Friday, May 28, 2010

A funny from a friend

This cartoon was sent to my by my friend Jill Whitmarsh.  I just had to share it! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Should Young Women Go to College?

Yes! Yes! Yes!  I know my dd is only 5 1/2 but my DH and I have talked and prayed about her future extensively especially me as my vision has cleared from the fog of feminism.  We've discussed the benefit of her living at home and possible pursuing another form of education rather than going off to live at some college.  I'm so blessed to see others who are not just talking about it but living it.

One comment many make is "How will she learn to be independent?"   Trust me, I know my daughter (like most of us and our daughters) will never have a problem being independent, the challenge is submitting joyfully to authority.  How much more protection (and practice!) will she have going straight from her father's headship to her husband's?

Should Young Women Go to College?
Posted By Jasmine Baucham on May 17, 2010

After I graduated high school in 2007, I was faced countless times with a very common question: “Where are you going to school?” College is such a cultural “coming of age” and a “rite of passage” that few ever considered the possibility that I would not be stepping onto a college campus sometime soon. They did not ask, “Are you going to school?” or “What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?” No, assumptions made, the question was “where.” It was to the disgust and confounding of many that I answered “nowhere.”

Why Aren’t You in School, Young Lady?

Many things came into play with my decision not to take the traditional route to post-secondary education; the question above was one I pondered for quite some time: 1) what did I think about college, and, as a young woman, with my aspirations, 2) would I be attending. It was an ongoing discussion between my parents and I, and I had a massive paradigm shift from, as a little girl, yearning to be an Ivy League graduate, starry-eyed over a certificate I got from Duke University after my standardized test scores, to, as a sophomore in high school, daydreaming about becoming a UCLA or NYU graduate who made Shyamalan-esque films, to, as a junior, researching schools with a much more Christ-exalting curricula, to as a senior, deciding to do away with the typical college experience altogether.

First off, since college is a form of furthering one’s education, I had to consider what the purpose of my education was: as a Christian, I believe that purpose falls in line with my ultimate purpose: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. I wanted all levels of my education to be effective in equipping me for that calling. There were several things that made me shy away my my UCLA and NYU ideals; one was a five point sermon my dad’s been preaching to Trey and me since we entered high school:

  • Most BA degrees aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
  • Four years is too much time to waste.
  • $80,000 (room&board/state school) to $250,000 (room&board/Ivy League) is too much money to spend.
  • College is not for everyone.
  • Most universities are philosophically antagonistic to Christianity.
 Click here to read the full article.


American colleges today aren’t what they once were, and with the amount of time and money poured into young peoples’ education today, I think the results being offered are, most often, subpar. Young men and young women would benefit from taking a long, hard look at the way post-high-school education is conducted in America, making decisions, not based on the status quo, but on how to be a good steward with the time and the gifts that the Lord has given them.

But Don’t You Need a College Education, Just in Case?

Just in case I don’t get married -just in case a parent dies -just in case my husband dies -just in case he becomes disabled -just in case I have to work…

Just in case scenarios have their validity -if they did not, I would not be a firm believer in life insurance, car insurance, and home insurance -however, we must be careful never to base our decisions on fear, but on the precepts of the Word of God, and the leading of our consciences in accordance with His Word.

If it is your desire to flourish in the home environment, I want to encourage you: it is not impossible to make “just in case” plans that don’t include a college degree… it just takes a little creativity, a lot of foresight, and much prayer.

So What Would you Do Instead?

The first two years after I graduated were spent under the tutelage of my parents, helping my mother with the household duties while working full-time for my father as his research assistant. If people asked me what I did for a living, I’d probably quip that I was the all-purpose household and office assistant/brother-wrangler/sous-chef. I was still learning (at that time, I was researching for my dad’s latest book, which gave me an opportunity to read a variety of resources from a host of different perspectives regarding biblical manhood and womanhood) from both of my parents, particularly from Mama, because I had ample time to tag along and take notes.

Towards the end of that two-year period, we found an alternative to the traditional college route that allows me to still be just as involved with my family life, and I am now enrolled in an online degree program called CollegePlus! I’m an English major, and am able to pursue my passion for literature and writing at home while shaping and pursuing the other passions in my life. As Daddy pointed out in his article, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education (which, as homeschoolers, is something that we definitely know). Doing college this away affords me the opportunity to continue to live at home under the protection and discipleship of both of my parents, as well as to be involved in my family life in a unique way that I believe many college-age gals are missing out on.

I think a lot of times, though, women who make decisions like I have get painted into a corner. I know many people have assumed that my daddy won’t “allow” me to go to college, when the fact of the matter is that my educational path was a decision that my parents and I made together. I’m a sophomore in college now, credits-wise, and my parents and I have talked about the possibility of me getting a nouthetic counseling license once I graduate, or taking advantage of a fully-accredited online doctorate program from a Reformed college. I am working on writing my first book, based on my blog, and will have to complete the manuscript a bit before the deadline, as I’ll be traveling for a month with my family in Africa this August while my dad ministers there.

Not every daughter who chooses to live at home is going to have a life that looks just like mine, but what I’m trying to demonstrate is that when I talk about “stay-at-home daughterhood,” I’m not talking about sitting at home and watching the paint dry until Prince Charming comes along. There are limitless opportunities for ministry and productivity at home, if we will only take advantage of them or make them for ourselves.

So Do You Think Young Women Should be Educated?

I must say that I do not equate the question of whether or not a young person decides to go to college with whether or not young people should be educated; when asked the second question, my answer is an emphatic yes; I simply don’t believe the only or the best way for a young person to be educated is on a college campus. Depending on their chosen career paths, young men as well as young women would often do well to cut out the time-consuming, money-guzzling venture that the traditional college education is.


As to the specific question of whether or not I believe young women should be educated -and, further to the point, as well-educated as their male counterparts -yes, I do believe they should. We are in the midst of a culture war -as Christians, it is our duty to be good stewards of our minds, applying them to learning the truths that can advance the Kingdom of Christ. This can be done in a structured school setting, but it is not at all limited to that sphere -in this day and age, the only limitations to your education are your imagination and your drive to learn.


Do You Think Everyone Should Live at Home Like You?


 All I want to do is to encourage young ladies to rethink their presuppositions not only regarding education, but in regards to the aspirations that your education leads you to.


However, I can share with you, as a young woman, some of the reasons I decided against going off to school. It was more important for me to remain under the protection of my father and the discipleship of my mother than it was for me to travel cross-country to sit under the discipleship of others. I believe my primary calling is towards my home, and there is no other place I’d rather be, here in my family’s home for now, and, Lord bless, someday running a home of my own and educating my own children. I had no desire for a career that would take me away from that sphere. I believe that a Christian home is the best training ground that young women can be afforded, and that the safest place a young woman can be is under her parents’ authority.


 For too long in our culture, parents have been training their daughters in the exact same way that they train their sons, launching their female arrows to go through life the same way their male arrows do. Fathers have been abdicating their duty to protect their daughters, mothers their duty towards discipleship and guidance. Young women have not only lost their femininity, but they’ve lost their desire for the biblical role that the Lord has called them to. We no longer want to be wives and mothers, and we no longer realize the power of that calling. As a result, many of us no longer realize what a unique time in our lives this can be, not only to take advantage of our ministry to our home and families, but the minister to others through that sphere.

There are so many other questions that come up in the college discussion, but, lest I write my book in the course of this post, I’ll close with this: there’s honestly nothing I can say that I’d rather be doing than living the life I’m leading; I am always free at any time to discuss alternatives with my parents, because their goal is the same as mine: to be a good steward of the gifts, passions, and callings that the Lord has placed on my life, and to become a true woman of God. My home -my family -was custom-made by the King of Kings for me; I’m blessed to have this unique opportunity to learn from them and bless them and to be blessed by them.

I’m a stay-at-home daughter because I believe this is the best place for me to be, and because I enjoy learning and thriving in a real-world environment that affords me opportunities to minister and to be ministered to in ways that I never could be living out on my own. That’s a decision that I’ve made with the full blessing of both of my parents, and it’s a decision that has blessed the rest of us in turn. I do pray that other young women are able to have these fruitful conversations with their parents as well, and to make wise, Christ-exalting plan for their futures!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Devotional Today

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Having little ones can present a challenge to any mom who wants to develop a consistent devotional life, but it can be done. I’ve heard about a mom named Susannah who had nineteen children—nine who died in infancy. Somehow this busy mom managed to spend time alone with the Lord every day—an hour in the morning, an hour in the evening, and sometimes an hour at noon!

I’m sure she probably had to make some sacrifices to set aside this time. But she was committed to obeying God’s command in Deuteronomy 4:9. It says, “Keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.”

You’ve probably heard of two of Susannah’s sons, John and Charles Wesley, who were mighty servants in the kingdom of Christ. Her example paid off.

With Seeking Him, I'm Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Betsy note:  I hear that Susannah Wesley would actually sit down and put her apron over her face in order to have a quiet time.  Her family knew if her apron was over her face not to bother her!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finding the Gift in Your Child

This is from today's HSLDA's The Early Years newsletter.

When we were first considering home education, I was unsure about my own ability to meet my children’s needs. Not only did we have a daughter born with cerebral palsy, but I had two children classified as “gifted and talented” by the local public school. Speech therapy and occupational therapy in a home environment weren’t nearly as frightening to me as the thought of challenging my “GT” kids! I was so afraid that I could not offer a motivating, stimulating environment equivalent to that of the local school program. And I was right….

Instead of producing an equivalent program (i.e., limiting our own “gifted and talented” situation to one or two half-days a week), we were able to tailor our entire program to the accelerated learning and creative development of our children! Instead of having to wait for the rest of the class to catch up in math, they could move ahead at their own speed. Instead of halting their fascination with the topic at hand because the bus was coming, our children could delve into their latest passion for hours or days or weeks at a time. And one child’s passion was usually contagious, infecting her siblings with at least a functional interest in the topic, as they worked together to learn, create, read, experiment, explore, and discover.

Along the way, I made a discovery of my own—all children are gifted. Not only did our school-labeled “gifted” children flourish, but our “challenged” child could grow beyond the limitations the world had wanted to impose. This child who would supposedly never speak not only learned to talk, but she sang, performed in radio “plays” with her sisters, and memorized Scripture and completed service projects—to be crowned one of the youngest Missionettes Honor Stars in our district. This child who would “never walk” became one of the most entertaining players on her varsity softball team, with other parents attending practices just to watch her ball-catching “ta-daaa!” gymnastics in the outfield.

Academic giftedness is not the only measure of intelligence—it’s just the most easily discernible in a typical scholastic setting. According to theorists such as Howard Gardner, there are many different types of intelligence, including:

  • Visual-spatial (Thinks in pictures/images; enjoy mazes, puzzles, construction) 
  • Verbal-linguistic (Writer, reader, storyteller, word puzzler)
  • Logical-mathematical (Fascinated by pattern, strategy, math, logical relationships)
  • Bodily-kinesthetic (Natural talent in athletics, dance, practical arts such as crafts or woodworking) 
  • Musical-rhythmic (Has a discriminating ear for pitch or rhythm; often sings to himself or drums on everything in sight) 
  • Interpersonal (Leader, communicator, motivator)
  • Intrapersonal (Self-motivated to an unusual degree; often shy or introverted, but very aware of his own emotions and thoughts)
 As parents, whether or not we agree with the psychology behind such theories, we recognize that some of our children may exhibit great talent in some of these areas, while other children excel in other areas. In addition to teaching our children the basic skills and content areas, we can encourage our children to delve more deeply and excel in their own areas of interest or talent.

Maybe you don’t have any doubt about your child’s giftedness; you just aren’t sure what to do with him! If your child is capable of working ahead of his age-mates, think in terms of his ability rather than his grade level, and let him move to the next stage of his learning.

However, in many cases, it may be less obvious to you that your child has potential far above that considered average for his age; many children who display ADD-like or highly distractible tendencies are actually gifted learners. Do you have a child you were sure was gifted until her performance started lagging behind her potential? She could be “twice exceptional,” or what Dianne Craft terms “gifted with a glitch.”

Dianne writes:

Maybe your child exhibits symptoms of dysgraphia, such as being “allergic” to a pencil and moaning and groaning when any writing is required. This is the most common learning glitch for kids who are gifted learners. Because of the combination of giftedness and this writing glitch (which it looks like they could surely overcome, since they are so bright), these children are often labeled as “lazy, sloppy, or unmotivated,” when in reality they have a bona fide learning glitch that can easily be overcome at home using specific methods.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that this child’s emotional or social maturity is likely not at the same advanced level as his cognitive maturity, so it is important to have realistic expectations. The precocious 5-year-old may have the vocabulary and reasoning abilities of a much older child, but she will often behave like, well, a 5-year-old.

In a recent column for The Old Schoolhouse magazine’s e-newsletter, cartoonist, speaker, and homeschool dad Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries shared this perspective:

I don’t mean to brag, but … I am the proud parent of extremely gifted children. I mean one of my kids is great with children, one can pick up bugs and snakes without flinching, one smiles almost constantly, and yet another one can burp his ABCs. That’s the cool thing about children; they’re ALL gifted. After all, that’s how God delivers them … as gifts, endowing each child with a specific gift designed to build up the body of Christ.

Now I don’t buy for one moment the notion that only the ones who are good at math, science, or some other academic discipline are the gifted ones. Yes, they are gifted, but no more so than the child who can draw, cook, work on cars, build, or is just plain kind. I get a little tired of the parents who humbly say, “Oh, it’s nothing I’ve done … but I just praise God that my child is in the 99.9th percentile in academics.” Oh, give me a break. Have we been duped by the world for so long that we measure our children in percentiles?  How I long to hear from the parent, “I just praise God because my child is in the 4th percentile.”  Truth is, 99.9% and 4% are both gifts from God, and both should elicit praise to HIM.  So, I know you don’t mean to brag … but all your children are gifted, too. Your job is to tailor their education to best fan those gifts.
That’s what homeschooling is all about. And the greatest resource for training a gifted child is … the home.

 Thanks, Todd, for the reminder to appreciate and nurture the gifts in all of our children!

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

EduScraps History Book One: 1900-1919 - Sharon Crooks | CurrClick

This is the freebied from this week. Looks like a cool concept!

EduScraps History Book One: 1900-1919 - Sharon Crooks CurrClick

"Eduscraps is a creative way for students to dive deep into a subject, exploring it, reading about it, writing about it and documenting it for future reference. When kids create a product using the resources by Sharon Crooks, it becomes a treasure forever. This keepsake is something that they can be proud of, rather than just worksheets to fill in and toss away. This is the finest kind of learning. Sharon Crooks uses her imagination and enthusiasm to foster those same qualities in her students".
-Carol Mader, President, Publishers Association of North Alabama Editor in Chief, Real News for Real Kids

Introducing the Young Authors' Publishing Program

This is from the latest newsletter.

We all want our children to write. What’s more, we want them to write well and to enjoy writing. We spend hundreds of dollars on writing curricula and writing classes. We encourage our children to produce cute stories with hand-drawn pictures for Grandma’s birthday. We applaud our teens for writing a novel in a year or a short story in a semester. But, what do we do with their words? Fantasies languish beside mysteries on the hard drive. Fiction becomes historical on our laptops before we get around to reading it. What reason is there for the reluctant writer to craft an interesting story if no one is going to read it?

The best motivation for kids to write is to see their words turned into an actual book that can be purchased by grandparents and friends. The Young Authors’ Publishing Program, exclusively by Codex Publishing, is designed to take a teen’s or child’s written words and turn them into a physical book.

Turn the work of your heart into a work of art to be shared with your family and friends.

Our goal is for kids and teens (through age 18) to be encouraged to keep expressing themselves through the written word. We want to make the dream of publishing a book attainable for every teen/child author.

The very first step in the publishing process is to revise and edit the finished manuscript. It has been said that great literature is not written, it’s rewritten. A book is never done after the first draft.

The next step is to choose one of the Young Authors’ Publishing Program’s plans. We have two basic plans available, as well as additional components that may be added to enhance the book. The Tolkien Plan is FREE. It includes basic formatting, a glossy cover with a stock image or your own image, and a one-year contract. The book will be listed on the Codex Publishing Web site as well as on the CurrClick Web site. Oh, you will also receive twenty percent royalties on the net profits. You may add an ISBN number, a light edit, a one-page critique, or a custom-designed cover for additional fees.

The Shakespeare Plan is not free, but in addition to the basic formatting, one year contract, twenty percent royalties, and listings on the Codex Publishing and CurrClick Web sites, it includes an ISBN number, a full professional edit, a one-page critique, and a free soft-cover copy of the book. The book will also be listed on Amazon.

Need help deciding between plans? Is the manuscript error free? Does she want her book to be available on just a few Web sites? Then theTolkien Plan is her best choice. Additional items to complement the Tolkien Plan include an ISBN number, a light edit, and/or a one-page, in-depth critique. If you teen has her heart set on a custom-designed cover, you may purchase one with either plan. Could the manuscript benefit from a thorough copyedit (more in-depth than the light edit available for purchase with the Tolkien plan), including comments to improve it? Does your teen want his book to be featured in the Codex newsletter and posted on Amazon? Does he want an ISBN included? Then the Shakespeare Plan is his best choice. When you choose either plan, you can download our exclusive Publishing Guide right away that will answer all of your questions.

~ Bethany LeBedz, for the Codex team
The Young Authors Program by Codex

Workboxes by the workbox diva herself!

On Thursday morning of the Schoolhouse Expo, Sue Patrick spoke on the workbox system. Her website is I had posted about them a few months ago and had thought about using this coming school year.  Now, I'm definitely going to try them.

She started developing the workbox system for her 18 month old child with autism.  She also made the point that it works well for those with behavior/attention issues.  She made the point that behavior issues often come from overtaxing attention or energy on one thing.  Use of workboxes allows smaller segments that allow work to be accomplished before a behavior develops thus getting the work done and getting rid of the bad behavior.  She made the point that you evaluate the program based on behavior. 

I know that I'm probably not communicating this well, but it made a lot of sense especially sense a dealing with my sanguine/sensory dd who is only 5 1/2 going into 2nd grade in the fall.  Distraction and shorter attention span are a part of life.

Here are a few points from the session.  There is no way I could share everything.

The basic systems consists of 12 clear plastic shoeboxes on a cart.  The boxes are numbered 1 to 12.  There is also a schedule strip with the order of days activities. 

In each box is everything needed to complete that assignment, so no time is wasted trying to find the glue stick or the scissors, etc.  Each activity needs to be a closed ended assignment.  First you take the basic curriculum assignments and spread them in various boxes and then fill in the other boxes with other activities that reinforce what your are teaching.  The goal is to feel a sense of accomplishment when each box is done. 

She always starts the day with an independent box.  She then varies the boxes between subjects, activities, etc.  She might but a more fun/motivating assignment before after a more challenging to encourage things to get done.  Certain boxes that need mom's involvement have a "Work with Mom" label attached.

Two things that Sue Patrick uses and includes in the boxes are centers and interactive posters.  Centers can be such things as a listening center (book on tape), geography center (globe, atlas, and things you were going to cover anyway), science center (experiment or activity), folder games, typing centers, computer games, and more.  She emphasized that they should back up what you've been teaching.

Her interactive posters were awesome.  She even made them so that children of different ages could use the same poster in different ways.  They were so cool, but hard to explain. But to attempt to put in simply, most involved using a second copy of the poster to use for labels/answers that can be sticky tacked to the original poster. 

There are so many other details that I can't even cover them here.  I hope you at least get a sample of this cool system. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

10 reasons why public school is better than homeschool.

1. Most parents were educated in the under funded-public school system, and so are not smart enough to homeschool their own children.

2. Children who receive one-on-one homeschooling will learn more than others, giving them an unfair advantage in the marketplace. This is undemocratic.

3. How can children learn to defend themselves unless they have to fight off bullies on a daily basis?

4. Ridicule from other children is important to the socialization process.

5. Children in public schools can get more practice “Just Saying No” to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

6. Fluorescent lighting may have significant health benefits.

7. Publicly asking permission to go to the bathroom teaches young people their place in society.

8. The fashion industry depends upon the peer pressure that only public schools can generate.

9. Public schools foster cultural literacy, passing on important traditions like the singing of “Jingle Bells,  Batman smells, Robin laid an egg…”

10. Homeschooled children may not learn important office career skills, like how to sit still for six hours straight.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Family--Our Best Apologia Ever

Wednesday afternoon, Davis Carman of Apologia Educational Ministries spoke at the online Schoolhouse Expo.

I know many use the Apologia Science curriculum, but he mentioned the development of their new new, Bible/Worldview curriculum entitled What We Believe.  The first is Who is God?.  The second will be coming out this year and is entitled Who am I?

The reason I (and he) mentioned the new curriculum was because he spoke about the importance of having a Biblical worldview. 

He quoted a Barna Group study to show why we should be concerned.  I'll share a few of the scary facts.

Only 4% of those in the study had a Biblical Worldview.  Of those who consider themselves "born again," the percentage jumps up to a whopping 9%.   Five of the seven major influences are the media (TV, radio, music, books, internet).  The other two are family and public policy.  Notice that the church is not one of the major influences. 

He made the point that we need to see our kids as our primary mission field.  This is the reaon we need to do intentional parenting which includes making choices in which curriculum and books we use.

He mentioned that according to a 2007 NCE study,  the number one reason for homeschooling was religious and moral instruction.  He gave many references Deut 6:1-7, Psalm 78:1-8, Proverbs 22:6, and 3 John 1:4.

He had an awesome quote from Martin Luther, "I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Reading | Kansas City Public Library

Summer Reading Kansas City Public Library information is available now.  It doesn't start until June 1.

Not Just Your Average Genius

I've been so busy listening to the online that I haven't had much time to blog what I'm learning.  It might be awhile before I get everything done, but I'm definitely going to try to journal my notes hear.

Not Just Your Average Genius was taught by Diana Waring.  Her website is

Her session was very convicting and challenging.

She started by pointing out that a child that does things "too much" or "too often" are wired that way by God.  It may be immature & unripened fruit of what God's made them to be, but it's the wiring of God.  She used the example of Mikhail Baryshnikov.  He probably got in trouble all the time as a child for not being able to sit still, but that's because God wired him for movement.  Or Barbara Walters probably got in trouble for talking all the time, but that's how she was wired.  Now, both use their wiring in a mature way.

It was convicting to be reminded that the things I find often find frustrating and hard to control in my dd are things that God wired into her.  How dare I think that those things need to be changed!  Helped to mature and grow, yes.  Changed, no.

She mentioned the different learning modality which is how do I best take in new stuff.  They are visual (see it), auditory (hear it) and tactile/kinestetic (touch or move).

She then went into personality/learning styles.  She used the Myers-Briggs terms. 
  • Thinker--organized, schedule, black & white
  • Feeler--drawn to and need people, needs to be with people
  • Sensor--so it, concrete, hands on, need sense of accomplishment
  • Intuition--idea person
I've known my dd is a "feeler" or sanguine for quite awhile!  It didn't click with me, however, that means that even as I try to encourage her to work independently, I'm still going to need to be around.  I may not have to do each activity with her, but at least be a "person" to be around. That's good to know as I plan her further learning.

She then talked about the 8 intelligences or "How God made you smart!"

We all have the 8 intelligences but some are stronger and some are weaker.  My comments below are in now way the extent of what she shared, but only the key points that struck me.

  • Intra-personal--self-smart, often need space or to be alone
  • Naturalize--nature-smart
  • Musical
  • Math-logical
  • Bodily-kenestetic--body-smart, not just athletes or dancers but also jewelers and brain-surgeons
  • Interpersonal--people-smart, do with another
  • Linguistic-- word-smart
  • Spatial-- picture-smart, artists, architect, packing
One of the last things she mentioned is that we need to give lots of grace.  We need to keep in mind that these styles of learning are immature and being developed, and we need to remember they are still kiddos!

I think her book Beyond Survival would be an excellent source.  She also wrote the history curriculum being sold by Answers in Genesis.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Calculation Nation Match Games

Found out about this from's email.

Calculation Nation is a new, free, math games website from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

It currently has 8 games, each of which you can play against the computer or against other players that are online at the same time as you. You will need to register first (free).

All of the games are educational and well made. They include:

Ker-Splash introduces students to algebra as they try to rack up points by combining like terms.

A ball goes down a series of ramps and grabs either x, y, or plain number tokens. You need to figure out the best route for the ball, and combine like terms. The more points students earn, the more control they will have over the game board, which consists of trap doors. My kids really liked this one. I liked it alright as well. It's not very difficult - more for prealgebra level than algebra 1.

Square Off — Drag a rectangle to cover as many spaceships as possible, calculating the perimeter.

Factor Dazzle -- Find all the factors of a number to earn points. Then, choose a number for which your opponent must find the factors. Create and locate fractions on a number line to tell your shovel where to dig. Earn points for the amount of dirt you collect and the number of jewels you discover.

Times Square — Exercise your skill with factors and multiples! Try to get four squares in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. I liked this one! I've played it before somewhere else as well.

Dig It —Create and locate fractions on a number line to tell your shovel where to dig. Earn points for the amount of dirt you collect and the number of jewels you discover.

Drop Zone — Make sums of 1, using different unlike fractions, and prevent your opponent from making sums of 1. I liked this one!

Slam Ball — Slam the ball into the sides of the game board, and use your knowledge of angles, symmetry, and reflections to choose the best path

Fraction Feud — In each joust, earn points by creating a larger (or smaller) fraction than your opponent.

Choosing Curriculum

5/13/10  The Old Homeschool Magazine e-mail
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor

If you've stepped foot into a homeschool convention, or if you've looked through catalogs, or even if you've opened all your homeschool emails, you've quickly learned that there are so many choices for curriculum that it can make your head spin. And, believe me, relying on which way your head spins is no way to choose curriculum. What we need is wisdom and discernment and that comes through prayer, through how our children learn, and through how we are apt to teach. The last ingredient is trust.


When I talk about prayer with my kids, I tell them that it is not just our air flowing across our vocal chords. God takes our prayers seriously. I also tell my kids that God's Word is not just black ink on white paper. His Word is powerful and alive and has everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore, through prayer and seeking God through His Word, He promises to provide direction. Yes, even for curriculum.

How They Learn:

If you have a very auditory child, for example, giving him daily reading lessons can be frustrating. Instead of requiring too much self-reading from him, provide books on tape, or simply read to him yourself. If you have a hands-on child (kinesthetic), having him read textbooks may be part of your curriculum, but in order to cement the facts, you will need to have hands-on projects. Let him come up with a working model of what the textbook is covering.

How We Are Apt To Teach:

If you don't have time to read the instructions every day before lessons, try to find something else that is less teacher-intensive and more student directed. If you are the type to grade every paper and record every learning experience, then find curriculum that takes advantage of that strength. If you are more creative and less textbook oriented, then find resources that compliment your strengths or you won't end up using them. If you are bored with a resource, it's very likely your child is as well. A curriculum can sound like the best thing ever, but if you know you won't follow through with using it, look for something else that fits your teaching style better.

The Lord's Faithfulness to Provide:

Sometimes the hardest part is trusting the Lord to provide for all your curriculum needs. Isn't that silly? Yet, we all fall into that temptation as we are earthly creatures. Can the God of the universe who spoke everything into existence, bring the resources you need to obey Him? I think so. Actually, I know so. Do you think He sees your circumstance? You can know Him as "El Roi" the God Who Sees. Another of His names is "Jehovah Jireh" the God Who Provides. Believe it or not, the God who sees, is faithful to provide. Here's a "curriculum choices" math problem for you!

Many resources plus one teacher who prays, to the One God who provides, equals the right choice.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Complete Writer--Susan Wise Bauer

Today was the first day of the online Schoolhouse Expo.  It has been a blessing already.  I didn't listen to all of them today, but my payment gives me MP3 copies off all the meetings.

The first meeting was The Complete Writer by Susan Wise Bauer.  If you'd like your own copy of the notes, she has them available on the website at Teaching K-12 Writing.

I'm just going to share a few of the things that made an impression on me. 

Writing is not a subject; it's a tool, but it needs a subject on which to use it.

There is actually two steps in the writing process: taking inarticulate ideas and putting them into words AND taking an idea in words and putting it on paper.

We assume that children can do this automatically because we've learned to this, but they are two separate things that need to be taught.

Three Elements two work on in elementary: Grammar, Spelling, Writing.

There are two aspects of writing at the elementary level:
1.  Copywork: Putting Words on Paper
Initially copy and eventually create a visual memory by dictation.
2.  Narration across the curriculum: Putting Ideas into Words
Initially narrate to parent, then narrate to parent and take dictation, teaches student to identify central elements, initially guided narration and then move away from guided narration.

Of course, elementary was my main focus, but I'll share a few things from middle and high.

Middle: additional goals in grammar is expertise in diagramming and outlining

A purpose of diagramming is to develop a way of checking sentences to see if they are good. 

Walt Disney Movies

I know most parents set some standards for their children's movie viewing.  I know there are many with much stronger standards than we have (which is actually probably better).  Some are much more lenient than we are (and are godly people that we respect).  To be honest,  that's what makes it so hard at times.  You go over to someone or they come over and then "exposure" happens.  Then you are left with explaining to your child why your family does or doesn't watch something different than another Christian family. 

Also, I know I've even changed my opinion about some things.  There are movies (and books for that matter) that I allowed for my students that I don't allow now looking at it from a parent's perspective.

For good or ill, I decided that I'm going to go through a list of some  common Disney movies and write down some of the reasons why we choose to allow my dd to watch or not watch.  These are just the ones that pop into my mind right now.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  YES  Good and evil are clearly delineated.  Snow White dresses modestly and looks forward to Mr. Right. 

Cinderella YES  Cindy serves without complaining even though she faces negative circumstances.  She dresses modestly.  Good triumphs over evil.  One negative is that the Prince bases his desire for Cinderella based on how she looks, but it does show that it's the man that's supposed to pursue the woman.

Sleeping Beauty  YES  She disobeyed by going up the stairs resulting in negative consequences for herself and others.  The prince sacrificially fights for "his woman" and others.

Mary Poppins  YES Outsider comes in and teaches the father about the importance of family.  Teaches about the fun of imagination.  Also teaches a little bit of history if you discuss the suffragettes.

Pollyanna  YES She teaches others to not only be content but to appreciate things.  People actually grow through her influence even though she's only a child.  Even though her intentions are good, she disobeys by sneaking out and experiences a very negative consequence as a result, but you know she's going to end up ok thanks to the good looking doctor! 

The Little Mermaid  NO  Ariel and the other mermaids have a few modesty issues with their dress.  Ariel disobeys her father and seeks assistance from a witch.  Any negative consequences?  No way.  She gets what she wants.  (In the original fairy tale, the mermaid loses her life because she can't make the prince love her.  Now that's consequences!)

Beauty and the Beast YES Belle chooses her "man" so to speak based on his inside not his outside.  She sacrifices herself for her father.

Newsies YES for a little older.  Great history piece showing child labor, orphans, homeless, unions, etc.  David works to help his family in a difficult time.  Cowboy learns  to grow into a selfless leader.

Lion King  YES  A little hesitant with the native spirituality, but on the whole a great piece about facing consequences and assuming responsibility.

Pocahontas  NO.  No Disney movie stays true to the actual story but this one seems worse than most.  White man bad just slaps you in the face and pagan animism is the answer to it all.  And once again, father doesn't know best.

Toy Story  YES  Woody learns to accept Buzz, and Buzz learns he has a purpose apart from his plans.

Hunchback of Notre Dame  NO  This story was too heavy to bring into a kid's realm.  I don't mind a church person being a bad guy, but his lust which ultimately leads him to seek the demons for assisitance  was too graphic.  Phoebus' affection if very shallow (well, it was in the book as well).  Esmeralda uses her wits and her "feminine whiles" to get her way. 

Mulan YES OK, you have to work around the ancestor worship, but the fact that you want to please and honor your family is a good thing.  Mulan attempts to help her father, but she does it in a way that ends up with dishonor and alienation.  When she finally acts as herself, she has to rebuild what was lost, but then succeeds in saving the Emporer. 

There are many more, but I think I've spent enough time on this for now.  If you read this and have thoughts or comments, PLEASE make them.  I would love to read what others think.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Everybody Needs Me!

Nancy Leigh Demoss had an excellent devotional for moms today.  You can read it here or here:

“I have three kids, but sometimes it feels like thirty-three! They even follow me into the bathroom! Everybody needs me!”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think Jesus can relate to the busyness women feel today. In Mark 1 we read about a day in the life of our Lord. First, He taught in the synagogue. Then He cast out a demon. Then He healed the mother-in-law of a friend. A full day to say the least! Then later that evening, He didn’t even get a break. The Scripture says in the evening that the whole town gathered at His door, and He healed the sick.

So how did Jesus keep that kind of pace? Well, listen to what He did the following morning:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed ” (Mark 1:35). Hmmm.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Jesus knew that to minister to others He had to stay connected with His Father. Are you connecting with the Lord?

With Seeking Him, I'm Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Summer Reading Programs

It's time to start gearing up for summer reading programs.

My friend Jamie pointed out one of our local libraries was accepting online sign-up. The program starts May 24. You can earn up to 3 incentives which is one for each 6 hours that is read. It's based on time not on number of books. Go to Mid-Continent Public Library Summer Reading Program.  We usually also sign up for the Kansas City Library summer reading program when it gets up and running.

Half Price Books will also be doing their program.  Kids 14 and under can earn a $3 Half Price Book shopping card for each week they read 15 minutes a day.  Go to Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program to print the reading logs.

Homeschool Freebies by Jamin mentioned two more options.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading 
Kids read any eight (8) books of their choosing. Kids use the Passport to Summer Reading to document the places visited in each book. A parent/guardian signs the Passport when it's complete. Kids bring their completed Passport to any B&N store between May 25 and September 7, 2010. We'll give them a coupon for a FREE BOOK, to be chosen from a list of exceptional paperback titles.  Here is the list of books.
Borders' Double Dog Dare Reading Program
This is for kids 12 and under.  Read any 10 books.  Take in the complete form and receive a free book.  It must be turned in by August 28 at any Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

11 Reasons To Teach Biblical Doctrine
By Brannon Howse

This is an excerpt from Brannon’s new book: Building A Biblical Worldview Verse by Verse. Click here for more information or to order your copy:

Besides the all-important reason of keeping people from having to hear Jesus say “depart from me,” there are 11 benefits here and now of teaching Biblical doctrine.
1. Biblical doctrine builds discernment and reveals the will of God for our lives.

• Discernment

What parent does not want their children to have discernment to make Godly decisions? Discernment and sound judgment are a by-products of teaching Biblical doctrine.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “but test everything, hold fast what is good.”

And Romans 12:2 commands, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

• Revealing the will of God for our lives

In John 7:17 Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

2. Biblical doctrine prepares us for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

3. There has been a vast falling away from Biblical truth.

The Bible describes this great apostasy or this falling away from Biblical truth in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ear away from truth and be turned aside to fables.”

4. False teaching is destroying lives.

Enemies of the truth know exactly how to encourage false teaching: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”
—1933, Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion 1

And Colossians 2:8 prescribes the antidote: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

5. Biblical doctrine is not boring but a strong mooring.

As I said earlier, most self-professing Christians cannot articulate, much less defend, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, but why is it that we spend so much time on things that will not last and that do not matter? Adults as well as teens can tell you all about pop culture, about sports teams and superstars but can these same teens and adults tell you how we know Jesus is God, how we know the Bible is true, or how we know Jesus rose from the dead?

Biblical doctrine is the Gospel, the will of God for our lives. It is what Jesus talked about during his earthly ministry. In spite of how it’s sometimes been presented, the real picture of Jesus and His teachings is riveting. Jesus commanded respect, inspired commitment, and renewed lives in ruin.

6. Biblical doctrine taught early and consistently builds a faith that lasts.

In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul, speaking about Timothy, says, “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Who was it that taught Timothy the scriptures from such an early age? 2 Timothy 1:5 answers the question: “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice which I am persuaded is in you also.”

Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him early, and he became one of the most powerful leaders in the first century church.

Deuteronomy 6:7 also reminds us to always be teaching God’s truth to our children: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

7. Biblical doctrine stirs the heart and mind.

“Heart” refers to the core of a person’s being, and it is significant that the Bible mentions the heart 826 times.

Proverbs 4:23 explains that out of the heart “spring the issues of life.”

From the heart proceed our good and bad thoughts, emotions, and behavior. So preparing the soil of a child’s or teen’s heart is crucial if we want to plant the seeds of Biblical truth and see them grow to maturity.

The Bible also commands us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. And Romans 10:10 makes the point: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Because there is no application without acquisition.

If we want to see our children, friends and family apply Biblical truth to all areas of life, they must first know what the truth is. Knowledge means the acquisition of truth; wisdom means the application of truth.

So where do we find knowledge and wisdom?

Proverbs 2: 6 explains, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”

Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

And Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

If adults and teens are to acquire wisdom and knowledge, we must encourage them to study Biblical doctrine and come to understand the character and nature of God it reveals.

Biblical doctrine convicts those that contradict.

Titus 1:9 says: “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” The scriptures are great at setting the record straight—whether in theology, doctrine, or lifestyle.

Remember, too, what 2 Timothy 3: 16 says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

10. Biblical doctrine will last forever.

The Bible says that grass withers and the flower fades but the Word of God stands forever. The reason is, as John 1:1 tells us, the Word of God is God: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

So, when we commit ourselves to teaching and training hearts and minds with the Word of God, we are planting in the lives of others something that will last through all eternity.

11. Because lives are at stake, and it is appointed unto every man to die once and then face judgment.

Pay close attention to James 5:19-20: “Brethren, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Marching Orders

Would a fireman ignore a fire alarm, lean back in his recliner and watch the rest of the ballgame as hundreds of souls perish in a burning office building? Would an emergency room doctor sip coffee in the break room, reading the latest fishing magazine and ignore the Code Blue alert over the hospital P.A. system? Yet today, Christian school administrators, Sunday School teachers, youth pastors, senior pastors, Christian college professors and presidents, deacons, elders, and parents are just as culpable as they ignore the warnings, the cultural flashing lights, and all the social sirens that scream a spiritual Code Blue—the warning of imminent spiritual and eternal death.

Many of them won’t be disturbed because they are busy entertaining and being entertained. They won’t be distracted because they caught up giving adults and teens what they want, not what they need. They rally to be inclusive, not offensive. They’re committed to consensus more than truth, customers over converts, donors over disciples, a big tent over the narrow way, and self-actualization over self-sacrifice. They will not be awakened from their malaise because they don’t want to change their priorities or practice. The Christian life they falsely conjure offers everything and requires nothing.

Yet we should not be discouraged. God has seldom, if ever, moved among the majority, but He has historically and providentially worked among a remnant. And believe me, there is a remnant. It’s thrilling to see how many and how strong they are who flock to Worldview Weekends because they know their need. As you read this book and share it with your children, you are part of that vestige of hope.

I thank God someone once spoke doctrine into my life, revealed the true condition of my heart and mind, and declared Code Blue for my soul. It’s time we declare Code Blue for the American church and return to teaching sound Biblical doctrine before any more step unwittingly into eternity. I pray that this little book will be used by thousands of parents and grandparents to teach their children Christian doctrine. If we remain faithful to teaching a Biblical worldview and teaching sound theology, we will see lives saved for Christ.

This is an excerpt from Brannon’s new book: Building A Biblical Worldview Verse by Verse. Click here for more information or to order your copy:

Where Have All the Little Girls Gone?

This is a very old article from In fact, the link that I have for it no longer works.  The email I copied it from was from November 2007, but I the truth is truth regardless of age.

“Those songs, I now see, were indeed insidious, fed as they were into a vulnerable society; Mr Blair was moving into No 10 with his guitar, and cool new Britannia was upon us. If Wag culture was to take over; if too many newly empowered girls were to end up with monstrous credit-card debts from buying too much bling; if little girls in the playground would move up to anorexia, bulimia, failing livers and chlamydia from too many alley encounters after pub and club, blame it on the Spice Girls. They took the inheritance of the serious, middle-class feminists of 30 years back and squandered it. This was not the girl power we had in mind. We didn’t believe the law of unintended consequences applied to us. Whoever does?”
--Faye Weldon, The Times Online, on the social legacy of the newly reunited Spice Girls

Over 12,000 fans screamed in ecstasy this last week as rocker Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, strutted her stuff on stage at the CenturyTel Center outside Shreveport , Louisiana . Most of the fans were little girls between the ages of 6-12. Outside the arena before the concert, thousands of little girls gathered in anticipation as speakers blared their favorite star's biggest hits. Swinging their hips and mouthing the words to the hit, these girls could easily have been years older in their behavior and dress. One anxious fan, still missing her front teeth, lisped to a reporter how she was preparing to “go nuts” when she saw her beloved rock star. Huge earrings and eye shadow were the norm among these small girls. Their entire world had obviously been shaped and molded by the media-created sensation of Hannah Montana. As I watched the news video of the event, I was struck with sadness at what has become of the world of young girls today. The word “tragedy” comes to mind.

Faye Weldon wrote a column in London 's Times Online this week that describes the impact of the female rock group, the Spice Girls. Even mainstream media columnists are observing that something has gone terribly wrong with girlhood. Ten years ago, the Spice Girl hit, Wannabe, became the best-selling song recorded by females in recording history. Girls were finally unleashed to prove that they could be as vulgar, sexually predatory, and immoral as any of the guys. “Girl power” apparently meant you could toss newborn babies in dumpsters or give birth in toilets and walk away. Abortion on demand (particularly in the UK ) is now viewed as a form of birth control. There has been a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases as girls prove that guys aren't the only ones who can initiate a “hook up.” Binge drinking and alcoholism is at an all time high among girls in the West, proving that females can drink themselves under the table, too. Looking at the countless ruined lives of young women today, it it should be evident that “girl power”, as expressed by the five vulgarian Spice Girls, was a bad idea. Actually, ten years after their peak stardom, the fast-aging five are hitting their Botox vials and preparing to leave their children behind for yet another world tour. There's more money to be made off young girls.

The era when little girls were allowed a latency phase in which to grow up emotionally and physically is gone. Sexuality and its burden did not used to be a part of childhood. Those who sexualized children used to be called criminals. Now they are called pop stars. Today we have stupid mothers and fathers who push their little girls onto the latest consumer bandwagon, designed by marketers to make money. Who cares what little girls are learning? Who cares what messages they are receiving about their worth? Not Mom and Dad who are online buying tickets for the latest kiddie rock concert.

There was once a world in which little girls played with tea sets and baby dolls. Barbie and her skanky entourage had not been invented yet. Baby buggies, doll clothes, jump ropes, roller skates, bicycles and good books were the stuff of girlhood. Being allowed to put some cake batter in one of my battered play cake pans and bake it was so exciting to me that I still remember it. That kind of girlhood was centered around my mother who spent her days at home raising her children. Eye shadow and face glitter and rock stars would have been the stuff of another planet to me. Why would I have wanted or needed that? I had Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and Little House on the Prairie. I had my dolls and their clothes mom made on her sewing machine, and best of all, a sister who was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Who needed more?

I grieve for the painted little girls of Sodom today. Their mothers and fathers have not protected them but have thrown them into the dangerous stream of popular culture. They will be destroyed by that stream—pulled under by the powerful currents of lust and greed and hedonism that wait beneath the glittering surface.

As Christian parents we must not allow the cultural icons of this world and its system into our homes. How many evangelical parents are completely unconcerned that their little daughters are feasting at the trough of the Disney Channel? For those who don't know, Disney long ago ceased to be about Mickey Mouse. Hannah Montana and High School Musical and the like present a world without God. They are humanistic to the core, and they present a girlhood that is in direct opposition to God's instructions for womanhood. As Christian women we are called to be modest, sober faced, unselfish, and to have a meek and quiet spirit. Our daughters need to seek to please Jesus alone and to turn their backs on the world's value system. They cannot do that if what they learn about girlhood comes from the entertainment media. Parents will be held responsible by the Lord for the influences they allow and the examples they set in their homes. It is a very serious matter.

The world's version of girlhood will only grow worse as Western culture slips farther and farther into corruption and decay. Christian girls must be cherished, protected and prepared for a world that is increasingly hostile to holiness. But in the darkness, a girlhood and womanhood, consecrated fully to Jesus Christ, will shine all the brighter.

“...that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace...” (Psalm 144:12)
Myth: A little TV never hurt anybody...

A new study finds that when toddlers view too much television, it could lead to a host of problems later in life.

Research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows a link between the amount of time children watch TV at age two and academic, social, and health problems at age ten. The study involved about 1,300 Canadian children born in Quebec between 1997 and 1998 who were followed-up at various points in their lives.

Child experts found that two-year-olds who watch too much TV -- more than two hours a day -- were more likely to be picked on by classmates at age ten. They were also more prone to consume more soft drinks, have a higher body mass index, and be less physically active on weekends.

While TV can provide helpful information for children and adults, Melissa Henson with the Parents Television Council (PTC) tells OneNewsNow this research provides an important reminder for parents.

"Even programming that is built as educational really has very little educational benefit for the youngster," she comments. "The child is more likely to grow intellectually [and] developmentally at a faster pace if they're not watching television and instead are looking at books...playing outside, or engaging with other kids or even adults."

Henson also reminds parents that watching too much TV is not just a problem among toddlers, so they should not let their guard down as their children grow older.

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