Thursday, February 25, 2010

This was from today's Revive Our Hearts radio broadcast by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. (ROH 2/25/10) This part was very convicting to me and I just had to share it on my blog.


You want to ask yourself, “If my children, if those I’m mentoring, those I’m discipling, if they turn out like me how will they turn out? Not just if they do what I say but if they become like me.


 
If their prayer life is no more effective than mine, what kind of prayer life will they have?

If their faith is no greater than mine, what kind of faith will they have?

If their moral purity is no greater than mine, will they be morally pure?

If their response to circumstances, to adverse circumstances, is like mine, how will they respond to adverse circumstances?

If their response to authority is like the way I respond to my husband or our pastor or my boss, how will they respond to authority?”

Possessing the Gates

Above Rubies sends out regular email devotions.  This was one of them.  Go to www.aboverubies.org to find out more about this great ministry.

Proverbs 14:19, "The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous."


I have shared with you previously that God wants us to raise our children to be able to speak in the gates of the city. The "gates" are the legislative capitals where laws and decisions are made for communities, states and the nation. This is where we need justice to be set up again. God wants His name glorified in the gates of our cities and our land. He wants righteousness, integrity and justice to be preeminent in the gates.


The Word of God tells us that we are to...


POSSESS THE GATES.


I love the blessing Rebekah's family gave when they sent her forth to be Isaac's bride, "Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them." (Genesis 24:60) Read also Genesis 22:17. The word "possess" in the Hebrew means 'to seize, take possession of, to occupy, to become heir.' Don't you think it is time the righteous occupied the gates of our cities and nation? We can't have righteous laws without righteous men in government. We can't have peace in the land unless the godly rule. (Proverbs 11:10-11; 14:34; 29:2)


SPEAK IN THE GATES.


Psalm 127:4-5 tells us that God wants us to train a "quiver full" of children who will rise up to "speak with the enemies in the gates." Do you notice that it says they will speak? We must train our children to contend and stand up for truth.*


PROCLAIM WISDOM IN THE GATES.


We are not to hide wisdom behind closed doors. We must raise children who will one day be able to proclaim wisdom in the chief places of the city. Proverbs 1:20-21 says that "Wisdom cries in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she utters her words." (Proverbs 8:1-7)


ESTABLISH JUSTICE IN THE GATES


The prophet cried out in Amos 5:15, "Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph." We will receive the favor and blessing of the Lord when we have justice in the gates of the city and the nation.


DEFEND JUSTICE IN THE GATES


Isaiah 29:21 MLB talks about "the defender of justice" in the gates. How we need men today who will defend justice in the gates. This Scripture says there is a day coming when "the tyrant shall have vanished; the scoffer shall have ceased; and all those intent on doing evil shall be cut off, who for a word declare a person guilty, and entrap the defender of justice in the gate, and with empty arguments turn aside the person who is in the right."


We see this happening around us and even in our courts. Judges uphold evil. The media and the humanist love to trap and ridicule the righteous. But there will come a day when all this will change. God has also promised that He will give a "spirit of justice" to those who execute justice in the gates and will strengthen and give courage to those who battle to protect the gates of the city. (Isaiah 28:6)


ESTABLISH TRUTH AND PEACE IN THE GATES


Zechariah 8:16 says, "Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the justice of truth and peace in your gates..." Justice demands truth. When truth is upheld there will be peace. This is the foundation for ordering the home which continues throughout society, right up to the gates of the city and the nation. It is difficult to find men to execute justice and truth in the gates if it has not become ingrained in their lives from early childhood. This is the great task God has given to us as parents.


GUARD THE GATES


Nehemiah 11:19 talks about 172 men who guarded the gates of the city of Jerusalem.


Our cities and nation will be blessed when godly men rule in the gates. (Proverbs 31:23) I look toward the day when, "The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous." (Proverbs 14:19) And don't you think it would be wonderful for mothers and homemakers to be praised in the gates, rather than the feminists? This happened in Bible times. It can happen again. (Proverbs 31: 31)


Before these blessings come to the gates of our cities, it must come to our homes. It starts with parents who command their household in the ways of justice, who do not allow disobedience, rebellion, lies and deceit to go undisciplined. It will take parents who abhor evil and love righteousness and who teach their children to do the same.

Love from NANCY CAMPBELL


PRAYER:
"Oh God please strengthen me to raise children who will be able to inhabit the gates of the city and bring justice, integrity and truth to our land again. Amen."


AFFIRMATION:
God befriend us, as our cause is just!


~ William Shakespeare

Homeschool Funny!

Received this cute email from The Homeschool Minute email.  Thought it was too truthful not to share it!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Head Start to Nowhere?

Head Start to Nowhere?
William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

Melanie Palazzo
Congressional Action Program Director

February 3, 2010

Head Start is a federal program created to improve school readiness for low-income children. It was created in 1965 and has continued to receive increased federal funding and to serve additional students. In 2007, it was servicing 908,412 children in the United States.1

HSLDA believes that the continuing growth of the federal government’s involvement in education is threatening local schools and parents who are trying to do what is best for their individual children. Nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government the power to manage the education of its citizens. Despite this, the federal government continues to expand its role in education, claiming that such interventions are necessary to achieve academic progress.

So is the federal government’s growing control over education helping students? We believe that it is not. In 1998, Congress requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct a study to find the impact of the Head Start Program. The results of that study were released this January and were not as positive as some may have liked.

Impact on Verbal and Math Skills

The impact study by HHS has shown that the Head Start program does increase cognitive development of children in its program. Concepts like color-identification, letter-word identification, and overall pre-academic skills tend to be stronger in children participating in Head Start. However, after testing these children in kindergarten and first grade, “no significant impacts were found for math skills, pre-writing, children’s promotion, or teacher reports of children’s school accomplishments or abilities in any year.” In fact, the study shows the only difference between children who spent two years in a Head Start program and other children in the first grade classroom is a 0.08 improvement in oral comprehension.2

“Fade-Out”

The HHS impact study is not the first study to show that government-run preschools have little long-lasting impact. The state of Georgia has a state-funded universal preschool. Georgia conducted a study of its early education program from 2001 to 2004. The study found that “by the end of the first grade children who did not attend preschool had skills similar to those of Georgia’s preschoolers.”3

Oklahoma also has a state preschool program which went universal in 1988. Oklahoma’s fourth graders were scoring higher then the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 1992. Yet, when the first class of children from the universal preschool took the assessment in 1993, the scores went down. Oklahoma actually saw its scores continue to fall for the next 15 years, the only state that saw this continued drop. What is more, the Reason Foundation reported, “Georgia and Oklahoma are in the bottom 10 worst performers for reading on the NAEP fourth grade readers assessment in 2005.”4

New Jersey started providing 4-year-olds in low-income areas public preschool in 1996. Children in low-income areas scored 52 percent below average in 1992 before state preschool was provided. Children that would have gone through state preschool scored 55 percent below in 2005.5 As was the case in of Georgia and Oklahoma, New Jersey’s NAEP scores did not see a positive impact from public preschool but actually saw a negative result.

Clements, Reynolds, and Hickory conducted a study in 2004 of Chicago Child-Parent Centers and found that any positive impact a two-year preschool program created was “no longer significant in first grade.”6
Research shows again and again that there are no long-lasting positive impacts to public preschool. Even in 1969, the Westinghouse Learning Corporation evaluated Head Start and found that “Full year programs resulted in cognitive and language gains at the first grade but appeared to ‘fade out’ by second or third grade.”7

Emotional and Behavioral Impact

The recent impact study by HHS reveals that children in Head Start do have less hyperactive behavior. It also reports that parents say they have a better relationship with their children because of Head Start. The study goes on to say, “Parents in the Head Start group were less likely to have spanked their children…less likely to use time out as a disciplinary practice” and “less likely to have used an authoritarian parenting style.”8

Yet, the study also reports that in kindergarten and first grade, teacher reports show that children that have been in Head Start tend to be more problematic as well as show socially reticent behavior. Parents are also more likely to go back to using “an authoritarian parenting style”9 by the end of the first grade. The impact study tried to respond to this inconsistency by saying “it is difficult to interpret this finding which might reflect changes in either children’s behavior or parents’ reactions to it.”10

Parents—The Greatest Impact on Child Behavior

There have been several different studies done of children’s behavior in state preschool. A National Institute of Health study released in 2007, found “that the more time children spent in center-based care before kindergarten, the more likely their teachers were to report such problem behaviors as ‘gets in more fights’, ‘disobedient at school,’ and ‘argues a lot’ .”11

A report by Stafford University in 2005 stated “entering preschool centers—especially for many hours each day—may hold negative social-developmental outcomes for children, including disruptive and more aggressive behavior in centers and later in school.”12

Last March, a study by Jay Belsky was submitted as testimony before Congress. The study said, “Jay Belsky and colleagues…demonstrated that parenting quality significantly predicted all developmental outcomes measured including reading, math, and vocabulary achievement into the fifth and sixth grade, making it the most important factor in child’s development.”13

The Head Start impact study also found that the children that were likely to have the lowest scores had depressed parents. The earlier parental involvement is cut back in a child’s life, the more behavioral problems children have in school. A 2002 NICHD study found that preschool hinders “motivation to engage in classroom tasks.”14 While children that stay at home in their early years have normal interactions in kindergarten, the Head Start impact study shows that 3- and 4-year-old children that are sent to Head Start tend to be more shy. Parental involvement is the key to a child’s success.

Parental Rights

More and more states are refusing government funds for education because of the numerous strings the federal government attaches to federal funds. Yet, the federal government is increasingly involving itself in educational matters. The new term that seems to be in every education bill or policy made in Washington, D.C. is “birth to twelfth grade.”

Some statements in the Head Start impact study hint at the federal government's aim for control:

“Improved childcare and pre-k standards across the nation.”15
“More likely to participate in a second year of Head Start if there was less competition from other preschools in the area.”16
“Among children in the 3-year-old cohort (parent selected programs) 38.4 percent of control group children were in parental care as compared to only 6.7 percent of children in the Head Start group.”17

The aim for Head Start is to have more and more children in their programs and less in other preschools or parental care.

Cost and Need

The average cost per child in the Head Start program is $7,326.18 Just this December, $7 billion was given to Head Start in the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill.19 This huge expense is not only going towards a program that has limited impact, but also to a program that doesn’t have a large demand. Eighty percent of preschool age children are currently enrolled in a preschool.20 Out of this number, 80 percent are enrolled in private schools.21

Conclusion

Seven billion dollars towards a program that shows no positive long-term impact for 20 percent of the preschool aged children in America doesn’t seem very cost-effective. Edward Ziglar, the co-founder of Head Start said in 1987, “Those who argue in favor of universal preschool education ignore evidence that indicates early schooling is inappropriate for many four-year olds and that it may even be harmful to their development.”22 To continue to give huge sums of money to Head Start in order to expand it, to push enrollment, and separate more and more children from their parents will not be beneficial. Educational options should be encouraged and parental rights to choose the best for their children should be defended in order to provide the best suitable education and emotional development for our children.
Other Resources

“Head Start Earns an F: No Lasting Impact for Children by First Grade” (The Heritage Foundation)
“The Early Learning Challenge Fund: Increased Federal Role in Early Education” (The Heritage Foundation)
“The Poverty of Preschool Promises Saving Children and Money with the Early Education Tax Credit” (The Cato Institute) (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
“Early Education Shows No Benefit” (HSLDA)
“Why Government Should Stay out of Pre-K” (HSLDA) (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Head Start Impact Study and Follow-up (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Endnotes

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Head Start Program Fact Sheet,” February 2008, at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/about/fy2008.html (January 22, 2010).

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Head Start Impact Study Final Report: Executive Summary,” January 2010.

3 Lindsey Burke, “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma,” Heritage Foundation, November, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/bg2272.cfm (January 22, 2010).

4 U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress, at http://nces.gov/nationsreportcard.

5 Karen R. Effrem, MD, “Evidence of Academic or Emotional Harm of Preschool Education or All-Day Kindergarten,” EdWatch, March 2008, at http://www.edwatch.org/updates08/031908-emotionalharmw.pdf (January 22, 2010).

6 UC Berkeley/Stanford report, “The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children’s Development Nationwide: How Much is Too Much?” November 2005.

7 Sharon M. McGroder, “Head Start: What Do We Know about What Works,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 1990, at http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/headstar.htm (January 22, 2010).

8 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Head Start Impact Study Final Report: Executive Summary,” January 2010.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Karen R. Effrem, MD, “Evidence of Academic or Emotional Harm of Preschool Education or All-Day Kindergarten,” EdWatch, March 2008, at http://www.edwatch.org/updates08/031908-emotionalharmw.pdf (January 22, 2010).

12 UC Berkeley/Stanford report, “The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children’s Development Nationwide: How Much is Too Much?” November 2005.

13 Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor meeting, March 17, 2009.

14 Karen R. Effrem, MD, “Evidence of Academic or Emotional Harm of Preschool Education or All-Day Kindergarten,” EdWatch, March 2008, at http://www.edwatch.org/updates08/031908-emotionalharmw.pdf (January 22, 2010).

15 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Head Start Impact Study Final Report: Executive Summary,” January 2010.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Head Start Program Fact Sheet,” February 2008, at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/about/fy2008.html (January 22, 2010).

19 “H.R. 3288: Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010,” Government Printing Office at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3288enr.txt.pdf (January 22, 2010).

20 Barnett, Epstein, Friedman, Boyd, and Hustedt, “The State of Preschool 2008.”

21 Don Soifer, “Federal Early Childhood Education Proposals Could Prove Hazardous for Children, Taxpayers,” The Lexington Institute, March 26, 2009, at http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/federal-early-childhood-education-proposals-could-prove-hazardous-for-children-taxpayers?a=1&c=1136 (January 22, 2010).

22 Karen R. Effrem, MD, “Evidence of Academic or Emotional Harm of Preschool Education or All-Day Kindergarten,” EdWatch, March 2008, at http://www.edwatch.org/updates08/031908-emotionalharmw.pdf (January 22, 2010).

World Math Day--March 3

I had Micki participate in this last year with my help.  This year she'll be all set.  It is sponsored by Mathletics which also has an ongoing website that you can join for a fee.  We were so impressed with it that we did join.

Here's the facts about World Math Day from their website.

"Students play at home and at school against other students around the world in live games of mental arithmetic. Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 500 games, earning points for each correct answer. The students who answer the most questions appear in the Hall of Fame. Students cannot select their level but will move up as they progress."

"We welcome school aged children and homeschoolers to register and participate. It’s a great way to improve numeracy and mental arithmetic skills and have fun in the process.

..and it's absolutely free of charge!"

1. Each student is limited to a maximum of 500 games (each game lasts 60 seconds) during the 48 hour period. This will include 100 games in each of the 5 levels. Students cannot select their level but will move up as they progress. Students can continue to play games if they exceed 500 games but no more points will be added to their personal score, however, all points will be counted in the Mathometer.

2. Prizes will be awarded to the top students in each age category, ages 5-8, ages 9-13 and ages 14-18. Any student found to be participating in an incorrect age category will be disqualified.

3. Individual points are awarded as follows: Each game lasts 60 seconds and 1 point per correct answer is awarded. Example: Score 25 correct answers in one game to receive 25 points.

The site to visit to participate is World Math Day 2010.  After you participate, they will send you emails about signing up for the regular Mathletics page.  

Here are some of the cool aspects of membership. In both the World Math Day and normal Mathletics page, you student gets to play other students from all over the world.  What a way to blend some geography with your math!  In addition to live or computer practice in the same format as World Math Day, there are many other math games and actually curriculum elements and test for each level.  There is a new task master  that allows you to set certain curriculum activities that need to be accomplished before they are allowed to play any of the other games.  It has videos on everything from addition to quadradic equations.  It even has workbooks that can be printed up!  We have found it worth the cost we paid.  I think it was at a special price at $60 for the year.

The Conscience Needs Training form Biblical Parenting

Received this http://www.biblicalparenting.org/.  It's always good to remember that educating character comes before educating the mind.

Parenting Tip

February 22, 2010
The Conscience Needs Training

In 1 Corinthians 4:4 Paul says, “My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t make me innocent.” The reality is that just because the conscience prompts a person, doesn’t mean that it’s right. Children need to be careful to obey God first in everything they do.

The conscience looks for convictions in order to prompt a person to do what’s right. Most children already have convictions, but many of those convictions are inappropriate or need some adjustment. For example, some children believe that if they're playing with a video game and Mom asks them to do something, they should be able to wait until they get to the next level to obey. Your daughter may believe that she has the right to hit her annoying brother. After all, he deserves it.

You have convictions and part of your God-given responsibility is to pass those convictions on to your child. One of the greatest ways to do that is by analyzing your family rules. Each rule, whether it’s written down or just understood, has a conviction behind it.

Spend some time evaluating the convictions behind your rules and then talking with your kids about them.

Children may be tempted to rebel against rules but sharing them as convictions makes them easier to accept. “Son, we don’t allow that kind of movie in our home. The reason is because we have a conviction that what goes into our minds affects our hearts. We’re Christians. That’s who we are and this movie isn’t consistent with the conviction we have. So, we have to say no. I’m sorry.”

As much as possible, tie your convictions to God’s Word. After all, you can’t let your conscience be your guide. It’s the scriptures that are our authority in life. The determining factor as to whether something is right or wrong rests on the authority of God’s Word.


This parenting tip comes from the Everyday Parents Can Raise Extraordinary Kids series 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 www.biblicalparenting.org.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Singapore Math

A long time before we started homeschooling, Mike & I researched what kind of curriculum and such we wanted to use for Micki.  I know that one of the benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility to change curriculum to meet your child's needs and learning style.  Thankfully, God apparently lead us the right way to begin since the Classical style seems to fit Micki well.  Obviously from the title of this article, we choice to try Singapore Math for our math curriculum which also seems to be a good fit.  I was going to tell you a little about it and give you an example.


This is from Cathy Duffy Review--Primary Mathematics/Singapore Math
Originally published for the schools in Singapore, Primary Mathematics has taken the homeschool market by storm, and with good reason. This program teaches children to think mathematically rather than just having them memorize the mechanics of problem solving. And it’s very reasonably priced.


Primary Mathematics is more advanced than just about every other math program used in the U.S. The scope and sequence does not align with state or national standards. For example, it leaves graphs, statistics, and probability for upper levels rather than teaching these concepts in elementary grades. Instead it focuses on laying a solid foundation in basic concepts and processes using a three-step process, taking children from concrete, to pictorial, then abstract approaches to learning. The Primary Mathematics series has levels 1-6 which cover material for approximately grades 1-7. . .

Placement tests are available at their website as well as at Sonlight's website. If your child is not starting at the beginning of the program, it is vital that you use the placement test to determine the appropriate level. It is not unusual for a child to place one or two level below their official grade level.
 
The one "complaint" I read most often relates to "...think mathematically rather than just having them memorize."  It does not promote rote memorization of math facts, but let's face it, that's easy enough to fix with flash cards, timed drills, computer games, etc.  I have also noticed that frequent practice breeds familiarity as well.  I have never used one of the the teacher guides yet, so I don't know what it recommends, but adding your own manipulatives would be part of the "concrete, to pictorial...approaches to learning." 
 
We started Micki with Singapore in pre-school so that she would just grow into the curriculum naturally.  Here's an example of  teaching them to think mathematically.  Last year, Micki learned her tens and ones places.  Again, using manipulatives like unicubes that can be combined into a solid rod of 10 really helps. 
 
So, this year in book 1A after we started basic addition, the book reviewed the number places.  There were picture in which Micki had to circle a set of ten and then write the number by noting how many ones and how many tens.  It might sound more confusing than it acutally is.  For instance, there is a picture of 12 fish.  You circle 10 of them.  That means you have 1 set of ten and 2 ones or 12!  Well, guess what?  A few pages later after practicing seeing the teen numbers as tens and ones, it only make sense that means if you have a 10 and a 6 you make 16.  Eventually, you take the wording away and replace it the mathematic symbols, so
10 +4 = 14.
 
It doesn't end there.  Again a few pages later, we practice adding "bigger" numbers.  We have the math sentence 3 + 9 = and a picture of baseballs.  Well, let's see if there is a set of 10 baseballs and circle it.  Now we have a one set of 10 and 2 ones, so 3 + 9 = 12.  So, we take what we learned for place values and adding 10's and apply it to other addition sentences. 
 
That is an example of "thinking mathematically." 
 
Oh, they also introduce subtraction along with addition instead of after addition.  The reasoning is that if you learn that you can put together 3 and 4 to make 7, it's not that hard to take 7 apart by making 3 and 4.
 
Well, I hope that is helpful to anyone that is considering Singapore Math.  So far, it has seemed like it fits Micki very well.

Mid-evil History

Received this in an email from GWNews.com.

Teaching God's World News                                                            February 22, 2010



Mid-evil History


"Don't know much about history" is the first line of a great song about love. It's also an accurate description of the historical illiteracy among many citizens that enables some politicians to get away with sweet-talking lies.

Over the past 20 years, some exasperated teachers have taken to publishing examples of what their students write. Here from a Wilson Quarterly article are some answers to test questions concerning the Revolutionary Era: "The colonists won the war and no longer had to pay for taxis." "Delegates from the original states formed the Contented Congress." "Benjamin Franklin invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards. He also declared, 'A horse divided against itself cannot stand.'"


It gets worse, by the way, when students turn from American to world history. Then we learn that "The Ramons conquered the Geeks," and "Nero was a tyrant who tortured his subjects by playing the fiddle to them." We're also told that "William Tell shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head," and that Sir Francis Drake, with the audacity typical of English sailors four centuries ago, "circumcised the world with a 100- foot clipper."


These comments may be funny, but the lack of knowledge is deeply troubling. One survey revealed that over half of high school seniors failed an easy multiple-choice test about major events in American history. To pass, they only had to get 42 percent right! It's no wonder that many citizens cannot discern the emptiness of government panaceas; they don't know that similar programs have been tried and have failed.


But not to worry: One thing students know (they have been taught to have high self-esteem) is that they are more knowledgeable than their ancestors. As one student wrote, "In medieval times most of the people were alliterate."


Since we now live in mid-evil times-we're on the information highway between Sodom and Gommorah-historical illiteracy is only a symptom of deeper problems. After all, why study history if it, like life itself, is merely a tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing? If there is no God-given purpose to our existence, why not major in meaninglessness?


In an age of relativism, Christians need to keep stressing the basics: that if we are not here to glorify God and enjoy him forever, we might as well worship false gods by eating and drinking and trying to be merry (although only a fool is merry in such circumstances).


We need to keep insisting that there are only two choices, as Moses told the Israelites: Choose life and good, or death and evil.


But let's not overlook limited educational victories that can be won, even in the absence of deeper understandings. The trendy education theorists of the past 30 years have demanded that history be taught in "relevant" ways. That means de-emphasizing names and dates of major events. That means propagandizing about the capitalistic, homophobic, ethnocentric, patriarchal past that we are only now overcoming.


Christians can do a better job teaching both the details and the meaning.


We can do better by realizing that elementary school is the time (the Poll Parrot stage, as Dorothy Sayers called it) to fill the children's heads with those facts of history. Kids love data, and if encouraged in that vein they will have a solid factual base by the time they enter high school and are ready to argue.


We can do better by encouraging older students to debate the ideas that make history, and to learn in the process that ideas have consequences. History, they will see, shows man's sin, man's occasional ability to learn from past errors, and man's opportunity through God's grace, sometimes to get some things partially right.


We can do better by showing that efforts to do away with a societal emphasis on marriage, family and private property are not new; they have been tried before and they have failed before. (Students do pay attention to the effects of failure; one wrote, "Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. This ruined Booth's career.") The history of past government welfare failure and past government attempts to minimize the role of religion is certainly relevant.


But the deeper question will still remain. Is Christ the Lord of history, or do the intellectual looters of the left have true wisdom? Does it matter if we don't know much about history? Does it matter if we don't know much about God?


- Marvin Olasky, reprinted from WORLD magazine archives

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Is Your Child's Biggest Fan?

A wonderful article from teachmagazine.com.

Whose biggest fan are you? Are you the biggest fan of the latest actor, athlete, or superstar? Whose biggest fan should you be? Let's be the biggest fan of our children. Be their loudest cheerleader. Believe in them, support them, and cheer for them.



Be your child's biggest fan. Know their dreams. Their likes and dislikes. Be willing to listen to their heart's desires. Help them to plan goals and steps to reach them. Give them the skills to get started, the courage to keep going.


Teach them to pray for God's will and guidance, to not step out blindly...but in God's timing. Pray that God will show you ways to help your children. Things that you can do or say to help them along the way.


Know your child's learning style. Know their limitations, weaknesses, and areas where they lack confidence. If one thing isn't working, try another way...come at if from a different angle. Teach them to try, try again. Let them know that you believe in them, that their dreams are important to you, and that you are here to help them.


Thomas Edison's teachers said that he was "addled". But his mom refused to believe it and taught him at home, letting him learn in the ways that best worked for him. He was a hands-on learner and so, that is how his mother let him learn. Turns out, Thomas Edison was a genius in the making. He once said, "My mother was the making of me." Be your child's biggest fan.


Abraham Lincoln's total formal schooling added up to about one year. But his mother instilled a desire for knowledge in him. He read everything that he could get his hands on and gathered a wealth of knowledge. He spent hours reading the family Bible and memorizing passages. One of his favorite books was The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington. Abraham Lincoln went on to be the 16th president of the United States of America. He once said, "All I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Be your child's biggest fan.


John and Charles Wesley's childhood was wrought with poverty and heartache. But their mother determined to teach her children at home. She made sure they received a good education; but more importantly, she made sure they received instruction in God's Word. Her top priority was the salvation of her children. She had special "one-on-one" time with each individual child on a weekly basis.


During this special time, the child could speak of anything and Susanna would share her wisdom. She was determined that her children would have a strong bond with her and, more importantly, with God. This upbringing helped prepare John and Charles to go on and do great things for God. Charles Ludwig records: "Susanna was always conscious of God's presence when she prayed...her daily prayer was, 'Dear God, guide me. Help me do Thy will. Make my life count." Be your child's biggest fan.


George Washington was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". And who do you think he gave the credit to? His mother. George Washington most definitely rose up and called his mother "blessed". Washington said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." And again, I say, be your child's biggest fan.


Take the time to figure out your children's hopes and dreams. Discover their learning style. Pray about God's plans for their lives. And don't forget to be their biggest fan!
By Kimberly Lacey

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free Heart Mini Books

How about free Heart Mini Books made by The Whole Word Publishing?  It's available at CurrClick now through Valentine's Day.  Free Heart Mini Books

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What to Teach Before You Begin Teaching

From theoldschoolhousemagazine.com

It's Just Common Sense
Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist and
Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant

Some homeschoolers have great common sense when deciding what to do with their toddlers. Lea Ann Garfias, a homeschool graduate herself and now a homeschool mother, wrote an article with this wonderful title: "What to Teach Before You Begin Teaching." I read through the article and found none of the worry about a head start on academics. I like the items she suggests teaching "before you begin teaching."

1. Submit to parents. The first verse her children learn is "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1). Later she adds, "Honor thy father and thy mother."

2. Honor God and the Bible. Child sits still during worship, sings during hymns, folds hands during prayer, and so forth.

3. Sees God's plan for the home. Daddy is the head; members love one another.

4. Follow directions. One-step commands at first, then two-step. Learn to obey.

5. Loving books. Enjoy read-aloud times.

6. Listening. Family devotions, reading aloud, and playing classical music help develop this skill.

7. Exploring alone. Don't always schedule the child's time. Let him be alone and develop his creativity for how to use the time.

8. Self-control. Proper table manners, speaking in a kind voice, sitting still in church or doctor's office or where needed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whining, Complaining, and Bickering, Oh My!

From Nancy Carter of theoldschoolhousemagazine.com

When it comes to whining, complaining, and bickering, my policy is, "Just say no!" I don't like those things in myself, and I don't particularly enjoy being cooped up in a house with others doing them either.

Philippians 2:14-15 tells us, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

We aren't promised an easy life and in fact, we are challenged to strive to be content in ALL things. It will serve our children well in life if they learn at an early age how to be pleasant and appreciative even when things aren't going their way.

Here are my tips for kicking the Grouchy Gus attitude to the curb:
  • Do not reward whining, complaining, and bickering with attention.
  • Restrict what they're watching on TV. Many TV shows model and breed negative attitudes.
  • Acknowledge the child's feelings, but redirect his thinking a la Romans 12:2.
  • Cut down on bickering by having them clean each others' rooms or do each others' chores.
  • Help your children to memorize verses about giving thanks, getting along with others, and joy.
  • Have them list five things they're thankful for each day.
  • Compliment them and build them up when they're showing self-control and maturity in how they handle difficult situations. Celebrate those good choices.
  • Keep pointing them towards Scripture. Stories of faith and forgiveness, like Joseph and his brothers, illustrate somebody doing the right thing even when he had every reason to whine, complain, and hold a grudge.
  • Be a good role model. Pay attention to your own words and actions.
  • Do your best to set the kids up to be successful. Create a positive environment in your home, head off trouble at the pass, and stay engaged with your children.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is My Child a Visual-Spatial Learner?
From Currclick.com

As a homeschooling parent, you want to provide the best learning experience for your child. You’ve doubtless heard a lot about the needs of visual learners. If your child is struggling to learn basic skills, taking a closer look at how visual-spatial children learn might be critical. Visual-spatial learners tend have a difficult time because traditional curricula are designed for a different type of learner. Here are some questions to help you determine whether or not your child is a visual-spatial learner.*

  1. Does your child seem to intuit and care about the feelings of others?
  2. Does your child tend to forget what you tell him?
  3. Does he seem to recall well what he sees?
  4. Does she frequently lose track of time?
  5. Does he seem talented in art, music, dance, or drama?
  6. Does she seem disorganized?
  7. Does he have trouble with spelling?
  8. Does she have trouble remembering phonics and math rules?
  9. Does he seem to remember how to get places he’s only been to one time?
  10. Does your child like to construct things?
  11. Does she like to figure out how things work (taking them apart?)
  12. Does your child frequently visualize things? Example: does he frequently see one thing and say “Oh, that looks like a _____________” ?
  13. Does he start laughing during a conversation because a combination of words reminded him of a funny picture in his head?
  14. Can she solve a problem without being able to tell the steps she took to get to the solution?
  15. Is your child good at puzzles or mazes?
  16. Does your child solve problems in unusual ways? In other words, once you tell him what the goal is, does he arrive at that goal in unexpected ways?
  17. Does she have a vivid imagination?
  18. Does your child prefer to draw you a picture or diagram of what he’s thinking than try and tell you using words?
  19. Does your child have at least one parent that would answer “yes” to most of the questions above?

If this sounds like your child, it is likely he or she is a visual-spatial learner.
*Questions based on a quiz from Golon, A. S. (2004). Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child. Denver: DeLeon Publishing.


Research About Visual-Spatial Learners
Dr. Silverman, licensed psychologist and noted author, has researched in depth what it means to be a visual learner. In her own words:
“When we developed the Visual-Spatial Identifier... we still thought that a small percentage of the population would be visual-spatial learners. The results of the second validation study of our Identifier, in 2001, astounded us. Approximately one-third of the 750 students we had assessed in two schools were strongly visual-spatial and another 30% were moderately visual-spatial. That represented the majority of the school population!”


The Dissonance Between Traditional Materials and Visual Learners
I’ve experienced first-hand the difficulties visual learners have using traditional curricula. I am strongly visual-spatial myself, and have worked in depth with visual-spatial and kinesthetic learners. A lot of emotional pain results from these learners being taught using traditional material. Dr. Silverman shows us graphically why this dissonance occurs – and, I might add, why so many visual-spatial children are believed to be disabled and in need of special education.
Success in school depends largely on a student’s ability to:

  • Hear and follow directions
  • Complete work on time
  • Memorize facts
  • Remember quickly
  • Follow steps or rules as in phonics or math
  • Write neatly
  • Spell correctly
  • Be on time and prepared
  • Be organized

Dr. Silverman goes on to state that in our world, adults are most successful when they can:

  • See the big picture
  • Predict or intuit what might happen
  • Create new products or new solutions
  • Take risks
  • Problem-solve
  • Team build, identifying the strengths of others on the team
  • Be computer literate
  • Deal with complex issues, seeing the parts to the whole all at one time
  • Read people well
Understanding Attitudes and How To Change Them

"Attitude" is a shorthand term used to summarize many different feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all at the same time. Various triggers provoke attitudes and simply hearing a word or seeing a signal can change a person's perspective. All Mom has to do is say Derek?! with that certain voice, for instance, and Derek knows she is going to ask him to do something. He responds with a disgusted groan.

Victoria gets to school and sees a pink slip taped to her locker again. She doesn't even read it but rolls her eyes and moans, knowing that it's a call to the office. Triggers like these quickly move people into attitudes that in part determine how they’ll respond to a situation.

Attitudes actually have three components: behavior, emotion, and beliefs. Each of these components can be useful in the change process. The behavior is the flag that tells you there’s a problem. Emotion adds energy to the situation and helps to determine when’s the best time to address the issue, and the beliefs tell you what needs to be addressed on a heart level.

Many parents only focus on the first component, behavior, telling kids to "stop pouting," or "Don't roll your eyes at me." Furthermore, these parents tend to focus only on what not to do instead of what the child should do. It usually isn't helpful just to tell a child to "Stop having a bad attitude" without giving more guidance for developing a better response.

Remember that the goal of discipline is not just to make your children less annoying. As you correct your children for bad attitudes, you are preparing them for the future. After all, they will experience similar situations continually throughout their lives.

Look for ways to help your children think differently. Listening carefully to your child can help you identify thinking errors that lead to a bad attitude. What hidden belief might Jeremy, age ten, have? He complains and argues when you ask him to do the dishes? Maybe he believes, "Chores are an interruption to my life and not my responsibility." If pressed, he may also reveal a belief, "All work is hard and unpleasant, and I must try to avoid it." A positive attitude about work comes from several new values such as "Work is necessary in order to brings benefits to me and to others" and "My contribution to family life is a statement of gratefulness for what I have."

Changing attitudes requires exposure to new ways of thinking. You can provoke your children to more healthy attitudes through dialogue, modeling, and correction. But remember, heart change takes time. We can change behavior quickly, but heart change goes deeper and lasts longer.
Have you discovered ways to adjust attitudes in your children, or even in yourself? Share what works for you.
Click here.

This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and 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
www.biblicalparenting.org.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

High School Literature

From Homeschool.com Some good ideas about literature even for the younger grades.

High School Literature - An Important And Enjoyable Subject To Share With Your Teenager
Why is the study of high school literature so important? Of course, we want our children to be well read, and hopefully to enjoy reading in general. But at the high school level, perhaps reading is secondary to the resulting thought processes. When a student reads, a student also thinks. The critical and creative thought processes, discussions, and debates that result when a student and teacher analyze and interpret a piece of literature are boundless. Doing this within the family unit allows the parents the ability to interject their feeling, beliefs, values and ideas, making the entire process a learning and bonding experience. Following, are suggestions that will make this process an enjoyable one for you and your family:

Initiate Family Reading Time
Remember how much your children loved being read to when they were small? Kids don’t grow out of this—even teenagers enjoy being read to. Initiate a family reading time where everyone gets involved, or depending on the difficulty of the book and the maturity of the topic, one where you and your teenager read together.
Use this opportunity to introduce books your student might not choose on his/her own, and to introduce topics that you think are important and necessary for your child to learn.

Include Literature In Your Dinner Discussions
Dinner time is a wonderful time to discuss what your high school student is reading. Discuss plots and characters and the differences in life then vs. now.
This is a superb opportunity to get the little ones involved too. What are they reading? My favorite books when I was young were Charlotte’s Web and The Light in the Forest. To this day, I still appreciate these stories. They taught about friendship and loyalty. These are wonderful and important books.
Everyone can have input at the family table.

Have Your Student Be Involved In Reading Groups
Encourage your teenagers to join reading groups. Better yet, encourage them to form reading groups with their peers. This will be educational on many levels, and will provide socialization opportunities.

Listen To Books On Tape
Books on tape—what a great idea! Books on tape are an educational life-saver for students with learning disabilities. Plus, they are so convenient. Play them in the car instead of listening to the radio. How many times do you want to hear the same song played over and over again? Listen to a book instead!

Use Cheats Where Appropriate
See the movie. This isn’t cheating if you see the movie AND read the book. Then you and your student can compare the two. In fact, this is an important and valid learning experience, as your student might very well realize he likes the book better!
Read the Cliff's notes/similar summaries. Even as an adult reading a classic, I may not catch the importance or symbolism in a piece of literature. In fact, I might argue that the symbolism isn’t even valid. This is an educational discussion waiting to happen.

Determine What You’re Going To Read
There are plenty of internet resources that will give you reading lists appropriate for your high school student. Ablaze Academy, suggests the following readings for students in the 9th-12th grade:

English Literature IX
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Odyssey by Homer
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

English Literature X
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

English Literature XI
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

English Literature XII
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Homeschool Freebies by Jamin

Freebie Friday, February 5, 2010


Here are some great online resources for learning about the human body:
Videos about how the body works! (very cool!)

The Yuckiest Site on the Internet - Your Gross and Cool Body section.

Human Body Worksheets
Free My Body Lapbook

Human Skeleton Quiz
Human Anatomy Online

For an extra freebie, I couldn't resist sharing this freebiewith you: Free Uniball Pen
Happy homeschooling,
Jamin

Free Copybook on Love


A Copybook of Love- Passages from 1 John 4:7-21
from Proverbs 22:6 Academy

On each page is a King James verse from the passage with space for the student to copy the passage. The passages can be used for penmanship practice, memory work, and/or Bible study.
Click here to download this copybook in three different font styles: manuscript, transitional manuscript, and cursive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Draw George Washington for President's Day

Got this from Veritas Press

On February 15th many will celebrate the national holiday known as President's Day. Originally known as Washington's Birthday, this holiday was instituted by Congress in 1880. At first the holiday was celebrated on Washington's original birthday, February 22nd. Eventually the holiday would shift to become President's Day. As I am, you might be old enough to remember this change. Please consider having your children do a little internet research on the holiday.

In the day and time in which we live it is hard to have our children appreciate the respect that should be given to our leaders, even when we do not agree with them. This holiday provides an opportunity to discuss this obligation we have as Christians with our children. Reading Romans 13:1-7 with them is a good starting point. Celebrating holidays like this can be great teaching moments.

We have included a drawing project from Gilbert Stuart's painting of George Washington. We hope this fun project for President's Day will help you enjoy this holiday. http://resource2.veritaspress.com/epistula/helps/drawwashington.pdf
Laurie Detweiler

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