Monday, October 31, 2005

Blogging Teens - What's a Parent to Do?

Apparently other parents are not having as much fun blogging with their children as we are. USA Today reports that some parents are finding the contents of their children's blogs troubling. Here's what one psychologist had to say,

"I've had parents come to me who've read their kid's blog and see scary things and now they don't know what to do with the information," says psychologist Susan Bartell. "They say, 'My kid's writing about the s*x she's having, writing about all the parties she's going to. But I'm not supposed to know this. ... How do I handle this without completely betraying their trust?' "
What's sad about this parent's comment is that they don't realize that trust has already been broken. Apparently, according to the experts we are also supposed to ask our children before we read their blogs. How dumb is that? According to a companion article, here's what one teen had to say,
"I feel like family and close friends shouldn't be reading my diary in secret," she says. They have an obligation to tell me. I would do the same for them. I don't snoop on their journals without telling them."
So a complete stranger half way around the world can read what you doing and thinking but a parent has an obligation to ask for permission? Oh, please she can't be serious.

This is not an isolated problem with only non-believing teens. I have been to the sites of many "Christian teens" and they make me blush just as badly or cringe in total disbelief.

"Out of the abundance of the heart the blog speaks."

Apparently, the schools are trying to figure out how to handle teen bloggers as well. A private Catholic school in New Jersey has banned personal blogs by their students or risk a suspension. The school is worried about cyberpredators lurking on the blogs of the students.

By the way, the only time I worry about the content of my children's blog is when one of them considers writing about what actually goes on around SpunkyHomeschool. Now that is cause for worry!

As an addendum: There are no easy answers to how to handle this situation. But once I realized the seriousness of the situation I would go to my child. Not to confront them but to confess that I played a part in their actions. I would take responsibility for my failure to train them and build a relationship of trust with them. Then I would work diligently to rebuild the relationship into one of MUTUAL trust. This would probably require a personal sacrifice of my time an a commitment to my child. But I believe that is the only thing that will help in the long run.

Fit for Service

I have been on the subject of church lately. Specifically homeschoolers and their involvement in the local church. This discussion is still ongoing. Make sure you read the comments.

One issue that seems to come up frequently is allowing children to stay for the Sunday worhsip service. A few people have wondered what to do about children on Sunday morning. To help answer those questions I thought I'd invite veteran homeschool mom of 6 and fellow blogger, Karen Braun in to help answer some of these questions..

Spunky: Do you keep your all children in the Sunday Service?
Karen: Yes

Spunky: Have you always done this?
Karen: Yes

Spunky: Why?
Karen: I became a Christian while in college. The first church I attended had the practice. The pastor's wife explained to me that the children need to see their parents worship the Lord. They believed that it was an important part of building a strong family. I grew up Catholic and this was always the practice for my family so it made sense. Interestingly, when we we visited The Old North Church in Boston, they had family pews. (Paul Revere's family rented #54) Each family sat together during the Sunday service. So it appears that having children in the service is not an original idea. Another church even had each family pew in a square with a half door for entry.

Spunky: What do you do with the baby?
Karen: Well, I had five children in 7 years. So it seemed like I always had a baby in the service. We worked at home to train the children to listen during the church service. We held mini-church services so that they would learn to sit quietly. (Complete with pot and pan worship!) We have a family bible time and that helps tremendously for training. You can also stroller train the baby. I have done this with a few squirmers. They learned to sit quiet in the stroller and eventually would fall asleep. This required a little bit of work at home obviously but it made Sunday morning a more pleasant experience. If the baby was real fussy we would leave and calm him down. We haven't attended church much in the past year because of our church situation so we are just now training Elaina (our 2 year old) to sit in the service.

Spunky: Don't others get irritated?
Karen: Well, like I said, our first church practiced family worship. They didn't mind and we all just learned to listen above the background noise. Eventually, they did move to a children's church but they were still okay with parents who wanted their children in the service. A few newer families didn't understand but because the church as a whole was supportive it wasn't a major issue. At another larger church that we attended, we sat in the balcony so we wouldn't be a distraction. Most of the families were very understanding. After a while, a few other families began to bring their children into the service and the balcony became sort of the spot to sit for family worship. Interestingly, the elderly at the church were the most encouraging. They would always come up to us and tell us how much they wished they had worshipped with their children on Sunday morning. Now that they are older they felt like they missed out on a real beneficial time for relationship building and spiritual growth. And as Deputy Headmistress said, for many it's a time to practice Christian charity. But I must do the same and respect their desire to hear the sermon. So we worked diligently to teach our children to listen attentively during the service.

Spunky: Did you bring food or things for them to do?
Karen: We let them bring a tablet and something to write with and their bibles. My son would often draw the sermon. He came up with some great illustrations for the teaching. For the youngest, we did bring a little bag of cheerios if necessary. But we didn't make feeding during the service a priority. My two year old does drink milk from a cup and we'll let her have that.

Spunky: What do you during small groups or home fellowships?
Karen: We have done a variety of things. For the most part we encouraged the children to stay in with us. Atleast for the worship and prayer time. We encourage them to participate and pray as they feel led. We don't make them pray. We have also used some of the older children to watch the younger ones during the bible study portion. Each parent does what they feel most comfortable with. Now that our children are older they stay with us the whole time. For the last few years, we have not been part of a family bible study because of our difficult church situation. We have just recently started attending one again. They are not used to children in the study time but they have not objected. We are the only family that has our children with us. But since we are new we'll see how it goes.

Spunky: What do you do during Sunday school?
Karen: During our twenty years of marriage we have only attended three churches. Two did not have Sunday school. The one that did, we particpated in an adult class for a very short time. We didn't stay at that church for very long. The older children participated in choir and the younger ones came with us. The church we are currently visiting has an excellent bible teacher so the children are staying for our Sunday school. He is going through Old Testament history and the quality of the teaching is excellent for all of us.

Spunky: Would you ever attend a church that would not let your children stay with you?
Karen: There are a few churches that have a no children policy during Sunday worship. We would not consider attending there. They are fine churches but we wouldn't want to make our conviction a distraction for other believers so it is just better not to go there. One of the churches also makes youth group participation mandatory and that would not be a good fit either.

Spunky: Any final thoughts?
Karen: All in all, I like the way my husband put it when a nursery worker asked him when we were going to let them take care of our children. He said, "I'm not going to spend the first 18 years of my children's lives keeping them out of the service. And praying for the next 18 that they'll come back in. I'm going to let them know they are always welcome to worship with their mom and dad." I think that about sums up how we feel about the whole issue.

If you have any thoughts or questions for Karen, please feel free to ask. Karen has graciously agreed to answer all follow-up questions.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Separation of Church and Home(school)

Cindy made some interesting statements in my home church post.

I think a lot of homeschoolers confuse the issue of church and school. While God has not ordained a particular school or type of education, other than the parents being responsible, He has ordained His church.

It seems to me that what a lot of homeschoolers are doing is saying, "I am responsible for my child's education so I am going to do it myself. Nobody has the authority to tell me how to educate my child," and then going from there to saying, "Nobody has the authority to tell me where to go to church or how to do church or what to do at all in the matter of church." The latter statement is not true, because God has given authority to the church and its officers.

We Americans are so independent that we like to think that no one has the right to tell us what to do in any area. So I think that some homeschoolers have authority issues, and some just don't understand the nature of the Church. Homeschoolers are about the worst group to please in a church, too, because they do think, and they tend to think that many more issues are worth leaving over than perhaps are really Biblical reasons to leave (such as doctrine).

I do homeschool my children, in case you are wondering. But I think that we Americans in this post-modern culture have a very low view of the Church. Then we get into the issues of who is qualified to lead a church (ordained or not?) and what exactly constitutes a church. It's not simply a matter of preference (I am unhappy in my church so I think I will homechurch). You certainly can make that choice, but it may be a very unbiblical one, and God does not bless disobedience.

This is all very timely for me as we seek to find a new church home. Our previous church consisted of about 40 homeschooling families. Yet, it is in major turmoil. What are your thoughts on what Cindy has said? I think she makes some valid observations. Do homeschoolers tend to leave over issues that are not necessarily Biblical reason to leave (such as doctrine)?

A Real American Girl

If you're looking for an alternative to American Girl because of all the controversy surrounding them. (Palm Tree Pundit had an excellent post on it.) Then this Christmas you might want to check out the Vision Forum Beautiful Girlhood Collection. We have received many of their books and products as gifts over the last few years. They are a wondeful company with a wonderful vision for encouraging families. (They are a bit pricey though.) Doug Phillips, the head of Vision Forum, has an excellent e-newsletter that my husband has enjoyed as well.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Open Blog Friday!

With a nod to Rush Limbaugh, I will open this post up to anything you want to comment on. You can ask a question, tell what your blogging about, or just plain vent about how much something bugs you, or how much you love your husband or wife. Or whatever...It's wide open.

Here's a few things that I've been thinking or reading about.

Halloween: For those who read the Homeschooling and Halloween post, you may be interested to know that there are a few public schools that are giving up on Halloween too. They cite a growing senstivity to diverse religious groups and state core curriculum requirements as the reason. Catez has an excellet persepecitive on this tradition titled Another Loss of Innocence - the Cultural Imposition of Halloween.

Home Church: In that same post, lots of people had opinions on church and home churches. There was a link to an article called Why I don't go to church anymore that was interesting to read. Also, Gregg Harris's post on the church. He's a homeschool father of seven, author, and elder in his church. The post talks about his church's vision to combine the strongest elements of various differing church groups.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

The Fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse should be in your mailbox soon if it hasn't already arrived. I'm enjoying writing for them. The publishers are a wonderful couple with an awesome attitude and desire to encourage homeschooling families in their life and faith. There's loads of good information about higher education. I wrote a piece on Education Refrom. And there's much more. So if you're not currently a subscriber I'd encourage you to check out this issue out and find out what you're missing.

Boggers Choice Award: Congratulations to the winner in the Juggling with Hamsters Writing Contest. You can read her wonderful entry here.
If you're looking for The HomeshoolBlogger column, that was bumped to the winter issue. There will be interviews with some prominent Christian bloggers and also features on some of newest and finest bloggers. I'm sorry to all who thought they'd be in this issue but you'll be in the next one for sure. But there is a silver lining. When the publishers go to Europe early next year, they are taking along loads of extra copies to give away. So this issue will be the one to be in. (The theme is blogging.)

Are You New to Homeschooling?
If you're just beginning to investigate homeschooling you might also want to check out this pamphlet. (PDF Format) It's by quite a few veteran homeschoolers. one of which is the husband of the wonderful author of Tapestry of Grace. That's the currciulum we're using this year. (And loving it. My kids think so too.) Oh, and he's also a father of six and a lawyer with HSLDA so I guess he knows a thing or two about homeschooling as well.

From the Heartland
This was the most refreshing thing I've read all week. It's a heartwarming story of a community's willingness to share the burden of a farmer at harvest time. They don't call it the heartland for nothing. These people are generous and amazing.

Entertaining Homeschoolers
If were as sickened by the two young homeschooled "entertainers" that are preaching their sorry message, you might be heartened to know that there is a group meeting down in Texas who have a vision to change the culture of entertainment. The Rebelution (Alex and Brett Harris and twin sons of Gregg Harris mentioned above) has been following all the activities there.

Blogging Teens
And don't forget to vote for Spunky Jr. for Teen Blogger of the Year. There have been rumors of ballot stuffing from less than honorable teens. So we want to make sure that Spunky Jr. wins by a wide enough margin to prevent another Florida type recount! VOTE HERE!

Look who was published!
And congrats to Andrea of Atypical Life! She was published in Home Education Magazine.

Stupid Comment Award
This was a comment left at Number 2 Pencil . She posted about parents monitoring the after school / online phys -ed activities of students in Minnesota so they can eliminate gym class during school hours. Peter said,

Sounds like an excellent idea, with one caution. Can parents, many of whom no doubt have (non-fond) memories of their own phys ed classes, really be trusted to monitor their childrens' activities?
So I ask you if we can't trust parents to monitor their children's outside activities why do they even let them go home at the end of the day? (By the way, I hated gym as a child. I was always the last kid to be picked for everything!)

Funniest Photo Award
This photo comes from Coie Ig, daughter of Jen Ig homeschool mom of 6 and publisher of The Old Schoolhouse. A real cooked book!

So what's on you mind or blog today?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Something you'll never read here

From the Editor's Blog at Good Housekeeping Magazine, who went back to work this week for the first time after the birth of her child three months ago, (Note: This is a combination of three entries)

Baby Meets the Sitter: It's very weird to turn over your tiny child to a virtual stranger and trust her to give him back in the same happy state in which he was delivered. Talk about a leap of faith

Working Mom, Day 1 My heart broke this morning when the babysitter wheeled Fox away from me in his stroller. I could hear him meowing as he rolled down the street. But I didn't go after him: Instead, I turned in the other direction and went to work. (snip)

So as I sit at my desk for the first time in three months, I'm trying to focus not on how much I miss my little pumpkin but on all the good things about being here.

Working Mom, Day 3
I've only been at work for two and a half days (not that I'm counting), but it's clear why there's a best-selling novel called I Don't Know How She Does It: because combining work and motherhood is really hard. (snip)

One of the main tools in my arsenal is my pictures of Fox. I have six of them on my bulletin board, and I plan to bring in more. I look at them every time I miss my boy -- which means that I've been staring at them almost constantly.

I'm not judging this woman for her decision. She seems like a talented writer and concerned mother. She's free to decide what's right and I wish her all the best. I"m just thankful after reading her entry that this is one worry I've never had. I "chose home" a long time ago and never looked back in regret. I hope some day she'll feel the same way about her decision.

Need More Time?

I had a very important meeting yesterday. While sipping my beverage of choice, I happened to read the side of the cup. Here's what it said,

Americans spend an average of 28 hours a week watching television - which means in a typical life span we devote 13 uninterrupted years to our TV sets! The biggest problem with mass media isn't low quality - it's high quality. Cutting down just an hour a day would provide extra years of life - for music, and family, exercise and reading, conversation, and coffe. - Micheal Medved, Author of Right Turn and radio talk show host.

Since I don't watch any television - Does that mean I have 13 more uninterrupted years to blog? Unfortunately, I don't think it works out that way.

Here's more of my thoughts on television, "Don't Control the remote....Control the Appetite"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When Dad and Mom Don't Agree

This week, Dr. Phil hosted a show called "No Compromise" where he interviewed a couple who have a major difference on a critical issue. Whether or not they should homeschool their four year old son. The mom believes she should homeschool. The dad thinks that the son will be stunted socially if he's not with other children. Both believe their right.

Dr. Phil sides with the mom. That is, up until eighth grade. He changes his mind when it comes to high school. Here's what the show's website says,
Dr. Phil brings up the research. "The truth is, the research shows there is absolutely no disruption of social development and evolution in children who are home schooled up through the eighth grade," he tells them. "But that presupposes that the parents are willing to make the time commitment, the money commitment, the lifestyle commitment to provide that academic environment for the child at home. And then to take them to participate in extra-curricular activities of their peer group. Like the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, the church groups and socials, and sports and choirs and things like that. Once kids get to high school, social development is important. They become more independent. They want to interact on their own. They’re post-pubescent. And so they don’t do well in a home school environment in high school as they do socially in a public or private school."
Unfortuantely, Dr. Phil does not offer a source for the research to which he is referring. I'm not aaware of any studies that show that either public or private school is a better option. Anecdotal evidence could demonstrate the very opposite. HSLDA would like us to contact the show and ask Dr. Phil what evidence or research he is using. Here's the website on how to do that.

As far as the actual disagreement, as a Christian, I would contend that the wife should allow the husband to direct the final decision. She is free to voice her reservations but should do so with the understanding that she is willing to submit to his final decision in the matter. I also believe that both the husband and the wife should study what the word of God says about how we are to instruct our children. Both should examine their motives and heart in the matter. And of course, they should come together and pray and ask the Father to give them guidance and direction. Ultimately, obeying God and His Word despite how they may feel.

I have to say, however, that going on the Dr. Phil show and seeking his counsel would not be the best option for resolving this disupute. The woman is now fortified with new ammunition to use against her husband. As a result, he is weakened as a husband and a father. To their impressionable son, that's a message that is going to be hard to erase.

Carnivals and other stuff

Once again, Ed Wonk has done a great job with this weeks Carnival of Education!

I submitted something to the the Christian Carnival over at White Ribbon Warriors and it will be up within the few days.

Other stuff...
Spunky Jr. has been nominated for teen blogger of the year. While all the teen bloggers are great, I'm partiall to my namesake. If you think the same way, go on over and cast your vote.

But if you're more the techno type, I would recommend you vote for Jake at Mission 3:16. His mother doesn't blog so I'm willing to fill him and give him a little help. (After all he did re-design my blog template I guess I can do something in return.) Sorry Tim, you're a nice guy but what have you done for me lately!?!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Homeschooling, Halloween, and Home church

Halloween: In a previous post, Tim Challies admits to being conflicted on whether to participate in Halloween. After a lively discussion, Tim then wondered if there was a connection between those who homeschool and those who choose NOT to celebrate Halloween. And he also speculated on possible reasons.

What would interest me, though, is if there is a connection between home schooling and Halloween participation. I realize this will probably offend many homeschoolers, and I am certainly not trying to be offensive, but would be interested in knowing if there is a connection between a refusal to participate in Halloween and a committment to homeschooling.

I would imagine there is a connection and will provide two reasons why I believe this. The first is that some people seem to be naturally a little bit more isolationist or independent than others. It is likely easier for such people to remove themselves from activities such as Halloween as they have already practiced this type of seperation. Secondly, I would guess that many Christian parents who, either reluctantly or enthusiastically allow their children to trick-or-treat do so because they do not want their children to feel different than the other children in school. Obviously this is not an issue for homeschoolers.

We've never struggled with this issue. We don't particpate. It was settled before children. And our children have accepted it as normal. I suspect that Tim is correct that there is a connection between those that homeschool and halloween. In our homeschool community the vast majority do not participate in Halloween. Some go to an alternative church party. Others just stay home. How about among your friends. Is there a connection between homeschooling and NOT participating in Halloween? (Blestwithsons shares her thoughts on Halloween as a homeschooler who participates.)

Home church: In the same post, Tim also wondered if there's a connection between homeschooling and home church. He observes,
In recent weeks I have learned of several people who worship in the home on Sundays, either as a family or with the participation of another family or two. While I know that not all (or even most) homeschoolers home church, all of the people I know of who home church also home school.
We have thought about home church especially in light of recent personal church issues. But at this point we have not done so. I have two relatives who homeschool and home church. It is an interesting point of observation. Is there a connection between homeschooling and home church as well. Do you home church? Do you know people who home church but NOT homeschool?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Taught to Hate

Lamb and Lynx Gaede are a pair of thirteen year old homeschooled, twin sisters. They are also singers spreading a message of white supremacy to audiences all around the country. ABC News wants everyone to know that these are homeschooled girls. The underlying message is that all homeschoolers are intolerant and racist. This plays right into their hands. These are not the typical homeschooled girls and neither is the wrong message their mother is teaching them.

Sadly however, when the message of intolerance comes from school officials toward a 5- year old Christian kindergarten student who wants to put a picture o f Jesus into a poster about protecting the environment the same media is strangely silent. Isn't this just as intolerant?

Before you get mad at me thinking I don't know what a hate crime really is and that what the kindergartner is taught is different than the teens....Read what happened to our family a few years ago. by students taught to be tolerant of others beliefs. The effect of what is being taught in our public schools can be just as chilling as what these girls are learning. Trust me.

(Hat tip: Drudge Report and Joanne Jacobs)

Note: My comments box doesn't seem to be working at the moment. My apologies to those who lost their comments. This is a Haloscan issue. They are working on a fix.

Update: Comments are now working again.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I don't have much use for new terms that redefine what I do based on today's culture. So when I heard the term "unpreschool" at Blogging Baby I couldn't help but roll my eyes a bit.

If you've chosen to homeschool your children, it's likely you won't have them in preschool, either. How do you present more structured social opportunities to your three-to-five-year-olds who are destined to homeschool? According to a mom who organizes one of my playgroups, it's the "unpreschool."...Unpreschool is basically providing a "stimulating environment" at home to prepare your child for learning.

Give me a break. Do we have to define mothering in the early years as UN what the culture deems as appropriate? This term is absurd. I'm not a unpreschooler just because I decide not to enroll my child in a glorified babysitting service from ages three to five. I call it motherhood. The term has worked well for centuries. I not about to give it up not for a trendy new term that defines what I do by what I don't do. That's just plain silly.

I wonder what folks would think if I started calling those who enroll their children in preschool as UNmothering? Or those who enroll in government schools as UNhomeschooling?

As for providing a stimulating environment for children to learn - What home isn't stimulating? That's why so many parents use electrical socket covers. We worry that they'll be overstimulated! Toddlers find everything stimulating! That IS learning. It's not preparing them to learn. They ARE alreadly learning. It's innate to children to want to explore and learn. We train it out of them by plopping them in front of videos, computers, and other simulated stimulation. And then we have to provide "play dates" to teach them what they would naturally do on their own if we would just give them the chance.

But I don't want to get started on play dates. I schedule those about as often as I schedule a root canal. I did it once and I never want to go through it again!

So let the unpreschoolers schedule their play dates for proper stimulation to prepare them for learning. This MOMMY is going into the kitchen with my children and bake a batch of cookies.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Successful Bloggers and Homeschoolers

Catez asked the question "Are you a successful blogger?"

To be honest, the idea of a "successful blogger" is of little concern to me. Sure, I blog. But I'm not seeking to be a successful blogger. Why? Because blogging is a tool that I use to be successful at something far more important. And that is, the discipleship of my children and a witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So asking me if I am a successful blogger is a little like asking the carpenter if he is a successful "hammerer". (I know that's not a word!) But if he uses a hammer correctly, he will build a better house. I feel the same way about my blogging. If I use my blogging correctly, I will accomplish the larger goals I have set out.

The same is also true about homeschooling. When I first starting homeschooling I thought about all the things that would make homeschooling a success. And I often compared myself to other families and used them as the way to determine my success. (Just like I'm tempted to do in blogging.) And to no great surprise, I usually come up short. I seemed to be unable to measure up to the mythical standard of the "perfect homeschool family".

Many families give up at this point. Thinking that they have somehow failed their children, they hope a different school arrangement will accomplish what they have "failed" to do. But over the years, I have noticed that it rarely does. Why? Because it's not a method it's a Man.

Just in the past few months adultery, divorce, and suicide have all touched our local homeschool community. Homeschooling is not the salvation of our culture. Jesus is. Homeschooling will not make a family successful. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a child from rebellion. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a marriage strong. Jesus does. And the minute, I think that homeschooling will do any of these things, is the day I begin the slide toward defeat. Homeschooling will not build a successful family any more than a hammer will build a successful house.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Psalm 127:1

Don't expect homeschooling to do what homeschooling was not designed to do.

So if you find yourself, as I often have, in a panic because you think you are not meeting the standard of a "successful homeschooler". Think again and give up the "mythical standard." Don't compare yourself to those around you. Fix your eyes on HIM. Don't give up homeschooling. (A carpentar would be lost without his hammer.) Give it back to the Master Craftsman and let HIM design your family according to his specifications and for HIS glory.

(If you liked this post you may also want to read Why Do We Educate?)

It's a Blog-Aversary!

While I've talking about successful blogging an homeschooling, I'd like to wish one of my favorite homeschool bloggers a happy blogoaversary. She has the rare disctinction of not only beginning blogging at the same time I did but she started homeschooling at the same time too! The proof of the usefulness of both efforts are the inspiring and challenging thoughts she posts every day and the honor she brings to the Lord. She's a blessing to me and to the blogosphere.

If you're interested in reading my first post, read it here. I quickly gave up political commentary and stuck with homeschooling and family issues! You can see why.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Real World" Training

Tuesday we took a break and had lunch in the park. It was a quiet afternoon. Most of the younger children were down for their naps and the "school age' children were, well, in school. We had the park to ourselves. It was fun to just sit and eat our Jimmy John's and play catch.

As we were sitting there on a bench a car pulled up with two teenage kids inside. My husband remarked that it was time to go since the local high school had just let out and this park typically fills with rowdy teens looking for something to do.

The young gal lifted a baby out of the back seat and for a moment we both thought they might be young couple taking their newborn out for a little fresh air. Before too long, it became obvious that the baby wasn't real. I realized this was probably part of the mommy training the high school provides to show teenage girls the reality of mothering. They wandered over to the fountain where my two teenage boys were standing with their little baby sister, Elaina. After a few moments the "mommy" set the "baby" on the ledge near the fountain. She then started talking to her boyfriend, ignoring the doll. My son, on the other hand, had a a tight grip on his little "baby doll" making sure that she didn't fall into the fountain or fall off the ledge.

Now, I ask you, which student was getting the experience and training necessary to prepare them for parenting in the real world? Before you answer my son, think about it. It really depends on your worldview.

If you believe that children are a blessing from God then you would proabably answer my son. If you believe that children are a burden meant to be cast aside when they become inconvenient then you would say the high school girl. Each adolescent is being trained to believe something about children according to the truth that accompanies the training.

My sons are being trained to become fathers who will one day parent their children with the truth that children are a blessing from God. After chatting briefly with the young lady it became obvious that she viewed children as a pain and that the whole idea of become a mother was undesirable. Sadly, that's the prevailing attitude in the "real world" and this young lady is being trained to fit right in.

Purity in an age of temptation

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to thy Word." Psalm 119:9

As the parents of two teenage boys we desire to teach them to keep their way pure. My husband, Steve, read a book recently, given to us by Mind & Media that provides some helpful tools for men to avoid the sexual temptation of this world. We have seen the devastating effects of pornography and adultery on marraige and family. It is our hope to keep our marriage pure and to teach our children that God's Word and His truth can overcome the temptations in this age. Here is his review.

Think Before You Look
Avoiding the Consequences of Secret Temptation
By Daniel Henderson

Men face sexual temptation every day. Those who say they don't are deluded, liars, or dead. American culture is awash in sexual imagery. You cannot escape it. Yet God calls men to purity and holiness.

How can a man protect himself? The key is to be proactive by avoiding situations or images that are tempting and to be prepared for temptation when confronted by it. That's why Think Before You Look by Daniel Henderson is the perfect resource for every man who desires victory over the tyranny of our pornographic culture.

Henderson takes the reader through short chapters of positive, affirming principles that he calls "40 powerful reasons to avoid pornography." They are powerful reasons and he presents them as the positive outcomes of victory rather than the dire consequences of defeat. It is a very uplifting book.

Don't be misled, however, into thinking this is just a book about avoiding traditional pornography found in magazines, videos, or on the internet. Henderson challenges men in every aspect of their thought life. He tells it like it is in plain, bold language. He is not nasty or crude, but rather truthfully refreshing. For example, Henderson ends chapter 24 with this challenge:

"Don't settle for cheap substitutes of ink-dot images or video screen counterfeits. There is something much better and He calls you to it and to Him every minute of every day."

That's telling it like it is.

It gets even better though. Rather than preaching spiritual theory, Henderson brings each point down to a practical level of application, including a list of" 40 practical pointers for avoiding pornography" as an appendix. There’s something here of value for every man, no matter where he is in life or how desperate his struggle with pornography.

Henderson concludes the book by stating,

"I've done my best to equip you to win the battle against pornography one day at a time, one hour at a time, one thought at a time, one decision at a time, using one nugget of truth at a time."

I say "Mission accomplished!" and I heartily recommend this book to every man.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's not supposed to be this way

I usually have more than enough to say. I have a list of blog posts that I want to write. But today my hands are just not functioning. My mind is not engaged and my heart is sad. I have lost a dear homeschooling friend to cancer on Sunday. We shared many experiences together. When our children were young they played together. She loved babies. She adopted two of her own and always had a lap and a smile for mine. We shared our struggles over boys that were energetic and challenging. We swapped curriculum and stories about how they didn't work for us but how they might for the other. We often wondered what our lives would be like when they were all grown and gone.

The last few years we haven't seen each other as often. Different churches and interests led us in diferent directions. But I knew I could always call and get a good laugh. When she became ill, it was even more difficult to get together. I wish I had taken the time to visit more often.

Cancer is a wicked enemy but our God triumphs over the grave. Her struggle is over. She will be missed by all who knew here here on earth but I know she is with the God she so loved in heaven.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Juggling With Hamsters writing contest

Looking for a little inspiration to start your week? How about a little humor to lighten up the mood. Well there's all that and more at Juggling With Hamsters Writing contest at We've received nearly 60 entires from some of the the blogosphere's newest bloggers. The entries are a wonderful collection of wisdom and experience on life and parenting. This is also a great way to get to know other homeschoolers in the blogosphere and be encouraged in the process.

Husbands, Wives and Homeschooling

In response to Robert's question, about dads homeschooling and mom working here are some of my thoughts. (Which is really just a summary of comments by Susan, Jessica and Monika.)

1. God has provided the man to work for the family. 1 Timothy 5:8- "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." and Also see 2 Thessolonians 3:10. Paul talked against the men who were idle and did not earn they bread they ate. He said, "We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

2. I have no problem with dads homeschooling. Scripture actually gives the husband the responsibility of teaching to the children in Deuteronomy 6. In a marraige, he is able to delegate some of that responsibility to the wife. However, that does not negate his ultimate responsibility and he will be held accountable for what is taught.

3. As to the issue of whether a wife should work and a husband stay at home and educate. I find that this would be a difficult scenario to support from a biblical basis. (That is not to say that there may be situations where a wife is asked to go to work. I wrote about that here.) The understanding is that the wife is the "keeper of the home" and a helper to her husband. It is difficult for a wife to do what is necessary to keep the home and also work for someone else in another situation. This puts the wife in a conflicting situaiton. Her priorities and best hours are spent away from the family. I don't believe a woman can be a "keeper at home" and at the same time be a "keeper of another's business". I wrote about my personal experience with this in a post called "Choosing Home."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What Do You Think?

Robert asked a question in response to my post What Makes A Great Homeschool.
I'm actually seriously interested to hear if anybody has anything against dads homeschooling while mom works outside the home. I didn't know if the gender of the language in the post was reflecting such an issue or whether it was just habit.
There's actually a few dimensions to this question. Susan touches on a few of them in her comment,
As far as the question of moms working and dads staying home- that's a harder subject for me to touch on because I don't want to step on toes. I would say that it is so much more beneficial then the alternative and that would be to put kids in school. But I have to say that I believe that women were created to be home to take care of the family and home. I don't believe that it has been beneficial to have women in the work force. Thats my opinion but we have felt convicted that I should stay home to take care of and school the family.
What do you think? I've got my own thoughts on this (when don't I?) But I've got a busy day today so it'll have to wait until later.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Friday Funny

Thankfully my day has never been this bad!
(Or my children this mischevious.)

Cartoon drawn by Josh Harris and used by permission of

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Great Homeschooling

British homeschooler and author Jane Bullivant asked "What makes for a great homeschool? Here's some of my thoughts,

1. A mom who wants to be there not just in body but in mind too! When I'm distracted it's a disaster. And it's no fun having a virtual mom.

2. A mom who wants to learn what the children are learning. It's so much nicer for a child to hear "Come, let's go and......" than "Why don't you go and......."

3. A mom who counts how many more days she GETS to homeschool not how many days she HAS to homeschool

4. An understanding that homeschooling is like making a fine tapestry of cloth. Each day may seem insignificant but when placed as a part of the whole it is necessary and signifcant. And in the end no one notices the little mistakes anyway.

5. A trust in the God who cares more about the education of my children than I do. And my God doesn't fail!

This is hardly all of them. Any more thoughts......

Incidentally, "Why are homeschoolers so happy?" Someone googled that question yesterday and landed on my blog. I'm not not sure if they found what they were looking for but in the event they return here's why this homeschooler is so happy...

  • I love what I do - being a wife and mother
  • I love who I do it with - my family
  • I love who I do it all for - Jesus

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. - Acts 20:24

One of those days....

Sparrow's post about her trials made me go back in the journals of my mind to a some of the stuggles I had with my own young son.

I have one son who, at times, seems to be a lightning rod for controversy. He has a very black and white approach to life. (I think that might be genetic!) This often creates a super charged atmosphere. He's grown into his temperment over the years. And while we still have conflicts he's now nearly 15 and by God's grace we have overcome alot. But I'll never forget the the day many years back....

It was a long day with 5 small children in the house. The temperature outside was near zero with a wind chill to match, going outside was not possible. I tried to keep them busy and active but my son just kept pushing the limits of his energy and my patience. Some days were pure survival. And this was one of them. Even the "fun" things didn't seem to go well. Conlict and chaos seemed to rule the day. And my son was the king of the chaos. I found myself getting more and more frustrated and probably raising my voice a few too many times. To be honest I just wanted it all to end. Anxiously, I kept my eye on the clock. (My husband was out of town.)

Finally, they were all in bed. I was exhausted. I made the rounds to each bed. Prayed and gave each a kiss and hug. And shut the door on this "eventful "day. Hoping that tomorrow would be better.

"Mommy!" called my son.

"Go to bed." I shouted back.

"Mommy! I need to tell you something." He persisted.

"It will have to wait until tomorrow." I said determined not to give in.

"It can't, I have to tell you NOOOOWWWW!"

(An inner war began inside of me. Don't give it he'll manipulate you for life. Go ahead, one time won't matter. I stood there arguing with myself. My mother heart eventually won.)

Opening his door, I said, "Okay, what is so important that you have to tell me tonight?"

He smiled undeterred by my harhshness, "Do you know what I do every night after you give me a kiss and leave the room?" (My mind could think of a few things but I didn't want to give him any ideas.)

"I take your kiss and rub it into my heart for safe keeping. That's where I store all your kisses." (As he rubbed his hand on his mouth and then over his chest.)

My heart melted and I gave my son a few more kisses to store in his collection. Thankful that my mother's heart won this argument and so did my son.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bully for homeschooling!

Did you know that Theodore Roosvelt was homeschooled? I didn't either. Spunky Jr. was reading George Grant's book, Carry A Big Stick and just read me this quote.
Homeschooled by his very capable Bulloch aunt, Teedie had gained a rich classical education.
He went on to study at Harvard University.

By the way that's not a typo "Teedie" was a nickname during his youth. He didn't like it very much.

Did we really need another study?

I guess in our scientific "prove it to me" atmsophere, people won't believe anything anymore unless we spend money, study it, and then declare it true. So here's another study from Britain to tell us what we already knew. Motheres Provide the Best Care for Children.

Since this is a British study, they could have saved themselves a bunch of money and just bought a copy of The Original Home Schooling Series by British author Charlotte Mason. This work was first published in 1886. In her second book in the series, "Parent and Children" on p. 15 when referring to a neighboring country that had set up "maternal schools" to teach children about the virtues of a proper citizen she said,

Perhaps such public disposition of parents is the last calamity that can befall a nation....

once alienation has been set up, once the strongest and sweetest tie has been loosened, and the parents have been publically delivered from their duty, the desecration of the home is complete, and we shall have the spectacle of a people growing up orphaned almost from their birth....

Parents who hold their children as at the same time a public trust and a divine trust, and who reconize the authority they hold as deputed authority, not to be trifled with, laid aside, or abused - such parents preserve for the nation the immunities of home, an safeguard the privileges of their order.

It's not just that mothers are best for their children. That's indisputable. But children who are raised by their parents are what's best for a nation.

Hat tip: Albert Mohler

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Blog Roll

Jenny D. is hosting the Education Carnival this week. If you haven't stopped by her blog before this would be a great time. Jenny writes from the perspective of an policy wonk on education and as a parent.

Kris at Classical education had a great line when she answered my question on what she wished she knew then.... I wish that I had not done the "curriculum dance" as much as I have ... the whole post is worth reading.

Patricia shares some thoughts on dual enrollment and things she would have done differently during her sons' high school years. A voice of experience is always helpful.

The energetic Stacy Harp of Mind & Media also blogs for the Persecuted Church. If you aren't familiar with Voice of the Martyr's or this blog check them out and make sure you subscribe to their newsletter. We've been reading it for years.

Catez continues her look at the doctrine of original sin and what Michael Pearl teaches.

Solo Feminity and Girl Talk are two blogs I've just recently discovered. They've been talking about courtship and dating. They are excellent for young women who desire to honor God. Check them out.

As for me, I am working on two posts one on children and Sunday morning (with a wink to LoneStarMama who has been waiting patiently) and also our courtship story (because I want my children to have a record of it.) So stay tuned.

Sparrow shares a powerful testimony of her struggle to raise her adoptive son. She sums up her struggle and frustration with this observation.....

What I discovered the hard way is that God's Word is SUFFICIENT. It is also LIVING and ACTIVE; a claim no Tripp or Dobson or Pearl or Ezzo can make. Everything we need to raise our children before the Lord is contained in His Word; every request brought before Him in prayer is met with His love and wisdom, which He pours out in abundance. (Heb 4:12, Js 1:5)
Well said! So even though there is lots to read in the blogosphere make sure you take the time to read God's Word.

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever -1 Peter 1:24

Homeschool Evangelism

A new organziation has sprung up with the hopes of encouraging homeschooling families to mentor new families in homeschooling. Homeschooling: Family to Family asks us to....
extend the hand of Christian fellowship as a home-schooling mentor to help a new family set aside personal fears and begin to home school. We want to encourage seasoned home schoolers to mentor at least one family per year by reaching out to relatives and friends and by helping them take the first step into home schooling! As experienced home schoolers, we can transform those inevitable kitchen-table and backyard conversations into positive home schooling outreach. And, in some cases, mentoring a new family into home schooling will become an opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ.
I love homeschooling. And I'll share its benenfits to all who ask. I've helped many families begin homeschooling. But I'm not sure I want to make converting people to homeschooling my mission. I homeschool because of my love for Christ and obedience to HIS WORD. My zeal to homeschool comes from the great commisision.- "Go out into all the world and make disciples..." The first disciples are my own children.

I will continue with Christ's commission. In the process, I know many will understand the need and benefits of homeschooling. Some will be moved to action and change how they educate their children. But I'm not going to preach homeschooling in the hopes of sharing Christ with some. I am going to preach Christ to all with the hope that some will homeschool.

For more reading: Why Do We Educate.

Thanks to Daryl and Scott for the tip.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Who are you? I really want to know

When I began blogging, someone who worked in the journalism field for years, tried to convince me that I was a journalist. Her point was that I would have to conform to all the rules of journalism that a reporter at the NY Times would. While I have some of the qualities similar to a journalist, I keep referring to myself as a blogger. Clearly, I don't conform to all the rules of journalism. The closest I came to hard news reporting was when I confessed to my own crime of over due library books. (Which, I am happy to report I haven't needed a bail bondsman since!)

But as more and more bloggers take on the role as reporters of hard news and eyewitness correspondent, this may become more of an issue. And now Congress has introduced a law meant to define exactly who a journalist is. Its sponser said that bloggers would not considered in this legislations.

I'm not sure about this law and its impact on blogging yet. But I'm curious do you look at bloggers as journalists? Do you consider yourself a journalist? I have also heard the term "online diarist" bandied about as a definition for blogger? Are there certain bloggers that you would consider journalists?

As a side note, many journalists are opposed to this new law.

A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn't a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists.
This sounds like a similar argumet that many homeschoolers raise in opposition to HoNDA legislation

Anyway, I'm just cuirious. What do you consider yourself?

Oh yeah maybe I ought to add this is Spunky for Blogger Action News reporting. Now back to you Glenn.

Tueday Update:

Number One: Here's an interesting devloepment to the discussion: Yahoo just announced yesterday that it will feautre bloggers side by side with professional journalists. in its news searches
Yahoo said its move to combine professionally edited news alongside the work of grassroots commentators promises to enrich the sources of information on breaking news events
This development will be interesting to watch. As online news services and searches seek to get in on the popularity of blogging.

Number Two: Kate at Under His Wings posted a news story about a blogger being sued by another blogger for comments left on his blog.
Chris Soller, an attorney who specializes in First Amendment issues, said bloggers, like journalists, should be careful about what they are writing and who they are writing about.
Technorati tags: ,

My Monday Morning Mood

It's raining and gray out side but I'm in a great mood. Why? Because we get to homeschool. And that makes me smile. Think about it. Today, we get to wake up, hug our children, teach them the ways of the Lord, and the things they should know about living a life for HIM. We get to homeschool our children. Do you realize what an awesome privilege God has granted to us. We get to homeschool. God has granted every parent in every land this right but not all know it or have the freedom to exercise their liberty. But we do!

Alyx left this comment on my blog over the weekend.

I am struggling right now with a public school system which believes it is their right to parent my children. I live in Sweden and we are the first family in this area to educate our children at home. The director of the school board is incensed that I would dare to have control of my own children without asking permission from the state first. Right. This man professes to be a Christian and yet the sanctity of the family seems to mean nothing to him. He only cares to win the battle and he shows little ethics. The government doesn't own my children; I don't even own them! But I was appointed by God to raise them to His glory and I take that VERY seriously.

And let's not forget the fight Christian parents in Germany are facing.

So if you are discouraged that your teen hasn't mastered Calculus yet or that you toddler hasn't graduated out of diaper school . Put it all in perspective. Many parents in different parts of the world would gladly trade places. If your looking at the calendar and tempted to think it's gonna be a long year. Take a breath, hug your children, smile, and thank God because today we get to homeschool.

If that doesn't get you going try this.

And then go hug your kids again and tell them you're glad they're home.

Striving for perfection

I posted a few days ago on things I wished I knew then that would help me in my homeschooling today. Someone asked me what mine would be.

Here's one from my list....

I wish that I read God's Word more and trusted that He would show me the way.

By the time I began homeschooling I must have read or listened to a zillion different opinions on how it ought be done. Each sounded so convincing to this young mother desperate to do it all right. In my own insecurity, I believed their ideas and began implementing their plans into our home. Some worked. Many didn't. And the frustration of parenting and homeschooling was mounting.

Then one day I read my children the story by Max Lucado, "Song of the King". (God had to use another book to get my attention because I wasn't paying much attention to HIS.) It's a story about three knights in a race to marry the King's daughter. One is swift, the next strong, and the third is wise. The first two faulter because they rely on their own strength and abilities to aneuaver through treacherous territory. The third, the wise one, understands HE cannot do it alone and relies on the "song of the King" and the King's Son to help him make it safely.

I realized that is what I had been doing. I had been relying on second hand wisdom and strength to do a job that required a first hand relationship with Jesus and HIS Word. I began to read God's word and seek Him for the answers to my parenting and homeschooling issues.

So what I know now that I wished I had known then is that there is only ONE voice and ONE Book that can adequately prepare me to do the job well and finish strong. Other's opinions are useful but only as we bring them back to the God to see if that is HIS plan for me. In my zeal to be the "perfect" homeschooling wife and mother" I failed to do that too often.

I now realize that I cannot be the perfect homeschool mother doing it all right. But I am God's "perfect choice" to raise HIS children. And if I listen to HIS VOICE the fruit will be good.

And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. - Isaiah 54:13
I share more of my story and how God changed my heart in From Honeymoons to Happy Homes.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Criticism and the Cross

Criticism, correction and conflict - Sadly, they seem to go together all too often. And Christian homeschool families are often no different. No one likes to be corrected and criticized especially if its done harshly. Our natural tendency to get defensive whenever anyone finds fault in anything we say or do. But criticism and correction don't have to result in conflict and broken relationships. Peacemaker Ministries has an article by Alfred J. Poirier titled "The Cross and Criticism" . It explains how one may handle criticism so that that we can grow as Christians and honor God as a result. Here's a brief excerpt

Criticism in a broad sense as referring to any judgment made about you by another, which declares that you fall short of a particular standard. The standard may be God's or man's. The judgment may be true or false. It may be given gently with a view to correction, or harshly and in a condemnatory fashion. It may be given by a friend or by an enemy. But whatever the case, it is a judgment or criticism about you, that you have fallen short of a standard.

How can we move from always being quick to defend ourselves against any and all criticism toward becoming instead like David who saw it as gain? (snip)

The answer is through understanding, believing, and affirming all that God says about us in the cross of Christ.n light of God's judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God's criticism of me in Christ's cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. And the most devastating criticism turns out to be the finest mercy. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blameshifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.

The point is amazingly simple and true.

(Thanks to Marcia Somerville at Tapestry of Grace for recommending this article.)

Ohter articles of interest: Help! There's a Bully in My House

Friday, October 07, 2005

The EGO System

I didn't think I cared. I really didn't think so. That is while I was evolving forward. And then mysteriously, I went down. Way down.

Spunky Jr. tried to console me. Saying that it really didn't matter. That I'm still her favorite blogger....yada yada yada. And then she went down from an adorable little rodent to a slithering reptile in one shining moment. And suddenly it mattered to her too. What am I talking about. The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem.

Seems like alot of animals felt the tremors as NZ Bear & Co. kicked their computers (the techie term is reboot) trying to get things realigned and adding new features to the Ecosystem. So now I'm somewhere between the two. Does that make me a maruading mammal or a large marsupial? Oh well. I'm back to not caring. (I think.)

Whose views?

In the absence of biblical convictions you will go the way of culture. - Sally Carkson.

Are we then surprised when kindergartners are taught this.
David and Tonia Parker of Lexington, Mass., saw a red flag when their son came home from kindergarten last January with a "diversity book bag" that included Who's in a Family, a book promoting acceptance of gay marriage.
That it will eventually lead to this (Time cover story, reg. req'd)

Here's an interesting quote from the first article "The Parent Trap" in answer to the parent's complaints about what is being taught.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said the school is on sound legal ground (no surprise there), arguing that "public education would grind to a halt if parents had the right to demand classes tailored to each child based on the parent's moral views."
If the parent's moral view isn't taught then whose is?

(HT: Albert Mohler who is encouraging every parent to read the Parent Trap article.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What I wish I knew

The thoughts started here were too encouraging to let linger in a comment box. So I moved them all to a post. Eventually, I'm going to keep this on my side bar. So feel free to add you comments and I'll keep adding them to the post.

What did I wish I knew? That I didn't have to do it the same way the school does, or how the program says. That's it's *okay* to not follow the directions. That even if a program says it is the best Christian one out there doesn't make it so. That the kids can learn all kinds of things without me "helping" them. - Andrea at Atypicalife

I wish I'd written more things down.
I wish we'd done fewer workbooks.

By Deputy Headmistress Who also has made a whole post about it here.

I wish I had had a schedule from the beginning. I wish I had not expected so much from my first born - at age 4. I wish I had had the Homeschool Tracker software earlier. I wish I had been more organized. I wish I had let my kids have workbooks (which they love) earlier. - Mrs. Happy Housewife

I'd listen more, correct less, encourage often, take more breaks. - Taking the Challenge (She also has a whole list at her post here.)

I would have started earlier and found a way to homeschool instead of sending my son to the private school he attended.I would have used Ambleside from the beginning instead of searching and buying too much curriculum. I absolutely love it. - Routon Family Homeschool

Reading out loud is precious family time. Moms should not read ahead.
Listen to the children. They offer a LOT - Kate and Under the Sky

I wouldn't have yelled at them for dropping pencils.
I would have used the Learnables for German from the beginning.
I would have used Spelling Power from the beginning.
- Monika at Monika's Message

I am very very new to homeschooling, as in this is my first year. I have a 5 year old, and we're calling this first grade. I think I would be a bit more prepared. I'd know more what is out there and what to use. Right now I have a little of this, a little of that, and I'm really winging it. (normal for me....) Virginia at Crazies from the Crazy Lady

Be humble. I would be more aware of the work God is doing to shape my character and grow fruit in my life in the midst of the daily grind and frustrations of raising and teaching our children. I would ask God, “What are You trying to teach me?” - Patricia Ann at PollyWog Creeek Porch ( That's just one of the many things this veteran HS mom shares you can read more here.)

Add your thoughts and I'll move them to the post as well.

The Bible

"Dear Steve,

I'm writing because I saw a bible on e-bay that I think might be part of your family history. You don't know me but I would like to help you acquire this Bible for your family. Are you a relative of William Fletcher Hughey?

And so began a month long ordeal to acquire the Civil War Bible of Steve's great-great-grandfather. The gentleman who inquired (Bill from CA) eventually teamed up with another bidder (LeRoy from OH), in an effort to win the auction. They eventually lost the eBay bid to a man in North Carolina. But through some maneuvering and another benefactor we were given this Bible.

A hearty thank you to a stranger, who found the bible on eBay, googled the name in the bible and found Steve's website Civil War Dad's and thought that he should have the bible that once belonged to his great great grandfather. And to the other collector who gave up his hope for the bible and generously contributed so that Steve could purchase the bible from the man who won.

William Fletcher Hughey fought as a private in the Civil War. This was the army issue bible that he carried with him. Along with the bible, there is also a handwritten note from his daughter.

We didn't know the bible existed. The men who wanted to bless Steve didn't know of his love for the Christ and personal interest in the Civil War. We are grateful to two men who don't even know us, who wanted to bless Steve, and return the bible to a family relative. We are blessed indeed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Today's the day

It's supposed to arrive by priority mail. If it does I'll let you know it's here and the amazing story that goes with it.

In the meantime, Scott Somerville has re-opened his blog for discussion on HoNDA. So here's your chance to ask a lawyer for HSLDA any of your questions and concerns about this important piece of legislation that affects homeschoolers. HoNDA Blog also keeps us all up-to-date on the latest news.

And I have a question if anyone cares to answer. If you could begin homeschooling again what is something you would have done differently? Or what is something you wished you knew then that you know now? It doesn't matter how long you have been homeschooling to answer. I am rethinking all of my homeschooling as my 2 year old grows up.

Meanwhile, I'll just sit by the window and wait for the post man.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Courage to match his convictions

Homeschool grad, Noah Riner's, convocation speech to incoming freshman created quite a stir. at Dartmouth recently. Here's part of what he said...
You've been told that you are a special class. A quick look at the statistics confirms that claim: quite simply, you are the smartest and most diverse group of freshmen to set foot on the Dartmouth campus. You have more potential than all of the other classes. You really are special.But it isn't enough to be special. It isn't enough to be talented, to be beautiful, to be smart. Generations of amazing students have come before you, and have sat in your seats. Some have been good, some have been bad. All have been special.
So far so good. He then tells a few stories of some folks who have graduated from Dartmouth and on to the looters in Louisiana. Then he moves to this
Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character.Jesus is a good example of character, but He's also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people like corrupt Dartmouth alums, looters, and me.
That had people squirming in their seats for sure and talking for days. You can also read the full text of his speech here.

World Magazine has a story on him as well. Also, here's a video of the speech.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Time to Share

"Mom, can I have a bowl of chips?" Joshua asked as he was roaming around the kitchen looking for more food during a family gathering.

"Sure, but you have to share them with your brother." I replied.

"Yeah, I'll share half with him.".

"Wait a minute Josh, is that really sharing?

"Sure, I get half and he get's half. That sounds fair to me."

"It may be fair but I'd think a little bit more about this if I were you."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if you were locked out of the house and I gave you half a key. That would be fair but would I really be sharing and doing the best thing for you?"


"If Jesus hung on the cross but when he was near death, he said, 'Okay I've gone half way now it's someone else's turn.' Would that have been a sharing heart?"

"No. But mom it's only a bowl of chips. What's wrong with half?"

"If you go out and give half to your brother. You will be consumed with getting your half and being fair. Always watching to make sure he doesn't get more than you. You won't really enjoy the chips as much as you would if you were willing to offer him the whole bowl."

"You mean walk out and offer him the bowl of chips."

"Yeah, that's what I mean."

"But then I won't get any. He'll eat them all. "

"Maybe but that's okay. The important thing is to think of your brother before yourself."

"Well, who's thinking of me then? He (Jason) won't be that's for sure."

"Let God take care of that, you'll get all you need."

"Whatever. Can I take the chips now."

(Josh a little while later comes back into the kitchen.)

"Mom, you wouldn't believe it. I offered him the whole bowl. He took a handful and then walked away, he said he was done. and that I could have the rest. I got to eat the whole bowl."

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Life according to ME

Okay, I know that life doesn't revolve around me. But if it did here are a few things that would change if I were in charge.

1. A product I could buy called FOOD. So that when the children ask, "What's to eat." I can pull out the box and answer "food". And this box of food would meet all the nutrtional requirements of whatever administration cares to tell me I need to meet them. (Lucky Charms doesn't count.)

2. Pencils that never got lost, broken, or run out of lead.

3. Children who don't change sizes between loads of laundry.

4. Two dryers.

5. Socks that took a vow to stay married.

6. A swtich to turn my brain off when I don't want to think anymore. Me thinks I doth think too much.

7. Children that understand that when I am on the computer that this isn't the time to do whatever they want. (Hey! I'm just being honest.)

8. Blog entries that would go from my head to the screen without having to sit at the computer at type them in.

9. Someone to make a list of things I need to do each day. So that if I didn't get them all done I could say that it wasn't my idea in the first place and therefore not my fault.

10. A way to impart wisdom to my children without watching them go through the experiences necessary to get it.

11. A time machine to look into the future for just a short time to make sure that my children didn't turn out too badly despite all my stupid mistakes.

12. My family to think that the world revolves around me and behave accordingly.

And just one more thing to make it all complete

13. Coffee that you could make a home that taste likes Starbucks.

Anyone have any more to share.....I'd love to hear them.

A Final Statement

I believe that there is a deep root-reason for much of the negative controversy over CTBHH. I believe the negativism lies in a misunderstanding in the doctrine of salvation and sanctification. - Rebekah Pearl

That was a comment made by Rebekah Pearl after reading my review of Created To Be His Help Meet. She recommended that we get her father's tapes to understand what it all means. Catez has listened to some of the Pearl's teaching and she helps explain what it all may mean in her post A Look At the Basics..

If you have been following the Pearl discussion, you may be interested in Catez's thoughts. It cleared up alot of things for me about what they may believe and how that fits with Debi Pearl's book.

Her analysis cleared up many of the questions I had about the book. But I am willing to let people make their own judgements how it all fits with their own doctrinal beliefs.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. - 2 Timothy

One final note, it's stories like Beth's that make this all worth the effort. Thanks for the encouragement Beth.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Big Game

We will resume our regularly scheduled blogging on Monday!

Go Blue!