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The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven

Here’s the story of a lovely lady …   Whoops, wrong generation, wrong story. 😉

Here’s the story of a “marriage made in Heaven“….

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Standing before the preacher / elder in the beautifully decorated church are a young groom and his beautiful young bride.  The congregation is full of families who have come to witness the marriage of this couple.  They all think the couple is perfectly suited for each other.

The groom is a twenty year old young man who is the eldest son of a large family.  He was homeschooled from the beginning.  He has always been his dad’s right hand man.  For highschool he was dual enrolled so he completed his college eduction right along with his highschool by using online courses.  He never stepped foot on campus until his college graduation.  Since graduation he has developed his own company working from home.  He has been so successful that his younger siblings are employed by him now also.

After he had set aside enough money he began to build himself a house on the 20 acres he purchased and cleared in his early teens.  Working every free moment and on weekends he was able to mostly build the whole house on his own.  He only took breaks from building to put in his garden, the fruit orchard and mow the hay.  Now at twenty he has a fully self sustaining farm with a nice three bedroom home.  He works from his shop behind the house.

After he was established, then and only then, did he approach the father of a young lady to seek the father’s approval to court his daughter with the plan to marry as soon as the father gave his approval.  After having read all the important courtship books, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, What He Must Be: … , and Her Hand In Marriage, he felt prepared to pursue this next step.  The young man had prepared a book with the answers to as many questions as he could possibly imagine the father asking.  This was presented in a bound volume to the father at the meeting.  The father was so impressed with the book, the very sound Biblical answers and what he already knew about the young man over the years,  that he instantly said yes.  The book also contained the young man’s personal guidelines on how he envisioned the courtship and its boundaries to proceed.  No physical contact at all, no time spent alone, no social media, never anything done without the parents approval and the father would be given weekly accountability updates from the young man.  Included were bank statements that showed the money set aside as the “bride price”, three years wages.  The young man also volunteered to work with the father once a week so that he could be mentored by his future wife’s father.  For added accountability the young man offered a job to the young lady’s older brother.

The father approached his daughter to let her know about the young man.  Even though she really didn’t know the young man she was willing to court and marry him because her father thought it was a wise choice.  She trusted her father completely.  Thankfully she had been preparing her trousseau (hope chest) since she was a child, all she lacked was a wedding dress.  She had “guarded her heart” so well that she knew very few young men beyond her own brothers.

As a nineteen year old young lady she was very busy serving in her home and helping to serve other families.  She could run a whole household without any trouble.  She had in the past year taken over for a bedridden mom with several children.  By the time she left that family’s home she had made new church dresses for all the little girls in addition to her other responsibilities of homeschooling, cleaning, caring for the baby, cooking and helping to manage the family’s home business.

The bride also was homeschooled.  She has an herb and soap business she started at twelve.  She had also become such a good seamstress that she had made dresses for the last few weddings at her church.  But her true love was baking.  She found the greatest pleasure in serving her family the softest, whole grain bread.   Her father had allowed her to buy a neighboring field with her own income.  So now she was able to pay her brothers to grow wheat for her baking.  Nothing tasted better than home grown wheat, ground and baked by hand.  Her honey from her bee hives provided just the right amount of natural sweetness for her bread.

Everyone who knew her would attest to her gentle and quiet spirit.  No one ever remembered her saying a harsh word  or even joking around with others.  She was very, soft spoken and was known for her smile that could bring joy to anyone.

Today is the culmination of the past four months courtship.  The bride is dressed in a beautiful wedding dress she had made during her courtship.  The bridesmaids all have dresses the bride made for them.  The wedding cake and much of the food was lovingly prepared for the guests by the bride.

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Disclaimer: Any resemblance to actual marriages is purely coincidental. 😉

So what did I leave out of the “perfect” marriage made in Heaven?

Just in case you didn’t catch on this is all said in jest. 😉 Life doesn’t work like that.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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Handwriting Teaching Aid

I can’t believe how much easier homeschooling is now than when I started.  I remember hours and hours of making handwriting pages for my oldest son.  I learned how to write pretty quickly in a dotted line type format.  Sheets and sheets of dotted lines of name, address, alphabet, and Bible verses.  Now I just printed off from online some handwriting pages for the week in the dotted line format.  So simple!

 

runningbarn

Check it out and see what you think.


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Answers Conference

This conference includes two sessions specifically for homeschoolers.

April 1, 2012 to April 2, 2012 in Vestavia Hills, AL

with Ken Ham, Gary Parker

Location

Shades Mountain Baptist Church
2017 Columbiana Road
Vestavia Hills (near Birmingham), AL 35216
US

Get Directions

Contact Information

Shades Mountain Baptist Church
205-822-1670

Schedule

Note: Any overlapping times indicate multiple, simultaneous sessions

Sun, Apr 01
9:30 a.m. Ken Ham Reaching Today`s Culture with the Gospel
11 a.m. Gary Parker College Ministry
6 p.m. -7 p.m. Ken Ham One Race, One Blood
7 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Break
7:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. Gary Parker From Evolution to Creation
Mon, Apr 02
9 a.m. -10:30 a.m. Ken Ham Dinosaurs for Kids
11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Ken Ham Defending the Christian Faith Biblically and Scientifically
6 p.m. -7 p.m. Ken Ham Defending the Christian Faith in a Secular World
7 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Break
7:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. Geology and Genesis

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Heritage History Curriculum

I was given the opportunity to try out the Heritage History Curriculum.  I have used the online Heritage History previously and also had a link to it on my website sidebar.  I realize that many families are struggling to make ends meet while the mom is home to care for the children and to homeschool.  It is possible to homeschool without buying any curriculum.  There are multitudes of free online sources and with some work good resources in many libraries.  The Heritage History online site can serve as a source for many free history resources.  There is enough information available to teach history for years just from reading the many books available.  A creative parent can easily put together a valuable unit study on different time periods of history or different cultures.  The problem is it takes a creative parent and it takes time.

The Heritage History Curriculum meets the need for parents who find developing a unit study challenging or find having time to gather resources challenging.  The curriculums gather related books and provide extra resources such as timelines and maps to help the reading be more integrated with the other books.  The Young Readers Curriculum contains 86 books and a teacher’s guide.   The other curriculums contain 40 to 50 books, maps and timelines.

The Young Readers Curriculum contains books which can be easily read by my second grader who is a good reader.  Some first and second graders would do better with being read to depending on their reading ability.  Books can be printed from the cd, read from the computer directly, read in PDF format or transferred to an electronic reading device.  The other curriculums contain a variety of books from easy readers to advanced readers.  The study guides show which books are better suited to what levels.  Thus one curriculum can cover multiple grades simultaneously.

Several years ago I read Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall aloud to my children.  The first chapters have more myth and legend then actual history but the later chapters have a brief story of history written to a level easily understood by children of multiple ages.  Each chapter is just a few pages and easily read in a short time.  While not written from a specifically Christian perspective most of the books in the curriculum are written from a moral perspective and were written at a time when belief in God was common place albeit flawed in many ways.  I found I even enjoyed reading the book and learning better how names in history fit together.

My older children are studying Romans, Reformers, and Revolutionaries for history.  Thus the books available in the British Middle Ages Curriculum fits right in with their other studies.   They can read a living book about the subject matter that is covered in the other history curriculum.  The older children have been reading off of handheld devices long before kindles and nooks were around.  PDA’s have ridden in the car with us for around 10 years or so.  The children learned a PDA was easier than hauling several books and a book light.  Now with a kindle I can use the read text feature to have books read aloud in the car while we are traveling.  It isn’t perfect but much better than text reading was years ago.  I must say using the curriculum CD to transfer books to my kindle was so easy.  Normally I find free books from place such as Gutenberg Press and then I have to download them and send them to my kindle.  This time I just copied and pasted from one folder to another, 86 books at a time.

Thank you to Heritage History for providing me copies of the curriculum to review.

 


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Trying to Turn Apples In To Oranges

Most of us as Christian parents understand that we need to help our children grow into fruit bearing believers. However, often parents aren’t content with the fruit a child does produce. Some parents want orange trees while another wants an apple tree, yet a third parent may work really hard to produce a kumquat. There is nothing wrong with any of the above fruit but the problem comes when you try to turn an apple tree into a kumquat.

How do parents do that?

A parent may value education and deem it to be very important. I’m talking the focus on education beyond the typically expected learning of reading, math and science, the upper levels of education. They work hard to teach their child everything they possibly need to succeed in educational endeavors. They may struggle financially paying for a special private school which should ensure their child’s advancement educationally. Education can be a fruit if the child becomes a believer. The child could grow to be a very sound seminary professor who writes a well referenced Systematic Theology Book, like Grudem or Hodge. The child could become a world renowned doctor who finds the cure to cancer. Education as a fruit all depends on the Christian walk of the individual. Otherwise that same well educated individual might write a book trying to refute the existence of Jesus or develop a test so that imperfect babies can be aborted at the time a women finds out she is pregnant.

There are lots of fruit and good works that we can encourage our children in developing. Depending on their walk with the Lord will determine if they produce bad fruit or good fruit. But what happens if their parent tries to change the fruit from one type to another? To me this verse references that idea.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What is the way he should go?

There are some ways that all children should go. They should be taught how to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit until they have the Holy Spirit guiding them along. Thus all children should bear the fruits of peace, patience, kindness and love like it says in Galatians 5:22. But when it comes to other matters we need the guidance of the Lord and also we need to know our children. While education itself is not a bad thing, we are not training our child in the way he should go if specific educational pursuits aren’t what the Lord has planned for him. See the Lord has good works planned for our children.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God has your child’s good works prepared beforehand. We as parents are to strive to equip our children to do those good works not to choose what good works they should do.

Most everyone knows examples of how in the secular world parents seek to produce apples from kumquat trees even to the point of plucking off the baby kumquats and trying to graft apples to the tree. Such as the father who wants a football star son and is driving his son to achieve football greatness yet the son wants to develop his skill in photography. Or the mom who wants a poised ballerina for a daughter but the daughter loves working with animals. We, looking from our standpoint, can easily see the problems with these examples. Of course, we as Christians and even as homeschooling families would not do that. Or do we?

How many times do we see an older homeschooled child and think that is what I want my child to be like? I’m not talking character or respectfulness but the actual skills (the fruit or works). Maybe an older teen girl bakes wonderful cakes, breads and pies which not only blesses her family and friends but provides a steady source of income. Now there is nothing wrong with teaching our daughters to bake and cook. All daughters should have at least a basic grasp of cooking. But what happens if we push for our daughter to be another “Miss Baker” while her heart’s desire is to play the violin. Can music not be as valid and as good of a fruit as baking?

Maybe we’ve got a son who dreams of owning a large farm with homegrown cattle, chickens and vegetables. He loves to ride and work on tractors but struggles with sitting still for school. Now granted there is a reasonable amount of education that all children should receive. But does that mean the parents need to pressure that child into achieving high scores on the ACT and going to college when he would rather learn from “Mr. Farmer” down the road forgoing the expense of college.

I seem old lately. 🙁  Old when it comes to homeschooling, at least, partly because I’ve grown so much and homeschooling has become so much easier to me. See I’m not trying to produce peaches from my life when in reality I’m a cherry tree. Gone are the days when I’m searching for the perfect curriculum or the perfect parenting book. Gone are the days when I read about a family that homeschools feeling we have failed to do so much. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try new things or change things when something doesn’t work well. But I’m not driving myself to be what I am not.

Baking bread happens around here but it isn’t a daily thing. It is also isn’t something I feel I must do to be a good mom. We sew some, but I found that I can buy clothes from thrift stores cheaper and with less hassle than making all our clothes. I’ve learned to take good but slightly imperfect clothes and make them work by sewing slits closed, adding an insert to the top or layering items. We have animals, which works well for us but that doesn’t mean every good homeschool family must raise chickens and goats. We have a garden, but not enough to sell and raise money. One child plays piano and violin for the church. She also teaches lessons now. My oldest son is the one everyone comes to for computer questions and repairs. That is some of the fruit and good works we produce here. I’m striving not to force them into some preconceived mold of this is what a good Christian homeschool family produces.

How are you trying to force yourself into producing different fruits or good works than God has intended for you?

Do you find yourself pushing for your child to produce fruit not in keeping with the “way he should go” but just your preconcieved ideas of good works and fruit? Or even worse according to the ideas of another “expert” on homeschooling Christian children?


 

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An Unproductive Homeschool Day ?

We homeschool pretty much year round.  Our homeschooling is a part of our life.  School doesn’t end and then life begins, we live life and school happens as a part of the process.  However, as the mom there will be times where I will say “Monday we are going to get more serious about the schoolwork.”  Well, yesterday that was the intention.  Everyone was going to do their school more by the schedule and we were going to get lots accomplished.  Well, anyone who has homeschooled long enough knows how well that happened.  Things began accumulating before the kids were even up and add in that mom had a headache and didn’t feel well.

I won’t bore you with the details but time kept clicking away as things were dealt with as they came up.  But at 3:00 I looked at the clock and was shocked.  Three o’clock !!!!  And here we had to leave at 5:15 for a meeting!  Where did the day go?  As “drill Sergeant” moma starts to get this homeschool thing going, I actually notice what is going on in the home.

Oldest daughter is outside weeding the goldfish pond flower beds even as hot and humid as it was.

Middle son was in the garage working on his chicken tractor for his newest chicks he has hatched in the incubator.

Youngest daughter was playing her violin, without being told!

Baby Boy was sitting in his room reading a book.

Mom was in the middle of washing sheets.

So what if the Botany book didn’t get read, one daughter knows the weeds from the plants better than her old moma does.

So what if the fractions didn’t get done, one son is using them with the tape measure outside.

So what if the language arts didn’t get done, one daughter is actually practicing on her own without being told.  Something that never happened a couple of years ago enough so that I’ve thought about ending lessons for those who didn’t love it.

So what if the phonics worksheet didn’t get done, baby boy is reading and doing it because he enjoys it.

Maybe it was more productive than I thought. 🙂

 


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Spurgeon on Public Schools

Can geography teach them the way to Heaven,

or arithmetic remove their countless sins?

The more of secular knowledge our juveniles acquire,

the more will they need to be taught in the fear of the Lord.

To leave our youthful population in the hands of secular teachers,

will be to sell them to the Ishmaelites.

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Charles Spurgeon


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Family Integrated

What is family integrated?

First of all I’ll start off by explaining family integrated families. Did you realize some families are family integrated and some aren’t?

A family integrated family is one who works and plays together as a cohesive unit. A non-integrated family is a family that consists of a multitude of individuals. We homeschool and many would say that if you homeschool than naturally your family is family integrated. But that isn’t so. I have known many public schooling families that are more integrated than some homeschool families.

A family integrated family as a general rule lives life together. Meals are eaten together. When one part of the family has something special, say a music concert or a sports event, then the whole family strives to be there. Even if the actual event isn’t interesting to everyone they attend for the benefit of each other. Family integrated families tend to fellowship together with other families. So a birthday party for one child would include friends and family of all ages. Not a five year old party for five year olds. While there will be some individual activities that only one child participates in as a general rule those are limited. No Johnny going to baseball, Billy at piano and Susie at ballet all while mom and dad struggle to coordinate schedules of who’s picking up whom when.

While homeschooling does make being family integrated much easier that isn’t always the case. Some of the most fractured and segregated families I know are homeschooling. Little ones are left with grandma regularly while others participate in their activities, momma in her Bible studies and crafts while Dad is off hunting or fishing. Rarely does the whole family sit down to a meal together. Johnny, Billy and Susie are here there and yonder with co-ops and activities, often having to ride with others due to conflicting schedules.

Is there any set amount of time that a family must spend together to be family integrated? Must they spend all their time together? No. It isn’t necessarily a matter of time. It is a heart issue. It is the difference between being a grouping of individuals or a family unit.

How do you know which your family is?

Does it seem odd to you when one child is not with you? Like you’ve forgotten something?

Is it rare for the family to be together in the car, at the table or even on trips?

Do your children feel like they need a friend with them in order to have fun?

Do your children have friends whom you really don’t know?

Are you and your spouse tagging off constantly on who’s picking up whom?

Do you find yourself correcting attitudes and beliefs in your children and wondering where they got that?

Do you at times wonder where your child is? Is it Tuesday music or Tuesday Soccer?

Does scheduling issues cause you to allow children to go off with folks you really don’t know rather than have them miss activities?

There are people who would say that we need to develop the individual. Too much family would hinder a child’s ability to be the person they could be. Yet what that does is encourage a selfish self-centeredness. Our focus is to never be on ourselves but on the Lord. So why start out by teaching our children to focus on themselves and their desires?

So what is a family integrated family?

It is a family who strives to live together, learn together, serve the Lord together, minister together, share together, worship together, grow together and in the end spend eternity together.

Are you Family Integrated?

Next we’ll look at a Family Integrated Church.

 


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Curriculum Time Again

It is time to start thinking about curriculum for next school year.  We use AOP’s Switched on Schoolhouse.  Hard to believe this year is quickly winding down.  {Hint, Hint, that means get caught up.  😉 }

The new Alpha Omega Catalogs are out; got ours today.  Every year in the spring Alpha Omega has a big sale on their curriculum.  April is 20% off and May is 15% off all curriculum.  That 20% makes a big difference!

So if interested get AOP to send you a catalog so you can save some money.


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Busy Week Ahead

Busy week coming up, but even the “little” things are very important, especially the “little” things for the “little” ones.

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”

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G.K. Chesterton What’s Wrong With the World?


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