Tag Archives: children

The Circle of Moms Top 100 Homeschooling Blogs

I am honored to have been a part of this illustrious group of homeschooling mom bloggers.

My blog ended up being #100 out of a total of 219 blogs that were nominated!!

I want to thank all of you.  You are the reason I was even there at all.

Thank you so much!!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Homeschool Resource Sale from Vision Forum

We have really appreciated Vision Forum products.  This is one of my main go-to places for NON-politically correct, historically accurate history materials and some GREAT stuff for “real” boys!

They have great sales too!

Save Up to 80% on More than 250 Products

In the past few months, Vision Forum has exhibited at more than 15 state homeschool conferences around the country, from Florida to Massachusetts to Colorado. We’ve enjoyed wonderful conversations with homeschool fathers and mothers passionate about their children’s education, and we’ve placed important learning tools in the hands of many discipleship-minded Christian families.

Now they’re bringing some of their best conference pricing and products to your home!

Through June 29, save up to 80% on more than three hundred products at Vision Forum, including homeschool resources, supplemental materials, and “last chance” closeouts.

This offer is valid only while supplies last, does not apply to mail orders, may not be applied to past purchases, and expires at midnight on June 29, 2012 (CDT).

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (~aka ~Mrs. R)

Links in this post are affiliate links.  I do receive compensation for any purchases you make through my affiliate links.  I only recommend materials and companies I use and believe in myself.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Affiliate links are one way I supplement our income… especially now with The Patriarch unemployed.

Thank you!!

A John Deere Birthday Party and Old Fashioned Party Games!

A number of years ago Arrow chose “John Deere” as the theme for his birthday party.  That didn’t surprise us in the least.  Arrow has been drawn to all things mechanical.  The cake was supposed to look like a farm field with all the tractors.  I placed plastic wrap on the top, where the tractors were placed to keep the wheels free of frosting.  These vehicles were part of Arrow’s gift.  He loved to play with his farm sets!

I decorate the table where we eat lunch & cake and where the gifts are placed.  The only things I purchased were the John Deere colored balloons and John Deere place mats (they had games on the back, more educational activities… shh, don’t tell!) and small items for game prizes.

John Deere fleece made a great tablecloth for the gifts.  There is also time for other games and if the weather permits, time to play outside to burn off all that extra energy!!

Standard for every birthday in the younger years (at least above the age of 3) is a number of games.   These are some of the games I used to play at all my birthday parties.  All these games and fun are some of my fondest childhood memories! We love ‘The Clothespin Game’ and ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’.  Both of these also have the additional benefit of being educational.

‘Pin the Tail’ is good for spacial and body awareness.

I used a large display board I already had as the background.  The tractor is made from John Deere green paper.  One large rectangle and on medium sized square with a John Deere yellow stripe along the top of the large rectangle.  The wheels are cut from black paper with yellow centers.  Each child had their name written in the yellow wheel center.  I used a bandana to cover their eyes and we really spin them around before setting them loose!  I’ve learned to not allow them to feel around on the paper to figure out where they are.  ;-)  Those sneaky kids!  I used a piece of tape made into a loop, sticky side out for application to the board.

holding the clothespin properly

holding clothespin too low

added difficulty holding above the chair back

‘The Clothespin Game’ is excellent for hand-eye coordination.  Generally each person gets 5 clothes pins to drop.  The person with the most clothes pins in the bottle wins!  Ties require a ‘drop off’!  I use 5-gallon water bottles, because that is what I have.  When I was a little girl we used half-gallon glass milk bottles and that was hard!

We even get the Dad’s to participate!!  At least in this game anyway…  :-)

We had a great day!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other posts of interest:

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Don’t Like & Why

Aunt Mae’s Wild Kingdom!

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Like & Why

This post also linked here:The Better Mom, What Joy Is Mine, Raising Arrows, Homestead Revival, Finding Heaven, Far Above Rubies, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, A Pause on the Path,  Raising Homemakers, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, We Are THAT Family, Deep Roots at Home, A Mother’s Heritage, Women Living Well, Intentional Me, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, MOB Society, At the Picket Fence, Best Post of the Week, Serenity Now, Comfy in the Kitchen, Finding Beauty,

It’s Voting Time… I’ve Been Nominated!

My blog has been nominated for…

The Circle of Moms Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs!

If you have been blessed by this blog, would you consider voting for me?

You can vote EVERY DAY until June 27th, 2012!

If you are seeing this on Friday, June 15th, my blog my still be under the pending tab, but you can still vote while I am in there!!

Thank you so much!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Have Used That I Didn’t Like & Why

I debated with myself over writing this post. I don’t really like being negative.

I asked a few friends if they would benefit from a post on what I have used, didn’t like & why.  The overwhelming consensus was that it would be very helpful.  I tried to make this short and sweet.  I pray it’s sweet, but short it is not!  Grab yourself a cup of tea, sit back and relax.

Here goes…

Again I have to state right up front that anytime you ask any homeschooler what curriculum they like & use… their first response to your inquiry should be what teaching method they use.  Are they un-schoolers, of a classical bent, a scope & sequence proponent, using a school-at-home style or is there something else?

You also need to know the answers to the following questions: Are they Christians?  Do they have a view of biblical discipleship and what is it?  Are they creationists or evolutionists?  How do they view the use of computers?

Some of this I touched on in a earlier post the curriculum I liked & why and will expand that here.  You don’t know me so just why should you read what I have to say about homeschool curriculum?

First, I am a Christian. In brief we believe in:

a) scripture alone is the standard (Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17);

b) all of life is to be lived for the glory of God (1CO 10:31; 1PE 4:11; REV 1:6; 2PE 3:1; EPH 3:21; REV 7:12; ROM 11:36);

c) I am saved by Jesus Christ’s work alone (1TI 2:5-6; COL 1:13-18);

d) salvation is by faith through grace alone (Ephesians 1:3-8);

e) I am justified by faith alone (Galatians 3:6-11).

We believe the bible clearly states it is the father’s role to teach and disciple his children.  We do not believe that a decision between government or private school and homeschool is a morally neutral issue.  It is through the day-to-day things that must be done in a home and the school work where we are able to train our son to be a diligent, industrious, cheerful worker ready to take his place in the world and take dominion over his part of it.  Our goal is to prepare him for his role as a Christian man/husband/father in society and  to accurately apply the bible to every situation he may encounter in his life.

All education is religious by nature as it answers the fundamental questions of who God is, how did we get here and why are we here?  We will not leave that teaching up to anyone else, much less to some “government approved” person we know nothing about!  We wouldn’t turn our car over to a complete stranger why would we do that with our child, who is far more precious than our vehicle?

In my study of un-schooling I kept coming across the term “child lead learning”.  This is in direct opposition to what the bible tells me about the nature of a child and what God requires of me as a parent.  All are filled with a sin nature from conception and ‘the way he should go’ will not be the direction he will naturally desire.  It is my God-given duty to lead him there anyway.  The only thing you don’t have to teach a child is how to sin.

Train up a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom,

but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 22:6

A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Proverbs 10:1

He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.

Proverbs 17:21

A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.

Proverbs 17:25

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34

What about the classical education stuff that is all the rage these days? I am not much for that either.  It would be more accurate to call it Classical Humanism and in the classical sense that is one who studies “humanities”, the classic Greek & Roman literature.  The focus is on the academics and what material and/or social benefit can be attained thereby.  Classical schooling recommends highly questionable materials all in the name of “good literature”.  But who deemed these “good”?  Do they conform to Philippians 4:8?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Sadly most of the “classical humanism” recommended materials do not line up with scriptural principles.  I know, I have read some of it in my ‘government school career’ and well before I was saved.  There are just some thoughts and ideas that do not belong in a young, impressionable mind.

What about scope & sequence?  Don’t some curriculum come with those?  Well, yes, some do include a scope & sequence or have it available if you want one.  It is the application of the scope and sequence, believing that all children will know certain information at certain ages that is objectionable.  The program of scope and sequence must be adapted to the individual child.  Children are not automatons or need-some-assembly units on a conveyor belt all able to digest the same information at the same speed as each other and coming out the end of a 12 year program “educationally assembled”.  This is by its nature what the government school system must be to process all those ‘units’ out the end in an ‘efficient’ manner.  This system cannot ever provide the necessary behavioral and moral training living and growing children need.  In my homeschool, the last thing I want is to recreate the ‘government school’ at home!

Brand me as a heretic, but I do not believe that all teaching methodologies are scriptural.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.   I Corinthians 6:12

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.    I Corinthians 10:23

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Wow.  Is there anything left?

Yes!  The Trivium!!

Um… OK… what is that?  In a nutshell it is Christian homeschooling in a classical style

Wait!!  You just said that you didn’t like the classical education so what gives?

This is limiting the meaning of classical to include only what is of good form and lasting value (classical), and which conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview (Christian).  The focus is taking out of all cultures and times what is redeemable for Christ.   Not trying to baptize these cultures, in whole or in part, and call that “Christian”.  You can read more on what the Trivium is, and how to implement it in “Teaching the Trivium” by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn.

All the questions mentioned above have been answered except one.  My view of computers.  Before you brand me an a neanderthal along with a heretic let me tell you I like computers for the tools they are.  But my child-raising philosophy does not see much good in computers for young, developing children.  That also includes television.  I believe a child should have lots of one-on-one time with a real live, living and breathing human being along with lots of outdoor play.  I do not believe that the one-on-one time should be child-centered and exclusively of an entertainment mindset.  There is so much that needs accomplishing in a day that there is little time to spend all day “playing” with the children!

Children need to be included in all the things you do everyday.  They can help fold the small things when you are folding laundry.  They can load the clothes into the washer (get them a stool so they can reach)!  They can switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  Give them a spray bottle of water to help ‘clean’ the counters & mirrors in the bathroom.  Have them pick up and put away their toys.  Give them a small rag to dust the lower shelves, under the coffee table, and any other lower furniture pieces.  Very young children can do SO MUCH MORE than what we think they can do!  Even a 3-year-old can vacuum, at least the center areas!  They can stir what’s in the bowl, tear the lettuce, set the table and I could go on but I think you get the picture.  Including your children in your chores gives them a sense of purpose and that they are contributing to the family.

With that, let us begin with what I have used and didn’t like and why.

1. What have you used that you didn’t like? Why?

A) The Well Trained Mind

Ms. Bauer’s focus is strictly on the academics and the academic achievement brought by homeschooling. We are first and foremost interested in the character of our child above the academics. Less you think we don’t do any academics, let me assure you we DO, and plenty of them. But our focus is on the character of the child through the academics, chores, etc.

In our previous church most of the homeschoolers were using Ms. Bauer’s materials and couldn’t sing its praises enough. So I bought a copy. After reading it completely I was less than impressed to say the least. It’s all academics, page after page of academics. The how to and where to and why to… do the academics. The book is broken down into the three learning stages a child goes through, 1) the grammar, 2) the logic and 3) the rhetoric stages. In each of these three sections the “religious instruction” comprises a measly 3 pages. In the grammar stage there are no resources listed except to say ‘see your religious community’. In the entire 810 pages (yes I kept my copy) there are 9 pages devoted to the most important area in the life of anyone – the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his need of a savior.

I was saddened to know that there are so many Christian homeschoolers using this material and taking her recommendations for what to teach and when. In the grammar stage she recommends materials to study the Greek gods, the Egyptian gods, the Olympus gods & goddesses, Shakespeare, Fairy stories of India & Ireland and that’s just 1st grade!

The bible says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7  Our greatest desire is to teach and train Arrow to know and love the Lord God Almighty with all his heart and all his mind and all his soul and all his strength. “The Well Trained Mind” just didn’t seem to be of any help in that essential area.

The other thing I highly disliked is her improper use of “her” as a non-gender specific, singular pronoun. It is perfectly acceptable, proper English usage to use “he”, “him” and “his” as non-gender specific, singular pronouns.  Not only is it acceptable, but was used for centuries! It is the communist/ feminist ideology that suddenly makes the usage of these non-gender specific, singular pronouns unacceptable! Don’t get me started on the number gender agreement problems with using “they” as a singular pronoun. It is not now, nor will “they” ever be a singular pronoun! [off soap box]

[where's that paper bag...? breathe in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out...]

B) Story of the World V1

by Susan Wise Bauer- very UN-biblical in worldview – I almost threw it against the wall in disgust…,

but returned it instead and got my valuable money refunded ;-)

It characterizes ‘early’ man as an evolved, not very intelligent, hominid being. The blatantly UN-biblical view and anti-Christian tone were offensive.

I know when I read my bible, Adam was created as a highly functioning, intelligent man. He was immediately able to name all the animals and take instructions from the Lord. It is in chapter 4 where there is the mention of Jubal who is the father of those who play the lyre and pipe and Tubal-Cain who is the father of those who forge instruments of bronze and iron. You have to be pretty smart in order to teach someone else to play an instrument or forge bronze or iron implements. These people were also building cities and had livestock! Cities mean large numbers of people in close proximity. City dwelling makes a hunter/gatherer type of existence impossible. Noah also planted a vineyard right after the flood, so the knowledge of planting & harvesting grapes and making wine existed before the flood as well. I may have missed some things but all this tells me that early man was smart right from the start.

C) Hooked on Phonics - too juvenile for my older (then 13yr) learner, expensive,

D) Mystery of History; Vol I - not enough there, not able to easily substitute my own materials, first volume uses slang expressions (cool, etc.) which I found very irritating, the course is not yet completed (as of this writing), we would have had to switch to something else later anyway… I was looking for… something… more/else/different than this. I wanted meat to the study without bogging down in the details yet flexible enough for us to camp on any “detail” we felt we needed/wanted to study in more depth. This is biblical in it’s treatment of history yet doesn’t go far enough on that front for my tastes.

E) Making Math Meaningful - at one point Arrow just did not get a concept. We followed the instructions for coming back to that section later, which we did. Still he did not get the concept we were returning to. There were absolutely no additional resources to enable us to ‘camp out’ in that or any other section unless I wrote more pages. I had no interest in writing my own math curriculum… that’s what I was buying one for! This taught addition and subtraction all together, which can make it confusing to a young student (which this is meant for…).  If I was starting over with Arrow I wouldn’t start with formal education as early as I did.  We started him when he was 6 and a half.  I would have spent more time on character issues, chores, reading aloud and making learning part of our daily lives.  (two eggs plus two eggs makes how many eggs? while making cookies, etc.)  I also know more about digit spans and would have spent more time on them!

OK, that is a whole different post… I’ll discuss that soon!  Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it.

F) the Phonics Game - too expensive, I used this many years ago and the videos had the ‘mom’ dressed in tight spandex as she and her ‘son’ roller bladed around discussing ‘phonics’ (I would skip that part!) otherwise the card game is an excellent way to learn reading rules while playing & having fun!

G) Worldviews of the Western World 1 - I did use this for Peter Rabbit. After we pulled out of the government indoctrination center in 7th grade (1992). It is good, but with Tapestry of Grace, we learn the same thing (also as meaty as we desire) only in its historic context, it does not have the ability to be used with younger students at the same time (as Tapestry of Grace does), you actually read pagan materials (The Iliad, the Odyssey, The Aeneid & The Republic) though you do contrast them with the bible, but…

We choose this because we were brand new Christians, had limited biblical knowledge ourselves and Peter Rabbit was raised with no church background. We were interested in trying to build a biblical foundation in his learning. The biblical materials are excellent, meaty and worth having in your library. The discussions are excellent and the required essays are thought provoking. I loved the music and art portions where you can “see” & “hear” the effects of these pagan, anti-biblical philosophies on the culture.

I would recommend this with great caution. You know the bent of your student(s) best. If you think reading pagan material might foster or encourage a love for fantasy, mysticism, paganism, etc I would steer clear of this material. There is no way to use this without the reading of the pagan materials. And for some students, even contrasting the pagan materials with the very good biblical materials might just not be… enough. Just a caution.

G) Lifepacs from Alpha & Omega -

I did use some of these our very first year homeschooling ‘Peter Rabbit’ in the early 90’s.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with the content.  I have not examined them for content issues.  My problem is with them as workbooks.  This is recreating the government school style in your home!  Workbooks are relied upon by the government school teachers because they cannot possibly give individual attention to all 30 students in their classes!  Workbooks are busy work.  Maybe if I had lots of girls I would have a different view, but with boys… oh don’t kill their love of learning by giving them tons of workbooks!

I pray this post is a blessing to you!  What things have you used in your homeschool that you didn’t like and why?

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other posts that may be of interest to you:

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Conference

IndoctriNation the Movie

Why We Homeschool

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Use and Why I Use It

All art from Art.com.  I have an affiliate link in my sidebar.  Being an affiliate for certain companies is one way I attempt to supplement out income.  You can help us by purchasing through one of my affiliate links.

This post also linked here: The Better Mom, What Joy is Mine, Raising Arrows, Finding Heaven, Homestead Revival, Far Above Rubies, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, A Pause on the Path, Thankful Homemaker, Raising Homemakers, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, We Are THAT Family, Deep Roots at Home, A Mother’s Heritage, Intentional Me, Our Simple Country Life, At the Picket Fence, Best Post of the Week, Serenity Now, Homemaker by Choice, Comfy in the Kitchen, Finding Beauty, Visionary Womanhood,

June 6th – A Momentous Day

Today is a momentous day.

Yes, back in 1944 was the invasion of Normandy, France by the allied troops.  It is referred to as ‘D-Day’.

43 years later there was another momentous day on June 6th.

It was the day of my marriage to The Patriarch.  Yes, that makes today our 25th Wedding Anniversary!  I guess you could say this is also… W-Day.

I ran across this post today – To Love Honor and Vacuum.  She lists some good tips for keeping your husband the man of your dreams, even though there is now much water under the bridge!

I will list her headings and add my own comments below that list.

1) Don’t Compare Him, 2) Find Things to Praise Him For, 3) Don’t Try to Tame Him, 4) Embrace a Healthy S*x Life.

1) Whew!  I wouldn’t want him to compare me to another woman, especially a fake one from the movies or a magazine!  This is the man you chose to marry, the man you ‘fell in love with’, enjoyed talking with and spent hours getting yourself ready for.  Learn to love him for who he is!  If he is adoring you above all else, worshiping the ground you walk on, etc  then his priorities are wrong.  You should come after his love for the Lord, not before.  That other idea is a false humanistic view of love.

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  Deuteronomy 6:1 – 5

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Mark 12:30

My dear husband goes to work every day, working hard to provide for us.  He is out slaying his dragons, taking dominion over his part of the world.  Currently his work environment is Christian-hostile, anti-intellectual and physically and spiritually draining.  My desire is for him to “want” to come home every day.  I sure don’t want to do, say or behave in a way that would drive him away!

2) When I have my priorities in their proper places it is much easier for me to take my eyes off of what I perceive as my needs and focus on what his needs are.  I do not do this as well as I would like, but with the Lord’s help I am improving one day at a time.

I also am careful not to praise him in a way that seems artificial or fake.  That seemed to be a problem in his extended family and in his childhood home the pendulum swung so far the other way that no compliments were given for anything.  I don’t gush with meaningless words but am specific in what I am praising him for.  Sometimes if is an “offhand” kind of comment, like when I told him I love the way he leads our family devotions.  It was part of a larger conversation and fit in context.  I wasn’t “looking for something to compliment him on”, but mentioned something I genuinely appreciate.

I also take what opportunities I can to praise him behind his back.  Years ago as a Creative Memories consultant I attended consultant only crops.  There were a several women who spent lots of time tearing down their husbands.  Some I make sure to remember as examples for what NOT to do!

3) She says “don’t tame him”, but I see this as “Be IN Submission To Him”!  This is the age-old problem between men & women, brought about by our first parents…  Adam & Eve.

It can be so easy for we as women to fool ourselves into thinking we are being submissive when in actuality we are only agreeing with our husbands.  Do not think that I am doing this perfectly, for I am not.  There are still and always will be areas I can improve upon.  But there should be improvement!

If you asked your husband, would he say you are in true biblical submission to him?  Let’s not focus on the anomalies to a healthy biblical relationship.

Here are some questions I ask to test myself:

Has my husband asked me to do something that I have still not gotten done days, weeks or months later?

Am I making my husband’s wishes a priority in my day above what I think I ‘must’ get done today?

Do I talk over my husband?  Do I interrupt my husband?  Do I correct my husband in front of the children or others?

Do the children respect my husband?  If not, than the root problem may lie at my door.

Am I doing or saying anything that would discourage my husband from being the biblical leader of our home?

8 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3: 8 – 24

4) I have nothing to add here.

I think I told you before that The Patriarch was out of work for 2 months.  Once he got another job it was a number of weeks before we had our first full paycheck.  We were a full 10 and a half weeks without income.  I did not tell my husband that he needed to look for work, I knew he knew that full well.  My saying anything along those lines would be nagging.  He didn’t need THAT from me.  He asked me, as keeper of the accounts, how we fared financially and I gave him an honest answer.  Not making things look bleaker than they were or glossing over any potential difficulties.  I didn’t make any comments like, ‘well we could do that or have that but you aren’t bringing in a paycheck’.  If he decided to not do something, or to do something I made it all work to the best of my ability.  The same went for if we said anything to anyone or not.  He chose ‘not’.  It was well over half way through our ‘tight financial time’ when he thanked me for being supportive!  Once Arrow and I knew he would be leaving for work, we both told him we were glad he got a job but sorry he wouldn’t be home!  We all came to see this time as a blessing in our family.  I will share more on those things in a different post.

I was not always in submission to DH.  I was one who had duped myself into thinking I was, when the truth was I was not in submission.  Once I truly did submit myself to his biblical authority and I was no longer striving for his God-given-position as leader in our family so many needless arguments simply vanished!

I wouldn’t trade that false sense of freedom I once had for the true freedom I now enjoy.  It has been such a blessing!

So does that mean this is… D W Day?!!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other posts you may be interested in:

LAF Has Returned

Resolution – More Attentive to DH

The Dangers of Homeschooling

As with the what-once-was the-mainstream media, I am interested in “fair and balanced” blogging.

Yea, right.

As if the what-once-was the-mainstream media were ever “fair and balanced”.  I hope no one here really believes that lie.

Here is a YouTube showing all the dangers of homeschooling.

You have been warned.

If you are a homeschooler, what dangers do your children face in their school days?

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

The Mother’s Day Blues

I have been known in the past to remark that Mother’s Day is a Hallmark inspired ‘occasion’, and if your children don’t honor you any of the other 364 days of the year than why would you expect them to honor you on a specific day?

My friend, Bambi, over at “Nursery of the Nation” blog wrote an excellent piece on where our real focus should be on Mother’s Day.

I don’t know about you, but I sure NEEDED this reminder.  Truly does give “Mother’s Day” a whole new meaning!

I pray you are as blessed by her post as I was!  Blessings, ~Aunt Mae

She’s Got the Mother’s Day Blues


It’s almost here. Mother’s Day. The stores have flower bouquets readily available, and pink, feminine greeting cards are easily accessible in every grocery checkout line. I saw a huge sign outside a jewelry store the other day: “Tell her you appreciate her… with a diamond.”

Last time I checked, my five-year-old didn’t have enough money in his piggy bank to buy me a diamond. Unless your children are adults, the recognition of Mother’s Day falls on a husband’s shoulders.

And what if mom is single? What if her husband is deployed? What if he’s an unbeliever or a loving husband who simply doesn’t choose to make a big deal–or any deal–out of Mother’s Day?

Discontent
Mother’s Day can have the potential to bring discontent to our hearts. I’m ashamed to admit, in Mother’s Days past, I have found myself tempted to get a wee bit self-focused. Surely one day out of the year mothers deserve to be honored for all our hard work and sacrifices, right?

But the thing is, children don’t rise up and bless you until they are old enough to rise. A few of us may have young children that understand sacrifice and the eternal significance of our discipline, hard choices and protection of them, but most don’t. They won’t for many years.

I once helped a group of 6 year olds make homemade cards for their moms on Mother’s Day. I asked them to be specific about what they were thankful for in their mothers, remembering everything their moms did for them. Every single one of them said they were thankful their moms made meals. That’s all they could think of even after I prodded them. One of them even had me write, “Thank you for the bowls of cereal.” Ha!

The moral of that story is that number one–mealtime is very significant to children and number 2–it’s one of the only things they see that you do. Their little eyes just don’t see the magnitude of your influence on their lives, until much later.

And so it’s an unspoken rule, especially in the early years of motherhood, that Mother’s Day could be better named: Wife’s Day… or Husband-Better-Make-Wife-Feel-Good-or-He-Will-Get-the-Silent-Treatment-and-Probably-Never-Know-Why-Day.

Mother’s Day Focus: God and Others
It’s inside of all of us. We all want to be noticed, appreciated and valued. But if we’re to consider others more important than ourselves, we can instead:

*Make it a day of personal thanksgiving to God for the children He has blessed us with. Thank him for a husband who provides so that we can be keepers at home and enjoy the beautiful tasks God has called us to, as mothers.

*Focus on other moms who don’t have children who have “risen up” yet either. Make her a pie, send a card, call, text or email. Consider it a special opportunity to encourage her. And be specific about the virtues you see in her and the progress you see her making in her marriage and children.

*Plan a special meal for the mom or mom-figure in your life.

*Help your children send homemade cards to other women in their lives, and teach them to recognize their character and strengths so they can be specific in their letters.

*Remember women who aren’t mothers. Older women who were never able to have children, as well as women currently experiencing the trial of infertility. Take the opportunity to write them a homemade card that encourages them with scripture, or give them a simple gift.

*If you have children who would like to have a gift for you, help them by providing craft supplies or give them a few dollars (or extra chores to earn it). You can take them shopping rather than hoping or expecting that your husband will do it.

Don’t We Deserve Just One Day of Honor?
If our husbands, children or others honor us this weekend, it will be a blessing. But we don’t deserve it. What we did deserve has already been paid in full. The penalty we owed–has been paid by the sacrifice of Christ, justifying us and satisfying the wrath of our Holy God.

We’ve been saved by the grace of God, Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. No works…not even good wifely or motherly works, are enough to save us, nor do they earn us extra credit.

We serve our families all year, 24/7. If we know the call to lay down our lives for them it’s only because he laid down His life for us. We can serve and serve and serve, but apart from His sacrifice there is no serving. True greatness is attained only by emulating Christ’s example, the ultimate Servant–and only made possible by His sacrifice.

That is worth celebrating every day and every moment.

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35

Aunt Mae’s Wild Kingdom with Mallard Ducks!

In our preparedness efforts I have considered possibly keeping ducks.  Due to our HOA rules we cannot keep livestock, chickens… or fowl.  Sigh.  I wish I had been preparedness minded when we were looking to buy a home!  THIS would not be it, as I am so severely limited in what I can raise to provide for my family.  Eggs are such nutritional powerhouses!!  And duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs… but that isn’t an option here.  I have eaten duck eggs… and they tasted just like a rich chicken egg… no off flavor at all!

Today Arrow & I walked up to the post office to mail a soap order.  When we had returned and before we got into the house we heard a ‘ruckus’ in the ditch.

Lo and behold there were two drakes chasing a female Mallard along the ditch area.  Every once in a while one pair would stop running.

After this happened a few times, Arrow asked me what they were doing.

This question was followed by silence from me.

We watched these antics for a few more moments when he asked me if they were mating.  Yes they are.

One male finally drove the other off and the remaining pair stayed on in our yard!  We were so excited!!  Arrow got some duck treats and I got my camera.

Here they are down near the road and one of the three tiny blue spruce trees Arrow planted for me a few weeks ago.

I walked down to the road and got this picture.  In the foreground is one of the rock towers Arrow built for me.

Arrow also got his camera and took some of his own photos!  They came very close to him as he sat in the grass.

Here they are by the hydrangea bush Arrow recently transplanted.  For those new to this blog, this is THE bush that tripped me and made me break my arm in July 2010.  You can read about that adventure starting here.

The Patriarch thought they must have liked our yard since it was recently cut and would be good access to all those bugs!  Or that they are mallard-justed.

They flew off, probably to the lake.

Arrow named the drake… Mallard Fillmore.

A few hours later they had returned!  Oh joy!!  So we got a container to give them some water.

A pretty duck is like a mallard-y.  ;-)

Then they flew away again.  Arrow busied himself making a surround for a larger ‘water feature’ and a small shelter for the happy couple.  He placed the water containers into holes left over from our tree removal and front yard ‘flattening’ last year.  I guess I will have to fill them with dirt and plant grass seed one day soon.  It blessed my heart to see Arrow take the initiative in caring for these beautiful creations of the Lord.

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,

but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Proverbs 12:10

Of all things this pair returned to our yard a third time!  I didn’t get any photos since I was cooking dinner.  I did see them through the garden window.  Ducks are smart birds.  They went to exactly the same spot where the first ‘watering hole’ was!!  Each duck got into the hole and lay there for a brief period.  Arrow went outside to show them where the new water was, which they liked since it is a bit larger.  He then showed them their shelter.  Mrs. Mallard checked it out and they both flew off.

We are hoping for regular return visits!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other Musings You May Enjoy:

Broken Arm Blessings – The Break

A Spring Walk in the Park

Lemon Lavender Muffins – Gluten & Dairy Free

Spring Has Sprung

This post also linked here: The Better Mom, What Joy Is Mine, Raising Arrows, Homestead Revival, Far Above Rubies, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, Thankful Homemaker, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Builds Her Home, We Are THAT Family, Deep Roots at Home, A Mother’s Heritage, Women Living Well,

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Use & Why I Use It

I am often asked what curriculum we use in our homeschool.  Since the homeschool conference season is upon us I thought it was high time to  get this post posted!  It is easiest to continue answering this question here where it can be accessed easily and whenever it is convenient for you to read, re-read and ask questions.  So go grab yourself a cup of tea, lemonade, water or beverage of choice, sit back and relax.  This is by nature a  l-o-n-g  post.  :-)

When you ask anyone what curriculum they use in their homeschool, they should first tell you what teaching method they follow!  I am first and foremost a Teaching the Trivium proponent.  I then lean towards a classical methodology with unit studies and Charlotte Mason thrown in the mix!!  So whatever teaching methodology you favor will determine in large part the curriculum you will use.  I will elaborate on the Trivium and my mix in a different blog post.

- this book will help you get started on understanding why to homeschool, I consider this essential reading for parents and required reading for our children when they are about 14 or older and preparing for marriage

- this book will help you understand what the trivium is, why it is important and biblical

Before we get started I wanted you to give you hint at what you will find in this post… I hope this helps you find what you are looking for.  There are two sections;

section #1 is curriculum resources with the following categories in this order: bible studies, history/geography/literature/government/bible history/philosophy, reading instruction, handwriting, writing instruction, grammar, math, science, spelling, occupational education, Greek/Hebrew/Latin, art appreciation and music appreciation;

and section #2 is home/school/child management skills and resources.

1. What do I use and why do I like it?

A) Bible Studies:

- Balancing the Sword – I did a thorough review here

- Quite Times for Kids – solid, biblical, meaty studies; children work on their own as soon as they can read; free samples, various studies, can be used for any reading aged child, one study uses Lego blocks to reinforce lesson!, easy to use

-Proverbs by Kevin Swanson – essential character training for all children, good with all children, easy to use

  - Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!  These are pretty thorough, varies enough that any child would benefit, CD with all memory verses and printable sheets available, is used from childhood until marriage

B) History/Bible History/Geography/Government/Literature/Philosophy & more:

              -Tapestry of Grace - helps ME teach a Christian, classical education (we emphasize the Reformed viewpoint) using a guided unit study approach with the history of the world as the core organizational theme, students cycle through the material 3 times at different learning levels, detailed lesson plans and discussion outlines make ME the primary teacher and mentor and I shape their biblical worldview, comes in digital, print or you can get both, flexible for different learning levels and is designed for stages NOT ages, assignments for a full 36-week school year which are also broken down into 4 9-week units, every unit starts with a full introduction and end-of-unit celebration activities, each unit is broken down into week plans with the actual reading, thinking and writing assignments as well as tools and teacher helps, online collection of useful and helpful documents that are not specific to any week plan, optional supplements covering a wide range of subjects to make your experience more streamlined and enjoyable, resource book list and book update chart.  Tapestry is a plan of study, recommended books are available for sale, at the library or might already be on your own shelves!  Any books can easily be substituted for those you would prefer to use.  This does take some learning to use, but there are many resources to help you in your learning curve!  Anything worth doing isn’t always easy, but THIS is well worth doing!  There are also free units available for you to try before you buy.

C) Reading Instruction:

- Phonics Pathways100% phonics, uncluttered pages, large type, easy to use, NO prep time for me, a reading readiness evaluation so you are not pushing instruction too early for your child’s development

- McGuffey Readers – no ungodly elements!, endearing line drawings, character lessons in well written stories

D) Handwriting:

- A Reason for Writing – lessons built around bible verses, easy to use, potential outreach by sending out the completed border sheets at the end of the week (we have done this in the past and have had wonderful responses), simple ‘test’ to check handwriting improvement through the years.

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- Startwrite – a computer program that allows you to use any material for handwriting and has both printing and cursive alphabets.  I love using this for bible memory verses, psalms for singing we are working on, quotes from leaders we are studying, poems Arrow is memorizing and much more!

E) Writing:

- Understanding Writing by Susan Bradrick, this is the ONLY curriculum that truly teaches HOW to write!!  The others tell you to write to learn, but that isn’t effective and doesn’t teach you how to write!  There are also examples of simple word games to improve sentence structure and descriptions.  Amongst all the excellent teaching is a mini child training curriculum!  Double bonus to be sure!!  Tapestry of Grace does have a writing component and each assignment is tied to that weeks lesson, but they are just more meaningless writing exercises.  This curriculum has your child writing notes and letters to friends and relatives all while learning the HOW to write and write well.  It is writing with a real purpose.  Most of our students will not be writers, journalists or editors.  But they will need to write notes, letters, and possibly even blog posts!

F) Grammar:

- Easy Grammar – easy to use, you memorize prepositions and it is SO much easier to find subject and verb after that!!  I struggled with grammar all through my school years, with this method I would have had a MUCH easier time!!  Even “I” do not have to use the answer key for many of the answers when correcting work!!  WOW… I have learned so much!!

G) Math:

- Math-U-See – easy to use, very thorough (build problem with manipulatives, write the problem, say the problem, practice, teach it back (really demonstrates whether they understand the concept or not!), ability to make additional worksheets for those times when a concept just does not seem to be grasped and you have used all the ones in the workbook, concepts taught to the teacher first via DVD, addition (& subtraction) taught as general concepts and then the facts are taught in groups (+2, doubles, etc), addition taught then subtraction (not both at the same time), same for multiplication & division, and I love, love, love the manipulatives!

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- 100 Sheep – a skip counting CD to bible stories, this is wonderful!  Arrow puts this in to listen to on his own while doing dishes or cleaning his room.  :-)

H) Science:

- Christian Kids Explore – good early level science, easy to use, specific science per categories (biology, chemistry, etc)

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- Wonders of Creation series – biblical reference, more in-depth look at some favorite science topics, study guides available

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- God’s Design for Science series – from Answers in Genesis, all sets reflect a Biblical worldview, including a young-earth view of creation, four-part series, experiments & activities in every lesson, great photos, easy to use with multiple children at different levels, flexible to use, comprehensive material, makes The Patriarch very happy as he decries the lack of hard sciences taught to homeschooled children

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rock collections for geology from Northwest Treasures – wonderfully full of rocks, books, and all in a great storage case, reasonably priced, very interesting kits (dinosaurs, fossils, Lewis & Clark, glow in the dark (VERY popular!!), and much more, all from a young earth/creation perspective

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- Christian Liberty Nature Readers – from Christian Liberty Press

I) Spelling:

- Phonics Pathways – thorough phonics rules, no need to purchase an additional curriculum (makes DH very happy)!!

J) Occupational Education:

 Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!

- Managers of Their Chores – helps you teach your children how you want each chore done, when to do it and then is an accountability system as well

K) Greek, Hebrew & Latin:

  - Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek, Alphabet for Classical Latin (no longer available), Little Bitty Baby Learns Hebrew  – we are just at the stage for a formal Latin but not ready for Greek or Hebrew curriculum yet…, but we know the alphabets of all three!


- Latin for Children series – easy to use, reasonably priced, lots of additions like a history book, CDs, and puzzles

L) Art Appreciation:

- Adventures in Art – NO NUDES!!, larger reproductions of paintings, easy to use, easy to organize the paintings into one large ‘timeline’ of art history to trace how art changed with political ideas through history… OK so when I bought this about 18 years ago I got a portfolio with reproduction paintings this is now an internet curriculum, and will still be WONDERFUL!  Art is the expression of an idea/thought and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- Child Sized Masterpieces – NO NUDES, postcard sized paintings (get to touch, sort, etc), many levels with lots of beautiful paintings, easy to play matching games, guess the artist and much more

M) Music Appreciation:

- Music & Moments with the Masters – traces music history and how music changed with political ideas through history, music is the expression of an idea/thought/emotion and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- [Composer] Greatest Hits – we use this along with the story of that particular composer for more of his music than what is given in the previous CD

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- The Story of… – CD series of composers life stories, informative and we use them in the van while driving somewhere… redeeming the time!

2. What home/school/child management skills have you learned to make things easier and more enjoyable?

A) Home Management:

1) Have meal plans.  This helps with KNOWING what will be for lunch and dinner, making sure you have the necessary ingredients, eliminating unnecessary trips to the store (saving money on gas and wear & tear on the vehicle).  This is NOT restrictive but freeing!

2) Have some kind of cleaning schedule.  Don’t wait for it to get dirty, clean it BEFORE it gets dirty!  I clean the shower when I am IN there.  I’m already wet!  I wipe something down every time I am in the bathroom.  This helps KEEP the bathroom clean.  Teach your children to do the same thing!  You are NOT a maid.

3) Eliminate clutter!  This is a biggie and I am still struggling with this one… but each trip to the donation center helps!  Funny thing, I can not usually even remember what was in those bags and boxes after I donated them.  So that is PROOF I didn’t need it!

B) School Management:

– Homeschool Tracker Plus – a planning and organizing software, adaptable to any homeschooling style simply and yet sophisticated, lesson planning, record keeping, flexible and customizable to my (or your) planning and organization style, lesson plans can be reused for multiple students or in different years and can be shared with other Tracker users, affordable and either online or downloadable versions, EXCELLENT customer service & support, online discussion forum with great users who are helpful and kind, oh so kind!!  One of my favorite features is the rescheduling!!  This has helped save my sanity more than once!!!

OK, I heard that snickering out there!  Who did that!!!??!!!

C) Child Training:

  - Raising Godly Children by the Bradricks (DVD series)

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- What the Bible Says About Child Training by Fugate – with certain caveats

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- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp

D) Skills/Lessons/Tips I Have Learned:

1) START THE DAY WITH HE LORD!!!  Even just a few moments with really little ones afoot.  Aren’t we homeschooling for the Lord in the first place?  We cannot do this without Him!

2) Be truly submitted to your husband.  Ladies, do not deceive yourself into thinking you are in submission when you are not.  Ask you husband, he’ll tell you.

3) Patience, but this came after #2, #1 AND #5 makes it easier!  :-D  Despite what the world thinks (that we must have lots of patience in order to homeschool) it is the process of teaching our children at home that develops that patience!  Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  A lesson I am still learning… sigh.

4) To study the various educational methodologies and determine which one best fits with God’s word first and our child’s leaning second.  See resources listed at the top of this post.  This helps you eliminate some curriculum which helps in the decision-making process!

5) GO TO BED EARLY, NO LATE NIGHTS (unless you are nursing, then… TAKE NAPS)!  There really is no benefit in burning the candle at both ends… and lots of detriments.  Draining your adrenals is a big one.  You do NOT want to go there.  Trust me on this one.

6) LIMIT computer time, crafts, talking on the phone, and any other activity that takes your focus off your home and family.  There will be a season for more of that when the children are grown.  You will only have them for a short time, don’t waste it with your fave in the box!!

7) Start with obedience training when your children are very young.  You are striving for first time obedience, without excuse, without delay, without complaint.  Doorposts has great help with this area.  Your consistency is a key factor.

I hope you find this helpful.  Some of these resources I liked so well I became an affiliate for them!  I do receive a monetary compensation if you purchase through one of my links.  All these materials I have purchased on my own and I was not paid for this post.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may still have!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other Aunt Mae Musings that may interest you:

Why We Homeschool

IndoctriNation the Movie

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Conference

This post is also linked here:

  , Visionary Womanhood,