Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, involve me & I learn"

"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" - Benjamin Franklin

I love this quote from Benjamin Franklin.  It rings so true and many of us who drive our kids from one field trip to the next know that reading something in a book does not even come close to experiencing something in real life.  This is one of the awesome privileges of home schooling.  We get to go and do and not just read about something or watch a movie about it.  It also rings true in life.  We should be involving our children in all aspects of life.  They should be involved in the managing and upkeep of the home, community service, and other activities that get them out of the role of simply being a spectator.

Last month we visited Yorktown and Jamestown during their home school weekend.  This wasn’t our first trip to Jamestown but it was our first chance to go to Yorktown.  What an awesome adventure!  The lives of the revolutionary war heroes as well as ordinary people come to life in such  incredible ways.  The children get to really experience what life was like and understand the whys and hows of the war. 
My middle daughter dressed up as a little farmer at the Yorktown Victory site. 

We even had a chance to hang out on the York River - History, Science, and Biology all in one day!
At Jamestown we learned about how the women dried their food in preparation for winter months

Below is a link to Jamestown and Yorktown.  They offer wonderful programs throughout the year.  In addition to the victory center the area itself is historic and offers tons to do.  I am looking forward to keeping this as a permanent annual field trip.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Your Mind and Your Homeschool - What Are You Focused On?

Several days ago my friend spoke to me about her frustrations and doubts concerning homeschooling her children.  Her task is certainly daunting.  With a large family to take care of saying that her decision to homeschool is a true commitment is an understatement.  However, in spite of her doubts she said that the Lord clearly stated "teach them about me."  This is what she has been holding on to and since then I am also finding strength in this simple but profound statement.

The statement has constantly challenged me to evaluate my focus.  I am convinced that nothing else matters more.  This world is so very fickle and while our child's academics are truly essential their relationship and knowledge of the Lord is invaluable.  I am certain that nothing else will sustain them more in this life's journey.  Our focus must be centered around seeking his will for our family's lives and in that he will equip us to train and teach our children.  Our eyes have to daily be on him.  We must constantly ask for the strength and wisdom to manage our homes and give our children what they need.  We get distracted when we compare ourselves and children to others.   Our focus must remain on him.

Be Blessed ...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun Autumn Glyph for Children

During a mom's meeting at my home the kids made the following autumn glyphs.  This is a really great activity for a slow day or when your kids need a break from the norm. 

What is a glyph?  It is a symbol that conveys a message or information nonverbally.  This is a great way for kids to learn data collection and learn how to interpret information.  Below is a link containing the directions for creating this glyph:
To download the instructions for this Glyph click here.
Happy Homeschooling . . . 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life - New ebook by Crystal Paine

I am excited to announce that Crystal Paine (also known as the Money Saving Mom) is launching her brand new eBook TODAY entitled "21 Days to a More Disciplined Life."  Based on her popular online series by the same name she is providing us with even more tools to help us set priorities, organize, and not to allow our emotions to dictate our life.

Click Here To Learn More

A week does not go by that I don't stop by Money Saving Mom.  I am looking forward to this book and will be posting about how my 21 days are going.  Lord knows I can stand a little more discipline in my life :-)

To learn more about this new book or to order your copy click on my affiliate link below.  Also, if you order by Thursday the cost of the book will only be $0.99!

Click Here to Learn More and get your copy today!

Disclosure: This link is my referral link.  I am affiliate and receive a commission on the sale of this item.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact me at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Whose Standard of Beauty

I would like to welcome my sister Aminah who wrote this encouraging article on her website Loved and Forgiven.  Check out her website as well as her blog Grace to Endure.  She is truly a gift to me from God.

Be Blessed ...

I posted this a long time ago...I felt the need to post this again. I pray that it helps whoever needs to read this.
We cannot turn on the television, surf the net, or even drive around town without being inundated with images of women...perfect women. Or are they, and if so, by whose standards?
  1 Samuel 16:7b The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
This is an area I struggled with a very long time. I made up in my mind about two years ago, that I would no longer live my life being defeated in this area. When I feel myself getting ready to slip into the abyss of negative self image, I use my tools.
1. I remind myself that I was made in God's image
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

God's Kindness Leads to Repentence

Recently I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve our children at church by coming up with their lesson plans for children's ministry.  I am realizing this is a huge task and something that has to be directed by Holy Spirit. So often I feel like we just push our children to the side in pursuit to satisfy our own spiritual appetites not realizing that their spirits are crying out in need of that same nourishment.  We look at Children's Ministry as baby sitting or a place for our children to go so we won't be bothered while we try to get fed.  This is so far from the truth especially once you realize how open and hungry their hearts are for Jesus.  God loves them so much and what an amazing opportunity to show a little heart his amazing kindness in a midst of a confusing and unkind world.
My Daughter's Baptism - She has Experienced God's Kindness

This is truly my heart.  Even though I have to admit I was so focused on getting their lesson done that I was losing track of this simple fact.  In Romans 2:4 the bible says that, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"  I had to stop myself and think am I showing his kindness or more concerned on Sunday about getting their lesson done and the logistics of Children's Ministry?  Isn't the goal for their hearts to receive Christ and their lives to reflect his lordship?  If we are not showing his kindness we are missing a critical element needed to advance his kingdom.  

The same goes for our homeschool.  If we are more focused on our lessons and schedules that we fail to show our children God's kindness than we are missing the highest privilege of the freedom of homeschooling our children.  Laying on guilt and shame will not get us very far with our children but leading them to Christ and having them experience his kindness will bring about a repentant heart that will result in lasting change.

Be Blessed ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Scratching the Surface

Recently I watched a movie entitled "The Second Chance."  It is a drama about a suburban pastor that is forced to work alongside an urban minister.  The suburban pastor (who just so happens to be Michael W. Smith) is a gifted musician and pastor in the church founded by his father.  He is comfortable in his church and their efforts of mission work abroad, in the apparent success of the church's growth and standing in the community.  The urban pastor's church is an affiliate of the suburban mega church because it was planted by Smith's father.

As you can imagine the needs of the two congregations are vastly different.  Throughout the story both ministers are challenged to examine their own views of salvation and ministry.  This is where it got personal for me.  It really made me examine whether or not I have become comfortable in my Christian walk to the point that I am not digging deep into the Christian experience that Christ died for us to have.  Is my walk more about me than about his kingdom being advanced here on earth?

In Hebrews 6:1-3 the author writes, "We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ.  We shouldn't need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God.  And we shouldn't need to keep teaching about the baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment.  Let's grow up, if God is willing."

After reading this I thought wow if laying on of hands and raising people from the dead are what is considered the "basic things we were taught about Christ" than I am just scratching the surface of what Christ died for me to experience.  So how do I move from basic things to the mature things?  What do I need to do differently?  For starters I am asking for grace to see beyond me.  Just as the pastors in the story had to both see beyond what they were use to in order for God's greater purposes to be fulfilled.  Also, I have to stop walking in unbelief and fear.  Now at this point I realize that no change can be brought about simply by my own efforts but only through the work of the Holy Spirit. So it is my prayer that Holy Spirit will help me to begin to not just scratch the surface of this walk but to put a vision in my heart of what our experience is really suppose to look like.

Be Blessed ...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choice for 2012 - 2013

Last year I really enjoyed putting together what I would use to homeschool.  I considered myself an eclectic homeschooler and pretty much pieced together what I felt was the best of all styles for my child.  We used "First Language Lessons of A Well-Trained Mind" for Grammar, Singapore Math, Apologia Science, it really was a hodgepodge of materials and my daughter did very well.

However, this year has brought additional responsibilities and I knew I would not have the time or energy to spend putting her curriculum together.  At our statewide homeschool conference this past June I prayed to God for help.  I vowed not to go to any of the publishers interest meetings because I didn't want to be sold a curriculum.  Of course everyone would say theirs is the best.  However, I truly prayed and asked God to lead me.  I already pretty much thought I would go with one particular curriculum and had even purchased some of the materials during the used curriculum sale but then God stopped me in my tracks and I felt an urge to go to the My Father's World interest session.

homeschool curriculum program developed by My Fathers World

The funny thing was that My Father's World was not even on my list.  I didn't even visit their booth in the exhibit hall the night before.  I truly think it was a God thing.  After listening to the speaker talk about her experiences with the curriculum I was sold.  Below are a couple of reasons why I chose to use MFW:
  1. All the planning is done for you.  This is a HUGE time saver!  I feel less stressed about making sure they are getting what they need.
  2. They already used Singapore Math.  I absolutely love Singapore Math.  I have a math background and I think it is one of the best programs I have seen out there.  Perhaps I will have another post as to why I feel this way.  But trust me if your child is successful using Singapore math they will be able to truly understand mathematical concepts and be able to critically think and apply what they learned in real world applications.
  3. God is at the center of the curriculum and of the actual organization.  It's not just a secular curriculum that put God in it is a true Christian based curriculum with Christ at the center of every subject.
  4. It is hands on and fun.  There are not just a bunch of boring worksheets and drills.  You do fun experiments, nature walks, have lively discussions, it is really a total package.
  5. It was developed by a homeschool family.  Enough said right there.
  6. It uses true living books.  It basically combines the Charlotte Mason style with a classical approach.   
This year we have dived into the Kindergarten Package for my middle daughter and Exploring Countries and Cultures for my oldest.  It captures their interest and mine as well.  It is not boring to teach at all and I am learning so much along with my daughter.  I continue to use First Language Lessons along with their suggested Primary Language Lessons for Grammer.  Also, from time to time we still incorporate our own thing into the days lesson but altogether it has been a great fit for our family.

God Bless...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Keeping Your Mind Set to Homeschool

We all have our reasons for homeschooling.  It is so important to keep those reasons before us at all times.  At this point in the year most of us have pretty much got into what we hope to be some sort of homeschool routine.  Whatever that is for you.  For some your routine is to wake up in the morning and see what the children are interested in and just do it.  Many others have set routines and schedules that you follow.  While some of you participate in coops or other structured learning environments.  However you choose to homeschool it is important to keep your mind set on doing it. 

The challenge often comes after the excitement begins to fade.  You have taken the plastic off of all your new books, you have organized your homeschool space, you may have even spent hours creating the perfect homeschool schedule.  Now the kids are starting to complain a little and if you are truthful you are finding yourself doubting your abilities more than reveling in the excitement of teaching your children.  This is the point where you have to stop in your tracks and set your mind and keep it set that you will homeschool.  Despite your feelings, exhaustion, messy houses, being misunderstood by family and friends, homeschooling is the life that you know God has destined for your family.

Fridays at Homeschool Park Get Together

Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  When you are feeling tired, inadequate, frustrated, or just plain emotional this is not the time to give up.  Press through.  Take a week off if you need to.  Love on your kids and your husband.  Play with your children.  Then go and keep your mind set on homeschooling your kids.  Look to Christ to give you strength and trust that he will honor your decision to make him the center of your child's education and total upbringing. 

God Bless and stay encouraged in his ability to keep you.  Remember you are tailor made to raise and educate your children.  Keep your eyes set on him and the rewards of teaching your children to live lives pleasing to God.  He will honor you and give you what you need.