Bible & Spiritual growth
Is God Enough?
After several days of a heavy trial, a dear friend came over to assist me. She simply blessed me in many ways with few words. Before she left she said, ''Your journey will look different than mine. But at the end of the day, if nothing ever changes, is God still enough?''
I imagined abandoning my husband and children through death, which would have been the end if nothing changed. After she left, for she expected no answer, I finally acquiesced...yes, God is enough. He does not have to do any thing for me. He does not owe me any proof of His love. That was settled on Calvary. Yes, God is enough. I can cease striving for anything else.
Then I began to mend on the inside...and the outside. I remember this truth when overloaded in daily needs, financial shortcomings, physical pain, and uncooperative homeschoolers...GOD IS ENOUGH.
Special Needs & Special Opportunities
Therapeutic listening chips on HC?
Homeschool Classifieds needs advice. Should we allow the resale of ''therapeutic listening chips?'' Why or why not? Let us know your opinion by emailing email@example.com Thanks, HC.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
A very familiar verse. We took this as a promise when we were parenting young children. We did what it took to be sure we trained our children in God's ways. But then as we matured, we began to see results in families we admired that caused us to wonder about the promise. Do you know what I mean? Have you seen children from godly homes depart from the faith? We have. And the easy answer -- ''Must have been something missing in that home. Parents must have failed to train them properly.''--just didn't satisfy. We were missing something!
What is the benefit of training up a child in the way he should go? Proverbs is about God's wisdom. Contrary to the idea that we train a child according to his bent, we must train according to God's wisdom -- train the child's palate for the ''taste'' of God. It is God-centered training, rather than child-centered training. Then when God is the center, we can expect that God will keep the
training going even into adulthood. So it is not about the child leaving the training or our success or failure as parents. It is about God continuing the training as He keeps His own.
If you are not able to communicate your expectations to your children with a smile, then you need to adjust your expectations! Realizing that everything in our homeschool needed to pass my ''smile test'' made our homeschooling experience so much more joyful. =)
The year is 1947, the place is Oxford, and the woman is a Miss Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1967), a scholar and expert on the middle ages and a member of a literary group which included C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The essay is The Lost Tools of Learning. The premise: modern education is failing in its most crucial object, teaching children how to learn. The classical concept of education is reborn.
Cross the Atlantic and fast forward sixty years; all over the our country today are private schools, Christian schools, home schools, and even public charter schools all waving the banner of Classical. But what does it mean, why is it so popular and how does it differ from modern public-school education?
The classical model of education seeks not to fill a child’s mind with information, not to propagandize, but to kindle a love of learning, a curiosity of the world, and to provide tools to create a life-long learner. The classical educator recognizes that children’s minds go through stages where they excel through different kinds of teaching. Classical educators identify three main stages, referred to as the trivium, and labeled in order: the grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages.
Be Yourself Without Pressure
Peer pressure is present in all ages and all areas of our life. It's
especially true when the situation involves our own children, and our
choice to homeschool.
''What curriculum do you use?''
''Do you school year-round?''
'' How many extra-curricular activities are your children involved in?''
These questions can bond homeschoolers together, or cause hard
feelings. They don't have to, though.
Each family knows their own situation, and needs to make their
decisions based on that. Seasons change, and so do seasons of life. No
one can tell you what's best for you (though you may ask for advice),
and no one should make you feel bad for making the choices you did.
That doesn't mean no one will ever raise their eyebrows or criticize
you. They will. That just means you'll need to review why you chose
what you did, and move on. Be assured that you have chosen what's
right for your family for this time of your life.
Post-holiday Storage Tips
Now that the relatives have packed up and Junior has headed back to college, it's time to take down the tree and trimmings. With a little extra effort now, you can save yourself time, money, and headaches next Christmas. Here's how.
As you pull out the storage boxes for your decorations, take a look at the items that never made it out of the box this year. Will they be used next year? Not likely. Discard broken or unusable items and donate the rest. Now it's time to move on to this year's decorations.
First, take pictures of any decorations you want to recreate next year. Grab some index cards, or start a new computer document. Number your storage boxes, and number an index card to match each. As you take down and put away each item, note on the cards/document which numbered box it goes in. Also note quantities of Christmas cards and wrapping paper you have left and where they're stored. Remove batteries from candles, etc. and put a pack of new ones in their box. You may also want to record what gifts were given to extended family and who received your cards in the mail.
When next holiday season starts, simply pull out your index cards or document to know where everything is and what will need to be filled in or added to. Happy organized New Year!
History, Geography & Social Studies
New Uses for Old Encyclopedias
Do not throw away those volumes of encyclopedias! Did your Aunt offer you a set from 1986? Say ''Yes!'' and graciously accept them them. You can use the pictures/illustrations in them for your history timelines.
Can you download and print the same pictures? Yes, but the ones in the encyclopedia are often just the right size and in color and a terrific representation of the topic. Often there are maps and charts, too. Do not be squeamish about cutting out pictures from these books; never pass up an opportunity to save on printer ink!
We use a spiral-bound blank timeline and double-sided tape. My goal is for them to be able to take the timeline with them when they graduate. It is definitely a multi-year project. The VERY FIRST PICTURE in the timeline is their baby picture on the appropriate date -- it is important that they see themselves IN history.
A Salute to the Handy Ones
''If you work with your hands,
you’re a laborer.
If you work with your hands and your mind,
you’re a craftsman.
If you work with your hands and your mind and your heart,
you’re an artist.”
—Saint Francis of Assisi
Bible & Spiritual growth
Read the Bible with Your Children
Deut. 6 says, ''These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up...''
Doesn't sound like setting your child in front of a program and letting them self-teach, does it? Just what does it mean to ''teach diligently''? To me that means it must be my number one priority.
When I share this idea, there seems to be a general glazing over of the eyes of some listeners. It is critical that your eyes remain wide open about this. The enemy of your children's soul is waiting for you to be just a little off-guard so he can get a toe-hold, then a foot-hold, then an all out strong-hold on your children.
Here's a very simple plan. This method uses the couch, a Bible, hot-drinks on cold days/cold drinks on hot days, your love for your children and your love for the Word of God.
Intentionally schedule a time. I recomment first or second thing in the morning. Sit together on the couch. Read a chapter or more each day, starting with Genesis. As you read, things might come to your mind that happened recently that perfectly illustrates the principle in the text you are reading. Stop and discuss it. Ask questions. See what your kids are thinking. Address the issues of life that come up. This is heart-time. This is when you get to reach them. You build relationship. You train them up in the way they should go.
Go straight through the Bible. Don't avoid those major or minor prophets. Don't be afraid of what you do not know. You can learn along with! It may take a number of years to get through the Bible all the way; that's ok. It is too valuable to miss. Provide specific quiet activities that can be done by wigglers like coloring.
The foundation of Truth that is sown into those lives will bear fruit. God promises His Word will never fail to be effective.
I think everyone should include speech and debate training in their homeschooling....at least one year and it must include one competitive event. Here's why.
This past weekend my youngest was home from college and squeezed in a bit of time to work on a paper. As we chatted about the topic, it occurred to me that we had succeeded in teaching him how to learn. Writing was always our weakest subject. Competitive speaking came to the rescue. What he learned by preparing and presenting filled in the holes in his education in many subjects, but most dramatically in his writing skills.
One of the most significant results of good composition training is the discipline of the mind--learning how to communicate in an orderly manner. Speech writing does that, too. He has used skills from that experience repeatedly as he writes in college. He recognizes non-topical ideas when they creep in or weak ideas that need strengthening. And when preparing for a competition, he learned about hard deadlines, presentation preparation, memorization, audience, blocking a speech, planning, responsibility and winsomeness.
Yes. The most significant academic thing we did in our home educating was competitive speech and debate.
Check it out for your home education program. Here are links to two homeschool leagues. You may also be able to find a club near you. If not, learn all about it and start your own. You can do it.
A Homeschool Cheer
We are Homeschooled, YES WE ARE!
We learn phonics in the CAR!
Science, Math and HISTORY...
After LUNCH we're usually FREE!
Mom's the Teacher, Dad works HARD,
We've NEVER seen a REPORT CARD!?
WE are Homeschooled, YES WE ARE...
We learn phonics in the CAR!
Home-School, HOME, school, home SCHOOL!
Preempting the Pantry Poachers
If your family is like ours, you might have trouble with ''pantry poachers.'' These are the (human) pests that sneak treats from the pantry despite your careful planning and shopping. We're using a new system that has helped to eliminate that frustration -- for the planner and for the hungry hordes.
Instead of keeping the snacks in the pantry and distributing them myself, I give the family a list of ''approved'' (reasonable and affordable) snack items. Each member chooses the treats they like and how many days of the month they want that particular treat. After shopping for the whole month's worth of snacks, I give each person what they have requested. It is then their responsibility to choose a daily treat from their collection, and also to exercise enough self-control to make the treats last to the end of the month. If they run out of snacks, there are no more until the next month.
So far, it's working. I enjoy not being ''pantry police,'' and they enjoy choosing treats each day. We're staying within the budget, and self-control is happening...most of the time (our youngest is in middle school, so I can't say if this method would work with younger kids). For our family, it's been a step in the right direction.
Removing the Block
Math is important. It's the language of science. As adults our children will use arithmetic and mathematics in varying degrees throughout their lives. This can make a homeschool mom rather tense about accomplishing every single lesson on-time and with mastery.
But some children struggle.
My oldest student got stuck at long division. We spent more than a week on one lesson and pushed so hard that it became an emotional problem. Crying and gnashing of teeth became closely associated with doing math each day. It became emotional for me, too. I felt panic. If I could not teach my child this, how would we be able to call our homeschooling a success? We needed a win, badly!
Luckily, I came upon an idea that removed the block. The topic of the next chapter was something simple, like time. I knew we could do well at that. So I made a change. We moved on to the next chapter and after a few days of doing well, I added ONE long division problem to the assignment for the day.
The emotion was removed. Confidence returned. By the end of the next chapter, we had finished the long division chapter.
Take courage. Observe. Adjust. Be Creative! Remove the emotion. Go for the win. You and your child will be successful!
Encouragement for the Journey
Some days are just hard! The temptation to quit--to load your kids up on that yellow bus--can be overwhelmingly attractive. Take a break, if you must, but do not quit.
I just recently became a former homeschool mom because my last child graduated from our home educating academy. It is a strange feeling. I'm rather giddy with the prospect of a new adventure, relieved that my educational responsibility is over, and thrilled that the job is done. But I am also a little sad. I miss stories on the couch and hugs all around. I miss snow days when we could play while the snow was good and thick and then have hot cocoa while we did math for the day. I miss the daily shepherding of my little ones. I miss the deep questions we got to explore together. They are all adults now--big, opinionated and no longer needing my attention. I'm not sad about that, just noticing the change. This is good. It is the lauch we were working toward.
Now I am launched, too. There is a bright new adventure before me. It is bright today because I stayed the course and finished the job to which God called me.
I encourage you now. Stay. Find a way or make a way. Do not give up on your original dream for educating your children. Give yourself and your children loads of grace. Revel in the joy of being with your children, in their development and in your own pleasure as you create a life of deep, rich relationships with the most important people in your life.
Circumventing Paypal Fees is Dishonest
I've noticed a trend this past week, as I've been buying and selling items via this website. In three transactions a person has either used, or asked me to use the ''Friends & Family'' option to circumvent paying Paypal fees.
This morning a seller emailed that she only accepts nonfee Paypal payments! I kindly emailed back I would be happy to pay extra to cover the Paypal fees as I was uncomfortable circumventing them.
Today I added to my page a note that I include the cost of Paypal fees in my ppd price, since I understand I'm paying for the convenient services available, both instantaneous money transfers and online shipping transactions.
As a Christian I feel extremely uncomfortable with this trend. It is dishonest, a form of theft and sullies the reputation of this site and its users. Agreeing to use Paypal's services is also an agreement to pay their fees in order to benefit and make use of their services. Paypal is NOT a nonprofit organization; it's a business with employees!
I realize it is my responsibility to discuss this with potential buyers and sellers, and that the owners of this site cannot control transactions agreed upon by users of the site. However I felt compelled to post about this trend, since I had not experienced it prior to this summer.
Let's uphold the excellent reputation of this site and NOT circumvent Paypal fees. Include the fees in your ppd price. Expect that is part of what you are covering when you purchase via Paypal!
Homeschool Classifieds is invaluable to the homeschool community. Let's keep it honest!
A Lesson from the Garden
Kids are like vines. At the beginning, it seems like forever before they'll take root and start to grow. Will they EVER get anywhere? You had such great visions of what they could be... Then, when you're not looking, the shoots start zipping along the fence, tiny tendrils hanging on tenaciously as they climb. In the blink of an eye, they've moved far beyond the neat little fence you made for them. And then you think, ''WAIT!! WHERE ARE YOU GOING SO FAST?!?!?'' We moms are such conflicted creatures.
Don't Bury Those Books in Your Yard!
Has God blessed you this past year? Were you able to see God's hand at work in your life and in your family?
Then stop hoarding your used curriculum -- stop thinking of it as an investment -- your children are the investment, not the books!
Please get rid of your unnecessary curriculum as cheaply as you can! And when someone offers you a lower price—take it! Do not pass up the opportunity be a blessing to others...
Be happy about it! Think of all of the ways He has answered your prayers this past school year. God is faithful, He has already met your needs -- and He loves a cheerful giver!
HC: Longer-lasting Listings!
Site administrator: After years of requests, we have changed how our system handles older sale listings. Instead of being deleted after ~60 days, listings will now become inactive (grayed out to the seller, invisible to buyers) after 60 days, and be irretrievably deleted after 120 days. If you have sufficient credits you can of course renew them by clicking the ''Renew older listings'' link on your ''For sale'' tab. Let us know how this is working.
Here's what Papa says to Travis in the end: ''It's not a thing you forget. I don't guess it's a thing that you ought to forget. What I mean is, things like that happen. They may seem mighty cruel and unfair, but that's how life is part of the time. But that isn't the only way life is. A part of the time, it's mighty good. And a man can't afford to waste all the good part, worrying about all the bad parts. That makes it all bad...You understand?''
Bible & Spiritual growth
What do you See?
The Law? That's seeing yourself in the magnifying mirror. The Gospel? That's seeing yourself in the eyes of the one who loves you jealously and unceasingly. To see clearly who we are in Christ, we need to integrate both perspectives.
Who is Rich?
I love this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
''Who is rich? He who is content.''
May we be content in this special season of homeschooling. It is easy to feel that we are not doing enough, that the house is a mess, that we are missing out. But the truth remains, if God called us He will equip and strengthen us for this challenging and rewarding task.
Marriage & parenting
Training the Mind & Soul of Your Children
I found these quotes written down in an old journal….Sadly, I did not record who wrote them. They are probably from a book on child training. Do you not agree wholeheartedly with them?
Eternal Vigilance - “It means never to leave the outposts unguarded. It means to be so jealous of that child for God and for his future that you do not dare to leave the training of his mind and soul to the care of godless teachers.”
“The child’s brain and soul must be properly nourished with the best that music, literature, science, art, healthy pleasures and the Bread of Life can give. Great eternal things must crowd out base, low things.”
“From your obedience to God, a strength, a power will come. It will give you a driving force, an energy, an enthusiasm that can be gained nowhere else. It will give you a passion to save the soul of your child.”
“Are you taking time to teach your child reverence for God’s word and helping him to hide verses away in his heart so that when the storms of life and the temptations of youth come his faith cannot be shaken?”
Blessings to you Dear Mom as you teach and train your precious children!
Marriage & parenting
Enjoy Your Time at Home
Just as no business man on his death bed ever said he wishes he spent more time at the office, I doubt any mom near the end of her homeschooling journey said she wishes she spent more time cleaning her house!
The kids grow up soon enough and you will have more time to keep things tidy. In the meantime, just do what you must to keep your home healthy and functional and enjoy your kids. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, if they are judging your housekeeping they aren't a great friend anyway.
Suggestions For New Homeschoolers
1. Read as much as you can about homeschooling before you begin. Subscribe to a homeschool magazine.
2. As you read, keep a notebook of the ideas you like. Try to form your own homeschool philosophy.
3. Avoid imitating the public school system.
4 Relax and enjoy. Work on making happy memories together.
5. Keep it simple at first. Add more subjects as as the year progresses.
6. Talk to a few “seasoned” homeschool mom’s about what curriculum they use before ordering. Resist the urge to over-buy. So much learning takes place just through reading good books together.
7. When your children are little simply focus on reading & writing. Your children can learn science and history through read-alouds.
8. When teaching reading don’t be afraid to combine curriculum ideas. Read picture books together every day.
9. Find out when you legally have to begin formal schooling according to your state. Rather than formal schooling create a lifestyle of learning.
10. Don’t compare your program with any other.
11. Try journaling instead of a typical lesson plan book.
12. Most importantly, remember that on some days learning will be all about character development. It is very difficult to homeschool a child who will not obey or listen.
13. Find a homeschool mentor who you can talk to on a regular basis.
14. Find one or two like-minded families to meet with on a regular basis.
15. Pray and read the Scriptures. Look up all the Bible verses regarding teaching and training your children.
16. Don’t forget to join HSLDA. For a fee ($100) per year, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have access to legal advice.
17. Have Fun everyday! :)
Health & PE
Getting the Family Through Flu Season
Once in a while, despite our best efforts, someone in the family gets a flu bug. And Murphy's Law dictates that the day before the illness is discovered, the siblings will be more affectionate with each other than they have in weeks. So now you've got to deal with the fallout of a sick child or maybe a whole brood that's out of commission. Here are a few things we've learned to short-circuit the nastiness.
Have on hand: disposable plastic gloves (now available at the dollar store), disinfectant spray, ice pops, plastic bucket from ice cream, and extra toothbrushes. Set the bucket bedside, lined with grocery bags, for nausea/vomiting, and use the gloves whenever cleaning up the mess or cleaning up after the patient in the bathroom. Spray bathroom surfaces, light switches, door handles, and other commonly touched surfaces with the disinfectant to keep further spread of germs down. Put away toothbrushes instead of leaving them exposed in the bathroom, and when someone is over the tummy trouble, replace their brush with a new one. Remind your patient to sip liquids in small amounts. Too much at once can be a problem with the big D(i-a-r-r...).
If you're dealing with fevers, put a gallon zipper bag in the freezer with a few folded pillowcases inside it. Sounds crazy, but they come out really cool and refreshing!
This is also the time to be ''territorial.'' Do you have more than one bathroom? Bingo, they are now for ''healthy'' or ''sick''. As space allows, give each patient a ''zone'' to be in during their waking hours, to minimize infecting other family members. Get out those seldom-used TV trays for coloring, puzzles, whiteboard doodling, and other solitary pursuits. Play favorite books on tape using headphones while others do schoolwork. Rediscover library books!
Challenge your family members to become champion hand-washers, and remind them not to touch thier eyes, nose, or mouth after contact with the patient without washing again.
Most importantly, don't skimp on rest. Both caregivers and patients need sleep to help their immune systems work effectively. And with rest and some smart daytime strategies, ''this too shall pass''.
He Who Knows Not
He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep.
He who knows and knows that he knows is wise.
Listen to him.
- Persian Proverb
A Season of Joyful Giving
Maybe I'm just really out there, but the debate over shopping late on Thanksgiving or waiting until Black Friday strikes me as incredibly ironic. I do happen to agree that stores being open on Thanksgiving is pitiful, but I think the bigger commentary on life in the U.S. is that we can barely manage to focus on gratitude for 24 hours before we're compelled to race out and frantically grab for MORE STUFF. OK, some of it might be to bless others, but most of us haven't even considered whether those lucky ''others'' really need those glittering marvels of fashion and technology.
Here's my radical plan for Black Friday: 1. Stay home...with a leisurely cup of my favorite coffee. 2. Consider again the blessings I was thankful for yesterday. 3. Make a list of the friends and family I would like to encourage this Christmas season. 4. Check the budget. 5. PRAY, discuss, and make notes about what's most helpful and encouraging to them, and also what we can realistically afford to pay for things that we can't make/provide ourselves. Is it a homecooked meal? An overdue letter of appreciation? A photo book of meaningful pictures? Homebaked goods? A long phone call or a lunch date to catch up? Attending a special event together, or starting a new tradition? Supplies for their special interest or hobby?
Have you noticed that I'm not even near the mall chaos yet? I challenge you today, FB friends, to carefully consider your gift-giving this weekend. THINK about what the recipients most need and what they will most treasure long after Christmas has passed...just like the Father did when He sent the original Christmas Gift. In the process, you may well find that joy has come home for the holidays.
Create Your Own Co-op
Do not overlook your local Christian School for possible education opportunities.
Although we live in a small town, we recently signed up for Spanish classes at the small private church school down the street. They teach in a one room schoolhouse manner--very compatible for my different grade level learners. I asked the teacher and the pastor and they asked the ''Board.'' I also proposed a small fee ($5 per kid per class) and they said ''Sure!'' It is like having our very own homeschool ''Co-op!''
Vacation is ''School'' Enough...Really
We recently tagged along on an out-of-town business trip with my husband. I planned lots of field trips, a few theatrical plays, and dinners out at ethnic restaurants...and I brought some school. ''Just a little reading and math,'' I told myself.
Now that we are home, I realize I made a mistake. The vacation was school enough. We completed none of my curriculum that I brought -- and the kids groaned if I even mentioned it. Plus, I could have used that packing space (even though small) for souvenirs or dirty clothes.
You may be tempted in your uber multitasking mode to bring some ''school'' on your vacation...DON'T DO IT. If you find yourself with truly nothing to do while away, it will not be for long and you can make up a few math problems or read a map if necessary.