Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Movie Review

We just purchased the movie Monumental by Kirk Cameron.  It is very well done and I highly recommend it.

Get out your notebooks and pens and jot down some of the facts that he shares about the Pilgrims and their journey to the founding of America.  It may encourage you to travel to England, Holland and Plymouth Massachusetts.  Although I might not get to England and Holland any time soon, Plymouth might be a big possibility.   

I hope you'll get a chance to view this movie.  I highly recommend adding it to your homeschool library.

Happy homeschooling!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Science Fair

We recently had a lot of fun participating in a science fair with our church's homeschool group.  The neat thing was that the age range was from first grade through eleventh grade.  The work put into the projects was excellent.  We had a small group of ten, but they really enjoyed themselves just the same.  I was privileged to be in charge of the fair this year.  We alternate what type of fair the kids have.  We've had a state fair and a country fair and this was the year for the science fair.  Since we have been homeschooling I have become a science buff.  I just love science, especially Creation Science.  I love nature, and learning about God's creation is just one of my favorite things to do.  So being the coordinator for this fair was something I really enjoyed.

I mentioned that the age range was from first through eleventh grade which could have made things difficult.  But amazingly it wasn't difficult at all.  The older students made their projects high school level and also young student friendly.  The high school aged students were very happy to help the younger students and showed interest in their projects as well.  Each project had a display board with the pertinent information about their topic, plus either a hands on experiment to try or a presentation to watch.  As they visited each table they had booklets with questions that they had to find the answers to on each of the boards.  In closing, each student received a certificate of achievement and a ribbon and then we all enjoyed dessert.

Have your children participated in any homeschool fairs?  If so I'd love to hear about it.

Happy Homeschooling!

Matt working on his pneumatic invention.  The bike pump filled the tube with air and lifted the  dowel.

Students and parents enjoy the solar system display.

Everyone enjoyed the electro plating experiment.

Matt's hydrolic and pneumatic display along with hands on fun.

Matt and Ryan try out Matt's pneumatic invention.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seek Ye First

In my last post I shared our new Bible curriculum and I was going to share our new Biology curriculum in the next post, this one, but I decided to share about our Economics curriculum instead.  This is the first time we have had an official Economics curriculum in our home school.  It was time, I thought, due to the circumstances of our country and the world, that we spent time studying about the importance and the basic understanding of economics.  It was so timely for us as well.  The Lord's timing is so amazing!  We are working on this study at the same time as doing a family Sunday school at church on finances and it fits together wonderfully.  The curriculum we are using is Exploring Economics by Ray Notgrass.  It teaches economics from a biblical perspective.  A few topics include the history of economics, choices, markets, trade, labor, government, agriculture, the difference one person can make and much more.  The important thing that it stresses is that God owns everything and that we are to be good stewards of what he gives us. To "seek ye first the Kingdom of God".  Not only is it a great high school study but I think it would make a wonderful family study as well.  I believe we are going to learn a lot as we go through this curriculum.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, September 17, 2012

New School Year, New Curriculum

I decided last fall that this upcoming school year would consist of some curriculum we have never used before.  We have used our wonderful tried and true curruculum since nearly the beginning.  It felt like a good time to spread our wings and really try something new and I think it's going to be a good fit for my son.  Being that he is now in 10th grade I can see that a fresh new look on school will encourage us both this year.  This post will be about our new Bible curriculum.  

Balancing the Sword (Vols. 1 & 2)Today was our first day of school.  We started our day with Bible, as we always have and this new approach was refreshing.  My son is mature enough to be very challenged in his Bible time.  I believe this study is very challenging.  It has only a few questions for each chapter, however, it has many references to encourage us to really dig deep into scripture.  We spent about an hour this morning looking up the references and then discussing each of them and how they fit together with the chapter we read.  We are starting this school year in the book of Romans.  I think we are going to learn a lot from this Bible study.

In my next post I will share our new science curriculum.

Happy homeschooling.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer's Last Days

These last few weeks of summer are just flying by.  I can't believe it's almost time to dig back into the school books again.  Here are a few highlights from this homeschooling family's summer.

Gardening; we have been gardening since March when we planted our first few seeds inside.  Not many of them made it into seedlings however.  Our tomato plants did not grow well, and our pepper plants didn't do very well either.  But all of the plants that went into our garden as seed or seedling, did very well.

Canning; We had quite an abundance of green beans this summer so many of them have been canned.  We have also canned pickles using the cucumbers that grew so nicely.  Zucchini pickles are all canned as well.   We still have a lot of tomatoes that are coming and will be used for salsa and sauces. 

Baking;  We used our zucchini to make zucchini breads and chocolate cake.  Yummy!  You'll have to check out my daughter's blog to get the recipe. Click here.

Trips; Matt had a wonderful week away with his Boy Scout troop.  The hiked in biked in Down East Maine.  They also went white water rafting.  If you'd like to read about his adventure check out his blog post on it. Click here to see his post.

VBS; what a fun time to spend helping our church reach out to the community.  We love the children and it is always nice to see their happy faces as they enjoy singing songs about Jesus, doing crafts, playing games and making friends.  This is a great opportunity for my children to serve others and they love it.

Painting; this is an on going project for me and not my favorite, but I was pleased to finish painting my dining room and kitchen a pretty yellow.  Now I'd like to stencil some sunflowers along the top of the walls.  I'll enjoy spending the school year in these rooms.

Barnyard;  although not as bad as winter, summer is a hard time on the animals too.  It is so important to keep up with their water and making sure that they are not getting too much sun or heat.  The chickens have been the target of a roaming fox.  Unfortunately we lost four to a fox and one to being egg bound.  The eighteen that remain are doing a good job laying eggs in spite of the heat. 

Friends; it's been great spending time with friends.  Cookouts and picnics are a big part of our summer.  We've enjoyed hosting and visiting friends and have enjoyed the wonderful foods that are always a part of summer.  Especially ice cream!

Every day has just been very busy.  We just keep busy keeping busy!  We're thanking the Good Lord for all He provides for us each day.  We'll be so thankful for the wood that has been cut and the food that has been harvested and preserved, when the cold winter days are upon us.  I'll look back and be anxious for the next summer to start it all over again.  I hope your family is enjoying a nice break this summer.  Or is the school year the break?  In my case I think so.

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The High School Years

It's that time of year again to start looking through the catalogs and determining what we want to use to challenge us in another high school year.  This will be my tenth year of teaching high school, not to the same student mind you.  Because we are winding down our homeschooling, only three years left to go, I find myself wanting to do something different, challenging and educational, but fun.  I've been looking at blogs and websites to see if I could find anything new to use.  I have found that I am interested in the note booking style of learning.  This is a Charlotte Mason approach which is new to me.  I have used similar styles of curriculum over the years, but not so much in the high school years.  We tend to stick to the text books in high school.  Although this is important, in a way, it can be boring, and it takes away from my involvement except for correcting.  Since I don't wish to end our home schooling years on a sad note of boring and uninvolved, I really need to find a way to make it exciting and educational at the same time.  Another idea I have been tossing around is to use the Boy Scout's of America Merit Badge books.  This would also work nicely with note booking and for my son it would be a big benefit, for he is a Boy Scout.  These Merit Badge books are very nice and cover many topics. They provide the foundation for each subject and we can add on from there.
So these are some ideas that I'm working with.

What are some curriculums that you've enjoyed using in high school?

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monarch Butterfly

 Over our years of studies we have enjoyed many Monarch Butterfly hatchings.  This has always been one of our favorite science experiments.  First we'd hike around the yard searching out Milk Weed plants.  Sometimes it would take many attempts and then we'd find a small black and yellow striped fellow nibbling on the Milk Weed leaves.  We would carefully take the fellow and his plant home to our home and place him, or her, in a jar with a piece of screen fitted on the top with a ring, or elastic.  This had to be something easy to remove so that each day the little fellow could have some fresh Milk Weed added to the jar.  After some time the little fellow would grow into a larger, more chubby fellow.  Then he would make his trek to the top of the jar and spin a small piece of thread to glue himself in place.  After this he would hang in a "J" shape until he was ready to go into his chrysalis. Then after about 21 days out comes a beautiful Monarch Butterfly.

Yesterday I went for a walk with my friend and as I left her and continued on by myself I came across a Monarch Butterfly on the side of the road. This butterfly was very tattered. As a matter of fact, one of its wings was partially missing.  But it was flying over some flowers, probably in search of some Milk Weed to lay her eggs.  I remembered what we had learned in our study of Monarchs.  In our part of the country the Monarch Butterflies will spend the summer after hatching and then fly south to the home of their ancestors.  After wintering over in the warmer climate they will head north again to the place of their birth.  This trip is hard enough the first time when they fly south, many hundreds of thousands of miles.  But the trip back north is even harder on the butterfly, which at this time is almost a year old.  Pretty old in insect years.  After this hard trip the butterfly will return to the place of its hatching only to mate, lay eggs and die.  The next generation of butterflies will be born to continue on.  But the spring hatching is different than that of the fall or late summer hatching.  I have heard that this spring butterfly only lives for the summer.  It hatches in the spring, mates, lays its eggs and then dies.  It is incredible to think that the third generation is actually the one that heads south for the winter.  I am just awed by God's incredible design of the Monarch Butterfly.  I think He gave this creature amazing abilities.  Not only does it know where it needs to go, even the third generation, when it has never been there before but that it returns to its birth place, and that it can survive the incredible journey  it must endure.  What a wonderful picture of God's provision and love for His creatures.  How much more He loves those who He created in His own image!  Enjoy God's wonderful creation with your children this summer.  I hope you store up wonderful memories.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Unconventional! Hope for those who opt out of college Part 2

In my last post I shared with you about my son's unconventional way of getting his education and the kick start to his career.  Although my daughter only graduated two years ago she has also chosen a very unconventional path.  All through my daughter's senior year she wanted to start her own business.  She has a love for sewing and really spent much time during her high school years improving upon her seamstress training.  I had taught her the basics of sewing clothing and a little quilting as well.  But she really took off on her own when she discovered how much she loved making time period costumes.  Her favorites were dresses from the Colonial time period, but also Regency and Civil War era.  This love for sewing and her desire to start her own business spurred her on.  She began teaching sewing classes to beginners; younger girls ages ten and up.  This also helped her to fulfill her God given desire to be a Titus 2 woman; teaching women (girls) younger than herself.  She also began sewing modest girl's dresses, mostly for little girls.  She was thrilled when she sold all the dresses that she'd made and also received some orders.  After a year of running her business, she decided she still would like making time period costumes but with a bit of a twist.  She wants to teach early American history along with it.  Because she didn't want to go away to college and wanted to be a stay at home daughter, she began looking into taking online classes.  She discovered that even though online school is less expensive, it was still very costly.  Since she hadn't been able to find a part time job she was feeling this wasn't something she could afford.

Then God placed a wonderful opportunity in my daughter's path.  Our neighbor needed a full time nanny for her one year old grandson and she offered the job to her.  This worked out perfectly.  She could make some money, learn how to care for a baby, and have me right next door to help her out.  She also didn't need to drive to work so that has saved her a lot of money.  After nearly a year of being a nanny she had learned many child care skills and she had saved enough money to think about paying for online classes.  This was when she looked into College Plus!  The wonderful thing about College Plus! is that you work at the pace that works best for you while you earn your degree.  It has turned our to be a wonderful experience for her.   She can study and work at the same time.  She is doing very well and is majoring in history.  She hopes to get her BA in history in just two years time.  Not only is this program so much less expensive, but it is also accelerated.  If you desire to finish the program in less time than traditional college you can.  The amount of money that she is saving will allow her to be debt free when she is finished.  She is hoping to start her own business teaching others the true early American Christian history, through living history and costuming.

The reason I called these posts "How Unconventional" is because this is how my daughter explained her choice of schooling to a dear friend who we hadn't seen in many months, and ran into in a sewing store recently.  My daughter was explaining how her schooling choice was unconventional, and our friend replied, "you don't do anything conventionally, do you?"  At that point we laughed, she knew us well.  The truth is we don't! 

Even though my daughter has only been enrolled in College Plus! for six months, she has had a wonderful experience through them.  She highly recommends it and if you are interested in going an unconventional route as well, you'll have to check them out!

Happy homeschooling!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How Unconventional! Hope for those who opt out of traditional college Part 1

Is anything we do "normal"?  Well according to the culture at large the answer would be a definite "NO".  Homeschooling in itself is certainly not "normal".  Although it has been gaining ground as more and more people realize the benefits of homeschooling.  I've been wondering if this might happen on the college front.  It is certainly "normal" for a high school senior to be planning out their next step.  In most cases the "normal" next step is to go to college.  Many aspire to go to be an engineer, teacher, medical professional or some other profession that requires a college education.  This is important!  Others go for a field in which just twenty years ago didn't need a college degree, but now they are available so why not go?  Others go without a clue for what they are spending all this money for, but alas, will decide once they have spent the first $20,000 of their parent's money or put themselves into great debt.  It is sad to see these young people floundering and not really sure what to do so the next logical step in their lives is college. 

Isn't this part of the problem in our culture?  We send our children to public school because it's the thing that we've been trained to believe is right and it is the same with college.  But as homeschoolers we are already "off the grid".   Perhaps we could call ourselves "unconventional".  That is true of what our family has been doing and as far as college goes we also fit into that mold.   This is our story.

Our oldest son completed his homeschool education in 2007.  He spent the year before graduation contemplating what he would like to do with his life.  He had been in the Boy Scouting program most of his life and had achieved the rank of Eagle.  Because of scouting he was interested in using the first aid and emergency preparedness skills he had learned.   About midway through his senior year he began to volunteer at our local fire department.  He made a good impression upon the woman who led the Explorers program and she began to tutor him in EMS.  After he turned 18, he joined the fire department and began taking classes to become an EMT.  Because he continued to work for the department they paid for all of his training.  Eventually he moved up to the highest level.  The department also sent him to the Fire Academy where he earned his fire fighting certification.  After working on the department for a few years he was hired on as a part time EMS worker at the Fire Academy where he had taken his classes.  All of his schooling had been paid for by his employers.

Most recently his love for rescue work led him in another direction.  After being settled into his position at the Academy,  he pursued yet another interest, police work.  Because he already had an interest in everything emergency related, he began going on "ride alongs" with officers on our local police department.  After about a year of this, off and on, the police chief asked him if he'd be interested in a job.  He passed all the required testing, was hired and sent to the Law Enforcement Academy for eighteen weeks and had it all paid for through his employment once again.    He recently graduated from the part time academy and is now working part time as a police officer, which works out well due to his fire academy job also being part time.  

In this economy it is very difficult for young people to take on debt to pay for their education when they don't even know if they'll get a job after graduation.  And this is terribly sad.   I share my son's experience, not to brag, although I'm very proud of him for all he has accomplished in these five years since he graduated, but to show there are ways, "unconventional" ways, to get an education and a job without great expense.   These experiences for him were more like apprenticeships.  They were also gifts from the Lord.  I thank the Lord for his mercies and provisions for my son.  Now I'm praying for his protection upon him as well. 

In part 2 of "How Unconventional", I'll share about my daughter's experiences. And how the Lord is providing for her as well. I hope these will encourage you to seek alternatives to college if that is your desire.

Happy Homeschooling!

My son receiving his Law Enforcement Diploma.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When You Walk by the Way....

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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."   Deut. 6:6,7.   This is the way it should be done.  And how wonderful of the Lord to show us even in His animal kingdom.  May this be the desire of our hearts as well.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, April 30, 2012


We have just returned from a terrific time at a local homeschool convention, MassHOPE.  We always enjoy this convention with its many fabulous workshops and venders.  This year was no exception and there were some new opportunities to check out.  This was the first year the convention included talks the night before the convention.   These were talks that were more for new to, or those exploring the possibility of homeschooling.  But even to me they were very encouraging.  They were a good reminder of why we chose to and are still home educating today.  This year we took Matt along with us.  Being his first year of high school we knew there would be many opportunities for him to explore a bit on his own, and could sit in on some very informative talks.  He was thrilled that his favorite math teacher, via DVD, would be one of the speakers.  Steve Demme has been a part of our schooling now for thirteen years, through his Math U See program.  I highly recommend this wonderful hands on math curriculum that begins at the very beginning and continues on through Calculus.  Matt loves math so this was a must go to workshop for him.  Mr. Demme gave his talk as if he were teaching a class.  Matt was called on to answer some math problems, which he was excited to have answered correctly.  After the talk he spoke with Mr. Demme who graciously gave him a small devotional he had written, which he autographed.  This was just one of the many highlights.

I very much enjoyed a few talks by Diana Waring, who writes  history curriculum which includes the curriculum What in the World's Going on Here?  We have many of her history CDs.  Years ago Holly was inspired by her messages and that's one of the reasons she chose history as her major.  I was happy to share this with Mrs. Waring and she said that really encouraged her to hear.

I am always so encouraged by these wonderfully, gifted speakers. It however, was neat to let them know how much they have meant to us over the years, even if it is only through their media. But to be able to tell them in person how much we appreciate them was really fun for me. And They appreciated hearing that. So if you get to go hear one of your favorite speakers in person, let them know how much you have been encouraged by them. They are human like us and enjoy being encouraged as well.

Happy Homeschooling!

Mr. Demme autographs his book for Matt.

Matt and his Math teacher, Steve Demme

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What About Toddlers?

I had the wonderful opportunity of homeschooling while I had a toddler.  I know this is the adventure that many homeschoolers are now embarking.  Although it is a wonderful time, I can remember that it is also a stressful time.  Just as you get your older children ready to begin their school work, your toddler comes on the scene with many needs.  This is very normal.  My toddler had the tendency to climb up into the middle of the table to see what his brother and sister were working on.  I took this to mean that he wanted to be a part of it too.  And why not?  He was curious and just wanted to learn as well.  Children at this age have a brain like a sponge.  You just can't keep up with all that they are learning.  This is really a blessing.  I have found a great way to help a toddler learn is to involve him in everything that was going on.  If big brother is doing a lesson at the table,  little guy can join in with his own crayons and coloring sheet.  Pull up a high chair or booster seat and let him join in on the fun.  Or set up his own little table to work at with fun things to play with.

Another thing toddlers love is mixing and dumping.  This could be water, sand, rice or perhaps a baking project with mom.  Once the older children are busy, pull a chair up to the counter for your toddler to stand on and have him help you make a yummy snack for the family.

I am blessed to have a toddler around again.  My busy toddler is pretty much grown, and is in ninth grade.   But my daughter is a Nanny for our neighbor's two year old grandson.  She brings him to our house for lunch and other times of the day for a visit.   While my daughter and son study for a while, (my daughter is working on a history degree through College Plus! a post for another day), I entertain little guy for a short time.  Yesterday he was a bit demanding and wouldn't settle with his toys, so I told him to grab a chair and pull it up to the counter so that we could make some banana bread.  This thrilled him and so our adventure began.  As you can see it turned out to be a wonderful time for him, I had fun as well.  And he enjoyed eating the finished product.  It is wonderful to teach toddlers.  I just love it.
Happy Homeschooling!

Mashing bananas

Counting eggs while snacking on mashed bananas.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Working With Strengths

    If you're like me you might feel the stresses of wondering if you've taught your children enough over the past school year.  When I look back  I know my children have worked hard in many different areas all year long.  I know this because they have grown in the strengths that God has put into them.  "Train up a child in the way he should go..."  God has given each of my children strengths and it is my job to train them up in these areas.  I was reminded of this recently with my son, while working on history.  We have been studying the medieval time period using the curriculum I purchased a few years ago from "Beautiful Feet".   My daughter loved every minute of it.  She read every book, finished the research projects and completed the timeline.   But my son has not enjoyed it the way his sister had.  I have been reading the books along with him and helping him more than I needed to help my daughter.  He confessed that he really didn't find it very much fun and I was sad that history wasn't exciting to him.  Then I decided to work with his strengths.   The lessons can be tweaked for every student.  So I asked him what he would like to do to help him enjoy history more and he decided it would be fun to build a crossbow that was like the type the knights would have used in this time period.  He loves wood working  and he loves weaponry history so I agreed.  This worked out wonderfully for him.  I encouraged him to research the weapons of the time period as well as read, and design a plan before he could make the project.  When he finished his crossbow he was thrilled.  The best part was it really worked!  He learned more with this hands on project than he would have by reading a story about it.

I have learned over the years that it is better to work with my children's strengths than to try to force them into a mold that they just don't fit into.   Happy Homeschooling!



The finished project.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Siblings Can be Best Friends

Product imageThis is a wonderful book and we are currently reading it for the third time.  If you want your children to grow closer to each other, you and the Lord this is one of the resources that will surely help.  Along with God's Word and a chapter of the Mally children's book, "Making Brother's and Sisters Best Friends", you'll have the ingredients that you need for a convicting daily family devotion.  I picked up this book at a homeschool convention about nine years ago.  It was convicting to my older children and now I'm enjoying rereading it again with my younger son.  It really helped my children evaluate their relationships with one another and they were drawn closer to one another through it.  It was like a miracle remedy!  They still had their ups and downs but things changed around home a lot.  My daughter was so convicted that she wrote a letter to Sarah Mally thanking her for the book.  When we saw the Mallys at a convention the following year a bought an extra copy and had Sarah sign it.  We gave it to our daughter as a surprise gift and she still treasures it today.  I can not speak highly enough of this book.  The key to it is this; glorify the Lord in how you treat one another.  "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" John 13:35.

If you have an interest in this book Vision Forum carries it.  Simply click the Vision Forum link to the left.

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

His Story

Throughout our homeschooling years we have focused on Providence in American history.  When we have looked back at Jamestown, Plymouth, the bullet proof George Washington, WWI and WWII and many more events in history we are constantly reminded of God's provisions and blessings on this country.  Even by studying  western civilization and the history that led up to the founding of America it just simply amazes me.  I am able to see the thread that came from the Garden of Eden up to the present time.  History is the most important subject that out children can learn.  I say this because it is His Story and there is nothing more important than that.  

Currently Matthew is studying  Medieval times.  There were so many interesting things that occurred during this period.  Some very interesting, some very sad, some very strange, at least to us in the twenty-first century.  I can tell when Matt thinks that it is sometimes also boring, but I remind him that each part of history is part of His Story and we need to place it into context of "Where have we been and how did we get where we are now?"  It is basically a world view training.  When history is ignored or revised the people become ignorant.  I can see this from my own experience.  I really didn't know history well at all before a began teaching it to my own children.  Now I feel so much more informed about life.  When people try to misdirect others all they have to do is remove history, or teach lies about it.  This is what has happened in the public schools.  Children are not taught the heritage of our country.  I don't simply mean George Washington or Paul Revere, but even the amazing history that led up to the reason why America was settled in the first place.  If they are taught anything at all it is how the white people came to oppress the Native Americans.  Or how people over the years have ruined the environment.

I hope that a strong back ground in history will create a love of it and will open many opportunities for my children throughout their life time.  Imagine the possibilities when a child gets excited about the invention of the printing press and how for the first time people could read the Bible in large, bold, beautifully decorated print for the first time in history.  Or how the Wright brothers built an airplane and flew it.  Or how Thomas Edison lit up America.  There is so much to spur on the excitement in a youngster when they are introduced to the wonderful world of history, or His Story because His love and providential hand prints are all over the past and the present and the future.  Teach history. Love history.  For it's His Story.

Happy homeschooling

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Little Hands

It's so nice to have children make their very own Valentine's cards for the people they love.  What can the littlest of children make when they are not yet capable of cutting or pasting for themselves?  Here is an easy project to do with any child, but very easy to do with the littlest in your home.  Simply trace the child's little hand on colorful paper, and cut the tracing out.  Then add a heart to the middle of the hand and add a special message.  Paste to a piece of paper folded into a card.  Embellish the card in beautiful Valentine's Day fashion.  Remember to put the child's name and date on the back so that it can be a momentum in years to come.  I have a few of these types of cards tucked away in baby books.  When I look back at them they bring such special memories to mind.  Of course this is very simple to do and will make a very special card for Daddy, Mommy or grandparents.  

Happy Homeschooling!   Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Everyday Graces

    I recently purchased the book "Everyday Graces A Child's Book of Good Manners", Edited by Karen Santorum.  It is a lovely hard covered book with wonderful adaptions of children's classics to illustrate good manners.  I love this book because it is written for the same purposes that I always felt children's literature should be used for.  To teach good and to encourage  my children to understand the people in the stories and the character qualities that they exemplified.  Mrs. Santorum has done just that in this book.   She covers many different types of manners.  Here are a few chapter titles:  Good Manners at Home; Using Words, Wisely; Table Manners; Washing and Dressing; Appreciating People with Disabilities; Getting Along with Others; Good Manners in School; Good Sportsmanship; Writing Letters and Invitations; Church, Weddings and Funerals; Kindness Toward Animals; Respecting Our Country.  

     I laughed at the poem by Jack Prelutsky entitled; Why Do I Have to Clean My Room?  It might just fit around here. At the end of the poem, Mrs. Santorum explains in her motherly way, that once you were small and your parents took care of picking up your room, but now that you're older it's your responsibility.  The book is full of these types of antidotes.

    "Anne of Green Gables" is frequently used as a wonderful example of manner lessons.  We are "Anne" with an e, lovers in our home and know the story frontwards and backwards.  But I love how the lessons can be used from the story and the children relate so well to it as they can clearly see in Anne's behavior, good and bad.  A few other stories used in the book are "George Washington and the Cherry Tree",  "Alice in Wonderland",  "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", "Robinson Crusoe", "The Secret Garden", "Squanto, the Pilgrim's Friend" and many more.  Also included are poems and quotes.  I have enjoyed reading through this and wish I'd had it on our library shelf when the kids were little.  It will be a fun reminder for them however, since most of the stories and poems are so familiar to us.  I hope you can pick it up and enjoy it as well.
Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Patchwork Principles

We have been reading JC Ryle's  "Thought's for Young Men" in our morning devotion time.  Each morning our studies start out with Bible study and a thought provoking devotion.  Matt is my only student and he is fourteen so I try to focus on studies geared specifically toward young men.  This year we have read "Made for Work" and also "Every Day Battles" by Bob Schultz.  All of these have been wonderful challenges to Matt and I have been challenged as well.  I love "Thought's for Young Men" because it gets straight to the heart of the matter.   In each chapter Ryle exhorts young men to stay pure.  He explains how boys are enticed to sin and how they can so easily fall away from their Christian principles.  Today we read a section dealing with a "clear view of the evil of sin."  How does sin impact our principles?  We have standards that we've set and many times those standards are pushed easily aside or allowed to slide here and there.  We allow little sins to sneak in and before we know it we have compromised those principles.  As parents do we allow our child's  little sins to just slip by?  Do they come and we say that isn't so important right now?  Do we compromise just "oh so slightly"?  If so, then we don't believe that sin is as evil as it really is.

I will share a small example of how this came to my thoughts this morning.  We are strict about what we have let our children view on TV or at the movies and whenever the children have been invited to a movie and I don't know anything about it I look it up on line to see what kind of reviews it has or I watch the trailer.  The trailer can tell  a lot about a movie.  In just three short seconds I can pretty much make up my mind in regards to whether it is okay or not.  This morning I reviewed a trailer for a movie party that my son has been invited to for his piano lessons.  I will not reveal the name, but it sounded harmless, and was rated for "all audiences".  After seeing more animated anatomy than I felt was necessary I told him it just wasn't appropriate for all audiences after all.  That is audiences who want to keep their fourteen year old son's purity in check.

The point I am trying to make is that each one of these little steps in sinning leads only toward more and more sinning.  That little bit of anatomy leads to more and more desire to see more anatomy.  This is the patchwork principle that I'm alluding to in my title.  If we as parents allow our children or ourselves to get caught up into these "little sins" or little patches, we ignore the fact that sin really is evil and it grows and grows into a bunch of patches, eventually a patchwork quilt.  (Not that quilts are sin or course, just a good example of how they all connect. )  A little sin is evil and a lot of sin is more evil.  Jesus died for ALL sin.  It only took one small sin to separate us from God.  It only took Adam's pride to separate all humanity from God.

I am so encouraged by the above books that I mentioned  and I highly recommend them for young men, and all of the rest of us as well.

Happy Homeschooling!