Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Mama encouragement, homeschooling



Dear younger homeschooling Mom,

I want to encourage you on your journey. Whether this will be your first year educating your children at home, or your tenth, know that you are following God’s commands to teach your children at home, about Him. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20.)

Have you ever hear date expression “The days are long, but the years are short" ? While this applies to all of parenting, it especially applies to the Mama who chooses to give up several years of her life to educate her children at home. There will be days when you cannot wait for your husband to get home from work, just so you can step outside and have five whole minutes to yourself. There will be other days when everyone eagerly awaits Daddy’s arrival to show him what you dissected in science or made during art class. There will be stellar days, and other days when you will weep. But remember this one thing: the years are short! 

Looking ahead to this fall I can almost see the end of  our home education journey. Our youngest daughter is finishing her senior year of high school, and as I contemplate this 16th year of our journey, I wish I could reach out and give each and every one of you a big hug! There are going to be tough days, maybe even tough years ahead of you - but know this - GOD is always faithful! There are five lessons He has taught me along this path that I want to share with you. They might not mean much to you today, but when the time comes, I hope you will remember them, and turn to God for the daily strength and help you need.

Begin with Prayer

Each day, each year, each time you face a challenge, begin with prayer. God is right there waiting to give you what you need to successfully raise your children. He wants you to know Him intimately, He wants you to read  His word - for yourself, and to your children. He is waiting for you to humble yourself in prayer and ask for His guidance. On the days when you fall short and loose your temper, He will be there waiting for you to ask forgiveness through prayer. On the days when you rejoice because your child finally found the connections between letters and sounds and learns to read - He will be there, waiting for your praise. On each and every day He is only a breath away through prayer.

Less is More

As you begin homeschooling you can easily become overwhelmed with the vast array of choices of curriculum and learning styles. Step back. Breathe. Less curriculum is better than more. There are always new and shiny things begging for your attention, and your money. Choose less re-made curriculum instead of more as you begin to educate your children, and remember, for thousands of years the Jewish people educated  their children with only the first five books of the Old Testament. There will come a time when you need a math curriculum or a biology book, but if your children are still little, all you need is a Bible, some paper and crayons, and a library card.

Love first, learn second

While your children DO need to be taught, the most important lesson they will ever learn is that you love them! When you plan for the year, do not get so wrapped up in finishing your plans that you miss God’s plans. He has given you these tender, although sometimes stubborn, hearts to care for to show them His love. If your children do not believe that you love them, they will have a difficult time believing a God that they cannot see could ever love them. Love means affection, love means correction, and love means direction. When your children are secure in your unconditional love for them, they will blossom. They will want to learn, because they will want to spend time with you.

Character trumps achievement

You may see posts on Facebook, or overhear conversations during the local support group meetings about the glorious achievements of other children. Do not play the dangerous comparison game! Your children will have glorious achievements one day, they will learn to read or ride a bike, they will choose to put someone else first, or they will serve at a soup kitchen. The character of your children should always trump worldly achievements. Be happy and rejoice with others when they rejoice in what their children have done, and rest in knowing you have continually put your children at the feet of Jesus - choose the best.

Celebrate the small things

It is tight and good to celebrate the small victories. It is not right and good to brag. Many of your celebrations will never be know outside of your immediate family, and that is OK! When a child is potty trained we celebrate, when they learn to read, we celebrate. When they graduate high school - then we celebrate with everyone … and sometimes we cry a little. When your child knows you find joy in their accomplishments, they will try harder at the difficult spots. They will want to rejoice with you when they overcome their obstacles. And maybe someday, you’ll get a text, from the not-so-little girl who did not enjoy math class, with a photo of her college test - with an A! Celebrate!

Dear younger Mom, this journey you are on is a life-changer. It will change you, as you work and learn alongside your children. As you are obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to love your children, and tell them about Him, He will shower you with a peace that even the toughest day cannot overcome!


Begin with Prayer.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Books With Bean ~ Dear America: Down the Rabbit Hole


Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Down the Rabbit Hole


Title: Dear America: Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, Chicago Illinois, 1871 

Author: Susan, Campbell Bartoletti 

Published: 2013

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary: When Pringle’s parents are killed in a carriage accident caused by workers of her father's coal mine, 14 year old Pringle Rose finds it hard to deal with the loss and her newfound responsibility for her younger brother who has Downs Syndrome. On top of all of this her uncle comes to live with the two children to manage their affairs, and brings Pringle's annoying Aunt and spoiled little cousin with him. The diary goes back and forth between present day (for Pringle) during which she and her brother have left their old home and are heading for Chicago to hopefully stay with a friend of their mother's, and memories of the days and months after her parents died up until it catches back up with Pringle on her cross country journey. 

What I liked about it: I love the Dear America books because they give you a first person perspective of the time each of the girls is writing in. With Pringle I was drawn into the story of her life and its sadness but also encouraged by her want to do what is best for her and her brother despite all their hardships. The book was both entertaining and educational and made me want to read more of the other books to learn more about other times in American history. One of the other things I like about it is while Pringle is not a real girl, there is a non-fiction section in the back of the book talking about what life was like with pictures and illustrations from the time.

Language: None

Romance: Pringle strikes up a friendship with a boy a few years older then herself that she meets one day while visiting her mother and father’s graves and becomes a bit infatuated with him and there is one brief kiss but it never goes anywhere after that as she soon leaves him and the city behind. 

Violence: Each of the Dear America diaries are written to help kids learn more about a particular time and/or place in American history. The Diary of Pringle Rose takes place in 1871 and mainly in Chicago during the time of the great Chicago fire of 1871. As such, Pringle witnesses the fire and its destruction but it is never overly graphic.

Magic: None 

Recommended Age: Pringle is 14 and I would say 12-13 is a good age to read this and any of the other Dear America Diaries. 


There are quite a few Dear America Diaries, some of which are no longer published as well as several newer ones written around the time of Down the Rabbit Hole.  The currently published books cover times from the pilgrims to the civil rights movement and are:

The First Pilgrims: Dear America: A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620

The Salem Witch Trials: Dear America, I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembly, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 (this one is a bit more mature)

The life of a Quaker girl taken captive by Lenape Indians: Dear America: Standing in the Light, The Captive Diary Of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Vally Pennsylvania, 1763

America during the revolutionary war: Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow, The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777

Dear America: Cannons at Dawn, The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779

The Organ Trail: Dear America: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, The Oregon Trail 1847

Pre-American Civil War slave life: Dear America: A Picture of Freedom, The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859

The American civil war in both the north: Dear America: A Light in the Storm, The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861

And South: Dear America: When Will This Cruel War Be Over, The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864

The Life of a former slave post American Civil War: Dear America: I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly, The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871: Dear America: Down the Rabbit Hole, The Diary of Pringle Rose, Chicago, Illinois, 1871 

A Gold Mining town California in the 1880s: Dear America: Behind the Masks, The Diary of Angeline Reddy, Bodie, California, 1880

The great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: Dear America: A City Tossed and Broken, The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco California, 1906

The Beginning of the Labor Union Movement: Dear America: Hear My Sorrow, The Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker, New York City, 1909

The Voyage of Titanic: Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic, The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918: Dear America: Like the Willow Tree, The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918

Christmas during the Great Depression: Dear America: Christmas After All, The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932

World War II in the North West USA: Dear America: The Fences Between Us, The Diary of Piper Davis: Seattle, Washington, 1941

The Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and the desegregation of schools: Dear America: With the Might of Angels, The Diary of Dawnie Ray Johnson, Hadley, Virginia, 1954


Besides these recent publications many libraries still have some copies of the out of print diaries which are also very good. 

If you finish these and want more there are the Royal Diaries which are fictitious diaries of famous woman rulers over history, and My Name is America which are about both boys throughout American history, and My America which is for younger children (1st-4th grade as opposed to Dear America which is more 5th grade +)

For those Living outside the USA there are also over 30 Dear Canada Diaries, which are set throughout Canadian History as well as over a dozen I am Canada books which are about Canadian boys living in Canada and helping around the world in events concerning their country.

For the UK their is both My Story: Girls and My Story: Boys which are about Children both in England and a few across the world throughout history.

For Australia there are over 25 books in the My Australian Story Series. Which are books about both boys and girls during important events in Australian history.

There is also My New Zealand Story for those living in New Zealand which like the other series has fictional diaries of boys and girls set during important events in New Zealand’s history. There are also over 25 of these. 


I can’t speak for the ones set in other countries but I will say this the original Dear America books are really good and a fun way to introduce kids to American History so if the ones for the other countries are even just half as good as them they will also be amazing books for kids anywhere to read to become more knowledgeable about their country's history.

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Down the Rabbit Hole








Saturday, June 16, 2018

1 Corinthians 12:7



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Bible verses, Holy Spirit





Pomegranate Sardine Salad

Some people like to spend time cooking and creating masterpieces in their kitchen. I am not one of those people. I prefer quick, easy recipes that satisfy my hunger while still being nutritious and delicious. Pomegranate sardine salad is one of those. It makes a wonderful, healthy lunch for at home or on the go. This recipe makes two salads. Simply divide each ingredient into two salad bowls or reusable containers. If you're taking the second salad for lunch tomorrow, just add the salad dressing in the morning before you leave home. :)


Wild Planet sardines, juicy gems, pomegranate salad, sardine salad

Pomegranate Sardine salad - serves 2

4 cups washed and chopped lettuce (romaine or leafy green)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated )
1 can Wild Planet Sardines (in water or olive oil)
1 cup Juicy Gems pomegranate arils
Honey mustard salad dressing

Enjoy your lunch!




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The End of Homeschooling ~ Part 1



life changes, graduation, homeschooling, future plans


Suddenly it hits you, and for the first time ever you realize that homeschooling is coming to an end. 

Not for the entire world - but for you! Homeschooling ends. Occasionally this happens because of a life change. Maybe Dad was injured at work and Mom now needs to get an outside income to keep the household running. Not just temporarily, but maybe forever. Or maybe your family has decided that the children will attend a private High School after eight years of home education. 

Or maybe - just maybe - you are like us. You are running out of kids to homeschool and the truth has finally hit home that there is an end to your homeschooling adventure. It does not mean that your adventures are over - far from it - but it means you are about to hang up your Mom/teacher hat and take on a different role. 

Perhaps this fills you with a bit of dread, simply because this is what you have been doing for the past 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years. Or maybe you are filled with joyful anticipation. Wherever you fall along that spectrum, there are a few things to think about as you reach the end of your homeschooling years. This short series of posts is designed to help you think through the steps and travel them with joy, not fear.

But first, let me tell you about when I realized the end was approaching. A few years ago I was at work. Yes, I've worked outside the home the entire 15 years of this journey. It has not been easy - it was often really difficult - but it was necessary, and God's grace is sufficient, and sleep is a wonderful thing - don't take it for granted. Anyway, I was at work and I reminded one of the store managers that I would be gone the rest of the week. He asked where I was going and when I told him to a homeschool convention his comment was: "It won't be too much longer you'll need to do that will you? Your girls are almost grown up."

WHAT?!?

I had seriously never thought about getting to the END of the journey. Not that I had not thought about quitting, because there are always some days when you just want to stop doing everything and just sit still - for a really long time. This whole homeschooling adventure can be overwhelming at times. That's why you need friends - praying friends! Friends who stand beside you, who encourage you, and lift you up when you stumble.

Once I realized that he was right, I really started thinking about what I wanted the girls to MOST remember about the end of their high school years. Emily only had a couple years left, and while Arlene had a few left, I knew the time was limited - so I wanted us all to make the best of it! I also realized it was time to get on the ball about changing those pen and paper notes about Emily's classes into a transcript.

When your children are little, you may never think about the day when they will be grown up. It seems too foreign of an idea to entertain even for a minute. But, I am here to tell you it happens! My little giggle box has grown into a 20 year old young woman. She owns her own car, drives herself to work and to college, and goes out with her friends. Sometimes, she even takes her little younger sister with her.

Our other daughter just turned 18. How did my little munchkin get so big? When did she surpass me in baking skills and how does she know so much about textiles? It happens one day at a time. With all that you and your friends pour into them, some of it sticks!

So, whether or not you are at the realization stage yet - know this - one day there will be and end to your homeschooling. God knows when the perfect timing for that is. He knows what will come afterwards - for both you and your children. But that is a post for another day!

In the meantime. Enjoy the days. Even when they seem really long. 
The days are long, but the years are short!

Do not be afraid of the end. Know that it is coming, and remember that God will be right there beside you the entire journey! Find the joy in the journey - it is shorter than you think!