Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Homeschooling Victories ~ friendship

Today's homeschooling victory to celebrate is friendship.

homeschooling victories, friendship, cross-generational, cultivating friends

Did you have a best friend while growing up? Do you have one now? How do they influence your life for the better? Some people can have a seemingly endless supply of close finds, and others of us only have a handful of those friendships. No matter how big or how small your inner circle of friend is - they are a valuable treasure - hold on to them!

Friendship is a relationship that requires both people to give, but both can receive so much more than they give. Intimate friendships are often hard to cultivate in this busy world, and that is why I'm focusing on friendship as one of our homeschooling victories to celebrate. I'm celebrating because even after all of these years, our daughters are not just sisters, but friends. In a traditional school setting it is often hard to cultivate a friendship with someone not in your grade, because the nature of the age-graded classrooms separate you. In home education, your children can cultivate friendships with other children of a variety of ages, and even with adults.

Our children learn their model of what friendship is from watching us interact with others. When we call someone our friend, they store up the ways that they see us interact with that person as their definition of friendship. More is caught than taught. You can read all the picture books in the world about friendship with your kids, but if they never see you interacting with your own friends, your children may not think true friendship is important. We must choose to take time to invest in our friendships as adults, and we need to include at least some friends that come with families attached so our families can interact and our children see what true friendship entails.

Good friends are often called the "family you choose" and that has been no truer than with my friend Sharra who passed away last year after a battle with cancer. She was the arms and feet of Jesus to so many people, and she shared her love for Jesus with everybody. Our friendship impacted not only myself, but our entire family for the better. She was a big cheerleader for our daughters, and they miss her too. Her memorial service was attended by hundreds of people who she had impacted - most of whom called her a friend. 

Sharra, the love of Jesus, friendship
Sharra and I -May 2017

I often think of friendship in light of the things God taught me through my friendship with Sharra. Whatever the situation, she always pointed me back to seeking out and following God's path for my life. When I look at the friendships our daughters have been able to cultivate over the years, I am reminded of the joy that having a close friend brings. Today, as young adults, our daughters choose to spend time together because they are not just sisters, but friends. They share a lot of the same group of friends, but they also have individual friendships that do not overlap. 

When I think about how it affects me to spend time with my friends, and how much better I feel about life afterwards, I am encouraged that our daughters have friends who like being zany or serious with them as the moment requires. Our daughters have the gift of friendships outside of their own age ranges too, and that I credit to the many opportunities they have had as homeschoolers. We have had the physical time to make the emotional investment into the lives of other people, and other adults have invested in our children as well. Our daughters have friends that are much older then they are, some even older than Kurt and I are, these friendships have often grown from a mentoring situation, or an interaction of sharing the love of Jesus with others, both inside our church and out. The girls also have younger friends, ones that they are mentoring, or just enjoy spending time with. While I am so very thankful for their friends that are in/ around their own age group, I am thankful they understand the value of cross-generational friendships as well!

Because of the flexibility of home education, our daughters, who would be two years apart in a traditional school, and worlds apart in the social scene at a public school, have experienced life together. Bonds have been forged that tie them together in a way only God could orchestrate. Yes, they do still ague at times, but what holds them together is so much stronger than anything that threatens to tear them apart.

For those of you reading this who are one of those friends of part of or all of our family - thank you! We are so blessed to be able to make time for the important things of life along this home education journey and beyond - and finding you as  our friends has been one of the many highlights, and victories, we have celebrated along the way!

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Homeschooling Victories ~ a love of learning

Today begins the Homeschool Review Crew's annual Spring Blog Hop. This year we decided to let each member of the blog hop team choose their own home education related topic - so you are in for some real treats! Everything from planning your first year of homeschooling to what happens after graduation! For our part, I choose to look back over our 15 years of educating our girls and choose some homeschooling victories to share with you. I hope you enjoy this week's posts. To see what everyone else is sharing, just click the links at the bottom of this post.

homeschooling victories, a love of learning, hands on learning, nature, art

Day 1 ~ a love of learning

Our first goal was not to re-create school at home, but rather to offer our girls an education tailored to their needs. One that helped strengthen them in their weaker areas, while allowing them to excel at their strengths. As such, our days were widely varied, and we rarely used a desk, unless it was to hold our art supplies! Our goal was to instill a love of learning, and I truly believe we succeeded! Not only do our daughters love to learn, they also love to help others learn.

Emily is almost 20 and studying to become a librarian. Her goals are to help adults overcome illiteracy and to make libraries more user friendly for those with learning challenges like dyslexia or dysgraphia. Besides sharing her love of books, she enjoys teaching children about spinning wool into yarn, about animals, and about superheroes.

Arlene is almost 18 and in her last year of high school. She excels in textiles, particularly spinning and weaving, and is always wanting to learn more, plus share what she already knows with others. She is a huge cheerleader for the youth spinning teams at Conner Prairie and is always trying to mentor younger spinners and weavers to help them improve their craft. Arlene has been learning about Indiana's Civil War history for several years and shares her passion for it on the grounds at Conner Prairie, both in first and third person interpretation areas.

Where does a love of learning come from? From God. Our children are born with a fascination for exploring new things, and it is our job as parents to not snuff it out! 

But wait...what if my kids are bored with learning?

Fear not! You can rekindle that love of learning in them. It just takes patience and time and room to grow. You need to stop thinking about how your children compare to the kids down the street or how they compare to their cousins and focus on making learning fun again. Our favorite ways to enjoy learning include art supplies and time spent outdoors. 

Have you ever heard of square foot exploration? You take a 4 foot long string and make a one foot square out in the yard. Now give your child a paper and some crayons or colored pencils and let them record what they find. It is not a race, just a fun way to sit outside for 15-30 minutes and learn how to observe. Maybe all they think they see is grass, or dirt, or sand. Give them time and let them find the worm, the ant, or the tip of a blade of grass. Let them look for tiny flowers or aphids on the back of a leaf. It is time to not be rushed. Maybe hand them a magnifying glass and walk back over to your own square. Too often we want our children to hurry up and finish a lesson so we can move on to the next thing.

What if the next thing is really doing nothing?

Sometimes our children's greatest need is to relax. 

To just be

To watch with their eyes and listen with their ears and see what God has placed around them. This learning to be at peace in a natural setting is a great lesson to absorb when they are young. It grounds them to the natural world and can be used to make them better stewards of the resources God will someday place in their hands. 

Will your kids get dirty? Oh, I hope so! God made them washable for a reason! Let nature soak into their souls at an early age and God will use it to speak His lessons to them as they grow up.

I still have a love of learning inside of me. My parents cultivated it by letting me explore: the backyard, the art museum, the beach, the woods. Kurt and I have tried our best to create a home environment where everyone is free to explore new things and learn at their own pace. 

Do you have enough down time in your schedule for your children to explore? If not, it is time to re-think your schedule and add in some margin. Some unplanned time each week where a love of learning can flourish. Allow yourself some time to learn something new as well. Our children learn more from what they see us doing than what they hear us saying. 

When did you last learn something new? Just a couple weeks ago Arlene started teaching me how to use a drop spindle to turn wool into yarn. It is not easy, but I am having fun learning! If you want to see how it is going you can check out our Instagram feed.

Stop back by tomorrow to hear about another great homeschooling victory!

Now where is my wool ...

homeschooling victories, a love of learning, hands on learning, nature, art

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Friday, April 20, 2018

More wildlife options!

*this post contains affiliate links*

The Old Schoolhouse, April sale bundle, nature learning

Ok, I just heard that this month's The Old Schoolhouse sale bundle is all about nature ... kind of reminds me of that post about SchoolhouseTeachers.com I wrote for this past Monday...

So, if your children are nutty for wildlife, or you need a swift and easy way to cover nature and the outside world, check out the bundle sale that includes 4 print magazines and 13 digital products for only $29! It is the "Cultivate What You Want to Grow" bundle, and covers all sort of natural wonders, from how sunflowers grow to zombie fire ants. And ... if you're still really struggling to incorporate nature into your homeschool - fear not - check out Creative Nature Study, one of the 13 digital products. 

I always enjoy the print magazines. They're timeless, so the ideas and articles can rejuvenate your learning and teaching time for this Spring and beyond. They're great to keep in your bag, or in the seat-back pocket of your car so you always have one available whenever you find an extra 5-10 minutes of wait time. We live in a town with a lot of trains, how many? So many that John Dillinger never robber a bank here because he knew he would get caught by a train! So... I've been known to put the car in park and read that print copy of The Old Schoolhouse that's right behind the seat for five minutes at a time while I wait for the train. Us working and homeschooling mamas know how to squeeze the most from what few free minutes we have. :)

The Old Schoolhouse, April sale bundle, nature learning

Remember, next week is the Spring Blog Hop, and I think you'll be both encouraged and surprised by some of the great articles coming up from members of the Homeschool Review Crew. My friend Hillary over at Walking Fruitfully is writing about post-graduation options other than college. I'm looking forward to reading her words of wisdom, and hope you'll be sure to stop in each day to read our offerings and then hop over to read hers. This home education journey takes a lot of twists and turns, and it is great to know you have options that will work for all of your kids!

We'll be off in nature ourselves this weekend. Follow our Instagram feed to find out where!

P.S. If you're a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, remember to go to your dashboard and sign up to have this summer's print copy of the magazine shipped to your house! If you're not a member yet, check out the scavenger hunt and maybe you'll be a prize winner!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Wildlife options at SchoolhouseTeachers.com

*this post contains affiliate links*

There are two weeks left in the Spring Scavenger Hunt at SchoolhouseTeachers.com and it got me to thinking... what do you do the most of in your homeschool? Do you have one subject you cover every day like maybe reading or math? Or is there one topic your children keep asking you to go back to? 

For us the recurring theme was and still is Nature Study. Next month Arlene will turn 18. In this last year of her homeschooling journey we are still finding ways to add nature learning into our daily learning. Just yesterday afternoon after church we took a short trip to see some birds. What kind of birds? White Pelicans! Yes, truly, we saw pelicans in Indiana! They are known for their migratory stopover in southern Indiana, but Kurt and I saw a flock of about 2 dozen of them here in Central Indiana Thursday evening and we drove the girls by to see them this afternoon. Likely by the end of the week they will have moved on, but in the interim, we got to enjoy them!

On Saturday Arlene, Emily, (17 & 19) and I stopped at Conner Prairie to see some of the new spring babies in the animal encounters area. Emily used to volunteer in this area a lot, and I could tell she was feeling a little blue. So we stopped for some baby animal (therapy) fun. Lots and lots of baby goats and lambs. By the time we left everyone was smiling.

Do you like to regularly take your kids out in nature, or is it a struggle for you? You do not have to live in the country to enjoy nature. We started by taking the girls out into the yard and letting them crawl around when they were less than a year old. I have an infamous picture of Arlene on the wall that shows her eating dirt just before her first birthday. Did it hurt her? No. Is it a funny memory for me? Absolutely! Does she love the outdoors? Yes!

If you are struggling with finding ways to incorporate nature study or biology into your home education routine then why not check out the offerings on SchoolhouseTeachers.com? There is a Nature Journal PDF suitable for any age to use to record their finds. Your 3rd-6th grader might enjoy the Wildlife Adventures course. Your older students could probably learn a lot from the Biology or Botany courses. Or maybe you just want to get better at taking pictures of what you find while you are outdoors? Then check out the 30 week course in photography and learn the skills to work with your camera instead of against it!

Whatever your child's interest, there is probably a course on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that can fill a need. With over 370 to choose from, why not take another look around? Remember, the scavenger hunt is only through April 30th and someone will win a laptop. Others will win a Kindle Fire or a year's membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com
It could be you! But only if you go play and enter!

Remember that next week is the Spring Blog Hop where we will be talking about homeschooling victories! Have a great week - and get outdoors!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Isaiah 30:15

Repentance and rest, quietness and trust.

I realize that I have been resisting these things that God wants to offer to me, just as He offered it to the nation of Israel. May I choose to repent of my hardness of heart, and find the rest and quietness that He offers. Will you join me?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blog Hop coming soon: Home Education Victories

Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop

The Homeschool Review Crew will be hosting its annual Spring Blog Hop from April 23-27.
This year, everyone is choosing their own topic. It's going to be a fun week of peeking into a lot of different families and finding some encouragement for your journey! I've seen the topics list and there will be something for everyone, wherever you are along your adventure, from just starting to almost finishing. :)

With this being Arlene's senior year of high school, I thought I'd take you back through these past 15 years of our family's homeschooling journey and share some homeschool victories. Some may seem small, but in the big picture they have become integral parts of our two girls' growth towards adulthood.

How crazy it sounds when I think about 2019 and being finished with homeschooling. One thing I have learned recently, is that even after they graduate, they still need their Mama (& Daddy!) This is a new stage of life our young adults enter after high school and some loving encouragement goes a long way.

I hope you'll join us each day from the 23rd-27th and find some fun, some adventure, and a lot of encouragement!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Princess Cut ~ a Crew movie review

Princess cut, romantic drama, dove approved

How do you start difficult discussions with your teenagers? Are there topics you know you have talked about in the past, that you want to revisit, but are unsure how to bring them up again? I think all of us as parents have struggled knowing how to begin a conversation about tough issues. If you are looking for ways to either start or continue the conversation about dating with your young-adult daughters, you may want to check out the movie Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures that the girls and I watched recently.

I am going to give some spoilers here, so if you just want a general overview, we give it a B. There are some characters we wish had been better developed during the 97 minute movie, and some Christian cliches that made the girls roll their eyes. It is a solid movie, and worth the watch for the right reasons, it just could have been better. Princess Cut is a movie to reinforce the idea of waiting upon God for direction, not necessarily a movie to teach the lesson of waiting. Our girls are about to turn 18 and 20, so if they had seen this when they were 15 & 17 they might have scored it a little higher, but not much. On on overall scale, this is a family friendly movie, as there is nothing objectionable that the younger siblings should not see, but we are recommending it for ages 15 and up because once you watch it, you need to have a serious discussion about it. Which things that happen in the movie do you agree with, and which are contrary to your own family's plans or beliefs?

Now, the spoilers...

Grace, the main character, is in her early 20's and on the lookout for Mr. Right. Grace is convinced she will know when she has found him because he will slip a Princess Cut diamond engagement ring on her finger and vow to love her forever. Before you think too harshly of Grace's dream, remember that all girls spend some sort of time daydreaming in those years between 15 and adulthood and/or marriage, and it usually involves guys.

Unfortunately for Grace, the one she thinks might be Mr. Right (this time) - Stewart, turns out to be another dud. Grace is frustrated and a bit angry because she sees all the faults in these young men and wonders if she is ever going to find the right one. She has yet to realize some of the faults may be her own. Thankfully her parents realize that Grace is struggling and her Dad takes time to talk with her about waiting upon God for her future, and about how she needs to let God change her into the person He wants her to be, instead of focusing on finding the right guy. Truer words were never spoken!

At this point Grace decides to break off her dating relationship with her current Mr. Wrong - Jared, and gets a bunch of devotional and bible-study books to read. We see her spending time reading and making notes. Her attitude towards her younger brothers improves and she helps out more at home.

Shortly after this point in the movie our daughter Emily (almost 20) said she wished they had developed this part of the movie better. Instead of just showing Grace journaling her thoughts, Em wished they had shown her getting together with her girlfriends and talking out all of their right and wrong ideas about love, dating, and marriage and focusing instead on the Biblical mandate to trust God for our futures. The problem with that idea for this movie is that Grace's supposed best friend is a horrible influence and obviously living by Christian values.

As the movie continues, we see Grace and her family spending time with their new neighbor, Clint, who turns out to be Grace's Mr. Right in the end. The movie shows a more courtship style of relationship developing, and Grace and Clint are forced to work out some real struggles brought about by the arrival of Clint's ex-girlfriend.

The movie has a happy ending with Clint proposing to Grace and everyone hugging, then a brief look ahead into their married life.

Now our other thoughts

I'm not opposed to courtship as a means of building a relationship that will probably lead to marriage. I think overall it is a safer route than the traditional dating that many of us used in the past to find our spouses.  Courtship can help protect hearts, but it is not perfect either. We are sinful people, even as Christians, and we need to be involved in the lives of our young adult children.

There are some things the girls and I want you to know before watching the Princess Cut.

First up: the girls both agreed that the best situation for watching this movie would be in a family or small group setting where you had been studying God's word and what it says about marriage and/or relationships. There are several good devotional and small group Bible studies available that would help your young adult daughters and their friends have good conversations about healthy relationships. Watching Princess Cut alongside one of these studies would give opportunities to discuss what Grace and her parents did right, and what they did wrong.

Secondly: sadly, this movie does not focus on what to do while you are waiting for God to show you His plans for your life. There could definitely be a better development of the growing up involved while searching for God aspect of the story. Grace's character is naive and self-centered. Both of our girls pointed out that parents should not wait until their teen or young adult daughters are struggling with dating relationships to get involved in their lives. They both were sad that Grace lacked direction in her own life, as evidenced by her focus on the ring she wanted instead of the character of the man who might become her husband, so they found it no real surprise that she did not have any clue about what to look for in a boyfriend. They also wondered at Grace's best friend and her poor influence on Grace's choices, and why her parents had not been more involved along this path as well. We don't choose our children's friends, but we do want to help them understand how they can influence others for good, and how to recognize when their own friend might be leading them astray. During the movie Grace comments that she feels confused about what the right choices are, and while she thinks she knows what her parents would choose, she is not sure if she agrees. This leads me to the conclusion that Grace has not made her parents' faith or morals her own, but is adrift, needing a sure foundation from which to make her choices.

Don't be turned off by our girls' assessment of the movie characters. It is still a solid movie, worth the watch, and worthy of discussion. It might be the wake-up call you need to get more involved in your children's lives. Although most teens and young adults crave the independence that comes with being older, like being able to drive, choosing their own friends and dressing in their own style, they know deep down inside that they still need the dependable guidance of their parents. Spending time tying heart-strings with your children at any age can set the stage for real conversations about all the new situations they face at this age. Learn something from Grace's parents in this movie - about asking for forgiveness when you've fallen short, and about staying involved in your child's life even when they reach adulthood. There is a vast difference between not letting your child grow into an adult and abandoning your responsibilities as a parent. We want to fall somewhere in the middle - where we heed the call of God to gently guide our young adults without trying to run their lives.

Both Emily and Arlene agreed that the character of Dr. Clint Masters should have been better developed. Although we are told he is a Doctor at the local clinic, there is only one brief scene where it shows him doing any doctoring, and it is a pretty weak representation of the medical field.

One point Emily wanted me to stress is that you need to talk to your girls about the movie after it is over. Princess Cut could give some viewers the impression that if you give your life over to waiting on God that you are almost automatically guaranteed to get what you want, as Grace did in the movie. That is not a true representation of how God moves. He is God, not a fairy godmother, and sometimes He tells us "No."

You can purchase the Princess Cut movie on their website, where they also offer three different books about boy/girl relationships for the young adults in your life. If not one of these, please choose an appropriate title form your local Christian bookseller and continue the conversations that a the movie began. Our young adult children need parents who are lovingly involved in helping them grow into the people God designed them to be!

Connect with the Princess Cut movie
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Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}

Isaiah 30:10-11

Written in the margin of my Bible next to these verses is the note "utterly lost!" No wonder Isaiah often felt bereft of hope. What would you think if the people God had sent you to said this to you? It would be difficult to still show people the love of God.

Do you have someone in your life who remind you of these people Isaiah was sent to? Then take heart and know you are not alone, others have endured the same trials you are undergoing. Choose to love these people anyway!

We are called to share the message of the Gospel (the good news) of Jesus to all the world. Even to those who we think are utterly lost.

Love them anyway!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Just Charcoal ~ review

Just Charcoal, activated charcoal, detox, face mask

For years I've had friends comment on using activated charcoal. Until recently though, I had never tried it myself. I received a bottle of Just Charcoal from Trusted Organics to check out for this review.

I started reading up on various ways to utilize activated charcoal. The internet abounds with suggestions, but I wanted to dig deeper than just the surface to get to the best uses for activated charcoal. The first things to learn is that activated charcoal is nothing at all like the charcoal people use on their grills. That kind of charcoal is not good for you, and you should never, ever take it internally. 

Activated charcoal is made from the by-products of coconut shells, wood, coal or bamboo. Just Charcoal brand is made from the shells of sustainably harvested coconuts. This is a fine powder contained in a capsule. 

Activated charcoal is probably best known for its adsorption properties when used in the ER after accidental poisonings, but it should be known for the good results it can help you achieve at home. Adsorption is different than absorption. Basically, it means there is a huge amount of surface area on the porous surface of the charcoal powder and bad things stick to the charcoal and it all leaves your body together. :)

So, if you've been eating out a lot, and your digestive tract is all out of whack - you're a great candidate to get relief from taking Just Charcoal. That's what I did after we spent three days eating stadium food at the NFL scouting combine. I took the activated charcoal each night before bed, with a huge glass of water, and after just a couple days my system was back on track. 

Other people take activated charcoal to help with bloating. I'm keeping some around from now on because I am sure there will be days when we will need it. I don't ever want to be bloated, but you know, it sometimes happens.

But what if you're looking for other uses? I've seen several reports of people using activated charcoal to whiten their teeth. The jury is still out on this usage for me. Several people sing its praises, while others are cautious because of the concern that you could brush too hard and damage your enamel while cleaning out the stains. You'll have to decide this one yourself.

Do you know you need a detox? Have you made a plan yet? Consider taking activated charcoal each morning (or evening) to help clean the long-lasting gunk out of your digestive tract. You'll want to remember to take the activated charcoal at least two hours apart from any medications or nutritional supplements. That way the activated charcoal will not be wiping the good stuff out of your system while it takes the bad. You also need to remember to drink plenty of water!

Another great usage for activated charcoal is as a facial mask to draw impurities from your skin. Get a small bowl and open a capsule and mix it with raw honey. Then smear the mixture on your face (avoiding the eyes) and let it set for a few minutes. Then wash off with warm water and pat dry. Warning, when you open a capsule you will create a mess, so cover your counter with a paper towel before you begin.

Overall, I've had great results using Just Charcoal from Trusted Organics. You can purchase Just Charcoal on Amazon - it is a Prime free shipping eligible item. 

Just Charcoal, activated charcoal, detox, face mask

So tell me, what are your favorite uses for activated charcoal?
Leave a comment and give me some more ideas for this versatile product!

Disclaimer: I received a free container of this product in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Books With Bean Spring Break

Books With Bean, Spring Break, book reviews by teens

A huge thank you to all of you who stop by faithfully each Monday to read Arlene's Books With Bean book review column. 
We want you to know that Books With Bean will be taking a three week break beginning today and going for two more weeks.

Arlene is hard at work on her 4-H projects so they can be finished before Memorial Day at the end of May. To do so, we've decided to take a short break. The third week - April 23rd - will be the week of a blog hop, so there will be other posts from one of us each day that week.

Thanks again for stopping by - we've got a lot planned for the rest of this month, and we hope it keeps you happily reading all month long. 
Books With Bean will return on Monday, April 30th!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SchoolhouseTeachers.com April Scavenger Hunt ~ Win Prizes!

This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase, it will not cost you any extra, but it will help fuel our blog - thank you!

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is having an April scavenger hunt with cool prizes and I could not let this opportunity pass you by! So many of you have asked me what kind of courses there are available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and this is an excellent time for you to do some digging yourselves. Prizes include a laptop computer, Kindle Fires, and annual memberships to SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

But before we go any further, let me tell you about this gem of a course I just found on SchoolhouseTeachers. Fashions in History is an 11 week course designed to give an overview of women's fashions from the 18th century through 1910. It also makes mention of some of the changes in men's fashions. This course would be excellent for girls in middle school up through high school, but can be adapted for siblings as young as third grade to join in. Personally, I am planning to go  through this course with Arlene, who is a high school senior, to review what we have already earned through her volunteer work at our local living history museum, and to learn more about the fashion terms and textile characteristics we have not yet learned from this timeframe. It's time to up our game before she is ready to apply for a paid position at the museum next year!

As I looked through the Parent's guide to this course on fashions, I see there are several readings that are designed to challenge the high school aged students, especially those who are looking at a career in textiles or museum work. This is a boon to students who want to excel at their craft, as the course is taught by a former museum curator who now curates a small private artifact collection while homeschooling her own daughter.

So what if a career in textiles or museum work is not in your child's future? Take a look round SchoolhouseTeachers.com at the other 360 courses they offer. I particularly like this Scavenger Hunt because it will introduce you to areas that Arlene and I do not regularly use, so you see more options! It has been a long time since I wanted to pull up a preschool video or an early math lesson, but you can do both on Schoolhouseteachers.com!

Is your child enamored with facts? Do they like to quote to you from science books or recall unusual historical events? Then you may want to look at the World Book libraries or search by subject for History courses.

The important thing is for you to go and enjoy the Scavenger Hunt
Do it today. Why? Because when I remind you about it again later this month you'll feel accomplished for having already completed the hunt and having entered to win a prize, instead of wondering when you'll find time to do that... remember, I'm a homeschool mom too - whatever you're up against this month in life, I've probably already been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. Here is what I know: God is faithful to hold you through the storms, and bring you out on the other side - refined!

So Scavenger Hunt anyone? 

Yes, I thought so! Who would not want to win one of those great prizes? Go explore a little with the scavenger hunt, then make a note on your planner to go back and try out the courses that interest your family the most! Remember, there are two levels of membership available: Limited Annual Yearly Membership for those whose children are all in the ages of Preschool-8th grade, and the Ultimate Annual Yearly membership that covers from preschool all the way through high school graduation!

For those who might be wondering if SchoolhouseTeachers.com is affordable, let me remind you of this, the Ultimate Annual Yearly membership works out to less than $15/ month. That is less than our family's monthly bill from Netflix, and I can tell you that no reasonable person should be spending more on Netflix than they are on their child's education! 

If you are wondering if there is enough variety on SchoolhouseTeachers.com to keep your older student well occupied - that answer is also yes! There are several high school level courses, including ones that cover veterinary science and other career choices. STOP thinking of your child's home education as doing school at home, and start thinking outside the box! Covering the basics to graduation should never be boring, and you can cover so much MORE than the basics with a SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership!

A quick recap:
One membership covers the entire family 
No extra per-child fees
Online - take it anywhere
No extra textbooks to buy
Great resources to help and encourage parents

Now, go join that Scavenger Hunt and let me know if you win a prize! Just click on the banner below to get started!

Mark 14:38

Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Mark 14:38

Monday, April 2, 2018

Books With Bean ~ Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins, Books With Bean, book reviews by teens

Title: Mary Poppins 

Author: P. L. Travers 

Published:  1934

Genre: Children’s

Summary: With their old nursemaid having just left, the Bank’s family finds themselves in need of a new one to look after the four children. Jane and Michael the older two of the four Banks children are waiting at the nursery window while their mother writes to the paper asking for them to send her a good inexpensive nanny when the wind seen to quite literally blow one to their door. She is greeted by Mrs. Banks and introduced to the children as Mary Poppins. As soon as the children meet her it is quite obvious to them that she is unlike their last nursemaid and they soon find their lives quite changed by the new nanny.

What I liked about it: What didn’t I like about it? Most know Mary Poppins by the Disney movie musical and indeed that was my first introduction to the stories as well. It wasn't until many years later that I found the books at which time I immediately read them all. They are fun and interesting and have a classic charm that makes them able to still be enjoyed many years later by people of all ages. The children are realistic and Mary Poppins is in a league of her own. So different but of course Practically Perfect in Every Way.

Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: None

Magic: Well their has to be some sort of magic to have the adventures that Mary Poppins takes the children on but it is never really talked about. 

Recommended Age: This is a wonderful book to read aloud to young children and for them to read on their own as they get a little older. I think for the first read aloud 4 or 5 would be just the age. 

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Mary Poppins, read aloud

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Friday, March 30, 2018


It's been a while since I've had the privilege of joining the Five Minute Friday free-write. I've missed the community! 
In my defense, I was busy reading Kate's new book, and working. You can read my review of A Place to Land, but mostly, I want to encourage you to get your own copy and let God speak to you through Kate's words. 
If you're new to the Five Minute Friday idea, here's how it works: Kate gives us a word prompt late Thursday night and we all write for five unedited minutes. Then we share and encourage one another. It is great fun! You should join us!

This week's word is: settle

settle, belonging, five minute friday

Far too often we think of the word settle as a negative word. Settle for less, or settle a new colony. These themes make us think that someone has done something wrong or controversial. It is time we take back our thinking and realize that God does mighty things in our lives. 

Settle can be a wonderful word. You can settle into a comfy couch or settle into a relationship with a new friend. It denotes a feeling of belonging, or comfort or joy. We all could use a little more joy in our lives! 

Right now I am settled on the couch in a patch of sunshine. I suppose I could be out picking up trash in the yard, but instead, for this one afternoon, I am going to settle into the knowledge that God is enough. I have no need of striving to earn grace, I have been given grace abundantly. I am not going to try to earn favor from other people by trying to meet their needs instead of listening to where God wants my focus to be.

Today, I choose to settle into the contentment that comes form knowing I am a child of the One True King. Knowing that Sunday is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection fills me with hope and joy. 
That's the kind of settling I'm doing.

How about you?