Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stopping time to say...

This is a post specifically for two of the most amazing and wonderful people who have made their marriage work for twenty years. I feel that they should be commended for all the hard work, love, perseverance, grace, and amazing closeness a committed marriage brings. So with much love, a hearty dose of honor, thanksgiving to the One who kept you together and forged your unbreakable bond, I wish you a wonderful and happy

20 Year Anniversary


John and Diane



May you be blessed with many many more!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"This is you when you were green."

Don't you love smallish people and their funny phrases? I do. That little gem was said to my husband from our smallest daughter (on the right) as she pointed to a circle face colored solid green on paper. I mean those funny things are just priceless. She also calls "ice cream" "ahhhss cream" like she is opening her mouth for the dentist, "Say, ahhh." It is so precious to us. I know it will disappear, as it has for the older ones, but I am really enjoying it while we have it.


For the longest time she called her sister, Elizabeth, "Wibbis." It has become Wib's official nickname. Three is a brilliant age. It is like a reward for the other harder years. Age one to age two were always very hard for me. Not because they were naughty, but because they were so ignorant of danger and capable of hurting themselves. It is my "trying year." Then from two to three, while not being "terrible two," they are still working out how things go and feeling out their place in the family. But three means awareness of themselves, sharper personality, funny phrases, sweet snuggles from small people who think you are the best in the world--expecially when you bring them ahhhss cream. :+) It really is a wonderful time and I will miss it when it is gone.


The weather here has been unusually warm. That would be called a giant understatement. It has been 105-110 and that, ladies and gentlemen, is HOT for central California. I am SO THANKFUL for my air conditioning! We went to our Writer's Club yesterday and shared stories. I will have to post them here when the finishing touches have been added. I am SO proud of my girls! After stories the children went swimming. The other two moms did not, and I will tell you that it was a serious sacrifice to sit under the umbrella instead of swim! Yes, I know I *could* have, but we did have really great conversation which I would have missed, you know. :+) And this is coming from someone who absolutely HATES to put on a swimsuit! So, that tells you just how very warm it has been here.


Well, I had better get back to real life. We are in the process of moving things around in the office so the floor is in a state of upheaval. Chat with you later!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Welcome to the world!

One of my dearest friends gave birth early this morning to a healthy baby girl! Please welcome into this great and marvelous world,


  Hannah Grace Freeman!  


Born on her due date, June 24, 2006,

at 8 pounds and 14 ounces!


Praise God that both Mama Grace and Hannah are doing well.

(And Daddy too!)


God is so good to us!


Friday, June 23, 2006

Pride versus Prejudice

I was asked in the comment box down below the following question:


Now...tell me true...which Pride and Prejudice movie do you like better - the A & E version with Colin Firth or the new one with Kiera [sp?] Knightly?


Here is my lengthy answer! You can tell I have discussed this with other Austen fans and this is my answer.


You know it is funny that you ask me which one I like the best because it is very hard for me to decide. I like the new one because:


It is not "cleaned up" in the way the other one was. It is very real and earthy—it is what I imagine it would have been like to live then, on a farm, with animals, mud, laundry hanging out, etc. The film itself, the cinematic elements were so beautiful--Pemberly, the countryside, the dancing, the intimate family life. It was spectacular in the filming.


I loved this Mr. Darcy for different reasons: he was very handsome, but in a subdued way—a commanding way—and you saw the gradual growing intensity of his feelings for her. I loved when he helped her into the carriage and he flexed his hand because he was so full of the tension of the moment. People didn't touch one another like they do today and they showed that aspect so well.


I really enjoyed the Charlotte in this version—she was very real—and you really felt for her situation and even could go so far as to understanding why she did it. I thought the relationship between she and Elizabeth to be well done and the drama of her leaving abruptly and marrying was felt much more in this one.


I liked the mother more in this one because I saw LESS of her and she was not such a total idiot. You felt for her in some small way when Lydia left and she was sad at the leaving of her children. I liked the father, but not because he was so like the book. I liked the different character that he was and also liked that he was not *so* disgusted with his wife.


Kiera's portrayal of Lizzy was much more 21st century, but I liked the fire that she had in some ways. She was very young in the book and you see that in this one—sort of her almost careless abandon of what was acceptable of the time. That is often present in youth and she does that well in this one. She was like that in the book too, not *so* much as the portrayal in the movie (that is the 21st century!) but she was much less concerned with society’s view than others.


I enjoyed the Jane in this one too, and the Bingley, but we did not see them very much, unfortunately. Miss Bingley was portrayed in the way I think she was in the book, snobbish, but not buffoonish as I felt she was in the other one. I think the book Miss Bingley would have been a rather formidable and probably pretty woman—and I never cared for the A&E Miss Bingley. They made her out to be silly and I don’t think she was.


Another “other” character that was better as far as looks goes would be Mr. Wickham. There was very little screen time, but he was at least attractive and one could see how Lizzy might have been attracted to him whereas the A&E Wickham, well he was just silly to me and not very dashing as the books describes him to be. How could that man have won the hearts (or portions of hearts anyway) of three women? Doubtful!


I really really liked Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg—she is always spectacular—and this was no exception. She was very intimidating and just so great in the role! The other woman was good in the role, but cannot compare to Judi Dench!  I also liked Mr. Collins, but he is one of my favorite period actors anyway (he was in Wives and Daughters).


I enjoyed the scene where they meet in the field, but not because it was like the book—it was just romantic and in my weaker flesh, I love that. :+) (Just being honest!)


What I liked about the A&E one is, of course, the length. I love the details, the plot twists, the full explanations of things. I loved Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy and who can dislike Mr. Darcy by Colin Firth? Both of them were done well and I loved the ending where they are walking and he expresses his love for her in the most subdued manner—it is very like the book and brilliantly done.


I loved the relationship between Lizzy and her father—it was real and so her leaving to marry was strongly felt by him. That whole scene makes me cry. :+)


I really liked getting to know Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins, Colonel somebody that she meets at Lady Catherine’s house, and all the extra family—the aunt and uncle that travel with Lizzy, and help the foolish Lydia. It is hard to watch SO much of her and Mr. Wickham because they are so distasteful to me as well as the idiotic mother. OH, she just drives me nuts. Women like that would make me insane if I knew any! :+)


I also enjoyed the strong and sweet relationship between Jane and Lizzy a great deal and hope that for my daughters when they are older. I loved the wedding, of course, and the subtle but sincere love between Lizzy and Darcy that is much more “out there” in the new one. In the new one the ending “Mrs. Darcy…” scene is a bit much—even for this romantic! :+)


So, on the whole, I love the length of the A&E ones, all the details, etc, but I think if I had to choose ONLY one, I would probably choose the newer one for its realism, beauty of scene, characterization, and intensity of feeling.


How is that for an inane long answer on a relatively simple question? Can you tell I like Austen? :+)

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Please click here and full-size the graphic in the bottom right corner so it is completely readable. This is the son of Dr Kevin Anderson of Creation Research Society. Please pray that this young man will be brought home safely and soon. May God keep him!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So many books, so little time...

At least that is my personal opinion! Last August of last year I posted a list of books and movies from the Victorian, Regency, or just slightly after that time period that I had either read or viewed or wish to. I have significantly updated my list below and thought I would share it with you. Of course you must know that I don't *only* read this kind of book, but I really do enjoy them.


What I Have Read:


Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell) 9-1-06 update!

Bleak House (Charles Dickens) 9-1-06 update!

The Daisy Chain (Charlotte May Younge)
Adam Bede (George Eliot)
Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Sense and Sensibilities (Jane Austen)
Emma (Jane Austen)
Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Agnes Grey (Anne Bronte)
Lorna Doone (R. D. Blackmore)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
The Red Badge Of Courage (Stephen Crane)
The Earth Trembled (E.P. Roe)
The Three Weavers: a Tale for Fathers and Daughters (Annie Fellows Johnston)

Persuasion (Jane Austen)

Middlemarch (George Eliot)
The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)
Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott)

The Swiss Family Robinson (Johann David Wyss)

The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas

The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell) (3/07 update)

Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell) (3/07 update)

Silas Marner (George Eliot) (3/07 update)

Ishmael (E.D.E.N. Southworth) (3/07 update)


What I Want to read:


Lady Susan (Jane Austen)
Our Mutual Friend (Charles Dickens)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte)
Shirley (Charlotte Bronte)
The Professor (Charlotte Bronte)
Villette (Charlotte Bronte)
The Green Dwarf (Charlotte Bronte)
Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Ruth (Elizabeth Gaskell)
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Charles Dickens)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
Barriers Burned Away (E.P. Roe)

Moll Flanders (Daniel Defoe)
Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)

The Last of the Mohicans (James Fenimore Cooper)

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray)

Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)


Movies of this time period I have seen:


Bleak House
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Wives and Daughters
Nicholas Nickleby
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
Lorna Doone
A Tale of Two Cities
A Christmas Carol
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
Pride & Prejudice (both versions)
Sense and Sensibilities
Mansfield Park
Little Women


North and South

Vanity Fair

Horatio Hornblower

The Count of Monte Cristo

Three Musketeers (though I doubt it was like the book!)

The Man in the Iron Mask

The Last of the Mohicans

Robinson Crusoe

The Swiss Family Robinson

Les Misérables (theater)


So now that I have done all that reading and watching, what have I missed that you feel I must know about in this genre? :+) I hope I get some good responses here as I cannot miss a good one!



Monday, June 19, 2006

Dear Daddy...

Dear Daddy,


I love you VERY VERY much. I hope you can come home safely. I am going to write you a letter and give you a surprise for you at home and when you come home I will make sure to give you a BIG hug and remember for you to come home and come at swimming lessons with us. It's going to be very fun. I love you, Daddy.




(age 5)

Dear Daddy,


I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much. You are a very good Need for Speed driver. You are a good player. Thank you for helping me on milestones. You are a very good Trogdor blogger. I love you SOOOOOOOO





(age 7)

Dear Daddy,


And what. And I love you. And he loves me.




(age 3)

To my special Father,


He likes to give us hugs, takes us places, and helps me learn so much about God, the Bible, and the world. We like to go wardriving expeditions, and he teaches me about computers which I love. He makes jokes I am cracking up over every day and I try to repay the favor the best I can.


One time, when I had a nightmare, and I woke up coughing and scared, he heard me and he came in and asked if I wanted to talk about it. He hugged me and I was really thankful that God had given such a wonderful daddy to me.


Now I could say thousands of sentences more about him on all sorts of events where I was reminded again and again how blessed I am to have him, but right now I will just say this: I could not wish for anyone better to be my dad. I thank Jesus every day for him.


I love him and he loves me more than anyone could ever dream of.


I love you, Daddy!


(age 11)

Dearest Father,


You are so great and kind to me and I love you very very very much. You have many talents that have not yet been revealed (use the force, Daddy!)  


You help raise me in the best way, teaching me the way of God. I try hard to understand.


You are a great racer and I enjoy watching and playing games with you. Sometimes especially in Galactic Battlegrounds you are a hard player to beat!


You are such a wonderful person to me and I think God has chosen you for a special purpose in life.


You are the best father I have ever known and I love you SOOOOOOOOO much!




(age 9)

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the

womb is a reward."

Psalm 127:3

Friday, June 16, 2006

What we do all day...

Classically Charlotte Mason with a pinch of Eclectic is what I like to term our homeschooling style. I like to be well-rounded you see. We use a variety of products; some of which I really love! Here are a few of my favorite things:



www.NothingNewPress.com: Christine Miller's re-edited Guerber Histories: The Story of Greece/Rome/Middle Ages/Renaissance & Reformation/13 Colonies/Great Republic. We are currently in The Story of the Great Republic. I LOVE her history. It is story style with lots of great detail for the upper grammar/lower logic ages. (Hey, really it is even for adults like me who only got the sincerely incomplete and terribly boring textbook history in high school!) We recently finished The Story of the 13 Colonies and I learned more by reading and teaching this to our children about the founding of our nation than I did in all my previous years of history study.


We read this out loud and supplement with good historical fiction and biographies. We have discovered some real read-aloud gems along the way. We started at the beginning in Genesis and have made our way slowly through the Revolutionary War. What His story!



Rod & Staff is our grammar of choice for 4th grade and up. It is thorough, easy to understand, systematic, and it works. I am not sure how high in the levels we will go because the further you go the more of their doctrine you see (and I am not crazy about Mennonite doctrine) but thus far we have been very pleased. We will be using the 6th and 4th grade programs starting in September.


We like the  pink Daily Grams for grades 2-3. I feel that just a little bit of grammar familiarity is all that is necessary for the early years. I know that other people will disagree with me here, but grammar is not difficult to learn and we don’t do much formal writing in the early years so a general familiarity is all I really want. We also sometimes use MadLibs (the children's ones) because they are a very creative way of introducing grammar terms (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) for even young ones--and they laugh like crazy when the silly story is told. Just be careful with the MadLibs sets you buy-some are better for children than others.



I have used with success, for my three oldest children, Phonics Pathways. This is one 
simple book  that is systematic and extremely thorough, teaches all the reading rules, and explains reading to even those like me who only learned by the look-say method. I love love love it and cannot recommend anything else!



Explode the Code is our favorite resource. The children like it and it works really well for reinforcement of the phonics rules we learn in Phonics Pathways. It is also inexpensive and this is a bonus since it is consumable. We have tried other more colorful or more in-depth programs like MCP and Veritas Press' Phonics Museum, and they are both good, but ETC is economical, only phonics, and lacks the busy quality of some of the others. I do like the others, and your child may like those others better, but I really just prefer the ETC.



Our discovery of Math U See has revolutionized our homeschool. WOW!! Is all I can say. I was really skeptical that any math program could really do the job in our home--could really help us understand the how-to and make it work. I was wrong. One of my children has struggled in this area for years and now she and her sister are excited because they are understanding the "why" of math--and so am I for the first time in some areas! (And math was not a weakness in school for me--I just did what I was told because "that is the way math is, Kate.") Not anymore! We can now actually understand what we are doing and it is really something. I cannot recommend anything else with this degree of certainty, and we have done our share of math programs! Thank you, Steve Demme!



This is our greatest weakness and the subject that we will be endeavoring to actually accomplish here this year. It has been hit or miss. This is partially because I think formal science is really a logic/rhetoric stage subject, (when they can ask questions and process ideas). It is also partially because science is not my favorite subject. (Just being honest here, folks!) I also feel that in the early years, it should be directed more by interest and experience rather than a textbook. We study what interests us for now--we dig into what is fascinating at the moment and enjoy the outdoors. We will be doing individual rubbermaid children's planter gardens this week so that ought to be fun! ("Mommy, I want to plant cherries, and apples, and watermelons, and tomatoes, and ..." - "Um, sweety, you will only have *so* much space...") We do have some tremendous sources here at home though so I am looking forward to reading them and doing some reports for our science group-that I hope is revived this year!



My oldest is the only one who used a formal writing program, Wordsmith Apprentice,  for fifth grade and she has finished it up.  My two oldest daughters enjoyed a Writer's Club all last year that was run by a very nice family using the Pudewa writing style. They would read a classic literature book and then write about it using his style elements. It was a great learning experience for them and I know they enjoyed it. We have started another Writer's Club with two other families using Karen Andreola's brand spankin' new book, Story Starters: Helping Children Write Like They've Never Written Before. I am reviewing this so that is why I have it. It is SO neat and I cannot wait to get the word out about it. For you CM moms, you will really like it! 


Rod & Staff also has a few writing assignments in them that I sometimes have my daughter do, but it depends on the assignment. If I think it is worth her time and she will enjoy it then I will. Both of my older children blog and enjoy writing stories so writing is not really a concern to me. We do not start formal writing until 4th grade, even though my 3rd grade daughter did the Writer's Club last year. She did it for fun (and while having fun, she learned a lot!)



StartWrite Software - I love it!! 
It is a print-your-own kind of resource that allows me to use any font I like, in any way I like, with our without graphics to go along with it. We have printed out literature portions, Bible, and catechism selections. It really is a tremendous resource that can be used over and over again.


Art and Music:

We will be starting the Elements of Art videos from the same people who bring you the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists/Composers/Presidents.  My art-aspiring daughters look forward to this! 
I really like this company and we use their books as well as their videos for art history. The books they have on the Presidents are filled with great information as well as lovely photos and paintings. (In the same style as their Artists and Composers books.) My two oldest are taking piano lessons (at home) and we enjoy a wide range of musical tastes here at home from Beethoven to DC Talk.


Physical Ed:

More of a challenge for me than for my active children. We do ride bikes and they love to swim. Now that it is in the 80's here we will be doing this. We are also doing, as we speak, formal swimming lessons. (A highly anticipated summer event!) It is mom who is the lazy one (and the one who does not look so "cute" in a bathing suit!) LOL!


We may use a Latin program this year (Latin's Not So Tough!) but I am not 100% sure yet. We are also going to use a computer typing program from www.Timberdoodle.com that is really great fun (but they will depend on Mom's ability to juggle all that she must!) I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...


Anyway, that is what we do here all day long (as well as fool around, read aloud, joke and play together.) Oh yes, and I work here too, and do the laundry, and cook, and clean, and...


Well, you homeschool moms get it! :+)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mind Mints

It has been some time since I have written anything about what we are reading or what we have recently read. This is a reading home--we eat up books here with great pleasure. My girls read far more than I do (which brings me great pleasure!)


I am currently reading Created to be His Help Meet. Yep, you read that right. I am reading it to see for myself what this book is all about. I have made statements without having read the book and that is just plain foolish on my part. So, I am in the process of remedying that. Thus far, three chapters into it, I am enjoying it quite a bit. More to come on that...


In our study of America's history, we are currently trotting along with The Captain's Dog. We are journeying with Meriweather Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame from the perspective of his dog. It is really an interesting vantage point! My children are enjoying it too.


226967: The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark TribeThe Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe
By Roland Smith / Harcourt Brace


My children are also reading interesting things. My first child is reading something I had not thought to see her read for some time, but I am thrilled she is reading. C.S. Lewis', Mere Christianity. I hope it provokes some great conversations!


2926X: Mere ChristianityMere Christianity
By C.S. Lewis / Zondervan Corp.


My second daughter is reading Brian Jacques', The Bellmaker. Mr. Jacques knows how to spin quite a tale and she has discovered that not only can she read his books, but that she enjoys them too! I love that. She tells me how many chapters she has left and I am so thrilled that she enjoys reading so much. This from the girl that once told me, "I hate reading!" :+)


My son is now reading The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Her books have a slight mystery, involve four sibling children that are kind to each other, and are just at the level my son can read. I am so proud of him for doing it! It is a little slow-going, but he is getting through it. What a boy! I just purchased for him a few other early chapter books that are boyish in nature that he was highly excited to receive. They included the Brave Kids: True Stories from America's Past book, Robert Henry Hendershot, Snowshoe Thompson (since we are, after all, in the gold country ourselves),  and Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express. What a thing to be a boy. :+)


I just finished reading one of the most interesting and frustrating books I have ever read, The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. It was a tragedy which I did not know and do not like thus my frustration. I love Victorian novels though so in that sense it was quite satisfying, but oh, the tragedy of it all! If you like tragedies and like the romantic Victorian writers you will really like it. If you don't like either then don't bother. I was SO sad that I had spent so much time on poor Maggie only to have--well, you will just have to see for yourself!


426807: The Mill on the FlossThe Mill on the Floss
By George Eliot / Dover Publications


Sitting in my armoire, just waiting for me are the following two books...


834010: Bleak HouseBleak House
By Charles Dickens, Stephen Gill / Oxford University Press

04088: The Excellent WifeThe Excellent Wife
By Martha Peace / Focus Publishing Incorporated


I am really looking forward to Bleak House. Dickens is just brilliant and I have not read one of his works for a long time. I figure one Classic then one smack-me-upside-the-head kind of book. I am truly just being facetious, but I imagine by the time I am done with the one I am reading and The Excellent Wife that I truly should be just about the most perfect wife Mark could ever ask for!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally! Numbers 2 and 1!

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this last one up! I think these are the most important out of all I have written thus far, but sometimes the easiest to forget. As a homeschooler now for seven years I have learned the hard way and try to keep these before me to remember.


2. Enjoy the journey!


Homeschooling is a process and not a product! So often we get bogged down in the process and forget we are working with living breathing creations of God. These are His children, not just vessels to be filled with bits of knowledge, instruction, math facts, and grammar. We are entrusted by our very Creator to teach them diligently as we walk by the way. (Deut. 6:7 "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.") This means SO much more than just teaching them the basics. It is living with your children, day in and day out, and being there for them. It is learning together the things of God as well as the things of knowledge. I love what the 1930 Calvert School Head Master, Virgil Hillyer, explained more than eight decades ago, "School is not the preparation for life – it is life." We will always be learning.


Teach your children to love the process and they will not be eager to leave it at any point in their lives. Homeschooling does not have to replicate public school in the home. Love your children and enjoy them; learn and grow together! The time goes SO very fast. I have a young lady living in my home now that only eleven and a half years ago depended on me for her very life. It is not so anymore. In a few short years she will be married and gone and my short time with her at home will have ended too. Those of you who are surrounded by only little ones, relish this time because it goes so very fast. God is good to me in that I have realized what I have while I still have it here. I still have many years until even the first will fly the coop, but the past eleven years have gone SO fast that I fear the next will fly by even faster and my time with my precious children will be gone. ENJOY this time with them and LOVE them. There is a lifetime of learning ahead of them. You will only be the beginning.


Last, but by no means least is number 1.


1. The Bible should form the spine of your child’s education and not a subject or a supplement.


How often have you said to your children, “OK, time for school! Get out the math!” (or grammar, or reading, or—you get the picture), but you forget the most important? The Bible gets left behind. I am ashamed to say it has happened here.  I have done some big changes in the past few years to right those wrongs. How do you incorporate the Bible into all of your learning? Here are a few suggestions. You will come up with more, I am sure, but here are just a few that we have used off and on over the years in different circumstances:


Reading:  Incorporate children into whatever Bible time your family practices.  Help them follow along during Bible reading, catechisms, and hymns at home and in church. Allow your children to be a part of Bible reading and learning. We give them their own real Bibles so they have their own copy of the Word of God. We choose not to give children's versions.  Yes, they will struggle with the meanings of difficult words sometimes, but it produces the most beautiful fruitful conversations! Don’t talk down to them about God’s concepts. Children are so bright! They see through hypocrisy and silly talk. Be real with your children during these times and humbly and appropriately share what God has done in your life. Our children need to know that God still works in our lives.


Memorize Scripture first.  Then add on anything else you feel is important: poems, songs, catechisms, historical leaders, famous speeches, etc. With God’s word at work in their minds they will be able to know what is true when they read the works of those who may not know Him.


Writing:  Make handwriting and copywork worksheets using Bible verses and catechism questions.  (StartWrite Software is a useful program for this.)  Once children are writing well, have them copy or dictate longer passages right from the Bible. We also incorporate other works of fiction here too, but try to be mindful that it be beneficial.


History:  For year one (Ancients) of the four year history cycle, my friend used a simplified story Bible (The Child's Story Bible, by Catherine Vos) as our history spine, breaking for short studies of Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome as we met them in the Bible.  Our first time through the Ancients we studied them using The Greenleaf Guide to the Old Testament, the Bible, and Ruth Beechick’s, Adam and His Kin, along with other creation resources from Answers in Genesis. This next time around (in a year or so) we will be using a program new to me called the Mystery of History that incorporates the Bible into the study of the Ancients so that I do not have to struggle through it myself. I really am excited about this resource! In other years, use the history of the Church as your spine whenever possible—the Medieval to Reformation times can be very exciting because there are so many godly people who paved the way for our religious freedom by their sacrifices. It was an amazing study when we did it and we used Christine Miller’s book, The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation along with many read-aloud historical fiction books on people such as Martin Luther, William Tyndale, etc.


Science:  We choose to view science through the lens of Scripture and not the other way round.  Remember that every scientist (Christian/atheist, creationist/evolutionist) begins with basic presuppositions that influence how he interprets data.  We believe the Bible in Genesis in its clearest reading so we use resources that reflect this. Answers in Genesis is very helpful, and we have also found great resources from Vision Forum as well as Master Books. We do not hide from the teaching of evolution and do not shun it from our home. It is what the majority of the world sadly believes as fact so we must be able to give them the truth of God’s amazing truth. We were not created to be mindless animals, but were created in the image of God. We were not born without purpose! We were born for such a time as this and are accountable to a Creator. What wonderful knowledge! We prepare our children with the knowledge to discuss in the world because they will be in it some day.


Worldview: Use read-aloud books and movies as a springboard for discussion about your Christian worldview. Ligonier Ministries has some excellent worldview materials for the later years that will not only challenge your children, but will likely challenge you! Remember that we read the classics to tie into Scripture—to view it through the eyes of Scripture—and not tacked on. All of our life we will face questions and challenges to our faith and our children will too. Equip your children to stand firm in the knowledge and faith of God.


I hope that something I have written over the course of the Ten Things has been helpful or encouraging in some way. I appreciate your kind comments and encouraging emails to me!





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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Free Art Video Instruction!

I really love Jan Brett's books. They are absolutely beautifully illustrated in very realistic form and my children really enjoy them. One of her newest books, Honey...Honey...Lion! we found at our library and the children just loved it.



Her site is full of free coloring pages, cursive and manuscript printables, bookmarks, and all sorts of other wonderful free things for your homeschools! I recently learned that she also has some fabulous free art instruction videos too! I sat and watched the one on drawing a bunny and it was a full 11+ minutes long and really wonderful. I cannot draw much at all so to see someone with talent draw with such ease--well, it really is something to me. I am rather art challenged unless you are my not-so-picky three year-old who loves anything I draw because it is more exciting than the lines and circles she currently tackles. I think she is not far behind me though!

On other thoughts, I found this quote somewhere, and I really really liked it. Here it is:


"We think of God as a miser of happiness, keeping back from us all that would make us happy. We think that by running away from Him we will be happy, wild, and free. But it doesn't work that way. Instead of happiness we find misery. Instead of freedom we find the debilitating bondage of sin."

- James Boice


I think there is so much truth in this quote. The world craves its own way, but the way of the world is death. What a wonderful compassionate God we serve! "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Why? What did we do for Him? Absolutely nothing--yet He died for US. Tremendous love and tremendous power of mercy!! Thank you!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Catching up!

I suppose one can only avoid one's blogging responsibilities for so long. So here I am! We have had quite a busy weekend with family visiting, Laundry has now all but taken over our bathroom AND Laundry room (it is even capitalized because it is now a presence all its own), and I have been putting pictures from 1999 into albums because that was the last time I bothered to do it. I have a few years, about 25 sets of pictures, and 15 cameras left to develop, but we will get there. Do I scrapbook? Absolutely NOT. I have no time to tie my shoes (and that is why almost ALL of my shoes are slip-on) but I admire all of you who do. I mean they are really lovely things to look through, but my children will have no such beauty to look through when they are old and searching for childhood memories I am afraid! At least we have actual real pictures of our fifth child so we are doing better than some, right?


I don't think I have quite gotten over my trip because within four days I had my (above-mentioned) company here: my precious sister-in-law, her two older boys and her lovely brand new baby boy to hold. They start out so small and needy, don't they? He was precious and it was really nice to see them all. We don't get to spend that much time together, but my son and her oldest son are only a few weeks apart in age. They are little buddies when together and it really is wonderful. Our house is quite the mess and I am very tired from staying up late and spending some really nice rare quiet time together. I still had not really recovered from Florida's sleep deprivation though so tomorrow really will be something!


I mentioned before what a nice conversation Jen and I had with Doug Phillips with Vision Forum. He is a genuinely kind man and was engaging to talk to. My only regret was that his wife would not be there with him when we were there. She was to join him a few days later. It would have been a blessing to meet her. Here is Jen and Mr. Phillips after our very nice conversation:



Here is a terribly funny woman with a real heart for all of us homeschool moms, Carol Barnier:



She writes books for the "distractable child" and the "distractable mom." She weaves her wisdom with humor and to me that is priceless. We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves sometimes. Thanks, Carol, for the lovely time!


Now this woman I have met only once, at the convention, and I already mentioned her below, but she was such a delight and such an encouragement to me that I had to show her off to you. Mrs. Maggie Hogan from Bright Ideas Press is her name and history and geography are her games. She is really passionate about biblical history and our conversations revolving around this subject (and many others) were truly inspiring. I look forward to learning about the ancients with the Mystery of History the next time around! Her husband was also there and was such a kind and generous man. Their son's book, From Basic to Baghdad, was a highly enjoyable book about a young man's journey from boyhood to manhood in the service of our country. I recommend it. Here is a lovely picture of Jen and Maggie:



There are also those you meet along your homeschool journey that you see few and far between, but they leave an impression with you. Suzanne, from Peace Hill Press' booth, is one of those people. She will not be doing their booths anymore and she will be greatly missed by many--including me! I wish her well as she finishes her homeschool journey with her own children. Their homeschool race is almost finished though you would never know it to look at her. Here she is (in the middle) with my dear Florida Friend, Kolbi (on the right), and your truly:



It really is the people factor that makes these conventions so wonderful an experience. I cannot imagine how different it would have been without the warm welcome, the special friendships, and the kind words by others. God is good--ALL the time. If you are headed to a convention any time soon; bring your husband or friend, and enjoy yourself!