Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Swapping Site

I couldn't decide if I should post this on my couponing site or here, so I'll do both!

I found out about PaperBack Swap through a homeschool email loop.  The poster mentioned that she actually gets some of her curriculum this way.

Here's how it works.  You post books that you want to share on the site.  No, they don't have to just be paperback.  You can post paper, hard, fiction, nonfiction, etc.  Someone decides they want your book.  You pay the postage to send it to them (usually anywhere from about $1 to $4).  For every book you mail, you receive a credit which you then use to get books that you want.  You can also buy credits, but I haven't done that. 

It's not always easy to grab the books you want since probably other want it too, but you can make a wish list and when that book comes up, it notifies you first.  I've gotten a biography for school this year and have our first semester math text book on the way.  It was a little scary at first because it seemed like I kept sending out books with nothing to show for it, but now my books are starting to come it. 

There is also a CD and DVD site, but I haven't participated in them yet.  I've read that the credits are interchangeable between programs, but again, I  haven't tried it yet.

So, here's a free way to possible score some curriculum or other books for school or pleasure!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Compliance vs Obedience

This is the parenting tip from  I went to an awesome teacher's conference once that addressed this issue.  Sometimes, I think we accept compliance because obedience can take a lot of work.

Parenting Tip

August 19, 2010
Compliance vs Obedience

Some parents say, "I can usually get my children to do what I say eventually." Parents sometimes think that obedience is the same as compliance. When you say to your son, "Please leave the computer and help me bring the groceries in from the car," and he says, "As soon as I get to the next level," that's not obedience.

Now, we don't believe that a child must instantly obey every time. As parents, we want to consider our child's agenda and needs too as we direct the course of family events. However, some children never adjust their schedules to a parent's. They always have to have it their way, in their time, and on their terms.

Parents who allow poor responsiveness may believe that they are loving their children when in fact they’re encouraging selfishness. Cooperation is a two-way street. As a parent you know how to cooperate and sacrifice for your child. Can your child do the same?

The child who can't give up her agenda is selfish and hasn't yet learned what real cooperation is all about. Demandingness always requires me first. The child who is demanding about reaching the next level in a computer game before obeying Mom or Dad, may not be ready for such games. Cooperation means that sometimes we drop what we're doing to help someone else.

If your child has a problem in this area, you might want to focus more on obedience. It's amazing how many benefits are hidden within obedience that will help your children develop the character necessary both now and in the future.

This parenting tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.
If this tip was sent to you by a friend and you'd like to continue to receive tips yourself, you can sign up at

Above Rubies: Preparing Princes Part 3


Part 3

"Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord."
2 Chronicles 36:9 NASB

We noticed in Preparing Princes, Part 2 that Josiah sought the Lord while he was still a youth. His son is now made king while a child, but the Bible says that he did that which was evil before the Lord. And yet he was only eight years old! Even at an early age children can follow after evil or follow after the Lord.

I am sure it depends on their training. This is why we must be faithful to fill our children with God's living Word even while they are small. Satan is out to get our children and he will try even when they are young. I remember at nine years of age wanting to ask Jesus Christ into my life. I struggled. I felt the power of the enemy holding me back. It was a spiritual battle.

My daughter, Evangeline experienced the same thing when she gave her life to Jesus as a young child. Evangeline shares her testimony: God saved me at four years of age. Even today, it is still the most vivid and powerful experience of my life. I was lying in bed. I still remember the orange bedspread cover. My mother came into my room and said, "Stephen (my twin) has just asked Jesus to come into his life. Would you like to also?" At that moment the world stopped and the fight between the powers of darkness and heaven began. My whole body was shaking. With all my heart I wanted to ask Jesus into my life, but the pull from Satan was so strong. "No, no, no..." the voice of Satan pulled at my heart. The struggle was powerful.

Eventually I said, "Yes" with all my heart. I followed my mother in prayer asking Jesus to come into my life. At that moment I knew God. I experienced the reality of God. He came into my life and filled me. He opened my mind to Him. I was saved for life - no turning back! I have known His powerful presence in my life ever since. Instantly I felt peace. Instantly I was not afraid of the big owl outside my room - or of anything. I have never been afraid of anything from that day.

Satan wants the minds and hearts of our young children. That is why we must be diligent to train them from a very young age. We want them for God, not for the devil's kingdom. This makes me wonder why God-fearing parents allow their children to go into the public school system to be subtly indoctrinated with humanism, socialism and progressivism. It is there they are trained to think like socialists and become more and more conformed to this spirit of this world.

Psalm 1:1 says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." Many of our children, especially at college, sit under professors who scorn the Bible and the ways of God. God's blessing is on those who do not sit in the seat of the scornful and the counsel of the ungodly. Just imagine if every God-fearing parent took their children out of "the counsel of the ungodly" and brought them home to teach them in the ways of God! We would have a revolution in the country. And we certainly need one!

Back in the days of Israel when they were training princes and mighty men to fight for their country, they didn't train ones and twos; they trained thousands of them. Look at some of the numbers that came to help David to make him king in 1 Chronicles 12.

"The children of Judah... ready armed to the war." ... ... ... 6,800
"The children of Simeon, mighty men of valor for the war." 7,100
"The children of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, which could keep rank; they were not of double heart." ... ... ... 50,000
"The children of Dan, expert in war." ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28,000
The children of Asher, expert in war." ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 40,000

As I read through the Word of God I don't see any commandments to send our children to God-hating colleges where they are brainwashed to think like humanists. Instead, I see God wanting to pour out His Holy Spirit upon them. Acts 2:17-18 says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters hall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy."

Do you want your children and teens to be worldly humanistic thinkers or do you want them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly speaking forth God's truth in this deceived world. This won't happen unless they are in an environment for God to pour His Spirit upon them. That environment is not in a godless education system. Who do you think has the best idea? God? Or man with his own ideas?

Above Rubies,

"Oh God, please help me to raise my children in an environment where you can fill them with your Holy Spirit and prepare them to be mouthpieces for you in the land. Amen."

I'm taking God's side rather than man's!

Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read throughout the week. If you are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller, highlight and change to a smaller font.

If you know others who would be blessed by these devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let them know they can subscribe by sending a blank email to You are welcome to copy this article and forward it to your friends or post on your Blog or Facebook.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

House Honcho

I have a "newer" Facebook friend who turned me on to House Honcho.  I'm chatting about it here, because I have found it very helpful and have begun to jot down what I'm going to do on my planner, so it easily becomes just one of the things I need to do that day.

I still appreciate Flylady, but House Honcho is much easier and less time intensive.

House Honcho sends you ONE just ONE email per day, unlike Flylady which sends a multitude of emails.  This one email focuses on one room and gives 3 simple tasks, 3 intermediate tasks, and 3 challenging tasks.  All you do it pick any 3 tasks from any combination of categories.  If you do this, you should see an improvement in your home.

Now, if you still need help with the basics, go with Flylady.  If you can handle the basics of dish washing, clothes washing, etc, then go with House Honcho. I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from doing only 3 things! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chaos to Order: Bringing Organization to Your Homeschool

This is from a recent email from

Chaos to Order: Bringing Organization to Your Homeschool

by Malia Russell

The best-kept secret about home educators is that ALL of us feel overwhelmed at times. Often we feel like we are disappointing ourselves or falling short of some mysterious goal that everyone else seems to reach. We struggle with chaos in our homes yet long for order and peacefulness and productivity we know could come from order.

There are many steps you can take to increase the order in your homeschool and eliminate days of chaos. To help you remember these steps, I created a mathematical formula to help increase order and eliminate chaos that looks like this:

- distractions
- decisions
/ delegation
+ goals
x spiritual disciplines
= order

As you can see from this formula, two major things need to be subtracted in order to increase order: distractions and decisions.

A distraction is anything that diverts us from our goals.

Remove Distractions. A distraction is anything that diverts us from our goals. My primary goals are to be self-controlled and pure, busy at home, kind, and subject to my husband (Titus 2:3-5). In seeking out what the Bible has to say about what my goals should be done, I have also learned that everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (I Corinthians 14:40) and that I am to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and strength and teach my children God's commands (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). Research for yourself what the Bible's goals are for you and your children. Spend some time identifying academic goals for each child. Once you know these goals, look at all the distractions in your life and see how you can reduce or eliminate them. The following are some common distractions with tips to help you reduce them.

Calendars. Choose one calendar for all planning. Use a pencil to make appointments and use ink for those things that do not change (birthdays and anniversaries). Teach your children to put calendar items in a designated spot for you to input in your calendar each week.

Computer. Set limits on the amount of time you spend on the computer by using a timer. Protect your family by not having Internet access in private areas. Find a computer-savvy friend and offer him a free dinner to come over and teach you how to do this. Consider a computer with no Internet access for children.

Telephone. Learn how to turn off phone ringers. Set family limits. You may eliminate the phone during school hours, meal times, prayer times, or rest times.

Driving. Plan one errand day for every two (or more) weeks. Make a master list of all the possibilities for errand day. The night before, review your list and get everything necessary in the car, and pack some car snacks, CDs, and portable drinks. When errand day arrives, you'll be ready.

Library. Assign one child to be the library detective, responsible for checking the list from the library, gathering all books, and getting them ready the night before you go.

Books. Organize your personal bookshelves by subject. Children can have their own books in a box or crate they can carry, but for all reference and reading books you have, organizing them by categories helps when you are looking for a particular book. Use broad categories, such as science, history, language, Christian living, and fiction. Keep your system simple. Getting more complex only adds to your workload.

Television. When the TV becomes a distraction, go on a TV fast. You can be strict (no TV at all for four months) or relaxed (TV only on weekends). You can also let the children "earn" their TV time. You can award them five minutes of TV for each school subject or chore completed.

Anything with a plug or batteries.These items are privileges: lamps at night, Game Boys, radios, CD players, and noisy toys. Set limits for these gadgets.

Service. Even good service activities can be a distraction (Luke 10:38-42).

Eliminate Decisions

Let's take another look at the formula.

- distractions
- decisions

We've looked at eliminating distractions. Next we need to reduce decisions. How many decisions do you make in an average day? According to, making a decision is "the passing of judgment on an issue under consideration." Each decision I make requires energy and attention.

To stop some of the chaos in your home, make some of your decisions ahead of time. You cannot avoid making some decisions daily, but for those you can anticipate, consider the following:

Determine a place for everything. The best thing you can do to eliminate chaos is to designate a place for everything and teach your children to return things to their proper place. In Mary Pride's book School Proof, she suggests that if something is not special enough to you to have its own place, you probably will not be able to find it again when you need it anyway. Get rid of it. Stop deciding where to stash and store stuff. Make a final call on where you want things or else get rid of them.

Schedule for the day and week. By prayerfully creating plans for the week, you eliminate much confusion. Schedules can be detailed or informal or somewhere in the middle. Even if you do not want to create a detailed schedule for everyone, make a rough plan for your toddler's day. Planning ahead for toddlers will increase your ability to keep them happily occupied. Empowering your older children by letting them see what is expected each day will go a long way toward increased independence for them. You will be amazed with what they will accomplish when you are not their academic bottleneck.

Plan meals. By making a meal plan of any sort, you can eliminate the problem of what to have for every meal. Meal plans can be very simple or very detailed. You can make a plan as simple as "chicken on Mondays, beef on Tuesdays, fish on Wednesdays, soup on Thursdays, pizza on Friday." You can rotate several recipes to keep it varied. Store frozen vegetables and side dishes that can fit with many meals. You can also be more detailed by planning each entrée and side dish. The more complicated your food plan is, the more difficult it will be to maintain. Keep it as simple as possible to stay effective.

Organize paperwork. Create one place for all paperwork, and teach your children to bring all loose papers, receipts, and calendar items to this spot. Have a basket for school papers waiting to be graded and one binder for each child. Children can learn to keep all graded papers and artwork in their binders.

Be consistent with rules and consequences. Let your rules be consistent and consequences simple. Decide what training is required for your children to be able to conform easily to the rules of your home.

Organize Schoolwork. Get your calendar and decide what breaks you want to take in your school year and number of weeks your want to be in session. Look at each curriculum subject and divide up the lessons into those weeks. Plan to revisit this plan several times a year to keep your schooling on track or make adjustments.

Delegate Tasks

- distractions
- decisions
/ delegation

Now that we've eliminated distractions and decisions, delegation helps us not just reduce chaos but divide it.

Delegation, when done properly, can create a home in which all are blessed by the service of others. There are only a few chores that only you must do. In our home, that means my husband and I must take care of child training and care, paying the bills, meal planning, and the more difficult cooking. Nearly every other job can be done or shared by one or more of the children. The most effective way to delegate is to assign jobs to the youngest members of the family capable of doing the job (even if it will not be done perfectly). This frees older children to do more difficult jobs and helps all improve their skills. You manage most effectively when you do what only you can do while graciously and specifically enlisting the help of your children. You teach and train them for their benefit and for the benefit of all who live in your home.

Add Goals

After you've delegated chores among the members of the family, it's time to think about things to add.

- distractions
- decisions
/ delegation
+ goals

Consider what God's best goals are for you and your family. Here are some questions to prayerfully consider:

Activities. Is this really what God intends for this child or me? How do I know? Does my husband or wife agree? What does God's Word say about this activity?

Curriculum. Is this curriculum functional, user-friendly, able to be used again by other students, and godly?

Service. Is this the best use of our family's time for service? Who am I serving? Am I bringing others or my family closer to Jesus through this activity?

Character development. What is God's standard for our lives? Where does each member fall short? Pick a couple of priorities and let the rest go until you have time to work on these few areas.

Interests. Will this interest last? Is it worth pursuing? How has God uniquely created this child or me to desire this activity?

Major Spiritual Disciplines

- distractions
- decisions
/ delegation
+ goals
x spiritual discipline

If you start with spiritual disciplines, the rest will be so much easier, but most women desperate for help in their homes do not want to hear about spiritual disciplines. It sounds like I am advising you to add more to your ever-growing to-do list. The fact is, if you are wrapped up in Jesus, you can avoid getting upset, getting distracted, and getting overwhelmed. Go ahead and multiply these spiritual disciplines. The rest of the equation will be much easier.

Occasionally. Consider taking a private retreat, a family retreat, or having mom's day out. Attend homeschool conferences or go to hear local speakers.

Weekly. Commit to taking a Sunday Day of Rest that includes worship, Bible study, and small group fellowship. Consider fasting from anything that distracts you from your relationship with the Lord, including food, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, television, media, telephone, computer, eating out, or friends.

Daily. Pray alone and with your spouse. Spend some time daily reading Scriptures. Listen to uplifting, godly music while doing chores, in the car, or during play time. Be certain your book and curriculum choices honor and revere God.

Practice joyfulness. Joy comes from trusting and obeying God's Word and from knowing God is working to accomplish His purpose in all things for the good of those who love Him. Ruth Graham Lotz says, "If all you ever attempt is that which you know you can do, or have the resources for, how will you ever discover what [Jesus} can do?"

Attain Order

- distractions
- decisions
/ delegation
+ goals
x spiritual discipline
= order

If you feel completely overwhelmed, look around and apply this formula. Just start with the area that bothers you most and work at it steadily. Reducing the chaos slowly but surely will help you increase order, peace, and productivity in your home and help you to accomplish the things that you know are most important.

Malia Russell is an author, speaker, the joyful wife to Duncan, and homeschool mother of five children, ages newborn-19. In addition to her duties at home, Malia is the director of:

My personal mission is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind, and to serve my husband and raise my children in a way which is pleasing to God.

My ministry mission is to encourage families and share resources to help in many aspects of home management and home education, being a godly wife and mother, and becoming the type of woman God is calling each woman to be. We hope to encourage and equip mothers in the difficult tasks of womanhood, while keeping our focus clearly on the Word of God as the ultimate and final authority. Visit Malia at

Understanding Obedience

Effective Parenting Tip from

August 16, 2010

Understanding Obedience

We live in a society where an emphasis on teaching obedience sounds to some like heavy-handed authoritarianism. Parents don't want to be dictators so they sometimes move far away from anything that looks like being controlling. This is unfortunate since God is the one who gave the instructions for children to learn obedience. Hidden within this quality are the principles that will make children successful as they get older.

When children learn to obey they learn to give up their own agenda for someone else. They learn to listen to an instruction and follow through with it. They learn how to be responsible, check back, and complete a task. In short, when children learn obedience, they not only make family life easier but they also develop the character that will make them more valuable in the work place, the community, and the world. In fact, learning to obey parents teaches kids what they need in order to obey God.

We say that obedience is "doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded." Children as young as three years old can memorize this simple definition and understand what it means. Parents sometimes think that obedience is the same as compliance. When a parent says, "I can get my children to obey eventually," that's not obedience. Compliance is only part of obedience. When you say to your son, "It is time to go to bed now," and he says, "As soon as I'm done with this game," that's not obedience; it's an excuse for disobedience.

As parents, it's okay to negotiate and compromise with our children sometimes, but too often children aren't mature enough for this. In fact, they are demanding, unable to give up their agenda for someone else. Cooperation requires that both people give and take. In order to get to that stage, children must first learn how to sacrifice or follow. Once they learn that, true cooperation can take place.

Teach obedience and you will give your children a valuable gift that will be used for the rest of their lives.

This parenting tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.
If this tip was sent to you by a friend and you'd like to continue to receive tips yourself, you can sign up at

Saturday, August 14, 2010

AIG free pull out chart

Answers in Genesis is offering a free chart that is the pull-out from their current magazine.  It discusses the inerrancy of Scripture through science, prophesy, and history.  Just go here to download your copy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Part 2

"Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel... to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers."
2 Chronicles 34:33

While Josiah reigned as king of Israel, the whole nation of Judah did not depart from following the Lord. What a marvelous testimony for the leader of the nation. This was not the testimony of an older experienced man, but of a young man.

2 Chronicles 34:2-3 tells us, "He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father." Josiah was only 16 years old when he began to seek the Lord with all his heart. This is the most opportune time for young people to seek God--the time when they are filled with energy, passion and vision. The greatest way they can exert this energy is toward God and His kingdom.


How do we get our young people to seek God? We can't make them do it. No law can make them do it. It has to come from their heart. Therefore, how can we influence their hearts?

1. Inspire them to a life of serving God and others. Encourage them to get involved with missions and helping the needy. A selfish mentality where everything revolves around "me" is a destructive attitude.

2. Make sure they are raised on the Word of God. The best way is to have Family Devotions together every morning and every evening. The Word of God has power to change their lives and draw them closer to the Lord. Give God opportunity to work in their hearts by the daily filling of His Living Word. Make sure this is not done in legality, but with vitality, asking questions and promoting discussion.

3. Make sure that prayer is second nature to them. This will happen as they pray out loud each day at Family Devotions. Encourage them to have their own daily "Quiet Time."

4. Train them in character. Don't allow petty attitudes and self-pity trips. Don't allow grumbling and complaining. Prepare them to be able to face all situations in life, to minister equally to the poor and to the rich. They cannot become princes and princesses without training. Everyone born of royalty is consistently, systematically and extensively trained for kingship and queenship. They will not live like children of the King of kings without our faithful training.

5. Pray for them. Our greatest weapon is prayer. When we pray, the Holy Spirit will work in their lives in answer to our earnest and fervent prayers. Prayer was our greatest weapon as we raised our teenagers.

It saddens me to see so many so-called "Christian" young people today who are taken up with the worldly pursuits of this life. Instead of seeking God and shining with the glory of God, they are more interested in looking at guys, talking immaturely with their friends, chewing gum* and dressing immodestly. "Cleavage" seems to be "in" in the church today, with adult women as well as teenage girls. Where is the example for our youth? I hardly know where to look when I am amongst church people. What about young guys and men who must be tempted to lust. Do young ladies and women not realize that this relegates them to the "common" instead of belonging to royalty--princes and princesses of the King of kings?


It's time to earnestly cry out to God for our young people. Pray they will not be interested in living the status quo life of the other young people around them, but who, like Caleb, will have a different spirit than everyone else. I love the description of Caleb in Numbers 14:24, "But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully him will I bring into the land... and his seed shall possess it."

When young people become filled with the zeal of God they can change a nation. That's what Josiah did. 2 Chronicles 34:3 continues, "And in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem..." Josiah was now 20 years of age, still a young man. At this age he began to clean up the nation. He rose up in boldness to expose the works of darkness. He was not only concerned about the evil, but he did something about it. He purged the land of evil, tore down the altars of Baal, chopped down the incense altars, broke them in pieces, ground them to powder and scattered them. He burned the bones of the priests of Baal and tore down the Asherim altars and beat them to powder. This was radical stuff! There was no half-heartedness here but absolute passion and zeal for the Lord. Let's pray for a nation of young people with this passion.


In the last devotion we talked about Psalm 45:16, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Do you notice that we are training princes for all the earth? We are getting them ready to go out into the nation and into the countries of the world to take the gospel; to rise up against evil and deception and do something about it! These young people are not the "ordinary" who try to fit in with the "in" crowd. No, they are princes and princesses, living like royalty as they truly represent the King of kings.

After reading the last devotion, a mother wrote, "We live in a small beach town in California where there are a lot of very unfeminine young girls with tattoos, dark attire and very skimpy clothing. After reading your devotion, for the rest of the day my daughters and I kept reminding ourselves that we were the daughters of the King. It is great to have the mindset of being a princess."

Above Rubies,

""Father, please help me to prepare children who will seek after you with all their hearts and be zealous for God. Amen."

I will not give up my vision of training children who will stand strong against evil and take action against it!

* Please, don't get too upset with me. Of course, there is nothing biblically wrong with chewing gum. However, I personally feel that it is not dignified as a subject of the King of kings. Plus, I think it is rather rude to talk to people while chewing.

Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week. If you are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller, highlight and change to a smaller font.

If you know others who would be blessed by these devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let them know they can subscribe by sending a blank email to You are welcome to copy this article and forward it to your friends or post on your Blog or Facebook.

Stong-Willed Kids

This is one of the Effective Parenting Tips from  The title definitely caught my attention!

Parenting Tip

August 2, 2010
Strong-Willed Kids

Children who make decisions with intensity tend to be labeled “strong-willed.” At the end of the day, their parents feel as if they’ve been engaged in hand-to-hand combat—and that the child often wins at the parent’s expense! Most parents consider a strong will a negative personality trait because it often creates resistance and frustration in family life. Yet, in reality, it’s the strong-willed kids who are often better equipped to succeed, be creative, and face adversity.

Children with strong wills have the potential to become the next generation of leaders. They have their own ideas and plans. They know what they want. They’re persistent, confident, passionate, and determined to succeed at whatever they choose to do.

Leaders have an agenda, look for ways to incorporate others into their plans, and have a high need for control in life. Balanced with graciousness, leaders become a treasure because they make things happen, create organization out of chaos, and motivate people to action.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to raise a leader. These kids tend to have their own ways of doing things and like to tell other people (including their parents) what to do. A strong will keeps a child moving in a certain direction in spite of obstacles. Often these children need bigger barriers or tighter limits to teach them that those boundaries are firm.

Don’t be discouraged by the effort it takes to teach a strong-willed child which limits not to push. The strong-willed child accomplishes things in life, because the roadblocks that might hold others back are no match for this kid’s determination. Your job is to help him know the difference between obstacles to overcome and limits to live within.

A strong will can be an asset… as long as the heart is in the right place.

This parenting tip is from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Mixing in Math

I found out about the Mixing in Math website  from an e-group to which I subscribe.  Looks fun and wanted to share.
Here's what the site says about itself:

What is MiM?

MiM is a set of activities and resources for after-school educators, librarians, camp counselors, parents, and others who spend time with children in grades K-6.

MiM helps you put math into…

…story times,

…gym games,


…routines, such as taking attendance,

…arts and crafts,

…holiday programs, and more.

MiM is easy to lead, even if you have no math background, easy to prep, and free! It builds children’s skills in geometry, counting, measurement, arithmetic, estimation, data, time, measurement, money, patterns and algebra.

Another great article from

Organizing Your Personal and School Library

by Vicki S. Norris

If you are having trouble getting your personal or school library organized, try these suggestions.

Items you will need:

Bookcases The number of books you have will determine the number of bookcases you need.

Colored dot or square stickers

1. Separate your books into the following categories:

Children's books (anything "below" chapter books)





Bible (commentaries, Bible atlases, Bible curriculum, etc.)

English (grammar, literature [some I differentiate from fiction like Shakespeare or other classics], poetry, anthologies, etc.)


Geography (atlases, etc.)


General References (dictionaries, thesauruses, etc.)

Homeschooling References

2. Place all children's books on a low shelf or in a basket (easily accessible for small children) and in no particular order.

3. Place the fiction and nonfiction books (separately on separate bookcases if possible) on the shelves in alphabetical order by author's last name.

4. Place the biographies and autobiographies (separately) on the shelves in alphabetical order by the person's/subject's last name (not the author).

5. Place the remainder of the books on the shelves grouped by subject, not necessarily in any particular order, just so each subject is together.

Now, this is the key! On all books, except the children's books, fiction and nonfiction, place a system of colored stickers. Here is the system I use and it has worked well over the years. Feel free to modify it to work for you. I chose not to put stickers on the children's books, fiction and nonfi ction simply because these were the books we had the most of.

6. After you have all the books separated, on the spine of each book, at the bottom, color code the books like this.






General References-Black

Homeschooling References-Purple

Biographies-Black dot at the bottom with a Blue dot above it

Autobiographies-Black dot at the bottom with a Green dot above it

7. After all the books are colorcoded, take a piece of clear tape and tape over the dot going from the front of the book to the back of the book to hold it in place. Voila! You're done.

You (and your children) can then tell at a glance where each colorcoded book goes because all the dots with the same color should be together. If one book is on the wrong shelf, it will be immediately obvious. As long as the books make it back to the correct section, be thankful! As for the fiction and nonfiction, if your children are not old enough to alphabetize by author's last name, you will need to do this yourself. Designate a box or basket for them to put books in that need to be reshelved. If your children are at an age where they can do this, then require that they do it EVERY time a book needs to be returned.

Copyright 2009 Vicki S. Norris

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Scribe - The Month of August

"This Copybook is entitled the Month of August!
The simple handwriting sayings are all about the month! From the number of days, to the flowers and birthstones, and holidays, special events, and famous birthdays that fall in the month.
A GREAT way to jumpstart your day with handwriting practice that sparks conversation starters about the days of the month!!!
Each book is over 80 pages long, with 3 different type faces, practice alphabet pages and blank pages. too!
Print the sheets you need NOW, for as many children as you have. Keep everyone on the same sayings yet at different levels of handwriting ability."

Happy Scribe - The Month of August

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Top Five Reasons not to Send Your Kids Back to Public School, by Voddie Baucham, Jr.

(This article appeared originally as a blog on

Anyone who has kept up with my blog knows that I am no fan of government education. I have made it a point to carry The Continuing Collapse on a regular basis, and I try to make biblical, philosophical and theological arguments in favor of Christian education as often as possible. However, I recognize the obstacles those of us on my side of the street face. As many as eighty-five to ninety percent of professing Christians send their children to the government for their education. That is simply an astonishing figure considering the fact that the Christian community fought mandatory government education tooth-and-nail for it's first fifty years of existence. Since then we have gone from fighting against government schools to fighting for them and implying that those who fight against them are fundamentalists, anti-intellectuals, and racists (no, these are not overstatements... these are actual charges).

In the meantime, our schools grow progressively worse. Well, as we conclude this summer, I want to appeal to those of you with children in government schools. Please don't send them back! I beg you to consider what you are doing. As Dave Black has written:

"No academic skepticism, no secularist authors, no blatant materialism can so undermine the spiritual life of the country like the completely secularized training of the child under the authority of the state... Bible-based education is mandatory for Christian parents. If we think we can keep our children in a secular school system and escape the dumbed-down, amoral, and immoral results of secular humanism in schools, we are sorely mistaken" (emphasis added, see:

With that, here are the top five reasons not to send your kids back to government school next year:


This may sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people ask home educators the "authority" questions (i.e., to whom do your report? who approves your curriculum?). These questions are the byproduct of statism. The Gramscian, neo-Marxist influence is so prevalent in our culture that we don't even recognize it anymore. We actually believe that children are wards of the state when in fact they are not. As a result, some people have a hard time believing that they have the right to educate their children in a manner of their choosing. Well, I'm here to tell you that you are free. Your children are yours. They do not belong to Caesar. You don't have to take them back to the local government indoctrination center next semester. And in some states (thank God for Texas), you don't even have to tell them you're not coming back!


One of the issues that many Christians seem willing to ignore is the fact that sending children to American schools represents extremely poor stewardship. American students continually rank at the bottom in math, science and reading compared to other industrialized nations (see here). That's right, our educational system is among the world's worst! Of course everyone says, "Our schools are different." News flash... that's a lie!

One of our former elders taught honors math at one of the "best schools" in one of the "best school districts" in Texas (you know, one of those schools people lie and cheat to get their children into so that they can get a better education). His advanced geometry class was filled with a bunch of imbeciles who could barely do basic arithmetic. As a result, most of them failed their first major test. You know what happened next... That's right, the principal called him into the office and told him to make things right. One of the things he was told to employ was a grading technique called "Square root times ten." Thus, a student who made a 49 on a test ended up with a 70 in the grade book (for those of you who went to government schools like me, that's the square root of 49 [7] times ten).

This is what's happening at our "best" schools. Don't believe me? ask a college admissions worker how many students coming from our "best" schools with grade point averages hovering near 4.0 need remediation when they get to college. It's an absolute joke. The overwhelming majority of children in our schools have a B average or above (mostly for self esteem reasons), which serves to give them and their parents a false sense of achievement. It also results in people who 'feel really good' about their schools.

Please don't buy the lie. Your child's school is probably terrible. If you really care about the stewardship of you child's mind, don't send them back to the worst schools in the industrialized world next year.


The headlines speak for themselves. Student-teacher sex scandals, student-student sex, immodesty, foul language, drugs, alcohol, radical homosexual agendas, teachers taking students for abortions, "sexting" leading to suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, brutal beatings, and school shootings (see here). These are just some of the headlines that have become the norm. And that does not include things like cheating, disrespect for authority, impropriety towards the opposite sex, and other moral behaviors children learn regularly and repeatedly in school. Van Til said it better than I ever could:

"Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum.... The result is that child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food.... Modern educational philosophy gruesomely insults our God and our Christ. How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian or theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and theism?"

Moreover, the system itself is funded by virtual theft. Homeowners are forced under threat of the loss of their property to pay for the education of other people's children. How is that appropriate? The government tells everyone that they have to send their children to school, then tells homeowners that they are going to be the ones to foot the bill whether they like it or not. Not only is this a form of welfare, it is also a form of theft.

For those of you ready to read me the riot act and yell and scream about paying for roads and bridges, hold on a minute. Why is it that we get all up-in-arms about our tax dollars being used to fund abortions (while our opponents make the roads and bridges argument), but we don't see this one? Our schools are morally repugnant. They are also neo-Marxist, secular humanist indoctrination centers. Why should I as a Christian be forced to pay for children to have every vestige of Christianity beaten out of them? Americans are not forced to pay for Mormon schools, or Muslim schools; why should we be forced to pay for neo-Marxist schools (remember, all education is religious in nature)? And why should any Christian contribute to such a system by sending their children to such schools at the expense of others? And before you yell, "I'm just using the tax dollars I spent," ask yourself if you're willing to take advantage of all that abortion funding going to Planned Parenthood, or those tax dollars going toward fetal stem cell research.


"I am as sure as I am of Christ's reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen."
-A.A. Hodge (President, Princeton Theological Seminary)

Jesus made it quite clear when he said, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matthew 12:30 ESV) I am amazed at how many Christians refuse to acknowledge this fact as it relates to the government school system. Our education is either based on biblical truth, or some other truth. There is no such thing as neutrality in this regard. All education is religious in nature. Since it is illegal for students in our government schools to be taught from a Christian perspective, then it follows that they must be taught from a non (or anti) Christian perspective.

As Hodge pointed out, the result of non-Christian education is anti-Christian education. Government schools must be anti-Christian. They can be nothing else. Therefore, to send a child to a government school is to have them trained in an anti-Christian environment for 14,000 instructional hours. To get that much instruction from church a child would have to attend two hours a week for one hundred and forty years!


"This whole process of education is to be religious, and not only religious, but Christian.... And as Christianity is the only true religion, and God in Christ the only true God, the only possible means of profitable education is the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
-Charles Hodge (President, Princeton Theological Seminary)

I recognize that educational antinomianism is the norm in the modern American church. According to the common refrain, "It doesn't matter what educational choice you make... you just have to pray about it and do what the Lord leads your family to do." However, I must confess I find this this concept disturbing on a number of fronts. First, this kind of thinking denies the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible speaks either directly, or principially to every aspect of life. There are no grey areas. Sure, there are things that are difficult to discern, but education is not one of them. Though you won't find the word 'education' in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, there are a number of passages that speak directly to the issue of training ourselves and our children intellectually, spiritually, philosophically and morally (See Deut. 6:6,7; Prov. 1:7; Eph. 6:4, etc). We also have numerous warnings against allowing others to influence us intellectually, spiritually, philosophically, and morally (Psalm 1; Rom. 12:1,2; 2 Cor. 6:14ff; Col. 2:8, etc.).

Second, this line of reasoning smacks of mysticism. Instead of making an argument with an open Bible we dismiss all opposition with the flippant, trite, overused, and theologically problem-laden phrase, "we prayed about it and this is what the Lord told us to do." The lord 'has spoken'. (Heb. 1:1-2) We are not awaiting new revelation. Instead of doing what the Lord 'told us', Christians are commanded to do what the Lord 'has told us' in his Word. The London Baptist Confession speaks to this matter rather poignantly:

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving Knowledge, faith and obedience; Although the light of Nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable [sic.]; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that His will unto his Church; and afterward for the better preserving, and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment, and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the World, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of Gods revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

The Cambridge Declaration states:

"We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience [i.e., "the Lord told me"] can ever be a vehicle of revelation."

There's enough here for an entire series of posts (so many posts... so little time), but for now let me simply say that the "the Lord told me" line of argumentation has serious theological problems. We must make our educational decisions with an open Bible. "The Lord told me" is no substitute for "the Bible says..." Please don't make a decision about your child's education without consulting (and obeying) the Scriptures.

This week the SBC hornet's nest is being stirred up again over the education issue. The last time this happened I was beyond embarrassed as I listened to my esteemed colleagues make illogical, unscriptural, cowardly arguments for "not giving up on 'our' schools." How I long for voices like Hodge, Van Til, and Machen (who called government education a "soul-killing system") to be heard among my brethren. However, with over eighty-five percent of our children in the government schools and more government school teachers and administrators than any other "denomination", it is highly unlikely that our side will prevail on this issue any time soon. One wonders what the schools will have to do to our children before we are willing to acknowledge the folly of our choices. In the meantime, I will continue to watch, fight, and pray, and try to convince as many of you as I can to liberate your children from Caesar's indoctrination camps.

I have quoted John Wesley on this issue in previous posts. However, his words are far too pertinent for me to ignore on this issue:

"Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school? "Why, that they may be fit to live in the world." In which world do you mean, - this or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last for ever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours to instruct a small number of children in religion and learning together."

I can't help but wonder if people called Wesley divisive or extremist for making the aforementioned comments. Perhaps not. Perhaps they simply said, "That may be right for you... but it's not what the Lord told us to do."


I'm back! AND Planning for the new school year.

We recently moved and have endured 2 weeks of no internet, so needless to say, I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Today I went shopping for my planner.  Ok, last year I kicked my planner to the curb during the last part of the year through no fault of its own.  I just decided I was thankful to get things done regardless if it was on paper.  Missouri law kind of allows me to do that since I don't officially need to keep records until my dd is 7 years old.  But since we are starting out in a new place (which is also a lot smaller), I felt the need to try to get "more organized" on many levels. 

At the teacher supply store, I had many choices that worked well when I was in the classroom, but not what I had in mind until I came across and end cap that had The Well-Planned Day which is made by Home Educating Family Magazine and what was funny was that it wasn't until I got home that I realized that I had just received a free copy of the magazine in the mail this week!  If you'd like to request a free sample go here.

The planner is not cheap.  It's $25 although you can get the PDF file for only $20 on their site.  I don't know about you, but I will gladly pay $5 extra for them to print it all up in color and spiral bind it.

Once I got home and have had a chance to really explore it at leisure, I'm very impressed with all it entails.

Here's a list from their site:
  • Over 200 Full Color Pages
  • Available in an 8.5 X 11 Spiral Bound Printed Book or PDF Download
  • Full Year Planner: July 2010 - June 2011
  • Organize and Plan for up to 4 children in one convenient book.
  • Four Student Class Plans: Schedule each student's class assignments.
  • Four Student Time Schedules: Track each day by the hour.
  • Weekly Schedule: Organize your week with class assignments, weekly priorities, prayer requests, dinner menu, and notes.
  • Month at a Glance: Plan field trips, enrichment activities and books to read
  • Semester Attendance & Progress Reports
  • Perforated Report Cards
  • Menu Planning: Plan weekly meals and conveniently shop with perforated shopping lists.
  • Family Worship: Read through the Bible in a year.
  • Insightful homeschool articles and tips to inspire you throughout the year.
  • and much more....
 The articles are nice, but not a big selling point to me as far as a planner goes.  It also gives a weekly catechism question which I think is awesome.  There are perforated shopping lists which I think is handy;  jot it down while you remember instead of forgetting after the lesson.  I like that the planning lines are in a vertical format.    Just looks more calendar/dayplanner like to me. 

At the end of the semester, you have an attendance report.  For me, I'm going to jot our total hours down each day on the date and then write the total on the space given for total attendance.  There is also a progress report that allows you to jot down weekly grades for each subject during each week. 

Oh, and the report cards included are a nice heavy card stock.  You know, like a "real" report card.

I'd love to find out what others are using.  Please share if you have time!

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