Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who are you?

Life lessons are those things that God allows us to encounter along life's path that teach us a profound lesson that we need to know.  These lessons will help us later on in life if we learn from them.  They can come in the form of a direct impact on our lives or in the form of an example set before us (you know, this is what we don't do...type example).  We as a family had one of those life lessons recently.  Thankfully it was in the form of an example, not a direct impact on us.  The result had direct impacts on us but the lesson within was a good example of how we should behave.

As some of you may know we had to put our old dog Heidi down in November.  She was a German Shepherd and 14, which is very old for a German Shepherd.  She was a loving, loyal, kind dog who loved "her people".  It seemed most of the time she would do just about anything to please her people.  We hated to see her go.

We also had a cat who belonged to Chris before I came along and stole his heart!  Flash was 18, very cantankerous and ornery.  Chris was the one Flash trusted the most.  Anyone else he would hiss, and run from them.  He was having some health issues, had high blood pressure and had gone blind.  We had to say good bye to him this morning. 

With there being such a stark difference between Heidi and Flash (except for the obvious : dog vs cat) we chose to use this as an opportunity to examine ourselves.  Who are we when we meet or encounter people?  What type of person am I?  Are the contents of my heart what people see or hear?  Most importantly are they what Christ would like to hear?  Do I show Christ to others or do they see Lyn's efforts?

This week in my quiet time I found myself in Ephesians chapter 4. These verses came back to my mind today as we were discussing this life lesson we had before us:

Ephesians 4:21-32 (New International Version)

21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin"[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

John 13:34-35 (New International Version)

 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

One nice thing about this command is that regardless of what we do, God still loves us unconditionally.  We may not always like a person or like what they have done.  Regardless of the circumstances God commands us to love them.  Even when they hurt us.  Sometimes that is hard to do isn't it?  So I challenge you, are you easy to love?  Or do you make it hard for people to love you?   Are you able to forgive and love when someone hurts you?  Something to think about, I know I am.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Schoolhouse Store has another great offer you cannot pass up!  Not only are they offering the $7.95, 1-year subscription and the $12.94, 1-year subscription plus current issue (U.S. only), we are also offering these 4 free gifts from the summer promotion:
·         Greenleaf Press - Handwriting by George
·         Sue Gregg - Cooking with Children CD
·         Daystar - $10 Gift Certificate
·         Wikki Stix – Sample of six different Wikki Stix and activity booklet.

What a great offer this is!  I cannot say enough about The Schoolhouse Magazine and how much it has to offer the homeschooling family.  It has been a blessing to me the 2 1/2 years I have subscribed to it.  There is always something that I can use or apply to our homeschool.  I can always find word of encouragement and wisdom from the editors of TOS.  Take advantage of this great offer right now so you can receive The Schoolhouse Magazine and these 4 free gifts! 

Check out this After Christmas Sale at The Schoolhouse Store!

Check out The Schoolhouse Store!  They are running a new contest . . . 11 winners per day for 6 days starting December 26! Each day, the first 10 customers in the store to purchase $15 or more win a gift package worth $122.38. In addition, the biggest ticket of the day will win the same gift package.
The gift package includes:
·         And Then Mama Said . . . It Takes Time to Learn to Read—value = $9.95
·         Homeschooling Methods—value = $14.99
·         Publisher's choice of a TOS audiobook—value = $17.95 
·         Daystar Gift Certificate—value = $10.00
·         Greenleaf Handwriting by George—value = $10.00
·         Sue Gregg Cooking with Children CD—value = $10.00
·         2-year TOS Magazine subscription—value = $39.00
·         Sir Kendrick & the Castle of Bel Lione from Perfect Praise Publishing—value = $8.99
·         The Mitten book—value = $1.50
Total value = $122.38
Besides the 11 winners per day, the store has over 38 vendors participating in a HUGE sale. Over 200 items will be marked 20%-50% off. If your looking for something to use this next semester you better hurry, the sale ends December 31!

Monday, December 28, 2009

So when do I start walking again?

Let me just say that I have eaten so much lately!  One of my goals for 2010 is to loose some weight!

I wanted to bake so bad this Christmas and give some to our neighbors.  At first I didn't thaink I was going to get to bake much at all, well, I did.  I baked and baked and baked!  Thankfully as were my original intentions I was able to give some to our neighbors and we got to meet our new neighbors as well.  That was a blessing! But not only did I bake, but a dear friend of mine baked some goodies an brought them to us!  They were soo good and sooo many to try.  I had to try atleast one of each kind...   Then my sweet Momma baked a carrot cake and magic cookie bars....Mmmmmmm!  It was all sooo good and I couldn't keep my hands out of the platters!  Well hopefully in the next week or two my walking buddy and I can hit the trail and walk some of this extra weight off.

Chris took some time off from work last week, it is always so nice to have him home!  Today was our first day with him back at work, boy did we miss him!  Here I am trying to get him to take another day off this week.  We spent a lot of our time resting, playing games, and watching movies.  There was probably plenty that needed to be done but we let it go and spent some good quality time together.  I love it when the three of us spend time together, it blesses me so much.  Especially when Riley would rather stay home than be out somewhere, that lets me know we are doing something right.

This week I have a list of things that I need to try to get done before we start school back up.  I have accomplished one of them, I started a quilt!  I have wanted to start quilting and kept putting it off for no good reason really.  My mother had given my some "fat quarters" of red, white and blue plaid and striped material.  We both thought it would make a nice quilt for Riley, it has that boyish look about it.  So I found what looked to be an easy block to make.  It is a 9" square block.  So far so good.  I cut it all out yesterday and sewed the first 5 blocks together today.  I notice something didn't look right when the blocks were not the same size...I had misread the instructions and cut one set of blocks too big.  That's O.K., it's an easy fix, all I have to do is cut them down to the correct size.  I got that done and sewed them back together this evening.  Woohoo!  I got my first quilt block started!  I'll have to post pictures later.

Next I have some serious cleaning and organizing to do in various places in our home.  I guess tomorrow will be a good day to start.  Our master bedroom is first on the list.  This is a daunting task but has to be done.  It has become our catch all room since we had our carpets cleaned a couple of months ago.  It will be good to have it done though. 

My goal for the new year is always to get organized to some degree and somewhere along the path I either forget or give up.  I hope this year is different.  So far so good.  I guess maybe I need to be thankful for having accomplished one item on my list, shouldn't I?  I am, but I look forward to accomplishing others!

Have a good night all, I'm off to do some research on quilting.... :-)  Till next time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We are so thankful for this time of year.  It is such a blessing to be with family and friends.  To be with the loved ones in your life that mean a lot to you.  The  most wonderful part is to be able to focus on the One who came to save us all, the miracle of His birth and the wonder of God's miraculous plan.  I am so thankful for my salvation and what Christ has done in my life.  I am thankful for what He has done in my husbands life and the spiritual leader he is in our home.  I am thankful for what Christ is doing in our son's life.

Isaiah 9:2-7

2 The people who walked in darkness
      Have seen a great light;
      Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
      Upon them a light has shined.
       3 You have multiplied the nation
      And increased its joy;[a]
      They rejoice before You
      According to the joy of harvest,
      As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
       4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
      And the staff of his shoulder,
      The rod of his oppressor,
      As in the day of Midian.
       5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
      And garments rolled in blood,
      Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
       6 For unto us a Child is born,
      Unto us a Son is given;
      And the government will be upon His shoulder.
      And His name will be called
      Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
       7 Of the increase of His government and peace
      There will be no end,
      Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
      To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
      From that time forward, even forever.
      The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

His love for each and everyone of us is so vast and powerful, so perfect and free.  He came to us as a child and became man so that He could live among us and teach us His ways.   There is life in this Savior that is free for every single person on this planet.  As we celebrate the birth of our Great Savior, if you do not know Christ, I challenge you to choose Life today. 

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who soever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones.  I also hope that you find the true Joy that only Christ can offer us through salvation in Him. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thankful for Abeka Bible Curriculum

I wanted to take a moment to tell you how thankful I am for our Bible curriculum!  We are using Abeka Bible right now and we thoroughly love it!  Over the last couple of years we have used our Awana program at church as our Bible and that worked really well for us.  I think it really helped build a good foundation for memorization of the verses.  As this past summer rolled around I began to think that Riley needed a little bit more than just what he was learning in the Awana program so I asked around and did some research.  A friend of mine had been using Abeka Bible for few years and was very pleased at what her girls had gleaned from the curriculum.  She was also very pleased with the memorization part of it as well. 
I got out my catalog and started reading to find out what exactly we needed for second grade.  Through Abeka the homeschool family has a choice to either buy the whole Bible curriculum as a kit or to buy each piece separate.  I knew what I wanted in a curriculum and after reading some reviews I decided to put our bible curriculum together on my own. 
Riley had watched the Bible lesson on a DVD at a friends house one day and loved singing with the kids in class.  There was one thing I wanted.  I already knew I wanted the memorization to play a big part in our lessons as well and my friend was right, Abeka covers that area very well.  There was the second item we needed.  The next and most important item I wanted was for Riley to know the Bible and the message behind all the parables and stories.  I am familiar with most of them but feel so inadequate to aptly tell Riley what he needs to know.  I also am the type of person who needs guidance and direction regarding our lessons.  I was concerned that my short attention span would not allow us to follow a good path or finish a topic adequately.  Abeka's bible lessons are written straight from God's word and written in such a way that it makes sense to a child.  Riley has been able to understand some certain aspects that might have been difficult to explain.  There are wonderful picture cards that help tell the story of the lesson.  The pictures are so beautifully painted and detailed.  Each lesson has several songs we can sing from a book or from CD.  There is prayer time, doctrinal drills and Bible verse memorization (in the KJ version).  Then we have our lesson.
Most importantly, Riley loves Bible!  I am so thankful that he finds such enjoyment from our Bible time.  There have been days that he has asked to do more Bible instead of moving on to Math or Phonics.  How can I refuse that?  Learning to know and love God's word is far more important than the other stuff.  It will come and he is doing well so Bible can take over every now and then.
If you are looking for a good thorough Bible curriculum check out what Abeka has to offer.  It might be just what you are looking for.  So far it is for us and we will stick with it for next year as well!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Whew!!  I don't know about y'all but I'm tired!  A bit overwhelmed also.  The last month has been a whirlwind of happenings and activity.  It seems like just when I think we have a full day ahead of us where we can really get some "good school" in, something happens that we can't.  Or, we don't get everything done that we intended.  So my question is, is that OK when it happens more often than not?  Or do we need to make some changes?  Where do we need to make changes? 

First it was putting our first dog Heidi down.  Then, the truck needs to be fixed, projects for Scouts are due.  Thankfully some of the projects for Scouts coincided with Science and our study of birds.  That did help some.  Thanksgiving rolled around and I found it a little hard to be thankful except for the break from all the activities.  We didn't even get to finish our Thankfulness chain let alone talk about the items we are thankful for.  Then the following Monday it all starts back up again.  That Monday came with us deciding to get a new puppy.... Don't get me wrong, I love her so much, she is such a sweet dog and very obedient for a puppy.  But wow!  I forgot how much work it is to have a puppy!  Thankfully the woman who had her before had already started potty training her.  Lady has made herself at home in the schoolroom, just like Heidi did.  Lady's place is on the bean bag chair, she curls right up and takes herself a good nap, then when we are done with school, she is ready to play!  Riley has had so much fun with her, he has taken over responsibility of feeding and caring for her.  We hope to get him enrolled in some obedient classes with Lady so he can train her.  It is a blessing to hear him run through the house giggling and laughing as he and Lady play.  We are so glad she is here!

I wanted so much to enjoy this Christmas season and so far it has flown by me!  Of course we are only in the first week so maybe I shouldn't be complaining.  My prayer for our family is that things will slow down some and that we will be able to enjoy the Christmas season some before it is over.  Most importantly that we will be able to focus on the Real Reason for Christmas.  Christ our Savior is the reason for Christmas!  Immanuel has come! 


Friday, November 20, 2009

Lessons Learned Today

Since I haven't posted all week I've got a lot to catch up on so here goes post #2 tonight!  I hope you don't mind!  :-)
This week school got done and went well Monday through Wednesday, Thursday however, was a loss as far as school was concerned (See previous post). When today rolled around we still weren't quite ready to tackle the lessons. After my quiet time I was praying and the Lord gave me an idea.  We needed to work on putting together our box for Operation Christmas Child and I have really been wanting to bake some cookies to take to the kennel that kept Heidi for us and Dr. Waite (the vet).  Today would be the day to tackle these things.

Baking the cookies with Riley went really well!  He did a great job in measuring all the ingredients and carefully pouring them into the mixing bowl.  He carefully scraped the sides of the bowl as it turned with the mixer, he helped me scoop the batter into balls on the cookie sheet and did not lick his fingers till we were done!  When I offered him one of the beaters to lick he gladly took it and sat down on his stool to enjoy the reward.  What a great cooking lesson we had today.  Riley did well!  We will deliver the cookies tomorrow with a card thanking them for their love and care of Heidi.

We then went to pick out some items for our Operation Christmas Child box.  Riley decided to purchase for a little boy his age.  He had fun picking out cars, a sock monkey (because Riley loves his so much!) and a Nerf football.  We then picked out some hard candy and some other toiletry items and drawing utensils.  We got home and he began putting the items in the box and we realized we still had room for more. So we will go tomorrow to finish up our shopping.  He decided to write a letter to the boy and request that the boy write him back.  Our prayer is the boy will be blessed by the contents of the box and that we will be a light for Jesus to the boy.  It would be an added blessing if the boy will write Riley back and tell us about himself.  Riley did a good job writing the letter and this was his handwriting project for the day. 

He later played some math games, spelling games and then played outside with his friend.  It was an easy day but good lessons were learned.  Carefulness in baking and doing a good job, a lesson in giving to someone who may not have much, and handwriting a letter.  We had a good school day today.

A Glimpse of Unconditional Love

What a week this has been!  It has been a whole week since I posted last,  but this week has been very hard.  We found out Monday that our German Shepherd Heidi had reached the end of her days.  Chris and I got Heidi about 7 months after we got married 15 years ago, she was our first "baby".  She quickly became our sweet Heidi, a friend to each of us, a protector and one of our family. She wanted to be with "her pack", her people that she loved.  Wherever we were in the house she would be there too.  As I posted earlier in my blog, she would find her spot in the middle of our school room and sleep as Riley and I did school.

As Chris and I were getting ready for bed, she would follow us around and then walk into Riley's room as if to check on him.  I remember one time several years ago before Riley was born.  Chris had drill and was gone for the weekend.  Heidi and I were there by ourselves at night.  She must have heard something because she started barking and as I walked into the kitchen she walked in front of me and parked herself there as if to stop me in my tracks.  If something or someone were outside she sensed it and was going to protect me.  I was thankful at that time that Chris was determined to have a dog that would protect us.

Whenever we left her at the kennel it was hard at first but the more she went the easier it got.  She got to know the kind people there that cared for her.  When we returned she would greet us with a kiss and seemed so happy to see "her people".  That's how she always greeted people she knew and loved, with a kiss.  One time she cornered my niece Abby and covered her face with kisses.  Abby didn't like that too much and hollered and cried.  Eventually Abby realized that was how Heidi would greet her so she got used to Heidi's kisses, especially as she got taller!  Often as Heidi would be eating her food, I might walk by or put her water bowl in the holder.  As I did she would turn and kiss my arm or leg as if to say, "Thanks mom for the food." 

Looking back this week over our life with Heidi we have realized her unconditional love she showed us allowed Chris, Riley and I a small glimpse of that unconditional love Christ has for us.  Christ is always willing and ready to forgive us when we make a mistake, as long as we seek forgiveness and repent from our sin.  Every time we come to him he greets us with open arms and a loving smile.  Just knowing that alone should give us the joy beyond comparison!  Maybe the reason why God allows us to have dogs is so we can have a glimpse of the unconditional love Christ has for us?  I really don't know, only God knows the answer to that one.  God used Heidi as a reminder to Chris and I this week that we can have joy and be a light for Christ, even in our darkest times because Christ has already won the victory and paid the ultimate price because He loves us so.  Our joy can be full in Him!  Amen!  Thank you God for giving us Heidi and the joy she brought us.  But thank You more that You gave Your only Son to die on Calvary's Cross for not only me but the whole world!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you ever have those days when you wonder if your child is learning what you are trying to teach him or her?  I know I do.  So I am always thankful for those little moments of confirmation that Riley is learning and grasping a concept or something important.

This image above is one of those moments of confirmation for me. This fall, my heart has been impressed to teach Riley the importance of Thankfulness and the meaning behind Thanksgiving.  Of course the holiday has not yet arrived and I'm not sure that he has quite learned the importance of being Thankful (time will tell...).   I was rewarded yesterday a little glimmer that  Riley has learned a little bit of what I was teaching him.  We had checked out several books from the library on the pilgrims as well as studied some on the Separatists in our American History sections over the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday he had a Math paper from his Abeka Math that had a poem to read on the Pilgrims and a picture of a ship to color.  I really didn't supervise him too much while he colored this and he usually is not too big on coloring but he let his imagination go on this one!  When he was done and held it up for me to see, I was so blessed to see his mind working on its own. If you double click on the image you can see he added people with voice bubbles on the ship as if they were the Pilgrims traveling on the Mayflower.  He wrote "Nobody can tell us what to do!" (Referring to King James I who wanted them to worship according to the church of England), "Land HO!"  "We found a home!"  "Yaa!"  I was so excited!  Not only did he learn but he used his own initiative and imagination.  I was one happy momma yesterday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Top 15 Favorite Books

Words cannot express how thankful I am that our son Riley has learned how to read!  Thankfully he has shown some desire to read on his own accord.  I don't have to push too hard to get him to read during the day, although, if I don't monitor his choices in books, he would choose a Star Wars book every time.  A typical choice for a 7 year old boy!

I am quite the book worm!  In fact, reading can be quite a stumbling block for me because there are times that I cannot put the book down to get done what I need to do!  That nagging feeling that I know I need to be doing the dishes, cooking dinner, or getting school started gets pushed back in the corner of my mind till I get to "a good stopping point". 

Between my husband Chris, Riley and myself we have quite a wide variety of subject matter that we like to read.  With Christmas coming up soon, you may have someone on your list that loves to read like we do.  So we thought we would each pick 5 of our Top 15 favorite books we like to read and share them with you.  If you see one on our list that may be a possible gift for someone, click the book title and it will take you to where you can check the amount and availability.  You can even purchase it if you are ready!

Lyn's List:

1)   The Bible  by God

2).  Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow

3).  The Left Behind Series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins

      or the Left Behind Set

4).  The Red River of the North Series by Lauraine Snelling

5).  The Mega-Millennium Series by Paul Meier and Robert Wise

Riley's List:

6).  The Magic School Bus: The Truth about Bats by Joanna Cole

7).  Star Wars Epic Battles by Simon Beecroft

8).  Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

9).  Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

10).  How to be a Pirate in 7 Days or Less by Lesley Rees

Chris' List:

11).  The Bible by God

12). The Way Things Ought to Be by Rush Limbaugh

13). See I Told You So by Rush Limbaugh

14). His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley Jr.

15). The Fight of Every Believer by Terry Law

Monday, November 2, 2009

FREE Holiday Digital Supplement

2009 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

The Old Schoolhouse has sent out their TOS Holiday Digital Supplement !  It is Wonderful and it is FREE!  And I'm all about anything that is free! If you are looking for something to jump start your holiday planning and ideas this will definitely do it. 

The  TOS supplement is not your typical E-book.  It is created in the same format as the TOS Digital version of their magazine.  You can turn the full color pages and then click on a page to enlarge a section.  There is so much in this awesome supplement, there are articles on both Christmas and Thanksgiving, great craft ideas, and tons of recipes to try.  I have already bookmarked several recipes that I am looking forward to trying out. 

Click on the link above or the picture and download your FREE copy of the TOS Holiday Digital Supplement and enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Provision of God's Word

This was such a blessing to me today, I thought I would share it with y'all!  I pray your day is filled with joy, peace and productivity today!
Lord, I pray that You write Your Word upon the tablet of my heart today.  Thank you for a beautiful, goodly heritage!-Amen

According to Christian  Mikhtam is a writing; i.e., a poem or song.  This word is found in the titles of Psalm 16; 56-60
Some translate the word “golden”, i.e., precious. It is rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning “tablet inscription” or a “stelograph.” The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation; or, as others render, “a psalm precious as stamped gold,” from the word kethem, “fine or stamped gold.”

Psalm 16

The LORD the Psalmist's Portion in Life and Deliverer in Death.
A Mikhtam of David.
    1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
    2I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
         I have no good besides You."
    3As for the saints who are in the earth,
         They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
    4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
         I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
         Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
    5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
         You support my lot.
    6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
         Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
    7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
         Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
    8I have set the LORD continually before me;
         Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
    9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
         My flesh also will dwell securely.
    10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
         Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
    11You will make known to me the path of life;
         In Your presence is fullness of joy;
         In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Great offer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

I ran across this great opportunity on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and thought I would share it with y'all.  The editors of TOS have brought back their special subscription sale of $7.95 for 1 year subscription starting with their Winter Issue.  All you have to do is click the link and use the special coupon code SUB795 when you check out.  It's that easy!

If you have read any of my previous posts you might noticed that I have a passion for homeschooling.  About 3 years ago we were new to homeschooling, the idea of teaching our son was very intimidating.  Many times I thought, how can I do this on my own?  Who will help me when I have a question?  Where will I go to get ideas?  Once we got started, a friend told me about TOS.  She told me how informative the articles were and how the magazine had blessed her in her homeschooling journey, so I signed up for a two year subscription.  I am so thankful I did!  There were articles written by parents who were experiencing the some of the same things I was with our son.  Other articles have touched on so many different areas of teaching children at home and have been so helpful.  The TOS magazine is full of information a homeschooling family can use or file away for later on in their homeschooling career.  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has been such a blessing to me and my husband as we have taught our son over the last 3 years.  I hope it will be for you as well.

Are you new to homeschooling?

Are you a seasoned vet?

No matter where you are in your homeschooling journey, there aren't many places you can go to find the kind of information, support, and encouragement that you’ll find inside TOS—approximately 200 pages worth!

Your subscription starts with the fabulous Winter 2009/2010 issue which will be available January 2010! Inside you will find inspirational stories and motivating ideas to lift you up and keep you going on your homeschooling journey. 

Topics like:
·         Classical education: teaching Latin and more.
·         An interview with Andrew Pudewa.
·         Library column filled with great book ideas.
·         World War I.
·         Preschool at home.

·         Top tips on teaching writing; communication theme, including speech and debate.
·         Support group how-to’s.
·         Science and homeschool.
·         And our fabulous FREEBIES Directory.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Can I Homeschool My Child?

Over the last several years, more and more parents have considered homeschooling their children.  The reasons vary; different learning styles require a child to have more one on one instruction, school violence, religious convictions, (wanting to avoid indoctrination,) there are many more valid reasons out there.  You may ask, “Would I be able to homeschool my child?”  Some parents may be concerned that this idea is impossible because they do not have training in education or an education degree.  With the number of various resources available this concern can be greatly diminished. 

Look back a couple hundred years ago, the responsibility of schooling usually fell on the parents shoulders.  It wasn’t till the last 50 - 60 years our federal or state government took over the education of our children.  Who knows better how to raise our children, us as parents or the government and an unknown bureaucrat?  I think we all know the answer to that one. 

The Bible states: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  (Proverbs 22:6)  Your job as a parent is to spend time with your children and to give them the tools they need to head down the path toward their future.  To instill the morals and standards your child needs to grow into a responsible adult.  In order for a child to succeed in whatever he feels led to do, as parents we need to instill a sense of respect and honor for their parents, elders and themselves.  The supplies parents had available to them many years ago may have been meager, but most parents made sure their children had a slate to write on and some chalk.  Some of the reading was done from classics written by the likes of Charles Dickens or Jane Austen, if they were available to the family.  Otherwise, the most common resource available to most families was the Bible.  Consider Abraham Lincoln, according to some historians most of his reading was done from the Bible beside the fireplace at night.

The children also learned basic skills such as wood working, plowing a field, harvesting wheat, growing a garden or caring for animals on the farm.  These were life skills that were taught on a daily basis in order for families to survive but it also taught a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility to children at an early age.

Times have changed since then haven’t they?  With the advancement of technology with both electronic and paper resources a parent considering homeschool has many if not thousands of options, and the ability to research and make an informed decision.  One good source which is a must have is Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.  In her book Cathy Duffy not only gives you the top 100 picks for curriculum choices but she also helps you to identify your child’s leaning style so that you will be able to better teach him/her.

Numerous statistics and studies have shown that "homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that children who are homeschooled two or more years, score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less." As determined by a 2007 study entitled "Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers' Across America."  Another important finding of "Strengths of Their Own" was that the race of the student does not make any difference. There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. These findings show that when parents, regardless of race, commit themselves to make the necessary sacrifices and tutor their children at home, almost all obstacles present in other school systems disappear.

There are millions of families who have been homeschooling for many years and have had children graduate and move on to college.  These families have seen the need to reach out to new homeschooling families and create resources to help parents get started and point them in the right direction.   Rainbow Resource Center is a family owned business with just this idea in mind.  They offer thousands of different curriculums along with reviews of certain products and a detailed description of what the curriculum contains.  They also offer teaching aids, learning aids and quality toys for children.

There are a few things to consider before you make your decision.  The first is to ask yourself, do you have the time to commit to teaching your child?  Your job as a parent is to spend time with your children and to make sure they are headed down the right path.  To get to know your child’s learning styles and encourage them to learn, to help your child reach his or her greatest potential.  Teaching your child will require time and effort from you. 

Another item to consider - is your spouse on board and supportive?  If both of you aren’t together on this, it will not be easy.  Teaching your children at home requires a lot of time, sacrifice and effort.  If your spouse is not on board it could cause a strain between the two of you or your family.   If you have multiple children there may be times that both of you might have to tackle the teaching responsibility.  Your spouse might help you to see things you might over look or help you to teach something in a completely different way that helps your child to really “grasp it”!

Check out your states laws regarding homeschooling.  There are many websites out there that break legal requirements down by state.  This will let you know if you are able and willing to tackle homeschooling from the legal perspective.  Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a great place to start; they have all the current news on homeschooling and the laws for each state.  They also have links on how to get started homeschooling, articles regarding specific age groups, a curriculum market and so much more.  Click this link if you would like to check out their website.  Homeschool Legal Defense Association

Talk to other parents who have or are currently homeschooling in your area.  They can give you guidance and point you in the right direction.  They may even be able to answer questions you may have or make certain recommendations.  They can give you ideas on what to expect, however know that each family approaches homeschooling differently each according to their needs. 

Above all, the most important aspect of your decision is prayer.  The decision to homeschool is not an easy decision.  With a lot of prayer, thought, research and family discussions it can be the best decision you make regarding your child’s education.  

Once the decision is made and you start your homeschooling journey, there will be days of smooth sailing.  Then there will be tough days that you may ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?”  When your child later looks at you and says, “I got it Mom!  I understand it now!”  That’s when you say, “And this is why I am teaching my child!”  So you may ask, “Could I homeschool my children?”  I say, “Yes, yes you can!”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvest of Friends Blog Party

Well, my friend Lynnette at Dancing Barefoot came up with this great idea of a blog party. I thought it would be fun to answer these questions and hopefully get to know y'all as well! I've enjoyed visiting some of the blogs from her site and hope to visit more in the next few days! So have fun!

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging? Since most of the time I blog in the morning, my big cup of coffee and toast.
2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without? Assuming that family is a given. :-) My Bible and I guess my coffee.
3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice? I have never lived on a farm but would like to try sometime...however Chris and I have said we would love to live in the mountains then travel to the beach often. So I guess I couldn't choose!
4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty? Cleaning bathrooms, not fun!
5. Who do people say you remind them of? Not sure
6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam? I love to get together with family and friends but more often I'd rather stay home with my two guys!
7. What's your all time favorite movie? The Man from Snowy River
8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night? I have to admit that sometimes I am too lazy to remove my makeup at night. But I am definitely ready to get it off by the next morning!
9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it? Yes, to paint or draw.
10. What's one strange thing you're really good at? Hmmm, not sure about that one, I'll have to get back with you on that one.
11. What first attracted you to your spouse? His eyes and his smile!
12. What is something you love to smell? Roses...
13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people. That I can't make up my mind sometimes!
14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it? Buy a farm! (As long as Chris agreed that is... :-))
15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest? I am a loud laugher till someone tickles me then no sound comes out.... Funny stories and "America's Funniest Videos" make me crack up! Click here for one of my favorites, you may have seen this one. "Laughing Babies"
16. Where is your favorite place to shop? Anthropology (Although I have the worse time remembering the name, Apologia, Apothecary...One of those that starts with an A!) and I don't always buy stuff, a little pricey!
17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time? I would sew or make a quilt. I love to sew and would love to learn how to make a quilt.
18. Are you a big spender or frugal? 90% of the time I am a frugal shopper or I try to be.
19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real) Fanny Broadmoore from Tracie Peterson/Judith Miller's Broadmoore Legacy Series. She has a very quiet, sensible, yet strong spirit. She is not afraid to stand up for what is right.
20. Would you want to be famous? Nope.

Well, that's it for me! Thanks for visiting and if you leave a comment, post a link to your blog and I'll be sure to visit you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

There will be days....

We woke up to more rain today. We also had plans to go walk with some friends but had to make a rain check for another day. Which might have been a good thing because Riley also woke up with the sneezes and couldn't shake them! Zirtec to the rescue, but it was moving in slow motion too!

So we jumped into school and got things going so we could get done early and have the rest of the day free (still sneezing along the way...). After Bible, Riley tackled his Phonics test then a spelling test, and did well on both of them! Woohoo! We went over our new spelling list and then started math and that's when things started going down hill. He was trying to write a number on our white board while standing on a chair, but was having difficulty writing it the correct way. I had asked him to line it up under another number so they could be added together. Well, trying to get it lined up took a couple of tries, then he forgot what number he was supposed to be writing. As I was standing over his shoulder reminding of the guidelines I had set for him, the phone rang, he stepped left on the chair and it toppled over and he landed on top of it. It was a chain reaction of events and the results were not good in his eyes. I helped him up and checked him out, thankfully only a little scrape on his leg. After hugs and dried tears, we got back to writing that number and added it to the other one. Victory!!

Later just before lunch when of course we are starving and ready for a break. Our dog Heidi who is a 13 year old German Shepherd, has to be right beside us during school time. You know, she's got to stick with the pack... :-) Riley was trying to walk backwards away from his desk and tripped over a box and Heidi who was laying in the middle of the floor. Boy was that the straw that broke the camel's back, he was so frustrated. He stalked to the bathroom and got a tissue to blow his nose from yet another sneeze, and fighting to contain his frustration. Compassion kicked in and I said, "ok break time." As we went to the kitchen we both agreed some things needed to be put in their correct places, not the dog, but the box that didn't belong in the schoolroom.

When we finally finished after lunch, he said, "Mom, I think I need a rest..." I just smiled and gave him a nod of approval. Tomorrow will be a better day.

It's true that things that don't belong in the picture such as a box in a school room or a dog can really throw a wrench in the school day. There are days that we have to shut the door and not permit Heidi or Flash to come in the school room. Depending on what their motive is and how Riley is that day, the dog and cat can be a great distraction from school. Most of the time Heidi just wants to be close to us, which of course we don't mind.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A "froggy" day!

I remember growing up in Kansas that we spent a lot of our summer evening hours out doors. We would play kickball, kick the can and we also caught frogs and had frog races! Great fun! Thankfully I didn't end up with wort's on my fingers as a result of catching all those frogs! Of course, that could be an old wives tale for all I know.

You never know when you may have an opportunity for a nature study, big or small, keep your eyes open so you don't miss it. Yesterday our day started out a little rough, we woke to a broken coffee maker and our garage had taken in some water from the storm the night before so Riley and I were cleaning up the mess. After we finished cleaning the garage, I decided to trim the grass in the area below our faucet, the grass was so tall. As I tackled the small area something scooted through the grass to get away from the trimmer, so I put it down to go investigate.

Riley came over to see what I was looking for. As we looked and moved things aside we found a fairly good sized frog! At first I thought it was a bullfrog but then decided we should look it up. After looking at some pictures Riley thought it was a Southern Leopard Frog and Chris thought it was a Wood Frog. Y'all look below and see what you think.

We read they like to eat spiders, Moth larva, snails and meal worms. Later, just before we were getting ready to let him go, Chris being much more brave than I, found a spider to pick up on the lid of the bucket. He brought it over and laid the lid down in front of the frog, as he did the spider bounced off the lid and landed about 6-7 inches away from the frog. When the spider landed it froze in place, as if it knew it was in front of a predator! After waiting with the video camera for a few minutes we gently scooted the spider closer to the frog. As we did the spider got within 2-3 inches of the frog, rolled over and folded it's legs up as if it were dead! After it laid there a little bit I guess it became confident that the frog would not eat it because it got up and walked back to the lid it arrived on. Aren't God's creatures amazing?

In our efforts to feed the frog an earthworm wound it's way around the frogs legs and we laid a moth larva in front of it as well. He was not hungry, I'm sure we stressed him out greatly so at that point we allowed him to hop off. With some giggles and jigs as the frog hopped through our legs and under the truck he finally hopped into the grass and burrowed himself as deep as he could go. We enjoyed our little nature study on our resident Southern Leopard Frog/Wood Frog. We still aren't sure which on it is but it was a nice little diversion from the stress of a broken coffee maker and water in the garage!