Tag Archives: theology

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

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Today’s Church & The Lost Doctrine

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

Happy Easter 2012

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

What is so good about Good Friday?

Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed

1.      Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
	and did my Sovereign die!
	Would he devote that sacred head
	for sinners such as I? 

2.	Was it for crimes that I have done,
	he groaned upon the tree?
	Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
	And love beyond degree! 

3.	Well might the sun in darkness hide,
	and shut its glories in,
	when God, the mighty maker, died
	for his own creature's sin. 

4.	Thus might I hide my blushing face
	while his dear cross appears;
	dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
	and melt mine eyes to tears. 

5.	But drops of tears can ne'er repay
	the debt of love I owe.
	Here, Lord, I give myself away;
	'tis all that I can do.

O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done

1.	O Love divine, what has thou done!
	The immortal God hath died for me!
	The Father's coeternal Son
	bore all my sins upon the tree.
	Th' immortal God for me hath died:
	My Lord, my Love, is crucified! 

2.	Is crucified for me and you,
	to bring us rebels back to God.
	Believe, believe the record true,
	ye all are bought with Jesus' blood.
	Pardon for all flows from his side:
	My Lord, my Love, is crucified! 

3.	Behold him, all ye that pass by,
	the bleeding Prince of life and peace!
	Come, sinners, see your Savior die,
	and say, "Was ever grief like his?"
	Come, feel with me his blood applied:
	My Lord, my Love, is crucified!



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:

Mitt Romney, Mormonism and the 2012 Election

I knew I wouldn’t ever vote for Mitt Romney.  Couldn’t ever… even if he is the Republican nominee.  There was just ‘something’…

But I wasn’t able to elaborate on what that ‘something’ is.

Until today.

I have appreciated Eric Holmberg and the Apologetics Group for a few years now.  I am still digesting all that is in the Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism DVD & Study Guide.  :-)  This set if currently on sale for $9.95 (normally $29.95).  I am not an affiliate.

Today I appreciate Eric Holmberg for his clarity on this issue and making a YouTube video to explain it all.  :-)

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

The State of the Church

This is so true of the church today in 2012 much less in 1879…

“There is a common complaint in these days, that there is a lack of power in Christianity, and that the church does not shake the world as it did in former years. Shall I tell you what the reason is, in plain words? It is the low tone of life which is so sadly prevalent among professing believers. I believe we fall far short in our standard of Christian practice.

The times require a higher standard of personal holiness, and an increased attention to practical religion in daily life.

I must honestly declare my conviction, that there never has been . . .
so much profession of religion–without practice,
so much talking about God–without walking with Him,
so much hearing God’s Words–without doing them,
as there is at this present date!

Never were there so many empty tubs and tinkling cymbals!

Never was there so much formality–and so little reality!

The whole tone of men’s minds on what constitutes practical Christianity seems lowered. The old golden standard of the behavior which befits a Christian, appears debased and degenerated. You may see scores of religious people (so-called) continually doing things which in days gone by, would have been thought utterly inconsistent with vital Christianity! They see no harm in such things as theater-going, dancing, incessant novel reading–and they cannot in the least understand what you mean by objecting to them! The ancient tenderness of conscience about such things seems dying away and becoming extinct, like the dodo-bird.

And when you venture to remonstrate with those who indulge in them, they only stare at you as an old-fashioned, narrow-minded, fossilized person, and say, “What is the harm?” In short, laxity and levity are the common characteristics of the rising generation of professors.

Where is . . .
the self-denial,
the redemption of time,
the absence of luxury and self-indulgence,
the unmistakable separation from earthly things,
the manifest air of being always about our Master’s business,
the singleness of eye,
the simplicity of home life,
the high tone of conversation in society,
the patience, the humility, the universal love–
which marked Christians seventy or eighty years ago? Yes, where is it indeed? We have inherited their principles–but I fear we have not inherited their practice!

The Holy Spirit sees it–and is grieved! The world sees it–and despises us. The world sees it–and cares little for our testimony. It is life, life–a heavenly, godly, Christ-like life–depend on it, which influences the world!”

J. C. Ryle in 1879

We need more preachers who preach like this and not the ‘feel good’ twaddle most are fed in the church today!

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

One Thousand Gifts – A Retraction

I do NOT recommend this book.  I did purchase a copy, but never got around to reading it… and I am SO glad I didn’t!  My ‘very fast reading’ of the library’s copy didn’t allow for any discernment on my part.  The idea of giving thanks in all circumstances is biblical, but she veers way off of that track!  You can read a biblical analysis of this book here and here.

Please accept my sincerest apologies if you have gotten this on my recommendation.

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

This post is also linked here:

Meaningful Christmas Vacation Activities

We are taking a short break from school work during this Christmas season.  This holiday and Thanksgiving are the ONLY ones we take that coincide with our local public school’s vacations.  After our harrowing experience at the zoo when a large number of government school prisoners children were also there I went back to my calendar and made sure all our vacations were NOT at the same time as our local school districts.

Here are some suggestions for meaningful Christmas Vacation activities.  :-D

1) Go through all your Christmas cards and spend time praying for that individual or family

2) Walk or drive to see light displays (you could discuss the meaning of the Christmas star, the wise men who traveled by it, Christ as Light of the World, spiritual meaning of the various colors (white – cleaned from sin, red – sin, green – growth in Christ, etc).  We like to look for Christian symbols in the decorating.  This year we actually saw THREE different displays with crosses as a prominent parts!

3) Write down things & people you are thankful for from the past year on paper stars to hang in the house, then as you are taking down the stars you can pray as a family for that thing/situation or person.

4) sing or play Christmas music in a nursing home or retirement center or go caroling in your neighborhood.  Some of the Christmas carols have some great doctrine in them… some are doctrinally un-sound (baby Jesus did cry, crying as an infant is NOT a sin!)… off my soap box now.  :-)

5) Listen to this sermon audio link  as a family: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5220621750

6) read all the Christmas story accounts in the bible… don’t forget John 1:1-15!!  Here is a free download from Answers in Genesis – Nativity Booklet available only until Dec 31st!

7) Find a Christmas story read aloud and the younger children can color pages (Little House on the Prairie Christmas section, or others)

8) each person can start writing notes to various people who have had an impact on them over the past year (or more) to be sent out at the first of the year.  Express how much they mean to you, what they did to bless you, how they have impacted your life, etc.  Be specific, use proper grammar, sentence structure and punctuation and your best handwriting!

9) at dinner have each person go around the table telling how each of the other family members have been a blessing to them this past year and try to be specific about something not just generalizations.

10) Make it a day or evening of playing games together

11) do a special jigsaw puzzle together as a family or one set of folks could do the puzzle and another could be playing games and you can rotate depending on your space

12) Take a nature walk to see what animals are about, what plants are out and how the Lord provides for his tiny creatures in the winter.  Gather bits of nature to take home to decorate the trailer and start a Nature Notebook.  Use the Latin names for things in labeling them, draw the bit if nature you brought home, write about the walk and what you saw, etc.  This can then be added to through the year and if you walk in the same general places all year long you can document how it all changes through the seasons.

13) Recite and/or memorize Christmas poems, you could have a poetry reciting evening with Christmas cookies and eggnog!

14) Didn’t get those Christmas cookies baked with your precious children?  Why not do that between the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations??!!  I will be.  I have never made homemade sugar cookies.  I know it is hard to believe, but it is true.  I also want to try decorating them with that icing that gets hard.  I even bought a snowflake ornament to use.  I am so excited about this project!  I also have all the ancient cookie cutters that were my mother’s.  We will use most of them, though Santa will stay in the container as we don’t “do” Santa.  I want the true meaning of Christmas to shine forth.

And of course a poem… you know me and poetry!!

‘Christmas Bells’ poem by Henry Wadsworth

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★Christmas★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚And a Happy New Year!!!! 

                                          ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

All art from Art.com – for which I am an affiliate.

The Most Precious Gift

Daddy-J    In Memorium

December 13, 1935 – December 02, 2011

    For his anger is but for a moment,
        and his favor is for a lifetime.
    Weeping may tarry for the night,
        but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalm 30:5 ESV)

The Lord in His graciousness to me has given me a gift that has left me stunned in its magnitude.

I opened my email this afternoon to find a message from one of mom’s very dear friends, who is also a customer of mine.  Mr & Mrs Q had called to talk to Daddy-J about his need for a personal relationship with Jesus.   Their call was about the same time my letter arrived.  They read scripture to him and…

Daddy-J acknowledged Jesus as his Savior!

Words escape me, but my heart is filled with joy!!

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6 – 7

Praise the Lord!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R