Thursday, April 23, 2009

Computer Games

Okay, so now for something completely different.  I’m having a miserable week, so I thought I’d post some things about computer games -- especially one that I have really enjoyed including as part of our school.

The Amazing Brain Train (the link is to the Mac version at Big Fish Games, the PC version is linked on that page) is something that I have made a required part of school for all four of the boys.  Not that they always follow through, of course, but it is something they are supposed to be doing for 10 or so minutes a day.

The premise of the game is pretty silly, and my 6th grader pretty much rolls his eyes at the hokiness of it.  You are sent on various missions to really silly animals, which requires you to drive along the tracks to visit the various homes.  In order to fuel your “brain train” you need to play assorted mini-games.  This is the part that is great.  

There are five categories of games, with three games per category.  Some are really easy, some are far more challenging, and of course, which is which is going to vary from one person to another.  I find the Pond Sum (a math game) to be incredibly simple, but I struggle with Cosmic Cube (a spatial awareness type game).

What I like is that my kids are being presented with the games randomly, so they get to do the “easy” ones mixed in with the ones they find challenging.  And there are a lot of “trophies” to earn... I have about 2/3 of them myself.  The trophies I am missing do encourage me to push a bit harder in the areas I find challenging.

One thing I both like and don’t like is that the puzzles always start at the easiest level, and progressively get harder.  That is fantastic for my younger children, but it is a bit frustrating for my older two, and for me.  I want to be able to push a little harder, instead of trying to race through the easy levels to get to the level that does stretch my brain... just as the time runs out.  I wish there was some option to have the puzzles start a little tougher, I guess.

So, what do I mean by that?  Let’s talk about one that I can describe in words.  One of the games that I struggle with is a bit like a shell game.  You have two animals, facing in whatever direction (front, back, right, left).  You click, and boxes are put over them.  One or both boxes is rotated, one box is in the spotlight, and you have to identify which direction the critter is now facing.  The boxes are then lifted up, and it tells you if you were right or wrong.

The first time, neither box is rotated.  You just need to remember which direction the animals faced initially.  Then, one box moves 1/4 turn and you have to id where that animal faces.  Eventually, the boxes will both move (1/4 turn at a time) 2-3 times, in either or both directions, and you don’t know which box will be spotlighted.  If you do well, you’ll get a third animal.  I assume eventually you get a fourth one too... I may have done that once.

In this game, I find the two box part to be very easy.  But I struggle once there are three to keep track of.  Since the game only goes for something less than a minute, I usually only get 2-3 times with three boxes.  I’d love to be able to start there.

Other games have the player running a mouse through a maze, figuring out what a spinning 3-dimensional object would look like in 2-dimension (another one I’m not great at!), drawing a line to separate two types of animals from each other, fitting animal pieces into a puzzle, or playing a game like Rush Hour, where you have to slide the various pieces around to make it so the professor can get to his birthday cake.

There are other modes of play besides the game one.  The Practice mode does give you a choice to do it untimed, which addresses my above concern -- but practice mode isn’t as much fun as game mode.  There is also a test mode, which I really like.  

The best part, of course, is that my kids think they are getting away with something -- you know, getting to play games and call it school.  And I like that it is making them stretch those brain muscles a bit.

If you do decide to go purchase this, I would recommend getting at least two games...hmmm, well, the pricing changed since last I looked... it used to be the same price to get two as it was to get one.  They do run specials, and there is likely to be a Mother’s Day one at some point (last year, it was 40% off a single game).  And all the games let you download and try it for an hour for free.  

Let me know if you want other recommendations.  It is much easier to find educational titles for the PC games than the Mac.  And do it as a subscription... you spend less that way, and you just need to cancel at the appropriate time.

Tess commented on the old blog:

I am so sorry you are having a miserable week!  This sounds great.  I think I'll check it out.  And I love the picture!!!!

-Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 05:28 PM

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WeE-books - an ebook review

I first discovered The Old Schoolhouse’s new line of WeE-books (mini e-books, which sell for $1.95 each) back in February.  They were giving away a book on Lincoln and Darwin (I wrote about it here).

At this point, I own a total of seven WeE-books (their line includes 37 titles), so I do actually feel like I can talk about them.

What is a WeE-book?  From the TOS website, these are “bite-sized e-books” with “quick, affordable content that educates, inspires and encourages.”  I’d have to say that I concur.

Most of the WeE-books seem to be meant for educating Mom, with titles like “10 Big Reasons Not to Send Christian Kids to Public Schools,” “Simplifying Classical Education,” or “Don’t Rush God.”

Others are meant to be used with the kids, like the Darwin-Lincoln title I first saw, or books on hummingbirds, the Italian Renaissance or the Iditarod.  

Okay, so after all of that, what do I think of the actual books?  I loved some, liked others... and there are some that don’t interest me at all (but I don’t own them!  And what doesn’t interest me might be exactly the topic you really want!).  Some surprised me.  All provided a good general overview, although with some I did expect more specifics than they contained.

I’m going to specifically review three of the books that I own, three that are very different, and I think give a good idea as to what the Wee-book line is like:

Transcripts, CLEPs, and Other Ways to Get Into College.  Since I am looking at having Connor start taking CLEP exams next year, I thought this would be a great thing for me to read.  Claire Novak did a good job of summarizing some of the history of homeschoolers and college admissions, and issues about whether you really need to go to college.  There was also great general information about the CLEP exams and transcripts.  Maybe I’ve already read too much about these issues, but I didn’t really find much in here that I didn’t already know.  For someone just starting, though, I think this is a great summary, and the links provided are good as well.  I do really like having all of this in one place, and a short place at that.

Changing History Theories and How to Teach Them was a fun read.  Although it is probably meant for Mom, I plan to actually work through what Dr. Ruth Beechick wrote in the first section with my kids.  I think the first four pages of text are going to be the perfect kick-off for Connor in the fall when he starts working through world history at the beginning again.  The rest of the book was fantastic for me... do’s and don’ts, gaps, chronology, timelines, etc.  Dr. Beechick’s Building Strong Arithmetic Thinking is very similar, except that there really isn’t text that I’d have my kids read themselves.

The Great Books represents another type of Wee-book, as Kate Kessler interviews Fritz Hinrichs.  This book is very similar to interviews in TOS magazine, with good questions, and most of the space dedicated to the answers provided by the interviewee.  Kessler asks some general overview questions (“What is so special about the Great Books?” and “Tell us about yourself”) and she asks some pretty specific ones (Why Euclid? and how does a book get on your “must read” list).  

The only books I own that I haven’t addressed above are the two Homeschooling the Rebel books (the link is to the first one, the second part is here).  Wow!  I downloaded the first one because it was free (offered back in February, along with the Lincoln-Darwin one) and I didn’t really think I should, but I was curious.  Awesome book, and one of the longer ones I’ve seen too.  While I don’t (yet... ) homeschool a “rebel” as described in this book, the information in the ebook is great for a couple of things... helping me to be more understanding of some of my friends with their kids, and more importantly, helping me to see areas where I am falling short in discipline, consistency, distractions, etc.  I can’t say there was a lot of “advice” in here that I haven’t seen somewhere before, but here it was in a condensed format and homeschool-specific.  And that is unique.

If you are looking for basic information about a topic, all in one place, and there is a WeE-book that addresses it, I do think these are a good value.  I would highly recommend that you first check out the sample for the title you are considering, as that includes the table of contents, and I think the contents page gave a very good feel for the actual content of the books.  

One little beef I did have -- many of the books included an appendix about getting started homeschooling, which overall is quite good.  But a big part of that little article is devoted to defining different styles of home education.  First, I bristle at the idea that “classical” eduction is based on Dorothy Sayers writings... classical education existed for thousands of years before she was even born.  And “Classical Christian” education existed for at least hundreds of years before she came along.  I’m not sure how I would define classical education in three lines or less, but the Trivium style only represents one branch of classical home education.  My definition of classical would include the idea that you are spending a fair amount of time on things -- like Latin, Greek, writing, logic and rhetoric -- that are the basics of what “educated people” have learned for centuries.  

I also wish there was a listing for literature based, or something like that.  Maybe that is because I keep referring to myself as a literature based classical home educator.  And I didn’t find myself in any of the labels in this appendix, except maybe ‘eclectic.’


Comments left on my original blog:

Amy B - 

Great job!  Eclectic is not such a bad label is it?  You're doing a great job inmhso, so it doesn't really matter if you don't fit into their list.  Thanks for sharing!  Makes me wish I had downloaded the free wee books I've been offered.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 07:46 AM


Debra -

Amy-- you are right.  There is nothing wrong with eclectic.  But all the other self-described eclectic homeschoolers I know are just, uhh, so, ummmm, nothing like what we do.  We are WAY more structured, I guess.  So, as long as I'm not filling in some sort of form, I'll stick with literature based classical :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 10:13 AM

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bible Reading 2

So, week 2. I’m only going to post this weekly, so this isn’t likely to become just a Bible commentary.

It’s Easter Sunday, nobody is up, so I’m continuing with Mark. In reading about the Samaritan woman whose daughter is demon-possessed, I saw something I haven’t before in the commentary I’m reading alongside the Bible. Obviously, Samaritans were despised by the Jewish people of the day, and referred to as dogs... while I haven’t gone to the Greek myself to confirm this, the commentator says that the word used for dog would be quite negative... I’m picturing the wild dogs around here, hassling cattle, terrorizing Moms of young ones.

But the term Jesus uses in Mark 7:27 means something more like a pet, a puppy specifically, but a dog you would care for, at least to some extent.

I need to go check that out a bit myself, but it sure gave me something to think about. I’ve always thought Jesus’ reply to the woman was pretty harsh, and marveled (to use a term Mark uses frequently!) that she was able to persist. But if she was used to being called a ‘cur’ and Jesus called her a puppy... hmmm.....

And then we get to Jesus feeding thousands, twice. And the disciples all freaked out because they forgot the bread. It is so easy to roll my eyes, and think, “Jesus just fed all these thousands of strangers and YOU gathered up the leftovers. How (!!!) can you be so completely blind?” But then I have to be honest and realize that I am no better.

I didn’t end the week with any great insights... but I did finish Mark. I’m not going to catch up with my mom’s church at this rate, but still... it is nice to have a plan for ME.


Comments on my original blog:


Tess -

Thanks Debra for the bit about the use of the word dog. I always thought it was pretty harsh too. And I hear you about being blind. I know I am guilty.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 09:29 AM


Debra -

Tess, I did go in and find the Greek... and the word Jesus used in calling her a dog does translate basically as 'house dog' as opposed to 'wild dog'

I didn't find the 'puppy' meaning that was in the commentary, but still...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 10:32 AM


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bible Memory: Warning! Cute Kid story!


I'm giving you a huge hint as to the punchline here at the beginning of the story, but a "standing joke" in the family is for dh (usually) to be talking to the kids about something, and they end up with that deer in the headlights look where they clearly have no clue what he is talking about. And he looks at me, and does his best Tom Hanks voice, and (from Sleepless in Seattle) says, "I don't even want to think about what they're not teaching you (him/them) in school!" (okay, that's a paraphrase... he knows it word for word, but I don't memorize every movie line I've ever heard. I'm close though. He does change the pronoun around.) This usually is in relation to something where dh isn't totally serious, but kinda sorta... like a discussion about the name of some era in Japanese history (that I didn't know, but dh apparently considers to be basic cultural literacy...)




So, my five year old goes over to dh a couple nights ago. He didn't get his attention, he just started reciting Psalm 91 (core 5 Bible memory verse)... I told him to make sure he got Daddy's attention if he wants him to hear it... which did get his attention. So Richard started over at Psalm 91:1 (punctuation will be wrong, trying to follow what he sounded like, and the links pull up ESV, which is not the version we memorized so the wording is slightly different):


He who dwells in the shelter, of the Most High.

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, "My refuge, and my fortress.

My God. In. Whom. I trust.

For it is He who delivers you. From the snare of the trapper.

And from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions.


DH: with what?????


Pinions, Daddy. That's like the flight feathers on his wings. Can I continue, please?


DH: yeah, sorry...


And, and, umm, with his pinions

and under His wings you may seek. Re-fuge!

His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.


At this point, he pauses, looks at me, and I prompt: "You will not..."


You will not be afraid of the terror of night (it's supposed to be 'by' but I wasn't going to interrupt)

Or of the arrow that flies by day.

Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness.

(he then skips Psalm 91:6b)

A thousand may fall at your side.

And ten thousand at your right hand.

But it shall not approach you.

You will only look on with your eyes.

And see. The rec... compense. Of the wicked.


Again, a desperate look in my direction, while dh applauds. So I say... "For you have.... (still looks desperate)... made..." and he picks up...


"... the LORD my refuge.

Even the Most High your dwell. ing. place.

No. Evil. Will. Befall you.

Or (should be nor) will any plague. Come near. Your tent.

For he will give. His angels. Charge concerning you.

To guard you in allllllllll your ways.

They will bear you up. In their hands.

Lest you strike your foot against a stoooooooone.


I don't remember any more... (looking very crestfallen)


And Dale looked at him, looked at me, applauded, told him great job, gave him a big hug, looked back at me over his head, and said:


"I do want to think about what they are teaching him in school."



And I'm not even teaching him this. I'm teaching his brothers. Apparently, he's picking a fair amount up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Convention of Pharisees

That was my answer a month ago when asked what kind of Christian homeschool convention doesn’t allow Sonlight to attend because SL isn’t Christian enough.  I went on to write more, and I’m editing it a bit, but basically, this is what I wrote then:
I don't want anyone to take what I say as absolute truth, as I have not researched this as thoroughly as I ought.  These are my thoughts and observations, and while I’ll try to be fair, I’m certainly not without bias.  
I have been watching my state "Christian" homeschooling group over the past decade.  There have been some aspects that have made me a bit uncomfortable from the very beginning.  But not uncomfortable enough to stop attending conventions or anything.
The last three or so years, it has been worse. Certain individuals are pretty vocal about the "right" way to do all kinds of things, and I find myself disagreeing more and more often.  All kinds of issues.  Individuals within the organization have made it very clear that they believe "Christian" and "Classical" do not belong together.  Teaching Latin, or reading mythology is absolutely inappropriate.  We should only read Christian authors... (I've often wanted to ask for their permission to read the Old Testament, as that clearly could not have been written by Christians... sorry... some of the sarcasm is spilling out...)
From the very first convention we attended (1999), the one thing that made both dh and I *very* uncomfortable was the idea expressed by a number of convention speakers that anyone who didn't believe in a young earth creation wasn't really a Christian.  (And I am a young earth creationist, by the way, though I haven't always been one... You can’t believe in something you’ve never been exposed to and all.)
The convention, now a "Christian Family Conference" instead of a homeschooling one, has been veering a lot more into how to raise a family, how to raise entrepreneurial boys and obedient girls, and a lot of worldview stuff.  I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed some of this (the worldview presentations in particular) or that the messages on their own weren't good.  
It isn't so much whether or not I agree with any of the above positions.  It is more that they are moving towards preaching that there is one "Christian" way to see, well, virtually everything.  If you are a Christian, then you must...   (fill in the blank on any of the above issues, or create your own)
Two years ago (2007), the Sonlight booth (which has always been a fairly large booth) was significantly smaller.  Like by half.  I joked a bit about them cutting costs by getting a smaller booth, and ended up finding out that they had put in for the same size they had always had, and didn't find out they weren't getting it until they showed up to set up, and they were not told why.  And they were told in no uncertain terms to not display a couple of the science books as this was a *Christian* conference and the titles were totally inappropriate. (I did not get the impression they were mentioning this to most people... but I've hung out at the SL booth nearly every year since 1999... spending a lot of time getting up to speed on what I'm doing next year, and I know the person I talked to "knows" me.)
Last year (2008), I decided that I was not going to attend. I had a lot of reasons for that, but I was still vacillating a bit.  Then I got the notification from Sonlight that they had been informed that their application to be a vendor had not been approved.  That settled it for me.  One of the reasons I wanted to go was to get my hands on a couple of Instructor Guides so I could make some decisions, and not being able to do so put me firmly on the not going side.  (Getting a good look at the materials one year meant I could make a decision to purchase Apologia’s Astronomy book to replace the miserable offering Sonlight had in Science 1, for instance, with something more God-honoring and appropriate for my family.  That book is no longer in Science 1, by the way.)  I was really annoyed, as from what I was hearing, Sonlight was given no reasons other than a need for a change.  
Well, I've been checking the website for the vendor list to see who is going to be there this year, and the list has shrunk a lot.  Sonlight will not be there.  Nor will Usborne.  Nor will Memoria Press.  Nor is Noeo Science, nor is RealScience4Kids. Nor is Bolchazy-Carducci (they produce Artes Latinae, among other things).  Nor is KreativeSimplicity, nor is Heart of Dakota.  Or Learnables, or PowerGlide.  Tapestry of Grace.  Scripture Memory Fellowship.  Joyce Herzog.  Speed Stacks.  Writing Strands.  Drive-Thru History/Focus on the Family.  Bright Ideas Press.  Geomatters.  Winter Promise.  That's who I noticed on first glance.  I really need to pull out one of my old convention programs and do a side by side comparison, as I know I didn't catch everyone who used to attend regularly but won't be there this year.
Now, I'm not saying that the convention blocked all of the above companies.  I have no idea.  I’ve heard that many companies are pulling back and not attending as many conventions this year (Tapestry of Grace, for one).  But I find it astonishing that every company that promotes any type of classical eduction is not in attendance (Memoria Press, Tapestry of Grace, Bright Ideas Press).  There is nobody left who advocates a literature approach (Sonlight, Winter Promise).  There is nobody left who uses Usborne books for science (Sonlight, Noeo, Winter Promise... hmmm, My Father's World uses some Usborne still, and they are going, and they have the kids reading Homer... I think they have messed up and missed one sinful vendor... oh, sorry, I was going to drop the sarcasm...).  And organizations like Focus on the Family, who have not made a clear young-earth creation stance, are all off the list too.  RS4K states clearly that their materials don't address origins.  Let's see -- Geomatters includes mythology in GTG.  Heart of Dakota endorses "questionable" books in their literature stuff.  I have no idea what sins KreativeSimplicity, Learnable, Powerglide (oh, wait, they have a Latin program), SMF, Joyce Herzog, Speed Stacks or Writing Strands have committed... Considering how often the radio program spouts off about the evils of teaching Latin, I’m surprised to see Latin in the Christian Trivium is allowed (they were not on the list a month ago when I first wrote this).
And in their radio program a couple of months ago (well, the radio show belongs to the executive director, not the organization itself), he explicitly says that so much of what is out there is not Christian, and that the state group is going through and no longer allowing all of these non-Christian companies to promote their products through the state convention.  
'A lotta, lot of curriculum packages... will bring you plenty of secular materials.  Christian Home Educators of Colorado will not.  We actually have abandoned the pluralistic way of looking at things, the humanistic way of looking at things, the naturalistic, materialistic way of looking at things, and we know that's the predominant worldview and we know that people have been taught in those worldviews, but we're actually taking a hard right away from these worldviews, and saying it's time to give our children a distinctively Christian education.  And so we've gone out and tried to find Christians who are really trying hard to establish a Christian way of looking at things, a Christian worldview curriculum.  We're drawing them into our conference...."  *see below
and on and on about how these non-Christian education choices are destroying the world.  They don't name Sonlight, or anyone else on the above list of people not in the vendor hall this year... but I have to assume that Sonlight is one of these non-Christian education choices.  I am *totally* in favor of drawing in people who are trying to establish a Christian worldview curriculum.  But it is a huge place.  Do they have to shove out anyone who provides a Christian education that isn't exactly like their ideal?
Another quote, talking specifically about science:  "As you flip through those textbooks, you need to ask yourself, 'Is there any naturalistic, godless form of evolution here, talking about billions and billions of years, where God is not even *mentioned* in the book?'  If God's not mentioned in the books, I think, for the most part, you oughtta just throw the books away.  Generally speaking.  Especially for younger children." *see below
I hate to say it, but I have thrown out plenty of Christian twaddle that is just not worth the time or the space.  And yes, we own a number of science books that do not even mention God.  My kids know full well that the majority view in this world is that the earth is billions of years old, and we all rose up out of the goo.  They are learning to respectfully discuss these worldview differences.  They are learning to respectfully discuss these differences because we are reading these godless science books.  If I sheltered my children from every mention of evolution, every assumptive statement about millions of years, they would *not* have the first clue as to how to respond when they do run into these things in 'the real world' -- because no matter how much you shelter your kids, those assumptions are ev.ery.where.  And yes, even my five year old will shout out, “He’s using assumptive language!” when we encounter it... thanks to Sonlight, and thanks to Focus on the Family (Adventures in Odyssey’s Truth Chronicles specifically) neither of which can I even look at in the vendor hall.
Now, I have no problem with parents deciding that they can't use things like the Usborne books for their kids.  I do have a problem with "Christian Home Education" being defined so narrowly though, so that just by virtue of the fact that I'm teaching my kids Latin, or talking about evolution, that proves that I have fallen prey to a postmodern worldview and I'm lost.
And I really have a problem with sweeping generalizations about what God thinks is a good course of study, being followed by statements about how all these alleged Christian homeschoolers start teaching their kids Latin and they get proud.  Uhhh, excuse me?  *My* pride is showing?  I’m the ‘pseudo-intellectual’?  I’m not the one constantly throwing out words NOBODY uses in real conversation, such as ‘metaphysic.’  I'm not the one claiming to speak for God about the evils of reading an Aesop fable (or pick your favorite pagan author) and how that is the first step towards atheism. 
I'm not saying you have to teach Latin, though I think being able to read early church writings, and hymns, in their original languages is a laudable goal.  (Of course, since first writing this, I am discovering that these people have issues with the church fathers too, so they probably don’t want kids to read Augustine, Benedict or Aquinas at all, much less in Latin.)  But to slam my family as prideful because I have chosen to teach Latin?  One other reason we are teaching Latin is as a baby step to learning Greek.  Koine Greek.  So we can read the New Testament for ourselves, as written.  Is that acceptable, or are we still too pagan?
Let me make something clear.  I do not think Sonlight is the perfect homeschool curriculum.  I do think some of the charges that are made about it are legit.  SL's science program uses more pro-evolution material than I would like.  I do wish SL science gave me a bit more to go on as far as challenging the evolutionary worldview.  However, as much as I would like additional notes and helps in the IG (which, it appears, they have provided this year, and I’d shell out the $69 to go to convention so I could decide whether or not to repurchase all the Sonlight Science I own... but, oh, wait, yeah, the conference doesn’t trust me enough to make good decisions, so I can’t), I appreciate that SL considers me intelligent enough to be able to discuss things with my kids as we read them, and they don't feel they need to spoonfeed me a 'Biblical metaphysic' (whatever that means).  
As “Geek” on the SL forums stated, (quoted with permission) “If you want it all laid out for you and how to teach God's presence in everything, there are other curricula that do that. If you want to teach God's presence in everything from your family's experience, from your own heart's abundance, then SL is a good fit.”  (italics in original)
I know there are lots of people... good, Christian parents... who teach their kids providential history.  Personally, I think some of that is really crazy, and it is not a view I wish to be teaching.  But I don't question the salvation of parents who use these materials, or of the people who write and publish them.  And I think it is good to have Abeka or Bob Jones textbooks available.  I can't imagine truly using either program (we do have an Abeka reader around), but again, I know plenty of people who use these materials, and if a textbook approach is what you want, I'm glad they are available for you.  Isn't it a good thing that wonderful, caring, Christian parents have lots of alternatives available?  
One of my favorite parts of going to convention is the chance to look at materials I wouldn't consider using for whatever reason.  And having the opportunity to have my assumptions challenged, by vendors, workshop speakers, other parents... I resent the paternalistic and controlling pattern our state homeschool group is showing.  They seem to be saying, “We will decide what "the" Christian way is, and we won't let you even see anyone else's ideas as to what Christian education should look like.”  
I'm not happy.  I want to go.  Andrew Pudewa is presenting eight workshops, and it would be worth the price just to attend all of those...  And Diana Waring is speaking, and I love seeing her.  I have always wanted to see Sally Clarkson speak in a conference setting.  And there are the vendors who will be there, booths I'd like to hang out for awhile in... Apologia, IEW, YWAM, Rainbow Resource, RightStart, VideoText...  Summit Ministries (I desperately want to visit the Summit booth... next year would be a perfect year for Connor to do their middle school program... but I want to see it... he’ll only be a seventh grader, and I just don’t know from samples I’ve seen online.  I need to just call them and find out if there is somewhere I could stop by sometime to have a look.)
But since I don't drink their Kool-Aid, and I teach my kids Latin, and mythology, and we have talked about various long-earth creation theories respectfully, and I don't necessarily shy away from books that were written by non-Christians, and we do read books that treat evolution and billions of years as fact... well, they have made it clear that I don't fit their mold.  And I just can't give them my money anymore...
* Kevin Swanson, as transcribed by me, from the February 4 Generations show, which you can listen to yourself here. Any errors in the above are solely my fault, and are unintentional.
You might be interested in some other reading too... Here is a link to John Holzmann’s first blog entry about the issue, Are you being treated like a child?  I’ll leave it up to you to search his blog if you want to see the other half-dozen or so posts on this -- and similar -- issues.
Or Kevin Swanson’s... unfortunately, I can’t link just to the blog post he wrote January 22, which clearly was in response to the one of John’s listed  above, where he bemoans the “base calumnies” being leveled against him (at least he wrote an entire post without using the word metaphysic.  Didn’t think he could do that.)  Not that I think he’d ever read this post of mine, but if he does want to accuse me of being calumnious, I would really appreciate knowing specifics as to what is false and misleading.  Because I would love to correct it if I am, in fact, slandering anyone.


Comments posted on my original blog:

Amy B --
Great post Debra!  Thank you so much for sharing!!! This is a reminder to me that I should be active at the local and state level to do my part in putting great people into leadership.  Thanks for the stir.

--Monday, April 13, 2009 - 11:22 AM

Janet F --
You go girl!! I agree with you, and am saddened to see Christian groups get so legalistic and exclusive. There are definitely "right" ways to do things, but when statements are made about how God wants us to teach our children and not use classical methods, well, I find it hard to locate that in the Bible. We are to train up our children in the way they should go, and when they are grown, they will not depart from it. I don't see that training up our children involves using specific curriculum, and avoiding others.

The ONE Christian way is to believe in the Lord Jesus, acknowledge that we are sinners saved by grace, not by WORKS - which seems where this group is headed.

I am sad for you, I wish you had a different opportunity to hear these wonderful speakers and see the curriculum you want to look at. I am also saddened for this group that seems to be making their own pathway - and missing the point.

It is an excellent post, and reminds me of the reasons I'm homeschooling. To teach my children our beliefs, values, and to train them in the knowledge of the Lord, to know and understand the Word, and to be discerning individuals. It's hard to discern if you never have an opposing viewpoint to discuss. My children understand that the earth is young, that the Bible is ABSOLUTE truth, and that there are lots of weird people out there, just waiting to tackle them with their non-Biblical views. I'm teaching my kids to go to scripture, to defend against those who would further crucify our Lord.

And yes, we still use Sonlight. We don't have the good new science books (although I am TERRIBLY tempted), but we found books to complement what we used that explain creation. Just because they don't exclusively teach young-earth creationism doesn't mean that I can't use these books to educate my children. In fact, I think they are better than some because I can explain what my children will see as they grow older, what they are up against, and why we believe what we do.

Blinders on children.  I know of other groups that have done the same thing.  God never told us to sequester ourselves and stick our heads in the sand. We are IN the world, not OF the world. As such, we need to learn how to communicate the truth of the gospel to those who are OF the world.

God bless you always!

--Monday, April 13, 2009 - 12:28 PM

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bible Reading

My mom challenged me to join her in a read through the Bible in a Year plan that her church is doing, and I *meant* to get caught up and join her... but...

Well, I’m hopelessly behind now, but I did go ahead and print out the schedule.  I checked off the Bible readings I’m doing with Sonlight 5 (Matthew, I and II Corinthians, Hebrews, James, I & II Kings, and Daniel), and I went ahead and started then with what I’m *not* already reading for school.  

So, for my Bible reading today, I read Mark 1-3.  Having recently completed Matthew, I was struck again by how different the Gospel writers are in their style and emphasis.  And maybe reading it the day before Easter had something to do with my interpretations, but I was struck by how, even in the first couple chapters, Mark emphasizes how Jesus came to forgive sinners.  He didn’t come to die for me when I’m being all self-righteous.

Oh, and if anyone else wants to see what I’m up to... or to join Mom & I... Hope Lutheran Bible Reading Challenge

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HomeWork - an eBook review

This ebook consists of over 90 pages, and is available at the TOS Online Store for about $12.


Since I have done a fair amount of working at home over the years, alongside my homeschooling, I am always looking for people who have been there and done that, and who can maybe give me some tips along the way.


This ebook is great... the sections are fairly short, so you can squeeze one in between some of those other gazillion things you are supposed to be doing (home, work, school...), and the stories are inspiring.  


The book is split into a few sections.  The bulk of the sections are stories from over a dozen moms who have that been there, done that perspective.  These are women who are running businesses doing a variety of different things...  making things from old jeans, selling Usborne books, writing curriculum, working as a medical transcriptionist, or helping people to plan their vacations.  Managing networks, or giving people tours of an orchard... there is a wide variety of businesses represented, and while many left me thinking “nope, not for me!” all the stories had something to offer.  


What I loved is that these women are all coming from such different places.  Some have pretty young kids (K and under), some have kids who are now high school age.  Some are getting up at 2:30 in the morning to work until the kids are up, some stay up late.  Some are integrating the entire family in the business, some are doing it themselves.  My favorite comment had to do with a lady who mentioned that her kids roll out of bed fairly late in the morning -- assurance that no, my kids are NOT the only ones not up at the crack of dawn.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t directly related to the subject at hand... but it was assurance that work at home homeschooling moms do NOT need to come from some perfect cookie-cutter mold.


The stories are sprinkled with advice.  Handle things once... if you have a phone message, take care of it, don’t put it in a pile to get to later.  Figure out your priorities, so that you are spending the time with your kids that is so important.  But it doesn’t feel preachy -- rather it is another mom, relating things she has learned.  


And some of the advice contradicts each other... you know, back to that what time do you get up... the moms don’t all agree.  The basic message is that with some things, you need to figure out what works for you - here are some ways it has worked for some of us.  But don’t expect your work/school/home to look like anyone else’s.



There is a section of the book that is specifically related to advice, with articles on finances related to an at-home business and on organization.  It is hard for me to review the finance-related material, as everything in there was just plain common sense in my opinion.  But, as a former CPA, and the child of a CPA... well, I realize that not everyone “just knows” this kind of thing!


The final pages of the book include an appendix with links... links to pages on starting a bed & breakfast, or starting a craft business, about starting a pet business, or becoming a writer.  Lots of very interesting things in here!


Of course, the best part, like any other ebook, is that you order it and can download it within minutes.  No waiting for a book to be shipped, just dig right in!  And if you are trying to figure out a way to earn some money from home, this is one of the more reasonable resources I’ve seen.  An easy read, some ideas as to what other people are doing.. and coming from the perspective of homeschooling moms, so no statements about how much work you can do while the kids are off at school.