Monthly Archives: January 2015

Happy Homeschooling

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I read an article this morning that reminded me of why I started this craze on curriculum.

This article was talking about how this frustrated homeschool mom could not get her child to sit still and often he would literally fall out of his chair. For me, I would find my son gazing out the window, looking through binoculars, and searching for deer. I could not turn away for a second or my student would escape. At the end of the day, when I would grade his papers, it was as if he hadn’t watched one single video. I know he did though, because I was there and I watched him as he sat at the computer for 5 or 6 hours and unfortunately retained NOTHING. So, when it was time for us to be finished, escape this wretched school, and have dinner, I would grade his worksheets and it was an absolute train wreck. He and I were frustrated, weary, and feeling like failures. This nifty program that I paid top dollar for, left me faced with trying to teach him all of these concepts so he could complete the worksheets and ultimately pass this grade. The worst part was knowing that the next day we would have to wake up and repeat the whole process. Other than being completely drained from the full day of nagging and me reminding him to pay attention, he seemed to be able to get the concepts when I would explain them. The days seemed to drag on and I was so frustrated that I would find myself threatening public school if he didn’t shape up.

We had been doing Abeka DVDs since my oldest was in Kindergarten. This curriculum worked well for my oldest and one of my other boys, but it clearly was not working for this one. My boys are good boys, of course I’m partial, but I realized that maybe this one son needed a different option.

I decided to go to my first and only homeschool show ever. I approached each exhibitor’s booth and quickly became his or her interrogator. I wanted to know EVERYTHING and I would not leave one stone unturned. With my husband and I both being college graduates, we were almost scared to change curriculum in the fear that our boys would not be prepared for college themselves. So, for me this quest to broaden our horizons was serious business. I learned so much that day, but the one thing that was a God moment for me was when I met this attorney dad who was manning a booth while someone else took a break. As he asked me questions, I explained my dilemma. He flat out rebuked me and said, “You are focusing on the curriculum too much! It sounds like you need to focus on the METHOD.” It was like a light bulb went off and I had clear direction.

From that moment forward, I have researched and scanned the whole gamut to try and find the best curriculum with the best method of delivery. My kids have been my official product testers and they are the final vote. The climate in our home is so wonderful now. All three of my sons LOVE their school. The one son who didn’t do well with Abeka is doing extremely well and is now doing more advanced work without a hitch. Things that they learn in school are often topics of discussion at the dinner table. I feel so confident about what they are learning and how they are retaining it.

The boys are learning from the book of Proverbs this year. In Proverbs 4:7 it says, “Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.”

In all of my years of ‘getting’ info on curriculum, I have learned that all children are unique. They learn in different ways and their interests are different. As a homeschool mom, you have a unique opportunity to custom tailor your child’s education to help them flourish into what God wants them to be. Here’s to Happy Homeschooling!

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Hooked on History

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Before we learned about Veritas Press’ self-paced history, we did not enjoy history at all and honestly we felt it was just a bunch of boring memorization about wars and dates. We simply did it because we felt it was a requirement, but my boys enjoyed it about as much as taking Robitussin, the infamous ‘red medicine’.

Now, history is my kid’s favorite subject, at least for the younger two who are still doing this particular curriculum. They all agreed that this should be the first course that I reviewed as it is the unquestionable leader. I have recommended this to more families than I can count, and I have never heard anything but praise from my friends.

First and foremost, let’s cover the basics:

  • It requires ZERO parental involvement. Everything is done online, including grading and record keeping. AMEN to that!

-If Internet protection is a concern, we highly recommend a program called Covenant Eyes.

  • Veritas uses highly engaging visual and audio resources to deliver the content of each lesson.  This dramatically increases comprehension and makes learning fun. It is so much fun, you will be telling your child that they cannot do any more history until they complete all of their other subjects!

-Do you remember all of those dates that you were required to memorize in school? Well, I sure don’t. My kids do though! This curriculum teaches the timeline in a sequential way through a song. My kids can still sing their songs from previous years. According to Medical Daily, scientists have proven that music is stored in a different part of the brain. Researchers have even seen patients who lose all of their memory except the songs they had memorized.

-They have interactive games and worksheets that build the student’s mastery and keep the student engaged.

-The ‘teacher’ may be the talking Great Sphinx or an actual person dressed up as a Grecian. It is completely over the top!

  • It covers all of history from a Christian worldview and in chronological order.
  • There are five different courses that will cover from the Old Testament to present.

The breakdown is as follows:

-Old Testament and Ancient Egypt

-New Testament, Greece and Rome

-Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation

-Explorers to 1815

-1815 to Present

  • They recommend you start this course in the 2nd grade and then finish it by the 6th grade. We were older when we first learned about this program, so we allowed our boys to do this course through the 8th grade. You could still complete the entire course if you started in the 4th grade and finished by 8th grade. If you start later than the fourth grade, then you can just pick and choose which time period you want to cover. I would not recommend it for high school, as it will not meet your state’s high school requirements. Although, my oldest son almost passed a practice Western Civilization CLEP exam after just taking one year of it in the 8th grade. LOL.

The best way, for you to experience this curriculum, is to click on this link below and watch a sample lesson. Make sure your kids join you as you watch it!

I do not know of any better tool out there to tie history to the Word of God in a method that is unmatched.

http://www.veritaspress.com/selfpaced/history.html

Clearly growling at gossip

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Have you noticed how it seems like the world is a million shades of gray, and a clear sense of right and wrong is a fading commodity? People proudly pronounce how they are getting a divorce because they have ‘fallen out of love’, they look for ways to get assistance rather than be of assistance, or they sit around the dinner table as they criticize and gossip about the very people they claim to love or call friends.

As many of you know, our family participates in Bible Quizzing. This year, my three boys are each learning over 400 scriptures and my oldest is learning over 500. Daily, over 1200 scriptures are being recited for approximately three hours per day. My son said this year is our ninth year of quizzing. As the Word of God goes forth, faith and a resounding clarity of truth fills our home. All practicality says that doing this probably makes us more prone to discern things that are contrary to The Word, agreed?

Well, recently, my son left an event and was very disturbed. Someone had given him an earful about what someone else had done to him or her. He was genuinely concerned, and you could tell that he was a little fired up and that this person had swayed him about ‘the accused person’. We are very close, so I’m grateful he tells me everything. Now, while we are preparing to have dinner and are setting the table, here is my son telling me about what has happened. I’m sure this is a common occurrence in many family discussions, but for me it was as if an alarm was sounded and I was faced with a choice. Sure, I could have jumped on the bandwagon and been a listening ear under the auspice of ministry.

I know as parents, we spend years building our children’s confidence and self-esteem. Any parent in their right mind would not want to destroy that after years of effort, but did you know that clarity, boundaries, and even ‘no’ help define a child and make them feel more secure? After all, I do not want my children to be confident in doing wrong, or worst yet fall prey to living by the world’s definition of what is acceptable.
So, I chose to use this situation to show my son first hand that this is how gossip and division start.
In Matthew 5:23-24, it reads, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Unfortunately, it does not say to go to everyone, except the person that you actually have the conflict. You certainly should not talk up the situation to try and build an army in your favor. It says, to go and be reconciled to your brother or to the one who you think has a problem with you.

So, I explained to our son that this was clearly gossip, and he needed to go back to this person and encourage them to go to the person with whom they have the issue.

Since that time, not only has it helped my son to detect and beware of gossip and sowing discord among the brethren, but also it has brought reconciliation and unity to all parties involved.

Again, this is scriptural and a promise in The Word of God. In Psalm 133, it clearly says, “Behold, how GOOD and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in UNITY! It continues a few verses down in chapter 133, “for THERE (IN UNITY) the Lord commanded the BLESSING, even life for evermore.”

I want my children blessed! I want them to know what true unity is and that it doesn’t come easily and sometimes you have to fight for it.

This is just one instance of how easily things can creep in and take up residence in your home. I recently had a virus attack my computer. I believe it came through a download of a template for a homeschool progress report, not your usual suspected threat. My husband to the rescue loaded anti-virus software on my system. The program scared us to death as it would literally growl each time it found something of harm.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our inner man would ‘growl’ each time something entered our minds that was harmful. Well, as parents, I think that falls under our job description.
In all of your efforts to love, it is still important to be a clear voice and sometimes even roar….

The raw truth about raw milk

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It’s Tuesday! Today, the boys and I become the ‘milk man’. We head up a raw milk co-op in our neighborhood. It is a little bit of work, but we are happy to do it because it allows us to have fresh raw milk delivered to our door straight from the farm! And unfortunately, we cannot get a pet cow at this point.
We started drinking raw milk over a year ago. Even though I had researched and read about the many benefits, at first I was still skeptical and almost leery. The first time I drove out to the farm and saw the little store right next to the actual cows, I had a reality check and caught a lady as she was getting into her BMW with her small child. I said, “Is this your first time?” She went on to explain how her child had some sort of disorder with her teeth and also digestive issues that could not be cured. However, they had been drinking raw milk for quite some time and her child was now healed. So, that helped me to override my germ consciousness and muster up enough courage to try it.
At the time, we were spending several HUNDRED dollars a month on asthma medications for my oldest son. So, buying a $10 gallon of milk seemed like a bargain if it would work. Well, it did work! There is a lot to RAW MILK, too much for one post, but we are believers in this house because we know first hand it works unbelievably for asthma and allergies. I know some have the opinion that we are the only living creatures that continue to drink milk after we are weaned from our mothers. There are also some statistics about the detriments of pasteurized dairy, which I wholeheartedly agree probably can cause issues because it has been boiled and tampered with beyond how God created it. I just know for our family we feel better about giving our kids raw milk than loading them on steroids and antibiotics. Raw, grass-fed, organic, unpasteurized milk has been the ONLY thing that has helped. So, for us it is hard to argue with real RESULTS.

If you decide to try it, then it is important to get your raw milk from a farm that uses organic practices. We have tried other farms, but did not see the results. If you live within an hour of Tomball, Texas, then we use Gramen Dairy Farm and now they will deliver within an hour drive from the farm. I started a co-op in our subdivision so that my neighbors can help me share in meeting the $40 minimum order and split the $7 delivery fee.

This is a bit of a long read, but it is a good article on the benefits of raw milk.
http://raw-milk-facts.com/raw_milk_health_benefits.html