What Homeschoolers Need Most is What We All Need Most

There are so many excellent resources for homeschooling parents, but how to choose?  So many opportunities, but which ones to forgo?  This is a big deal, and it must be done right!  Right?

Know your child via time with your child’s Maker.  You MUST pray for and receive the wisdom of God for each child.  Individually.  You have birthed an individual, unique in all the world, indeed, in all the history of the world.  One of your many excellent reasons for homeschooling is to train this child up into the fullness and wonder of that uniqueness.

So, get to know your child.  This, dear parent, is a lifelong process, and you are called to it.  As a parent, we partner with God to create and give and nurture life.  It is a lovely process of discovery, and today is the day to begin!

Seek God’s face and His grace.  Ask Him and He will answer.  My experience homeschooling taught me that He really likes to get involved in this marvelous escapade!  He wants you to know Him, and He wants to reveal the heart of your child unto you.  Blessed, so blessed are you.

What do we all need?  To know and to be known.  Give yourself and your child a gift so far beyond curriculum, field trips, and co-op activities.  Give yourself up to the wonderful journey of getting to know God, who will reveal to you yourself, and the heart of your child as well.

OK!  Yay!

It’s a New Day in the Good Ol’ USA

Today on the Home Front Show we’re gonna rant happy, give God glory, get in the face (gently) of those “Christian” conservatives who can only see the negative, who give what Satan’s up to way more facetime than the new mercies of God in this new day!

We’ll begin with Helen Keller’s assertion that, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” then discuss the adventure of home schooling, and end with John Parker’s thoughts on the adventure of turning what Satan intends for evil to good via instantaneous, weapons-grade forgiveness. 

And of course, much more, like the Domestic Bliss of becoming a Fermentista, and the Three P’s of Power, and a really tough Challenge of the Week for us all.

Make a plan and call a friend – and be blessed. 

Go to:  1360am.co and click on “Live Radio”

2:00 PM Mountain Time, Friday, May 19!

 

THE INESTIMABLE POWER OF GOOD BOOKS, AND SOME FAVORITES FOR ALL AGES

A child in the direst of circumstances, experiencing the darkest of childhood horrors, can learn of, and be programmed to seek, better worlds via the reading of good books.

But what is a good book?  One of sacrificial love, heroic acts, and a victorious ending.  One reflecting what and who we are – created in the very image of God to create new worlds, to overcome old evils, and most of all, to love forevermore.  Such a book, if we’re very lucky as adults, will be full of beautiful description, and if we’re children or reading along with children (yay!) will grant us the privilege of gazing upon anointed artwork.

Escape from “reality”?  Not so much as adventurous travel to a higher and more honest “reality.”  That’s because a good book, perhaps especially the most amazingly fantastical of them (think Tolkein, Lewis, Rowling) draws us into and takes us along with people becoming more than they ever dreamed or imagined they could be.  And that is what we really want in a book – humans being who we truly are, doing what we’re truly capable of doing.  More than conquerors.

Enough of such reading and a child will decide that the paltry, dingy, and the defeated is the fantasy, and that he/she is going to live on a higher plane, just like that hero and that heroine in that most excellent of gifts – a good book.

Toward the end of promoting your and your child’s literary delights, I have, with the assistance of my children (now more or less grown-ups) compiled an abbreviated list of excellent reading.  Many of these books are endorsed by not only all four of our (my and husband John’s) children, but by John and me as well.

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So, here goes, more or less ordered from early read-aloud picture books, to adult literature.

IF I HAD A LITTLE TRAIN by Larry DiFiori

GOODNIGHT GORILLA by Peggy Rathmann

BARNYARD DANCE by Sandra Boynton

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney

TIMOTHY TATTERCOAT by Maryel Cheney THIS IF ONE OF MY FAVORITE READALOUDS

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson

FROG AND TOAD (ALL OF THEM!) by Arnold Lobel ANOTHER FAVORITE READALOUD FOR MOM

LITTLE CRITTER (ALL OF THEM) JOHN’S FAVORITE READALOUDS

THE COMPLETE PETER RABBIT by Beatrix Potter

STELLA LUNA by Janell Canon

THE LADY AND THE LION by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Laurel Long (marvelous illustrator)

FIVE DOLLS AND THEIR FRIENDS by Helen Clare

THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge

BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren

MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE by Betty MacDonald

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo

MARY POPPINS by P. L. Travers

HANK THE COWDOG and all other books by John R. Erickson

BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C. S. Lewis

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain

A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, and THE LONG WINTER by Laura Ingalls Wilder

LITTLE WOMEN and LITTLE MEN by Louisa May Alcott

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L. M. Montgomery

KIDNAPPED and TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson

THE GOOSE GIRL TRILOGY by Shannon Hale

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES by Mary Mapes Dodge

THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS by Brittney Ryan and Laurel Long

THE BLACK STALLION by Walter Farley

UNDERSTOOD BETSY by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST by Richard Henry Dana

LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER by Deborah Wiles

THE NICKEL PLATED BEAUTY by Patricia Beatty

THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON by Johann David Wyss

PRINCE ACROSS THE WATER and THE ROGUES by Jane Yolen

THE PERILOUS GARD and THE SHERWOOD RING by Elizabeth Marie Pope

RASCAL by Sterling North

THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

CROWN DUEL by Sherwood Smith

THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Howard Pyle

CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White and Garth Williams

ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

OLD YELLER by Fred Gipson

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart

BEAUTY by Robin McKinley

BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON and anything else by Sid Fleischman

THE MUSHROOM PLANET SERIES by Eleanor Cameron

A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST and FRECKLES by Jean Stratton Porter

RIFLES FOR WATIE by Harold Keith

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O’dell

DRAGON CODEX SERIES by R. D. Henham

THE HARRY POTTER SERIES by J. K. Rowling

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

JUBAL SACKETT and THE LAST OF THE BREED by Louis L’Amour

THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY by J. R. R. Tolkein

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

DADDY LONGLEGS and DEAR ENEMY by Jean Webster – ALL TIME BEV FAVORITES

BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens

STRANGER AT WILDINGS by Madeleine Brent (ANYTHING BY MADELEINE BRENT!!!)

THE P. G. WODEHOUSE COLLECTION by P. G. Wodehouse

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL by James Herriot

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte

 

These are a few books that at least two of us agree to be exceptional books.  Obviously this list could be much, much longer and include more of your favorites as well.  But I hope that you find something there you’d forgotten about and want to read again, as well as something you always meant to read, and something you never even heard of, such as Daddy Longlegs, or By the Great Horn Spoon.  Happy Reading Adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

From Fear to Fear or from Faith to Faith?

hobbit house

I got into a discussion yesterday about home schooling.  It began with the statement (as best I recall), “People home school from a position of fear.”  Being just about finished with defending my position to people who are coming at me from a position of judgment (never having homeschooled themselves, and perhaps wanting to justify putting their kids in the cesspool or should I say “government indoctrination camps” which are also known, unbelievably, as schools), I was perhaps a little more direct than usual.

I agreed that yes, many people do homeschool from a position of fear, from a defensive posture.  But, as I pointed out, they are still, more often than not, quite successful at turning out hard-working, independent-thinking, quality citizens.  I wish I’d said what my husband John said this morning when I talked it over with him.  “They may begin from a position of fear, their feet may tremble as they step out in faith, but they begin.  They step out.”

I am sorry for the myriad of Christians who will someday have to defend that “Let them be salt and light in the public schools” nonsense.  As John said, “You think a five-year-old (or 15-year-old) is going to stand against an institution controlled by an entity who was once God’s right hand man, an entity with thousands of years of experience to perfect his craft of stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10)?”

prison wire

And anyway, I ask, how is that working for you?  As John said when I discussed the mental cruelty my granddaughter is receiving in public school (supposedly one of the “best” school systems in her state) John reminded me, “Oh, but she’s being properly socialized.”  I forcibly turned my thoughts away from all the other negatives she’s experiencing in the name of “education.”

The reasons to get your children out of the public school system are numerous, and I won’t go into them right now.  But I do want to come back to that fear assertion.  Perhaps it was fear on this man’s part that prevented him from home schooling –  fear of being ridiculed, criticized, outright persecuted.  Fear of not going along with the crowd, perhaps even fear of his own pastor’s opinion, or whoever it was that first fed him that “salt and light” malarky.

 

Fear.  Maybe it first gained a stronghold in his mind via his childhood training in following the crowd, in trying to fit in, in wanting to be accepted, popular, “cool” like everyone else.  Indeed, perhaps he is just another victim of the public school system, where we all (most of us at least) learned: not to rock the boat, to color inside the lines, and to judge.  To fear.

II Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Don’t take my word for it, don’t take anyone else’s word against it:  Get God’s opinion, and remember He said “Train up your child,” NOT, “Send them out for someone else to indoctrinate.”

Twice in the last week I have heard how women who don’t have college degrees aren’t “qualified” to home school.  Faith and Love, not pieces of paper given to 22-year-olds with no children and in many cases, even less than no wisdom, is what qualifies and equips us to train our children.

Faith in the One who made your child, and who chose you as the parent, faith working through love – that’s your ticket.  YOU’RE IT!  YOU CAN DO IT, AND DO IT BRILLIANTLY!  I like to turn the long-ago spoken words of a school board member around. When my dad asked why we (my brother and I) weren’t learning anything, he was told, “We don’t need no smartass city dude tellin’ us how to run our school.”  Newsflash:  WE DON’T NEED NO SMARTASS SCHOOL TELLIN’ US HOW TO RAISE OUR KIDS.

Does the very thought of even thinking about homeschooling make you sweat and gulp?  That probably means it’s time for you to get off the fear merry-go-round and get on the faith train.  What a journey it’s going to be!

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The Stupid Question: What About Socialization?

child in hat and glasses

“Precisely.”

That’s what to say when you’re asked this most aggravating and ignorant of questions about why your child isn’t being institutionalized.

“But aren’t you concerned about socialization?”

“Yes.  That’s one of the reasons we homeschool.”

Total confusion on their part.

Patient sigh on yours.

“First of all, we aren’t socialists.  We don’t believe the state knows best.  We don’t believe the state owns us or our children.”

“Secondly, we don’t think hanging out all day long (mostly sitting) with ignorant little kids who look, talk, dress, and are in more ways than not, exactly alike, is proper socialization. ”

“In fact, we think it’s extremely unnatural, unhealthy, and stifling.”

Oh, and we’re too nice to say so, but it’s your kids and grandkids (it’s mostly old fools who come after us on this)  who won’t look us in the eyes when we attempt to converse with them, who mutter or don’t answer at all, who display an alarming dearth of original thought and logic if they do venture an opinion, not our poor little homeschooled “hicks.”

We have always gotten compliments on our kids – on their ability to converse with people of all ages, backgrounds, religions, cultures, and races; on their friendliness, kindness, respect, and their obvious enjoyment of life and each other.

Seth and RebekahBenjamin and Hannahall four kids

Yes, you can search and find kids like ours, and they may even be kids who are public-schooled.  Don’t know, haven’t seen that very much.  But why go to the trouble?  Why not just homeschool?

Yes, your kids will miss out if you homeschool.  They’ll miss out on being bullied or becoming bullies, on easy access to drugs, sex, alcohol and porn.  They won’t learn about being one of the “in crowd” or being “cool” and “popular.”  In short, they won’t be social monstrosities, with mountain-tall egos, or “nerds” who hate school.  And if you have even the smallest of success, you will raise individuals who miss out on becoming followers.

You, too, will miss out if you homeschool your children.  You’ll miss them turning into hellions during their teen years.  You’ll miss them losing respect for you and your beliefs, and you’ll miss becoming an embarrassment to their social little arses.

If you homeschool, you’ll miss out on being politically correct and socially acceptable.  And yes, you’ll have to deal with the stupid question.  I’ve given you a few answers, and here are a couple more:  “Who and what successes qualify you to judge me?”, and, “So, what hole do you live in (speaking of socialization) so that you don’t know the abysmal failure public education in America has been proven to be, no matter how you measure it.”

Well, maybe I shouldn’t say “no matter how you measure it.”  Because if your goal is turning out good little robots who lose their sense of personal worth, individual creative prowess, and dare I say, common sense and kindness, then maybe public school is a roaring success.

Go ahead, in the name of socialization, steal your child’s childhood.  Take away his time to play, invent, create, read, read, read, commune with God and nature, and grow into the person God intended, so that he can change the world.

little girl with flower

Look around you.  Do we need even one more just-like-everybody-else person?  Your child is unique in all the world, in all the history of the world.  It will take a huge and concerted effort to make her just like everyone else – socialized.  In fact, you can’t do it alone.  You’ll need all the help you can get to stamp out all that originality and wonder.  Hooray, there’s public education in America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just say “Yes” to the Idea of Home Schooling Your Child

A young girl reading the current events in a newspaper; isolated on white background.

          People worry about bad things that might happen to their kids in public school – kids getting fat due to unhealthy food, kids being bullied, kids getting shot.  But they don’t seem to worry about the certainties:  Their kids will be institutionalized, and taught that they are nothing, less than nothing, in fact. 
 sad child
          A few years back we took a trip to visit a famous museum, where I was appalled at the exhibit “proving” that we are all products of nothing more than “oxygen pollution.”  Yes, there are worse things than being highly developed apes.  One can have affection and regard for an ape.  But to be nothing more than pollution?  You can try all the self-esteem training in the world, but it won’t take over deeply-embedded programming such as this.
          The truth is that every one of us is unique in all the world, uniquely qualified to do something marvelous for God and man.  This is the goal of education:  the love and adventure of learning of who our Maker is, why He made us, and the equipping for the task.
  child at beach with mom's shoes
          Pastor Keith Moore recently said, “We need to be delivered from this desperate need for others’ approval.”  I submit to you that we got that mentality in public school.  We learned to follow the crowd, to strive for the grade, to fit in and be “cool” in public school. 
          Yes, of course all this happens in most private schools as well, but many private schools are Christian, and therefore do not denigrate the child with anti-Creation messages.  However, there is one way to be certain your child is taught the intrinsic value of every human, and that is to believe it yourself and teach it at home. 
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          Oh, you’re doing that?  Once in a while. And you think you can counter that pervasive message from “educators” just fine.  And how about the influences of children whose parents have failed to teach them kindness and respect?
          We recently visited friends whose pre-schooled child talked back to her mom and it was like listening to a rebelling teenager.  I was so grieved.  A child that age should be over the moon in love with her mommy.
mom and baby
          So what do I suggest?  Home schooing.  Of course. 
          Before you start your tired mantra:  I can’t, I couldn’t, I’m not qualified, I have to work, I’m a single parent, my kids drive me nuts . . . Just stop for a second.  Consider the idea.  What if you could?  What if you at least prayed about it?  What if it’s true that where there’s a will there’s a way? 
 father and child
          You may not be qualified, but it’s probably not for the reasons you think.  I once read about a woman who decided against home schooling and was glad she did when she saw her kindergartner standing in line.  She knew that had she home schooled ,her daughter would never have learned this “skill.”
          When our kids were young teens we enrolled them in Karate.  When the instructor told the class to line up our kids just stood there.  John laughed and I rolled my eyes.  Hannah later said she knew what a line was, but she just thought she should be first and everyone should get behind her.  How’s that for a different perspective?
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          Back to the woman who thinks standing in line is an important life skill.  This woman is not smart enough to home school.  But you are, or you wouldn’t be reading my blog.  If you potty trained that child and taught her to talk and how to tie her shoes, you can teach her to love learning and be a life-long performer in the dance of life. 
dancing girl

Home Comforts

Room in a historical Bohemian village

Whether or not you homeschool, your children are watching and learning your attitude about homemaking.  If you’re like most moms, things get a bit messy at times, especially in our minds!  We need a bit of decluttering, a little refurbishing, direction, and refreshment.  I give you the beyond-anything book, Home Comforts.

Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson, is one of my two favorite books on making home a haven (the other is Alexandra Stoddard’s Creating a Beautiful Home). Cheryl (she is a friend even though we’ve never met) has done her homework. A former attorney, she’s very diligent and disciplined, and has the intelligence required to make a good job of homemaking.

As this book is over 800 pages long, and covers anything and everything you can think of, I can’t begin to do it justice here. But as an example here’s a quote from the chapter on home cooking: “Good meals at home satisfy emotional hunger as real as hunger in the belly, and nothing else does so in the same way.”

Cheryl goes on to discuss how and why not to use cookbooks–I am vindicated! I believe a recipe is only someone else’s creation, certainly nothing written in stone. Of course, if Julia Child wrote it I will pay attention. But someone telling me to make pumpkin cake without salt, or that you don’t need all those walnuts in your oatmeal raisin cookies? I don’t think so.

As usual, I am loving the sound of my own horn tooting, and it’s time to get back to the marvelous book at hand. Home Comforts covers anything and everything you might ever want to know about homemaking.  You will be sorry when you’ve turned the last page, and if you’re like me, determined to read it again.

And to share it with others, especially family.

Do you want to excel at the high and highly rewarding calling of homemaking?  This book, so aptly named, will inspire and gladden your heart, and perhaps best of all, it will convince you that what you do at home truly matters.