are many more varied texts that kids would like too. Again, it’s about what your child will WANT to read each day with you. If he hates reading each day, it will be a struggle and will fall by the wayside.

6. Animal books, nature books, and other non-fiction materials are often enjoyed by students. Again, these can be books, like Usborne, Dorling-Kindersley, or Eyewitness or can be magazines, like National Geographic for kids or Nature’s Friend. (Magazines often have puzzles, quizzes, etc. that when done together and discussed can also aid in comprehension building.)

7. Again, adult literacy materials can provide more “grown up” material for students who do not read at grade level but are too old for “cutsie” books, say for second graders. Ask your librarian for these or look them up at an adult literacy provider, such as “Each One Teach One.” (See earlier link about Saxon Phonics Intervention and Saxon BOLD and bringing older students up to grade level in reading.)

*These same tips can be applied to choosing materials for your child to read to himself.

Monday, July 12, 2010

day 188: summertime—reading WITH your child to build fluency and comprehension

If your child is out of the phonics instruction stage, but you still want to help him increase his reading and comprehension skills this summer, do not overlook the simple act of reading WITH your child.

You may desire to have your student read aloud to you each day and discuss it. This simple fifteen minute act can do wonders to help a child build his reading skills.

Here are some tips for reading with your child to help build his reading fluency:

1. Take turns reading—you read a page, then he reads a page.

2. Take turns reading—you read a paragraph, then he reads a paragraph.

3. Take turns reading certain characters. This works better if you each have a copy of the book and the book contains a lot of dialogue, but it can be a fun way to read together AND keep your child’s interest high as his mind cannot wander while he waits on his turn to read (since you will likely be going back and forth frequently with dialogue).

4. Focus on discussion rather than questions. Generally speaking, when a worksheet or curriculum asks your child questions at the end of a reading, it is TESTING your child, not helping him build comprehension. (The exception to this is if the questions tell the student where in the text to look for the answers, instruct him to notice certain parts of a word to build vocabulary (i.e. circle the prefix re in a word), help him learn after he answers the question by explaining the answer, etc.) Thus, simply asking your child questions without explanations is testing him, not teaching him.

5. Consider some of the following after your reading in order to build comprehension:

a. Discuss what you have just read—what did he like, what did you like, why, etc. Through discussion, you will have a chance to TEACH. For example, if you say that you liked a certain character because he found humor in everyday situations. Then you will have the opportunity to tell when in the book or what was happening when the character found humor. That is building comprehension at the highest levels (motivation of a character’s actions; possibly predicting outcomes, etc.). Much better than rote answers to questions.

b. If you ask him questions, be ready to help him learn from the answers, right or wrong. For example, if you ask him why he thinks the neighbor did not like the kids in the neighborhood and he does not have an answer, don’t just say, “Because the neighbor was angry.” Instead say, “I think it’s because the neighbor had been through so many bad things that he was bitter. Remember how it said that his wife died years ago…” Just answering comprehension questions does not give our kids tools to use in the next reading situation they are in—discussing the answers does.

c. Let him ask you questions—alternate. Again, your answers and how you found them (especially why you answered the way you did) will help build his comprehension better than if he just did a worksheet with questions.

More on building comprehension in days to come—but for now, just start in…read what your child loves, share it together, discuss it, and enjoy it. You will grow in your “teaching skills” as you share books together.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

day 186: links for charts for reading, chores, and more

I have posted tons of information on chores (see link for all of them together:  ). Likewise, I have posted a lot about reading with your kids, having your kids read, etc. (Reading instruction link:  ) And building daily habits that teach good character to our kids. And, the other day, I described how you can create your own “summer reading program” for your kids.

Today I am going to post some links in which you can get free charts, checklists, etc. to use for developing these good habits of chores, reading, daily routines, etc. Some of them have charts that can printed and filled in while others have “editable” ones—that is, those that you can open in WORD or Excel and actually alter on the computer then print it out all created for your needs. Happy chart making—and character building! Remember, it will be much easier to start some of these habits now when you do not have the busy-ness of school days/kids going to school/after school activities, etc.

*Tons of them—some editable and some that you print and use as is---great site:

*Site with hundreds of charts of all types for all ages:

*Printable reward charts and coupons!

*Chore charts of many varieties:

*Reading charts!!!

 Tomorrow—tips for reading WITH your child!