Monday, December 28, 2009

Encouragement For Mothers

Sally Clarkson is an author, speaker and owner of WholeHeart Ministries with her husband Clay, and home educating mother of four.

I have read her several of her books, including "Educating the WholeHearted Child," "Seasons of a Mother's Heart." I have always been encouraged to continue on this path of educating my children the way God called my husband and I to.

She blogs at 'I Take Joy'.

Her post from today was one of seeing the 'fruit' of her years of home educating now that her children are all adults, or nearly adults. It is an encouragement to keep our vision and keep doing the invaluable work of mothering and educating.

Here is a bit...

"Often, I find that in the absence of a clear enough vision for their children and homes, mothers replace conviction and vision with lots of activities and distractions for their children. This hyper-activity and rushing around to an endless list of expensive lessons and experiences and toys, and the buying of the newest expensive curriculum and technological options make moms feel like they are accomplishing something.

However, when the home-life of children is rich with excellent, classic literature and great stories, passionate Biblical devotions, rousing dinner-table discussions around sumptuous, tasty meals, lots of love and affection given and household chores attended to— a child will become committed to all that is good and excellent and develop a moral and compassionate soul for all the divinely important values."

Go here to read the rest of today's post.


Monday, December 21, 2009

World Views...What are You Passing Along?

Can you believe I have heard
parents say they don't believe
they have the right to influence
their children's belief systems?


It blows my mind.

That the culture of wishy-washy
thinking and "no absolutes" would
creep into our homes and families.
So very sad!

Scripture is so plain on our
responsibility to pass wisdom and
knowledge from generation to generation.

As homeschoolers we are in a unique
position to teach our children what
we believe and why. We can share the
scriptures in very natural and systematic
ways. There are many, many resources
available to us that teach a Christian
Worldview as it relates to Government,
Science, Bible and Literature.

Non-homeschoolers have it a bit tougher
as it is hard to find quality time for
such things. However, I do hope that every
family is taking time to study the Bible
together whether homeschooling or not.

If you think about it...there is absolutely
nothing we do, short of breathe, that isn't
impacted by our worldview. So...even if we
aren't aware of conveying it to our children
a message is getting through.

What is the message you are
giving your children?

Our three children can tell you what the
evolutionists arguments are...
and they can tell you the truth of God's
Creation. We have not sheltered them from
opposing beliefs, however, as it was age
appropriate we have taught them both points
of view and what we believe and why.

Just because we want them to believe one thing
is not reason to keep them in a bubble of only
that train of thought. This kind of sheltering
leads to uncertainties and often troubles later
as the young people grapple with ideas that are
totally new to them. It is much better as the
parent to bring other views into the open and
deal with them in your timing. Sometimes we
don't have all of the answers to their questions
when in discussion. These are awesome learning
opportunities as we search out the answers together.

Teaching our children to learn.
It is fun!

Some things to think about as it relates
to your children:

Are they getting a scriptural basis?

Can they defend their Faith, if necessary?

Do they understand the importance of
Faith in your life?

Do they see you ministering to others?

I do hope you enjoy passing on the
Faith to the next generation.

Just for the record, I didn't make this
up...Some scriptures that encourage us.

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children...Psalm 78:5

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Proverbs 1:8

When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life...Proverbs 6:22,23

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning...Proverbs 9:9

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death...Proverbs 13:14

Happy Homeschooling!

Becky K.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Never Give Up!

We are in our eleventh year of home education.
There have been highs and lows.

We began this journey as what we thought would
be a "catch-up" year for our eldest son, Jonathan,
for third grade. It was our intention to give him
intensive intervention and then put him back in
the very "wonderful" public school he was in.

Well, those plans certainly were changed.
There were many factors in that decision.

However, this post is a success story.
One that was all of these years in the making.

You see, Jonathan is dyslexic, and has
processing delays. Those are the titles
he wears. He has an extremely high I.Q.
and is a very smart young man with certain
undeniable challenges that make learning
harder for him than some.

Over the years we have done vision therapy,
tutoring, many unique programs. I have
visited special schools to see if they could
teach him better, we have cried together and
very often laughed together. We have prayed,
studied and I have read aloud for hours and

It has been quite a journey.
I would do it all again....
no questions asked!!!!

This year we discovered the Dragon
Speech Recognition Software.

You see, for all of the difficulties
Jonathan has with reading he absolutely
loves books! He loves many kinds of books.

Somewhere along the line we received some
excellent advice...Don't let Jonathan's
physical ability to read stop his progress
in the books he is exposed to. So...we
didn't. Through my reading to him and the
depth of availability of Books on Tape or CD
Jonathan has continued to progress with his
interests without hesitation. He loves to
visit new libraries as he has exhausted our
library of new, to him, material.

At the end of last year, Jonathan mentioned
that he would like to write a book but the
process of using pen and paper or typing is
just stifling. He has to think so very hard
about the processes involved in writing and
typing that he loses his thoughts and gives up.

So...we investigated speech recognition software.


Jonathan has written chapters in his new novel.
There is a sequel forming in his head...
and a second series that he wants to begin in
between this book and it's sequel.

Do you know what else?

The Dragon Software sometimes messes up and Jonathan
has begun to override it and type first and speak
second. He is consumed. He will type as long as
he knows the words and now just uses the software
for those big words that he wants to use but is
clueless to spell.

Maybe one day you will know his name as a published
author, maybe not. But what I know is that he is
finding satisfaction in the one area that we never
would have guessed he would.

So...people, please be encouraged. Everything you
do in an effort to assist your children pays off.
It may take years...eleven maybe...but it is not


Becky K.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Days We Just Have to Listen...

In my last post I tried to encourage
you in thinking outside the box when
it comes to fulfilling your role as
a homeschool parent.

It is so easy to fall into the textbook
trap. Ask me, I KNOW!

Textbooks are easy for us...but they are
not always the best for our students.

Before you go crazy, I am not saying that
I do not use textbooks. I do use them, but
in their place. They are a great resource for
timelines, dates, names of important people.

They are a wonderful resource to see what has
been deemed worthy of covering during a school
year. Then I take that information and break
it down at the library in biographies, quality
historical fictions and videos.

By offering information in multiple sources and
in varying types you will hit most students
learning style at several points during the
year. This means that our students get the
discipline of working at things that may not be
their favorites...for me that would be textbooks...
but they also get a break as they read a living
book about those they are studying.

Also, I believe strongly, that our high school
students are not too old to be read aloud to for
some of their coursework. It is fun...there can
be discussion at any given point as there are
multiple people at the same point in the book
or text.

If you are not accustomed to this it may seem
strange at first, but it is something that works
very well for us. We are now at a point where
we take turns reading out loud to each other.
It is amazing to hear how everyone's reading skills
have improved and how much more they get out of it
when they have these opportunities to "teach" each

There have been many days where I have seen one of
my children somewhat distressed by an assignment I
have given. On my better days, I am in tune enough
to take that child aside and ask what is wrong and
how we can make it better.

On my really, really good days after I ask that
question, I shut up! I listen to what they are
saying and then I make adjustments. Do I take the
responsibilities of the work away? No.
But, if possible, I make it more tolerable.
Learning does not have to be a painful experience.

Learning is something we should be doing all of our
lives and enjoying the process makes it more likely
to continue even after graduation. That is my goal.

Not to make it to graduation...but to watch my kids
love to explore and gain new knowledge about life,
God and career...always!

Happy Homeschooling!

Learning or Work Processing?

When I was in High School I attended a
small Christian School where I got quite
behind. In the 11th grade I transferred
to another Christian School where the standards
were much stricter. In order to graduate I
had to cram three years worth of work into

I am sure this had its benefits in my life.
I definitely learned goal setting.
I excelled at memorization,
which helped me pass fact filled tests.

The down side was that there is very little
from those years that impacted me or made a
long term difference in my life.

As we have homeschooled for many years I have
come through many phases. This means my children
have been subjected to many phases...poor things!

Initially, there was the attempt to be a
"School" at home. We were very, very structured
and I was very demanding.
Mikey still bears some of the ill effects of this
approach. Chelsea thrived with it.

Important lesson learned....
Know your child's learning style.
Embrace the differences whenever possible
and use them to your advantage.

Then I went through the many, many
field trip phase. We were so busy
and put so many miles on the car.
Of course, my fear of school district
intervention had us doing stacks and stacks of
paperwork during these years as well
so that our portfolios could be thick
and impressive.
Again, poor kids!

Finally, we have reached the High School
Years. What an eclectic blend of learning
styles in our homeschool.

I have one artistic and creative learner.
One busy, active and practical learner.
And one work processor with a creative bent.

Before school began this year I purchased
expensive Accounting curriculum for the two
youngest. We learned the terms and tried
valiantly to go farther. I am not totally
giving up yet...however, for the months
of January through April we are using the
concepts in a very practical manner.

Each child will run their own "financial
household", so to speak. They will maintain
their own checkbooks, pay their own "bills"
and "repair their own vehicles"...all on paper.

They have already estimated the expense of
living on their they will experience
the time consumed in being a responsible
budgeter and billpayer.

Each of these months will find "bills" in their
"mailboxes", "medical emergencies", "company for
dinner" to drive up their expected grocery bills, etc.

Will they learn accounting?
Not in the most formal sense of the subject.
Will they learn something of value?
I'll let you know!
Based on our first couple of sessions on the
subject, I would have to predict - definitely!

I hope that you will always keep in the front
of your mind..."Are my children learning today
or are they busy processing work?"

Every subject can be approached from many sides.
Not all are as effective.
Always seek the most effective for the giftings
and skills of your students.

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Curriculum Suggestions...

As our boys near graduation
they are seeing the light at
the end of the tunnel and can,
at times, be just as happy to
pass on the daily schoolwork that
has been such a part of our lives
for years.

It is a struggle for all of us
to focus. That is just a fact.

We are in between our co-op semesters
and I have been leaning on the
classes they take there and expanding
them for Literature and Science...
so that has taken us out of a couple of
subjects over the past few weeks.

We have focused on Government, Music,
Writing and French (for Chelsea) as we await
the beginning of the new semester.
There has been a lot of baking, cooking
and gift making going on around here.
Mostly by Chelsea.

However, the other evening I got
a new infusion of enthusiasm as
I found two new pieces to fit into
the rest of our year.

One is Dr. Ben Carson's book called
"Think Big". Dr. Carson is very
special to our family because he
trained the neurosurgeon that performed
the tricky surgery on Warren's Dad, Gene.

Our surgeon referenced Dr. Carson with
the utmost of respect and awe each time
we would visit Johns Hopkins with Gene.

Then we watched a video biography about
Dr. Carson in a Sunday School Class.

So...this was a great find.
I do so want the boys to think big.
To get excited about the possibilities
that lie before them.

The second piece that I am adding to
our curriculum is a dramatized version
of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Focus on the Family has produced it.

At about my kids age I discovered this
incredible work and listened to it as
my parents played it in small group studies.
What an impact it made in my life.
I am hopeful that some of it sticks in
our children.

We are implementing a budgeting class
that is helping the kids to see what it
costs to live today. I had thought that
they were pretty savvy about these things
but it is obvious that they have a lot to
learn. They were pretty interested and got
quite animated in their discussions.

I first had them estimate the cost of an
apartment. Alone or with roomates.
Then all of the costs that go along with
setting up and maintaining a household.

They were stunned.
They said it was depressing.
However, I think that in combination
with Dr. Carson's book it will come
together for them.
At least, that is my prayer.
I know they have a tendency to
think that they are not smart enough
or good enough to do anything special.
But, with God's help and a lot of
hard work the possibilities are
endless. Time will show them these
things...I can't wait to see it
come to pass.

In the end, it all seems like such
little time we have with our children.

But, it is good.
They are such a driving
force in all that we do!

Enjoy your homeschool day!