Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dover Deals

Courtesy of a very fine lady named Carrie, I am sharing this with y'all. (That's my meek attempt at speakin' Southern.)




I love Dover Publications color books. They are some of the best for detail and information on subject be it the Civil War or Dragons! Well, they have a new email list of free coloring pages for those of you who have little ones who love to color! They even have some ready for you to print out this very minute. It is also a great way to see their coloring books up close. They are made of thick paper so the ink does not generally run through (unless you have a vigorous coloring person in your house--then I suggest coloring pencils or crayons!) Anyway, I have already started printing and I bet you will too!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another Misinformed Pastor

HT: Spunky

Dr. Jim West, Baptist minister who helped compose a letter in support of the public schools wrote this sad blog post.


This was my response to him, which he chose not to allow in his comment box:

Your post here presupposes a lot of falsehoods about a lot of homeschoolers.


You wrote: "It fears; it lives in fearfulness, and it has forgotten that "perfect love casts out fear". The theology of homeschooling calls for a withdrawal from society because, at its heart, it does not believe. Not really. Not that God can change people and thereby change society through the Gospel. And finally it supposes that society, social structures, and God ordained offices are evil."


You are making a gross assumption as to why parents choose to homeschool and list these reasons: fear, disbelief in God’s ability and sovereign power, and that all homeschooling parents believe that social structures are evil.


I would ask you why you think this way? Do you know many homeschooling families? What is this presumption based upon? I would offer that you are writing out of ignorance of what is true and beautiful of many homeschool families—that they are homeschooling out of faith in the power of God, and no fear of man. I would offer that the very reasons we homeschool have to do with the nourishment of that faith in young minds and the belief that God has absolutely directed our family to this place.


I do not fear the local schools nor do I fear the local teachers nor do I even fear the state. God is sovereign and in power over all of these offices. I do not believe that we as Christian parents should allow our children to be taught what is absolutely contrary to God’s infallible word: that there is no God, or that man is the measure of all things. God has given parents the responsibilities to train them up in the way they should go and to rise up and walk by the way (see Deut. 6:1-7, but especially 6 and 7: "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.")


How is this to be done when they are being taught by those with no true wisdom or knowledge? Who has the words of life and who is commanded by God to teach our children? Is it the godless public schools? No. Are you advocating that the parents you minister to send their children to schools that teach material that is based upon an ungodly worldview? Would true Israelites send their covenant children to be taught the laws of the Philistines?


You offer that all homeschooling parents are somehow fleeing the world and living in fear of the government, not trusting a mighty God to work in His mighty way in our lives and in the lives of our children. I say we are preparing the world’s next leaders.

All I can say is that I am so thankful I have the leadership in my church that I do. Homeschooling may not be the answer for everyone, because there are some very good solid private Christian schools, but in my opinion, this response to homeschooling is naive at best and utterly foolish at worst. Yes, I realize this may be an unpopular stance, but I have to be honest and say that this idealogy is dangerous to the body of Christ. I am not hiding under a rock here as we homeschool, and I am not living in fear. We just believe we are called to be here with our children, raising them and training them in the truth for God's glory. Will the public schools do that?

Friday, April 28, 2006

I am so thankful!

For so many things, but here is just a short list:


1. God's constant provision--especially when we need it the most. He is so faithful!

2. My absolutely wonderful soulmate--I am so very blessed by my best friend and husband, Mark!

3. The willingness of my oldest to hear me and take in what I say when I share it with her. May God continue to warm her heart to Him!

4. My dear and true friendships--those that go through the fires or the valleys with you.

5. Laughter.

6. My precious other children too--God is good to give such gifts!


What are you thankful for?

Great Recipe

This recipe was introduced to me and we love it. I thought you might enjoy it too.



3# pork roast
1# beans (roughly 3 C)
7 C water
½ C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
T salt
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 t oregano
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies


Simmer for five hours on stovetop. Can crock pot on high, but make sure your beans are softened first (soak overnight or do quick soak before you add them). This is because the beans do not always soften in crock pot on time.


Enjoy with tortillas or corn chips. Really good with cheese on top and salsa! We also enjoy this as a taco filling.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Are spirits made of air?

God is a spirit and has no body as we do. God bless the minds of the young for they are strong and full of wondering! My seven year old blessing asked me this today. What would your answer have been? Inquiring minds want to know!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Do you do posters in your home? We have an alcove in the kitchen where we have our "Learning Centers" --otherwise affectionately known as need-to-be-painted-areas.  We will be, God-willing, painting some time this year, but until then we use posters to fit the bill. We have learned a lot from those posters--more than I thought we ever really would. We currently have the Renaissance and Reformation poster still up when we have already gone through the Revolutionary War. Hmmm.... I think I am off on my dates! If you use posters in your home for learning, where do you buy them from and what kinds do you like? I look forward to some great finds!





Saturday, April 22, 2006

Beautiful Scented Candles Revisited

If you missed my old post about these lovely scented candles then I wanted to share it with you again because she has created a brand new website with better pictures and a new variety to choose from. Our family has enjoyed these candles very much and I think you will too.




Aren't they pretty?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Classical Education and Girls

I am excerpting this entire short article found on the website of one of my favorite people, Christine Miller. I really really really like this!

Understanding the Purpose

The question is often raised, “Since my daughters will grow up to be wives and mothers, rather than career women, is a rigorous classical education superfluous for them, or should they be educated, in regard to academic learning, differently than our sons?” In order to answer this question, it would be helpful to understand the purpose of a classical education. Is it solely to increase vocational prospects and success? Wes Callihan of Schola Classical Tutorials and co-author of Classical Education and the Home School, says this:


“The goal of a classical liberal arts education is to free a person (thus “liberal” = liberating) from the narrowness, rigidity, and prejudice which is the natural characteristic of our minds. The goal of a Christian classical education is to do so for the glory of God. While it is true that apart from salvation an educated person may be nothing more than an educated fool, it is also true that an ignorant Christian, no matter how godly, is limited by that ignorance; an educated Christian is a more effective servant of God because his natural abilities and talents have been developed rather than allowed to atrophy. The tradition of education in western civilization has been propelled for nearly two millenia by Christianity, during which time it has always assumed diligent training in godliness by a child’s parents as an underpinning to education.


“That assumed, the liberation of a child’s mind is accomplished by teaching him the following, which can be grouped according to the classical Trivium -- grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the first five points) -- and Theology, the King of the Sciences (the last two points):


• to listen and read carefully;
• to think clearly and express himself persuasively;
• to comprehend his position in space, time, and culture and his relation to other places, times, and people;
• to appreciate and learn from the difference between his own and those other places, times, and people;
• to enjoy a wider range of beauty as a result of that wider exposure;
• to devote himself to continued learning on his own, using the tools of learning acquired in the previous five points;
• to evaluate, and ascribe the proper significance to, all of the above in the light of a transcendent, absolute standard;
• to construct and defend a coherent, biblical worldview as a result of his education.

“It is NOT to get a job.”

Preparing Younger Children for a Great Books Education by Wes Callihan
Schola Classical Tutorials

History helps, please!

OK, folks, I am asking all of you for your favorite post-Revolutionary War through the Civil War history read-alouds. Historical fiction or narrative biography is what I am really looking for. I have some great book lists, but there are so many to choose from that I would love some personal recommendations of "must-reads" that you would not do without for this time period. My oldest is eleven and I usually read to the oldest level of understanding.


What did your children enjoy the most? What did you find the most interesting? We recently finished The List and enjoyed it immensely! I need to find some other really engaging books to supplement our ever-fascinating Nothing New Press titles. We will be embarking on our journey with The Story of the Great Republic next week and would really enjoy some good stories to go along with it!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Numbers 4 and 3!

Sorry it took me so long to get back on the blog wagon. We have had quite a few things going on! I will have to catch you all up in another post. Back to the "Ten things we wish we believed about homeschooling when we first started."

4. Reading widely covers a multitude of educational "gaps."


Don't read only one type of book. Fantasy, classic literature, fairy tales, myths, tall tales, historical fiction, science, history, biography, animal/nature stories, real-life people stories (Laura Ingalls, etc.) all have really great value. Your children will learn while they read living books in a way they will not learn by reading only textbooks, etc. Living books make learning come alive. Read all types of books with and to your children.  Discuss them and ask your children questions about what they have learned, and how this book compares to another on the same subject. Engage them and they will learn by sharing with you.


Some books suggest you read and tie it to your history cycle, but this is not always possible to do with great success. There are only so many books on Ancient Egypt a young child can handle! (Unless they are completely fascinated by Egypt of course!) Reading widely and frequently, will enlarge their knowledge base and will help them develop other interests.


It is the funny things that will give them interest; the same first name with a historical person did it for one of my children. She told me that she was going to write a report on Abigail Adams and she read quite a bit about her! Another child expressed interest in knights so we borrowed from the library a book full of historical information and pictures of armor as well as famous medieval artwork. Another child loves animals and is reading a series with owls in it. She checked out, of her own accord, nonfiction works about real owls. By reading widely they are learning and growing on their own. I do like the suggestion of one homeschool author of choosing a biography, a science book, and a reading book from the library each time you go. We are not exactly like that, but we do read plenty of all of these and the children can discuss all sorts of interesting facts that they picked up just from reading.


3. "Academics" are only a small portion of your child's whole life education.


I cannot tell you how sad it makes me when I read that mothers are "not finding the time for play" in their busy school day--and this for young learners! I honestly find it appalling that play is not viewed by parents as just as important for a developing child as academic learning. Will these children look back at their early homeschooled lives with happiness and joy at all the math and grammar they were forced to do for hours and hours? I have read of mothers schooling their children from 9 until 4--and we are talking 1-3 grades! I am not saying that academics are not important for I believe they are. However, how much are you trying to do with your young children?


Balance work, service to others, and play with your academics. Let there be balance in all of life and do not view the "down time" as a negative. We all need to rejuvenate and we all need to recharge. Our children need that time too. Remember that play time *is* education and that your children are learning all the time.


Consider some of the ideas that have come from Charlotte Mason:


"Time outdoors, with little to no intervention from an adult, provided what Mason felt were educational necessities:  use of the child's senses, play, learning from "things," and the opportunity for keen observation of nature."


"To sum up this first key idea, the importance of the child's early "atmosphere of environment," Mason wrote:"


"..my object is to show that the chief function of the child- his business in the world during the first six or seven years of life- is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in his way; and that...the endeavor of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects; that, in fact, the intellectual education of the young child should lie in the free exercise of perceptive power..and the wisdom of the educator is to follow the lead of Nature in the evolution of the complete human being" (Mason 1886:  96-97)." (Taken from this page.)


It is my opinion that we not neglect the physical and spiritual in pursuit of the mental.

The rest of the series is found in the right sidebar.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Weekend Warrior Conference Goer

I am exceedingly happy and thankful to God for my husband's new job. He starts in a week. It is his kind of job--computer techy and challenging. I am proud of him for his ability to do almost anything and I am so very grateful to God for allowing him this position.


I am heading off to a local conference this weekend to hear Andrew Kern. I have heard nothing but great things about his uplifting talks and I hope that is the case. I have been really overwhelmed as of late and feeling quite under my abilities. I look forward to being inspired, and hopefully I will feel well through the whole event! I had plans to pal with a dear friend, and now I think I will expose her! I have been struggling with a sore throat and coldish-like symptoms all week. My children have all been under the weather (and it was rain and not sun!) I do look so forward to meeting Patty, another online friend. Were it not for the internet I wouldn't know half so many amazing people!


So, anyway, I do hope to have some inspiration for next week!




Sunday, April 02, 2006

Books for Book Lovers

A friend asked me to respond on her blog to a question she posed about finding good biographies. I spent quite a bit of time writing it so I figured I would repost it here with a few additions and changes that I thought of later! I hope you enjoy it!

What I have done is use several "book books." I have All Through the Ages for history, but I also use Veritas Press' catalog that has free reading as well as history titles listed by grade level. Then I use books like Books Children Love (my favorite) and Best Books (BJUP) that also list by grade and subject. I think that Books Children Love is probably available at the library, or you can make a trip to Borders or your local book store and flip through it.

The Book Tree by Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott was also recommended to me and is available at
Veritas Press too. I think it also depends on their reading ability. My oldest girls, 5th and 3rd grades, read anything from Nancy Drew for silly fun (older series-no junk in them) to Redwall, Narnia, LOTR, Warriors into the Wild books. (These may not appeal to all people, but our family likes and enjoys fantasy and mystery.) We do a lot of history read-alouds, many from Veritas Press, some from Bethlehem Books, that are historical fiction and my girls will read those on their own too. (Drums of War series, The List, I am Regina, Alone Yet Not Alone, Augustine Came to Kent, The Hidden Treasure of Glaston, I am David). My oldest is going to start Ivanhoe soon.

We also get biographies of people of their choosing from the history time period we are in (Revolutionary War at the moment and there are a lot of those people!) and they are both interested in various science books--although not too heavily! I also really like the biographical Beautiful Girlhood books from Vision Forum. They are an easier reading level and are colorful and inspiring.

Anyway, I highly recommend the "books on books" as they have helped me find books I would never have known about. (Wreck of the Zanzibar, Toliver's Secret, Princess and the Goblin, Princess and Curdie, Because of Winn Dixie-before it was a movie, The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day-William Tyndale historical fiction.) Then there are those companies, like Timberdoodle, that I learn from too. They sell these: Ten Girls Who Changed the World, Ten Girls Who Made a Difference, Ten Girls Who Made History and they were great. Those are most certainly biographical in orientation and my girls enjoyed them very much.

I have to say that I prefer to get my biography in the form of historical fiction and some writers are really good at doing that. The List is what we are currently reading (Veritas Press) and it has all sorts of real people mixed into a very thoroughly researched and well-written historical fiction book. They go into detail about living, medical procedures, food, clothing, behavior expectations, etc. It is fascinating. Alone Yet Not Alone is another all-time favorite. One of the very best is William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, also available at Vision Forum.

Hope that helps!


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Coram Deo

I will return to the homeschooling series soon. I have been truly swamped with life, work, and schooling; and not doing any of them well this week. You know the saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none." Well that would be me this week. I found in the drawer of my messy desk the song lyrics below. It is by one of my favorite artists that does mostly children's music; but children's music with depth. Her name is Judy Rogers and one of her songs that meets my heart where it is currently at, is below.


Coram Deo (Before the Face of God)


Coram Deo, wherever we go, we live before the face of God

Waking, sleeping, living, breathing, we live before the face of God

If I should take the wings of the morning, Or dwell beneth the darkest sea

Coram Deo, His hand will guide me, He will abide with me!

Coram Deo, Sola Christo, by Jesus' righteousness alone

And the gift of faith... Sola Fide, I am in Christ by faith alone

His grace alone has wrought salvation, and not the works that I have done

Sola Gratia...Soli Deo Gloria...Glory to God alone!

I will rejoice in your commandments--And by your Spirit will obey

Your Holy Word alone--Sola Scriptura, will lead me all my days!