Monday, October 24, 2011

Follow Me, Boys!

   We just watched this film ( ordered it from Netfix), and it was one of the nicest movies we have seen in quite a while.   Fred MacMurray stars in it, and it is the story of a man who settles in a small town, and how he finds a sweet wife, and makes a difference in the lives of others.   It has a bit of the same flavor of It's A Wonderful Life ( not exactly though!).  It is over 2 hours long, so it does a good job of letting us get to know the characters, unlike so many superficial films. 
    As a homeschool parent, I could challenge the role that other adults should have in the lives of our children, but I won't do that.  The movie has too many other nice qualities and is truly a wonderful family film.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MOM'S NIGHT OUT - Reasons Why We Homeschool

  We met for our first Mom's Night Out of the new school year, (Oct. 2011) and it was a great meeting ( in my humble opinion).   We had 14 ladies, and enjoyed making some new acquaintances and catching up with old friends.    I always hate to interrupt the conversations to "start" the meeting, but eventually I did so.   After some introductions, we took turns sharing some of the reasons we decided or continue to homeschool.  As many of you know, the homeschool community is a diverse bunch, and it was both interesting and inspiring to hear the heart of these dedicated moms, and hear how the Lord has led them to this decision.
    Some of the reasons given for deciding to homeschool were:  time with our children, special learning needs, verbal or physical abuse at public school, conflict with government school ideology (evolution, etc.), and Biblical conviction. 
   For me, it has been a Calling to home educate and home disciple my children.  The blessings of walking this journey in obedience have been the Lord's gifts to me.  Yes, there are some difficult days or seasons, but I wouldn't trade these years for ANYTHING.   As it is, there are not enough days in a lifetime to enjoy my children as much as I wish to. 

     In addition to the serious, core reasons we decide to homeschool, there are a few general benefits as well.   We went over some of these at our meeting.
  • Quality Education
  • Schedule:  We make our own - traditional school calendar, year round schooling, family vacations during "off" season, etc.
  • Parental choice of educational philosophy and teaching method
  • Dress Code:  pjs or cowboy and ballerina costumes... and everything in between.
  • Mom Refinement:  There are few situations that expose our character weaknesses and offer the opportunity for the Lord to grow and change us, as much as spending 24/7 with our children. 
  • Family Time:  Lots of it!    
  I could make a giant list of the many reasons why we homeschool.  But my dear friend has done that, and has given me permission to share that list with you.    So, here are 50 reasons Why We Homeschool:

50.  Because we like to stay out of the “rat race” somewhat!
49. Because I can save money on clothes, school supplies
48. Because we are free to set  own daily routine & schedule
47. Because I can teach teach my children life-skills
46. Because we can vacation anytime of the year we want
45. Because we can have more time to work on special projects
44.Because of  Socialization (We want our children to have positive socialization experiences)
43. Because of  Individualized instruction (based on child’s leaning style)
42. Because we want to avoid bullies!!
41. Because we want to shelter children from harmful aspects of our culture
40. Because we desire to extend the joys of childhood
39. Because we want to be able to pray whenever we want to
38. Because we want to  work on developing good habits
37. Because we want to practice what we preach
36.Because we want to sleep in on some days
35. Because we want to stay up late with company or a good movie sometimes
34. Because we want to  hug our  children throughout the day
33. Because we want to choose our own course of study
32. Because we want to avoid violence (teacher molestation, shootings etc.)
33. Because we want to learn along with children
32. Because siblings can nurture  relationships
31. Because homeschooling allows for more family discussions
30. Because there is no homework!
29. Because of  more family togetherness
28. Because there is more time for music & art
27. Because the public school gives too much busywork & paperwork
26. Because avoiding  peer-pressure is important
25. Because we don’t get the flu as much
24. Because we want to play with children of all ages (not just own age & grade)
23. Because we want  a more complete education
22. Because we want to teach creation science
21. Because we want to  teach christian worldview & apologetics
20. Because we like to call or skype dad during the day
19. Because we want to practice hospitality more easily
18. Because we want to volunteer or help a neighbor more easily
17. Because we want to keep working on a math problem until we get it!
16. Because we like to read books together as a family
15. Because we enjoy going on family walks and bike rides
14. Because we have freedom to be ourselves without fear of rejection
13. Because we get to spend more time with grandparents
12. Because we are able to choose curriculum that in Christian perspective
11. Because we can weave biblical worldview into all subjects
10. Because we want to make the best educational choices for our children
9.  Because we are able to have more family meals together…and children learn to cook
8.  Because academic subjects can be tailored to the individual students
7. Because Dad can declare any day a holiday and we can have a family fun day
6. Because we can spend more time on areas we are struggling with
5. Because the time with my children passes way too fast
4. Because the homeschooling lifestyle is wholesome and natural
3. Because life is short and homeschooling allows us to prioritize and focus on the eternal
2. Because I love spending time with my children and truly enjoy them!
1. The number one reason that we homeschool our children is because the Lord told us in his word to teach, train, disciple and mentor our children….and our prayer is that our children will follow the Lord all the days of their lives.
Why are you homeschooling???

180 The Movie

We just watched a 30 min. documentary online on abortion.  It is done by Ray Comfort (from Meet The Master with Kirk Cameron), and it is so engaging and informative.  He talks with people on the street, and... well you really must watch for yourself.  I would caution that due to the subject matter, it is probably not for younger children, but more appropriate for mid to older teens.   (Parental preview suggested).  
  It is titled 180 because after talking with Mr. Comfort, these people end up changing their mind ( and heart) about the subject of abortion.  It really is a must see.

 Great movie.... great song.    Just a reminder that if possible, it would be a good idea to support this film in the theater.    The ticket sales send a needed message to film makers that there is an audience for decent movies with a good message.   If we don't spend our dollar on good entertainment options that come our way, we miss the opportunity to send that message and by default "they" perceive the opposite message... no one will pay to see a clean movie.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hold On Handles

My children are all too big for these now, but what a great tool for the busy mom who has more children than she does hands.  Instead of a harness or "leash", these handles attach to your stroller or onto the parent's wrist or belt, and encourages the training of our young ones to hold on and stay close by. 
 This item is on closeout prices at Timberdoodle.  You can  click here to go directly to their website to read more or to order. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Too Small A Price, by Don Fransisco

This is a song by Don Fransisco, Too Small A Price.  It is a way favorite of mine (and many others!).   Since I mentioned his gift of story telling in a previous post, I thought you might enjoy hearing him.  Many of his songs are from the perspective of the person in the Scriptural account.  For instance, this story is told from the voice of the thief on the cross next to Jesus.  There are two parts to it.  The first part ends and there is a short transition on the guitar, and the second part picks up as the man goes with Jesus into paradise.  I know it is long ( almost 10 minutes), but it is so worth it.  Another "trademark" of his is that he often ends a song in a chorus of worship. This is just a beautiful telling of the thief's salvation.   Be blessed.  (That is his wife Wendy with him.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

GoD and DoG

GoD and DoG is a sweet, simple and original song by Wendy Fransisco.  She wrote, illustrated and animated this song.   Wendy is the wife of Don Fransisco, the Christian music artist (very well known in the 1980's), and she was half of the singing group, Wendy & Mary.  Mary Rice Hopkins was the other half.  : )    The music of the Fransiscos has blessed my life and ministered to me deeply over the last 30 years.  I went to my first music concert at a high school in Long Beach, CA, where I listened to Don Fransisco share his amazing testimony and minister in music.   Both Don and Wendy are incredibly gifted at putting scripture stories and Bible passages to music.  Their storytelling through music is amazing.   This particular song is a litte more simple, but still special (especially to someone who really loves God... and dogs).     Enjoy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Mother Reads Aloud

                                           When Mother Reads Aloud
    When Mother reads aloud, the past Seems real as every day; I hear the tramp of armies vast, I see the spears and lances cast, I join the thrilling fray; Brave knights and ladies fair and proud I meet when Mother reads aloud.
      When Mother reads aloud, far lands Seem very near and true; I cross the deserts’ gleaming sands, Or hunt the jungle’s prowling bands, Or sail the ocean blue. Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud, I scale, when Mother reads aloud. 
      When Mother reads aloud, I long For noble deeds to do... To help the right, redress the wrong; It seems so easy to be strong, So simple to be true. Oh, thick and fast the visions crowd My eyes, when Mother reads aloud.  ~ Author Unknown

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Encouraging the New Homeschooler

 Around this time of year (late summer, early fall), I get phone calls and emails from mamas who are at that place of decision regarding homeschooling their children.  Some are older moms, pulling kids out of school for a variety of reasons, but some are younger moms, just starting out, facing the expectation to send their baby off on a yellow bus to strangers, and not liking that option.   In both situations,  a mom finds herself at that starting place, just answering that calling on her heart, to disciple her children and keep them at home, where they belong (my bias).  : )
  I love to talk to these new homeschoolers, because it renews my passion for homeschooling, and it feels like an opportunity to pass the baton, and keep the flame of independent, home discipleship alive for another generation.  As I share with them the many benefits and options and blessings of homeschooling, I am vividly reminded of all the joys and blessings the Lord has poured out on my family through homeschooling.   What is interesting though, is to try to answer the many questions and speak to the nagging doubts and fears, in only a short phone call or email.  How do I take 30 minutes and tell them all about it.  I can't.   But I try to reassure them that this is a viable and sensible choice, and yes my children are "normal", and yes, I know lots of other "normal", thriving young adults who were homeschooled, etc.  Yes, homeschoolers can go to college someday, if they want to.  Yes, we have friends.  No, we aren't perfect.  
    Quickly, I can offer a few recommendations for curriculum options or co-op opportunities, magazine publications, books to read, and an invitation to join us at Mom's Night Out to glean from others.  But ultimately, it is up to that mom (and dad), to pick up that baton, and begin their own race.  They must walk their own homeschool/parenting journey, allowing the Lord to lead them, and shape their family, to guide them in educational choices and family priorities.   Like every aspect of life, it must be experienced first hand, to really "get it".   But, I can offer to walk along side them in some fashion, offering support and encouragement and occasional advice or suggestions.  They can learn a lot by watching me and other veterans make our mistakes, share our struggles and trials, and also share how God is faithful in spite of it all. 
    And as they seek the Lord's will for their own family, visit with other homeschoolers, read articles from magazines, blogs, etc., written by Christian homeschoolers, and just do the next faithful thing on their own journey... eventually, gradually, they become the seasoned veteran, mentoring and encouraging another generation of parents who are taking that first step in following God's call on their lives to homeschool and home disciple their children.