Monday, March 28, 2011

Memoir Monday - Week 26

Children are such a blessing! I do so enjoy watching them grow up even though it happens way too fast.  This week's focus is on our lovely babies.

1. When you were younger – how many kids did you think you wanted? Did that change? How many do you have and would you want more?

2. What were your pregnancies like with each of your children?

1. When you were younger – how many kids did you think you wanted? Did that change? How many do you have and would you want more?

I had my children young. My daughter was born when I was twenty. I didn’t really have time to plan on kids or how many. When she was born, I knew there would be at least one more – we’ve always moved around a lot, and I wanted her to have a sibling. When I remarried, I wanted to have another child with my husband. We ended up having two. So, four total. I can’t say I really planned that number one way or the other. God knows just how many He wants to give, and I’m glad I have the four I do. More? Ummm… No. I think diaper days have passed us by. Grandchildren one day will be nice, but I’m certainly in no rush!

2. What were your pregnancies like with each of your children?

My first one I had a little preeclampsia. She was late by a few days, induced, and weighted 8lbs 10.5ozs.

My second was a week late, also induced, and weighed 11lbs. It turned out he had a defect called pyloric stenosis, so at six weeks had to have surgery on his stomach. Being a big baby really helped him come through that well.

I had placenta previa with my third. After several trips to the hospital, he was delivered five weeks early and spent a week in the hospital. He’s my only c-section. 5lbs 5ozs at birth – so tiny!

My last was my easiest pregnancy. He was to be induced on my birthday. We had the pitosin running and everything, but he wouldn’t come. So, one week later he made his appearance by a second induction. He was 9lbs 13ozs.

None came on their own – that would have been nice, but at least I knew when to expect them. Of course, that is, except for my last one that wanted to wait a week.

Come on by and link up letting us know how your family grew to what it is today...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog Cruise - Tackling Tough Subjects

This week, the Homeschool Blog Cruise asks us how we plan teach the challenging and advanced subjects if we struggle with them ourselves?

We haven’t hit this point yet. High school starts for us next year. We’re very excited to enter this new phase of homeschooling, but I do realize that there will be times when even the collective efforts of myself and my husband won’t be enough for some of the tougher subjects.

I, for example, am not a big math fan. Thus, Algebra II, Pre/Calculus, Chemistry and Physics scare me a little. Fortunately, my hubby has a math brain, but he hasn’t tackled those subjects in years either. So, how are we going to handle them?

Plan A

We are members of a WONDERFUL co-op. There are many bright ladies who teach these subjects wonderfully. Some will be graduating their students and moving on before mine are old enough, so I am praying that others will come in that can fill their shoes. Having a co-op that attracts homeschooling parents with expertise in these areas has been such a blessing.

Plan B

Hopefully the dual enrollment option for the community colleges won’t go away completely by the time we get to these courses. I can see having my boys take physics or calculus at the local community college and benefit not only from the instruction but the availability of tutoring. I’d be happy to pay full price for the classes if this option does go away. I know the community colleges have a policy for allowing younger students if they can prove aptitude.

Plan C

Learn it with them. If all else fails, we’ll take the class together. I have confidence that with my student, myself and my husband all working through the course together, we can be successful. Goodness knows there are TONS of resources available to help us if we need it. I think my approach would be to take the course myself over the summer and then retake the course with my student.

What have you done when courses are beyond your expertise? How do you plan to approach those hard to teach classes?

To see additional interesting posts - hop on over to the Homeschool Blog Cruise...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Memoir Monday Sneak Peek - Week 26

Children are such a blessing!

I know I praise God each day for mine! Spring is here and several young ladies I know are experiencing motherhood for the first, second or more times.

This week’s Monday Memoir is about our kids…

1. When you were younger – how many kids did you think you wanted? Did that change? How many do you have and would you want more?

2. What were your pregnancies like with each of your children?

Post your responses and then come on back on Monday and link up!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hablo Deutsch?

We are beginning to think about tackling foreign language in our homeschool. We’ve done some basic Spanish, and my older son took a year of Latin, but it’s time to get serious.

Personally, I love the idea of being multilingual. Of course, as I’ve told my children, the fact that I want to be able to speak another language isn’t enough. The desire doesn’t make it happen – it’s a lot of hard work! Wouldn’t it be great to go to bed one night and wake up the next day speaking several languages?

So, the question is – which language to learn?

My older son wants to learn Spanish. There are a lot of practical reasons for this. It is the language he is most likely to encounter. Additionally, Central and South America are closest to the U.S. giving us the best opportunity for taking a cultural excursion to practice what we have learned. We’ve already been to Mexico once. I know I enjoyed testing out my limited abilities.

However… My younger son is a big fan of German. Sure, there are lots of reasons for studying German as well. It is one of the major languages and offers more opportunities for international business. I took two or three years of German (can’t quite remember) in high school. I still recall the basics, but that’s it. We’ve also been to Germany, but I think it’s less likely we’ll be going back any time soon.

Personally, I’ve been encouraging them to pick one since they would at least be able to practice with each other. They aren’t buying that argument.

I’m happy to do either as I’d like to study with them, but doubt I would be up for doing both. Is that lazy? What are your thoughts?

The fact is – we have to do language. NC colleges require two years or more. I want to pick a good language learning program. I’ve beta tested Rosetta Stone, but didn’t like the lack of grammatical practice. Remember – our goal is to apply this in college, not just be conversational. Plus, it’s REALLY expensive. I have Tell Me More at home – it has gotten better reviews and does do some grammar, so we may go this route. This is one of the areas that I worry about messing up.

What programs/curricula do you use in your homeschool to teach foreign language?

You know – I think Americans are at a strong disadvantage in this area. If you live in Europe and want to practice your Italian, you hop on the Euro rail and spend the weekend in Italy. We just don’t have that option. It’s no wonder Europeans are bilingual and we’re not. So, how do we give our children this advantage?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artistic Pursuits - Review

Artistic Pursuits

Junior High Book 1 - The Elements of Art and Composition

Price: $42.95

Artistic Pursuits is a very different take on art curriculum for the homeschooled student. Most books offer step by step methods to creating drawings or art. Artistic Pursuits uses a different approach by exposing the student to the concepts and background of art then allowing the student to express himself using those concepts without any predefined steps.

“This book covers the elements of art and composition with emphasis on World Art! Students learn how to draw and gain understanding of how different ideas affect the look of the art made by cultures around the world.

Media Introduced: 2 grades of drawing pencil, black ink applied with pen and brush, wire sculpture.

Contents: 1. Space 2. Line 3. Texture 4. Shape 5. Form 6. Value 7. Line in 3 dimensions 8. Visual Paths in Line 9. Center of Interest 10. Balance, Symmetry 11. Balance, Asymmetry 12. Rhythm 13. Space Without Depth 14. Space With Depth 15. Perspective 16. Proportion”

I requested the opportunity to review this product because my thirteen year old son loves to draw using pencil and paper. He’s not interested in color or paint (you’ll find those in book 2). He’s already very creative and an excellent drawer, so the concepts and approach used in this textbook really worked for him. He enjoyed learning about different cultures and their art.

For the creative and artistic child, Artistic Pursuits allows him/her to go beyond what they have learned just using their own natural ability and develop new techniques and methods for expression.

That being said, if you have a child that doesn’t have a lot of natural ability, he/she may prefer a more directed approach to art. In our case, my younger son doesn’t have the eye or the physical dexterity for drawing that his brother does, so he didn’t feel as free to simply explore the art discussed in the lessons. Since we’ve only used Junior High, Book 1, he may have benefitted from using the earlier levels prior to trying this one.

We love art, but we find it hard to find ways to incorporate it into our homeschool day. This book is fairly self directed and has been a nice addition for my oldest son allowing him a little creativity amongst the rigor of math and science.

Here's a few of the pieces my oldest produced - pretty good if I do say so myself:

To see other reviews by the TOS Homeschool Crew click here.

*** I received a review copy free of charge as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You “Like” Me? - Heartfelt on Facebook

Hi all! I have added Heartfelt Homeschooling to Facebook. It’s been an adventure, but I know that Facebook is where many of us live and breathe.

I’ve tried adding it using the code provided, but either my blog or my browser isn’t cooperating. If you have a fan page for your blog on Facebook, leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to “Like” you right back.  If you haven’t already, please mosey on over and hit the “Like” button.

It feels so good to know someone out there "Likes" you...  :-)

Memoir Monday - Week 25

The boys were in a TKD tournament this weekend. My oldest told me he didn’t want to go, but I made him. Regret. He was miserable. How do you know when it’s time to push them and when it’s time to listen? I learned a lesson this weekend. No more pushing without really listening.

1. What activities did your parents have you participate in as a pre-teen/tween (sports, clubs, church)? What were your favorite? What would you have preferred not to do?

2. What activities did you choose to participate in as a teenager? Did they help you when it came to choosing a career or preparing for college?

1. What activities did your parents have you participate in as a pre-teen/tween (sports, clubs, church)? What were your favorite? What would you have preferred not to do?

I vaguely remember being in baton and ballet as a young child. We had elaborate costumes and I have a little case of medals I apparently won doing baton. I remember wanting to play soccer, but my mom had shin problems and was terrified we’d get our shins hurt. We went to one practice and that was it.

My sister and I were both in Campfire girls. I don't know if they even still exist – seems like it’s all Girl Scouts these days. The Campfire Girls wore American Indian outfits for ceremonies, and we won beads for different accomplishments. I even remember using a bead loom to make a headband for my outfit. I went to camp several times as a Campfire Girl as well. One year, I got to go for free because of all the candy we sold. Yes, we sold candy instead of cookies, and it was really good! There was this stuff called Peanut Brickle and toffee bars that were essentially miniature Heath bars. Those were my favorites! My mom’s strategy was to take us by all the fraternities and sororities right about the time they were getting the munchies in the evening. We made a killing!

I don’t really remember any other activities. There may have been some, but they aren’t jumping into the ol’ brain right now.

2. What activities did you choose to participate in as a teenager? Did they help you when it came to choosing a career or preparing for college?

When I got older, my mom enrolled my sister and I in a gymnastics/tap/dance class. It was fun, but very awkward. Most that went were very agile – I’ve never even been able to execute a proper cartwheel. Needless to say, the gymnastics part of that grouping was laughable for me. I’ve never been a very petite girl either. Tap was fun, and the jazz dance was fun. The costumes were embarrassing.

We met the speech and debate coach at a Dunkin Donuts by accident one day. He talked me into trying it, and I was hooked. Speech and debate was my main activity all through high school. Made it to state a couple of times, but mostly I enjoyed spending most weekends away from home, staying in hotels, and hanging out with friends while arguing my way through competitions.

My parents even sent me to Ohio for a debate camp on summer. Me and two friends went. The problem was I went to work on my individual debate skills, but all they were teaching was team debate. (They didn’t tell us there wasn’t enough enrollment for the other.) The trip was a blast, but didn’t really help with my skills.

Post your responses to these questions on your blog, and then link up!  I'm looking forward to seeing what you were involved in!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog Cruise - Life Skills in the Homeschool

This week, the Homeschool Blog Cruise asks us about how we incorporate life skills into the homeschool routine.

Life skills are a very important part of growing up. I know, as a child, I always enjoyed cooking and was already a clean freak. So, those types of skills I developed on my own. However, not all kids like those types of things. Boys especially.

For my two, I think it’s important that they know how to cook, clean, maintain a house, change a tire and oil, and balance a budget. I’m still working on how that all gets done before they graduate.

There are some good curriculums out there for the food and nutrition aspects of life skills. Each of my boys will take a semester course focused on nutrition and cooking. My oldest son took a foods class in public high school and loved it. He even created the winning taco pizza in his class. In addition to this type of class, I have them making their own foods for breakfast and lunch. If they want eggs or soup or a sandwich, it is important they can do that by themselves. We have days where they get to help cook, and I always pull them in to help with the holiday cooking.

Cleaning typically gets covered through the chores they are expected to do around the house. Whether it’s dusting, cleaning bathrooms, taking out the trash, doing the dishes - they are expected to pitch in. Laundry comes once they hit the mid-teen years. At that point, they are plenty capable of doing it themselves. With a family of six, there’s always a load in the washing machine.

Car and house maintenance are a different animal altogether. I’m hoping to read how others have handled this aspect. Being a DIY type of person, plumbing, minor electric, painting, and such are all things I’ve learned and hope to pass on to them. I’m just not sure how. My oldest son is working as a mechanic – I plan to have him do workshops with the boys so they know the basic maintenance on their car.

Finally, finances. We’re blessed to be part of a co-op that includes Financial Peace as one of the courses. Each of my boys will go through this course before they graduate. Nowadays, money management is a key to survival, not just success.

How do you do it in your homeschool? What tried and true methods have you come up with to make sure your children are prepared for life on their own?

To see additional interesting posts - hop on over to the Homeschool Blog Cruise...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Memoir Monday Sneak Peek - Week 25

This week my boys have been very active. They each had a “party” to go to on Friday night – one for teens and one for tweens. Big fun! Taekwondo tournament starts in about an hour – so they are plenty busy. Activities are often an integral part of childhood. So, here are the Memoir questions for this week along that vein:

1. What activities did your parents have you participate in as a pre-teen/tween (sports, clubs, church)? What were your favorite? What would you have preferred not to do?

2. What activities did you choose to participate in as a teenager? Did they help you when it came to choosing a career or preparing for college?

Post your responses to these questions on your blog, and then come on back on Monday and link up!  I'm looking forward to seeing what you were involved in!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Question Friday

Join me in a little Five Question Friday? When you are done visit the My Little Life blog to see what others had to say.

1. Have you ever testified in court? For what?

I had to testify at a child support hearing, but that is it. Nothing bigger than that. So glad that is all over!!

2. Do you still have your wedding dress?

Actually, it is my sister’s, and, yes, it’s up in my attic. I guess we really need to decide what to do with it. I don't guess either of us will be using it again. I could ship it back to Colorado, but then what would she do with it? She’ll be here this summer – good thing to put on the agenda to discuss. I don’t mind it up in the attic, but she might like to consign it and make a few bucks.

3. Is there a special place you like to go when you're happy, sad, stressed, etc.?

When I’m happy, I just love to be around my family or my friends. That’s what makes me happy (most of the time.)

When I’m sad, I like to sleep. Crawl in bed, pull up the covers and sleep it off.

Stressed – well, I clean. If I’m really stressed or anxious, I suddenly have a compulsion to clean everything around me. Unfortunately, that means me seeing all that the others need to pick up and hollering about it, which results in more stress for everyone. Maybe I should just go to bed then too!

4. If you have kids, do they sleep with you? If you don't have kids...will you let your kids sleep with you when/if you have them?

When my kids were young, they would sleep with us sometimes. I’d always nap with them. There’s nothing more heavenly than wrapping your arms around your two year old while he/she drifts off to sleep.

5. Do you watch late night TV?

Not really. We watch and occasional game or the sci-fi channel. Yes, we’re geeks!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We Be Big - Review

We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How Two Kids from Calhoun County, Alabama, Became Rick and Bubba

Rick Burgess, Bill Bussey and Don Keith

I was looking to read something different. Not fiction, but fun, more breadth than depth. We Be Big sounded like just the ticket. Whoever Rick and Bubba were, they certainly didn’t take themselves too seriously.

I really enjoyed this book! I didn’t get exactly what I was looking for – there was depth and breadth, but I’m definitely not complaining. In fact, I wish I was able to listen to Rick and Bubba on the radio. Of course, it’d have to be their last hour or so. I don’t do 6:00am, and they do the morning show.

What I liked most was that their personalities permeate each and every page. They are a couple of average guys with a love for radio who decided the key to their success was to “keep it real.” And, real it is! Whether it is a funny anecdote about trying to get free food from listeners, or their background story about how they got to where they are, or sharing terrible tragedy, these two self-proclaimed “fat men” keep it real.

What one wouldn’t expect is their dedication to their faith. Not that funny and Christian don’t go together, but often fame and faith aren’t found in the same venue. Keeping it real means making sure they share their deep faith along with their love of fried chicken, tennis or hunting. They are unapologetically Christian and clearly conservative, but their approach through humor makes even those on the opposing bench like these guys. As they note, they aren’t stuffing it down anybody’s throat, but they also aren’t hiding it away because that would feel dishonest to them and their audience.

If you’re looking for some engaging reading outside the “norm”, an affirmation that faith and life aren’t two separate things, and some very interesting marketing tips, then I’d encourage you to pick up this book. I’m packing it in the hubby’s suitcase for his next business trip – I think he’ll really enjoy it as well.

*** I was given a free copy of this book by BookSneeze for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Post: Lee Binz - Lack of Motivation in Teenagers

I find I really struggle with the lack of motivation I see in teens today - mine, those I teach, those at church, everywhere.  What to do?  I love reading Lee's articles on raising teenagers.  She has graciously agreed to allow this guest post.  I hope you find it as encouraging as I do.  You can find Lee Binz on her site -

January 2010
by Lee Binz
The HomeScholar

Now What?
It can happen overnight. One day your child is pleasant, cooperative, and enthusiastic about learning. The next day…. Not so much. It happens to boys and girls, but not to everyone. It’s common, but that doesn’t make it easier for parents to deal with. What do you do with a child who will only do the bare minimum, and really isn’t interested in learning?

Some teenagers will remain pleasant and generally cooperative, but will do everything in a uniquely slow-as-molasses way, with a seemingly complete lack of motivation. That’s when parents look heavenward, asking the age-old question, “Now what?”

Sometimes this may be “just a phase" - as if the kids are checking just to see who is REALLY the boss, and what REALLY matters to Mom and Dad. If that is the case, then the solution is to wait until the phase it over...... Bummer, I know, because as a parent it feels like having nails on the chalkboard all day, every day. Sometimes it will last just a couple of weeks, while child (or parent) figures out what adjustments have to be made. Other times the lack of motivation lasts for months - or even a year - until the child finds something that really sparks an interest.

Misery Loves Company
One client, Cindy, was devastated when her daughter became that way at age 14. Her daughter had always been a driven and perfectionist person. But suddenly her daughter wasn't interested in piano or flute any further, and just didn't have any activity that she enjoyed. Cindy was very worried about her sitting around, uncharacteristically on the couch all day. Finally her daughter picked up a guitar for the first time.... A few months later she was helping the worship leader at church. When I spoke to Cindy recently, she hardly remembered those difficult times.

Another client had a very similar concern. I was consulting with her in her home, and I met her son. It was certainly the exact way she said it was; no interests but the couch and video games - she was beside herself. I saw this client a few months ago, and her son had completely turned the corner. She “forced” him to take a class for school, and he suddenly discovered politics and debate. Now he is going 100% full speed.

I know that I had issues, particularly with my oldest. At that time, his love of chess really SEEMED like he was wasting his life and doing nothing. He was just sitting on the couch reading books about chess, and playing that crazy board game for hours on end. At the time I thought I would go nuts. Now, of course, I realized that he was working on his area of specialization, but at the time it was just horrible.

Other moms who have gone through this same thing and survived. It doesn't make it easier, but perhaps it can make it more tolerable. Beyond knowing that misery loves company, I can offer some possible solutions. Take what will work for your family.

Assess Your Expectations
Assess the expectations you have in your homeschool. Sometimes when I consult with moms about this issue and talk to them at length, I find out that the child is actually overworked. If you are doing a classical education, particularly at a classical homeschool coop, you may be at greater risk of having expectations that are too high. Regardless of your curriculum choice, look at the schoolwork you are expecting.

Is the level of work too high? Is the number of hours too great? How many hours would it take a normal child to work at normal speed to get that amount of work done? How long would it take you to complete all the assignments, if you were doing them at a normal speed? Is your child expected to work longer at school than your spouse spends at work?

The opposite may also be true, when the expectations are too low. When kids are bored, it's hard to get motivated to do anything. If you are having him work with younger siblings, if your child is gifted, or if you are using curriculum meant for younger grades, then you may be at greater risk for this. Homeschool coops and multi-age curricula are wonderful things that are great for homeschoolers much of the time, but parents still need to assess even wonderful things. If something isn’t working, you have to find out what is wrong before you can fix it.

Raising Boys vs. Raising Men
Second, if you have a son this stage may be a unique attempt at becoming a man. It's difficult to grow from "boy" to "man" when you don't have meaningful work and you aren’t the alpha-male and top-dog of the home. My husband made a short YouTube about Raising Boys vs. Raising Men, and we also have the information in an article. These resources may help you think about possible causes and solutions.

Raising Boys vs. Raising Men Video
Raising Boys vs. Raising Men Article

My sons each obtained a meaningful job at about 14 years old. That’s one of the benefits of homeschooling, because you do have more flexibility to incorporate employment into your school day. We did school 4 days a week, allowing the 5th day for them to spend working. Is there something that your son has been saying he wants to do? Can you find a situation, or a mentor, that can help him do that?

Some parents have confessed that, while their child wanted to do something, they couldn’t allow it because they didn’t have time. The opposite may actually be true. If you do NOT do the things that give them meaning, they may work on school even slower because they are bored and frustrated. Avoiding unique opportunities can just add to the problem. Therefore, one possible solution might be searching for some meaningful, "real adult" kind of work. Some parents work from home, and will start to include their son in the work activities. Others will allow work-related activities or mentors.

The Specialization Solution
Third, it may have something to do with a lack of specialization. Young people need to have a "thing" they are good at. They want to be known as "the kid who..." Adults will say to each other "where do you work?" Or “what do you do?” Children want their own “thing” so they can grow up. The problem is that young adults don't have very much exposure to the world, and sometimes they haven't stumbled upon a special interest yet.

The solution to a lack of specialization is exposing children to a wide variety of experiences and subjects through a liberal arts education and plenty of time to do new things. I must confess that it can take a long time before something "clicks." Many people suggest speech and debate, or political organizations, as your first attempt at something new. For young people, these activities give them an opportunity to speak their mind and argue - without arguing with their parents – and it can improve their sense of self.

Look carefully at a lack of specialization as a possible cause. When I see parents with this problem they often miss important clues about their child’s interests. One way to identify specialization is to pay attention to what annoys you. You can use your annoy-o-meter to recognize specialization that may be hidden just below the surface. I have written an article about that topic that may help.

Use Your Annoy-O-Meter Skillfully

Give your child more input with their activities and involvements. Perhaps they should quit boy scouts – or not! Instead they may want to quit the sport club. Would your child prefer acting or computer programming instead of the activities you have provided?

Cause and Effect
When I had toddlers, I spent a lot of time thinking about natural consequences. I wanted to provide real world, cause and effect reasons for my children to behave. Using that same strategy, try to brainstorm ideas that will have a direct cause and effect result in your teenage children. The key is a simple if-then statement presented in a matter-of-fact way.

Effective suggestions:
IF you text while driving THEN you are not mature enough to use my car.
IF you are too tired to do school THEN you are too tired to have friends over.

Ineffective suggestion:
IF you don’t do your work THEN Mom will throw a fit.

High Quality Problems
Motivation problems can occur even in wonderful children with great attitudes. My son Kevin was like that - always pleasant and cooperative. I remember when Kevin was a "terrible two" and didn't want to be in the mall shopping. He simply sat down and said, "No thank you, Mommy." He was so obedient and sweet! He was the same way at 14 years old. "No thank you, Mommy" to a math lesson doesn't work as well, though. At that age they are too big to pick them up and remove them to an obedient situation.

The problems that we have faced (along with many others) may be better problems, on a completely different plane, then the problems that many other parents face. Knowing that our problems are “good problems” rather than “bad problems” will only help a little. At the core, it is still a problem that causes stress and anxiety. Knowing you have a “good problem” isn’t a solution, but perhaps it’s an encouragement.

Sometimes it Gets Really Bad
I’ve been around the block a few times, though, and I know not everything is perfect in homeschool families. Sometimes our problems are HUGE and HORRIBLE. Teenagers can make their own decisions. Sometimes they make the biggest, most horrendous decisions. Worse still, sometime the consequences of their actions are life-altering.

You may find encouragement from Parenting Today's Teens with Mark Gregston. He has some free ebooks you can download, as well as regular podcasts and articles. His three free books are "Developing Rules and Boundaries for Your Teen", "Ten Ways to Turn Around Your Teen", and "Secrets to Effective Parenting in the Teen Years"

If you have a teen making ridiculously bizarre or unsafe decisions, place the blame squarely where is resides; with the teen. God designed us to have free will. Sometimes children will act on their free will earlier than others.

Read my article called “What If? Homeschool High School Without Fear” for encouragement. Although the article was written for families facing trauma, some of the words may bring encouragement and hope for families suffering through the trauma of truly horrendous teenage consequences.

Bottom Line...
Right now your teen may seem to a horrendous waste of God-given potential destined to live the loveless life of a vagabond. In truth though, they aren't.

It's a phase.

It will pass.

It's not terminal.

Copyright © 2010 The HomeScholar ( Text may be reprinted without permission if used in full, including the bio box (below) and this copyright, except for use in a book or other publication for rent or sale.

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar helps parents homeschool for high school. Check out her homeschool online free minicourse and training webinar on how to give homeschool credit in high school. You can find Lee online at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who is God? - Review

Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him?

Authors: John Hay and David Webb

Apologia –

Price: $39.00

Age: Upper Elementary through High School

We were excited to receive Who is God? from Apologia. It was at a time when we were between Bible study programs and looking for something to add. Throughout the year we have been studying apologetics, so this fit right in.

The structure of the book is based on the premise they we are building the house of truth. Throughout the chapters, we add onto the house step by step until it is complete. The steps for building our house include:

1. A Foundation of Wisdom

2. Biblical Truth 1 – God always tells me what is right and true

3. Biblical Truth 2 – God is the only true and almighty God

4. Biblical Truth 3 – God is God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

5. Biblical Truth 4 – God is the Creator

6. Fellowship Wall – My relationship with God when I believe that Jesus is God’s Son and my Savior

7. Biblical Truth 5 – God created me to be His child and to give Him glory

8. Biblical Truth 6 – God created me to need Him for everything

9. Biblical Truth 7 – Sin causes separation and disharmony between me and God

10. Biblical Truth 8 – Jesus dies to restore fellowship and harmony between me and God

Each of these steps is presented at the conclusion of a chapter. Each chapter includes a lesson, a story, questions for consideration, vocabulary, memorization, notebooking activities, prayer and worldview study. You can view a sample lesson and the table of contents on the Apologia site.

My boys, ages 11 & 13, have really enjoyed the story that goes along with each lesson. The story is framed around two boys (one Christian and one seeking) who spend a summer together exploring both nature and God. The stories help put the concepts into easy-to-understand, real-world terms.

We have not taken part in the notebooking activities even though we read through them and discuss. This is due to the fact we have extensive lapbooking going on for our history study. If we didn’t, I would have used the notebooking activities as well.

When you purchase the book, you will receive a link and a password to access additional materials for the text. These include teacher pages for each lesson, numerous notebooking pages for the lessons and graphical representations of the House of Truth. I really appreciate the effort that Apologia puts into making sure their textbooks are comprehensive, engaging and provide parents with ample resources to make learning successful. The vivid images contained throughout along with explanatory content that students really enjoy makes this one of my favorite Bible based studies I have done with the boys.

I highly recommend Who is God? and look forward to seeing what the three other texts in this series have to offer.

To see other reviews by the TOS Homeschool Crew click here.

*** I received a review copy free of charge as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Memoir Monday - Week 24

My husband's colleague has family that live right at the site where the tsunami hit - thankfully, they were in the U.S. visiting at the time.  My thoughts go out to all of those who were present and now dealing with the effects of the earthquake/tsunami.

Thinking about this – I realize there are several events in a lifetime that remain indelible. 9/11 is certainly one of those times among others. Thus, this week’s Monday Memoir…

1. What is the first major historical event that you remember happening? It could be something positive or something negative?

2. Where were you on 9/11? What are your memories of that event?

1. What is the first major historical event that you remember happening? It could be something positive or something negative?

Oddly enough, the first "historical" event I remember is the death of Elvis.  My mom was devastated and wrote a long poem to commemorate him.  Her sadness is probably why I remember it so clearly.
The next big event I remember is the Challenger exploding.  I was in the library at my high school at the time and all the TV's were turned on to watch it.  A very sad day.

2. Where were you on 9/11? What are your memories of that event?

On 9/11, I remember being in my bedroom.  Someone called and told me to turn on the TV - I can't remember who.  At first, I sat there thinking it was just an accident.  Once they started saying it was two passenger airplanes, realization began to sink it.  Frightening.  I remember calling my dad and telling him to turn on the TV.  We were talking and then silence - a building collapsed.  Did that just happen?  More planes - the pentagon, one in a field, how many?  All those lives...
My two oldest kids were in public school at the time.  I went and picked them up and headed to church.  What else to do? 
My husband has family in New York - one cousin was near the accident, but is OK.  My next door neighbor's cousin was not - he was in one of the towers. 
A day I'll never forget.

Share our memories on your blog and then come on back and link up.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Memoir Monday Sneak Peek - Week 24

The earthquake in Japan reminds us all that life is a delicate balance that can be rocked at any time. My heart goes out to the Japanese people.

Thinking about this – I realize there are several events in a lifetime that remain indelible. 9/11 is certainly one of those times among others. Thus, this week’s Monday Memoir…

1. What is the first major historical event that you remember happening? It could be something positive or something negative?

2. Where were you on 9/11? What are your memories of that event?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Question Friday

Join me in a little Five Question Friday? When you are done visit the My Little Life blog to see what others had to say.

1. Do you know what your REAL hair color is?

Sure, dark brown with white’ish gray highlights. Problem is, those "highlights" are a totally different texture from my dark hair.  Wirey, in fact.  I'm not sure what kind of "do" I'm gonna have in my old age.  lol

2. Do you plan ahead for summer, or fly by the seat of your pants?

Hoping to get more planning in for summer soon. We do like to take at least one trip and that requires planning for all of us to be able to go. As for activities, they come by the seat of our pants. I like to take it one week at a time so that we don’t fill the summer with busyness and forget to just enjoy it.

3. What is your favorite meal to cook?

Anything all of my family loves to eat. It’s hard to get everyone on board with a meal. If I had to pick a meal, probably a good grilled steak, my special baked beans, corn on the cob, yeast rolls and blueberry cream dessert.

4. Do you get offended by not receiving thank yous?

Nope. I don’t give something to be told thank you. It is nice if the opportunity is there, but if I send something and a person is busy, I’m not going to get upset if they don’t have the chance to say Thank You.

5. How did you meet your best friend?

At our Teen Learning co-op. I didn’t even realize we lived really close to one another until I had to submit information for the next year. She has a son my son’s age, so it all started with just getting them together. What a blessing to have found a true friend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

O.L.D. Syndrome

I hate having O.L.D. syndrome. It’s one of those things that creeps up on me when I least expect it. You would think being twenty-five with a mere fifteen years of practice, I wouldn’t have to deal with O.L.D. yet, but I guess it’s true that it’s the miles and not the years that count.

Yesterday, the boys and I decided to take in an extra taekwondo practice in preparation for the tournament coming in another week. Our school work was well on its way and we had the time, so why not a little extra exercise?

Things during the first half of the class went very well. We stretched, we jogged, we put on our protection for sparring – a typical class.
Line up! Here we go… My job was to be on the attack while my partner was to defend. Mind you, we weren’t sparring at this point, just practicing. Nothing too strenuous. I executed a nice kick with the right, followed by a round house with the left, and mid-air – POP!

Yes, POP! In my calf. No other way to explain it. In fact, I believe the words out of my mouth were – “Oh! Something just popped!” Yes, then there was pain…

So, long story long, I had it confirmed by the doctor – I tore my calf muscle. Total – O.L.D. There’s no way around it. No reason other than I'm decrepit is the cause for this very annoying injury.

Now, I’m expected to spend the next several weeks gingerly doing exercises to rehab the muscle. Can’t walk on it quite yet, but in a day or two, I’ll be able to. At least, that’s the story I’m going with.

I have neither the patience nor the time to deal with this, so I’m hoping, praying, expecting miraculous healing, stat!

Adding insult to injury, I gave up sweets for Lent so I can’t even drown my sorrows in a nice bucket of chocolate. Sigh!

Being O.L.D. is no fun. I don’t recommend it. Avoid it at all costs!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

31 Days of Power Review

31 Days of Power: Learning to Live in Spiritual Victory

Authors:  Ruth Myers with Warren Myers

I chose 31 Days of Power: Learning to Live in Spiritual Victory with the hopes of spending thirty-one days really learning about spiritual warfare through scripture. Setting my expectations as such, I was surprised when the book arrived and the days are each filled with prayer and scripture reference but no real devotional content.

While the prayers are certainly uplifting, I found them to be a little like listening in on other’s prayer rather than learning to use scripture myself.   I also found it unappealing that the scripture is simply referenced and not written out.

The book also contains a second section that covers what spiritual warfare is and how the Bible describes the attacks by Satan. I was a little surprised to read that all attacks are sanctioned by God. The author, of course, references Job as an example. While I see her point, I’m not sure I believe that fully. I do, however, believe that all events are used by God for his purposes. The rest of the content is a good basic guide for Satan's role on Earth and his downfall in the coming times.  Myers does a good job of illustrating how attacks are launched and what we are called upon to do to keep the Lord and his Word tucked away in our hearts.

Marketed differently, this book would offer a person seeking daily prayer and insight into spiritual warfare a good resource. However, marketed as a devotional, it falls short. Perhaps weaving the two sections of the book together instead of maintaining separation would have met this need.

*** I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Memoir Mondays Week 23

Two more days of sweets!  I'm getting ready by making a lovely blueberry cream dessert for the family tonight.  I'm going to have two helpings!  I hope God doesn't mind.  :-)

1.  Did you or your family give up anything for Lent growing up?  Are you giving up anything for Lent this year?

2.  How were you first introduced to God?

1. Did you or your family give up anything for Lent growing up? Are you giving up anything for Lent this year?

I remember going to church for Lenten services as a kid.  Not every year, but some years.  The ash on the foreheads was always interesting to me.  My mom would leave it on for some time.  I was always ready to get it off.  I don't really think I understood Christ's sacrifice until I was in my twenties.  I've been to Lenten services where nails are nailed into a cross as well.  It's powerful imagery.  I know some people like to watch Passion of Christ around this time.  I've never brought myself to watch it. 

This year, as you know, it's sweets.  I love love love sweets.  Surprising since I've only had three cavaties in my life.  I've been trying to really understand fasting and I thought this was a way to start in that direction.  This is the first year I feel I'll be doing it to give it up for God instead of just trying to accomplish the goal of not doing something. 

2. How were you first introduced to God?

Good question.  I'm not positive I know the answer.  We went to church when I was growing up.  Not all the time, but we went.  So, God has always been a part of my life.  As mentioned above, I don't think I really began to know him until I was in my mid-twenties.  While I had gone to church, I really didn't understand the relevance of Jesus.  I'm not sure what that says about my early church experiences or me for that matter.  I would say I met God as a saved person after attending church with my now husband.  He and his family really helped me to see what faith in my life is all about.
What about you?  Where did your walk start?  Link up - I'd love to read about it!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Memoir Monday Sneak Peek - Week 23

Lent starts on Wednesday.  I'm giving up sweets - all sweets.  That will be a challenge as I'm quite the sweet tooth.  My goal is to grow closer to God.  Sort of a fasting, but based on the Lenten schedule.  If I keep my eyes on Him, I'm pretty sure I won't falter. 

1.  Did you or your family give up anything for Lent growing up?  Are you giving up anything for Lent this year?

2.  How were you first introduced to God?

Come on back Monday and link up your answers!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Question Friday

Join me in a little Five Question Friday? When you are done visit the My Little Life blog to see what others had to say.

1. Have you ever forgotten your child in a store or at school?

No.  I did lose track of time once and not pick up my son from his football practice.  I felt really bad about that.  I don't remember where I was, but I do remember looking at the clock, panicing and racing to pick him up.  That was before we all had cell phones.  He forgave me, but he's never forgotten.

2. Where did you go on your very first date? (Like...first first, not first with your spouse or current significant other!)

Very first date.  Geesh - I have no idea!  I remember taking a boy I met in swimming class to a Jr. High dance.  That might have been my first date, but I'm not sure.  Something vaguely in the back of my mind makes me think we went to a movie or something before that, but nothing concrete.  I guess it wasn't that amazing since it didn't make much of an impression.

3. What's your "silly" fear? (We're not talking water and heights.)

I have a phobia about my kids being near heights.  I can be near them no problem, but if one of them so much as leans over a high railing, I panic.  It's weird because that's the only thing that triggers that intense of a panic response in me.  All my kids know not to go near a ledge of any kind. 

4. Confrontation: do you cause it, deal with is as it comes, or run far far away?

Totally depends on the situation and what is at stake.  If it comes to someone wronging my children, look out!  If it's just day to day stuff, I'll either deal with it or walk away.

5. Wood floors or carpet?

Wood in most of the house.  Carpet in the bedrooms and bonus room.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

God in the Garage

My oldest son has decided to pursue Automotive Technology in college. He’ll start in August. This is a good choice for him as he is very hand’s on and doesn’t really like academics. He’ll have the opportunity to spend half his time in the classroom learning from the instructors and working in the labs on campus, and the other half of the time is spent on “real-world” application in a garage. It’s called an earn and learn program.

The only issue with him choosing this avenue is that he doesn’t have a lot of experience working on cars. He has the drive, but not much experience. He can do brakes, change oil, and rotate tires, but beyond that he has relatively little experience. So, while the earn and learn program sounds good, I was worried that he’d be a little behind the other students who have more experience.

Enter God. Well, God’s always been there of course, but He showed His presence in a mighty way. My son has been pursing job opportunities since graduating early from public high school in January. He didn’t like high school at all. We thought the early graduation would work and allow him to take twelve credits at the local community college to supplement what he’ll need in his automotive program starting in August. Three of those classes fell through due to lack of enrollment. We were discouraged. He’s taking one online class – Art Appreciation. Urgh! Needless to say, he doesn’t appreciate this opportunity much.

However, I mentioned God, right? Well, God has a plan. He knew the four classes wouldn’t be good for my son while he was working almost full time in a GARAGE! Yes, my son got a job working in a garage almost full time where he’ll be learning the ropes. Praises abound! The men who own the shop will be teaching him all about cars while he works there. He’s going to start in August with plenty of experience! I’m so excited for him! Additionally, the shop is willing to sponsor him while he’s in school – so he’s got the “earn” part of learn already taken care of.

God is taking care of things. Why am I surprised? Because I need more faith, that’s why! I’m learning, God. I truly am!

Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for taking care of my son, for finding him just the right opportunity to allow him to mature and grow in the field he has chosen. I pray that the people mentoring him will know you or come to know you through him. I pray they will be positive mentors on his walk to adulthood. I am sorry Lord for my lack of faith – I do know that it is through You that all things are possible.

I praise You and thank You!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Couples Who Pray Review

Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between A Man and a Woman

Authors:  Squire Rushnell & Louise DuArt

I’m really on the fence about Couples Who Pray. There are certainly some aspects of the book that I find uplifting and helpful. However, there are other aspects of the book and the authors’ approach that left me wondering. The book is encouragement for starting the 40-Day Prayer Challenge with your spouse. I think the challenge itself is a good idea. Praying together can be very powerful as well as intimate, as the book tells us.

What I did like about the book was the encouragement for marital connection in the area of prayer. As Christians, we often consider our prayer time to be a solitary time, but the Bible tells us that “wherever two or more are gathered”, God is. Rushnell and DuArt engage in discussion about forgiveness, money, and defending against the attacks of evil on a marriage. All of these topics I found to be relevant and helpful.

What I didn’t like, however, was the approach taken when writing Couples Who Pray. The book begins by espousing how “satisfaction in lovemaking will soar” when couples pray. While I appreciate this advantage, I felt like they were trying to hook the audience (especially males) with the prospect of better lovemaking. There are so many other benefits of prayer that this gain seems to be highlighted early on unnecessarily. Additionally, while I really enjoyed the stories by the couples included, I found it interesting that they used popular media figures. Again, this read more like a hook than an authentic assessment of the power of prayer for couples.

Further, the outcome of prayer, with one exception at the end, was very pie-in-the-sky. Every example ends with magnificent rewards for prayer. While this does happen, not all prayers are answered with a “yes” or with bounty. Finally, I have to question some of the statistics. Not because I believe they are invalid, but because they don’t seem thorough enough. The authors took a Gallup Poll survey conducted in 1991 and asked a person at Baylor University to do a comparison on couples who said they prayed together “sometimes” and those who prayed together “a lot”. The authors mention wishing they knew how these compared to those that didn’t pray together. They had the survey – why wasn’t this assessed?

All this being said, I’m not sorry I read it. I can see where committing to praying together as a couple would be a healthy addition to my marriage, especially since we attend separate churches. If a couple commits to prayer time together, then the book has been worth the read.

***  I received this book free of charge from BookSneeze for my honest review.