Loving Logic of English Essentials ~ A Review

English is one of those things I just love! And I love to teach it; my boys however do not enjoy it as much as I have always imagined they would. So there are some struggles we face when it comes to this area. But thankfully there are wonderful materials out there to help us all along, as we journey through home education together. My boys love science and so, being able to share a “science” of reading can sure bring lots more joy to our learning!



Logic of English was designed (simply put) to make it all make sense…my younger son loves because he is big on why. Why is it spelled this way and said that way? This program is a no nonsense approach  to reading and spelling as well as being multi sensory (works great with my night and day boys). As you teach the 74 basic phonograms and the 30 spelling rules…it all begins to make SO much more sense!



The Logic of English program consists of three materials:*Foundations: Complete Language Arts Curriculum for ages 4-7*Essentials: Spelling, Reading and Grammar for ages 7+*Handwriting: Cursive and Manuscript Handwriting InstructionThis review is meant to cover the Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set which includes:*Essentials Teacher’s Manual*Essentials Student Workbook (consumable)*Spelling Journal (consumable)*Basic Phonogram Flash Cards*Spelling Rule Flash Cards*Grammar Rule Flash Cards*Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards*Game Book*Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards*2nd Set of Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards Boldface*Quick Reference Chart




They also do have The Essentials Reader , this is a digital reader and was not included in our materials, which I stumbled across online. I have been considering getting this myself to go along with this; I do believe that reading is rather essential and think this would be a great addition to this set of materials as, the reading and writing could be a bit more intensive, in my opinion, with this program. I have to say one of my favorite things about this program is the fact that it is multi-level. That means that I can use it for both my younger son (7) and my older one too (11).



Each lesson has sections for A, B and C to strengthen and work at the level of each child using the program. And this program covers so much! There are fun games to play, there is reading and writing, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and phonics! I was totally impressed with the materials when they arrived. Surprised too. So much to do! In a good way of course. 🙂 We began immediately; I was so appreciative of the sample schedule they have available too. While we didn’t stick to it completely, I always appreciate having a little guide, at least when I am getting started with something new. And being that I was using this with both of my boys, it really helped me keep track of where each one was in the program. I am a huge fan of schedules, while at the same time, being a huge fan of teaching from a state of rest. Relaxed home education. That said, this schedule helped to keep us on track while at the same time, allowing us to take our time as we went through the lessons. My younger son particularly loved the games in this program and since he has struggled a lot with reading (he is my “why” boy) and phonics, we definitely wanted to take our time and have fun. Most days we completed the mini-lessons (maybe 20 minutes in the program) using flashcards and games that are a part of this program. There would be some simple teaching in one of three areas: Spelling, Phonograms and Grammar. There is also plenty of review built into this program so on those days that we just don’t seem to complete the whole lesson or in the case of a struggling learner, it is good to be able to catch those areas early and then go back and work a bit more on them together. Most of the time my younger son really enjoyed doing these lessons; there were days though (who doesn’t have them) where he just couldn’t make it through. But that’s okay because this program makes it easy to teach the lessons slowly. There were days too that he would practice phonograms on the App, this was a nice way to encourage learning on those days he just wasn’t up for a lesson (my daughter who is 5, uses the app as well and loves it!).






With my oldest son we really enjoyed the more advanced level built into this program; grammar concepts and mechanics, latin & greek morphemes and of course reading, spelling and writing too. This new edition also includes morphemes (for level C learners) and this is a fun learning opportunity for my oldest (who loves languages) to learn about the words borrowed from other languages and then learn how to apply the roots in both spelling and vocabulary lessons. I was especially pleased with the placement tests, pre-lessons (to help fill in the blanks; get everyone up to speed), and a Spelling Journal to help keep track and master those commonly misspelled words. This was a great help to my oldest son (although lessons went a bit long for my short attention, kinetic learning boy) and really helped us to see where we needed to really focus. And I admit there were time were we had to go back, quite a bit, to cover material at a lower level. Thankfully this program makes it easy to do just that. Can I say this has also really inspired him in writing and cursive?

As a momma of four children, I do love that Essentials includes 3 levels of instruction in each volume!  Thus it can be used with multiple children at a number of stages, you can customize the program for each child, and use it again too to go deeper in understanding!  For me, this is a big advantage. It is flexible while at the same time clearly laid out for you, to make it easy to use!

The lessons are broken into five days of teaching:

Day 1: Essential Concepts: Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules.

Day 2: Building Words: Spelling Journal, Spelling Analysis (spelling lists for A, B or C)

Day 3: Words in Context:  Grammar and Dictation

Day 4: Words in Action: Vocabulary, Dictation, Composition, Reading

Day 5: Check Your Understanding: Review




There is always something new being learned, so its never a dull moment and at the same time each lesson is a building block, advancing our children in a slow and steady way towards mastery of the material. My younger son will attest to the fact that, with games like Phonogram Tic Tac Toe and Spelling Snap!, its really tons of fun to learn! This program is perfect anyone who is looking for a more classical approach to teaching English, and also I definitely encourage this for those kids, like my own, who need to know “why”. With a younger son who just struggles with the phonics approach, this has been quite a blessing to him. This is not simple, it is also not independent. But it is so well put together, you really don’t need to know much at all yourself to be able to teach. The lessons are all clearly laid out and very easy to understand. As a lover of English, I love being able to just sit down with the books and get to it. Plus, I learned quite a bit from this program myself.Lifelong learning 🙂    To learn more about Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set, visit the Logic of English website with several online teacher training videos so you can see what a lesson looks like.  For those who are overwhelmed by all of this, these videos will really help you to make sense of it all while also inspiring and invigorating you! You can also take a tour of the program, download sample materials and check out their levels and placement so your children start in just the right place.

Give Them Grace ~ Chapters 5-6 {Book Discussion}

Okay, I am a bit behind in this 3 month discussion of  Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here, and chapters two through four here. I’d love to hear your thoughts—here and on Facebook. Below is the schedule we’re following in the group.

We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!

In Chapter Five discipleship is broken down for us into five separate categories: Management, Nurturing, Correction, Training and Promises. I love charts myself; I need those visual reminders (I admit it) if I am going to stick with something! So the fact that they have charts in this book which direct us to the scriptures relating to a given incident s well as examples and references for each area of discipleship – Its so very helpful to me!  And there are questions too in case at times you struggle with which category of discipleship, exactly, you are dealing with in your circumstance.



Honestly, this is all so new to me, and yet so exciting for me! But I feel such a strong desire to follow this more and more in my home.  And the timing, some things really are of God, this I do believe is one of them. When I seek after, and ask Him to guide me, in a better way, for my children, He provides. All that I have read thus far, it reminds me of His love and training with each and every one of us.


One of my absolute favorite quotes thus far is:


Paul’s command to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” means this: that parents are to think about and remember Jesus Christ and then train their children to understand how everything in their life—their joys and sorrows, their trials and labors, their doubts, sin and shame—is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ, who descended from David rather than from Levi, died, and rose from the dead. That is the best news any child could hear. Distinctly Christian parenting must be accomplished in the environment of the good news about Jesus Christ or it is not Christian parenting. It may work for a while, it may make your life manageable, and God may use it, but it is not “of the Lord.” (Give Them Grace, page 93-94)


Our children need to know and understand the Gospel for themselves. We need to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of their journey, their experience, with the one true living God!


It reminds me of something I heard this morning that said: Worship involves all of our life… 

Worship is more than just a moment. Its more than this thing we do for a couple minutes before service or a few words uttered about how great and mighty God is. We worship Him in all that we do and say, every moment of our day.  We worship Him when, in difficult times, we seek Him and love Him.  We worship Him when someone wrongs us and we pray for them and love them anyway. We worship Him when we show our children the grace and mercy and love He pours out on us every day. Because we too are sinners. We too need to endure to the end to be saved.

This chapter is such a powerful reminder that love covers all sins. And that without love, we are nothing but noise….

Chapter Six is another very meaty and rich chapter. There were tough questions asked of us, such as: “Is this sin or weakness and immaturity?”  We need to realize how simple our teaching can really be.  It is broken down into four steps:

1) Teach your kids to respect authority

2) Teach them the gospel

3) Trust God to work in your children

4) Confess your own sins

These are very valuable, powerful methods. So simple I am a bit embarrassed I did not see these things before now. But I thank Jesus for this book which helps me to see these things today. Because today is a blessing ~ As is His wisdom and grace. ❤

“We are not telling you to ignore bad behavior; nor are we saying that sinful behavior should not be corrected. We are saying that we should teach our children that sinful behavior does not alter their relationship with us. If our parenting is modeled on the gospel, then their sin, hardness, and unbelief will grieve us, we will seek to discipline and correct it, we will pray for them about it, and we will continue to love and welcome them in spite of it. But we will not demand a show of repentance before we welcome them back into relationship.” (Give Them Grace, page 105)



Ouch! I don’t know about you but I admit I am guilty of focusing on rules more often than not. With a new baby and a to-do list a mile long…I tend to forget that there are more important things than having a perfectly tended yard or garden. I look past the sad or hurting child to what we have to do right now. *sigh*  This was such a revealing chapter for me. SO much truth that I needed to read. And as I read I was reminded again and again of how important God says it is for us to have that right relationship. With Him, with our husband, with our children. It matters so much more than we know. Our children need to know that no matter what, we still love them. They need to hear, in their times of trials, that they are loved. When we are struggling, we need them to see us, show love and repentance too.


I really appreciated this chapter’s constant emphasis on the need for gospel-motivated instruction and how it differs from so many other approaches out there that we use. We need to bring about heart change. It does not matter what we do, or how we do it, if ultimately we do not have a “first love”.  Our children need that relationship, just as desperately as we do, that they may know Him and love Him.  It starts with love.


New Family Discipleship Facebook Community



Leave a comment with your thoughts or feel free to join discussion at Family Discipleship Community!  It’s not too late 🙂

Let’s Get Loopy

I am the type who needs to get things done.


I absolutely love schedules, routines, and time management (agendas and calendars and such) but the problem is, I prioritize getting things done over relationship building. Since I feel such a powerful drive to get things done, it tends to take over our homeschool and,  as you can surely imagine, this is not good.

Enter in looping.  Ever hear of it before? Me either.


Until I came across Sarah of Amongst Lovely Things. She has a great post on it and she also mentions it in her fabulous book, Teaching from Rest. Then I got this email, inviting me to a QuickStart Guide to Looping.  I had to know more….



The basic idea of looping is that you have specific hours for homeschooling, and no matter how many subjects were done the day before, each day begins with the next subject in the loop. It’s so simple, it’s brilliant! This totally allows homeschoolers to really enjoy all those things (music, art, latin/greek, creative writing, geography, lap booking) without rushing through each thing, or not having time for certain studies. Maybe you don’t have that problem, but I sure do  😛



The general concept of looping in a nutshell is this: rather than assigning daily tasks through the week, you instead list tasks and then attend to them in order, regardless of what the day is.  If there is a task you would like to see done more frequently, just write it more often on your list. I plan on having math and handwriting repeated on mine as well as grammar. Ideally I hope to see two chunks  being done each day, perhaps writing and math on one day and geography and Latin on the other. (just as an example) On those days when there are appointments or classes outside the home or field trips, we simply do what we can and just pick up where we left off on the list the following day.


You can do this with any tasks that need to be done on a regular basis too 🙂



As I imagine our looping will work (I am still getting it together – this is my rough draft):


We Shall Loop:

Language Arts Loop


I would include spelling and vocabulary in this loop but really, these are such a big part of reading and writing….I consider them done along with those tasks.


I also plan to loop our daily time reading aloud. Of course we read in the Bible each day; we also do daily devotions in the morning time. I expect that we will also incorporate our language studies (German, Latin and Chinese) into this loop.  I highly encourage with our foreign language studies time reading, writing and speaking (sometimes listening even).  I think it gives that experience of immersion and can make such a difference in how one progresses when it comes to this.


I would also like to slowly incorporate things like: picture study, composer study, arts and crafts instruction, poetry , and piano/guitar for a bit more variety.  Since my son takes guitar lessons too I think this could help with his progress musically too.


So again, to loop your homeschool take anything you would typically schedule on a certain day of the week (from nature studies, to science, to grammar and geography) and put them into a loop instead. Less stress; we don’t forget about that math work; mapping the states gets done as do all those other little things.



Loop the  Housework:

I do not like to clean (who does right?)  Since thats the case and since I have read and heard looping can be done for anything that needs to be done regularly, I want to give this a try for myself.


For me, making my bed, tidying the kitchen (approximately 3,000 times), wiping down the guest bathroom, doing laundry, and preparing meals are all done daily. I mop the kitchen floor on Saturday evening (for some reason having a sticky floor puts a damper on my Sunday mood, so that one stays where it is.) Those do not go on my loop.

I plan to put these tasks on my loop:
Clean the bathroom
Dust & vacuum
Water plants
Tidy Kitchen
Clean a bathroom
Mop Floors


Honestly, most of the time my kids do the vacuuming and mopping.  I encourage my oldest to help clean the bathroom and they are required to tidy their room twice a week, at least.

Its so important to me to have a clean and orderly house, yet with four children, one being a brand new sweet, snuggly, nursing baby, I need to manage my time. In this season everything doesn’t have to be spic and span but it must at least be clean-enough to be tolerable for our current crazy season of life.I recently had the idea to start looping meal plans. I don’t know what that would look like, exactly, so if you want to help me brainstorm in the comments, we could have some fun there.



Give Them Grace ~ Chapters 2-4

As you know I have been reading Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you are reading along. If you care to join us this is the schedule we’re following in the group. Although as you can see I am a bit behind. No pressure though; join in as you can and where you can~

We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!
In Chapter Two, these ladies talk about How to Raise Good Kids.. this was so very revealing, and difficult, for me.  Fitzpatrick and Thompson discuss here the difference between goodness and righteousness. And what a huge difference there is.  But how many times are we tempted to tell our kids they are “good” or that they need to be “good”? How often do we shower them with praise? Yet if we are honest with them and ourselves, apart from Christ, there is no good thing to be found in any one of us. Romans 3:9-13 (KJV) says:

 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

And then in Mark 10:18 Jesus says:

” Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”


Jesus alone is good. Whatever we have, be it finances, home, family, peace, health or righteousness  – it comes from Christ alone. It is through Him alone that we have our salvation. If we praise our kids for being “good”, are we not then giving them a false sense of righteousness? —What can we do to encourage and inspire them to do well, without giving them the impression that it is them alone who can do “good”?

Every word we say to (our children) during the day will be shaped by our view of their ability to be good and how to get them there. Every responsible parent wants obedient children. But if we’re confused about their ability to be good, we’ll end up lying to them about their desperate lostness outside of Christ. We’ll tell them they are good and that they can obey God’s law. (Give Them Grace, page 47)

Certainly as I train up my children, I want them to see their need for a Savior.  I want them to know that we can not do any good thing without Him! The truth of the Gospel can be so powerful if we allow His Word to speak for itself. Let us not interpret it or water it down for our children. Let us trust that as He works in their lives they will gain an understanding and love of His Word.  The truth is what sets us free and it shall set them free as well if we trust in Him.

Raising Learners who are Self – Directed

As a mother, I have always known how great the value is, in training my children to work independently, to be self directed. I don’t think I ever qualified as the “helicopter” mom type – even when my first was born.  I want my children to know that when they need me, I am absolutely there for them, but I also encourage them to be resourceful, independent and sure of themselves. I want secure and confident kids, able to think for themselves 🙂


I admit that thus far (with my oldest son) its become such a struggle that it is just easier to expect very little from him.  Set the bar low because after all, the character and initiative he has displayed so far hasn’t been very promising.  But then I am reminded that he cannot believe in himself if he sees that we do not believe in him.  No matter how hard it may be, however impossible to seems, if we believe they can’t (or won’t) learn what needs to be learned, independently, they will never succeed.  We have given up before we even began.


We have little ones too and they need to be a part of all of this as well; we try to encourage helpfulness and a personal investment in their family, early on. In this way we can help them to develops a sense of responsibility.  One great example can be found from Amy at Raising Arrows to help with Teaching Kitchen Skills all listed by age. As for those little ones, this is a free printable for Reading Directions with Independence. And back to Amy of Raising Arrows, you can see here how she Raises Independent Learners using a neat system with index cards.


Impossible as it seems, we are making a plan. Together. I have goals for him, I want him to have goals for himself. I often have to find the answers to things, teach myself new skills.  I want him to see how great it is to be able to locate those answers and learn new things on his own.  I am also encouraging him to give me input and ideas for any additional subjects he could explore during his school day.  Got a question? Let me surround my children with the tools they need to find the answers.


My oldest son has so many interests. He gets bored easily – he learns a little something about one topic and instantly moves on to the next thing. I always saw this as him needing to  focus more; to dig in deeper. But then I was reminded by someone the other day, he is only 9 – He needs to be free to get into as many different topics as he feels led to explore.  Some will stick and others will come and go. We cannot find our passion, we cannot develop interests and hobbies and skills if we do not have the chance to try, even if its just once, whatever we are curious about at the time (within reason of course!).


This year he wants to explore more art and photography, get back to his guitar and keyboard.  He is curious about geocaching and letter boxing too.  I am not so familiar with all of the hows and whys of this so we have some exploring to do before we go forward with this one. I am encouraging him to do his own research on this. We discussed at length the need to know materials are needed as well as if there are groups we could join or fees we have to pay to take part in these activities locally.  I am hopeful that he will report back to me with all the details.

I want to encourage him to take the initiative, to lead even if its only himself, when it comes to his daily activities.  We were learning greek/latin roots and words the other day that have to do with water.  He is planning to build an aqueduct on Minecraft now for his aquanaut.  He could draw a dolphin; I encourage him to sketch his designs before he creates them on the computer or with his legos.  Once he builds them, with popsicle sticks, cardboard, cereal boxes – he can practice some photography by taking a picture for his album. A portfolio for us to see his progression.

 I also plan to sit down with him and make an assignment list. This can help him to see what he is responsible for each day, or week (some subjects we do not do daily like music and art and foreign language).  It also helps him see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There is an end in sight – He needs to see that. Otherwise, especially when some days are harder than others, he gets rather emotional and will lament that “he will never be done”.  With this he can see, no matter how hard or terrible it seems, it will end. And he can see where that end is.

Certainly I will still oversee his daily work and be there to help guide and mentor him along the way.  But ultimately, my goal is to not have a “job” anymore;  especially with my oldest son I know that we will need to regularly revisit those goals that we make, together and independently, to ensure that he is working towards them.  As the years progress, they will become more responsible for the various aspects of their day.  They will take ownership of their work.  They will become more sure of their interests; their studies will be more directed. And I do believe, as we journey along in this way, there will be a spark lit within them, igniting a love of learning for life.

This is part of the beauty of homeschooling. ❤

Do share how you encourage independent learning in your homeschool 🙂 



Why I Need a Co-Op

This may seem like an odd thing to any who really know me. 🙂 Being that I often speak to my love of being at home, and my rather introverted nature, why on earth would I decide I need a co-op?


The general definition of a cooperative homeschool group – aka co-op – is to “cooperate” with one or more families thus sharing any part of the educational process.   A co-op can be a simple group of two families meeting regularly to share their home journey on any particular topic or as structured as a school district public program or charter group (think Classical Conversations).  Co-ops can have an academic focus or a social, spiritual one – even a combination of all of these!

Since we started homeschooling almost 5 years ago we have been in and out of various groups ourselves. I admit, I tend to dread these encounters. So many moms and children – I love the variety of ages and activities. All the sweet families we have met but we have never truly felt at home, a part of any of these groups. i do not fault any of them for it. I do believe that finding a group that is “family” in the homeschool community is a hard thing.  It does not just happen and I think often we can be a part of many different groups and still not find that.


So when I was approached by a couple lovely ladies from our church about starting a group I was quite ecstatic. Especially since I have been praying for someone  to do this very thing since we came to our church almost 4 years ago. Yet now here I am being approached to do just that. And since this request was first made, even more ladies have come to me seeking a group for their children too. How exciting! And nerve-wracking (for me) 🙂



I decided to do it. This year, I decided to start my own informal co-op this fall. So far there will be lots of little ones so we definitely need to make plans for preschool fun! Of course there will also be a variety of older youth involved too.  Just a handful of us for now but I do believe the Lord will send them if we are faithful and true to Him in what we do.


So what does this have to do with why I need a co-op?




I have to admit, I cannot do this alone. It gets tiring. Especially as my children get older.  It is too easy to burnout when we are isolated from others in this thing. It doesn’t have to be often, maybe once a week (we can determine that based on everyone’s interest) but that time just needs to be there, If we are tired, struggling, or even excited about something – it’s a blessing to others and to us to be able to share!






And how about that dreaded “socialization”?  We are always being asked about it right? How do our kids socialize when we homeschool them? I cannot keep telling people (sarcastically) that they don’t … I know, without any doubt, that we are all equipped by God to teach our children. Yet I admit, I fail at math, I do not speak Spanish and I certainly cannot dissect a frog…. That said it’s a great benefit when we can come together to share our specific talents with one another.  It’s great for our children to see too, how we all come together and share our talents.  Add to that, the opportunity for them to share their skills with one another, and practice other things.  My oldest son loves to give short presentations and story tell yet is fearful of being in front of a group, playing games is great for social skills and often so much more, doing crafts or projects is more fun in a group, playing soccer or football, or just being present and helping cook or clean or play with the littler ones (my oldest reads to his little sisters), this is a beautiful way to encourage them, and be sure that they are gaining positive social skills and experiences.


Then there are all the great discounts and classes we can partake in, when we have a group 🙂 Events at the zoo, local art classes, cooking classes, even craft materials and books.  We can work together, pool our resources and have a great time doing so. Less pressure on everyone when we are not all responsible for every detail. How fun is it too to be able to bake cookies or thrown parties for the holidays together – There are so many holidays, so many ways that we can learn in a fun and engaging way. And it’s always better when its done together.



Accountability….Who doesn’t love the flexibility of homeschooling? I do for sure! But I also admit that meeting regularly with other homeschooling families can help me to stay focused and on course. To have others that I know are learning with us, are exploring with us, this gives us something to look forward to.  It keeps us on task.  No excuses anymore because it’s not just about us and we can’t just do it later.


As for us moms we always have lots of crazy and fun  ideas to share; we have a variety of interests and connections and sharing all of this can certainly be a huge help to each other in this journey that we call homeschool!


Ecc. 4:9-12:  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up…..And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What IS the Hope?

It saddens me when I post something, meant to inform, and a firestorm of anger breaks out. People begin fighting; words are thrown around sarcastically and the meaning and purpose of the posting itself is lost.  My post this morning was about living for God; being aware of what His word says so that we are not deceived. And yet one line within that video caused a friend, to become angry and tell me I am speaking “the devils words” to her….. We need to be humble, we need to be teachable. Always. If I am in the church for 2 months or 20 years, I pray I will always remember His calling ad keep that hope in me. How important it is TODAY or us to be aware of His Word, and to live it and speak it BOLDLY.


I hope this timely reminder inspires you, and sets a fire within your soul, to live in a greater way today, than you did yesterday ❤


Oswald Chambers writes:
“…that you may know what is the hope of His calling… —Ephesians 1:18
Remember that you have been saved so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body (see 2 Corinthians 4:10). Direct the total energy of your powers so that you may achieve everything your election as a child of God provides; rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way.

You did not do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it. You must “workout your own salvation” which God has worked in you already (Philippians 2:12). Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it “out”? If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.

God is the Master Designer, and He allows adversities into your life to see if you can jump over them properly— “By my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29). God will never shield you from the requirements of being His son or daughter. First Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you….” Rise to the occasion— do what the trial demands of you. It does not matter how much it hurts as long as it gives God the opportunity to manifest the life of Jesus in your body.

May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality— a readiness to face anything He brings our way. The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God; and when this occurs, all of our dictating of our demands to God disappears. Our Lord never dictated demands to His Father, and neither are we to make demands on God. We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. Once we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine with which to feed and nourish others.”


Real Life Press ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review ~

I love Bible Studies, especially ones that we can do as a family together.  As my children get older, it is so important to me, for them to also spend time studying the Word of God. After all, we are commanded to “train up a child in the way he should go” and certainly this is of great importance.  For what shall it profit a man if he loses his soul?  We must make sure these arrows of ours are sharp.

When I learned about these amazing materials designed by John and Heidi St John, co-founders of the Real Life Press I was so excited.  There is no doubt that they recognize the need and the value of Bible Studies that are able to be used for all members of the family, from youngest to oldest. And together they developed the Firmly Planted Bible Study Series; this is a series of 10 week courses using a variety of activities that allow all family members to be involved in the study of the Word of God.  I myself received for review the digital version of the third volume of this series, The Gospels Part 1- Stories from the Life of Jesus, which included a Student Workbook.  It warms my heart how they say in the very beginning of this book:


“As parents, this is our heart’s desire: that our families would be “Firmly Planted” in the fertile soil of God’s Word, and that as families, we would become students of the Bible. We are told in Timothy that the Bible should be our primary reference tool for life—that “All Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16- 17 NIV).”


My boys who are 9 and 5, actually noticed and thought it was so cool that “Firmly Planted” is a reference to Psalm 1 which was one of many chapters and verses they learned last year in their Bible Quizzing program. It warms my heart to know and hear them repeat:


“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. “

Part 1 of The Gospels is broken down into 10 weekly lessons that cover various aspects in the early life of Jesus life, before the Crucifixion.  Each week uses scriptures from various portions of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to help paint a picture of Jesus’s birth, life, his teachings and his compassion.   The study guide starts each week with a brief reading from one of the scriptures that sets the mood for the rest of the week. This is a study of the prophecy, the birth, and the early ministry of Jesus. This was quite exciting for my older son and even my littler ones, to go through with me.


We received the Family Study Guide and the Student Workbook as PDF downloads and have both them both on our iPad so we can access the files easily whether we are at home or on the go.  With a new baby in the house, we are home more often than not but still have appointments to keep and I like for our kids to have something good to keep them busy while we are about.  I know I cannot get enough of the Word as of late and so being able to have something like this, on the go, its so much easier than the ton of books I usually lug around. haha


I really love how The Family Study Guide is put together.  Each week’s lesson is spread out between four days. There is a Bible passage each week for study, the Seed (which focuses on concept/application, Planting the Seed (memorization- my oldest’s favorite part of any study), and Watering the Seedling (which is a short story). For each day, there is also Devotional or Daily Study, Digging Deeper (for older students/adults), and Taste the Fruit (application). These are simple yet fun and full of activities that are fun for all ages !  There are so many fun ways that all they are learning is being reinforced as we go along.  Ranging from word searches, crosswords, mazes and “mystery word” puzzles, these are all favorites of ours and my oldest son loves the challenges that these offer.  I love that they make you think about what you are learning further encouraging those key concepts for each lesson!


Have I already said how much I LOVE this study? Really, these are great and we will use these again in the future I am sure. The multi-age approach is a perfect fit for our family since our children range in age from a newborn to a three and five and nine year old.  I love how each child has their own activities that they can enjoy while also working and learning together too.  And from handwriting to mapping to coloring and lots of fun puzzles this really engaged us all in some great discussions too. No doubt as our little ones get older, as we grow in our understanding of the scriptures – there are so many other levels that this can be enjoyed on. And I definitely am looking forward to reviewing every one!


All of the Firmly Planted Bible Study series (both the Study Guides and Workbooks) can be purchased at the Real Life Press website. These are all available as a PDF and many of the series are also available in a physical book format (always my preference personally). ❤





Real Life Press Review

Heidi St John (The Busy Mom) can be found on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway — win an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes GC and #HeartParenting Books!

A few months ago, NCBP released an amazing  parenting book, Motivate Y our Child and they are now publishing a guide to use along with the book called Motivate Your Child Action Plan. This book can stand alone, but is an excellent companion to Motivate Your Child.  Trust me. When it comes to motivating my child (mostly my oldest son) I have a plethora of tools I have tried; none that have been as full of hope, and the Word, as this.  I count my blessings since having learned of the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) andam a huge fan of their parenting book, The Christian Parenting Handbook, as well.   There are so many gems that you can enjoy, from NCBP such as: their very encouraging and inspiring podcast episodes, blog, and books such as:

Each one of these books and every podcast I have heard, has been full of precious biblical advice and instruction to aid us in this task before us of training up our children for Him ❤


Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway


To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child Action Plan, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of nearly $350!

Here’s what you could win:

Apple iPod touch 16GB Black/Silver  ($195 value)

  • In the Box – iPod Touch, Apple EarPods, Lightning to USB cable, QuickStart guide
  • Brilliant 4 Retina display with Multi-Touch IPS technology
  • Front-Facing FaceTime camera with 1.2MP photos & 720p HD video recording.
  • iOS 6 features – Siri, Apple Designed Maps, Integrated Facebook, Shared Photo Streams, Passbook & more

iTunes Gift Card ($50 value)

Because you’ll need apps and music for that iPod Touch!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($56.95 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.

The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

Family Time Activities Book Bundle ($45 value)

Your kids will have fun learning about God’s Word and how it applies to their lives. Science experiments, art activities, and games are all designed to reinforce spiritual truth. Each lesson is clear and simple, yet profound even for parents! You’ll teach kids how exciting it is to learn about God and his ways. Your kids will love these books, but more importantly you’ll build spiritual memories of Family Time in your home. Titles in this giveaway include:

Seeing Is Believing 

Playing for Keeps 

Running the Race

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY to those 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join us for the Action Plan Facebook Party on Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00PM ET. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the authors of Action Plan will be present to answer your questions! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party!

RSVP here for the Party!

Action Plan Facebook Party

So Why?

Children are a blessing from the Lord.

Lo, children are an heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalm 127:3

Should we not always seek God’s blessings in our life? How much more should we desire children, God’s most precious of gifts?


Lately I struggle to bend over as I get closer to my due date; I am excited and tired. Eager to meet this precious baby that is growing inside of me, restless and frustrated with the ongoing feelings of sickness and weakness.  Being tired, needing to lay down and rest. It seems, all the time. I am weary of picking up clothes, toys, and other random things from underneath tables and chairs.  My senses are super sensitive; the kids screams and shouts (in joy) they are now painful and I do believe they could even shatter glass… whining and fighting….its almost impossible for me to bear.


I have to remind myself of this almost daily right now. As I push down the desire to groan and complain about my discomfort; the inconvenience of this pregnancy….I remember those I have met, friends known from long ago ,who struggled to have children and for some, that prayer, may never be answered. I am being blessed, abundantly, with another sweet babe – I need to remember how great a gift this truly is.


There will always be trials. We will always have struggles. As I tell my oldest son often, nothing that is truly worth having, comes easily. There is work to be done, there are sacrifices that we need to make ~ Sometimes we just need to lay down. ❤


It isn’t easy, I know. It’s not the popular thing to do. It’s a lack of peace, often times minimal sleep, short and quick sometimes lukewarm showers…. a hot meal, what’s that? There are times that we are simply bombarded with demands, needs, complaints, tears….Seemingly never-ending.


And this is when we have to remember how Christ came, for us, how He died for us ~ He laid down His life for ours.  It’s a powerful reminder of what it means to be a momma.


We certainly had our fair share of tantrums; we struggled and grumbled; how I fought to have my way (and now and then I admit I still have those moments), yet we have been shown such grace.  We were ugly, unkind, unloving, so undeserving and yet still, He laid down for us. He continued to love and sacrifice for us.


Paul says, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil. 3:17).


I desperately need Christ in my life.  Every moment, every day.  Paul says in Romans 7:15 saying: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”


And then he says when writing to the church at Philippi, he knew himself to be the “chief of sinners”. He remembers with shame how he persecuted the Lord’s church and thus, the Lord Himself (Phil. 3:6; Acts 9:4).


I strive to remain as humble as he; to praise God even in my storms. To thank Him for the trials He brings my way, that can only make my walk that much greater going Him that much more glory.  He laid down His life and I was so undeserving. He gave up everything for me.  For you too.


When we are born again, Christ, He lives in us. He gives us power to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Our children, they need to see the love of Christ through our life.  They need to see that love and grace that He showed us because even when they are “undeserving” we once (maybe today we are) were too.