Thursday, January 30, 2014

Daughters of the Faith - Book Series


Daughters of the Faith is a series of 8 books by Wendy Lawton.   They are well written biographies of 8 Christian women, focusing on the events of their childhoods.  Several of these names most have heard of, such as Pocahontas, Harriet Tubman, Phyllis Wheatley, and Mary Bunyan.  But some were new names from familiar events, like the Mayflower.

     From a Holocaust survivor to a freed slave, and several others, the stories are told in order to give an account and testimony to God's hand on these young lives.  I have read many biographies intended for middle school and these are some of my favorite.  They are not typical historical fiction, where a fictional character is plugged into a time or event in history and encounters well know historical people. Instead they are well documented bios on these girls, telling the stories of their real lives and situations.  They are appropriate, yet not too graphic, as they tell the real story of the injustices and hardships that were endured, as well as the powerful way the Lord moved in their lives. The purpose is not so much to tell us about an event in history, although the reader will get familiar with that, but the purpose is more to remind the reader of what God is capable of doing in our lives.  They are a fine combo of history, biography and church. :)
    After I discovered them in CBD and read Karen Andreola's review, I found them at our local library.  They are interesting and engaging enough that I read them as well, and truly enjoyed them.
    Unlike books such as the American Girl series or My America, which are usually geared towards girls, these titles could be enjoyed by boys as well, in the same way that our daughters might read a biography on George Washington Carver or Daniel Boone.  And  while I enjoy historical fiction, I appreciate that these books are based on true events in young lives, and almost all (if not all) of the characters and events in the story are real, which makes for a powerful testimony of God's faithfulness.
  Although they are probably intended for a middle school audience, my 14 yo 9th grader has enjoyed them a lot, and in fact, Shadow of His Hand is one of her favorite books.  It had a tremendous impact on her heart. 
  You can find these titles at CBD or at our local library.  You can read more about each title from the  author's website .

Washington State History Song

This is a cute and informative video made by a homeschool family.  The song was written, sung and filmed by the kids and they did a great job.  Kinda makes me want to take a little tour of WA state.  :) 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 - thoughts on the New Year...

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels a mild panic when January hits, as I realize that we are in the final 5 months or so of the traditional school year. This is when I start counting the pages and chapters remaining in our books and “doing the math”. I also look over my dreamy reading list I made in August, and make those hard choices of what stays and what goes. Sometimes there are life interruptions… like funerals and surgeries… that we just have to roll with, and be thankful for the flexibility of home schooling. But sometimes I take a close look and realize that we just need to buckle down if we want to meet our goals… like getting a few weeks off for summer! Personally, I enjoy somewhat of a year round school schedule, which allows for some interruptions or deviations from school during the traditional year. But we do like to have several weeks of guilt free summer relaxation from our studies. We have done major year round school the last couple of years, so my kids are rather motivated to finish those math books if it is at all possible. It’s nice when they get old enough to appreciate the break they get if they put in the time during the school year, and I no longer have to nag as much. You know they have arrived when they are doing a math lesson on Christmas Eve or a Saturday, without being prompted, just to keep things moving along. 

So this week I am making “adjustments” to the remainder of our school year, trying to set realistic deadlines and goals, and praying for the Lord’s sovereign guidance as I plan our days. There is a real good chance I’ll have to tweak the plan at least one more time before we are done, but that’s okay. That, my friend, really is one of the benefits of home schooling… a custom fit for your family.

New Year’s always puts me in a place of deep thinking. I find myself closely looking over the previous year, and seeing God’s mighty Hand working in the lives of my family. I am often awestruck as I recall the trials and hardships as well as the joys and blessings, and see Him right in the midst of it all, working His perfect will in our lives. Sometimes it is painful to recall some of the lessons learned or trials endured. And often I am able to count several specific answers to specific prayers and needs. And always, I see God as Faithful to every generation and my own faith is encouraged. 

And I also find myself looking ahead at the year to come. My flesh tends to panic a bit at the unknown, worrying about losses or our future health, or the many possible hardships that could come our way. But I know this is not the mindset the Lord instructs me to have, so I humbly admit my fearful insecurities to Him, and ask Him to replace them with His Peace. I continually remind myself of His sovereignty and that is a great comfort. And finally, I petition my heavenly Father for his mercy, grace and protection and to have His way, His will be done, in each corner of my life and those of my family, and commit our year to Him. Gulp. (That is a big step for a control freak who subconsciously thinks she can keep the world running as it should be.) Anyone relate? Anyway, I do pray that each of us will find renewal from the Lord, and strength to finish well as we plod through this second half of the school year, and usher in a joyful, peace filled, grateful New Year.