Tuesday, May 31, 2005
1. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
2. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao by Mao Zedong
4. The Kinsey Report by Alfred Kinsey
5. Democracy and Education by John Dewey
6. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
7. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
8. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte
9. Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche
10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
I had to read #1 in college and I have read parts of 4, 5, 7.
(Thanks to Christine Miller for the tip.)
As Garin Hughes picks through his school-lunch burrito and unidentifiable apple-pear dessert, he has a secret. Hidden underneath the eighth-grader's right leg is a chocolate cookie in shrink-wrapped plastic. That's for dessert. In the past, his parents had no clue when he bought a treat at school. Now, thanks to a new school-lunch monitoring system, they can check over the Internet and learn about that secret cookie.But my question is why doesn't the parent just ask the child what they ate and the child tell them? Why go through all the trouble and expense of spying on them?
Simple. The children don't respect their parents or their money enough to do what is right and the parents don't trust the children to tell them the truth. (What a great relationship.) So instead, we go to these lengths and spend more money to find out what we already know. Children are spending their lunch money on JUNK FOOD! What a revelation! Now that parents have proof....will they stop giving them the money?
Here's a portion from my article Outsourcing Parenthood that seems to apply here.
(Hat tip: Edwonk)
We want the schools to provide nurtritious lunches without ever thinking we should pack the child one ourselves. (snip)
When I was growing up we all went home for lunch. Then in the schools began to take on that responsibility. The parents were thankful. Then the schools began to provide clinics. The parents were thankful. Then the schools began to teach health. The parents were thankful. The schools began to teach sex ed. The parents were thankful. The schools began to parent for them. The parents were thankful..
Monday, May 30, 2005
This was also the weekend to celebrate our Family's Birthday. This is a tradition started a few years back when my son, Josh, asked when the family birthday was. After thinking a moment, I replied that I thought it would probably be on May 31, 1986 the day we were married. That was the day God birthed our family. They all quickly decided that we needed to celebrate that day as a family birthday. (Any excuse for a party!)
So on our anniversary, we take a tour of Ann Arbor and visit all the places where we used to live, with the dorms at UM being the starting point. (We lived in Bursley for any UM grads.) As we drive along, we tell them different stories of our student years, courtship, and married life. The day is finished off at the A & W with coney dogs. (A & W stands for Anniversary Weekend) and an ice cream at our favorite spot.
As the children have gotten older, this time becomes more special to me. Kristin is only two years younger than I was when I went to UM. It is strange to walk around campus with her. She fits in and I look...well like the mothers I remember seeing visiting campus when I was a freshman.
We enjoy this tradition tremendously. Our lives are shorter than we think and it is fun to take a weekend to remember what God has done both in our nation and in our family.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Four days after Jennifer and her husband said "I do", they reported for duty at Quantico. So much for a glamorous honeymoon in an exotic location. But Jennifer has a great attitude and a willingness to do what the Lord has called her to do . And nine and a half years later, while her husband is "playing in the sandbox" she plays with her boys in the Carolinas.
Her sons ages are 7, 5, 3, and 19 months. He second has Asperger's Syndrome and they suspect the third does as well. But Jennifer jokes that the biggest challenge is dealing with her unsdisciplined "ADD" self. But she adds that this all provides fertile ground for the Lord to work and also gives her great material to blog about. (Her blog Blestwithsons is great!)
Jennifer and her husband do enjoy one advantage many others in the military do not. Her husband is a operations planning officer and so he has a personal computer. So they are able to communicate by e-mail. And he reads her blog!
Jennifer is able to find additional support from others on base who homeschool. The military does provide schools for the children but Jennifer and her husband share a strong commitment to homeschooling the boys. She has also found many fellow homeschoolers at her church and this has helped ease the burden at times. And she adds that the abundance of homeschool blogs has given her support right at her fingertips.
Their future in the military is uncertain. They will probably be in the military for another 3 years with the next post being non-deployed and hopefully a better family arrangement. Her husband has plans of doing a full 20 years but they haven't made any commitments.
I must say that I admire Jennifer and many others like her who are willing to sacrifice so much of their own comfort to defend this country. With four energetic boys and a husband overseas, Jennifer, deserves a medal of honor in my book. But I am sure that Jennifer is not doing this for the personal praise. Her reward will be an eternal one given by a Heavenly Father who will one day say to her "well done my good and faithful servant enter now into the joy of my rest!"
Saturday, May 28, 2005
My husband wrote an article a few years back that speaks so well to the sacrifice that men were willing to make for something greater than themselves. Here's an excerpt
Civil War history includes heroic feats of bravery as men sought to preserve their unit colors and honor. One such event took place in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg. There, in the heat of battle on July 2nd, 1863, the 4th Michigan was cut to pieces and their colors were lost in hand-to-hand combat. In the ensuing melee, the 4th's commander, twenty-six year old Colonel Harrison Jeffords, lunged to retrieve the colors and was pierced with a mortal bayonet wound. He died the next day.As am mother with two young sons who are thinking of joining the military, I see their sacrifice in a different way than when I read about it in history class. The men and women who fought and are currently fighting for this country are willing to die so that I can enjoy my abundant life. And they left behind mothers and wives who were hoping for their return. Some did but many did not.
When I first read that story, I thought, "For a flag? He died to save a piece of cloth that could easily be replaced?" It was not a disrespectful thought but more of a practical one. A flag can be replaced but not a man, especially a high-caliber officer. As I pondered such sacrifice, I came to understand what that flag represented to those men. It represented all the ideals and principles that our country was founded upon, all that it had ever achieved, and the hopes and dreams of generations to come. I came to have a new appreciation of our flag and the sacrifice of those who defended her.
My son said to his grandmother one day, "I'm going to be a Marine."
She tried to encourage him to do something else saying that the Marines are the first to go in and the first to die.
He was undeterred, "Grandma, I can die serving God and my country or I can die sitting here on the couch. But if I'm going to die, I'm going to die."
"Greater love has no man than this that he is willing to lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
A mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education.
Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
4. Heart disease
The American flag had 45 stars.
Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." (Shocking!)
Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
My conviction on homeschooling is just as strong. I would no more want my children to send their children to a public school than I would want my son to cheat on his wife.
And if we don't mind if they don't homeschool can we really call it a conviction? Or are there degrees of conviction? (I am not writing to be contentious but merely to help me understand myself and the direction of homeschooling. )
Keep in mind I am not asking if they WILL share them. That is their choice. But I believe it is part of my job as a parent to impart my convictions to them and hopefully to shape future generations.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite sermons that I think illustrates what I am getting at.
Pastor: "How many here today are living in a bigger house then the one they grew up in?"
(Most hands went up.)
Pastor: "How many have atleast as many children as the family they grew up in?"
(About 6 families raised their hands.)
This was a congregation with over well 1000 in attendance that morning. So even taking into account non-marrieds and infertility issues the illustration was clear. We as a society (and more importantly as Christians) have changed what we place a high value in.
I realize that the homeschool movement is growing right now. But are we in jeapordy of losing the future generations of homeschoolers because they do not value homeschooling in the same way we do? It is hard to imagine it now but then there are alot of things happening toay that were hard to imagine at one time too.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
And since, I am on the subject of choosing home, I will be busy the next few days so I may not be posting very much.
But before I go, here's a welcome piece of news to any Oregon homeschooler, the house has voted to drop regular testing of homeschoolers unless they participate in sports or other activities. It's about time some get's it.
Have a great rest of the day and don't forget to smile.
When I left home, I told my parents that I was going to college to get a degree. And if by chance I decided to get married, it would be to a doctor. That way, we could live in a large house and I would never see him only his money. And I would be free to pursue my own interests.
God had other ideas.
I gave my life to Christ my first year there. Through excellent discipleship and fellowship, God was able to root out many false notions that had been deposited in my youth. Christ also gave me an inner confidence that I had lacked, but I held firm on marriage. It wasn't for me. Many others were there for an "Mrs." degree but I was all business. I majored in computer science. This suited my logical and analaytical skills fairly well. And an added bonus, the corporations were hungry for women in this field so I figured finding a job would be easy after graduation.
But then I had to go and meet Steve. So marriage was for me after all. We met in January of '84, my junior year. He was dating someone else and had recently become a Christian. I had no time for a social life. I was working 2 jobs and with my studies I didn't even want to think about a serious relationship. God, however, had other plans. By September he was available and by October we were engaged. I couldn't believe it. (And neither could he.) We set a date for May 31, 1986.
This was also the time when I took my first "real" job as a computer sales representative for a company in our area. I quickly excelled in my job. I was earning nearly $4000 a month selling computers. The PC industry was booming and so was my career. Full steam ahead. Maybe I would be president of IBM after all. But then came the choice.
We had been married about 6 months. With graduation finally behind me, I was free to build a career in the growing computer industry. Steve also took his first job as a sales rep. We both loved what were doing but something didn't seem quite right to me. We would go to work, come home in the evening, eat, catch up on stuff, fall into bed exhausted, and wake up and do it all over again. I began to pray that God would lead me in the ways He desired. I made a commitment when we were married to do everything I could to make Steve successful and not be a hinderance to God's plans for him. But I felt like that's what I was becoming. My career was taking up more and more of my time and I had less time to focus on being his wife. I realized that if it came down to a choice between my husband needing me at home on a given day and my boss needing me at work, I would probably choose the job over my husband. After all I reasoned, Steve's a grown man. He can take care of himself. But the tug was still there despite my best efforts to pretend otherwise. I needed to put my marriage ahead of my career even before I had a child to care for. I discussed with Steve my decision to leave my career behind and he was very supportive. We had previously decided that I would work until we had children. This change would mean a substantial loss of income. But he told me to do what God was leading me to do.
So one Monday morning, I went into my boss's office and put in my notice. He was stunned. He questioned why I would leave such a lucrative job and the beginnings of a great career just to be a help mate to my husband. I didn't expect him to understand but his bewilderment was slightly unsettling. He tried to convince me to stay. I felt somewhat doubtful myself to be honest. This did seem kind of foolish. But in the end I knew that I had to "choose home" and trust where God desired me to be. So I held firm and told him I couldn't be persuaded to stay.
A few hours later, my boss came over to my desk. He asked if I could please watch the office for a little while. He seemed kind of agitated. I asked if everything was okay with their new little baby girl. He said yes she was fine, but that the babysitter didn't show up and his wife needed to go to work. She needed him to come and watch the baby and find a replacement. As the words were leaving his lips, his face showed a new understanding of my decision. He realized I was choosing to go home to support my husband while his wife was choosing to leave. He got it and I never had to explain my convictions to him again. I had chosen to be home, where a wife needs to be.
As for my boss, I found out years later that he and his wife were divorced. For some reason that didn't surprise me. Women cannot have it all.
In saying so, I probably won't win many popularity contests with the "in" crowd. But that's okay I've gotten kind of used to being the girl most likely to be forgetten anyway.
Monday, May 23, 2005
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life...
So many times, I read Proverbs 31 and get so overwhelmed. If I did all these things I would stay awake 24/7 (and there would be absolutely no time for blogging.) I don't think that an excellent wife has to do all these things at one time, of course. But this is a high standard that I desire to work towards. There is, however, one part of Proverbs 31 that I can do. It costs me absolutely nothing and no extra time is required .
Proverbs 31:25 states "she smiles at the future."
Let's try an experiment. Just sit here at the computer for a minute and smile. Oh, Come on! No one's looking.
A little wider please.
That's better. Keep it there now. That's awesome. Oh, you're looking so good!.
Now quick! before something happens, walk to a mirror. (Go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back!)
Did you notice how great you looked? It's amazing isn't it. But don't go letting your cirucmstances wipe it off now.
Make sure your husband get's to see it too!
I find it fascinating that God had to tell wives to "smile at the future" because it often doesn't come naturally to us. The "worry face" seems to be the trendy look these days. But let's get in the habit of putting on a smile each day. God has our future well in hand. And when you're asked by someone why you're wearing that silly grin. Just tell them you're obeying God's word.
And don't forget about your chance to get into writing excitement by participating in the "Coming Home Party". You can get all the details here. Jenna and Molly are putting it all together. But you better hurry the deadline is Wednesday, May 25th.
Just out of curiosity what was the biggest fine you ever paid?
My first post was whether home education was a conviction or a preference for you.
My second, was about convictions and state requirements.
My final question is about the generations to come after us.
"Psalm 78:6-8 says,
6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.We are called to prepare the hearts of our children and to forget not the works of God. I believe the fact that we are able to homeschool is a work of God. Many countries do not allow home education under any circumstances. And as this scripture indicates we are to teach and prepare the next generation. We are to concern ourselves with passing on our convictions to our children and their children. Is that happening in your home? Carolyn M. wrote in the comments she made to a previous post about a trend she noticed among her children's friends.
When my oldest was a senior, I began asking her friends if they planned to homeschool their children. Most just blushed and admitted they had not even considered it. Some said emphatically NO, and only 1 voiced his conviction to marry a homeschooled girl and raise a homeschooling family -- he is now married to a girl who was not homeschooled and is not the "motherly" type, and I have no idea about their plans for the future.My experience has been surprisingly similar. So my final question is "Are your children as convicted to homeschool theirs as you are?" Have they determined that they will homeschool their children despite any obstacles that may be put before them? I realize that many have children too small to have convictions about anything at this point so to ask it another way "How would you feel if your children put their children in the public schools?" Keep in mind I am not asking if they have that right. I believe they have the liberty to make that choice. But I am wondering more about how you would look upon your success in education and transferring your convictions to your children if that was the choice they made.
Update: Jaclyn and Jeremy have two very well thought out responses from the next generation of homeschoolers. Thanks to the Duchy of Carrots for helping move this discussion forward.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
It was a bright, sunny, early spring day. The weather had been unseasonably warm the whole week so we took a few "sunshine holidays". After a cold Michigan winter, I knew that it was time to get outdoors again. The children loved it and spent most of the daylight hours getting reacquainted with their bikes and roller blades. This went on most of the week. That's when we received our unexpected visitor.
"Mom, there's a man here to talk to you!" Jason hollered from the stairway. (I had just put the younger ones down for a nap and I was in the basement putting in a load of laundry.)
"What did you say?" (My head deep inside the dryer.)
"There's some big guy out here and he says he's gotta talk to you." he repeated.
"Who is he?"
"I dunno, the Social Services or something."
(Department of Social Services? No, he couldn't mean that. He's confused.)
I quickly went upstairs. There was a big, rather plump, tall man standing in the driveway. Looking around the front yard. I called the two older ones inside and told them to sit quiet in the house. (Thankfully, they obeyed the first time.) I tried to collect my thoughts and ran through the drill in my head. Don't panic. Look calm. Don't let him inside. And never, never let him see me sweat.
"Hello!" I said, cheerfully extending my hand, "How can I help you?"
"Hello! I have been driving around the neighborhood this week and I've noticed your children out playing." (He pauses.) I don't say anything.
"Have you lived here long?" he asks.
"Who are you?" I respond. (Wow! I shock myself, that sounded pretty confident.)
"My name is "John" from the Department of Social Services and I would like to ask you a few questions. " I don't say anyting. (I learned in sales don't answer their questions make them answer yours)
"How long have you lived here?" he questioned again.
"How do I know?" I responded.
"How do you know what?" He replied sounding mildly perturbed.
"That you are who you say you are?"
"Well, its right here, (He reaches for his necktie looking for an ID tag that isn't there.) "Just one minute." (He goes to the backseat of his car and begins to shuffle papers around mumbling something about his office and getting more organized. I try to suppress a giggle.) He emerges a few minutes later red faced and full of sweat. Okay, he's flustered. I relax a little.
"Here it is!" (He produces an ID badge and hangs it back in its rightful spot.) I stand there silent. His whole demeanor has now changed. He tries a more conversational style and begins to explain that they are investigating some neighbors and that they want to know what I know about them. He talks for some time. (Totally relief inside but not letting down my guard.) After he finishes his lttle story about how terrrible he thinks my neighbor is he asks me if I have noticed anything susupicious.
"If I have a problem with my neighbor I will talk to my neighbor." I reply.
"But aren't you concerned?"
"If I have a problem with my neighbor I will talk to my neighbor."
"But (and he reveals a piece of confidentail information.) doesn't that bother you?"
"If I have a problem with my neighbor I will talk to my neighbor." (this is repeated a few more times in a vain attempt to get me to talk.)
"But....Okay, I get it...you'll talk to your neighbor. If you change your mind, here's my card, give me a call."
He leaves and I "properly" file the card. The children run back outside to play. I make a mental note to buy better deoderant. The dryer beeps. Oh, yeah it's time to put in another load of laundry.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I now would like to ask a hypothetical follow up question. If your child or children were prevented from getting into college because they didn't have the right credentials due to the fact that they were homeschooled would you still homeschool them through high school or would change what you are doing to meet those new requirements.
Before you question the validity of question, let me give you a little more information. (I have so much research on this but finding it on the internet is difficult and time consuming.) Many schools disctricts are moving toward an "endorsed diploma" or "certificate of initial mastery" (CIM) as a part of a high school diploma. A look at the Oregon Department of Education website is very informative. Here is a description of a CIM from Nov. 2004. And here is what it will mean to graduates in the future.
When you apply to attend a college or university, to get a job, to join the military, or to do volunteer work, the CIM can help you prove why you should be admitted, hired, or allowed to join. It shows you did more than just attend school, take classes, and graduate with a GPA. It shows you worked hard to achieve high standards - standards that people respect in the world beyond high school.The direction education is heading is toward preference for those who obtain a CIM. A CIM is only obtainable with the passage of standardized tests and meeting certain things like 50 credit hours of "voluntary community service" (Is it really voluntary if you are required to do it for graduation? )
Community service is defined as unpaid service that is performed outside the school day for individuals or public organizations for the benefit of the community.Homeschoolers would be forced to take state tests, and meet certain requirements and work without just compensation in order to obtain a CIM. (In Michigan it is part of the WorkKeys Program and run by ACT testing service.)
Do you notice who is missing from the list...PARENTS. Please read, Should Homeschoolers Take MEAP for more information. And here are the convitions of a family in PA who is fighting this legal battle.
Work Keys is a workplace skills assessment system used nationwide by employers, students, workers, and educators. Developed by ACT, formerly known as American College Testing, Work Keys offers assessments to measure the current skill levels of workers, as well as occupational profiles and job profiles to document the skills required by occupations and specific jobs. Work Keys has become an integral part of Michigan’s career development system. Using Work Keys . . .
Employers can assess workers and customize training for a wide range of skilled jobs,
Students and workers can document and advance their employability skills, and
Educators can tailor instructional programs to help students acquire the skills employers need
Do your covictions extend to the point where you would not submit to certain state requirements even if that meant your child could not get a CIM and advance in their academics?
(There is a Part 3 to this question. I will post it next week.)
What do you usually do when you see a penny lying on the ground? Do you pick it up? I must admit, many times I don't. I'm just to busy to take the time to stop. After all, it's only a penny. But what if I were out of money and I came across that same penny? Well, that would be a whole 'nother story. Of course I'd pick it up. And I'd probably do a quick search to see if there were anymore close by. Each one becomes like a rare silver dollar. The value of the penny hasn't changed but how much I value it does.
That was an analogy a friend of our shared with my husband a few months ago in regards to time.
Often, we waste precious minutes in our day because we think we have a unlimited supply. We know we really don't but we act as though we do. So we fritter away our time in frivolous ways thinking they'll be time later to catch up on the important stuff. (There was a popular song years ago by Harry Chapin that tells the story so well.)
But what if you find out your supply isn't as unlimited as you once thought. The value quickly changes. Each minute becomes like a rare silver dollar. Priceless.
Perspective changes everything.
The friend who shared this with my husband had just found out he has terminal brain cancer. He found out last December and is not expected to live more than a year. Today, he is going in for his second surgery in 6 months. They cannot stop the growth but they are hoping that they can buy him a little more time with his family. Each day they can give him is priceless. He doesn't have many more left. He is a homeschool father with 8 bright and talented children.
So if you have a minute to spare, I ask you to spend it in a prayer for John, Christi, and their family. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. And maybe the prayer you say today will give him a few more minutes to spend tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I had just become a Christian and began attending a church in the area. There were alot of young families and many were homeschooling. As I became acquainted with the families I was more and more convinced that homeschooling was an option that I would strongly consider when I had a family. So initially my decision was based alot on academics. But as I began to grow in my faith and study the bible I learned that I did not want my children to have only knowledge but to have wisdom. Slowly, my initial preference to homeschool turned into a conviction. I am to the point now where I would not consider giving up homeschooling any more than I would consider divorcing my husband.
How about for you? Is homeschooling a conviction or a preference? Has it changed over time? I'm curious to know because I think it is having an impact on homeschooling is being viewed by others. This shift might be having an impact in certain legislative actions that are being considered in various states. You can comment anonymously if you would like. But I am very interested in what you think about this.
Here's a great perspective from new blogger Kara that's worth a read.
Section 37O. Whoever, in any public or private school in the Commonwealth, produces alone or in concert with another or others, a document by any means, containing the name or names of fellow student or school personnel or both which would thereby cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or groups of persons shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment in a jail or house of correction.Every report card I ever got produced anxiety, unrest, and personal discomfort. I think just about every teacher would be in violation of the law. What a revenue boost to the state. They should just call it the "Teacher Tax". This could surely end alot the problems in how to fund public education and No Child Left Behind don't you think? (Only a state like Massachuesetts could come up with something this dumb.)
(Hat tip: Different River and Zero Intelligence )
One of my early frustrations after teaching my children to read was finding quality books. I desired books that would captivate my children's imagination and inspire them to pursue a life in Christ. But on their reading level.
My good friend Renee Taft Meloche has published a series for children that fits that standard. The books are based on the lives of different missionaries and historical figures. They are written in poetry form with quality illustrations. And best all, Renee has an accompanying CD available where she narrates the stories. The books are written for children ages 6 to 8. And they provide a great bridge into chapter books. There are currently about 20 books in the series.
These books are a favorite with my younger girls. Renee has also developed a Sunday school curriculum that uses these books. It should be availabe in a few weeks. You can order the books at Youth With A Mission.
FAVORITE #2: BILL JOHNSON
The deadline is May 25 to submit posts and the "party" will be on June 1. I'm already working on my entry and I encourage you to as well.
And while on the subject of blogs. I am still slowly getting my blog roll updated. I would love to have bloggers from all 50 states. If you don't see your name and would like to be added let me know. (I'm still working on convention entries but it's okay to be pushy and remind me again.)
I now have a site feed. But am clueless how to use it. If anyone can give me any advice let me know. Also, if anyone can give me any tips on RSS feed. I would be forever grateful. I am trying to figure the whole thing out and it just keeps getting more and more confusing.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Before choosing curriculum I would encourage anyone to do a study on knowledge and wisdom. What does the bible says about each and how they are acquired? Contrast that with the bible says about the foolish. This will help formulate what God sees as needful and which is most profitable in the education of your children.
Also, before choosing curriculum there are a few other considerations that may help make that decision more obvious.
1. What type of a home do you want to have?
2. What do you desire a typical day to be like?
3. What input and interaction do you desire your husband to have in this whole processs?
4. What type of a relationship do you desire between siblings?
5. What are the unique traits that God has placed in your children that make them easier and sometimes more difficult to teach?
6. What notions do you have about what your desire your family to be like in 10 or 15 years?
7. What do you think a well educated child means?
8. What notions does your husband have? How do they compare?
9. What other influences are there in making homeschool choices. (ie. grandparents, friends, or state law, etc.)
10. What did you like about school when you were young? What did you dislike?
11. How would you describe a successful homeschool experience?
These answers may lead to more questions but that will lead to a better curriculum decision.
There are no correct answers and different families will give different answers. That is the benefit to homeschooling...God using this tool to train His children to be who desires them to be. I believe homeschooling is God's calling but it will not look the same for every family.
I could just as easily tell you everything that we have done and you can just plug it all into your day and move on. Or decide that you like the way another family does it and use their "method" instead. But that would not be fair to you or your children. You and your husband must seek the Lord together. Considering the questions and thoughts I have outlined, I hope will spark to come together and decide what is the ultimate goals in educating your children and then other "curriculum" choices will be easier to make.
While most would agree that we desire our children to grow in their knowledge of Christ and in Godly character...How that is best achieved will be different in each family. Remember you are not only training your children but you are also training them in how to train the next generation.
God is also working on you and your own personal growth and relationships at the same time. The decision about what curriculum to use is only one of many you will make in the discipleship of your children. Your are going to make good decisions and you will also make mistakes. Learn from both.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that the best place to learn about all education is from God's word. You and your family will never fail with the Word of God as your primary source for all wisdom and instruction.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
4:30 AM. Woke up. Tossed and turned for over an hour. Praying for my friend's son who was scheduled to have brain surgery today.
5:30 Fell back asleep.
7:30 Hubby wakes up. Kids come wandering in one at a time until our bed is creaking under the weight of it all.
8:00 Bible, Breakfast, and a little blogging. More praying for my friend.
9:00 Start my "real work". I inspect the boys' room. Spotless as usuual. They are Young Marines and keeping their room neat is a requirement. Moving over to the girls room. Messy as expected. They do try to keep things in order but with four girls in one small room. It's tough. Grace is necessary in a stressful situation. The girls and I chat about needing another bedroom. I tell them to pray and that if it was a need that God will supply it because he supplies all our needs. I told them that I am praying for another dresser because Elaina's clothes can't stay in a plastic box forever! God shall supply all my needs.
10:00 Called my friend to see if he was in surgery yet. No answer. A friend pulls in the driveway unexepectedly. Thankfully the mess is only in the upper quarters and the downstairs look's like it normally does. (We enjoy a very traditional lived in look.)
My friend and I chat about getting her started in homeschooling. I loan her a few books. Then she asks if I need a dresser. Her daughter has 2 and they are looking to get rid of one. Yes! Yes! Yes! My God has supplied all my needs. (It is a little unbelievable but than I serve an awesome God!)
11:30 Friend leaves. Lunch time. PBJ again. I pray again for my friend.
12:00 Clean up. Put baby down for a nap. I was going to go buy flowers in the morning. Now it looks like rain. I decide to go anyway. Katie and I go pick out some petunias, marigolds, and begonias. (Her Mother's Day gift to me.) The others do their school work and practice their instruments.
1;30 Arrive home just at the first crack of thunder and lightening. I decide to bake cookies since I can't plant the flowers. Help Elizabeth with long division and check my blog.
3:30 My husband then tells me that we need to have a very important meeting. I grin. That means a trip to Starbuck's. Kristin finishes the cookies and we go. The rain is gone and the sun is shining. We walk around town and sit in the park for a while.
4:30 I tell him I'm hungry for a burger. We go to the "Burger Spot" for a yummy southwestern. I call Kristin and tell her to start dinner without me. (I love having older children!)
5:30 I help finish dinner and clean up. (I'm still full from my burger.)
6:30 Elizabeth, Kristin and I go to the fabric store to buy a gift certificate for her friend's birthday party. My friend calls while we are driving. God is good. They were able to get out the tumor and her son is going to be just fine. The tumor had been called inoperable when he was 7. He is 19 now. God is good. She asks me to make a some phone calls to a few friends. God truly does hear our prayers.
8:00 Steve and I go to our friend's house to pick up the dresser and visit for a while.
9:30 Clean up the house. Check my blog. Go to bed.
All in all a pretty eventful day. Nothing went the way I planned it. But the miracles are as obvious as the God who performed them. Have a great weekend and don't forget to treat the kiddos to a free frosty.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
A few months ago I took Jason (14) out to lunch. Actually, he suggested it and he was buying so off we went to Arby's for the 5 for $5 special. While I watched him eat his four sandwiches in the length of time it took me to eat one, we chatted about a lot of different things. When there was a lull in the conversation, I switched the subject to a scripture that I had been meaning to ask him about. Proverbs 22:36 says "My son, give me thine heart and let thine eyes observe my ways." This seemed like the appropriate time to ask him if we still retained his heart even though he was in the middle of growing from a boy to a man.
He grinned and said, "Mom, if you and dad didn't have my heart then do you think I'd be sitting here with you at Arby's right now?"
So I pressed him a little on why he thinks teens seem to stray away and what could a parent do to keep a child from rebelling against them and the Lord.
He said, "Don't bend the wire." I was confused. What exactly did that mean?
He kept going. "Did you ever notice that a wire once it has been bent can't go exactly straight again. I've tried it. It can go pretty straight but you can never get the kink out completely." Now, I was really confused and wondering if my son really understood what I was getting at.
I asked him, "What does any of this have to do with you and teenagers?"
"Mom," he said, "You and dad are the wire and I am trying to get you to bend a little but don't do it. Don't give in to my selfish demands. I may recover but it will never be quite the same. Most parents don't understand that we want you to say no. The minute you give in it's all over. I want to believe what you believe but if you don't believe in it why should I?"
I got it.
This is from a son who was very difficult to handle at different times. The son who in his early years could send me into tears just by walking into the room. Now he was sitting across from me and telling me to stay strong and stay the course. I am sure there will be a few more bumps in the road before he takes on the full responsibilities of a man but I am following his wise counsel and I think he is going to make one fine husband and father one day.
He gave me a few more hints on the mindset of a teen that I hope to blog about real soon. But I'll be busy the rest of the weekend so it'll have to wait.
Update: Read Extreme Parenting For more reading on parenting in the teen years.
In Great Britain,
Tony Blair seems to have the teen culture problems on his mind these days.
Musing on the "deep-seated causes" of children growing up without proper discipline, the prime minister told reporters at his monthly press conference: "I can start a debate on this and I can legislate but what I can't do is, I can't raise someone's children for them."But that's exactly what most parents want Mr. Blair.
And here's what's going on here in the U.S....
What would you do if your son was on the wrestling team and the opposing team had girls on it? That's the dilemma of this private Baptist school in Tacoma, Washington. They chose to forfeit which prompted the daughter's father to complain.
"My daughter's rights," he said, "are not going to be bargained away for any reason."He thinks that the school should force the boys to wrestle his daughter. I applaud the young men for standing firm and respecting the young ladies even if they can't see it. (HT: Agent Tim)
Meanwhile, over in Wisconsin, their wrestling with the of problem of letting a young man go to the prom dressed like a girl. They ended up expelling him for three days and fining him $249 when he showed up anyway. The principal declined comment but I admire his guts to take a stand on this issue. (HT: Edwonk)
Our society is so confusing these days. It's okay for a girl to act like a guy and want to wrestle but not okay for a guy to dress like a girl and dance at the prom. And these are the educators that want my children? No thanks.
He who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20
I was reminded again of how stressful it really is when I got a call last week from a dear friend in tears. She needed some encouragement and support. The newborn needed to nurse, the toddler had just thrown up, and the 13 year old daughter needed help with her math all at the same time. She pulled the teen away from her schoolwork to help with the toddler while she nursed in the hall to keep the other 6 children out of the bathroom! She called me later in the day full of guilt that her oldest daughter had to stop what she was doing to help out. The daughter didn't complain it was the mother's own guilt and worry that prompted the call to me. I know the frustration so well. I listened as she poured out all the details of the morning.
While most of us don't have nine children 13 and under, the tension between academics and home life is a balancing act. Even the unschoolers that I talk to feel this anxiety at times. We fret that today's interruption will create more problems for them and us sometime in the future. Her call brought back to mind my own anxiety as a new mother.
When Kristin was a year old, I discovered I was pregnant with my second. I wondered how I was going to get it all done. I worried that I would not be able to give to Kristn what she needed while taking care of another baby. (Little did I know who else was waiting in the wings!) Thankfully, I heard a teaching by Elisabeth Elliot one morning that helped me prioritize my day and the inevitable interruptions that will come up. It was a poem that she read called "Do the next thing". It has become my motto for life. Here are my two favorite versus.
"Do The Next Thing"
Many a questioning,
many a fear,
Many a doubt,
hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance,
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
"DO THE NEXT THING!"
Do it immediately;
do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee
with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
"DO THE NEXT THING!"
A simple thing to remember that saved me hours of stress. I don't have to worry. I don't have to think about tomorrow. I don't have to think about next week or next year. I just have to think about the NEXT thing that God gives me to do and DO IT. What liberty there is when we fix our eyes on the only one who can fix our situation! Trust Him and just go do the next thing and do it for HIM.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Also, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I would like to repost
"What is a Teacher"
A teacher is someone who can...
--Give a hug without getting arrested.
--Bandage a knee without calling the school nurse.
--Change a lightbulb without calling the custodian.
--Make the children wash the bathrooms.
--Have a relationship with the principal without getting fired.
--Teach a child's mind while capturing their heart.
--Teach what they believe in and believe in what they teach.
--Meet the child's need and not worry about meeting the state guidelines.
--Commit to a lifetime of work without pay.
--Pray! in class, out loud, with the children and the ACLU can't say a word.
There is is only one that can fill that job description
A teacher is a mom
"Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and do not forsake your mother's teaching." Proverbs 1:8
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
A few minutes later, Elaina (18 months) came near and reached her hands up to me. I picked her up thinking she wanted to snuggle. But she quickly squirmed free, gave me a kiss, closed her eyes, and then began to whisper something. After a few minutes, she opened her eyes and said, "AMEN". She had just imitated exactly what my husband had done. I smiled broadly and said a hearty amen back to her. She then went to everyone else in the home and repeated her actions. Elaina was learning to pray by just watching her daddy do what a daddy is supposed to do.
It wasn't textbook for sure but from her heart none the less. What I love most about homeschooling is that when she learned this we were all there to share in her joy. From the oldest down to the youngest each celebrating Elaina's moment. It is in times like these that I thank God all my children are home and their daddy is a Godly man.
"Fathers, when you rise up and when you walk along the path teach these things diligently to your children." Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Monday, May 09, 2005
Well our humble little homeschool nestled here in the midwest didn't need to fake such a crime. Our "sheltered children" experienced a taste of the real world a few years (2001) back that still affects our household today.
Our house was vandalized by neighborhood bullies who sprayed painted the siding, garage door, windows, and van with obscenities, religious slurs, and derogatory symbols. It was hideous and full of hate towards our family and our faith. But not according to the county prosecutor. The officer explained that if we were black, gay, or Muslim, we would be front page news but since we are white Christians he told us that nothing would be done. He said that since the paint could be washed off there was no "real damage" and that he was sorry. Even after we were able to figure out who did it on our own they still refused to do anything. It seems that hate only comes in certain "colors" and "styles" these days.
So instead my children got an excellent education that night and a taste of the "real world".
Here's some of what's clogging my brain.
1. Andrea asked about favorite homeschool books. I have read fair number of books on this topic over the years. And to be perfectly honest they are not my favorite things to read. But one that does stand out would have to be the original Charlotte Mason series published in the 1800's. (not the modern rewrites). There are 5 volumes and cover every aspect of education and family life. I don't neccessarily have a "Charlotte Mason" philosophy in my home but I did find the books very good reading. If you had to pick one book what would yours be?
2. What does it mean to be "properly socialized"? Derek made the comment that some homeschooler are poorly socialized after Micheal Smith talked about a new "conventional wisdom" on the topic of socialization. That's a myth that has been dispelled and a discussion I really don't care to have. But I am curious, what does it means to be properly socialized anyway? I would love to know how you define that term?
3. It appears some people are abusing the law and using homeschooling as a way to escape truancy violations in Michigan. Are there really that many people claiming this or is this a trumped up charge to create more regulation for homeschoolers in our state?
4. And if the state really wants to get serious about violations and abuse they might want to start with their own teachers abusing the students To the parents with children in the public schools I ask, "Who is watching your children? Do you really know? Can you trust them?" People choose their cars with such care but just seem to accept the teachers that their children are assigned. That has always puzzled me.
And here's a few non-educational thoughts...
5. LaShawn Barber posted a comment here about Christian woman bloggers after I emailed and asked her for an opinion. I found her comments honest and insightful. She said,
I admit my interest in politics often overrides concerns I may have bout what is or isn't appropriate for me to blog about as a Christian woman. No two Christians will ever agree about what is appropriate, though.LaShawn also blogged about faith based blogging at a conference she attended. For me, this issue still lives in my mind and probably will as long as I keep on blogging. It's also nice to know that there are some mortal humans who are willing to talk to adorable little rodents.
6. A few people have asked me to share my story about how Steve and I got together and I've been putting it off. My anniversary is coming up (19 years) maybe I should share it then. But I guess I'm a little fearful that after you read it you might think me a bit nuts and decide I haven't been properly socialized despite my public school background.
7. There was a sad story of a mom and her 2 children who were killed last week by a drunk driver going 70 mph here in the Detroit area. It really got to me. The man was still legally drunk 24 hours later. I think about Kristin driving now and wonder if I ever want my children out on the road. Not because I don't trust my daughter it's everybody else I'm wondering about. Do mothers ever stop worrying about their children?
8. That makes me want to thank my wonderful family for the surprise post on my blog. I love you all very much! Thanks for a wonderful Mother's Day. You are all a treasured gift from God.
Well, the brain cells are moving and the thoughts are flowing freely to the fingers once again relief at last. But, if your brain needs to be declogged feel free to share what's on your mind today.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Happy Mother's Day
Friday, May 06, 2005
The sad reality is that many don't understand that simple fact that their life here on earth is for something greater than themselves. They look upon children as an inconvenience and not a blessing. That leads to the horrible tragedy of abortion and the death of millions of children who will never be able to wake up tomorrow and wish their mothers a "Happy Mother's Day". That leads to stories such as the one Molly posted about here. about Adrienne. Thanks Adrienne for sharing.
Evangelical Underground also shares about a tragic abortion nightmare.
Knowledge is knowing how babies are created but wisdom is knowing Who created them. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Without the fear of the Lord the knowledge alone leads many to the senseless murder of these unborn children.
Then it's Mother's Weekend. I'm always trying to make that day last longer and longer and with 6 children one day just isn't long enough to celebrate. Tonight, we're going to a Monte Nagler photo exhibit. He's a local treasure and we look forward to seeing his work. The rest of the weekend is yet to be determined but never uneventful. (Also, don't miss my Mother's Day gift to you!)
Lastly, since this is the end of the school year for many I would like to have a small awards ceremony. (Don't worry there will be no long speeches.) I would like to give out the Perfect Attendance Award to my mother. She has always been there for me and my children and never missed a day. She has consistently put her desires aside to make life better for all us. I love you mom! You are a blessing to me! Happy Mother's Day!