Thursday, June 30, 2005

Book Review: Jesus by Leith Anderson

With excellent writing and careful historical documentation, Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man His Land and His People by Leith Anderson will be a valuable addition to any Christian’s library. A biography of Jesus that integrates the four Gospels in chronological order, Jesus gave me a fascinating look at the life of Jesus that added to my knowledge and understanding of the Bible.

Difficult to put down, Jesus is told in such a way that the reader is captivated, wondering what will happen next. Of course, I was already very familiar with the stories of the Bible. Jesus gives an added dimension of history and geography (including maps) that vividly reminded me that Jesus was in fact fully human while he was fully God. While reading, I could feel Jesus’ sorrow upon the death of Lazarus, concern at the Wedding at Cana and his anguish towards the end of his life. The apostle’s confusion, the amazement of those who were healed and the anger of the Pharisees was nearly palpable.

Informative sidebars give historical references, cultural backgrounds and definitions that add to the understanding of the related text without being disruptive. “Legion” and “talent” are defined, towns are described and people are profiled. In fact, those sidebars are one of my favorite features of the book. Larger boxes containing information on major topics were also very helpful and were found throughout the book. The Herods, the Samaritans and leprosy were a few of the topics discussed in this manner.

Some major points that were bought home to me as a result of my reading of this book about the life of Jesus:
1. Jesus spent much time traveling and this travel was often uncomfortable and difficult
2. Jesus spent much time healing and bringing the joy that comes with healing to others
3. Jesus spent much time teaching, often repeating the same lessons for different crowds
4. Jesus felt that prayer was essential, despite his very full schedule and frequently sought periods of solitude.

Overall, Jesus made me feel closer to Christ and desire even more to become more like Jesus each and every day.

Thanks to Mind and Media at www.blogforbooks.com for graciously providing this book for review in cooperation with the publisher, Bethany House.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Submissions Wanted From Homeschool Bloggers

How would you like to have your blog featured in a book?

I am working on a book titled Homeschooling, Blogging and Loving It: The Best of Christian Homeschool Blogs and I am seeking blog posts on various topics to be featured in the book. I envision the book to be a source of encouragement, inspiration and information for both new and veteran homeschoolers through the lens of everyday stories from a wide range of Christian homeschooling families.

The book will be arranged according to various categories. Feel free to submit entries to more than one category.

I am still seeking a publisher or agent for the book so I am not able to offer any compensation for your entry at this time.

Please e-mail me your submission before July 31, 2005.

I will keep you posted on the book's progress. Please let all of your blogging buddies know about this!

Book topics are posted below-let me know of any others you feel should be added:

• Why We Blog
• How We Homeschool- A Typical Day
o Traditional Homeschool
o Eclectic Homeschool
o Classical Christian Homeschool
o Christian Unschooling
o Bible-based
o Unit Studies
o Notebooking
o Carschooling

• Prayers and Devotionals
• Curriculum Reviews
• Subjects
o Science
o History
o Reading
o Writing
o Bible
o Math
o Early Childhood
o Sports/Physical Education
o Field Trips
• Favorite Recipes
• Organizational and Scheduling Tips
• Family Relationships
o Life With Teens
o Little Ones and Homeschooling
o Multiple age levels
o Marriage
• Controversial Opinions
• Most Popular Posts
• Populations
o African-American Homeschoolers
o Learning-challenged Children
o Single Parents
o Working Parents
o Home Business Families
o Homeschool Dads
o Home Educated Children


Thanks in advance for your help with this project!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Homeschool Churches?

I wonder what it would be like to attend a church in which the leadership and most of the members of the body followed Biblical mandates for women to focus on their homes and homeschool our children. It can be difficult for me at times to be ministered to by those who do not agree enough with my view of the Bible to live a home-centered lifestyle themselves.

This is a difficult issue for me. I feel that the Spirit led us to our present church and there are many good things there. But I always have an unrest in my Spirit when leadership discusses the fact that they are pleased that their children are attending public schools. How can this be?

I feel at times that I almost want to surround myself and my young family with homeschoolers only because other Christian homeschoolers seem to be the only ones who truly respect and understand the decisions our family has made regarding our home-centered lifestyle.

Is it wrong to somewhat isolate your family, especially when your children are young and impressionable? Is it wrong for me to only seek out support from godly homeschooling ladies because others may steer me wrong and I too am a newbie in the affairs of Christian homeschooling? I once went to a Bible study in which in the first minutes of my first class I was treated to a discussion of the other moms about how they could not wait until their toddler children were in school so that they could have more free time. I had to fight the urge to flee before I even began!

The above are questions that my husband and I are discussing and I am praying mightily about.

Yet another reason why prayer, not curriculum, conferences or materials, is the cornerstone of my homeschool.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Homeschooling in the News

Homeschoolers are showing up in the mainstream more and more these days and as a huge homeschooling advocate, I think that this is a very good thing. I am excited that many more parents, especially Christian parents, may come to view homeschooling as a viable and desirable alternative to "traditional" education. Of course, homeschooling is as traditional as education gets but somehow that fact has gotten lost over the course of the last century.



I hope that most in the homeschooling community will welcome the new generation of homeschoolers (myself included) with open arms. We may not have to fight for the right to homeschool the way the pioneer homeschoolers of the Eighties did and we have many more resources available to us but we still share the same basic desire to educate our children at home.



Check out the article here from the Boston Globe that emphasizes the point that homeschoolers are very well-socialized and well-rounded. Examples are given of the activities of real-life area homeschooling families. I like to read about what homeschoolers around the country are doing (I guess that is why I spend so much time on this site!)



The next article is from the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and it paints a very interesting picture of how homeschooling there grew from being illegal about 20 years ago to capturing more students than voucher schools today to the tune of at least 51,000 homeschoolers. The reporter makes the point that homeschooling has been an antidote to the disconnected dual-career family hustle and bustle for growing numbers of families.



Check out the funny anecdote about the mom who used to avoid the homeschooling "freaks" at the playground but who ended up homeschooling 4 years later!



Interesting trends noted from the article:

Over the past decade, the number of children parented by stay-at-home moms increased 13 percent - more than three times the overall increase in the child population.



While Baby Boomers sought to "have it all" through work, family and possessions, Generation Xers are increasingly likely to forgo a second income, it said. "Instead of trying to fit family into their work life," the study concluded, "Generation X parents are more likely to try to fit work into their family life." Homeschooling is a way to do just that.

While Baby Boomers sought to "have it all" through work, family and possessions, Generation Xers are increasingly likely to forgo a second income, it said. "Instead of trying to fit family into their work life," the study concluded, "Generation X parents are more likely to try to fit work into their family life." Homeschooling is a way to do just that.



One slightly odd comment from an otherwise sensible quote from a sociologist regarding homeschooling as a way to bring families closer together:



"Homeschooling," said New York University sociologist Mitchell Stevens, "is a really creative way through a problem" in an American society "that hasn't figured out how to have women work and create a reasonable system of parenting." Homeschool parents, he said, "give up income and suspend a career aspiration for a while. But you get this kind of unstructured, unscheduled time with your kid, which is something that otherwise only really affluent people can do."



"...otherwise only really affluent people can do." Huh? So either you can be independently wealthy to allow you to homeschool your children or you can sacrifice, scrape and pinch pennies to do so? Okay, so what is his point exactly?



By the way, I do not know of any wealthy families who homeschool. Do you?

Friday, June 24, 2005

I am a Soccer Mom!

Well, sort of. Chase just finished his very first, week-long soccer camp. What fun it was to watch him and the other 3- to 5-year old kids attempting to master the sport of soccer. From figuring out which way they were to run with the ball to remembering not to pick the ball up, watching how they did not play by the rules was as fun as watching a more formal soccer game.

Chase has had a ball making new friends and they usually play together at the playground after the camp. He gets pretty wiped out from soccer and sleeps well at night as a result. Alyssa was pretty agreeable and pleasant and not hardly fussy while waiting for her brother to finish playing. I bought a small ball with us that she plays with on the grass then she eats a snack and before you know it, it is time for us to leave.

I have enjoyed chatting with the other moms. Overall, it has been a fun week with terrific weather to top it all off.

Soccer moms of the world look out- here I come!

Wait a minute, there is a problem. We do not own a minivan. Oh well. I guess my soccer mom status is on hold for now.

I am a Soccer Mom!

Well, sort of. Chase just finished his very first, week-long soccer camp. What fun it was to watch him and the other 3- to 5-year old kids attempting to master the sport of soccer. From figuring out which way they were to run with the ball to remembering not to pick the ball up, watching how they did not play by the rules was as fun as watching a more formal soccer game.

Chase has had a ball making new friends and they usually play together at the playground after the camp. He gets pretty wiped out from soccer and sleeps well at night as a result. Alyssa was pretty agreeable and pleasant and not hardly fussy while waiting for her brother to finish playing. I bought a small ball with us that she plays with on the grass then she eats a snack and before you know it, it is time for us to leave.

I have enjoyed chatting with the other moms. Overall, it has been a fun week with terrific weather to top it all off.

Soccer moms of the world look out- here I come!

Wait a minute, there is a problem. We do not own a minivan. Oh well. I guess my soccer mom status is on hold for now.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

More on Feminism

LaShawn Barber has posted an excellent, very personal post about her desire to become a traditional wife and mother. I applaud Lashawn's courage in sharing her view that she believes in traditional marriage roles and is looking for a man who shares the same. The (many) comments on the post are also quite interesting and thought-provoking. Check her out.

Read more on how the fall-out from feminism is affecting our boys in government schools in my post here.

Check out my posts about how I spent my early post-college years attempting to reconcile my feminist views with the desires of my heart here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New Homeschool Blog

I am enjoying my new blog over at www.homeschoolblogger.com, a site sponsored by This Old Schoolhouse magazine.

The site is nicely set up and some of the features such as random blogging and a running list of newest blogs, most frequent commenters and most recently updated blogs truly inspire a sense of community.

I also enjoy that fact that many of the bloggers are Christian homeschoolers who share Scriptures and prayers that I find very encouraging.

Check it out and consider starting or transferring your homeschool blog to the site!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Reasons to Homeschool Your Son

This article is a good overview of the problems paguing boys in our schools today. Unfortunately, the crisis that began in our elementary schools has now spread to our colleges.

Once again, we are left to deal with the fall-out of well-intentioned but WRONG liberal feminists. They felt that by promoting the academic achievement of girls over that of boys, they were doing society a favor.

The problem was, their premise was wrong. The historic feminist movement is based on the fact that men are bad. If men are bad, then boys, being the precursor of men, must be bad also. Even writing this hurts my heart in a siginificant way! To paint my sweet little boy as a caricature of a brutish, club-wielding male is so painful! How horrible to believe that an entire gender is just no good! Isn't that what feminists fought against? There should not be a "war" between girls and boys. I do not have a problem bringing girls up to par alongside boys. But this should not be done at the expense of boys.

The worse thing of all is it is hard to envision how this tide will ever be turned around. The problem is that the liberal feminists responsible for the current skewed poicies need to save face. Despite evidence to the contrary, they continue to wail and moan and that girls are discriminated against while boys are being groomed to rule the world. They refuse to admit that "boys are people too" and they refuse to acknowledge, let alone change their policies and mission statements, that boys are truly in danger.

Is it because this is, consciously or unconsciously, exactly what feminists have wanted all along? Not really a world in which men and women were equal but a world in which women dominate men? The irony is that this wish reflects exactly what liberal feminists claimed to have been fighting against all these years- the brutish male impulse to conquer.

So you fought the fight and won. You see your enemy is down and what do you do? Just keep pummeling him, right into the ground.

Just keep homeschooling your boys everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Digital Photography Course Online for Homeschoolers

My husband is a professional photographer who wants to formally share his knowledge with homeschoolers. Around our town, for instance at family or homeschool functions, someone will ask Sam an innocent question about digital photography and the listener ends up really getting an earful. It seems his advice must be useful as people start pulling out their pens and little pieces of paper to jot things down.


Last night was such an occasion. My sister and my nephews came by for a cook-out. (Yes, it did rain briefly but no one cared too much about that.) Sam got very involved with a very animated discussion about wedding and digital photography with one of my nephews and before I knew it, he was whipping out his Fuji S2 and taking demo pictures of everyone.


I am thrilled (it is an answer to a prayer actually) that Sam says he is ready to begin teaching in an organized way so that he can share his knowledge with others. Both kids and parents around here have expressed an interest in having Sam teach digital photography. His question for you, dear homeschoolers reading this blog, is what do you or kids want to learn about the topic?


Here are some potential topics for an online course:

--Basics of photography-lighting, focusing, filling the frame, etc.

--Brief history of digital photography- understanding the myths (re: archival quality and more), how far we have come, how different than film, why learning only about film, darkrooms, etc. is like "learning only about making horseshoes after cars were invented"

--Hardware- a rundown of consumer, professional and prosumer cameras with pros and cons and tips on maintaining and using.

--Software-discussion of important software to help you get the most out of your digital photographs including the latest version of Photoshop (this will not be a Photoshop class, however, but entry-level tips and general overview will be given- would there be interest in an entry-level Photoshop online course?)

--Accessories-discussion of batteries, chargers, back-ups, memory cards, flashes, etc. to help you get the most from your camera

--Special topics- What is photojournalism?, Photojournalism for child photography, photojournalism for events, tips for photographing children, architectural photography (or taking great pictures of your home or investment properties)

--Home business- Careers in photography: industrial, wedding, child. Photography as a great home business (child, wedding, seniors), importance of intellectual property and passive income. Work as a Photoshop Professional from home- a growing business. Design websites and blogs for photographers. In-home photography. How to build a photography business and get clients.

--Resources-magazines, books, organizations, websites, blogs
These are just a few ideas that Sam quickly came up with for me.

We would appreciate your comments about what topics you or your children might want to cover about digital photography.

The first 10 comments on this blog to help us out will get the course online FREE when it is completed.

Thanks for your help!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Tagged About Books

Q. Most books I've ever owned.
I have more books than I can count (literally). My husband estimates we have about 750 books. This is after selling many books at Half Price Books and donating some to the library. This is probably the most books I have ever owned.
Q. The last book I bought.
Dover Art Publications Fruit-Crate Label Art Prints and CD-Rom for graphic designs. Hint: sign up for their weekly newsletter and get free images for download.
Q. The last book I read.
Jesus by Leith Anderson ( for Mind and Media Reviews). Read an early review of this book here. Hint: Mind and Media is still looking for reviewers and you get free books out of the deal! Tell Stacy that I sent you!
Q. The five books that meant the most to me.

The Bible, especially Proverbs 31: 10-31
Being a God Chaser and a Kid Chaser by Tommy Tenney-read my review of this book here.
The Baby Book by William Sears, M.D.
There have been so many different ones at different points of my life that this is hard to pinpoint. The titles above have meant the most lately.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Call 911: I'm Locked Out and The Baby Is In the House!

This is a true story of events that happened in my nice, quiet (OK, in my dreams) home a few hours ago. Alyssa was sleeping and I went outside to use the cell phone to call my younger sister about our dinner plans for this evening. I did this to be quiet as Alyssa often sleeps very lightly in the afternoon. This was one of those days that I could tell she was sleeping very lightly yet I knew she needed her sleep.

My older sister came by and she was playing quietly with Chase inside. I went out and they followed me, first Chase and then my sister. Once they came out, I turned to go back in as we have not had a baby monitor hooked up for some time. Imagine the sinking feeling in my stomach as I went to open the door and the door was locked. I did not have my keys. I remembered that Sam, my husband,had mentioned to me that the door sometimes locked on its own and that I should always bring my keys with me when I go outside.

My older sister, mother of two college graduates, first told me to remain calm. Good thing she was there because calm would not have described any aspect of this experience for me! I first called the in-laws who do not live far and have a key but my MIL who has the key on her keyring was not home and does not have a cell phone. Sam was in the middle of photographing a black tie wedding at the Ritz Carlton and absolutely could not be interrupted. I was on my own with this one; me, my sister and Chase were going to have to figure out what to do.

After investigating the perimeter of the home and thinking about potential ways in, I realized I had left one window open. I stood on the patio table but I was not raised high enough to get into the window. Getting more worried, I went to one neighbor, explained the situation and asked for a ladder. They have already moved out partially and the ladder is at their new home.

I saw our wonderful neighbor, an original homeowner on our block, Mr. Chuck, who offered his ladder. I practically ran home with the thing after quick instructions on how to set it up were kindly given by Mr. Chuck. I threw the ladder against the house and I climbed up but I still could not reach the window enough to catapult myself inside. By now, Alyssa had woken up and she was crying.

I had enough! I called 911 and explained I was locked out of my home and my 18-month old was trapped inside alone, crying. They said that they would send someone right away. Was I dreaming or was this real, I kept asking myself. Deciding it was real, I broke out of my reverie long enough to break away to the front of the house to wait for help.

What I saw next confused me. A cop, a single cop, showed up in a cop car. "Where is the fire truck and where are the ladders!" I fumed to myself. Didn't I tell them I needed a ladder?

I hurriedly explained to Mr. Policeman that I had a ladder up but still could not get in. "Oh, no problem." he said ever so calmly. " I can climb in there easy." So he starts climbing the ladder, confidently and deliberately at a pace that to me seemed excruciatingly slow. Once up there, he opened the window fully and surveyed it. "Oh my goodness! Please don't tell me that he can not fit through the window!" I thought as panic started to build up inside me. Was Alyssa getting into something? Did she think I abandoned her?

After what was only probably seconds but seemed like hours, Mr. P. started taking off his belt. Yeah, that one, with the gun on it. I was willing to take the thing from him but I wondered if it would be safe for him to drop that gun down to me. No, apparently not, as he threw the gun inside the house and then dropped down the rest of the belt.

Mr. P climbed in the opening, squirmed and shimmied and he was in! "Meet me at the front door!" I yelled. By now, the desired fire truck and ladder were in the front of the house along with about 5 firemen and several curious onlookers. I barely noticed. I just wanted to get in to Alyssa!

My policeman superhero opened the door, I threw his belt at him and ran up the stairs. Poor Alyssa was sobbing so hard she could hardly catch her breath! And she felt so hot!

I picked her up and she clung to me more tightly than she has ever held on before.

I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving and went about the business of giving my vital stats to superhero Mr. P.

What an afternoon!

"Take it in stride", my older sister says. "This is just normal Mommy stuff. Weird things happen sometimes."

Okay, if she says so!

Nonetheless, I left Sam a message on his cell phone to ask him to please replace the offending door knob (the one that locks on its own) with another one ASAP.

What an afternoon but I thank God that everyone is OK. I did not fall off the ladder and Alyssa did not get into anything being in the house alone.

I felt so grateful everyone was OK. We did not go to my younger sister's house for dinner. We stayed home and started watching "The Sound of Music" instead.

One rousing chorus of "My Favorite Things" and I truly did feel better.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Love of Learning

It seems what veteran homeschoolers say is true. Learning never has to stop, even in the summer.

We love summer around here. See my post here at the Christian Homeschool Mom blog community, for more.

But I notice that Chase is as interested in learning as ever. From wanting to know more about the skin and pores of the shark to learning about phytoplankton, he truly seems thirsty for new information. I don't know if I could stop him from learning if I wanted to do so!

I do find it interesting that there are those in our life who do not want Chase to learn too much. As if I am tying down and making him sit in a corner to learn all day! I do not like it when others make learning seem like a chore within earshot of my son. He is still at the age in which he thinks learning is fun.

I hope it stays that way.

Overall, have most of you found that the love of learning stays with homeschoolers even as they get older?

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Bloggers Wanted

I am excited to announce the formation of a new community of homeschool bloggers. I have launched a blog community titled Christian Homeschool Mom Blogs using the services of 21 Publish.

Calling Christian homeschool moms: come to the site to blog about faith and spiritual development, family and education.

The site will be a way for like-minded moms to come together and share openly of our faith and provide help for those who are searching for more information. By coming together as a group, it is much easier for new homeschoolers and others to find us. Even veteran homeschoolers for whom the Christian faith is an integral part of their daily homeschooling will enjoy the fellowship on the site.

This idea has been in my heart for some time but just needed another little nudge from God to move forward. Little by little, pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Initially, I lamented to my husband that I would like to create such a community but I felt that my lack of expertise with web design would hold me back. Then I learned about 21 Publish. I liked the format of 21 Publish as their blogs are clean and very easy to set up with features that are fun and simple to use. I saved the 21 Publish URL on my computer after coming across the site weeks ago. Today is the day!

My previous post reported that my blogging is changing and I am blogging more on my Christian walk. Writing my thoughts about God and his role in my homeschool and in my life helps me to be a better Christian wife, mom and teacher and glorifies him. Through the Christian homeschool mom blog community, I hope to receive encouragement and also give it wherever I can.

Shortly after I blogged the above-mentioned post, God led me to a Christian blog portal at Life With Christ where I started a new blog recently. I was grateful to find such a community to join.

Add to that my knowledge of a new homeschool blog portal sponsored by a homeschooling magazine and my old idea of starting a community of Christian Homeschool moms started to take shape.

And Julie Leung of Seedlings and Sprouts has posted on the reasons why she likes Livejouurnal for blogging. Most comments, including Julie's, focused on the joy of belonging to a blogging community. The few negative comments centered on the sometimes caustic behavior of those in the community who disagreed with each other. But it is the idea of community that makes the Internet so useful.


An online community of moms who build their homeschools on the foundation of Christianity is an idea whose time has come.

In order for this idea to work of course, we need bloggers and the more the merrier! Tell all your friends!

Start your new blog today. Feel free to duplicate posts from your other blogs. The idea is to provide a series of linked blogs combining Christianity with homeschooling.

Please come on over to ChristianHomeschoolMom and start a blog. It is easy and fast. And like I said, you can cut and paste any entries from your other blogs.

Help to make this ministry a success!

May the fruit of this blog community glorify Jesus Christ and edify his church.

Homeschoolers Save the World?

Well maybe not the world but what about North America? Graeme Hunter blogged about a philosophical comparison of homeschooling to the monasticism of the early Middle Ages:
A large proportion of homeschoolers could be described as people who have given up paying attention to whatever is being shouted through the public bullhorn, and begun to cultivate their own practices and communities on a scale they can still understand and in a manner of which they approve. Their spontaneous reaction to their situation has a historical parallel memorably drawn by Alasdair MacIntyre at the end of After Virtue. Recalling the period in which the Roman Empire collapsed and the so-called "dark ages" began, he reminds us how:

"a crucial turning point occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead often not recognizing fully what they were doing was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness."

So began the monastic tradition of the early middle ages and the institution that saved civilization. It may be the privilege of homeschoolers to bear that bright torch in their own time. Our children have become healthy, well-adjusted and successful, in spite of all the efforts of public institutions to thwart them.


It is inspiring to think that we humble homeschoolers may be part of a force that may change modern history.

HT to Izzy for this one.

Church Picninc Photos

Check out these pictures of summer fun at my homeschool mom blog.

Can you tell how much I love summer?

Repetition for Learning: The Preschool Years

How much repetition is enough repetition I wonder? Chase is four and one-half. He knows his colors, numbers, alphabet and sounds, how to print his name, etc.

We had been working on these things in the past school year. I definitely want to take a break from formal learning this summer but I do not want Chase forgetting what he has learned.

When I try to get him to go over something he has already learned, he does not want to. "Mommy, I already know that!" he says.

What creative ways have you moms used to reinforce skills that seem more fun than repetitive? Is it even important at this age to have the repetition and reinforcement?

Thanks for your help.

Imagination of a Four-Year Old

Chase is so imaginative. He spends most of day in imaginative play of one sort or another. From stuffed animals acting out every day situations, to daring rescues with his trucks and trains, it seems the boy is almost constantly being creative. He finds new ways to use old toys, kitchen gadgets and even his sister's scrunchies!

I want some more of that creativity and imagination I told God yesterday. As I dusted off some old poems to submit as greeting card verse, I felt I was washing out a few cobwebs from the recesses of my brain to enhance and enlarge the poems.

So yesterday I realized how much I want to be more like Chase, more imaginative, using the creativity bequeathed to me and to all of us from Our Creator, The Ultimate Creator.

God gave us our wonderful minds and the ability to see things that do not yet exist and call them into being. Wow. I can imagine what words I want to write and the Lord helps me to put those words on paper, giving life to ideas or stories.

I just stopped to realize, God did not have to give us that ability. We could instead be bound by our senses, by what we can see and experience, but He chose to give us humans more. Why? Because He cared enough for us to make us in His image.

Sometimes, I just have to stop and say wow, God is really good and He is good all the time! What a powerful and mighty God we serve!

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Cursive for Preschoolers/Kindergarteners

Chase learned about cursive handwriting when he looked over my shoulder as I was typing up a letter that Grandpa had handwritten in cursive.

"What kind of writing is that Mommy?" Chase asked me. I explained that it was called cursive and he became very excited.

"I want to learn to write like that Mommy!"

I explained that he would learn cursive as soon as he was printing well, when he got older.

"But what if I want to learn cursive now Mommy?"

Well, I am homeschooling so my child gets individualized instruction. Was it really bad for him to learn cursive before manuscript? I know that the ABeka curriculum teaches cursive early their curriculum so I decided to start my research on this topic on their website.

I also found some information on other sites that were helpful.

My take-away points that seem true for Chase are that children can recognize and write cursive early in their education and that cursive does nearly eliminate problems with backwards letters (a problem that really bothers Chase).

Check out these links that I found on the topic:
ABeka
ERIC
BJU
PreCursive

Psychologist article
"Cursive First" author comments
A Montessori approach

Have many of you started with cursive? What are your thoughts?

Fruits of the Spirit for Parents

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22,23).

I hear God calling me to become a better wife, mother and Christian. In reading my daily Bible and prayer, I have been led to study the fruit of the Spirit. When I started researching books about the Fruit of the Spirit most of them were written for children or directed to help parents develop the fruit of the Spirit in their children. When I first read what the fruit of the Spirit was, I knew I wanted more of that in my life.
I felt confused by the emphasis on teaching fruit of the Spirit for children in the books I saw on CBD.com. Is it only children who are expected to know/abide by/strive for living in the fruits of the Spirit? Are we all, as adult parents, supposed to have attained these fruits in our lives and so now we are able to impart them to our children?

My life is very much a work-in-progress in this area. I want to not only teach my children didactically about the fruit of the Spirit but I would like to role model the character traits as well.

I am asking God to help me in this area.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

A New Faith Blog for Me

Come and visit my new blog focusing on my journey in the Christian faith at Mom4Christ, hosted at LifeWithChrist.org.

As you may have read in my previous post, I have been led by the Spirit to expand my personal, faith-filled writings. After all, my writing is a gift from God and I want to use my talent to glorify him.

As soon as I submitted to God that I would re-focus my efforts to make public more of my writing about my Christian faith, I came across a link on Molly's blog that led me to a great blog that was hosted on LifeWithChrist and right away, I knew that I was to start a Christian mom blog there.

This blogging community of Christian homeschool moms has been such a blessing to me! Thank you ladies!

So come by my new blog soon and consider starting your own blog over there as well.

Of course, I will continue to blog (homeschool stuff mostly) on this blog so don't stop coming here.

Phytoplankton?

"Hey mommy, do you know that phytoplankton is a tiny species in the ocean that sea animals can eat?"

What's that?, come again?, what did he say? were the thoughts that rambled through my mind as I was fixing up dinner and trying to listen to Chase at the same time.

"What did you say, sweetie?" I asked to clear up the confusion.

"Phytoplankton. Mommy, you never heard of phytoplankton?"

"Well of course I have but I did not know that you had. Where did you learn about phytoplankton?"

Chase went on to inform me that he learned about phytoplankton from "The Magic School Bus" videos that we get from the library. He went on to amaze me with his knowledge of sea life in general.

I knew that Chase has been interested in sharks, whales and the human body but I never though he was actually retaining the material from the books, videos and software we were getting out of the library.

Most of the materials were advanced for his age and I had learned my lesson about pushing too hard so I was content to let Chase learn about biology at his own pace.

Wow. This relaxed homeschooling really works!

Relaxed Homeschool

Ahh. Relaxed homeschooling. I love it, Chase loves it and I wish that I would have had the confidence in him and in myself to start this approach sooner.

My son is only four-years old but I had already starting pushing him to achieve certain goals that I felt were important. I must admit that some of those goals were based on what some of his friends were achieving. Learning to read and write early were particular goals of mine. I thought that since Chase is bright and inquisitive he can certainly write and read well by age four. Family members seconded this telling me "Everyone in our family could read by four". Although I would not admit it at the time, what others thought of me and my child and his learning ability and my teaching ability was important to me. These things were far too important to me.

So we started learning phonics soon after Chase turned four. He eagerly learned to recognize and order the alphabet and enjoyed remembering the letter sounds.

So what was next? Putting the sounds together to make words, of course. For whatever reason, that next step did not go as well for Chase. He would listen to the tapes or watch me sounding out words but within seconds after observing, he seemed to forget how to put the sounds together.

Finally, one day after me trying repeatedly to explain what sounding out was and my poor son in tears while trying to please me, I knew that I needed a paradigm shift in my apporach to homeschooling.

What had started out as my plan to homeschool for Christ's sake and for the sake of individualized instruction for my child seemed to have gone so wrong. If I was going to force my child to adhere to some schedule of learning that did not suit him why was I homeschooling at all?

I needed to relax, he needed to relax and relax we did.

And the true learning, for Chase and his mom, began in earnest.

Friday, June 3, 2005

I Won!

I won an iPod!

As you can tell from my last few posts, God has been sending quite a few opportunities my way lately. And that is a good thing because since I left my career as a physician to homeschool our children and establish a career as a freelance writer, we have had severe financial challenges.

I have been praying to God to just send me a sign that I am doing the right thing so that I do not give up.

He has more than granted my prayer request!

My husband notified me in February about a contest that he came across on the Internet about a DVR (a TIVO-like device that came with our cable service). This was when we were trying as a family to merely control our TV-viewing habits by recording select shows and watching them when it was convenient. At the time, we had completely done without any television for 2 years prior and thought that we would be OK with just a little cable particularly for my husband who watches news programming.

I wrote an essay about our family experiences with the DVR. We found that having the DVR stopped us from watching as much TV and did not make us feel tied to needing to watch shows at the time they were scheduled.

My essay won in the "Family" category! And we won an iPod!

Our whole family is thrilled about the iPod and excited to see what other blessings God has in store for us.

Chase led us in a prayer of thanksgiving for iPods this morning after the FEDEX man delivered it to us. Being the prayer warrior that he is, Chase's prayer quickly changed to one for healing for a birth-injured baby that we know who is around the same age as Alyssa. chase has been praying for her to crawl, walk and be completely healed. He prays with such faith- he is an inspiration for me.

It is so important to remember always what is truly important.

ChoosingHome Housewarming Party

Don't forget, it is not too late to check out the great, inspiring entries over at the Choosing Home site's housewarming party. Enter the party by clicking here.

While you are there, look around the site. It is full of useful resources for moms committed to staying home with their children.

The Myth of the Perfect Mother

I came across this article today from Home Life Magazine. It confirms some thoughts that I have about motherhood being a kind of a spiritual discipline designed to bring us closer to God. It is easy for me to become preoccupied trying to become more perfect in a worldly way and neglect my journey to becoming perfect in Christ. I just continue to pray that God will gently pull back to what is most important in my role as mother each and every time I begin to stray.

I thank God for his mercy and goodness.

More Summer Fun

I just love to watch the kids having such a ball, especially Chase. We have had a fun time the past few weeks with lots of great kid activities for Chase. He has been so excited just to have the chance to play outside in the sunshine! The winters seem so long around here. Even if it is cool in the morning, he insists on wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt because "It's summertime Mommy!"

Our church, New Song Church, had its church picnic on Memorial Day and we all had a great time. Sam's parents and one of my sisters joined us. I had a chance to catch up with some homeschool moms that I had not talked to and they were full of encouragement and good advice. Sam took a lot of terrific pictures and had fun chatting about digital photography with some of the guys. Chase ran so much and played so hard that it was difficult getting him to eat or go to the bathroom.

Alyssa was the little darling of the picnic and the little girls delighted in picking her up and hugging her and she of course enjoyed her favorite past time. She loves to get dirty playing in dirt or sand only to come to me and ask me to wipe her hands off. Such a funny girl!

These kids personalities are just blossoming daily and I love to see them unfold.

Blog Changes, Life Changes

I feel that God is calling me to make some changes in my blog. As much as I enjoy keeping up with homeschooling and family news, I feel I am being called to share more of my personal stories and more of my writing on my blog in the service of the Kingdom of God.

After my son was born, the Lord began to seriously work on me concerning the issue of developing my writing, a gift from him that I always resisted taking too seriously. Despite numerous awards for my writing, I chose to veer from a creative writing tract in college to study pre-med, promising God that one day, once I was financially secure, I would return to writing.

Following Chase's birth, the Lord opened up many writing opportunities that allowed me to grow in my craft and kept me from needing to return to full-time work outside of the house. Along with my public writings, God gifted me with volumes of praises and poems to glorify him and celebrate the gift of family, his blessing for me. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more, privately for the Lord and publicly for a variety of clients and publications.

Now, God tells me it is his turn. It is his turn to be featured in my writing spotlight, his turn to be magnified and glorified through my writing. It is time for me to share the wonders of all that God has done for me and my family with the world. My writing is to serve as a testimony to his wondrous deeds and majesty. I may not be able to sing but my praise and worship comes out of my pen (or keyboard).

What does all this have to do with homeschooling? Everything. I have had a growing realization of God's plan for the role of homeschooling in my life and the life of my family. First, as I have discussed in previous posts, my main reason for homeschooling is to glorify God and build his Kingdom. I continue to be awed as my son as growing into a God-fearing, God-worshipping little boy who shows a thirst and a hunger for all things of the Lord. I am homeschooling to provide little soldiers and keepers of God's Kingdom more than the other very legitimate and important social, political and academic reasons to homeschool. So I homeschool to dedicate my children to God, much as Hannah dedicated Samuel to God (I am grateful I have not been called to leave them at the temple yet!)

Even more importantly, I have come to realize that God has called me to homeschool to make me into the godly woman that he would have me become. Our family decision to homeschool has matured from an option to an absolute truth and from it I have learned some important lessons and been faced with very new challenges. These challenges have forced me to examine some very touchy subjects in my life. Obedience vs. disobedience, trust vs. control, submission vs. dominance and impatience vs. God's timing. What a revelation- God has not given up on me! He loves me so much and wants to use me (he actually feels I am worthy to be used, Hallelujah!) and he is using the homeschooling of my children to grow me and mature me into the Christian woman he knows I can become. So after 38 years of living, I am allowing myself to be pressed into service.

So this blog is changing. It is becoming more personal and hopefully more godly. It is my prayer that what I write here will have a positive impact on others as myself and most importantly that everything I write will directly glorify God.

Thank you for stopping by as I begin my journey anew.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Poems: A View From The Womb

Womb
By Victoria Carrington

Water and warmth
Cushion and cocoon
Motion, music, my mommy’s voice
Safe and serene
Dreamy lull
Splashing gurgles
My first home


Imagine
By Victoria Carrington

Wisps of hair
Pink tender lips
Delicate fingers
Curled up tight
Warm and dark
Sounds of comfort
Soothing motions
Steady heartbeats
Cord of connection
Safe surround
My own place
What will I become?

A Poem Celebrating New Life

Small Miracle in Our Midst
By Victoria Carrington

God Almighty, You are deserving of all praise
We are in awe at this miracle of life
That you have placed in our lives
Everyday a new unfolding
A Divine Plan known so well to you
Only you know the full potential
Present in one so small

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Poem: Conqueror

Conqueror
By Victoria Carrington

It seems so dark everywhere
Memories are suffocating
Wrapped around like a too-tight scarf
No one can know the depth of the darkness
Thoughts of ending it all to find peace
But the little voice says “No”
The evil that has hurt me would have won
This suffering is unique
Horrible but unique
Create from the broken pieces a new whole
If I go then who
Can offer comfort to another of having seen pain
This suffering must count for something
I will keep my hurt, my sorrow
Boulders that weigh me down now
In time become pebbles I can carry
Always present but easier to bear
Rough edges stab my consciousness at times
But new memories are made every day
And they start to crowd out the old
I get bigger and stronger and older everyday
I win.