Friday, December 31, 2010

History Scribe - American Holidays--FREE

History Scribe - American Holidays History Scirbe is offereing History Scribe - American Holidays: for free on  It covers 30 holidays and has space for drawing and writing about the holiday. 

The site states: "Children learn as they draw and write history...your children bring history alive with their own creative hands!

Learn all about 30+ popular state and religious holidays celebrated by the people of America and many other countries as well. Each page allows for research, drawing and writing! "

Free Conference

Just found out about a free home education conference which starts on Monday, Jan. 3.  Telesummit will be for 10 days, one speaker each day.  I've never heard of Home Education Council of America before, but it sounds really interesting.  You can listen in on your telephone, computer, or cell phone.  you have to register beforehand to listen in or to listen to the recordings.  I signed up although I knew there would be some I'd miss due scheduling or lack of interest.

                                 So, just go to Home Education Super Summit for more information and to sign up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don't compare Yourself to Public School

Waaay back in October,'s The Homeschool Minute had as the topic "Don't Compare Yourself to Public School."  This is Deborah Wuehler's post from that email.

Why not compare with public schools? Well, because it is a harsh comparison, but let's go ahead and take a quick look anyway.

Public School
Teaches humanism based on atheism: the doctrine that man is supreme in all things; a complete and total rejection of God. Textbooks have been revised to take God out, and even alter the truth of history to make it palatable to the masses. Revisionist history and Godless evolution are taught as fact.

Privileged to teach that God created and upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3) and that He alone is supreme, and His Word is truth.

Public School
Teaches hedonism, a pleasing of the self as the highest principle. Self-pleasure and self-exaltation are upheld in classrooms and curriculum. "You can reach for the stars and do whatever you feel like you want to do. Whatever you do, make sure you do what makes you happy."

We teach children to make it their aim to please God and to be Christ-like in their service to God, their families, their churches and their communities.

Public School
Promotes the homosexual agenda and safe sex propaganda, and supports abortion without parental consent.

Allowed to teach the truth of God's Word, that God created the family starting with one man for one woman for life, and children are the outpouring of blessing upon that union. The sanctity of life, family unity, and family values is sustained and strengthened.

Public School
Full lesson plans on tolerance, including the "blasting of stereotypes" of women's and men's roles. Children learn to tolerate all things, except Christianity. Prayer is banned, the Ten Commandments are banned, and God is banned.

We can teach the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, loving your neighbor, prayer and Bible study. God is alive and well in our homes.

Public School
Sexual abuse of children runs at a high level in public schools. Peer pressures are causing children to conform to this world and leave the faith of their fathers (88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return).

A loving and safe environment, free from worldly pressures and vain philosophies. Children who walk "with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." (Proverbs 13:20)

Studies show that homeschooling produces academically, socially, morally and civically excellent students as compared with their public school counterparts. You can review the research here.

If you are looking for good Biblical reasons for why you should homeschool your children, here is a free online class called, "Why Homeschool?"

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9


Monday, December 27, 2010

OHC-Construction Equipment

OHC-Construction Equipment's freebie this week is OHC-Construction Equipment.  Their description states, "This unit is a nice collection of activities to help you study Construction Equipment. There are activities and links for students from preschool through highschool."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Break?

Silhouettes of People :: Child SilhouetteSince Christmas is over, unless you're planning a big fete for New Year's, most of us have some down time. I think it's kind of cool, however, if you can combine taking a break and still sneaking in some school credit.  I know a lot of museums and such are offering activities during the week to entertain others off for break.  Sure, they are more empty at other times, but some offer special programs or deals that are special.

I decided to brainstorm some ideas of things that would be fun to do that might actually count as education during this time off. 

1.  Cleaning up.  Oh sure, some of you may actually take some time to clean up after your celebrations.  I suppose you could actually count that as "life skills" like you might regular chores.  I prefer to count it as "life procrastination skills." 

2. Wii.  We finally broke down and entered the gaming world.  We only have Wii Resort and Sports which came with the system.  Playing Wii can be fun, but let me tell you, it can also be a workout!  Burn off those cookies and candies.  PE credit definitely. 

3.  Museums.  There are all sorts of museums, science, art, natural history.  Score school credit for any type of museum.  Ok, one down point, some of them cost.  A few offer Christmas break discounts.  One thing I did the last time we went to the art museum was to make a scavanger hunt before we left.  It was very helpful to all age groups.  I used a variety of photos and  written discriptions so it challenged a variety of ages and encouraged multi-age interaction.  Could be a great way to review or introduce materials.

4. Bowling, Skating, etc.  Again, some cost involved but definite PE credit. 

5. Park.  FREEEEE!!  This is weather permitting, of course.  When I was a classroom teacher, the basic rule was as long as it was above freezing with no major wind issues, then bundle up, we're going outside (especially if it's another teacher's recess duty!)  PE credit.

6. Zoo.  Again, a weather permitting activity, but even if it's a little chilly, there is a whole learning aspect of animal weather adaptation.  Nothing says you have to do the whole thing.  The Kansas City Zoo just got a polar bear, so you can imagine all the polar bear activities that are going on even during this week.

7.  Movies.  Some people don't do movies and that's cool.  If you don't mind movies, most theaters are offering daytime showings throughout the week.  We also a discount theater near us which is $2 all the time.  Pop some cheep snacks in your purse and you've got a fairly cheep activity.  Really can't think of much educational value unless you watch something like Voyage of the Dawn Treader that is based on a book.  Definitely would not recommend trying to use Yogi Bear as a study of animal behavior!

8. Shopping?  I really enjoy 50% off sales.  Actually, I usually prefer more as is evident in my couponing blog, but it could be fun to go to a store, hand a child $5 or so, and see what deals your child can get.  Definite math skill here in figuring out 50% off and then totaling amounts.  Don't forget to leave extra for tax or better yet, for older kids, have them figure out what the tax is going to be.  My daughter always asks what tax is.  I just say we have to pay the government a little bit for being able to purchase things.  That satisfies her.

9. Junior Park Ranger.  There are so many national parks that can be used to earn a badge.  Some are not as outside as you may think.  My girl earned a badge for answering questions and going to the Harry Truman residence here in Independence.  We might go to Brown vs Board of Education in Topeka, KS and visit some friends while we are there.  Some parks are free, some not. 

10.  Playing games.  Play those new games and get out those old ones.  Fun family time with educational skills an added bonus. Besides the obvious skills like counting or spelling, co-operation, problem solving and following rules are all life skills.

Ok, I think I have some ideas.  Maybe it's given you some ideas, as well.  Besides visiting family to make up for missing Christmas with them (my husband worked both days and my daughter's recovering from pnuemonia), I think we'll do a Junior Ranger activity in Topeka.  Definitely want to do a cheep movie.  Maybe do "Pack Your Wagon" at the National Frontier Trails Museum here in town.  Need to have her finish making her Christmas gifts, and maybe make our gingerbread house kit that is sitting here on the table daring me to make it.  Add in some Wii and games, and I think we've got a fun (and yet somewhat educational) break!

By the way, please share you ideas with me because I could always use them!

Great C. S. Lewis quote

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

C. S. Lewis

Friday, December 24, 2010

Empty arms at Christmas

I've been meaning to write this but with coming down with the stomach flu earlier this week and having my daughter diagnosed with pneumonia today, here it is just a few hours away from Christmas Eve.  I'm not sure how many, if any, will have the time or inclination to read this, but you know what, God is sovereign in all (even my daughter's pneumonia at Christmas) and so, this will be read when it needs to be.

All that disclaimer and it's not even a post about home education!

Free Christmas Pictures :: Image 5As most know, Christmas can be a bittersweet time if not downright sad time for some people.  Especially those dealing with loss.  Most losses are more obvious; a job, a home, a spouse through divorce.  Of course, there are also those dealing with a loss because of death.  In fact, a former co-worker died in a car wreak last week.  I hurt for her family and friends as they face the next few days.

Another loss is to miscarriage.  To lose (although, thankfully, not forever) a child during a time that's child oriented and celebrating a birth can be amazingly painful.  I'm sure most (especially women) could empathized with individuals going through that.

But there are others who could understand that loss as well that often get overlooked or discounted.  The infertile.  Most don't think about how Christmas could be painful to someone going through infertility.  That's the loss that I've experienced.

Now for another disclaimer before I continue.  Not all infertile women feel exactly as I did.  All people grieve differently, you know.  Some may feel one way at 1 PM and a totally different way at 1:15 PM.

Some may wonder why I'm bringing infertility up in a discussion about loss and grief.  That's what I'm here to tell you. 

Miscarriage is the lose of a baby.  Infertility is the loss of the hope of a baby.  Loss is loss and grief is grief, but the loss of a hope is too intangible for some to consider or recall especially when busy with celebrating the holiday.
I  know the pain of watching others plan and scheme for the pleasure of the children Christmas morning.  But no "Baby's First Christmas" outfit here.  No pictures of a child screaming in fear while sitting in Santa's lap (if you do the Santa thing that is!) 

Yes, there are nieces and nephews and baby cousins with whom to celebrate.  After all, Christmas is about giving.  It's about others.  And yes, that can still be part of an infertile woman's activities.  But people are not interchangeable.  After you've handed over the last gift, you're arms are left empty.  Cherishing you niece doesn't make up for not being able to cherish your own daughter.

So, if you have a family member or friend who is dealing with infertility and you notice one moment they are playing Chutes and Ladders with the kids and the next moment hiding in the bedroom crying, now you know why. 

OK, I'm going to take one more step of realness here.  While I can say the above feelings are not unique to me, I cannot say the same of the upcoming thoughts.  I would never dare think that others' grieve could lead them to the some sacrilegious thoughts at Christmas as my grief did.

In case you've forgotten, Christmas is about the birth of a child.  Oh, I know it's not just any child but THE Child, but a child none the less, a baby's birth.  I remember sitting in church feeling bitter that Mary got to have a baby and I didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely didn't want to give birth to the Savior of the world, but a run-of-the-mill baby would have been wonderful.  And on top of it, this baby we were celebrating was born to an unwed mother!  Now wasn't that a nice howdy-do. 

I write the last paragraph with a little humor only because the boldness of my depraved mind shames me still to this day.  My feelings and thoughts were understandable, but thankfully also forgiveable.

All this to say, be mindful of the infertile as you continue to rejoice the next few days.  Their grief is just as real, even if the cause is not as evident. 

(Don't even get me started on Mother's Day...)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ear Trainers

I was somewhat behind on sharing things from other sources and then the stomach flu has knocked me out for the past few days.  I've done a lot of catching up today and actually can post 2 parts of the Nancy Campbell's Above Rubies Devotional.

Part 1

"The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise. He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that hears reproof gets understanding"
(Proverbs 15:31-32).

What is the first thing we should teach our children? When I ask women this question at seminars they give me lots of very good answers, but usually not the one I am looking for. What is my answer? I believe that the first thing we teach our children is how to listen.

If children do not learn how to hear, they will not learn to obey. If they do not learn to listen, they will not learn to hear the voice of God speaking to them. If they do not learn the art of listening, they will not learn to acquire knowledge. If they do not learn how to hear, they will not come to faith, because "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). How you train your children to hear will determine their relationship with God!

It is possible to hear but not really hear. That's why Jesus constantly said, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." Wehave to learn to listen with our ears but this takes training.

All parents are ear trainers. By the way we parent; we train our children to have obedient ears-or, disobedient ears, lazy
ears, dull ears, defiant ears, resistant ears, gullible ears or even forgetful ears. What kind of ears are you training your children to have? When you ask them to do something but they take no notice of you, you are training them to have defiant ears. When you ask them to do something but they delay doing it, they have dull ears. When you ask them to do something, but they don't bother doing it until you have asked for the sixth time and by now you are shouting, you are telling them that they do not have to obey until the sixth
time! You are producing lazy ears. What will God have to do to get their attention?

What kind of ears does God want our children to have?


When God told Solomon that he could ask God for anything he liked, Solomon responded by asking for "an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3: 9). The margin in my Bible gives "hearing" for "understanding." The Hebrew word is shama and means, "to hear with attention and obedience, to give undivided listening attention." This is what Solomon wanted more than anything else, more than
riches and fame-a hearing heart. May God give us wisdom to teach our children how to have hearing hearts.

The word shama is synonymous with obedience. Proverbs 25:12 says, "As an ear ring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient (shama) ear."

Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning." There is no way we can teach our children to be wise without teaching them to hear with undivided attention.


When King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord, the prophet Samuel came to him and said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (qashav) than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and
idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

The word qashav describes acute hearing. It means "to prick up the ears, sharpening them like an alert animal." Children with qashav ears will be ready for God to use as soldiers in His army.


James 1:19 says, "Let every man be swift (tachus) to hear." This Greek word means, "prompt or ready." Most Bibles translate it as "quick to hear." It describes instant obedience. True hearing results in immediate action. I
used to say to my children, "Delayed obedience is disobedience." [Betsy here:  we actually say, "Slow obedience is no obedience."  Same difference, but I like to think we're actually on the same page as the Campbell's! ;-) ]

How do we teach our children this kind of hearing? As soonas they can understand a command, we teach them to obey that command. But before they can obey, we must make sure that they have heard us. Sometimes, you may have to get your little child to repeat your command to make sure they have heard you. Don't yell commands from another room. Always give commands eye to eye and face to face so that you know your children have heard what you ask them to do. When you know that they have heard, teach
them how to obey straight away. Don't accept anything less.  This takes time and effort, but remember, mother, you are an ear trainer! This is one of your most important tasks as a parent!

May God help us to be parents who train prompt and obedient hearers.

"Oh God, please forgive me for not diligently training the ears of my children. Please help me to train children who have obedient ears. Amen."

I am a diligent ear trainer!

Part 2

"Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2,5).

Have you ever thought of the words, "the hearing of faith?" Before we have faith, we must hear first. Faith is not an airy fairy thing that is based on nothing! It is only true faith if it is based on the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

This is why it is so important for mothers to be ear trainers. We must train our children to hear and obey us so they can hear and obey the Word of God. We must train our children not just to hear words, but to get into the habit of listening with their heart and inner ears.

Not only do we train them to have obedient and prompt ears, but we train them how to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks through the hearing of the Word of God. Timothy came to faith by listening to the Scriptures as a child. 2 Timothy 3:15 says, "From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." We don't wait until our children are older to read them the Word of God. We start from when they are babies. The little babe nursing at the breast can hear the God's words at Family Devotions every evening and morning. The little toddler rocking on his mother's or father's knee at Family Devotions is being prepared for salvation as he listens to
living words of God.

In his book, How to Have a Family Altar by Norman V. Williams states, "Babies have ears to hear with! They have hearts to believe with! The Holy Spirit who holds the reins of that child's mind and heart is mightily present to bless when you give the Word of God! ...It is your duty to exhort your child daily with the blessed Word of God. If you do that, you will be amazed to see what the Holy Spirit will do in that little heart! ... This is the family altar-bringing our children to Christ in His Word that He might touch them!"

Paul also speaks to Timothy about being "nourished up in the words of faith" (2 Timothy 4:6). We will nourish our children in the words of faith as we teach them how to listen. The more they hear (listening beyond words to the voice of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word), the more they will walk in faith. We don't want our children to know "the letter of the law" but the anointing of the Spirit of God upon the Word, because "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Jesus reprimanded the people for having "dull ears" (Matthew 13:15-16). The writer of Hebrews could not reveal the "strong meat" to his readers because they were "dull of hearing." (Hebrews 5:11-14) May God save us from having dull ears. May He save us from raising children who have dull ears.

"The hearing of faith" also shows us how important it is to encourage one another with the words of God. This is why we should not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).When we confess the truths of the Word of God to one another's ears we build one another up. The more we come together and affirm the truth to one another, the more we increase each other's faith. That's why we need one another.

Hebrews 12:25 says, "See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven."



"Dear Father, please help me to nourish my children up in the Wordof God by reading it to them daily. Help me to teach them how to listen to me so they will know how to hear words from heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen."

I am teaching my children how to hear the One who speaks from heaven!

Famous Homeschoolers website

I received an email from which had a link to an interesting website.  It's  It has lists of famous Homeschoolers (well, duh).  It also has some quotations

It was compiled by Teri Ann Berg Olsen, author of Learning for Life: Educational Words of Wisdom.

It's nice to have a resource like this!

Jochabed: Protecting the Lives of Your Children

Another great Home School Heartbeat from HSLDA.

Jochabed: Protecting the Lives of Your Children

Volume 101, Program 28

Have you been accused of being an overprotective mother? Chairman Michael Farris talks about the spiritual power of a mother’s protection today on Home School Heartbeat.

Michael Farris:

Mothers through the ages have looked at their babies and imagined a bright future. Anything is possible for their child. But moms know instinctively that their babies will need protective care in order to reach that great potential hidden beneath their helpless little exterior.

All Christian moms are accused at times of being too protective of their children. This charge is leveled at homeschooling moms fairly frequently. Moms, don’t let the hecklers get you down. Your protective instinct comes from God.

One biblical mother changed the future for the whole nation of Israel by protecting her son. That mother was Jochebed, the mother of Moses. She saw that her son was a fine child, and she made haste to protect him from Pharaoh’s decree of death for all Israelite babies.

Today our culture lays death at the door of our children by offering them sexual immorality, godlessness, and perversity on a Hollywood-style platter. Mothers are right to protect their children from such fare. Repeated exposure to ungodliness in living color can desensitize our children to sin, confusing them about God’s view on these issues.

We all face an extremely degraded culture. Protecting our children from the extremes, which the world all too readily accepts, is a necessary reality for every mother who envisions a bright future for her own precious child.

I’m Mike Farris.

Some Christmas Freebies

Here's a few Christmas freebies that were listed on today's The Homeschool Minute from  They were shared by Molly Green.

There's a nativity out of clay pots.  So cute. 
There's also a link to a larger one for outside.

 How about a  nativity pop-up card.

Our Nativity Scene, beautifully coloured in by the boys and on display!

Here's a cute nativity to color and assemble.

Here's a free Nativity lapbook.

You may think it's too late to use any of these, but bookmark or save them until next year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Color me guilty

I decided to take on the six megathemes of this year as listed by the Barna Group.  The second is "Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented."

Yup, color me guilty.

Here's just one little thought before I deal with myself.  Considering how many churches now focus on a "seeker-sensitive" service, you would think that more people would make the effort to invite others to church.  I would think it would defeat the purpose of being "seeker-sensitive" if the members don't bring any "seekers" to whom the church should be "sensitive."  Just saying.

I know that as a home educating parent, I often paint myself as I did when I attended a Christian high school.  It seems that we're in a "Christian bubble."  We are surrounded by mostly fellow believers.  Church.  Co-op. Gymnastics. Etc.  It's very easy to become "ingrown." 

Don't get me wrong, we get "socialized" alright, but unless I make the effort to think about it, it all gets very academic. Let's "git 'er done."

Maybe it's only because of my personality type. This "type-A" or choleric person that I am wants to get things done. Thankfully, I'm enough of a sanguine to also want to have fun doing it, but I do have a tendency to put things and the order of things before people. I've been working on this problem for fourt...well, let's just say a long time.

But this tendency makes me get the ballet class done and leave. Go to the museum and see what pertains to our lesson and leave. Wait for my daughter in gymnastics and leave. I admit that making an effort to reach out to those around me is not usually my first instinct or action. Shame on me and shame on the example I set.

Thankfully, my daughter's extroverted, sanguine nature knows no stranger. The first thing she thinks about are the people involved. Now all I need to do is to help her channel that for God's service.

Maybe I should make that the goal of the activity, write it down on my lesson plan, and it might actually get done! 

Barna Group includes this comment, "...most Americans are unimpressed with the contributions Christians and churches have made to society over the past few years."

I find that interesting. 

We have Christian hip-hop, Christian coffee houses,  Christian dinner theater, Christian heavy metal, Christian movies, Christian health clubs, et. al.  You mean we have all this and we're not making contributions to society?  Hmmm.  It almost sounds like it's the opposite.  Like the world is making "contributions" to Christendom.  Or maybe it's all part of the "ingrowth."  I know one thing for sure and that to figure it out is beyond my pay! :-)

I will say, however, that I do see home education making a contribution to society.  Ivy league universities are courting home schooled students.  Groups like Generation Joshua are helping to train our youth to be politically active.  I've seen home schooled students helping with food pantries or animal shelters.  Home schoolers are making contributions to society, and I think that is the reason, in part, why the negative stereotypes of home schoolers are disappearing more and more. 

And talk about "contributions to society"!  I definitely think that is a definition well suited to a person who was home educated!  My child will be a "contribution to society".

So, I think this whole trend comes down to the fact that we need to be witnesses of Christ to this world in word and deed.

Let me go write that down in my planner before I forget......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Counter Cultural Mom: From the archives: Is Wiping Noses Spiritual?

The Counter Cultural Mom shared a post from her archives.  I think it's a big encouragement and great reminder, so I wanted to share it here.

Counter Cultural Mom: From the archives: Is Wiping Noses Spiritual?

TOS Freebie Directory

The Old Schoolhouse is offering their Freebie Directory for 2010 with 40 items.  Some items are free samples.  Some items are free trials.  Just scroll down and enjoy yourself!  Free is good!  Just go to:

Homeschool Freebie Directory

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why I don't have to rely on my parenting skills...

I recently shared this article from the Barna Group about the six trends they noticed in 2010.  I was sad but not surprised by what they shared. 

I want to take these trends and share some thoughts I glean about how these are shown or addressed in homeschooling.  I decided to take on this grandious challenge by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces of one trend at a time.  Only God knows if I'll actually get through all six trends, but I really felt strongly about some of these things.  Maybe I'll find some other people who also feel strongly about the same things!

The first trend was "The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate." 

An unfortunate Amen to that.  I remember the pastor of a church we used to attend say that he couldn't teach doctrines/theology at our church because it would be too difficult for the people in the county in which we were to understand.  Demographically, they just weren't that kind of people.  (Did I mention that we used to go to that church.)

I remember attending our current church for the first time.  They were actually studying stystematic theology for Sunday School!  And since it's a family integrated church, my daughter sets through service while our pastor teaches us about such things as justification, propitiation, anticipation...wait scratch that last one (unless you're looking forward to the return of Jesus like I am!)

Shall I really go out on a limb?  Most individuals do not understand the impact of doctrine on their lives because many pastors/preachers don't understand it either!  Theology in Bible college can become like many other classes you have to take in many other majors; it's something you have to learn to get your degree, but don't see how you really use it in day-to-day practice.  (Like that 30 page lesson plan I had to do for my "Teaching Science" class in college.  I still shudder at the thought!) 

But ultimately, I don't think the responsibility to become more theologically literate (applicable) soley rests with the church.  We all homeschool for various reasons, but for many it comes down to the fact that the responsibility to educate our children was laid on us as parents in the Bible and not given the state or church.

If we as parents don't know doctrine or understand how it applies to us, how can we impart that to our children?  Guess what? I think it's just like many of thes other subjcts we teach.  We learn and teach at the same time!  What a better example to our children than that?

Catechism is one great way of instilling doctrine into our children.  I used to think that it was merely rote memorization, but now see it as memorizing the truths of Scripture and filing them away for needed times.

Take the first question of the Smaller Catechism. 
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26).
There are so many times since learning that question and answer that we've been able to discuss with our daughter whether or not her behavior was glorifying to God or if she was enjoying God by what she was doing.

While currently, we only deal with the questions and answers, it's a benefit to have the Scripture references available to look up.  Let's face it, there is no benefit in learning theology if it's not based on the Word of God.

Here's another example of how catechism can help.

An anecdote told of Dwight L. Moody will illustrate the value to the religious life of having been taught these forms of truth. He was staying with a Scottish friend in London, but suppose we let the narrator tell the story. ‘A young man had come to speak to Mr. Moody about religious things. He was in difficulty about a number of points, among the rest about prayer and natural laws. ‘What is prayer?,’ he said, ‘I can’t tell what you mean by it!’ They were in the hall of a large London house. Before Moody could answer, a child’s voice was heard singing on the stairs. It was that of a little girl of nine or ten, the daughter of their host. She came running down the stairs and paused as she saw strangers sitting in the hall. ‘Come here, Jenny,’ her father said, ‘and tell this gentleman ‘What is prayer.’ ’ Jenny did not know what had been going on, but she quite understood that she was now called upon to say her Catechism. So she drew herself up, and folded her hands in front of her, like a good little girl who was going to ‘say her questions,’ and she said in her clear childish voice: ‘Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.’ ‘Ah! That’s the Catechism!’ Moody said, ‘thank God for that Catechism.’ ’ (From The Westminster Teacher, April, 1909).

Orthodoxy.  Theology.  Doctrine. Catechism. These are not 4-letter words!  (Really, they are not.  I counted the number of letters in each!)  God wants us and our children to mature in these "so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:14).

Knowing true Biblical truth is the only way not to be tossed on the waves.  A few sources to start you out if you want to look into catechism are: Every Good PathCatechism CCW, A Puritan Catechism, A Catechism for Boys and Girls.

I'll end with a personal example of how doctrine makes a difference in my daily life.  God is sovereign.  Nothing can prohibit the will of God.  He is in total control.  Knowing this theological truth helps me rest in the fact I don't have to worry about my parenting skills.I can't do anything to warp my daughter more than God will allow!  ;-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Barna Group - Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010

                                                       December 13, 2010
"Change usually happens slowly in the Church. But a review of the past year's research conducted by the Barna Group provides a time-lapse portrayal of how the religious environment in the U.S. is morphing into something new.

Analyzing insights drawn from more than 5,000 non-proprietary interviews conducted over the past 11 months, George Barna indicated that the following patterns were evident in the survey findings."

The Barna Group - Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Merry X-mas?

My FB friend has posted another great guest article on her blog at Whatever State I Am .

Merry X-Mas?

by Laurie White

When I was a little girl in the 1950’s, I remember one of the stores in our small Georgia town having a sign outside that said “X-MAS SALE.” My mom hated that sign. She pointed it out every time we went shopping making sure we knew how terrible it was for “someone to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas.” Of course, my sisters and I agreed. So I was very

An early Roman coin with the Greek letter X(chi) layered over the letter P(rho) on the back of the coin.

surprised to find out years later from a history teacher in college what that “X” really stood for. Turns out the X isn’t an X at all but rather it’s the Greek letter “Chi” (X) which has the sound of our letter K. It also just happens to be the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ.” So the X is an initial, an abbreviation, for Christ and not an X-ing out at all. In fact, using the chi symbol to stand for Christ has a very long history. It goes back at least to the time of Constantine, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. Upon his conversion to Christianity, he began using the symbols of both X (chi) and P (rho), the first two letters in the word “Christ,” to stand for his new faith. In the Catholic Church, the priest’s robe is decorated with the XP symbol at Christmas. Many Protestant churches have traditionally used the symbol as well, sometimes on their altar cloth or on the mantle of the pastor’s robe. So letting an X stand for Christ has been going on for a very long time–way before the 1950’s!

Admittedly, today is a different story. Christians are swimming against a tide of new and often fervent atheists and secularists who are, either figuratively or literally, attempting to take the “Christ” out of a lot more than just the word Christmas. Most of us are familiar with many of the modern battlefields, from courthouses where 100-year-old engraved copies of the Ten Commandments have had to be removed, to high school ball games where prayers “in Jesus name” are no longer allowed. At Christmas time the struggle becomes front stage and center because, of course, Christ is naturally right there at the heart of it all. He’s the babe in the manger, the inspiration for heavenly choirs of angels, “the reason for the season,” and the name that is and should remain smack in the forefront of what we as Christians have for centuries called this wonderful, mid-December holy day: Christmas–the celebration of the Christ Mass. Yet now we must put up with store clerks who will only say “happy holidays,” schools who let children out for “winter break,” and a deluge of media hype and advertising that is also sidestepping the forbidden word in favor of the same or similar bland holiday greetings. It’s as if they are all saying, “Whatever you do, don’t mention Christmas!” Everyone knows it’s all about Christmas, but they refuse to say it. Makes you feel crazy sometimes, doesn’t it?

So how should we respond to the attempts to de-Christianize Christmas, and more specifically, what should we do about this “X” business? If the X is Greek for the first letter of Christ, should we struggle against it? Well, whatever we say or do, it should be filled with grace and respect. Trying to get tired and overworked sales clerks to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” really isn’t the point, is it? Shouldn’t we just be patient and understanding, perhaps praying for them as we wait in line? (If I were working retail at Christmas I’d need people praying for me!) Of course, whenever we do have the power or influence to change a sign, a brochure, or a banner, we should put the Christ back in Christmas. But whenever the situation is beyond our control, we can have fun enlightening people about the true origin of the X. We can teach our children that nothing has been X’ed out after all. In fact, the X is a witness to the very roots of Christianity itself, a testimony to the antiquity of our faith and to the death-defying efforts of the early Christians to get the message out. The first Christians were all Palestinian Jews living in Aramaic-speaking communities, yet they did not write down the gospel story in their own local native tongue. Why? Because they couldn’t rest until the whole world knew of a Savior who had died for everyone. So they chose instead to write in the lingua franca, or trade language, of the Roman Empire, the language that the greatest number of people would be able to read and understand. They wrote in Greek. Thus we got the X for Christ.

So instead of fighting “X-Mas,” perhaps we should start a campaign among our fellow believers to use it every chance we get! Think of what a great conversation starter that could be. So here’s to putting Christ back into the “holiday season” and to wishing everyone a very merry X-Mas!

Laurie White is the mother of three homeschool graduates and author of King Alfred’s English. Read more about this exciting tale of English language history and how you can win one of the three copies she is giving away here.

Homeschooling Tip for December: Plan Ahead to Take December Off

It may be too late to plan ahead for the whole month at this point, but definitely worth considering the next few weeks.   Of course, little do the kids know that they are still in school.  Cooking, crafting, ice kkating can count!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Todd Wilson Cartoon

I greatly appreciate Todd Wilson and Familyman Ministries.  Some day I really need to right a note and thank him for how God used him in my life. 

Anyway, this cartoon was in The Homeschool Minute today from

Friday, December 3, 2010

That which does not kill you...

As I'm starting to writing this, I'm waiting for my daughter who is in her bedroom trying to adjust her attitude.  "Trying."  That's been a good description of her behavior lately.  Please note, I did say her behavior was trying and not her.  I should at least get some brownie points for making that distinction.

This was one of the biggest challenges I faced in going from a classroom teacher to a home school educator.  When your class is only one student, everything comes to a halt when that one student needs discipline or is just having a bad day.  If your student is laying in the floor kicking and screaming for example, there is no one there to finish the spelling test, so school life is on hold.

I've been praying a lot about this major behavior issue going on.  I thought I was doing a good job praying for her.  That God would work in her personally.  That I might gain understanding in how to deal with her and this behavior.  That I might not send this child "to kingdom come" wherever that is. 

I have been very disheartened as it seems like I have received no answers, no clues, no that-a-girls, not even a condemnation about my poor mothering skills.  It's been a big trial lately.

Then one evening last week, my husband was praying.  That's not unusual.  What's unusal is something he said.  It went something like this, "We thank You, God, for our trials because You've told us to thank You, and You use them to mature us."

Of course, it was around Thanksgiving, so verses like "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thes. 5:18) were abundant.  However, it was the Spirit not the season which reminded me this applied to me and my daughter's behavior issue as well.

Not only was I supposed to give thanks in this parenting challenge, but I was also praying incompletely.  Yes, I was praying that God would help me help her.  In fact, it kind of sounded noble to only be praying about how God wants to work through you to benefit another.  It never occured to me that He was not just wanted to work through me but IN me.

It's a common joke in Christian circles not to pray for patience or the Lord will send you trials to teach it to you.  But I'm here to tell you, if God allows you to be a parent, you don't even have to pray to receive the trials that bring patience!  He starts the whole process automatically!

That prayer made me remember, "...that the testing of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:3-4).  How small I counted my God to think that He could only work on my daughter and not on both of us through all this.

I'd love to say that I learned my lesson and "bada bing bada boom" everything was perfect.  My lovely daughter had matured beyond her bad behavior, and I was honoring God in my attitude and actions.  BUT, I can't.  We are both still works in progress. 

So, this writing is one more attempt to retain and apply what God is teaching me. 

That which does not kill you...might make you want to cuss, but more importantly makes you "perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  Especially if you skip the cussing part.  (Sorry, just keeping it real.)

Abigail Adams

This is from the Nov. 24 program of Home School Heartbeat by the HSLDA.

Abigail Adams

No history of early American heroes would be complete without mentioning the women who dedicated their time to raising and educating their children, many of whom became the leaders of our country. Today on Home School Heartbeat, Mike Farris tells the story of one such woman: Abigail Adams, a homeschooling mother of five.

Michael Farris:

Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, our second president. Abigail was the second of four children, born to the Reverend William and Elizabeth Quincy. Although Abigail never attended a formal school, she was educated at home by her grandmother. This education enabled her to teach her own children at home, including her son John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president.

Abigail Adams is credited with having a notable influence on the long and distinguished career of her husband, accompanying him on his diplomatic missions to Europe and advising him by letter while she remained in Massachusetts managing family affairs. She was also renowned for her strong opinions, especially her federalist political views.

Like many homeschooling mothers today, Abigail Adams sacrificed much of her time and energy to the upbringing and education of her children. While her husband John traveled as a circuit judge, Abigail was solely responsible for managing the farm and teaching her children.

When we think back on the founding of our country, we must not forget women like Abigail Adams, whose dedication to her family allowed her husband and her son to serve their country at the highest level. This is Michael Farris.


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