Loving the Moment! 

Its a new year! So many things to be excited for right?  I am especially excited to be a part of this. The Virtual Curriculum Fair. Whether you are new to homeschool or have a couple years under your belt this is truly a wonderful treat.  A homeschool convention….but you can stay in your jammies. Hehe

The one thing I love most about home education is also the one thing that I struggle with the most when it comes to home education. Can I hear an amen?

I love how free we can be. Here in Wisconsin there are very little requirements so we really do have so much freedom when it comes to learning at home with our children.
The challenge comes in not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed or controlled. by all the good stuff that’s out there!

 

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Our first year or two as home educators we stuck to a very strict schedule. We got our curriculum in the mail every year (Love My Father’s World).  And while it was a wonderful program and I still use some of their materials to this day, at the same time it was stressful trying to keep up some days. Especially as I went from having one child to two and then three and then four!

 

 

As the years have gone by we have gone from box curriculum to classical schooling, Charlotte Mason style, unschooling and delight led learning. All of these are wonderful ways to encourage and inspire a love of learning in our children. And as each one of my for gets older and their needs change it is good to have so many different options out there. Again that is one of my favorite things about home education!

 

 

As we have grown and progressed Through the Years I have learned and I’m still learning how to use those materials we do invest in without thumb controlling our learning.  I have learned to slow down and worry less. It truly has been an exercise in my faith.  Most importantly I have learned to teach from a state of rest.

 

 

 

In the last few days I have pondered and prayed over what are home education ought to look like in the coming year. And if I have prayed again and again God has placed in my mind the value of rest and the value of mastery.  So this year as we slow down I’m focusing on living and loving and learning together as a family. I am focusing on stronger relationships and building greater character within my children ( and myself too)!

 

 

 

We will still do math drills and we will still do copywork each day.  We will study together and memorize from the Bible the Book of Acts.  We will read together draw and paint.  My girls and I will spend more time baking and learning to sew.  My boys will spend more time on coding. We will draw our way around the world.  We will do all kinds of crazy experiments and handicrafts.  We will write poetry and make music and go for a walk exploring God’s creation.

 

 

 

We will not be bound by a schedule or curriculum. Instead of worrying about staying on track instead we will learn together in a state of rest. We will not be afraid to take a day off to go to the museum or to explore a local park.  We will strive to have more conversation about what we are learning together.

 

 

 

 

For my oldest son I seek to become more of a mentor and less of a teacher. To inspire him instead of require of him.  In an attempt to encourage him to learn a bit more independently and to become a bit more responsible for his time we are setting goals. We are making a roadmap. In this way see how making his own video game or his own app really is possible by breaking it down into simple steps.

 

 

 

There’s so much for our kids to learn and aren’t kids naturally curious and eager to learn?  I think of the many things that I have learned simply by having the time to explore them on my own.  And I know that this is something that my children can getting a great deal from. Therefore in the year to come they shall have more time to really explore their own interests. And who knows what could happen when they are given time to find those fires within!

 

 

 

 

It has always been my goal to inspire my children to see learning as something that is life-long. And for them to see the great value and the opportunities that surround them everyday.  Because learning isn’t something that only happens for 12 years and it isn’t something that we can just fit in the hours of 9 and noon.  Learning is a blessing and a joy. It is a lifelong pursuit.. ❤

 

 

 

As you begin your New Year going home education be sure to take your time and enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

 

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Classical Academic Press’ French for Children {With an Amazing Giveaway!}

My eleven year old son has quite the love for foreign languages. Since we hosted an exchange student from France, he has been studying French informally, using various online videos and podcasts. He even started a notebook of his own with the words he knows but I know from my own experience studying languages, that at some point we need to formalize our learning. There is so much more than just memorizing words and having a proper pronunciation (as important as those things are).

 

 

 

In the last few years we have got through quite a bit of materials because of his interest in languages. We have studied Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and a bit of Hebrew, some Latin and Greek…I was wary to invest in more materials for him while at the same time eager to encourage this interest of his. So when I happened to see that Classical Academic Press (whose materials I really do love!) had a program,  French for ChildrenI had to learn more.  Perhaps this would be “just right” for him.

 

 

 

Their motto is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught,” which is something that really strikes me because, that is how I want to see learning happening. There is such power in learning that is engaging, and encourages creativity.  This kind of learning is what inspires and makes kids into lovers of lifelong learning too. And I want to see that as much as possible with my children.

 

 

The complete program of French for Children Primer A includes the following:

 

French for Children Primer AFrench for Children Answer KeyFrench for Children DVD

 

 

 

Classical Academic Press was so very generous in giving me a copy of this curriculum for review purposes, and so I here I am, sharing our experience with you!  French for Children, Primer A is recommended for grades 4 and up. There are 17 Chapters and they offer a variety of weekly schedules to help you complete this program in half a year or an academic year (thirty weeks).  We appreciated having these to use as guides as we study.  Especially since we tend to be so relaxed in our schooling; without incentive we can sometimes park on a topic for weeks! And while I love to encourage that too, there is great value in learning how to complete things in a timely fashion!

 

 

 

French for Children has a very immersion style feel to the program! They use lots of dialogue, translation, vocabulary, dictation, grammar, and there are quizzes too. We used this quite a bit since my oldest son really needs this kind of thing to reinforce what he is learning. Plus it encouraged him to start his own little “Book of French Vocabulary” to track his learning for himself. He even began to record himself “teaching other kids French” as he learns. Now they may seem impossible, too much – but it really isn’t at all. This is all presented in such a way that it really is quite enjoyable!

 

 

 

French for Children Primer: Chant and Audio Files contains all of the pronunciations as well as dialogues, grammar chart chants, complete vocabulary, conversation journal words and phrases, Say It Aloud exercises, dicteés, and lots more! These files are great to load onto an mp3 for listening to or even as we are in the car, for some of our longer drives. (And right now we do have a few of those!)  This was an especially great resource for my son!

 

This is a very involved and very thorough course. I admit when I saw everything that this was made up of, I was a bit concerned that my son was going to be in over his head.  I admit, I was not sure this would inspire my son to continue learning. I will say, I was thrilled to find my son eagerly completing lessons and watching the videos each day. Often I would even find him repeating lessons previously completed; again the fact that he chose to complete lessons repeatedly even, its a huge compliment to this program.  In a season in which he has really been struggling with a desire to learn those beautiful and good things, seeing this light a love within him, it warms this momma’s heart.

 

 

We jumped right in when this arrived. And we learned after the fact that it really is important to watch the first DVD before beginning. This will give you a better understanding of this course while helping you to understand the structure of the lessons and explaining all of the different aspects that are a part of it this program.

 

We really are enjoying our use of this program, there are just so many wonderful things about it. The level of immersion that is used within the program; the depth and yet the simplicity and fun that is had in the learning process too….It’s refreshing to see children having so much fun learning.

 

 

Listen to the Dialogue – There is a story being told; as you listen to the audio follows along while listening to the audio. This is partly in French, partly in English and introduces new vocabulary. She gets an idea of what the new words mean from the context and tells me what she thinks is happening. The dialogue translation is in the back of the Student Text.

 

 

Chant – phrases & sets of words to learn proper pronunciation. My son will put on his headphones and listen. I love hearing him speak he has quite good pronunciation if I may say so myself.

 

 

Vocabulary – There are about ten new words to each chapter. My son writes these in his notebook of French words he knows and he likes to go over these throughout the week.
Video – The videos are about 45 minutes long; these are full of information. There are times my son will watch one video in one sitting; other times he may watch a little here and there throughout the week. These are very helpful to my son (me too!) and there are times we will watch a video again because there really is so much you can get out of these.

 

Grammar – There is grammatical instruction involved in this course; this is taught very creatively so its not overwhelming at all.

 

Worksheets & Quizzes – Within these are exercises in translation, verb forms, grammar exercises, charts to complete.These are all great for reinforcing what is being learned.

 

La dictée – The dictation exercises are all on the CD. Interestingly, in France dictations are done similar to our version of the spelling bee. Sounds like a really fun thing to me!

 

 

 

I have been trying to be diligent in practicing more the methods of Miss Charlotte Mason in our home education and I have to say this is something that fits into her ways so very well. We are reading right now too (because it was mentioned in the Introduction, The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine) and seeing as we go along how the dialogues within this program weave together into these tales. What a wonderful and creative way to help engage our children as they learn!

 

 

 

As you begin your studies in Primer A learning subjects and verbs; infinitives, verb conjugation, tense and noun gender you not only learn these things but you write them and read them and say them. You use them so that they are more than just another lesson to complete but are a cultural immersion experience. As a former exchange student and a host mom to many exchange students along the way, immersion is a wonderful (probably the best) way to learn any language. And as you learn, you create your own conversation journals and fun dialogues to practice conversation, letter writing and so much more! I haven’t fund yet a better and more enjoyable way to learn than this.

 

 

 

 

Since we have been using this we have also been encouraging regular use of additional songs and stories in French, to listen and read along. We even have a couple primers we are using to read, online, in French, that my son is really enjoying.  I remember reading not long ago that if you really want to learn a foreign language, reading and writing it and hearing it again and again, is the way to go. This program is just that.

 

 

 

Classical Academic Press has for your review a 64 page pdf from French for Children: Primer A  the student text you can download and try out if you want to learn more about this program. There is also a free audio MP3 sample and the you can watch the video below, this is the first chapter in the program  (it is about 45 mins long). If you have a student who is interested in learning French, maybe they even learned a bit already, this is a wonderful program to consider.  And there is always www.HeadventureLand.com for some fun practice!

 

 

 

 

You have a chance to win!

Classical Academic Press are giving away two French for Children: Primer A bundles for USA residents! Just use the Rafflecopter form below —

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Back to Homeschool Blog Hop – Get Ready to Make Some Goals@

This year I planned to live and breathe more in patience and peace. (I struggle with both of these) Seems that was not part of the plan though. Looking back I realize that I determined to practice and hold onto these things but I did not play how I would do it.

 

 

 

I think so often I set myself up for failure; my kids too. We do not have goals. Or if we did they are unclear. This year my oldest son and I are setting some goals together. My younger two are as well! And not just for the homeschool but also for our home. Let’s face it, while being able to stay home with our children is one of the sweetest blessings of homeschooling, but it also presents so many challenges. Our homes are truly lived-in! They get messy. Fast. There are so many beautiful things about living a lifestyle of learning but it sure can take over the home. You should see our countertops and tables. lol

 

Sure we are home more often than the average family, but even t home we are “busy” as we go from one rabbit trail to another. Looking past all the mess 😛  That said we need to be more organized, we need to have that peace in our home. And it can only come if we, as mommas, don’t just set those goals but also bring our children along side us so that they too can learn how to keep the peace while living a lifestyle that embraces learning!

 

I learned this as a life lesson in fact, last night. When my husband got home; we were getting kids jammed and settled in for a short show with daddy before bedtime. And I see a bowl left on the table. A cup in the living room. Clothes on the bathroom floor from my oldest son dancing in the rain earlier in the day. It hit me then and there. We need to focus more of life skills. Living and learning is great. But so is cleaning up after your experiences!  My husband agreed, we need to be better organized in our home; consistent in our expectations of our kids and giving them responsibility over their things. They need to feel a sense of ownership ownership in the home and family.

 

 

Let’s Get the Right Perspective

 

I forget sometimes, my perspective gets lost. We are not in this to replicate a classroom in a public or private school.  We are here to encourage a love of learning, to guide our children into a life full of rich and meaningful experiences.  To build them and mentor them as they become more and more who God created them to be.

 

1. Nothing is Perfect. We all have to admit, to some degree, that when we are organized, when our home is in order, we are as well. There is a peace that comes from things having their place and being in that place. Yet as your children get older we have to let go a bit (I can be such a control freak) and train them in this very thing.  It certainly doesn’t do for momma to organize and keep everyone. Our children need to be a part of the home, its about a sense of ownership, taking responsibility. They need to learn how to be organized, how to maintain their things and their space. It sure makes house cleaning take longer but in the end it is well worth the time invested.

2. Instilling Lifelong Habits.  We all have habits, both good and bad— Charlotte Mason expressed it this way: “What you would have the man become, that you must train the child to be” (Vol. 2, p. 15). The Early Years are the perfect time to concentrate on forming good habits in our children. It is never too late to instill a good habit, but how much easier it is if we instill good habits right from the start!  We need to walk beside our children more often. We need to slow down and take the time to truly train these simple habits into them. It matters. This is not easy, but most things worth doing are not. With my younger son and my oldest daughter, it is an easy thing to do.  They like the idea of all of their things in a place; neat and tidy. My oldest son? He is clueless ~ He doesn’t mind the mess and chaos. He will walk by the same pile of dirty clothes repeatedly until I lead him to putting them in their place in the hamper. Lessons, habits, organization and goals, these come at a much slower pace and we need smaller steps and goals leading up to that one big task.bEven if it isn’t so big to you or me.

4. Attitude is Catching. I admit it, I am not a glass half full ind of gal. I spend a lot of time doing what must be done. But the other day I read this amazing piece on how, we need our perspective to be that we “get to” rather than that we “have to”.  It is the same with our children. One bad attitude can sour the whole gang. We cannot organize things, set goals, or keep home and learning a place of love and peace if we come at that as though we were going to battle. As Paul says, let us “think ourselves happy!” in all things!

 

5. There is no “I” in Team  In the end what is the goal? Most assuredly my goal for my children is to see them living for Christ. But also my goal is for them to be independent, critical thinkers. To be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 🙂 We need to surround them with opportunities to explore and expand their minds. Whether it is a walk outside, the museum, a fun and messy experiment or creation … What is it that they are learning? I think too often we do not see all that can be learned in the simple experiences we have each day. Even washing the dishes, filing laundry, cooking a meal – these are important and full of skills to be mastered. We are all in this together. It can be difficult but we have to remember that this cannot work if we are not all in this together. It is a blessing to be able to be home educators; it is a blessing to have every one of our children. (even the loud and disgruntled little boy who never seems to do as he is told)

 

 

Motivate Them!

 

I have this amazing book that I was totally blessed by! ~motivate your child ~ With this is The Motivate Your Child Action Plan Book which contains specific strategies and tools to help you build your parenting plan for each child individually.  Because who has two kids that are the same?

 I think of how, like Solomon in the Bible, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom when it comes to our children. Can we step back and see, with another’s eyes, what it is that they have a passion for? Can we see where they struggle? Where they excel? And embrace them anyway right where they are?

My younger son, who is 5, loves to mop and vacuum our floors. My daughter, who is three, takes great joy in helping me to bake and wash dishes, fold up laundry.  Yet my oldest son…He is more of a leader. Anything he is asked to do, he quickly delegates to a brother or sister eager to help!  When it comes to work of any kid, he would much rather have others do the task at hand.  He could be a great leader one day; for him right now it is important for him to see the value of work.  We cannot truly be a leader if we cannot ourselves get our hands dirty.

Love What You Do! 

 

Organizing. Goal Setting. These all call for us to be perseverant. They also require truth and simplicity. If our idea of cleaning our room is to throw all our things in the closet and shut the door, we are not truly cleaning or organizing. We need to work together.  Smarter not harder they say right? And then, habit training comes in. We need discipline to keep things as they are once we complete the initial task. Let’s be honest: true organization, true goal setting requires us to stick with it. Every day. Whether we feel like it or not.

 

Enter in grace. Mercy. Patience. Togetherness.  Endurance.

 

 

We must be patient. We must run the race, enduring to the end. And resting in Him for strength and wisdom all the way ❤

 

 

Don’t forget to check the other bloggers’ topics during this blog hop and the giveaway too! 🙂

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Growing with Jesus as we Read

We love to read. In fact, as we move forward in our home education I am thrilled to find more and more books that are powerful teaching tools. And have wonderful lessons of faith and integrity; characters of great value – Simple truths!  It is especially fun when we receive these as gifts, for a simple review.  So right now, and many of these are related to the season, and our children – this is what we are reading. 🙂

I was thrilled that Fly By Promotions offered to us for review “Easter Stories – Classic Tales for the Holy Season,” compiled by Miriam LeBlanc. I love to find stories to share with my children that show the true meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. While we choose to focus on Passover in our home, I do appreciate stories that are able to show us the Holy Week and are well written, high quality, engaging stories for all ages. These stories contain a wonderful combination of suspense and drama, capturing the attention of young listeners from beginning to end.

There are so many great stories that I had never read before that capture the true essence of what we ought to be honoring this time of year. These stories capture the meaning of the sacrifice that Jesus made and the transformational power within the born again experience that we all can share. Many of these stories are told to encourage us to consider how we perceive and treat others, to examine ourselves for that heart of Christ as we show the love and hospitality of Christ himself. As a mother and home educator I want nothing more than for my children to grow up with an understanding of what it truly means to live for Christ and to take up their cross as He did for us.  These are wonderful, historical, inspiring stories ~ Some of the tales retell bible stories like “John,” by Elizabeth Goudge, however most of these are parables and fables that share the Gospel message itself.  The pictures are beautiful black and white woodcuts (I love black and white myself) by Lisa Toth at the beginning of each story.

This 374 page softcover book contains 27 stories from authors such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov, Ruth Sawyer, and Selma Lagerlof.  All truly wonderful stories to share and grow by!

 

 

HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILD ABOUT JESUS?

“Jesus Sees Us” Doll and Book!

Our children love the Bible, church, singing and worship ~ It’s all about Jesus, but not being able to see Him, how do we encourage and grow that faith, especially as they get older?
  This doll is a great visual aid, and a reminder to ALL of us that Jesus sees.
http://jesusseesus.com
My daughter, who is 3, loved the doll right away.  It’s a soft body but a hard head, a friendly, joy filled face, and arms open wide.  And it comes with a lesson book too 🙂
According to the creators:
The Jesus Sees Us accompanying book is designed to be read with your child. The illustrations and easy-to-read lessons, along with the Jesus Sees Us doll, have the power to ignite your child’s love of Jesus. The book will assist them in their comprehension of who Jesus is and all the amazing things He did while He was on the earth. Children are able to understand the key concepts of the lessons and will amazingly begin using them in their everyday lives.  A child’s ability to learn about Jesus comes in stages. Jesus Sees Us assists your child in taking those first steps by breaking down many of the most important lessons that make up the root of our Christian faith. Each illustrated story introduces Jesus in a relatable way, allowing them to better understand how they can carry out regular everyday tasks that make Jesus smile. The Jesus Sees Us book is illustrated in a way that draws children into the pictures, and therefore, into the lessons. Children learn about God’s love when they learn about Jesus’ actions.
http://jesusseesus.com
We have read and continue to read this one, engaging in conversation (mostly with my older son who is 9 and his brother who is 5)  about how each story relates to our own lives and experiences. This is a great little book to read and growing; as our children get older what a great way for them to see how the Bible is so much more than just a book of stories. No doubt if we are not teaching them how to live this out, there is much that they will miss out on of the Gospel. May we show them what it looks like to live out this powerful faith and how within it too!
Jesus Sees Us is available for purchase:
And right now the creators, Maureen & Kelly, are offering a $10 off promo code to our readers ~JSBlog10~

 

 

Holy Days and holidays   ~ It can be confusing for us as adults, so how about for kids? As I said before we partake in the Holy Days rather than the man made holidays but we do feel it is important for our children to understand the history of these days. And I love materials that can help point my children to the Word of God itself that they may grow to be as the Bereans…

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Why Easter? and Why Christmas? are written by Barbara Reaoch, and illustrated by Carol McCarty. Both of these books have short and simple daily readings, about twenty-eight in each book. Each reading directs you to the scripture itself, as well as providing a memory verse, and questions for discussion (I especially like this for my oldest son). There is also a song for each week of “study” within the book, another great benefit, since all three of mine love music!

This is so much more than just Bible stories; rather Why Easter? and Why Christmas? consist of a Bible passage, a Bible lesson, discussion questions, a song, and Bible memorization for each day, in small portions ideal for little people!

I believe parents will find Why Easter? and Why Christmas? to be helpful additions to their library, and our children will definitely enjoy the interactive Bible lessons within these books. Why Easter? and Why Christmas? are very well-written, and full of beautiful, yet simple, illustrations. While these are two holidays that we do not partake in ourselves, it is wonderful and refreshing to be able to have materials that we can use with our children that point them to God’s Word itself in every way.

 

mission

 

We are all called to be missionaries, to preach the Gospel, where we are which is exactly where God has planned for us.

Not sure how? In A Field Guide For Everyday Missions, there are 30 days and 101 ways to demonstrate the Gospel, right there for you.

From the Back Cover

Surprise-If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary!

 

You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God’s work in you, you are on mission. As everyday missionaries, God has sent us to live out his Great Commission in the ordinary, all-too-busy, and even mundane moments of our lives.

But what exactly does an everyday missionary do?
Where and when does everyday mission happen?
And how can you possibly share the gospel without killing your relationships?

Your reading begins with six different questions: 1 – Who is my everyday mission field? 2 – What does an everyday missionary do? 3 – When does everyday missions happen? 4 – Where does everyday mission happen? 5 – Why should I even care about everyday mission? and 6- How do I share the gospel without killing a relationship?

This book is compiled of six week segments with daily readings and ideas for applying what you read, to your mission field.  If you need a better understanding of what the mission field is, how to be a missionary yourself, this is quite helpful and will give you a new perspective on how you can reach out and help to build the Kingdom of God.  This is such a down to earth, practical book. ILet’s face it, we could all do more and this can help us to take it to the next level and really “live missionally” and “do evangelism”.  After al if theKing of Kings came, not to be served, but to serve, how much more ought we to seek opportunities to serve?

 

prayer life

Prayer is powerful. It is so often neglected too. We are all so busy; I have felt that way too often myself. I forget, or I do a great disservice to Jesus in my prayers to Him.  You know those kind…the ones that we quickly mumble before we eat, or before we roll out of bed. They are so empty and meaningless – our relationship with Him does not grow because of those prayers. And they stink. There is no sweet fragrance to them going up. So I was curious to read Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund: A Year Long Journey of Contemplative Prayer. Filled with so many quote-able sayings, and prayers there is much to learn within this little book!  Inspirational and encouraging 🙂

This is much like a devotional too. Each day begins with a scripture, which leads into an historical prayer sometimes by a saint, pastor, or even just one unknown from long ago. From intercession to thanksgiving and surrender, renewal and wisdom ~ these are powerful prayers to meditate upon as you grow in your own prayer life.

 

Can you Discern the voice of God? Let’s face it we live in a day in age where it can be a challenge. Between the busyness of life in general, and all the spirits that are about us, we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  Do you know:

Throughout the Bible we see how He spoke to His people.  To Moses through a burning bush, to Daniel when he endured the lion’s den, to Jonah in the belly of a large fish….the list goes on. Today many wonder where He is today but we are the ones who limit God! Certainly it is most important to ensure that what we hear aligns with the Word itself since God never changes and we know that He cannot lie. His word, it is always true and faithful. May we consider when we hear those voices: Will it bring glory to God? Is it consistent with His truth? Is it confirmed by external circumstances? Do you have a sense of peace, even if the decision is challenging? While there were some times that scripture used, seemed to be, to be rather, made to fit, certainly we are able to wait on the Lord, to be still, and to search as the Bereans, to ensure what we are told lines up with what He says in His Word.

 

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

Purge it!

I am what some might call a book hoarder. 😛

 

I love books. I hlove the feel of their pages; the sound of them turning. I love the smell of books.  Especially old ones.

They are a part of me.  A part of my family.  And there is always room for more of my babies.

 

But then my husband, the other day, suggested we consider purging some of them. And then there was this quote I read that spoke to “getting rid of books”.  ~gasp~

 

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing author Marie Kondo, says that we should get rid of everything that does not “spark joy in our hearts.”

 

Books DO spark joy in my heart though. Like little else does.

 

I have been wanting to purge our house – go minimalist – for some time now.  So I guess, my husband bringing it up, perhaps this was a sign that it was time. And perhaps it was time for me to give a bit too. So I did what was recommended.  I took every single book off of the shelves, out of the drawers and out from under the tables and chairs. Slowly I went through each one deciding what to keep and what pass on. Since we are home educators too, my other thought was for my kids; for our journey.

Did it spark joy in my heart? Was it perhaps, educational for my children or would it maybe, one day, spark joy or relief in their hearts?

 

This was hard. I admit it. Seeing space open up on the shelves, my natural desire is to fill those holes. But then looking at the boxes that are filling up; seeing so many books that none of us had a passion for. My children bringing me books (I was surprised at some of them that they chose to let go of too!) I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.

 

There is power in the tongue. There is power in the pen. As we move forward, as a family, as a homeschool, as individuals – We must be careful what we allow eyes to see. We must be wise in how we spend our time. Even in literature, there is so much out there that no good can truly come from.  Charlotte Mason calls it twaddle.

 

If you are not familiar with this term, let me share some of what I feel, are the best definitions:

 

“. . . the sort of diluted twaddle which is commonly thrust upon children” (Vol. 1, p. 176).

 

  1. “They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told” (Vol. 2, p. 263).

  2. Second-rate, stale, predictable

    “It is not possible to repeat this too often or too emphatically, for perhaps we err more in this respect than any other in bringing up children. We feed them upon the white ashes out of which the last spark of the fire of original thought has long since died. We give them second-rate story books, with stale phrases, stale situations, shreds of other people’s thoughts, stalest of stale sentiments. They complain that they know how the story will end! But that is not all; they know how every dreary page will unwind itself” (Vol. 3, p. 121).

  3. Goody-goody story books or highly-spiced adventures of poor quality, titillating

    “What manner of book will find its way with upheaving effect into the mind of an intelligent boy or girl? We need not ask what the girl or boy likes. She very often likes the twaddle of goody-goody story books, he likes condiments, highly-spiced tales of adventure. We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature” (Vol. 3, p. 168).

  4. Scrappy, weak, light reading

    “Many who would not read even a brilliant novel of a certain type, sit down to read twaddle without scruple. Nothing is too scrappy, nothing is too weak to ‘pass the time!’ The ‘Scraps’ literature of railway bookstalls is symptomatic. We do not all read scraps, under whatever piquant title, but the locust-swarm of this class of literature points to the small reading power amongst us. The mischief begins in the nursery. No sooner can a child read at all than hosts of friendly people show their interest in him by a present of a ‘pretty book.’ A ‘pretty book’ is not necessarily a picture-book, but one in which the page is nicely broken up in talk or short paragraphs. Pretty books for the schoolroom age follow those for the nursery, and, nursery and schoolroom outgrown, we are ready for ‘Mudie’s’ lightest novels; the succession of ‘pretty books’ never fails us; we have no time for works of any intellectual fibre, and we have no more assimilating power than has the schoolgirl who feeds upon cheese-cakes” (Vol. 5, p. 214).

I admit, I have rather high goals for my kids’ when it comes to their learning.  I expect as they grow, that they would have a love of language(s) and the intricacies (also an understanding) of words and the power held within them, and a desire to increase in learning – a love of wisdom.

 

While I do not stop my son from reading Garfield now and again and we definitely enjoy a bit of Calvin & Hobbes here and there, it is important that what they do, how they spend their time, is real. May we encourage, ourselves too, to be surrounded by that which changes us – which breathes life into dry bones (or brings something to life!)  Truly we should never stop learning. And the greatest experiences are often the most powerful and life changing of them all.

 

I Need My Commonplace

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love to read. But not just anything. I love to read classic literature. Deep, thought provoking tales of long ago, works that make my head spin…I love the challenges within them, I love the words and the passion you can feel from a truly good book. Fiction, I can take it. Non-fiction – I will love it and live in it if I can.

 

 

The problem is I often wind up coming across so many fabulous thoughts and quotes (things we ought to live by realy) but I cannot remember them, or find them, when in need. And how is that any good? After all, as a momma, home educator and a keeper of the home – Is it not even my responsibility to continue to seek and feed my own soul? To determine those things that are good and true and noble and right?  Or as Seneca says so eloquently:

“We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.”

 

This matters to all of us. For our life. For our very soul. We must grow. We must be wise, gentle, discerning and thoughtful in all things. And its about wisdom, not just facts. As I develop my commonplace book, over a lifetime (or even the years to come years), I can only imagine how I can accumulate a mass of true wisdom–that can be turned to in times of need. That I can go to when requiring a bit more inspiration or a bit more direction even. After all, a commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order and it should motivate us to look for and keep only the things we can use. Precious gems.

 

As Raymond Chandler put it, “when you have to use your energy to put those words down, you are more apt to make them count.”

 

 

As said so well too on this very topic, by Ryan Holiday:

“Technology is great, don’t get me wrong. But some things should take effort. Personally, I’d much rather adhere to the system that worked for guys like Thomas Jefferson than some cloud-based shortcut.”

For now it is nothing more than a simple lined notebook (because without those lines, I have to admit, I am all over the place (LOL) I use whatever pen or pencil is handy at the time I come across that deep and thought provoking word, or phrase. It’s so much more important to write it down, I can really dig into it and ponder it more later. But to pause,, to take the time, that in itself is so very meaningful.

Capturing words that need to be more than just words.

It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures within the pages of the most inspiring book EVER: 1 John 2:6: He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

I begin at the very beginning. Seeking deeper, greater wisdom for myself and my family, and it must start with me.

IndoctriNation ~ A Schoolhouse Review

IndoctriNation DVD Review

 

Did you know that 90% of Christians send their children to the public schools for their education? Did you know that nowhere in the Bible is there a verse, not one, to support this?

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review the film, IndoctriNation by Great Commission Films, when given the chance because truly I believe we need to be aware. We need to be wise. And we need to bring our children home – now!

 

Colin Gunn is a Scottish born homeschool father of seven. Watch as he travels across the USA seeking to understand the origins and the impact of America’s public education system.

Take  a walk through the history of the educational system and see the real purpose behind it all.  This walk begins in the 1800’s, showing how it all began and how it has transformed into the system we know it as today.

If you have not watched this film I tell you, you MUST see this!  What you see and will learn will break your heart and open your eyes.  I have become so much more passionate about home schooling as the years have gone by; I try to reach out more and share what it is and what I know.  I try to encourage others that I know to consider a better way.

 

Filled with interviews with teachers, administrators, parents, and others, this film is one that every parent must see. It is part documentary, part testimonial, and totally captivating. Honestly I have watched this at least three times myself and will certainly we watching it again. And trying to encourage others to watch this too!  It is an appeal to millions of Christians who desperately need to hear and know what God’s Word has to say about the discipleship and training of our children. It is a sad truth that we need to know so that we as parents can defend and equip our youth for the battles that are unfortunately all to real and becoming more and more bold. Can they stand and give an answer, truly, for their faith?

 

 

We cannot send children out as evangelists – this is not Biblical.  We cannot surrender them to the world. God has given children to their parents (Genesis 33:5, 1 Samuel 1:27, Psalm 127:3), and has charged them with inalienable rights and responsibilities. Certainly there are some that say their children need to be there, to be salt and the light in the public schools.  And many others just don’t truly see how dangerous these school are and how much of a blessing homeschool can be .  Research from the Barna group shows that over 80% of children, when they graduate high school, leave the faith and may never return.  While homeschooling is no guarantee for our children’s salvation, we need to be mindful of those things we choose and how they will effect the discipleship of our youth?  Certainly if God is not welcome in these buildings, how could they possibly serve a greater purpose? We must remember that a teacher is like his master and if one is not with our Lord, then they are against our Lord.

 

I remember my experience in the public schools, so long ago, times that I can not say I felt were anything other than painful.  I do not remember a time in my educational journey when I did not bring in my own books and do my own studies, hiding in the back of the class. I was bored, I hated sitting all day, the kids (and this was some time ago) were shameful, immature and mean. Its changed so much since then, but not for the better. That said my husband and I just knew we had to homeschool our children; we did not want the same experience for our children. I want my children to learn how to think for themselves, how to be the person that God created them to be; I want them to love learning and see that the world around them is full of opportunities to learn and see our Creator.  Most of all I want them to grow up strong and sure, in His word and His ways and sadly there is no way that this can happen when they are in the hands of the government for the majority of their days.

 

“Every Christian parent with a child in a government school should see this and be forced to confront their unwillingness to do what Scripture requires for the children on loan to them by God. A mass exodus from government schools is the only way to preserve the souls and minds of our children, whether it gets the attention of politicians or not…and it would.” — Cal Thomas, Fox News political contributor

 

 

 

It really made me pause and think, how Voddie Baucham says at the very beginning of the film how as Christians we will fight each other tooth-and-nail over which translation of the Bible to use, which denomination is the right nownand so many other things, but nearly ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to public schools without any question or reflection on the subject.  Why is that?  We all love our children and want what is best for them but why are we so willing and so eager to hand them off to the state, knowing little if anything of what is taught, owh is teaching it, and if this is truly pleasing to God?

 

“Freedom is about raising our children  to serve the Lord Jesus; all of reality exists so that His name would be known but we are forbidden to speak the name of Jesus in the schools.”

 

Everyone with children in the school system needs to see this; they need to watch with an open mind. What good is salt after all, if it has lost its flavor?

 

IndoctriNation DVD Review

 

 

Learn more about Indoctrination here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndoctriNationMovie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indocmovie
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/indoctrination
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IndoctriNationMovie

 

 

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Hewitt Homeschooling ~ Schoolhouse Review

    I have learned about and had the joy of exploring, so many AMAZING homeschool resources this year. We were happy, and eager, to give Hewitt Homeschooling ~ (http://www.HewittHomeschooling.com/)  a try when we had the chance. Yet another one that makes learning fun!  My oldest son even chose the material we were to review, My First Report: Reptiles and Amphibians.  It came at such a good time too! This was something he got excited about and considering how disinterested he has been in school as of late, I was happy to see that.

This is more than just a workbook and its more than completing worksheets. Its an introduction  to self expression; helping children learn how to put their knowledge into words and sentences, to share.  There are basic questions given to encourage and direct investigation. Our children are learning reporting skills, they incorporate language, penmanship, and library/encyclopedia/dictionary skills (we needed this!). As they work they create their own reports (with or without a pictures). These come with a set of reproducible forms with varying line heights. There are lots of  suggestions within the pages too, for each subject, for art, music, language, reading, math, social studies/history, science/health, P.E., Bible, and field trips. A list of additional resources is included, as well as other details (scientific classifications of animal and/ or plant kingdoms). The packet we received contained sheets on lizards (our FAVORITE!), iguanas, chameleons, turtles, crocodiles, snakes, garter snakes, rattlesnakes, frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. The recommendation is one topic per week, thus the packet will last for an entire quarter. The packet is $8.95 and  these were written with Grades 3 and 4 in mind but they can also be used for grades 1 and 2 with assistance or for remedial work with those in Grades 5 through 8.

My oldest son, he is eight, had quite the time with My First Reports.This really encouraged him in a number of ways. Since we have not done much in the way of writing and reports, this was new territory for all of us. Since we really enjoy reading, it was quite fun to explore each page as we went from lizards, to crocodiles, to rattlesnakes. Seeing as we already have two geckos, it was fun to see how much my boys already knew about our little friends. Each page has vocabulary words to learn and questions to encourage creative writing. One question for example read: In what kind of habitat do lizards live in? MY oldest son reported that they live in the desert (some in jungles and rainforests) while my four year old reported that lizards “live in our house.” haha

Towards the back of the report, you will find lots of additional resources to use as a unit study or just for additional learning fun! There are Bible references and discussion for study, History/Geography/Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading, Math, Science/Health, Physical Education, Music, Art, even ideas for field trips. In addition to all the activities listed here (seriously we could go on studying with this for quite some time – likely we will too!) there are lists of books and magazines, as well as companies and museums which have resources available for study. For the report itself they provide three sizes of lined paper with or without space for a picture. My oldest loves to draw so whatever he does, illustrations are a must. The lines are either 5/8-inch, 1/2 inch, or 3/8 inch. We used the 1/2 inch since my oldest son continues to struggle a bit in handwriting.

This really did encourage and inspire my boys both; it was a fabulous way to gain investigative skills too since there were many times we had to look in a book, and in many cases even after the work was done, they still wanted to know more. I especially love how the Word of God is woven into all of this. As they learn, they see His word, and that really helps them to have a Biblical worldview. Which is so very important! We have learned so much; in fact many doors have been opened for other topics through this packet. It has been such a pleasant surprise. Its been a fun addition to our raising of tadpoles and geckos. My boys even found a few toads in our yard that they created a habitat for and observed for a few days before setting them free once more. They are still hoping to find some salamander or newt eggs to raise but for now, what fun we have had already!

Of course there are many other other topics to choose from. This really had been a wonderful tool in a homeschool that was losing its enthusiasm for learning. These are a wonderful way to learn, as a family, even individually for some of the olde children. With so many topics, and so many ways to learn, these are bound to please everyone (even us moms1)

 

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