Tag Archives: homeschool

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!!

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,

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)

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.

.
- 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!

.
- 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)

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

.
- 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

.
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

.
- 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.

.
- 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.

.

- [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

.
- 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)

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

.
- 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,

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference

This year’s conference is at the end of this week.  Our excitement mounts as the days draw nearer, ever nearer!!

Why do we attend THIS conference above any others offered in our state?

Let me count the ways!

1) Christian Heritage’s conference is the only Christ-centered homeschool conference offered in my area.  When we first started homeschooling in the early 1990′s I did attend ‘another’ big conference in our area… it was the only thing I knew about at the time.  But it’s sole focus was on the teaching-mom.  There wasn’t a hint of anything that we believed was important.  Anything “Christian” was indicated as so in the brochure… so they could be avoided by the majority attending.  I was starving for the Christian message and sought out those that were specifically Christian!!  ‘That’ conferences biggest draw is the mammoth sized curriculum fair.  But THAT isn’t a draw for me, as I am interested in distinctly Christian materials to support the Christian training we supply at home.

2) Christian Heritage’s vendor hall is FULL of excellent, Christian materials!  This is by far THE BEST homeschool vendor hall I have ever had the privilege to attend.  I don’t have to examine science materials to discover that it is evolutionary based twaddle!  It is a LARGE vendor hall FILLED with materials of substance, quality and Christ.  Lots and lots of choices… so go with a list!!  It can be overwhelming.  :-)

3) Christian Heritage’s conference provides encouragement and teaching for me in my God-given roles of helpmeet, keeper-at-home, and instructor/discipler of the next generation, and for The Patriarch in his roles as prophet, priest, protector and provider for our family.   That encouragement keeps us going through the rest of the year and not become weary in well doing.  Neither of us had any of this modeled or taught to us in our childhood years and this excellent teaching helps us to understand and live out our God-given roles.

4) No matter what questions or concerns have cropped up over the previous year, the Christian Heritage conference has answered them from a biblical basis, there was a concern about college, a science question, each year has been something very different.   God is so amazing and gracious to do this for me… every single year!!

5) The Christian Heritage conference’s keynote speakers have encouraged, exhorted and taught us on a wide range of topics.  Keynote speakers in the past have been 2006: Doug Phillips, Steve Maxwell, Dr. Brian Ray;  2007 Voddie Baucham, James McDonald; 2008 Doug Phillips; 2009Viddie Baucham; 2010 Ken Ham, Kevin Swanson; and in 2011 Kevin Swanson, Geoffrey Botkin.  This year we are privileged to hear Voddie Baucham speak again.  The Patriarch was so blessed by him in 2007 & 2009 that he has been looking very forward to his return this year!

6) The entire Christian Heritage conference is very well organized starting with the greeters at the door, the registration table, information booth, speakers, vendor hall, and including the CD & DVD ordering.  And they get better and better every year!  No matter how big the conference is, or how busy anyone is, there is a sweetness and courtesy not usually found out in town today that is like a cup of cold water to a thirsty man.

7) The DVDs & CDs.  Yes, I know we could just order them online and skip the conference… but I can not imagine missing this conference!!!  The CDs & DVDs are also offered at a special conference price… so it’s a WIN, WIN!!  The CDs & DVDs are a way for me to have all the workshops I wanted, but couldn’t physically attend!  There is only one of me!!  We get to watch the excellent messages again as a family and  listen to various teaching as we drive in the van or sit at home.  I don’t know about you, but as we watch or listen to these presentations again many times I hear something I missed in the original hearing.  The topics are broad ranging and are timeless treasures!

New this year! The CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
“SEASONS OF DISCIPLESHIP” COLLECTION …
Audio Messages to Fit Your Family’s Needs

WHAT ARE THEY & WHERE DO I GET THEM?
This COLLECTION contains 11 sets of past CH Conference messages—selected for their timeless Biblical and practical encouragement for equipping your household:

  • Tailored to meet you where you’re at as you go through the seasons of parenting and as your family’s requirements change
  • 10 CD’s per Set—assembled by topic to suit the many needs of homeschooling families
  • Available at Special Conference Prices at the CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CONFERENCE Booth (#24-25)—along with the popular Father & Son Retreat and Mother & Daughter Teas CD’s
  • After the Conference, available via our CH Online Store at ChristianHeritageOnline.org

OTHER “SEASONS OF DISCIPLESHIP” SETS:
(Click Here to see all Speakers and Sessions in each Set)
~ SET 1 – Christian Heritage Conference Favorites
~ SET 2 – Godly Parenting & Family Relationships
~ SET 3 – Helpful Homeschooling Nuts & Bolts
~ SET 4 – Getting a Great Start
~ SET 5 – Keep Going – You CAN Do It!
~ SET 6 – Moving Forward into Adulthood
~ SET 7 – Conquering Learning Challenges
~ SET 8 – Discipleship Wisdom for Moms
~ SET 9 – Discipleship Wisdom for Dads
~ SET 10 – Encouragement for Sons (& Their Parents)
~ SET 11 – Encouragement for Daughters (& Their Parents)

Great for Personal, Family, and Group Bible study ~
and to Give as Gifts for Any Occasion!

8) We get to see friends we don’t see on a regular basis and meet new friends!

9) During break times, the young men have a football game on the lawn outside the main doors.  There are fellas wearing suits, jeans and everything in between.  It is a great way to burn off some of the pent up energy in young men!  I find it encouraging that the older young men do not shun the younger ones, but cheerfully include them in the game.  That is a rarity these days!

If you are in the neighborhood, please join us April 26th – 28th, 2012 for the

7th Annual Christian Heritage

Family Discipleship & Homeschooling Conference!!

Registration is available at the door.  We would love to see you there!!  :-)

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


Other posts you may be interested in:

Why We Homeschool

Daily Renewal – When Mothering Feels Too Hard

This post also linked here:

Children Read to Dogs at Virigina Library

A public library in Virginia is sponsoring a program for children to read books . . .  to dogs.  The Alexandria, Virginia, library “Paws to Read” program has children in grades 1-6 reading books to dogs. The flier promoting the program, paid for through Alexandria City tax dollars, is here:

In the program, parents are not allowed in the room when the children are reading to the dogs.  The dogs, advocates boast, won’t judge or correct the children.  The judgment-free and correction-free dog reading zone, naturally, has roots in academia.  The University of California at Davis produced a study called “Reading to Rover” that catalogs the benefits of children reading to dogs, instead of with parents.

One child in the UCAL Davis study described why she prefers reading to dogs… read the rest here.

In the photo above… this is a 13 -14 year old male and he is reading a Golden Book.  He is reading a little kiddie book!!  Yikes.

Chalk this up as another albeit strange reason why we homeschool.

So not only do you have to pay your hard earned money (via your property taxes) to pay for schools to not teach your child to read.  You also get to pay with your hard earned money to have your child read to the dog in another attempt to ‘teach’ the child to read when the school couldn’t do their job.

Remember this the next time your school system wants you to vote for another tax increase — it’s for the children.

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)


Other posts you may be interested in:

Why We Homeschool

IndoctriNation the Movie

Daily Renewal: When Mothering Feels Too Hard

Broken Arm Blessings – Arrow Learns Kitchen Knife Skills & Cooking

Homeschooling A Sick Child

IndocriNation the Movie

Our family attended one of the Christian Heritage sponsored showings of IndoctriNation: Public School and the Decline of Christianity in America.

We are all so glad we attended this.  It was an evening well spent!

Here is some information about the movie from it’s webpage:

Driving an old school bus, Colin and family travel across America, asking questions about the origins and social impact of America’s public education system. Colin asks:

  • Who established the American Public Schools system?
  • Are my kids physically and morally safe in the schools?
  • Are the public schools religiously neutral?
  • Shouldn’t Christian kids be “salt and light” in the Schools?
  • Can the public school system be fixed or redeemed?

 Featuring compelling interviews with teachers, administrators, parents, and other whistle blowers, this film is part documentary, part testimonial, and totally captivating. Above all it is both an encouragement and challenge to the millions of Christians who need to know what God’s Word says about the discipleship and training of the next generation. You will want to give this DVD to every parent you know.


IndoctriNation: Public School and the Decline of Christianity in America won the Jubilee Award at the 2012 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (www.saicff.org) for Best Documentary among 25 semi-finalists.

To whet your interest here are a few clips from the movie:

For me this movie did 3 things.  First, it clearly answered my questions about how our school system got where it is today & what is it based on.  Secondly, it gives me a tool to put into the hands of my Christian public-schooling friends.  Thirdly, it reconfirms our convictions to homeschool.

I highly recommend this film!  If you cannot find a friend to borrow a copy from, it will be money well spent!  We bought two copies and my husband is out of work… if that tells you how important we feel about this subject!

We also got to meet Colin Gunn!  I could listen to his accent for hours.  :-)  There was a Q & A after the showing.  One thing we learned was the LARGE number of videos that were sold at the week long viewings here in Washington state.  After the first night’s viewing the entire case he brought along were all sold out.  So he ordered another 2 cases to be sent to him.  All but 8 of those were sold on a subsequent night’s viewing and LOTS of orders!

I think I could have told them it would be that way.  Why??  Because those of us who homeschool have come to know the physical, educational and spiritual dangers of the public school system.  Christian public-school parents are not usually willing to sit down and listen to us about the dangers of public-school.  NOW we have something that they would watch and learn more than we could tell them!!

For that I am SO thankful.

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

Why We Homeschool

Once upon a time there was a family.  They were a tiny family which consisted of dad (The Patriarch), mom (~Mrs. R), and 1 son (Peter Bunny).

One day, in the far by and by of the early 90′s, a notice came home from Peter Bunny’s school about the sex education video about to be shown in health class… and gave Peter Bunny’s parents the opportunity to preview said video.

So off his parents went, traveling over hill and dale, to school on ‘previewing’ day.  Peter Bunny’s parents were the only ones who previewed the video.

Peter Bunny’s parents were upset that abstinence was presented as ‘just another option’ and only mentioned a bare handful of times in the nearly hour length production.  They knew all too well the devastation a lack abstinence can bring.

The Patriarch, Peter Bunny’s daddy, expressed his dismay to the teacher.  She then informed him that ‘they’ were not allowed to teach ‘moral values’… blah… blah… blah.  But the truth is they do teach moral values, theirs not ours!  The moral of this story is that the public school system was immoral years ago… and it has NOT improved!

I remembered one math teacher who told me he didn’t assign any homework because the kids never do it anyway.  WHAT!??  They don’t have time to do the assignment IN class yet it is never assigned for outside of class?

We pulled Peter Bunny out of public school after that.  He was in 7th grade.

My first homeschool teaching task was to evaluate Peter Bunny’s learning to determine where I needed to  start my teaching — He could hardly read!  His reading ability was at or below the 2nd grade level.  I was shocked to my core.  I thought I remember him getting good grades on his report cards…

I then located his report cards from my files.  Yes, he was marked as “on grade level” in reading…

WAIT!!!  What was THIS!??

Our young Peter Bunny had been in remedial reading classes for at least 2 years.  HOW could he be marked as ON grade level when he wasn’t even IN a grade level class??? To add further insult to injury his ‘remedial reading teacher’, who gave out these marks, was a member of our church!  Was this deliberate dishonesty?  What was going on here??

I spent our first year of homeschooling teaching our 7th grader how to read, from the ground up, beginning with a thorough review of phonics.  It brought joy to my heart to ‘catch’ him reading, of his own volition, and for pleasure!  I was frequently heard saying “Reading is foundational to learning”, and “How can he study God’s word if he can’t read?”

Twelve years later, when Arrow came along, we were firmly convinced that he would never, ever, ever set one foot inside a public school.  Ever.

Over the years I have read a number of things that have helped me understand homeschooling and it’s history, the failure of the public school system, and the mandate from the Lord to take responsibility to teach our children.

Here Are Our Top Ten Reasons We Homeschool

1) God’s word tell us to.

Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The plain meaning of these verses is that your children should be instructed in things of the Lord all throughout the day from earliest rising to retiring for the night.  How can that happen when they are gone from home the majority of their waking hours?

2) Homeschooling has deepened our family bonds.  There is a deep love and genuine concern for each other that doesn’t develop when each family member spends large chunks of time separated from the others.

3) Godly character training happens only at home.  Mom and/or Dad are the only ones who are authorized by the Lord to administer corporal correction.  The parents are the ones who know each child intimately and what character traits need to be addressed or what struggles a child has.

4) There is no ‘bad company’ to corrupt our son’s ‘good morals’ (or morals in training) in our school.  ‘Bad company’ can also be in the form of computers, tv, movies, books and music – so constant vigilance must be maintained.  Those things are so much easier to control when your children are with you all day long.  It has been a joy to have Arrow with me all day, every day.  Don’t get me wrong, some days are h-a-r-d.  But anything worth doing is seldom ‘easy to do’.  There are also many resources out there to help you with just about any problem that comes up.  Many times it comes down to the need for more character training.

1 Corinthians 15:33    Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

5)  The Lord says in Psalm 127 that children are an inheritance.  Would I hand over my monetary inheritance to strangers, to have complete control over, without any supervision from me, for 12 l-o-n-g years?  No!  Why would I do that with the inheritance of far superior value – my children?

Psalm 127

 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

6) As we “walkest by the way”, running errands, shopping, on field trips, etc our children’s Godly training (or lack thereof) is visible to a watching world.  There is something SO different about a child with Godly character training!!  We are asked lots of different questions throughout the year about why we are different.  When was the last time you saw a 12-year-old public-school boy cheerfully hold open a door for anyone?!!

7) We have no drug or alcohol problems in our school.  We have no violence problems in our school.  We have no gang problems in our school.  We have no immodesty problems in our school.  We have no pornography in our curriculum, libraries or ‘school lockers’.  We have no promiscuity in our school.  We have no bullying in our school.

8) I have the freedom to choose what teaching materials will work best for our family, our child’s learning style, and our budget.  I am not required to utilize the dumbed-down, politically correct and historically inaccurate history textbooks used by the public schools.  There is no homosexual agenda in any of our books.  I am free to include God in each of our school subjects – God’s providence in history, math rules reflect an orderly Lord, grammar and proper punctuation to communicate the gospel to others with clarity & understanding, God as THE Creator of the universe in science, clear evidence presented in support of a global (NOT localized) flood, proof presented that clearly refutes evolutionary theory (it is NOT a fact), and MUCH, MUCH more.

9) Incorporating piano lessons, field trips, and other “non-school seat work” can happen whenever we want it to.  Our schedule is flexible and can be changed to accommodate Daddy’s work hours, a medical emergency, visiting relatives or any number of things that come up in life.

10) When “life” happens, our schooling doesn’t stop – it make take a different form for  a bit.  Such as when I broke my arm, Arrow’s “school-time seat work” came to a screeching halt. He spent hours doing all the things I suddenly couldn’t do for myself!  You can read more about that journey here.

I want to call your attention to something.  Though the homeschool education is far superior to anything the public schools can dish out, that reason doesn’t even make our top ten list!

What is the hardest part of homeschooling?  It isn’t the teaching.  It isn’t correcting the numerous papers.  It is me.  Maintaining consistency day in and day out is the hardest task – - – and all with a proper attitude.

But the rewards are are well worth the time and effort it takes!

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

This post also linked here: