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heart of the matter

June 2008 photo courtesy of

July 2008

Last Words

Defending and Defeating Evolution Becoming Like Ruth So You Think You Can Homeschool? in honor of dads Old Fashioned Homeschooling UT $4.50 ET $5.00



Photo courtesy of Karin Taylor


In This Issue:

8 July 2008 photo courtesy of Karin Taylor 3 From the Editors.... 4 What Season Are You In? 5 Last Words 5 In Honor of Dads 6 A Balancing, Organizing, & Planning Trip 8 Why Homeschool part 2 10 The Value of Human Interest Stories To Public Opinion 12 How To Tell Why Your Child Is Struggling part 3 13 Be the Beauty That You Are... Quickly! 14 God’s All Sufficient Grace 15 Singing In Every Season 16 So You Think You Can Homeschool? 18 Resting In Him 19 Learning With Reckless Abondonment 20 Defending and Defeating Evolution 22 Summer - The Learning Doesn’t Stop 23 Dependence Days 24 Masterly Inactivity 26 Becoming Like Ruth 28 Old Fashioned Homeschooling 29 Do You Know My Friend Worry? 30 HOTM Conference! 31 Conference Speakers 34 Ways to Save $10 A Week 2

From the Editors.... Summer brings with it so many activities, trips, and memories but this year it also brings with it the First Annual Heart of the Matter Online Virtual Homeschool Conference coming up July 31 - August 3. We have many amazing speakers lined up as well as vendors to meet all your homeschooling needs... and wants! You can check out the new conference site: http://www. for more information and to sign up for the event. The schedule for the speakers and frequently asked questions pages are up and we are adding vendors daily. Something else that keeps growing.... the FREE stuff ! In fact, the free stuff well exceeds the price of

admission so you can’t go wrong! Also, don’t forget to sign up for our new weekly newsletter, which is delivered each Sunday. Our newsletter will contain a recap of the week’s posts, who won what contests, highlights from that week’s meme, freebies, and more! To be included on the list please subscribe here: Subscribe to Newsletter.

school. Luke Holzmann of Sonlight and Homeschooling has joined the team as a new writer. He will be sharing his experiences as a former homeschooled student as well as his writing about his upcoming adventures as a new homeschooling father.

Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers and Peace will be writing about Classical Education. Kendra is a homeschooling mom of eight, all of whom have either been, currently are, or soon will be preWe also have some new writers schoolers.

joining our team:

Karin Taylor of Passport Academy has joined Heart of the Matter as our new Reviews Assistant. She is currently in the process of lining up reviews for some fabulous Homeschool Products to help you out when you are ready to purchase products for your home-

Important Dates

Belinda Bullard of With A Taste of Chocolate is a homeschooling mom, curriculum author, and the owner of A Blessed Heritage- Educational resources to foster understanding of the spiritual and racial heritage of children of color.

July 10 - Happy Birthday Heather H.

We are excited to have each of them on board and look forward to what they have to share with us.

July 11 - Meme: What HASN’T Worked for You?

The “Amies”

July 18 - Meme: Field Trips July 19 - Happy Birthday Lisa V. July 25 - Meme: How Do You Meal Plan? July 30 - August 3 - First annual virtual conference

Amy B & Amy S

July 31 - Happy Birthday Mandy August 1 - Meme: A Homeschooler’s School Supplies List August 8 - Happy Birthday Yvonne


What Season Are You In? What season is this? The calendar would say that we are in the heart of the summer. All of God’s creation longs to be admired, nurtured, and even respected as we witness earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes at an unprecedented level. The media says that we are in a season of prayer (although they don’t consciously express it that way). With increasing Godlessness occurring at the state and federal levels, it is imperative that we pray for our country, its current leadership, and the leadership of the future. This prayer is not about a man, but for God to continue to show Himself strong. He is our true leader, and nothing will happen under the watch of either candidate except what He allows. We need to be lights in the everincreasing darkness, not preaching the same rhetoric as the world, but lifting God even higher, that others will see us and cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” If you are a homeschooler who follows a traditional school calendar, this is the season of rest, or at least it should be. The books have been laid away for a time, the lesson plans can be tucked away, and all that needs to happen now is rest and relaxation. Then, almost out of nowhere, with your heels kicked up, you feel a small nudge. What are we doing for next year? Are we doing the right things? The voice grows louder and louder. Are the children learning? Did I buy the right books/games/ worksheets? Left unchecked, the mind spirals out of control, and all our fears and anxieties are magnified beyond our own recognition. “WHAT AM I DOING?” Such was my experience during a mini-vacation at the beach last week. The kids were enjoying the evening’s high tide, and my husband and oldest daughter were feeding a flock of very aggressive sea gulls. I stood back and absorbed the family’s enjoyment of the beach and of each other, and I grabbed my camera to try and capture the moment. As I took pictures, I thought about what wonderful learning opportunities are present in our everyday lives if we’d only slow down enough to see them. Then I began to think about this


upcoming school year, and what formal learning would accompany these informal learning experiences. Book cover after book cover crossed my mind’s path, and then I began to wonder, are these the right books? Am I missing something? With college looming over us like a giant shadow as the oldest enters her teenage years, I had a fleeting thought which sent my heart racing: what if she doesn’t know what she needs to know? What if she’s not smart enough for anyone’s college?

Thank God, I’m mature enough in my Christian walk now to know where these thoughts come from, and to speak God’s word over them. However, watching the birds, and not one of them emaciated, I might add, this passage hit me in an entirely new way: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? Matthew 6:26(KJV) I could not articulate the sense of peace that flooded my soul, but it has stuck with me ever sense that moment. With all due respect to the wonderful curriculum that exists for homeschoolers (including my own), there are places of growth that only come from an encounter with God Himself. The gap between us as parents with our curriculum, plans, education in teaching methods, etc., and the ideal for our children can only be filled by Him. Moreover, there are stumbling blocks and hindrances to learning, hidden sometimes to us and hidden even to our children

as individuals, that only He can touch, pour His healing balm upon, and reveal. Over the years, I have had a number of chances to beat my head against a wall as I encourage, cajole, and occasionally scream my way past what seems like apathy or outright laziness. Only when I cry out to God do I begin to see His hand, His sense of time, and then the manifestation of my prayers in the natural. Something seems to “click” with one of the kids, and the very attitude that caused so much stress and tension just dissipates. What appears in its place is attention to detail, selfmotivation, and a commitment to excellence. As a clarification, I believe very much in academic wisdom. I believe that knowledge really is power, and I am a living witness to the data that supports the socioeconomic value of higher education. In the world we live in, there are keys to elevation, and education is one of those keys. (As an aside, when I speak of elevation, by the way, I am not talking about fame or personal glory; I am claiming command of more resources to touch lives for Christ.) Having said that, I pray that my words minister to you as they minister to me. As you search, as you plan, as you purchase, and most importantly, as you pray, be mindful that there are areas of learning that can only be accomplished through an encounter with the Great Teacher Himself. Rest in this knowledge and then use whatever you bring into your home for what it really is — a tool to further equip your children to be used for God’s Kingdom. Books will take your child far in life, but the missing cobblestones in the path will need the one intangible piece of your lesson plan — God.

Last Words Published on Heart of the Matter Online, June 23 As I write this post, there is a 93 year old gentleman lying in a hospital bed in a coma, moments away from death. Some would say “Well, he’s had a full life.” And to that I say, “Yes, he has.” Others might say, “Well, he is old... you knew it was coming.” Of course everyone dies one day, but that still makes this day sad. Sad because he is my dear, sweet mother-in-law’s daddy-whom she really does still call daddy! This kind, Christian gentleman with a twinkle in his bright blue eyes has always been known to me as Mr. Boulware. While in his 80s, he could hike circles around me (and that’s with me really trying)! Mr. Boulware was involved with Carpenters for Christ, volunteered at the Food Bank, and even served Meals on Wheels-- often to those younger than him! It was only very recently that he began to slow down. I could go on forever about his great example, joyful countenance, wit and wisdom, but what I want to tell you about are his last words. He was admitted to the hospital on Father’s Day for pneumonia. This past Wednesday as my mother-in-law was leaving for the evening, she reached down and gave her daddy a kiss and told him that she loved him. Ever the loving and cheerful father (friend, neighbor, gentleman in the truest sense of the word), he stoically said “I love you.” (I’m sure he said it with a grin... he always had a smile on his face.) Then he went to sleep. And he has been asleep ever since. I love you. Most likely the last words he will ever utter on this earth. I love you. Three sweet and simple words that encompass so much feeling. I love you. Words that are sometimes taken for granted.

Have you ever thought about what your last words might be? Frankly, this thought scares and humbles me. We homeschool year round and earlier this week, we started back with our lessons after having taken two whole weeks off. Let’s just say that Monday was a rocky kind of a day. Not as in triumphant over adversity Rocky with a capital “R,” but as in I can’t believe we are still “doing school” when it is almost supper time! The kids were dawdling, whining (oh wait, that was me whining!), not paying attention, and just plain being difficult. Last words? My oh my, on this particular day it would’ve been something ugly and at a very loud volume! Tuesday, however, was much, much better! The kids were diligent, cheerful, obedient, and even worked ahead in their assignments because they wanted to. Last words on this day? Great job! I love you! I’m so proud of y’all! Do you see the problem here? Why is it that we can be so sweet with our words when things are going our way, but when there are problems? Whoa! You better run far away from mommy! Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24 I should have that verse posted all over my walls to help me remember! Not just sweet to the ears, but sweet to the soul. That means it goes very deep! As you go through each day, you will have good days as well as those horrible, let me climb back into bed and wake me when it’s over! days. It is especially on those most trying days that you must try to remember what your last words might be. Could you bite your tongue and just not say those words? In that voice? With that look on your face? Maybe you can be like me when I’m actually being semi-mature and just give yourself a time out! Choose not to scowl. Choose not to yell. Choose not to end a conversation with a hurtful word and walk away (even if there is a teeny bit of truth to those words). It’s not just what we say, but how we say it!

earth. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ~James 4:14 When that appointed time comes, will your last words be remembered fondly by your friends, your husband, your children? Or will your last words be looked upon with remorse, guilt, and sorrow? I challenge you to start NOW. With your very next conversation. With your very next comment. Make your words sweet like honey! Make it healthy to your family’s bones and good for their souls! You never know when they just might be your last. In loving memory of Mr. John Boulware Marsha is proud to be the Mrs. to David for over 12 years. They have been homeschooling their three rowdy boys in the Lone Star State for the past 5 years. When she’s feeling like a slacker, you can find her drinking coffee, reading a book and writing at her blog-- and sometimes all at the same time! You can find Marsha at Our Homeschool and Other Such Happenings.

We can’t live in fear but we have to be honest and accept that we really do not know how long we have on this

In HONOR of Dads... During the month of June, we allowed our husbands to “hijack” Heart of the Matter Online for 10 days surrounding Father’s Day. It was quite comical, as they got rid of everything pink, changed the header to something more manly, and even added images of Lowes and Home Depot in our sidebar under “sponsors.” Many amazing homeschooling dads, authors, and business owners contributed articles and products for giveaways. In fact, the men were so generous that we were able to host a giveaway every day for 10 days! Some of the articles were written especially for the men, but since we understand that our primary readers are moms, we would like to provide you with a special downloadable pdf just for your husbands. Simply print it off for your darling husband, and he will be able to read at his leisure. He is certain to be blessed!


A Planning, Organizing, and Balancing Trip I find summer to be a wonderful time to review all those books and websites that I just know will help me to be a better, more organized woman, wife, mother, and homeschooler. While it’s hard to believe that back to school time is just around the corner for those who follow a traditional school year, for me it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming year. So this month, I’d like to take you on a little journey around the World Wide Web and peruse some places that might offer you assistance as you head into a new year of education.

In The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling, she reminds us that there are no perfect homeschoolers as she shares methods of teaching your children, running your home, and overcoming the inevitable challenges of homeschool life. The latest edition has doubled in size, with five new chapters to assist you in the adventure o f

Barbara Frank -Barbara has been homeschooling for over 20 years and offers two very helpful e-books.


ORGANIZING Homemaking 911 - As a homeschooling mom of four children, ages 2-17, Malia Russell offers tips on home management, parenting, and homeschooling. You’ll also find encouragement and resources as you seek to organize your home and homeschool, as well as live the life God has called you to. Sign up for her newsletter and receive “Our Ten Favorite Freezer Cooking Meals” for free. Malia’s book, From Chaos to Order can be purchased as an e-book (do I hear instant gratification?) or an audio CD (road trip!). This is a very helpful resource, with a simple formula that will help you eliminate unnecessary distractions, delegate, and set goals, so that you can focus on what really matters.

HOMESCHOOLING The Schoolhouse Planner (e-b o o k) - I’m in the midst of doing a review of The Schoolhouse Planner that was just released by The Old Schoolhouse. This is a comprehensive e-book with resources and references galore! They’ve taken input from homeschool families and put it all together in one awesome 247-page e-book. Not only will you have calendar and planning pages, they’ve provided a myriad of forms – both for homeschool and for household organizing. In addition to the planning and organizing forms, they’ve included an extensive list of resources throughout the year, including web sites, useful reference charts, encouragement, and even recipes! With the e-book format, you’re able to print not only the pages you need, but also the quantity needed specifically for your family. They also offer sample pages for you to take a peek at before you buy.

of downloadable forms that you can use and customize for both homeschool and home organizing. There’s not much you won’t find here.

homeschooling. In Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, Barbara offers very practical skills that every teenager needs. She provides tools for both teens who plan to go to college, as well as those who don’t. She also offers a downloadable sample lesson from this exceptional resource. Homeschool Oasis - Dave & Barb Shelton’s site is another handy, one-stop shop, offering encouragement for everyone, whether you’re just beginning your homeschool journey, are feeling burned out after years in the trenches, or fall somewhere in between. There’s an extensive archive of articles, recipes, and links to further resources. Donna Young -Donna’s site is a vertiable feast

Simple Journey Ministries - Leslie Valeska provides encouragement and support for women in their many roles in life. You can get free daily tips for living a more frugal, simple, and Godly life at her blog, Journey to Simplicity. She also offers a free monthly e-zine there. Leslie will also be one of our featured speakers at Heart of the Matter Online’s first Virtual Homeschool Conference. Catalog Choice - Are you inundated with mail order catalogs? Have you managed to get on everyone’s list? Catalog Choice will

help you to eliminate all those unwanted catalog mailings. Organizing Junkie Laura is another one of those ladies known by many. She offers a wide array of organizing tips and links. Her site is also the home of Menu Plan Mondays, a place to share your plans for the week, as well as check out those of other participants (read: inspiration, ideas, and encouragement). The Lazy Organizer - I think Lara Gallagher must’ve had me in mind when she named her site. She has some wonderful tips and ideas (as well as cool bags) for organizing your life. KITCHEN HELP Supercook - When you’re wandering your kitchen, looking at the food you have, but can’t seem to come up with an actual meal, Supercook is the place to go. This site allows you to enter ingredients you already have and it will respond with recipes that use those items.

A Year of Crockpotting - Crockpots are the ultimate kitchen tool in the hands of busy homeschool families. Follow the adventures of Stephanie as she utilizes her crockpot every day of 2008. You’ll find some interesting and unusual recipes that you may not have thought of creating in your slow cooker. In addition, Stephanie can be seen this week ( July 9) on Rachael Ray! Menu Planning - There are many menu plan ideas out there in cyberspace, but Belinda offers a concise post with great tips and links about meal planning. Frugal Abundance - If you’ve ever been to the Hillbilly Housewife’s site, you’ll recognize Miss Maggie. I think Maggie can stretch a dollar further than anyone I’ve ever met (IRL or in the blogosphere). She’s not going to tell you to live on ramen and bologna either. She provides sound, nutritional information and recipes. If you or anyone in your family has allergies or

other issues with certain foods, this is the place to be. In addition to all that she has to offer, her blog has links to many other helpful sites. Last, but certainly not least, I can’t forget to mention that Heart of the Matter Online and the magazine are both excellent resources. The magazine is published monthly and the online site provides daily encouragement, ideas, and information for the homeschool journey. I know there are many other sites, blogs, and resources, too numerous to mention. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorites. I hope that these will give you inspiration, encouragement, and ideas as you seek to be a little more organized and balanced in your life. Dianne is in the third year of homeschooling with her two middle school boys, ages 14 and 13. She’s been joyfully married for 21+ years. She continually seeks to balance the many aspects of life in a way that glorifies the Lord. In her column “Blueprint for Balance,” Dianne shares organizational strategies for the homeschooling journey.


PART 1 RECAP Last month I talked about how homeschooling moms don’t have to feel like lonely islands out at sea. There are over 2 million1 homeschooling families in the United States and most homeschool mothers are more than willing to share their encouragement and how to tips. I also discussed the excuses we make for not homeschooling, the reasons many of us are loathe to even look into taking on such a challenge. It certainly isn’t the easiest or most financially rewarding lifestyle. As for other rewards, if you are after the BEST kind of rewards (those that are worth more than money), homeschooling is definitely the best way to educate. That’s because homeschooling is, as I said last month in Part 1 of this series, “an affair of the heart.” If things get difficult, God is able to make you stand. If your goals are to honor Him, the only outcome can be success. Pray about the calling for your family to homeschool and see where God leads you. Faith first, then the rest of the details will fall in line. Isaiah 40:11 (NIV) ~ He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT - PRIVATE SCHOOL

Unfortunately some of us have to take awhile claiming peace with our decisions. We second guess ourselves and wonder if that gut instinct and strong desire really is the voice of God. We were one of those families – the ones that had to try other options first before we could let go of school “in the box.” I was sold on homeschool pretty quick, but my husband wasn’t on the bandwagon. So if you are not in agreement (yet) with Dad on keeping the kids home, I can certainly sympathize. Keep praying and God will lead you both into unity on whatever is best for your child. After homeschooling my kids when they were just 4 and 2, we hit some financial pitfalls. This wasn’t anything new. Living on one income has never been easy. We weren’t gifted in budgeting, so the money seemed to never be there. My husband asked me to


Why Homeschool? Part 2 go back to work when things got tight and summer had rolled around after our first year of homeschool. My son had just completed kindergarten at home. I was not thrilled. Being a Christian, I reluctantly submitted - because that’s how Christian wives should act (even if our hearts aren’t in it). Obedience pays off. God had other ideas on how to win my husband over to homeschooling. While waiting on God to bring us to the same conclusions in answer to my pleas, I was offered a job at a private school affiliated with a church. We figured we would give Christian private school a try since both of us were not excited about public school as an option. I just happened to end up working as the school’s registrar and kept their database of student records. I saw the applicants’ files, their essays and test scores, their personal information, and medical information. I knew who was accepted and who was declined. I saw differences in the applicants who were from public schools, other private schools, and homeschool settings. I was able to see just from these applications what kind of fruit homeschooling produces. This wasn’t news to me (since I was the one who WANTED to homeschool). It was my husband who needed to know this stuff. Then there was the eye-opening behavioral problems ON campus and at school functions. I knew who was expelled at our school (yes, they have discipline problems in private schools, too!) and for what reasons (the same reasons you would expect in a public school). While my kids attended school on their elementary campus, I worked on the junior high/high school campus. I saw most of the kids every day and interacted with many of them. Ours was a large private school, and very expensive (thousands of dollars a year per kid). If I hadn’t gotten a whale of a deal on tuition, I would never have been able to afford this type of education. And even if I could have afforded it, it still wouldn’t have lasted long once I discovered the many other

pitfalls associated with “in the box” schooling (schooling that mimics public school). While there were many benefits to private school as opposed to public school (less competition and more ability to excel in sports and clubs, better quality of academics and teachers, more Christian values than public schools had to offer), I still saw a lot of the same problems and downsides in the private school setting as I saw with the public schools. One of the main problems being negative socialization skills. My daughter (then only three years old) came home with a new trick she had learned in preschool class: eye-rolling. My son followed around another child who was sent to the principal every week, and ended up being extremely distracted by this “friendship” for most of the entire year. This child was later requested to leave the school (a kindergartener!) because of behavioral issues (and in my opinion, the kid needed to be homeschooled and cared for by mom. But not every mom has that option. - it broke my heart!). Social skills are meant to be learned through imitation and you can’t control the variables with a school full of little kids who are all parented in different ways. That’s what public or private schools afford you: lots of opportunities for needing to UN-LEARN negative behaviors (or worse). Not only was social “skill instruction” (peer example) a problem, but boredom crept in – and boredom is the gateway to negative character. As grandma always says, “Idle time is the devil’s playground.” It did not help matters that we had already covered all the Kindergarten material at home (and more). When things were not taking him as long to do as his peers, he had more time to focus on negative friendships and daydreaming. I was very thankful that we had such a lively and interesting teacher for him that year. She went out of her way to keep him engaged, and I was so grateful for her. Of course, in any school situation, there will always be positives and negatives, and I in no way want to cast all blame to any particular schooling method or group. We just learn as we go and make choices based on what we feel is best for our family. After being publicly educated, having our children attend a private school, and trying homeschool out. we made the educated choice of the latter as the method that would be best for our family.

WORLDVIEWS: TRUTH IN SCIENCE One of our biggest reasons for homeschooling is to combat relativism and instill a biblical worldview in our children. We believe that the Bible is paramount for morality and truth. We believe what most of the founding fathers of America believed when they penned The Declaration of Independence. In fact, I find this truth to be “self-evident” that public schools are leaning towards the left, and when a government institution (in this case an education system) becomes destructive of my rights to bring up a moral and Christian child, it is my right to “abolish” it in my life. So I took it as my duty to “throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future security”2 (‘their’ in this case meaning my kids). I think homeschooling is a path that returns us to the principles of the truly freethinker – and the method that makes the most room for instilling a moral compass. Why in the world would I want to raise a child that was completely opposed to my worldview? Turning them over to the public schools would do just that. After all, studies show that up to 67% of Christian children who attend secular colleges will lose their faith by the time they graduate (“students coming from more conservative religious backgrounds lose their faith at a higher rate”)3. The fact is: secular education has a huge God-sized hole. If you believe in God, why would you want to educate the kids without Him? When I found out that the private school I worked at was using secular science books (the same that the public school uses, in fact), I was astounded. I firmly believe that one of the leading ways American public schools erase the reality of God is through the teaching of humanism and evolution. While evolution can’t be proven as factual because no

person was there to witness the creation of the world, it is taught as fact (and larger than fiction in full color “artist rendered” illustration). This may or may not be true in a private school setting, but it is most certainly the case in public schools (even if the teacher is a Christian). I asked the administrator of the elementary school’s office how the evolution material would be presented to the children and her answer to me was even more surprising than the fact that they were using those books in the first place, “It is up to the individual teacher how they present the material”. With no official policy regarding the teaching of evolution, I would be forced each year to confront my child’s new teacher (who was busy with her other 20 students and their parents) and interview her on her beliefs. In homeschooling, I am the primary teacher, so I am able to teach from many different sources, and explain each subject in light of the Truth (and being a Christian, I do believe in absolute Truth). We still learn about the theory of evolution, I admit, but it is taught in accordance with fact (without the lies in most textbooks). We include the “theory” of Creation and have a lot of interesting discussion about popular opinion and current articles in National Geographic and Answers, too. I feel that this is a balanced view of science that my children may or may not get in private school, and most assuredly would NOT get in public school. I happen to believe that God really did “speak” the universe in to existence (uni-verse = one spoken sentence). It is just as plausible as all the other stories about how we got here. Aliens, rocks and time, or God? If we are speculating, why not allow my side of the story to be told alongside the others? If you are a Christian who believes in Creation, secular books without mom’s explanations are a slippery slope. The textbooks aren’t the only problem, either – magazines, books, and even teachers promote this diametric worldview (sometimes without even knowing it). Even children’s science and history books are full of macro-evolution and humanistic view points. I’m sure you’ve seen the Kindergarten Dinosaur book that starts off with “millions of years ago.” Who will be there to discuss the topic with your children when they have honest questions? My decision was to be the one who stood in the culture-gap so their minds wouldn’t be offered up on Darwin’s altar.

SUMMING IT UP While Christian private schools are a much better option than public schools, they just can’t equal a homeschool education (even with all your personal faults as a teacher). If you believe in God and hope to instill your faith and worldview to your child, the best instruction for your child will come from YOU. No matter how imperfect you are, God had a purpose in choosing YOU to be the parent of your child(ren). The Old Testament is rich with examples of imperfect parents and God was able to use all of them for His purposes. He’s delightfully concerned with the details of your child’s education and the quality of your child’s life. He wants us to have the best of the best of the best. The best mind, the best heart, the best friends and mentors that He has for us. Purposeful thought about our path is biblically recommended. That includes the books we read, the spiritual instruction we get, the food we eat, and the people we associate with. Our children are looking at an uncertain future in modern times, so we owe it to them to make sure one thing is certain: their faith and foundation. May we aspire to take the hand of God and walk with Him where he leads us as we bring Him our offering: the children He entrusted to us. To Be Continued... Be sure to join me next month for part 3 of Why Homeschool? I’ll discuss the academics, the ‘cafeteria’ and even more reasons why we chose to educate the kids at home. I promise, this article series will end (with part 3), but our reasons for homeschooling probably won’t stop popping up! R E F E R E N C E S 1. “National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI)”. Retrieved on 2008-7-4. 2. “The Declaration of Independence”; U.S. CONGRESS, July 4, 1776 (transcription). Retrieved on 2008-7-4. 3. Kingsriter, Dayton A., Ed.D. (2007). “Is the Lower Cost Worth the High Price? Part I Why Choose a Christian College?” (PDF) Gospel Publishing House. p 5.

Sprittibee (Heather) has been homeschooling for 6 years and has one crazy husband, 2 crazy kids (ages 9 and 11) and 2 crazy cats. When she isn’t making Tex-Mex, learning web design, teaching the kids, or rubbing her face on the cat’s belly, she loves to blog. Heather reminds us to stop and smell the proverbial flowers on this journey we call homeschooling. Not every day will be a great one. She admonishes us to learn to focus on the beauty of the moments God has blessed us with - for better or for worse - because our hearts are shaped by the memories we are making.


With graduation came a plethora of stories about homeschoolers doing the same sorts of things other teenagers do. Things like putting on a musical, playing organized sports, taking field trips, and of course graduating. Some of them even earn scholarships and go off to college. Even the potentially fascinating story of living and learning at a living history museum in central Nebraska was cast aside in favor of focusing on how normal Aaron Beye, the young graduate, seemed to be. My first reaction to the sheer number of these sorts of human interest stories cluttering my inbox was, “Stop the presses! Homeschoolers are normal!” But it was a nice mental break from the battles being fought in Tennessee, New Hampshire and California. It also provided a nice contrast to a headline that would appear on a North Carolina news site on June 16. Death investigations prompt homeschooling recommendations The death investigation was that of young Sean Paddock, whose mother tied him to the bed in several blankets. He suffocated to death. Because the family homeschooled, many people questioned whether or not the system could adequately protect children who were effectively “off the grid.” The specific recommendations related to homeschooling made by Social Services in the report were: The Department of Non-Public Instruction should conduct a study regarding a Needs Assessment and pursue funding to support increased monitoring and oversight to home schools The State Fatality Review Team supports the continued efforts of the Division of Social Services in regard to the gathering of statistics related to specific school situations in child protective services The State Fatality Review Team recommends that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner begin to track school status at the time of death and make available this information on a yearly basis to the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and the state-level North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team. State Child Fatality Review, Findings and Recommendations


The Value of Human Interest Stories to Public Opinion While I was constructing my post in response to these recommendations, I focused on how Sean was not of compulsory school age, how the state was involved with monitoring Sean’s well-being because he was placed in the Paddock’s home by Social Services for adoption and there had been prior allegations of abuse, another story came across my computer. Teen tied to tree overnight dies. A homeschooled teen, tied there by his father as a disciplinary action. Unfortunately, these kinds of stories slip easily into the common stereotype many people have that we homeschool in order to “hide” our children from the public. But they also inspire a certain level of defensiveness among homeschoolers that can come across as a little insensitive to the horrific torture these children experience. Of course it isn’t a homeschooling issue. An average of four children are murdered each day in the United States, a number that has been increasing steadily. 79% are younger than four, and 39% have had previous contact with Social Services. Monitoring homeschool families would prevent very few of these cases, if any, considering that most of the children are not yet of compulsory school age, and even schools miss the warning signs in the children they see every day. A summary from ChildHelp: But people still worry about what could happen. Homeschooling is not well understood, is often met with some level of suspicion, and seems like a “good” way to hide abuse. And people seem frighteningly willing to forsake any liberty “for the children.” Even if the actual benefits to the children are immeasurably small. The arguments we construct, however, seem to fall flat on those outside of homeschooling. Then a thought struck me. Perhaps these small human interest stories appearing in local papers across America could be potential-

ly more beneficial to homeschooling than they might first appear. These stories present homeschooled youth a lot like “the kid next door.” You can connect with their stories because they are not doing anything extraordinary, are obviously not excluded from the normal social lives of American teenagers, and they so often credit their homeschool experience for the confidence they have to pursue their dreams. Most stereotypes are built on ignorance rather than overt hostility, and personal experience goes a long way toward shaping a person’s opinions of homeschooling. While having a friend who homeschools is likely the best way for non-homeschoolers to see homeschooling in a more positive light, these sorts of human interest stories probably rank a close second to meeting a friendly homeschool family at the doctor’s office. Over time, these snapshots of the lives of real homeschoolers may go a long way in building a more positive image of homeschooling with the public. Fortunately, these types of articles are not that difficult to write, and reporters are generally pleased to have brief articles about people in the community. Although it is generally more focused on homeschool groups than individual homeschoolers, Mary Griffith’s The Homeschooling Image: Public Relations Basics is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in writing an article, a feature, an editorial or who is asked for an interview for a story. Even nicer, it is available as a free download. A story about your homeschool group’s field trip to the apiary may not seem like “news,” but imagine it as an invitation to the public to take a peek into your life. Such glimpses could prove more important to public opinion in the long run than well-crafted arguments in response to calls for greater monitoring of homeschools.

No doubt, another reminder for our lives is found in that umbrella. HE is our “shelter in the storm.” “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”Psalm 61:4 ~Sunglasses~ Essential for eye protection, any optometrist will assure you. Again I’m reminded how important my VISION is. The sunglasses remind me where my own eyes need to be fixed. Forgetting that can make for a miserable day!

It IS that time of year again! Time for FUN in the SUN!

“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge” Psalm 141:8 With the beach/pool bag packed, I realized that I was taking with me far more than I had originally thought. These summer essentials became life~essentials. This summer I’ll pack up the USUAL items, but their meaning is going far beyond just “filling the bag.” This summer, paying a little bit of extra attention to “what’s in YOUR bag” may just help you to . . .

Dana is a fourth year homeschooling mom to three girls and a boy. In her column, “In the News,” she will be taking a look at homeschoolers who have affected the news and news that affects homeschoolers. Visit her blog, Principled Discovery.

Father, As we enter this time of fun and relaxation, help us not to forget to see You in the ordinary. It is daily where we can find YOU. Glimpses of You are ever in the details. As we begin our summertime journey we ask for Your protection and Your presence in our lives. Help us to use this time to reconnect with YOU while we engage in play, enjoy rest, and embrace life. Thank You, Father, for this time of summer, full of fresh air and fun. Help us to be constantly mindful of Your hand in it all! In Jesus’ name, Amen Lori is a 4 year homeschool mom to 3. Currently a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 3rd grader. Lori insists that when she was wrestling with the decision to home school, a gentle voice guided her with the words, “you know what you should do.” Never looking back, accepting the challenges and rewards and CONSTANTLY clinging to THE ROCK...”No Storm can shake my inmost calm when to this ROCK I’m clinging.” “Raise Your Hands” is an inspirational column while, as the Beatles so eloquently put it, we walk “this long and winding road,” together. Hoping to impart peace and inspiration amidst the daily chaos. Be sure to visit her blog at All You Have to Give.


How To Tell Why Your Child Is Struggling (This is part 3 of a 4 part series) Many educators who follow brain research believe that there are four “Learning Gates” that need to be properly functioning for a child to have an easy time learning.

• Trouble learning and retaining days of the week and months • The child guesses at words because reading longer words is very hard • The child puts extra sounds in a word (ie., contribution becomes contribu’ta’tion), “band” becomes “brand”

The Four “Learning Gates” are: Visual processing Visual/motor processing (writing) Auditory processing Focus/attention processing This article will review information regarding the third “learning gate:” Auditory Processing Your child may be struggling with auditory processing dysfunction if he or she exhibits the following difficulties: Difficulty remembering sight words, including; • Trouble retrieving names of letters, words, people, and things • Laboring over verbal expression.

Difficulty with phonics, including: • Trouble remembering sounds of letter combinations such as “au,” “oi” • Difficulty applying phonics rules in a reading setting • Sounding out the same word over and over in the same reading passage

Spelling difficulties, including: • Trouble spelling phonetically (the child may spell “team” as “tie” or “went” as “wat”) • Spelling the same word differently each time

Difficulty sequencing sounds, including:


Difficulty saying longer words: • Transposing letters: “animal” is “aminal;” “magazine” is “mazagine;” “suddenly” is “sundenly” • Avoiding difficult words when speaking

The child’s silent voice disappears: • He or she subvocalizes when reading silently, or needs to read aloud to understand a passage • He or she needs to repeat the alphabet in his head when writing it out

Difficulty with speech, including: • Trouble articulating many sounds • Exhibiting language delay Difficulty understanding verbal instruction: • He or she needs to ask for directions to be repeated frequently • He or she says “what” a lot • An apparent hearing problem can mimic a focusing and attention issue. The key is determining whether the child really is not hearing and storing the information auditorally, or if the child is not focusing on what is being said. • He or she is easily confused or is never quite sure he understood the speaker

for a child to learn with an auditory p ro c e ss ing issue, than with just a visual processing issue, or a visual/ motor (writing) processing issue. The left auditory brain hemisphere is responsible for retaining sounds, words, and auditory information. When this process is experiencing a block, the child doesn’t know why he can’t remember what was just taught, nor does the parent. Storing and retrieving information: Ask the child to write the alphabet. Observe carefully to see whether the child hesitates after writing several letters, then begins again. Watch for this hesitation throughout the writing of the alphabet. If the child hesitates in writing a letter that follows a letter that has a directional component to it, such as “b,” “d,” “p,” “q,” “j,” “g,” then it could be that he has a spatial problem, and had to think about what direction the letter should be written. However, if the child hesitates after writing “e,” or “h,” then you can suspect that he has lost his silent voice… his “thinking” voice, and is having to go back and say the alphabet over and over in his head. With older children, you can ask if they had to say the alphabet over several times in their head while doing the alphabet, and they can tell you exactly where they felt they had to stop and repeat. The efficient storage and retrieval of 26 units is one sign of an auditory processing dysfunction. Sequencing: Ask the child to say the days of the week, and then the months of the year. The months represent sequencing and ordering unrelated sounds. If this is difficult for the child despite being taught it before, or if the child leaves out some months (they often leave out either October or August, because they start with the same sound), assure him that many children do.

Informal Evaluations An auditory processing dysfunction can manifest itself in so many different ways. Many adults and children have mild auditory processing problems, but find ways to compensate for it in their daily lives. It is a bigger struggle

However, these difficulties could indicate that the auditory channel of sequencing is not working as well as it should, and causing your child to struggle with learning. If a child is laboring with auditory sequencing, then the popular way of teaching multiplication tables

through skip counting will be more difficult “whole” (right brain function), when reading for that child. That child would greatly ben- a passage. Make a note of your results. efit from using right brain teaching strategies, using the child’s photographic memory to Resources for Correction memorize multiplication facts easily.

• Brain Integration Therapy for Children, a home-based therapy program for parents to administer. Visit http://www.diannecraft. org/

• Speech therapy. Word retrieval: The two brain hemispheres have individual responsibilities. When we understand these responsibilities we can see un- • Brain training with music. Various proderstand where a child’s processing is breaking grams include: down in the reading process.

• Specialized reading instruction. Various programs include:

The right brain stores pictures. This means that all of the sight words (words that cannot be sounded out, such as “the,” “many,” etc.) are stored in the right brain after the child has been exposed to these words for several days. The name of the word is stored in the child’s left auditory hemisphere. Normally, when the two hemispheres are working well together, when the child sees the word (a right brain function), the name comes up quickly (a left brain function), and the child remembers the sight word.

◊ The Listening Program by Dr. Tomatis helps retrain the auditory processing area of the brain ◊ AIT (Auditory Integration Therapy) home program that requires a speech therapist to work with parent

◊ Right brain teaching strategies (bypassing the auditory glitch) ◊ Merrill Linguistic Readers (very few sight words) ◊ Lindamood Phonemic Awareness Program (professional program) ◊

◊ Samonas Listening Program, which requires a professional ◊ Interactive Metronome (corrects child’s timing, among other things) non-home professional program.

Wilson’s Reading Program

• Nutritional Therapy: ◊ Article “Ear Infections: Impact on Learning,” and “Essential Fatty Acids and the Brain,” available at http://www.diannecraft. org/

To check the efficiency of this process, have • LinguiSystems (word games, workbooks, your child read a list of words at his grade lev◊ Contact a nutritionist or chiroprac tor etc.) el. If your child consistently hesitates at words in your area such as “would, what, know, and neighbor,” or **(Compiled from an article by Dianne Craft - HSLDA Special Needs Coordinator)** if he attempts to sound out every word, then make a note of that. If the child is not reading Darnelle is a wife and a mother to 5 children: 4 home schoolers who are currently in 3rd, 7th, 9th, and 11th grades yet, you can have him read, or attempt to name and one who has graduated from home school and is a college sophomore. All 5 children have been home schooled from the alphabet letters that you have taught him. preschool. She has many years of teaching experience in public, private, parochial, and special schools, but her favorite If this is very difficult, then we can assume that . . . is home school! Her certification is in the areas of special education and remediation. In her column, “Fill in the Blanks”, Darnelle aims to assist parents in finding and then correcting the trouble spots that often cause academic this is a child who is struggling with the word problems and struggles. Children (and their parents) who are freed from the heavy burden of academic struggles can retrieval portion of an auditory processing begin to love learning again - just like God intended! Visit her blog, All Things Work Together. dysfunction. There are wonderful methods to help this child. Hearing individual letters: This is the auditory channel that is involved in learning and remembering the sounds that letters and letter combinations get. We teach this in great detail in phonics. Have your child read a list of words that are on the child’s reading level (if you don’t have a list, you can obtain one from HSLDA Learning Specialist Department, if you are a member). If your child cannot sound out a word, for example, cannot remember the “f ” sound to begin a word, or laboriously sounds out “f-a-t,” and then says “fan,” you know you have a child suffering in this area. If your child is older, and guesses at longer words, because he cannot remember the phonemes (vowel and letter combinations) to sound it out easily, then that child is suffering also in this area. Many times these are children who played the Phonics Game well, and knew all the “pieces” (left brain function), but cannot put it into a


God’s All Sufficient Grace

Last week was Vacation Bible School at our church. There were not any classes for Caleb’s age (youth) and so he didn’t attend most days. He played with the dogs at home and enjoyed the quiet time alone. The last day, however, he wanted to “help” out in the younger boys class so I said that would be okay, IF the teacher agreed. Everything went sailing along smoothly until Caleb decided it would be cool to hear the click clack of his 3-D glasses in the fan. He assumed it would be just like a card in the spokes of his bicycle tire. Unfortunately, the powerful motor of the fan grabbed the glasses and ripped them into three pieces! NOT COOL! Especially NOT COOL to a kid with Asperger’s Syndrome! Our new church family was pleasured with experiencing a fullforce melt down. Oh, what will they think of us now, I wondered? Thankfully, though, this church has had several autistic children in their midst and they have an understanding spirit.

I knew I had to get to the bottom of the matter. Why was he having a meltdown? What triggered it? He hasn’t had one in a while and glasses being torn apart by the fan, when a replacement pair was offered to him, seemed to make the meltdown a bit overboard. I started asking questions only to be met with glares and defiance. This is not an option in our home and our son knows it. At 13 years old, and towering at 6’1’’, I can’t afford to let this be an option or all respect for my authority will dissipate. Caleb knows this, but it doesn’t stop him from occasionally trying to test the boundaries either. Patience is my friend in situations like this and so I sat Caleb in a chair by himself and walked into the kitchen for a few minutes to help prepare some snacks for the younger classes. It gave us both the patience we needed. I needed to think through my questions clearly. He needed to calm down enough to be willing to listen. After a few moments, I went and asked Caleb to follow me outside so we could sit and talk away from everyone. I knew as long as we were around people that he would not open up to me. After we got outside and started talking, I was completely knocked over by his answer when I asked why he had the meltdown. He was mad at himself for being what he consid-


ered dumb. Plain and simple! He was mad that he was too dumb to figure out the fan would eat the glasses and that they wouldn’t be able to be repaired. My boy thinks he’s dumb?! Huh?! The boy who read Tolkien at 8 years old and understood him? The boy who can memorize line upon line upon line of movie scripts and book passages? The boy who not only learned his books of the Bible forward but backward as well, just to encourage the other boys in his AWANA club? He thinks he’s dumb?! My brain cells died and a whole portion of my thought process dove off a cliff as I tried to think of what to say. My boy thinks he’s dumb? I honestly could not fathom how to even answer that because it is so far from the truth. I was at a loss for what words of encouragement I could use. Then he said “I just want MY glasses to be fixed and they can’t be.” HA! I am mommy... hear me roar! With a bit of tape and some thinking skills (miraculously my thought processes got back in gear), I could get those glasses fixed and show him that everything doesn’t have to always end bad just cause it seems that we have ruined it. Back in the kitchen we got out the tools I would need: broken glasses - check, tape check, scissors - check. I set to putting the 3-D glasses back to as close to new as possible only to have Caleb amazed that they were able to really be fixed. He looked at me and said he was glad that God gave him a mom like me. I looked up at the now sweet face looking down at me with eyes of wonder, and asked “Why wouldn’t God give you a mom like me? But, more importantly, why wouldn’t God give me a son like you?” I have thought about those questions several times this weekend. When I was a baby Christian and things happened I would often question God and his love for me. Now that I am more mature in my faith, I understand

how the puzzle pieces of life fit together for the honor of God. We don’t let Caleb give in to his “disability” but he does have one. He does have special needs that need attention. Why wouldn’t God give him a mom who was patient and a fixer of things big and small? Besides, what on earth makes me so special that I deserve to have all perfect children with no challenges in raising them? Don’t we all have challenges in some form or another?! Better yet, what makes me so special that God chose to entrust me with one of His special children? That is the question I think about the most! There isn’t any deep, thought-out wisdom that provides answers to these questions. Honestly, they are quite simple. My Father in heaven has equipped me with everything I need to take care of my child. He has also equipped my child with everything he needs to succeed. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” I cherish this promise from God that He gives me strength to be a good mom, who is patient and loving towards all my children. Another verse that gives me strength daily is 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Oh, I’m plenty weak! There have been days that we struggled with multiple meltdowns, school work not even started let alone finished, sensory issues with lights and noises and touch all jumbled together in one single day, and yet, God’s grace is sufficient. His power is made extra perfect on those days because he gets to take Caleb’s weakness and mine, too! Thoseare the days that I sit down at the end of the day and my prayers are full of praise. It would be easy to have them be full of whining and crying about “why me?” or “why us?” but it is so much better to simply say Thank you, Jesus! The day is done and we are all still alive and the trials of the day have passed. Yes, He can do all things, and

yes, His grace is sufficient! Neither Caleb nor I would make it through most days if we didn’t both rely on these promises from God! I’m so glad He trusted me with my special child and He gave me promises to remember along the way! Sallie is an off-again, on-again homeschooling mom to her 4 children, ranging from elementary to high school. In her column “The Square Peg,” she discusses the challenges of homeschooling a child with disabilities and offers insight to those who sometimes feel all alone in a round hole world.

I cherish this promise from God that He gives me strength to be a good mom, who is patient and loving towards all my children.

Singing In Every Season When I was a little girl, I loved to sing. Loudly. While I still love to sing, I have since stopped singing loudly in public. Tragically, I realized as I grew older that — while I may have the desire to sing — I don’t have a great voice. I recently spoke to a woman who shared with me that she didn’t think she could sing very well, but that people often told her she could. I assured her that that means she can sing, as no one has ever told me that. Ever. And so, I sing around my kids and I sing loudly when I am alone in the car, but I don’t belt out my favorites for all the world to hear.

time limitations, and finances can feel more like curses than blessings. I have to watch my attitude when my focus switches from what I do have to what I don’t. I have to look past the here and now and set my sights on eternity. Where does God have me? What talents and gifts has He given me? How can I best use these talents for His glory? Most importantly, how is God at work for this season of my life? I can’t stress over what has been, nor can I only look to what will be. I need to look around for ways that God is using me now.

I could have decided that since God didn’t give me the ability to sing, I wasn’t going to dream at all. I could have been bitter about what I didn’t get, instead of beginning to look for what I did. I see so many women who bemoan their place in life, never realizing the impact they could have by simply sharing their stories and the lessons God has taught them, or by reaching out to those within their sphere of influence. What challenges are you facing today? What do you lack that keeps you from doing what you can with where you are? While I still look forward to the day when I will be able to sing like an angel, I have also learned to accept that I can still sing a beautiful song for However, I do have other talents I can share God in the most unexpected of ways. with the world. Instead of lamenting what I didn’t get, I have learned to focus on what I Psalm 61:8, “And I’ll be the poet who sings did. I think this holds true for other areas of your glory—and live what I sing every day.” life as well. We have to embrace the place, the (MSG) talents, and even the limitations God has allowed in our lives. We have to come to terms with His purposes and His plans for us. I have Marybeth is homeschooling mom to six children ranglearned that many times these do not line up ing in age from teen to toddler, as well as a speaker for with what we had in mind. Sometimes I feel Proverbs 31 Ministries. In her column “Because Life Happens”, she addresses things like burnout, dealing with limited by much more than my singing ability. interruptions, and handling homeschooling from a very My children’s needs, my family’s demands, my practical perspective. Be sure to visit her blog, Cheaper by I can remember being about twelve years old, riding in the car with my dad. I loved the song “The Main Event” by Barbra Streisand. At the time it didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t sing just like she did. I would have my dad crank the radio and sing as loudly as I could: “Extra extra I’m in love, I’m gonna thank my lucky stars above.” Those are good memories of a place in my life when I still believed wholeheartedly that I could do anything. The truth is, I will have to wait on being able to sing until I get to heaven. And while I would love to be center stage on American Idol, that’s just not going to happen.

the Half Dozen.


So You Think You Can Homeschool?

Published on Heart of the Matter Online, now freaking out. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Harbor June 25 Freight, Wal-Mart, pounds of M&M’s, McDonald’s, 4-wheelers and many other amenities will This is my reality show…. Welcome! soon be just a distant memory with our decrease For two years, my husband has been say- in income. (Can you see me smirking?) This is ing that I need to homeschool. Now I feel going to be fun! it is important to note that he likes to blurt things out before he really thinks about them. Here are the top 10 things new homeschoolers I mean, he is a loud, little Italian man. I, on (or me anyway) want to know from you. I am the other hand, will analyze from all angles going to ask because I would like to know and and then by the time I make a move the idea because no one else will dare to ask you. I have searched the internet but cannot find real, logiis usually out of style. cal answers from real, seasoned homeschooling My husband says that before we got mar- parents. So here it is: ried he told God that he wanted a wife who 10. So, I have purchased the whole curricwould stay home and take care of his family. ulum that some experienced homeschoolI told him that if that was the case, then we er has recommended. It looks awesome in have both been deceived because I told God I my new homeschooling cabinet tucked wanted to be successful and productive (yeah, away all neat and pretty..... Now what? you know where this is going). So anyway, I am going to homeschool and this is further 9. I like to have things planned out, but proof that God does have a sense of humor! I have never been home for lunch. I Can you tell that I just wasn’t that into the think the kids will want to eat during the homeschooling idea? day. What do I do? GIVE ME YOUR WEEKLY MENUS. I WANT BREAKReally, all I know is corporate America. You FAST, LUNCH AND DINNER! know, the “he said, she said” grapevines of ASAP! loveliness? If you have no clue what I am talking about, you are blessed! Corporate America is a reality show nightmare. You will not see that show being broadcast anywhere but live. Thankfully, at the end of July this year my show will be canceled and I can start a new one at home. Needless to say, the tables have turned and I have been nudged by a higher power (read: God) into homeschooling and my husband is


8. Construction paper is evil! Are there any acid-free, cost-efficient alternatives? Is colored paper necessary for preschool and 1st grade? 7. Thank God for glue sticks! Does liquid glue have any educational value that my kids will miss out on if I banish it? All they want to do is make a mess then eat it. Liquid glue has no nutritional value,

does it?

6. What do I do when my husband is red with jealousy? (“You spend all day with them,” “When I call, you need to answer,” “Where is my tissue paper butterfly?”) Remember: I am married to a loud, little Italian man. 5. How do I wear out the princess before she can wear me out? 4. Will wearing uniforms help create structure or routine? We already have them and it seems logical. By the way, how do you get dry erase marker out of uniforms? Yeah, too late, I already washed it! 3. How do you get dad involved without it seeming like a chore? (Never mind, I can sit him down and let him make his own tissue paper butterfly!) 2. What do you do when the super hero turns evil on the fairy princess? They don’t cover this in our Bible curriculum. 1. I think I have lost my mind, have you seen it? Please tell me it isn’t June already! Andrea is a laid back gal from the south who has been married to a loud, little Italian man named Darin for 7 years. They have two kids: one thinks he is a professional wrestler and the other thinks she is a professional princess (yes, she wants to be paid to be bossy and prissy). She has recently given up the corporate world to step into a land of kisses and learning. You can visit her at her blog: The Honest Woman. Help!

me : o s ses e Aw pon es R Letitia said...

christy said... 10. Accept the fact that you probably won’t finish half of it. Smile and move on. 9. I believe in teaching life skill and my boys make their own breakfast and lunch.

8. Not necessary at all. Crafts are messy anyWe’ve just finished our 14th year of home- way. schooling, and we have graduated the first 2. 7. I think it has starch? So maybe it is like an There will be days you are looking for your energy pill? Maybe you should eat some glue. mind, but it is all worth it. As for your list.... 6. Invite him to take a sick day and spend it 10. Just because it was great for one seasoned with the children while you go to Barnes and mom, doesn’t mean it will be great for your Noble for, umm research. children. It might. But be flexible, and use the curriculum as a tool, not a slave driver. Only 5. Jumping Jacks do what your family needs and deems impor- 4. Uniforms? Are those like jammies? tant. You don’t have to cover every section or 3. Buy him a pile of homeschool dad books. problem. 2. Become the wicked witch of the east and 9. Keep it simple. Our lunch is usually a sandturn them into closet dwelling imps. (That is wich, raw veggie and fruit. a joke. Don’t really put your children in the 8. You can buy pkgs. of colored computer closet.) paper at WalMart or Staples, and yes, it’s fun, 1. I don’t even know where my mind is. Maybe especially for lapbooks. there’s a mind finder software that can help us 7. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with my girls! all. We used stick. Luke said... 6 & 3 Convince him to do a science experi10. Hopefully the curriculum provider also ment on Sat. afternoons or small building has support that when you get confused or projects, read a bedtime story(or cooking stuck or overwhelmed you have someone you pasta),etc. Let him teach the way he teaches can call. I know Sonlight does. And if you’re best, not your way. using a literature rich program, just start with 5. LOL. Give them lots of breaks and play reading some books together and ease into it. time. Young children learn more through least, that’s what I’ve heard [smile]. playing and reading, puzzles, games.... than in curriculum. 4. Do random tshirts and shorts count? Have you tried oxyclean? 2. LOL! It’s in there (the Bible)Pray, and teach their hearts, not just their behaviors. Always make them end with an apology and a hug.

9. I’m still trying to figure out daily lunches. I like corn tortillas (Costco) with chicken (Costco), beans (Costco), and cheese (Costco) and perhaps some Salsa (Costco)... I like Costco too. 8. Colored paper is not needed. Having stuff for kids to play/be creative with is important, but it could be toilet paper tubes and cereal boxes (that’s what I played with as a kid, and my mom has always said I was creative...) 7. You can banish liquid glue, unless your kids, like me as a child, like to let it dry on their hands and peal off that cool second layer of skin... but it has no nutritional value or vitamins your kids will miss. 6. If you’re using a literature rich program, let dad read some of the books to your kids at night. My dad did that and it was great! 5. Kids don’t really wear out, so the goal, near as I can tell, is to get them engaged in things they love to do, that way you’re not running ragged trying to keep them on task. 4. I’ve heard good things about uniforms, but I grew up doing school in my PJs and I turned out okay... I think [smile]. 3. Reading good books works great. Did I mention Sonlight? [laughing] 2. Remind all super heroes that their job is to protect and bless the girls in the world. A good lesson to learn because I grew up being told that I should let girls go a head of me in line, but never given a reason. As men (super hero or no) our job is to bless and protect the women in our lives. 1. It is June, almost July. You may have lost your mind, but it’s more fun here [smile]. Hope that helps! ~Luke

1. Just think of homeschooling as an extention of being a mom. You don’t have to be a teacher. Just be who God created you to be and have fun with your kids. They will learn more than you can imagine without stacks of curriculum and strict schedules!

Brumbemom said... Those 10 questions were hilarious. All I can say is just prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime. You have embarked on the most glorious years ahead. There will be days when you think, “What was I thinking?!?” But they will be few, in no time you will realize that they joy of watching your children learn and experience new things, and knowing that you had a part in them learning it, will be the greatest joy of all. All the details.. don’t worry those, they will take care of themselves. We have homeschooled for over 10 years and my oldest graduates next year, so let me say, enjoy the times you have. They pass so quickly.


In The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach I compare the homeschool image, being changed by His glory. journey to the Exodus from Egypt (leaving public school), traveling in “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High the desert, and seeking the Promised Land. shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 The Passover story and journey to the Promised Land is a meaty symbol of our spiritual journey and growth. The Israelites were saved from The “Rest” is The Kingdom of God Egypt but not all entered the Promised Land – only their children and The ‘rest’ in Hebrews refers to the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “But a few men of faith entered. Likewise, in our spiritual journey we can be seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these saved but fall short of arriving in the Promised Land. things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). We learn to rest in God The words Promise, Inheritance, Rest, and Land are meaningful spiri- by conforming our minds to His through His Word. This is why His tual symbols in the Bible. In Hebrews, Paul compared spiritual rest with Word is the most important thing we teach with our children daily. There is a work involved to enter the rest. the physical Promised Land: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterwards have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest for the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:12 people of God. The labor to enter the rest is a labor of love, spending time in God’s Word, renewing our minds, little by little each day. Hebrews 4:8-9

Rest ing in Him

Jesus said He would give rest to those who were weary and heavy laden. For the word of God [is] quick and powerful, and sharper than any two Spiritual rest is not lying down to take a nap. God didn’t rest on the sev- edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and enth day because He was tired. His rest was a cessation of labor. intents of the Rest is the Heheart. Opposite brews 4:13 of Work or Striving Resting in the Rest is Knowledge found in of God relationship with God through JeSpiritual rest sus. Resting – and come in Him is to think of it, peace, joy, all spiritual healing, and – begins with fruit the knowledge of God (knowledge of His Word). provision. Spiritual itual rest is looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher off Faith begins with knowledge. [our] faith. Hebrews brews 12:2. In the book Sit, it, Walk, Stand Watchman Nee said, “Christianity is a The more time we spend in the Word, the more we reap from the Word. time we sow th the W Word the more spirid in our children’s hild n’ hearts, h t th pi i queer business! If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; The more ti tual fruit will be evident. if we seek to attain something, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.”

Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be meaLater in the book he continues, “The Christian’s secret is in his rest in sured to you; and more will be given you besides. Mark 4:24 Christ. His power derives from his God-given position. All who sit can God has wonderful promises in store for us when we spend time getting walk, for in the thought of God the one follows the other spontane- to know Him. Personalize these verses from 2 Peter 1:2-4 : ously. We sit forever with Christ that we may walk continuously before “God has given [your name here], through the knowledge of God and men. Forsake for a moment our place of rest in him, and immediately of Jesus our Lord…exceedingly great and precious promises that [your we are tripped and our testimony in the world is marred. But abide in name here] can be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the Christ, and our position there ensures the power to walk worthy of him corruption that is in the world…” here. If you desire an illustration of this kind of progress, think, first of all, not of a runner in a race but of a man in a car, or better still, of a crip- God promises us a new spirit and victory over flesh when we walk in ple in a power driven invalid carriage. What does he do? He goes – but His ways. Personalize these verses from Ezekiel 11:19-20: he also sits. And he keeps going because he remains sitting. His progress And I will give [your name here] one heart, and put a new spirit within follows from the position in which he has been placed. This, of course, [your name here]. And I will take the heart of stone out of [your name if a far from perfect picture of the Christian life, but it may serve to here]’s flesh and give [your name here] a heart of flesh, that [your name remind us that our conduct and behavior depend fundamentally upon here] may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them…” our inward rest in Christ.” Take Possession of the Land Jesus came to give us Life it has nothing to do with our ability to work. We need to simply enter his rest and watch the freedom Don’t make an 11-day journey into forty years in the desert. Due to our from our mess begin to unfold. The Christian life is dwell- sinful nature, we would rather go our own way contrary to the Lord; we ing in Him. As we dwell we become transformed into His tend to wander off the path God has chosen for us in life. My spiritual


Learning with Reckless Abandon Summer is a time when many homeschooling parents consider their educational options for the next school year. Some parents wonder whether they are capable of homeschooling higher grades. Other families wonder if they should put their children in classes outside the home. The good news is you can homeschool independently! Independent homeschooling can result in real and tangible benefits in the areas of academics, socialization, safety, and specialization. “Challenging but not overwhelming” is a good description of the perfect job. The same is true for homeschooling, because the academics can always be challenging, but never need to be overwhelming. Homeschooling through high school is a wonderful way to prepare kids for a real world job. As homeschoolers, we can make courses challenging by teaching every subject at our student’s level. We have the ability to use what works, or choose something different. And as homeschoolers, we can meet the specific learning style and interests of our child. By doing so, we can make sure our child will enjoy learning. Socialization that reflects the real world, where kids interact with people of all ages and backgrounds on daily basis, is a significant benefit of homeschooling. After all, in the working world, not everyone on the job will be exactly the same age. My youngest son is eighteen, and he is currently director of our church choir. We joke that he lowers the average age of the choir to seventy! journey has taken many detours. Each time I One choir member commented at how remarkable it was to see my son conversing easily with a selost my way was because I was focusing on self nior citizen, and then turn around and talk just as easily with the teenage youth group members. and my failures instead of God’s promises. It’s not that I don’t have faith in God – my faith can be compared to the story of Peter walk- The safety and comfort of home is the best learning environment. There is no need to be fearful ing on the water. I never doubt Jesus can walk at school, because home is a safe and supportive environment. People have asked me, “What does on the water; it’s me I doubt. I struggle to see homeschooling look like?” I usually reply that in our home it looked like my son lying beside our dog reading a book or talking to his grandfather about economics. In an environment that is free myself as an heir. of fear, children have the security to learn with reckless abandon. But, when I stay in God’s Word – instead of focusing on my failures and shortcomings – I Specialization means kids can pursue their unique interests. Because homeschooling is a much can fix my eyes on Christ, not circumstances, more efficient way of educating, there is plenty of time for specialization, and the freedom to and then I can enter His rest. When we stay pursue a passion. Remember that in a homeschool, there is no waiting around, no standing in line, close to God, even while we make mistakes, and no riding a school bus for hours. Homeschoolers really do have more education hours availHe will love us, forgive us, lead us, heal us, and able in a day - enough time to specialize. Sometimes people ask me “How do you find the time to bless us as we abide with Him. Sometimes we homeschool?” The truth is that we had MORE time than families in traditional schools. With our take two steps forward and two steps back new free time, we were able to start piano lessons. When my kids were in public school, we simply (fruit needs to mature before it is sweet). But couldn’t squeeze it in. Regardless of your teaching style, you can have time for some interest-led if we choose God’s will over our own will at learning. Allow kids to explore their passion - whether it’s dinosaurs, baseball, or quantum meevery fork in life’s road, the Shepherd will chanics. lead us. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 Resting in Christ means we rely on His work, not ours. And then we will know firsthand of the promise of His rest. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Hebrew 4:1

Are you getting the most out of homeschooling? As you plan your next school year, consider the benefits of homeschooling independently. As you evaluate the many choices available to you, keep in mind the reasons why homeschooling works. Ask yourself questions about your child’s academics, socialization, security, and specialization. If you take outside classes, will every subject be taught exactly at the child’s level? Can you change the curriculum at a moments notice if it’s not working? Does the curriculum match the student’s learning style - and how would you know if it did? Is the class in a safe and supportive environment, free of teasing and bullying? Will it encourage healthy socialization, or mimic the socialization found in public schools? Does participation allow enough time for your student to really pursue a passion, or does it fill time with unnecessary busy work?

Robin Sampson has been homeschooling for 20 • Make sure that YOU are in control, not someone else. years. She and her husband Ronnie are blessed • Keep a firm grip on those benefits! with a “yours, mine, and ours” blended fam• Allow your children to learn with reckless abandon! ily of eleven children (ages 6 to 34) and thirteen grandchildren (ages 1 to 12). She is actively teaching the two youngest children still Lee Binz is a veteran homeschooling mom of two and the owner of The HomeScholar, “Helping parents homeschool at home. Robin is also an author and business through high school”. You can sign up for her free email newsletter The HomeScholar Record and get your owner. Please visit her at Heart of Wisdom. daily dose of wisdom via e-mail from The HomeScholar Blog.


Defending and Defeating Evolution Just hearing the word evolution creates consternation on the face of Christian homeschoolers. We know the Bible is true and that this insidious lie has permeated every culture, casting shadows over the entire world. But are you aware of the fact that some of the teachings of evolution are accurate, valid science that we can and should support? It’s important that we understand this so that we can readily explain our position to others in an effort to shed light on what it is about evolution that we don’t support. It all comes down to microevolution versus macroevolution. Natural selection, or microevolution, is legitimate and supported by the scientific method. Yet, when we claim that we don’t believe in evolution, scientists assume that we do not believe in natural selection (which is proven). To them, it sounds like we are claiming that the earth is flat. The truth is, we believe in evolutionary teaching that has scientific support and evidence to prove its validity. Evolution simply means change. We believe that animals have changed over time. Where we differ is on how much they have changed. We simply do not believe in the teachings of evolution that have no support or evidence, otherwise known as macroevolution. Macroevolution has never been verified, and has actually been disproved through many scientific studies. Microevolution Let’s take a look at microevolution. Microevolution happens when a part of an animal, like the color, shape or size of their body parts, changes over time. Now, they don’t really change on one particular animal – the animal group evolves its features over time. The animal’s body part doesn’t become something else – a fin doesn’t become a wing or legs, and feathers don’t become hair, but the animal group might be bigger or smaller, with longer legs or a shorter tail. Let me explain it this way: Pretend


there are birds living in Hawaii that have long bills and enjoy eating nectar from flowers. Every bird is born with a long bill, but some just naturally have a bill that is a few centimeters longer than another, just like there are always variations in people. Two sisters might be born with curly hair, but one has hair that is just a little curlier than the other. That’s a natural variation encoded in the DNA. All animals have natural variations and DNA for different features. Back to the birds: Let’s imagine that these birds drink nectar and there are more flowers in Hawaii with longer tubes; only those birds with longer bills can reach inside these tubes. It is a fact that the more an animal eats, the more offspring they will have. If they don’t eat as much, they don’t produce as many offspring. So, the birds with longer bills get more food and produce more young. These young will probably have longer bills, but might not because the genetic code still allows for shorter bills. Over time, however, longer bills will prevail as this feature is naturally selected to be the best to survive. There will be fewer birds with short bills with which to mate, and before long, the longer billed birds will have dominated the gene pool in the area. Slowly, the birds with shorter bills will not be as abundant, and soon no longer exist as they mate with longer billed birds and produce longer billed offspring. Thus, over many years, the only birds you see around have extremely long bills. Did the bills change? Yes and no. We say they “evolved” longer bills. We do not have a problem with this sort of evolution. This is called microevolution or natural selection. Over time, the beaks that were best suited for the environment were naturally selected to survive and thrive in that environment. We can find evidence for this sort of evolution and it will show up in the fossil record; the bones, from hundreds of years back, will show shorter beaks. Then, as we find newer bones, they show longer and longer beaks. We can see evidence for the transition from shorter beaks to longer beaks: transitional bones of transitional creatures. Yet, the beak remained a beak. It

did not evolve from something else into a beak. It was always a beak. And the bird had within its DNA the ability to produce birds with longer beaks, but it couldn’t produce a mouth or teeth, because the genes inside the bird only allow it to produce bird parts. Sadly, some make a giant leap of logic and claim that natural selection proves macroevolution, or plain ole’ evolution. They assert that because a bird’s beak can change in size over time (and we know it didn’t really change on any one bird), that a fish can change into a man, or a lizard can change into a bird. This is like saying that because we see a small mound that has ants living inside it, giant mountains must have been made by similar creatures. Macroevolution (or just evolution) is the name given to this giant leap from truth to a lie. Macro means big, and evolution means change. Macroevolution is an impossibly big change for which there is no evidence. It would require a change in DNA. It would require mutations to the DNA. Positive mutations! The kind which we never see in nature. We only see negative mutations, or downward mutations. Mutations are mistakes and we do not see positive mistakes in nature. For the DNA to change that much, there would have to be thousands upon thousands of mistakes over time in one animals species, and each one of those mistakes would all be positive and become dominant in the entire species. Impossible. Often in school textbooks, microevolution is explained, and all the evidence is given to the students. Then, after the kids come to understand how microevolution works, the textbook tells the kids that this is how evolution works, and how we evolved from apes. Do you see how tricky that is? And many, many people, without thinking, just swallow it hook, line and sinker.

One quite amazing about some scientists’ belief in evolution is that there have never, ever been any transitional creatures found between man and apes or dinosaurs and birds. There have never been any transitional creatures found for any animal species. Though millions of fossils have been unearthed, none shows a half transformed or changing body from one creature into another creature. Yet, for two hundred years, some chose to believe in the theory of evolution without one shred of evidence. You are probably wondering why some people believe this when the evidence does not confirm their beliefs. Well, if you didn’t believe in God, and you were a scientist, you would need some explanation for why we are here. The reality is that these people want to believe it. They’ve been told it’s true and they want to believe it’s true. Frankly, when we want to believe something, it’s very difficult to change our minds. Further, once they have embraced an idea, it’s hard to convince them otherwise – especially if the alternative requires they consider God as a reality. This would change their entire lives, and that’s a scary proposition for them. It’s easier for them to deny the facts and evidence and stick with their current beliefs. Think of it this way: If someone today told you that the earth is really a flat, round circle, you wouldn’t be able to believe that. They would have to show you a lot of evidence, and you still might not believe it. No matter how convincing they were, you would maintain in your belief system that the earth is a sphere. So, don’t be so hard on those who believe in evolution. Everyone has a hard time changing their beliefs once they really believe something. Truly, it requires faith – given only by the Author of our faith, Jesus Christ – to accept the truth of the Bible and the story of Creation. The best thing we can do it pray for them. God can do more with our prayers than with all our wise and persuasive words. Jeannie Fulbright is the author of Apologia’s Elementary Science, Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Exploring Creation with Botany and Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, 2, and 3. Jeannie homeschools her four children (ages 7 – 14) in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more about her books or read her many articles, sign up for her homeschool encouragement newsletter, visit .



The Learning Doesn’t Stop Summer - It’s the season I looked forward to the most as a child, not because I particularly enjoyed the season itself, but because it meant freedom from oppression, er . . . I mean, school. Finally, I didn’t have to worry about sitting in a classroom for long hours, waiting for the day to be over, only to be faced with a mound of homework. I wouldn’t have to deal with bullies and brats or the pressure to fit in. Ahh, summer. When I switched to being homeschooled, I remember how awesome it felt to ease out of summer. Graduation didn’t come as a big shock of freedom either, because I had already learned how to manage my time outside of “school.” I was going to continue learning just as I had before. Now that I’m homeschooling my own children, we’ve chosen not to take the summer “off.” In fact, if anything, summer is the best time of year for education because communities are more active. There are more functions to attend, museums offer special attractions, and many places extend their hours during the summer. This summer, we have decided to focus on one particular subject - Slavery. I picked up a couple books at the library on the subject. We’re currently reading about Addy, one of the girls from The American Girl collection, who struggles with leaving behind her baby sister to run away with her mother after her father and brother are sold to another family. Next month, we are taking a trip to Vermilionville to see how the people in our state of Louisiana once lived. It’s “paused” in the same time period as Addy is in. Not only will it be a lesson on slavery, but also a lesson on our own culture and how things were done before technology spit out cars and microwaves. What I love most about homeschooling is how one subject inevitably leads into several others. We don’t have to separate them out like institutional schools do. It’s wonderful to watch my children’s eagerness and excitement over these things. We read a chapter out of our book each day (and they always want to read “just one more, Mom. Please!”). When we finish, we discuss what has happened so far. They cannot fathom why some people would be treated with such disrespect, especially since they recently memorized the golden rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) They want to test out some of the foods people ate back then, which leads to “chemistry in the kitchen.” I think reading about how the slaves worked in the fields has given them a new appreciation for our own garden. They wanted to try balancing pails of water (not too good at that, I must say) and dress up in disguises, like Addy did in the book. By the end of the summer, they’ll have learned so much without realizing it as we continue memorizing Bible verses, reading stories from the Bible, learning about slavery, exploring our culture, and caring for our home and garden. Mandy is a former homeschooling student who has set out to homeschool her three young munchkins in an unschooling meets discipleship method. In her column “Delightfully Discipled”, she gives a glimpse into the curious minds of her children as they follow their natural instincts to explore the heights and depths of knowledge and and are led though Godly discipleship. She blogs at and Noggin News.


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Galatians ns 5:1

Bad habits, disorganization, we mennization, or dare w

Bad Habits? Spend some time in 1 Timothy 4:12 to encourage yourself and your family.

Theree are times when en we all fe feel the cconfinementt of slavery. We feel trappe trapped, we feel immovable, able, we feel STUCK. CK

Do you find yourself judgmental or temperamental? Romans 2:1, 3-6 is a great place to look, as well as 1 Samuel 16:7.

July speaks peaks one word to me;

Too busy? Not busy enough? Look to Proverbs 6:6 if you are dealing with laziness and to Matthew 11:28-29 if you are feeling burned

Dependence Days

Do you ever feel like to ike a slave? slav A slave s what?? ??

Where do we begin? Sometimes the slave becomes comfortable in this life of slavery and breaking free can be challenging and difficult, but always worth the effort. Begin simply by asking, What would you like to be freed from? What would you like to free your household or your home school from?

~ F R E E D O M ~ “The free man is the one wh whose ch choices have given him the power to stand oon his own feet and determine his own life according to the higher light and spirit that are in him. The slave, in the spiritual order, is the man whose ose choices have ave destroyed destro all al spontaneity in n him and have ve deliver delivered him over, bound hand and and foot, to his oown co compulsions, idiosyncrasies, iosyncrasies, and illusions, illusi so that he never does what he really wants w to do, but only what he has to do.” do ”

As we find ourselves in middle of sumn the m mertime,, we have an opportunity opportu to spend some time me “freeing” ourselves ou from all that is hindering ring us from “running the race r with endurance.” ce.” Christ came me to se set us fre free — not free to do whatever we want, as th that would only lead following our d us back intoo follow o selfish desires. Rather, we are now free fre and aable to do what wass impossible before — to live liv unselfishly. What hat an amazing ng thought tha that is. Live unselfishly ly and love it!! While I was preparing ng this article, article a I came uote from rom the book God’s R upon a quote Road Map w bei for Life andd it just speaks to what being “free” means. “What a wonderful freedom and w wholeness om meeting Jesus right where wher you are comes from and receiving the revelation of who HE is!”

Freedom....we have the choice, we have the freedom to do the right thing, please God and find peace in a chaotic world, or stay bound by the chains that bind us. Jesus said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 Freedom and Independence have their place in this world...but a bit more DEPENDENCE in the source of “true freedom” is where we need to focus some energies this summer. I invite you to kick back a bit this summer and spend some time searching out what “enslaves” you. For each of us it is different. Identify those things and turn to Scripture to “free” yourself and your households from what “binds you.” I guarantee that these fireworks, fireworks of the heart, will “burst forth” into the new school year.

~Thomass Merton

What has as you captive, e, what ccompu compulsions, illusions or idiosyncrasies asies that are ddestructive would ld you like to FREE yourself yourse from this summer? mer?

towards freedom in the Word that remain true. He wants to meet us where we are. He wants to help us “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. “ (Hebrews 12:1)

out. Oh and if you are feeling TOO busy, spend some time in Luke chapter 10 visiting with Jesus and Martha. Do you find yourself trapped in materialism? Vanity? Meditate on 1 Timothy 6:17-19. How about worry? Try Matthew 6:25-34. It is in freedom that we have choice. The choice to become dependent in a month that celebrates our nation’s independence. Choose to be dependent on the only source where true freedom will ever be found - God. As the fireworks and picnics become a memory, let us look at July as a month of recommited dependence! By spending some time this month looking inward at what has a hold on us, enslaving us and our households, we can begin to move

Father, Hear the prayer on my heart to be completely “dependent” on You. I know that being independent, means separating myself from Your Will. I want to “run” this race that you have called me to as a wife, mother, and homeschooler. You sent Your Son to earth, to die so that I may live in the freedom that is found ONLY in You. I want to be free from all that hinders me. Father, You know where I fall short. You know what I am a slave to. I humbly ask for Your help in stripping these away. I know that it is in You that peace and freedom live. I want that for my life, I want that for my marriage, I want that for my children, I want that for my home. I want desperately to be free in Christ. Thank You for the gift of freedom. It is a priceless gift that I can not repay, I can only promise to live in love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen Lori is a 4 year homeschool mom to three children; an 8th grader, a 6th grader and a 4th grader. Lori insists that when she was wrestling with the decision to homeschool, a gentle voice guided her with the words, “you know what you should do.” Lori never looks back, accepts the challenges and rewards, and CONSTANTLY clings to THE ROCK. “No Storm can shake my inmost calm when to this ROCK I’m clinging.” “Raise Your Hands” is a column that will inspire you while (as the Beatles so eloquently put it) we walk “this long and winding road” together. Lori desires to impart peace and inspiration amidst the daily chaos. Be sure to visit her blog at All You Have

to Give.


Masterly Inactivity It’s hot outside, and summer is in full swing. For me, summer has always brought to mind vacations at the beach, lazy days at the lake, and a break from school. In other words, relaxation! One of the many reasons I love Charlotte Mason is her emphasis on the importance of leisure time. “Masterly inactivity,” as she called it, is meant to be time spent doing something to refresh mind, body, and soul. It is recreation at its finest: fun, unscheduled, unstructured time to enjoy life and appreciate the wonders of God. Go on a picnic, take time to read or draw, spend an afternoon at the pool, play hopscotch in the driveway, go fishing, or enjoy an evening bike ride together as a family. There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate a little masterly inactivity in your family’s daily lives . . . and summer is a wonderful time to develop this into a habit! I often hear homeschoolers joke, “I don’t know why they call it home school, because we’re never home!” It is a blessing that there

are so many great options for us homeschoolers these days: piano lessons, sports practice, co-op classes, tai kwon do, play dates, etc. The list goes on and on. All good endeavors, but we must be careful not to take on too many. Charlotte Mason cautions against over-scheduling because too much rushing around causes stress for the parents AND the children. When we learn something new, we need time to “digest” all that knowledge before we can actually apply it, so we should alternate our schoolwork and activities with recreation and rest. Children need “downtime” just like we do; they need time to process new thoughts and ideas. This is exactly why “masterly inactivity” is so important. We must prayerfully consider just how much we can schedule and do before we begin to compromise that valuable leisure time - but keep in mind that “too many” will look different for each and every family. Charlotte Mason teaches that an essential

aspect of masterly inactivity is “good humour––frank, cordial, natural, good humour.” Atmosphere is at least one-third of education, she said, and “the thought that any of our poor words and ways being a daily influence on a child should make the best of us want to hold our breath.” Amen, sister! She goes on to say that a child “breathes in unconscious ideas of right living emanating from his parents.” I don’t know about you, but that scares me a little! Like it or not, we inspire our children. The question is, what do we inspire in them? If we are harried and hurried, we are certainly not at our best. Our attitudes are contagious. When we argue, complain, or speak bitter words, our children learn from that: “A nervous, anxious, worried mother can’t have an easy, happy relationship with her child. She might be the best mother in the world in all other respects, but all her children will pick up from her when she’s like that is a touch of her nerves, which is the most contagious of bad habits. She’ll perceive her children as grouchy, rebellious, and unmanageable, but she won’t realize that it’s her own fault--not the fault of her actions, but the fault of her mood.” Ouch! I know I’ve been guilty of this, aggravated about how grumpy my child is when my own bad attitude has actually been the cause of it! On the bright side, when we have a good attitude, full of praise and gratitude, our children “catch” that, too. So Ms. Mason encourages mothers to go out and play! Every mother, and I think especially the homeschooling mother, absolutely MUST have time to herself. She needs time to revive and refresh


her spirit. “Idle time to relax, and a sense of calm leisure in the adults around them is necessary” for children to thrive. That’s right, ladies, Charlotte Mason urges you to enjoy an occasional mom’s night or afternoon out! Heed her wise advice. Participate in some – dare we imagine it – uninterrupted adult conversation! Take some time to read a good book, simply for the sake of enjoyment, rather than for researching curriculum or homeschool methods. Dive into a new Bible study or devotional you love. Go for a stroll, visit an art gallery, or catch up on a few of your favorite blogs. Realistically, some days or weeks might not allow for a whole evening on your own, but a little creative simplification of your schedule should make at least enough time to stroll around the garden, or to enjoy one of my personal favorite activities, savoring a steaming hot cup of tea. Take time to do whatever refreshes your soul and renews your mind. Listen to the still, small voice of God. Ms. Mason reassures us that “…faith is necessary to full repose of mind and manner. [God] works in ways which it must be our care not to hinder, in the training of every child.” If we are careful to listen, God does give us the wisdom we need to teach our children. And that’s a promise I cling to every day!

Jamie is in her third year of homeschooling, and loving the mostlyCharlotte Mason style she’s chosen. She is a joyfully married wife in a blended family, and knows that absolutely anything good she accomplishes is because of Christ in her. Her days are fueled by the love of her family and many cups of steaming hot tea. When she’s not blogging or homeschooling, she’s probably doing a photography session, gardening, or just playing with her crazy mutt. She invites you to visit her personal blog for more eclectic bits of encouragement and fun at Life and Love in Rose Cottage.


Becoming Like Ruth When the In-Laws Have Trouble Accepting Your Child’s Special Needs

be talking about my child.” Until a parent is ready to accept the possibility that their child has Autism there is no way that any professional, despite their level of expertise and degrees, will be able to convince them otherwise.

Thee subject of Autism has brought out a numTh ber of different responses from those around us since the day my son, Xander, was diagnosed. I remember being fully charged and ready to seek out any information on the subject, and though devastated inside, I knew that I could not accept the ideas that we were facing “a lost cause.” This would not be the end of the story for my son, it would simply be a different story. As I poured through the self-help section of numerous bookstores and on-line vendors, I slowly began to grasp that there would be no quick fix and no definitive answers on how to raise my child. How could this be? Why didn’t they have causes and treatment solutions readily available? Why were doctors quick to medicate upon diagnosis? Would we ever be able to take a breath and stop fighting for our son? Perhaps the most thought provoking aspect of this new path God laid out for us was when I started receiving emails from fellow parents sharing their testimonies. I think for parents, particularly mothers, it is much easier to discuss the progressions and pitfalls with nameless, faceless individuals facing the same scenarios in their own homes as they discover the new world of Autism as well. One of the most common issues that I read, almost daily, was the hardships these parents faced in sharing this “problem” with their own families. I must admit, bringing extended family in on the diagnosis of Autism is an almost unbearable task. I imagine it is much like a psychologist or doctor delivering bad news to new parents. They are faced with instant denial of, “No, you must be wrong, you cannot possibly


This is very applicable where in-laws are concerned. I mention in-laws in particular because the most volatile of relationships can be formed when you marry into a family. The most vulnerable being a mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the horror stories from our girlfriends regarding this very subject. Perhaps there are many of you who have faced some of these situations yourselves. You may be wondering how earth to tell your motherin-law about the world of Autism for fear of being blamed or of being told you are wrong. You may have even been told the famous, “There’s nothing wrong with your child — stop trying to label him!” Take a breath. The fact is that these are people who have raised a child. One that you even considered marriage material. Whether or not you still feel this way about your spouse, in their eyes he’s probably pretty terrific. You may feel tired, rejected, dejected, and just plain fed up in dealing with them. Consider this: “For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” (Lam 3:33, NIV) Seems simple enough on paper, doesn’t it? This applies not only to the original diagnosis your child received but also to relationships, and especially to tribulations in your life. So what is the answer? She’s driving you crazy and you just cannot take one more conversation filled with the many ways you are “doing it wrong.” God calls us to be obedient to our parents, and “for better or worse,” you have a new set. You have a mother that never asked for the role, who has a child already, and that’s a pretty heavy weight on any woman’s shoulders.

My husband and I were married in August of 1996. Young and in love there was not a single person who could convince us that we were doing anything wrong. Let me tell you, my mother-in-law should be sainted for what she had to accept when we took our vows. I was a force to be reckoned with, wild and immature, with a truckload of baggage. I can only imagine the look on her face when she realized that I was the one that swept her baby boy off his feet and was becoming a part of her family. Having three boys myself I’m not certain I would handle this type of decision with the same level of grace. It took many years to forge a strong relationship with her, and in some ways it became harder when I had children because the active role in her son’s life expanded to the territory of grandbabies. The woman who had scared her out of her mind by marrying her son, would now be responsible for the innocent lives of others. I literally cringe when I consider what my future holds in the ways of my children’s families expanding, especially if you truly “reap what you sow.” It was around this time that I attended a Bible study that focused on the book of Ruth. It took my breath away. Naomi and Ruth had a relationship that challenged all other mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. It forced me to consider a friendship outside of the connection we had in my husband. In case you need a crash course on this subject: Ruth married one of Naomi’s sons; the other was betrothed to Orpah. Naomi’s husband and both sons were killed. Whether you know this story or not, I would like you to consider what a massive tragedy this story is. Naomi lost her husband and her sons. In the book of Ruth she even changes her name to Mara, which means “bitter.” I’ll bet she was bitter. I would probably be shaking a fist at the sky myself. You can let your imagination roam to how it might have been to live with this woman after all of this transpired. Naomi ordered both Ruth and Orpah to return to their homelands and to leave her. In fact, she told them twice. Orpah said her goodbyes and left rather immediately. Ruth on the other hand had this to say, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 (NIV) Back in those days this was a risky situation. Unmarried women did not have a place in society. This meant giving up the creature

comforts of Ruth’s father’s house and living in complete uncertainty. I would call this absolute devotion. As a matter of fact, it was well beyond what was required of her during this time. Ruth was obedient to her mother-in-law in many ways and God blessed her richly for it — she became the great-grandmother to Jesus. She was one of only four women mentioned in His royal line, in fact. What does this have to do with my own mother-in-law? It changed my whole outlook on the subject. I suddenly knew what to pray for! The thought that we could ever be like Naomi and Ruth seemed to be an impossible task, given my history, but it was worth a try. Through this I learned to listen more and be less defiant. Obedience was the number one task at hand, with tactfulness being a close second. You may be thinking, “Oh forget that!” but I can tell you that God has the power to change your circumstances if only you will take the first steps. You must ask Him and you must be willing to go the extra mile by accepting your role in the relationship Sadly there will always be relationships out there that will not mend, but it is important that your hands are clean in all of your dealings. “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.” 2 Samuel 22:21 When talking to in-laws about Autism these same rules apply. It is important to remember that this is a learning experience for them, too. Chances are the feelings you had when your child was diagnosed are the very same emotions engulfing them as well. Just like the doctor that gives bad news upon deaf ears, they must come to terms with this new idea as well. Would you like to know what NOT to do? Do not force them to accept the diagnosis immediately. You had time to let this sink in before going in, both guns blazing, ready to conquer the world. They need time as well. Do not let yourself get discouraged because they just don’t get it. They may not ever accept this diagnosis, but there’s a good chance that your parenting style didn’t exactly jive with their ways either. It always amuses me to see the looks on grandparents’ faces when the daughter-in-law announces things like, “We don’t believe in spanking!” “Um, no cookouts

for my little ones, we’re vegetarian.”

Lord through my obedience. Amen.

You keep doing what you’re doing. Being an advocate for your child is not disrespect, it’s your God-given right that no one can take away. There’s a good chance that they will eventually warm up to your ideas, despite how different their parenting styles were. The most important issue to everyone is that the children are loved. Try listening more than talking.

Angela DeRossett is military wife, homeschooling mother, and an advocate for autism research. Angela can be found blogging at Homeschooling the Chaotic Family and Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy.

When talking to your in-laws, take the time to hear their point of view on the subject. Through this you may recognize some of the factors driving negative comments. They may be scared, devastated, in denial, or they may just want to argue with you. Though the last example may seem a bit humorous, there are those out there for whom this is reality on a daily basis. In considering scared, devastated, and in denial, people can agree, kids bring these emotions out in all of us. It is love that drives them all. Remember: You weren’t the only one who had hopes and dreams for this child. Some of the best conversation starters could simply be questions on their expectations. (Provided both parties can be kind to one another.) Prayer should be the first step in including the in-laws in your child’s life. There will always be extenuating circumstances that need to be avoided, such as being afraid your child will be abused in any way, or that you would be placing them in a dangerous environment. If your new extended family loves your child and wants the best for him, as you do, then the best step would be involving them as much as possible and encouraging a healthy relationship for the child’s sake. Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You tired and ready to give up on my family. We just can’t seem to see eye to eye. Lord, I know that You can see the bigger picture and that through my precious child(ren), You may have plans to heal my family from past hurts. I ask Lord that You work in me now, changing my heart to make me like Ruth. I ask that You open my (mother-in-law’s, father-in-law’s, parent’s, mother’s, father’s, etc.) to be receptive to my change and that You help me keep my hands clean in all of my dealings. Lord, I just ask that You give me to wisdom and courage to be an active advocate and a good parent to my child(ren) with special needs, and that I may bless You


possible to stay at home and homeschool the old fashioned way – and see great results.

Published on Heart of the Matter Online, June 29

I’ve been schooling long enough to have observed trends and cycles in the movement. In the “old days”, we schooled very simply. We didn’t have the options currently available. We have a zillion companies willing to sell to us, yahoo groups, blogs, co-ops, online schools, umbrella schools, church schools, tutors . . . and yet I’ve seen a disturbing trend developing that alarms me. I believe that our many options have led to unrealistic expectations, feelings of inadequacy, and have contributed to burn out for many homeschooling moms. I believe this culture has led many to put their children back into public schools in junior high and high school because they feel that they can’t possibly do it as well as “suzieqex-

28” (fictitious blog url) or the “experts.” At conventions we used to hear that we, our child’s parents, were the experts on our children. Now, we often hear from the “true” homeschooling experts, and feel that we shouldn’t question their authority. When I began schooling we simply took it one day at a time until we finished. Most school districts didn’t want our children back in the system; we knew we had to school them until we figured out what else to do with them. ::snort:: Unrealistic Expectations SuzieQ may post amazing blog glimpses of astonishing nature walks and yet totally ignore other school subjects. She doesn’t tell you that her oldest is 3 years behind in math, that her youngest hasn’t begun school, and that the great ideas she posted 6 months ago and that you are trying to implement didn’t work at all. SuzieQ may really be practically perfect – but we can’t really know. Furthermore, Co-ops may be wonderful, but aren’t

Homeschool companies, like other businesses, try to convince us that their product will SOLVE our homeschool problem. It doesn’t always work that way. Do you think I’m making this up? Consider this ad that was sent via email by a big and popular HOMESCHOOL magazine. This magazine and others are where many new homeschoolers turn for “expert” advice and support. “Greetings: Are you still homeschooling the old fashioned way? Homeschooling was infinitely more time consuming before “XYZ Academy”. Homeschool parents use to spend their nights and weekends doing lesson plans, tests, grading, scheduling, and coping with the ever present “Am I doing enough?” No wonder burn out is so common! Does this sound like you?” I don’t feel supported by the above. I feel that the ad tries to portray there is something wrong with old fashioned, independent homeschooling. The use of the term and the description of what “old fashioned” would be offends me. In fact, I need their expertise

to homeschool. This ad from a Homeschool magazine has irritated me enough that I don’t plan to renew my subscription. Feelings of Inadequacies The above ad landed in my in-box on the very same day I was communicating with 2 online friends and a local friend…. all feeling INADEQUATE. I was angry…righteously angry, I believe. Ads like the above, huge co-ops that try to offer all the advantages of private school on a budget, practically perfect homeschool bloggers, tutors who charge huge bucks to implement programs I can buy for a fraction of the cost, perfect posts on yahoo groups, can all lead new homeschoolers, and even veteran homeschoolers, to feel that they aren’t measuring up. We slide into thinking that homeschooling SHOULD be easy. I shouldn’t be wasting my nights making lesson plans, grading, scheduling…..I should let the experts do it. I must find a way to pay for these services. I couldn’t possibly do enough on my own… look I can’t make the perfect 9 week unit study on the life cycle of a slug. Obviously, I NEED to either join a very active co-op, or this academy, or buy this product. When I’ve worn myself out trying all the options, when I have no money to buy the latest and greatest, I throw up my hands in frustration and put my child back into public school. More and more people feel INADEQUATE to actually homeschool independently. It doesn’t have to be like this! Burn Out This syndrome has always been around – even in the dark ages of our movement. I see it intensifying as well-meaning and loving moms try to implement ALL the current options. We leave our homes constantly, yet we try to accomplish all that our curriculums map out for us at home. We fail to pick and choose and so we feel picked over, wilted, and exhausted by spring. I am not saying we should never use any of the current options. I own a yahoo group. I publish a blog. I take advantage of drama classes and such. However, I believe we need to remember the heart of homeschooling. A few Things to Consider God is the expert on your children. YOU are his partner. Get HIS plans for your child and faithfully follow it. Do not become a curriculum/blog/magazine/yahoo group junkie if you are prone to feeling inadequate. Once you have God’s plan - stick to it. Look around when you have

the green light from God to look for specific help. Don’t allow yourself to feel validated or invalidated based on what others are doing. Look to God for approval. People homeschooled long before all the current options were available. Most homeschooled until graduation once they had pulled their child out of school. It CAN be done. If you find “perfect blogs” causing you to feel depressed or inadequate – don’t read them! Balance – use the options that encourage and help your specific family. If at any point you feel the disadvantages of participating are outweighing the advantages, be courageous enough to adjust. Seek balance. We do ourselves harm when we excessively compare ourselves and our children to others. Quit! Carefully choose your mentors – online and in real life. I am NOT trying to be judgmental….but you really only know what an author chooses to reveal about herself. Are you sure she is a mentor you should follow? Has she ever shared the hard days, the real days, the icky stuff so that you can learn from her how to work through those sorts of days? What do you know about her marriage? What do you know about her children? Are they the types of adults you would like yours to become? Has she schooled long enough to give weight to her theories? Has she lived long enough to experience both joys and heartbreaks? Is she willing to pull you close enough so that you can learn from both? Does she give you the freedom to search God for yourself and reach different conclusions than she has? When you find this sort of woman, online or in real life, get close to her. Shadow her. Learn from her. DON’T TRY TO BECOME HER. God has a plan for YOUR family and YOUR life. We don’t need to become clones of each other. Don’t put her on a pedestal – she’s human. If she’s showing you the good, bad, and the ugly you aren’t likely to put her on a pedestal. ::snort:: Disclaimer: I want to be crystal clear that I am NOT saying that “co-ops are bad” - some of my best friends are co-op coordinators. ::snort:: I’m not saying “yahoo groups are bad” - I own one. I’m not saying homeschooling blogs are bad. I have a blog and am a team member of Home School Blog Awards. I’m saying that if we aren’t careful we tend to allow outside things to define how we homeschool and if we are a “success”. If co-ops, tutors, alt ed are good for you - go for it - just

realize that it’s not the ONLY RIGHT way to homeschool with success. As for my criteria for a mentor - that could be a whole other post.....but basically I look at Titus 2 and think that a mentor should be doing those things she is to teach younger women (obviously she won’t be perfect this side of heaven). There again - those are MY criteria and you are free to choose your own. ::snort:: I am NOT saying that you cannot glean from a woman who doesn’t meet the Titus 2 criteria - but mentor to me signifies an intimate spiritual relationship - someone who will be significantly speaking into my life on a variety of issues, vs. a casual/learn from each other at a support group type of relationship. De’Etta is a homeschooling mom of 9 children ranging in age from 2-23 years old. She’s married to a wonderful Air Force chaplain. Together they’ve enjoyed 24 years of grand adventure as God has grown their family and ministry. While their methods may change, the heart of homeschooling in their family has remained steady. They desire to partner with God to raise young men and women who will love Him wholeheartedly. De’etta says, “My goal in life is to passionately love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I endeavor through teaching and mentoring relationships to lead others to an extravagant, lavish, passionate, whole-hearted, love of their life. It is my goal to truly love others.” You can catch up with her at Choosing Joy, Homeschool Blog Awards, and Support4HomeSchool – a homeschooling yahoo group.


Shhhh! Do you hear that? It is the comfort of your home calling you. PJs, coffee (your flavor), and four fun filled days just for you!

In our quest to bring you the absolute best home school resource online, we have listened to your requests and are providing you with a fun filled online adventure! On July 31st through August 3rd, we will be hosting Heart of the Matter Online’s first annual Virtual Home school Conference! We will be providing the attendees with motivational speakers, video tutorials, free products, question and answer sessions, and a vendor hall - all ONLINE! Just log on and either listen live during that time or log in at your convenience and listen to the audios. We are trying our best to make it the most user and speakerfriendly conference possible.

I know that God blessed us by helping us find this amazing conference software. The speaker will just log in at her/his scheduled time, with a plugged in microphone, speak about their topic(approximately 30-40 minutes), and then hold a Q/A session with the listeners (approximately 20-30 minutes). All the while the attendees will get to chat amongst themselves in true Instant Message format. We really want the conference to be less like a “seminar” and more like a bunch of close friends in a chat room. We want everyone to feel comfortable. Some sessions will also be pre-recorded. Just wait till you see what some of your favorite home school personalities have done to educate and entertain you! At the end you will join in to chat with them, ask questions, and they will answer.

Get your tickets today!

Convenience FUN! Cost effective Relevant



Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor. His seminars for parents, students and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills. Although he is a graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Japan and holds a Certificate of Child Brain Development from the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his best endorsement is from a young Alaskan boy who called him “the funny man with the wonderful words.” He and his beautiful, heroic wife Robin currently teach their four youngest children at home in Atascadero, California. Belinda Bullard is a homeschooling mother of six years. In addition to being a wife and mother of three, Belinda is an author and the owner of A Blessed Heritage Educational Resources. A chemical engineer by formal education, Belinda started the company in 2004 to introduce homeschooled children to more inclusive history. The literaturebased history curriculum features African-American presence in history, but also includes the contributions of other races to American history. Finally, she serves as adjunct faculty for college distance learning programs. Lori Lane is married to the love of her life John and together they have four sons ranging in age from 22 down to 10. The two oldest boys have graduated from home school and successfully entered college and/or internship positions! She is the author of “Beginning With The End In Mind”, a frequent speaker on home education, family and the arts, as well as the founder and Executive Director of Artios Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts where she has worked with

hundreds of homeschooled students. You can see some of the pictures of their home in the central Colorado Rockies by visiting Lori’s website, where you will receive encouragement for the journey. You can also hear Lori on “The End In Mind” broadcast on www.blogtalkradio. com/theendinmind. Lori will be giving 2 talks titled Beginning Homeschooling (or beginning again) With The End In Mind; and Bringing Integrated Arts Related Instruction Into Your Homeschool. Kendra Fletcher is the homeschooling mom of eight, all of whom have either been, currently are, or soon will be preschoolers. She is the author of the widely popular blog, Preschoolers and Peace. Kendra will encourage and inspire you as she speaks on Finding Quiet Time.

Amy Bayliss is a wife and mother to 3 young boys. In addition to being the co-founder of Heart of the Matter, she blogs at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, designs blogs and hosts tutorials at Split Decisionz, and is co-owner and a contributing writer to Internet Cafe Devotions. She is a writer and speaker who has a desire to help women fulfill the call of God on their life. Amy will be giving two talks titled Simplify Your Homeschool; and Homeschooling for Beginners. Lee Binz is a veteran homeschool mother of two and the founder of The HomeScholar homeschool consulting business. Her mission is to help parents homeschool through high school. She offers a free email newsletter The HomeScholar Record and free support from her blog, The HomeScholar Helper. Lee and her husband live in Seattle. Their sons, Kevin and Alex, homeschooled through high school and now attend Seattle Pacific University on full tuition scholarships. When not busy with The HomeScholar, Lee enjoys being on the board of Washington Homeschool Organization (WHO), being involved in her church. Lee will be speaking on College Preparation and Making a Transcript.

Rebecca Kochenderfer is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor of the #1 Homeschooling site in the country - Homeschool. com. Trained to be a teacher and with a Masters degree in education, at 23 she was hired to be Barry Goldwater III’s private teacher, and traveled with the family throughout the Caribbean on the family yacht. When she first heard about homeschooling and knew instantly that this personalized approach to education was just what she had been looking for. Rebecca convinced her attorney husband to give homeschooling a try for one year, and, using the same one-onone techniques she had used with Barry Goldwater III, her children were soon effortlessly doing work two years above their grade level. Rebecca has been a homeschool mom for over 16 years – and has loved every minute of it.

Ami Brainerd is the creator of Homeschool Share, the on-line cooperative effort of homeschooling moms to provide free but quality literature-based unit studies and resources. Ami will be speaking on How to Keep Your Child’s Natural Desire to Learn Alive.

Sandra Angelo is an Emmy-nominated artist and teacher who specializes in making classical art concepts so easy that absolutely anyone can succeed. She is the creator of an award winning comprehensive home study curriculum. Sandra will be teaching on Why Children Need Art to Succeed Academically and in Life.

Gina Conroy is an ordinary mom, serving an extraordinary God. She is learning and growing in her faith, parenting, and writing (among other things) while she homeschools her four high-spirited children. She is the founder Writer, Interrupted and she blogs at Gina will be speaking on How to Homeschool and Follow Your Dream.


Kelli Crowe is a homeschooling mom of 3 boys and a professional scrapbooker and designer. She has been featured on Scrap In Style TV, designed her own line of paper, and has been showcased in numerous magazines and books. Kelli can be found at her personal blog. Kelli will be teaching on how to Scrapbook Your Homeschool Life. Dawn, web designer and owner of Barefoot Blogs is a modern day jack-ofall trades. She is a wife and mother to eight children and they believe homeschooling is a way of life. She designs some fabulous looking blogs, is a writer for Homeschool Blog Awards, and she also sells these fabulous little bows over at Love-Me-Knots. Dawn and Heather will be speaking on Surviving the Homeschool Fog: destressing yourself as well as Blogging for Dummies. DeeDee, from the widely popular blog, It Coulda’ Been Worse is a blogebrity in her own right. She is known for her quirky candor and oh so honest posts about life. She is a wife and homeschooling mom to three great kids. DeeDee will reporting on Used Curriculum Shopping. Angela DeRossett is military wife, homeschooling mother, and an advoate for autism research. Angela can be found blogging at Homeschooling the Chaotic Family and Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy. Angela will be speaking on Homeschooling with Autism.


Jeannie Fulbright is a wife and homeschooling mother to 4 children and the author of Apologia’s Elementary Science Series. Her love of science stems from a calling to make science fun and interesting for young and

old readers. Jeannie’s talk is titled Homeschooling with Joy. Sheila Wray Gregoire, is the author of To Love, Honor and Vacuum; How Big is Your Umbrella; and Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight. She is a wife and homeschooling mom who has been published in dozens of magazine and publications. Sheila can also be found on her official website, her marriage and parenting blog, and her homeschooling blog. Sheila will be giving two talks titled Drilling for the Basics; and Setting Goals for Your Homeschool. Heather, otherwise known as Sprittibee is a 30 something wife and mom who homeschools in a rather eclectic manner. She is the editor of Homeschool Blog Awards and a contributor to Heart of the Matter Online. Heather and Dawn will be speaking on Surviving the Homeschool Fog: destressing yourself as well as Blogging for Dummies. Linda Lacour Hobar, the author of the immensely popular Mystery of History. With 13 years of homeschooling three children, 17 years of ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ, and a sense of God’s calling on her life, Linda brings enthusiasm, experience, inspiration, and some fun to the pages of history. Linda will be speaking on Creation to Christ: the Mystery of History. Terri Johnson and her husband Todd have been homeschooling their six children for 11 years. They also run their own business Knowledge Quest, Inc. - a publishing company specializing in history and geography materials. Terri will be speaking about Teaching Toddlers to Teens.

Luke McDonald, is the publisher of Homeschool Sports Insider Magazine, a former homeschool student and Drake University basketball player. He has been featured in ESPN The Magazine for his many record-breaking accomplishments. Maria Miller is the author of the Math Mammoth books. She initially started creating them after seeing the difficulties homeschooling moms had teaching math to their children. Her hope is to help parents teach math so the students really understand it, and provide easy-to-use math materials at affordable prices. Crystal Paine of Biblical Womanhood is a 25-yearold homeschool graduate with a desire to make a difference in this sin-darkened world for the glory of God. She is a wife and homeschooling mother to two beautiful little girls. She is also an entrepreneur and super savvy money saving mom. Crystal will be speaking on Secrets to Supermarket Savings: Simple Strategies for Busy Moms. Amy Pak of Home School in the Woods, author of History Through the Ages, Hands on History, and Time Travelers. She is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kiddos. She will be speaking on Teaching With Timelines; and Hands on History. Angela Parsley, of the international ministry Refresh My Soul Ministries, is a wife and homeschooling mother to her 2 young daughters. She is also a contributing author to a devotional book entitled, “Standing on the Promises of God” and Radical Revolution, a devotional site for teen girls through Proverbs 31 Ministries. She will be speaking on Faith Forward: Passing Our Values on to the Next Generation.

Heather Paulsen, author of Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart, is committed to encouraging Christian singles to pursue emotional purity, and she enjoys mentoring and counseling young women. In 2003 she married her husband, John, and looks forward to homeschooling their two young children. Heather can also be found at her blog, also titled Emotional Purity. Heather will be coaching moms on How to Prepare Your Children for Emotional Purity. Loree’ Pettit is a wife and homeschooling mother to 3 children. Loree’ developed a love of geography and history as child traveling throughout the United States and Europe with her family. In 2001, she translated that interest into a geography based unit study for her own children. That unit study went into publication the following year as Galloping the Globe. Cantering the Country and Eat Your Way through the USA followed two years later. Loree’ will be giving two talks titled Learning and Having Fun with Your Children and Give Your Child the World: Integrating Travel Into the Homeschool.

their eight children from their Northern California home since 1986. Steward Ship is their family business, founded nine years ago. Jennifer will be giving two talks titled There is a Teacher Inside of You, Let Her Out; and Fear Not. Marybeth Whalen is a published author and the mother to six children ranging in age from teen to toddler. In addition to being a Heart of the Matter columnist, she writes and speaks for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Marybeth can also be found at her personal blog. Marybeth will be giving two talks titled Homeschooling with Creativity; and I’d Be a Great Homeschooler if it Weren’t for These Kids. Todd Wilson is the hilarious dad behind Familyman Ministries. His ministry started with a calling to “remind dads of what’s most important.” Todd and his wife Debbie, along with their seven children spend several months of the year traveling the country encouraging moms and dads. He is the author of several books including Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom and Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe.

Robin Sampson, of Heart of Wisdom, has been homeschooling for 20 years. Her and her husband Ronnie are blessed with a “yours, mine, and ours” blended family of eleven children (ages 6 to 34) and thirteen grandchildren (ages 1 to 12). She has a desire to be a Titus 2 older woman, sharing insights to encourage younger women to sow seeds of love and wisdom. In addition to being a columnist here at Heart of the Matter, Robin is a published author and the creator of The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach. Jennifer Steward of, author of The Choreganizer and dozens of unit studies. Steward Family has been home educating


Ways to Save $10 a Week

You say that you can’t squeeze one more dime from your budget for savings? Times are hard, groceries and gas prices are soaring? Here are some simple ways to save $10 a week, without really changing your lifestyle, but by just planning ahead. If you eat out, for a family of 5, the price of adding soda can be expensive. Drink water instead and save $10 (average price of $2/ soda!). Plan your trips to the store, and save $10 a week in gas from going back for items forgotten.(For an average of 20 miles round trip, two trips to the store at 15MPG and $4/gallon for gas) Instead of going through the drive-thru for lunch on your busiest days, purchase a cooler/ warmer that plugs into the ciggarette lighter. They run about $35 and keep food either warm or cold. Pack a picnic style lunch and save at least $10 (eating off the dollar menu for a mom and 3 kids) Go meatless. At an average of $2.59/lb for hamburger in our area, we save over $5 by serving spaghetti with just the meat sauce from the jar twice a week. The kids don’t notice a difference, but our budget does. If you like to buy soda on the run, try buying it in 12 packs at the store on sale. At the average price of $1.50/soda at the convenience stores, and a rate of 10 per week, you are spending $15. Save $10 a week by buying it in advance and having it in the fridge (or your plug in cooler in the car). Try brown-bagging lunch for hubby 2 days a week, if he typically eats out. The average price of lunch can be anywhere from $4-$10, and just by bringing lunch two days a week, you can


You say that you can’t squeeze one more dime from your budget for savings? Times are hard, groceries and gas prices are soaring? Here are some simple ways to save $10 a week, without really changing your lifestyle, but by just planning ahead. If you eat out, for a family of 5, the price of adding soda can be expensive. Drink water instead and save $10 (average price of $2/ soda!). Plan your trips to the store, and save $10 a week in gas from going back for items forgotten.(For an average of 20 miles round trip, two trips to the store at 15MPG and $4/gallon for gas) Instead of going through the drive-thru for lunch on your busiest days, purchase a cooler/ warmer that plugs into the ciggarette lighter. They run about $35 and keep food either warm or cold. Pack a picnic style lunch and save at least $10 (eating off the dollar menu for a mom and 3 kids) Go meatless. At an average of $2.59/lb for hamburger in our area, we save over $5 by serving spaghetti with just the meat sauce from the jar twice a week. The kids don’t notice a difference, but our budget does. If you like to buy soda on the run, try buying it in 12 packs at the store on sale. At the average price of $1.50/soda at the convenience stores, and a rate of 10 per week, you are spending

$15. Save $10 a week by buying it in advance and having it in the fridge (or your plug in cooler in the car). Try brown-bagging lunch for hubby 2 days a week, if he typically eats out. The average price of lunch can be anywhere from $4-$10, and just by bringing lunch two days a week, you can save $8-$20 a week. Consider starting a babysitting swap with other mothers. You can fill out questionnaires about things such as guns in the house, movies, snacks, pools, overnights, whatever is important to you. Each hour you watch someone else’s kids earns you a ticket for a free hour for you. My sitter (although wonderful!) charges $7/hour. For a date night, with the swap, we have saved $28. Instead of purchasing a high priced item, try Freecycle. You may find that someone has what you are looking for, and is willing to give it away! These are just some of the ways I have used to stretch our budget a little more. Do you have any others that I missed? I would love to hear them and share them with others! Heather is a stay at home mother with 3 blessings to take everywhere with her. Teaching women to shop and save and get the most for your dollar are a vision that has been a long time in the making. She enjoys sharing her trials and triumphs at the local stores, as well as some good (and some not so good) recipes to help make those dollars stretch. Her column, “Practical Penny Pincher” is a must read for the thrifty homeschool mom. Visit her blog at Titus 2 Woman. (Riure minit la feu feu feu faci tat)

The Ultimate Toolbar for Homeschool Moms...The Homeschool Toolbar! It’s free of spyware or viruses, does not open pop-ups or hijack your searches, allows you to control your privacy features such as cookies and cache from the toolbar and no personal information is required. It has a Google powered search box, includes an email notifier where you can add all of your emails accounts in one convenient place such as Yahoo, Google, personal or business. Plus, it will notify you when one of your accounts receives mail! The Homeschool Toolbar features include: Homeschool Resources The Latest homeschool & Parenting News Web search using Google Integrated RSS feeds Homeschool blogs Category browsing Search highlighter Other quick shortcuts Weather forecast Organizing tools such as a To do list, notepad, calculator, conversion charts, maps and more! Radio connected to “Positive & Encouraging K-LOVE” , NPR or your favorite local radio station (this feature is optional and can be added or removed as can all toolbar features.) Dana Hanley’s Home School Talk launches Monday at 1PM CST! Terri of Learning Is For Everyone will joining her to talk about how homeschooling benefits society.

Lastly, it will NOT slow your computer down! Best of all.... IT’S FREE!!! Go download yours now!

Dana’s vision for Home School Talk is to make it a reliable source of news and information related to homeschooling, offering deeper perspectives into some topics. If you can imagine NPR’s All Things Considered as a call-in show focused on homeschooling, you probably have a good idea of what her ideal is. Upcoming guests include: Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA, talking about her book Homeschool Co-Ops Professor Gaither, author of Homeschool: An American History


Executive Team: Amy S. and Amy Bayliss Executive Assistants: Marsha Drews and Rachel Harris Editor: Dianne Layout Designer: Amy Bayliss Devotions & Bible Studies: Lori MacMath Newsletter Editor: Yvonne Ferlita Reviews Assistant: Karin Taylor The Heart of the Matter’s purpose is to provide a place for homeschooling parents and teachers to find all of the resources they desire in one convenient location. With thousands of links online related to home schooling, taking the time to find good, relative sites can be difficult. HOTM desires to change that. With a site that is easy to navigate and pleasant to the eye, their vision for the future includes: a print magazine, teaching videos, online seminars and continued motivation.

July 2008 Edition  

Evolution, Honoring Dads, Old Fashioned Homeschooling, Thinking of Homeschooling?

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