Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walk Thru History Project 2010 - "Rudiments of America"

Our local homeschool group organizes a "Walk Thru History" each year and we finally jumped in to participate back in the spring. It was a nice way to cover a bit of American History, while also giving the girls an opportunity to work together to meet a deadline and complete a "project". Our theme was "Rudiments of America" - covering Presidents, Charters of Freedom, and a few other noteworthy events and people that helped shaped our nation.

With the exception of the Presidents photos which came from the Whitehouse website, most of our pics were selected from our Homeschooling In the Woods Timeline Figures CD Collection. (This is a fabulous resource and useful for much more than just timelines!)

All in all, the girls had a great time doing their project and were very pleased with the finished product. All of the participants did a fabulous job and I was very impressed with the knowledge and creativeness of our homeschoolers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chapter by Chapter - Educating the Wholehearted Child Ch. 2

Discipleship. . .Shaping Your Child's Heart
Wow - so, so much to absorb! Accordingly, I've upgraded chapter one's analysis from
"It's carries a heap of conviction, a spoonful of guilt and a dash of inadequacy." TO "a mountain of conviction, a bucket of guilt and a cup of inadequacy"! Thank goodness, I don't live next door to the Clarksons, lol!

This chapter - "Discipleship: Shaping Your Child's Heart" - guides you through the concept of *training* your child via the five heartbeats of obedience, discipline, love, protection, and direction.

It is convicting in that it causes me to consider my goals from a biblical perspective: training vs.educating our children, guilt bearing as it shines a *bright* light on so many areas of need, and of course the last cup poured out to reveal my many inadequacies as a parent!!

"What does God's Word have to do with education? Everything!. . . .When you begin to think about how your children learn, you must start where God does. . .with the heart." pg. 25

And here again, the quotes and scriptures in the sidelines are perfect compliments:

"He who knows how to teach a child, is not competent for the oversight of a child's education unless he also knows how to train a child." H. Clay Trumbull, Hints of Child Training, 1890

". . .Training a child's will is bringing such influences to bear upon the child that he is ready to choose or decide in favor of the right course of action. . .The final responsibility of a choice and it's consequences rest with the child, and not the parent. . .Merely to force one's will into submission to the other is. . .an injury to both the one who forces and the one who submits." H. Clay Trumbull, Hints of Child Training, 1890

I thought this was parallel to God's authority over our own lives - He leads not by force, but through loving guidance and the teaching of His word, he still allows us the freedom to make our own choices and bear the consequences thereof.

When I considered the veracity of all that was laid out before me in this chapter, I had to sadly and reluctantly confess that I am much more confident in my ability to "teach" from an academic standpoint than to train from a "spiritual" standpoint. I myself, am still in need of training :) and I found myself humbled - as a wife, a parent, and a person.

So when they close out the chapter with . . ."your children will want to become only as mature as you are willing to become. Jesus taught, - "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher" Luke 6:40. You can be sure I was brought to my knees in prayer.

Lastly, I share these quotes as food for thought:

"Parents, do you wish to see your children happy? Take care, then, that you train them to obey when they are spoken to, - to do as they are bid. . .Teach them to obey while young, or else they will be fretting against God all their lives long, and wear themselves out with the vain idea of being independent of His control." J.C. Ryle, British minister and author, from The Upper Room, 1888

"How many parents there are. . .who are readier to provide playthings for their children than to share in the delights of their children with those playthings; readier to set their children at knowledge-seeking than to have a part in their children's surprises and enjoyments of knowledge-attaining; readier to make good, as far as they can, all losses to their children, than to grieve with their children over those losses. And what a loss of power to those parents as parents, is this lack of sympathy with their children as children." H. Clay Trumbull, Hints of Child Training, 1890

Yes, so much to absorb ;-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chapter by Chapter - Educating the Wholehearted Child Ch. 1

Home Education. . .A Step of Faith Toward Home

This book is just packed full of info. . .hmmm, where to start? Okay, how about chapter 1, lol!

First, I love the layout of this book - the related quotes, scriptures, and interesting tidbits that are in the margins offer a nice mini-break while reading the longer passages. A couple that stood out that were in line with part of the Beechick book I mentioned about learning and knowing "how" to learn:

"He is educated who knows how to find out what he doesn't know." George Simmel, German Philosopher

"Therefore, teaching, talk and tale, however lucid or fascinating, effect nothing until self-activity be set up; that is, self-education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature. Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, 1925

The Clarkson's definitely hold very strong religious beliefs about homeschooling and offer up numerous reasons and scriptural support for their beliefs. Even as someone who has already chosen to homeschool, I found this chapter somewhat heavy. I guess in part because of the reality that it delivers as they speak about being willing to accept the limitations and sacrifices of homeschooling, as well as valuing the eternal and becoming a servant like Jesus, giving up our own lives for our children. The cost of ministry, the cost of lifestyle, the cost of commitment. It's carries a heap of conviction, a spoonful of guilt and a dash of inadequacy. Ugh.

Certainly being a parent is already a huge task and when you add a commitment to be solely responsibility for your children's education, it seem monumental. This chapter lays they out very well with contrasting charts examining homeschooling vs. ps in the areas of academic/education, socialization, and teacher-child relationships.

One thing this chapter makes clear is that homeschooling is not easy, nor should it be entered into lightly. However, once that decision has been made, the Clarkson offer up encouragement and assurance that you CAN do it and that, YES, you are qualified!

I liked the note at the end of the chapter that acknowledged the fact that even the best and most solid reasons and arguments for homeschooling, will not carry you very far *on their own*.

"When you're up to your eyeballs with children, housework, home business, activities, responsibilities, bills, broken appliances, car trouble, and you-don't know-the-troubles-I-seen, those nicely reasoned arguments are going to ring pretty hollow. When you are pushed to the limits, only a tested and seasoned faith will take you beyond." pg. 22

And one last quote I enjoyed:

"I would rather my child had a limited education and access to limited educational resources, and yet learned by basking in the atmosphere of someone who had true pleasure in the books that were pursued, than that he should go to some well-equipped and soulless situation where, theoretically, he could 'learn' at optimum speed." Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (For the Children's Sake, 1984)

Challenging, Inspiring reading! If you'd like to learn more about the author and their ministry visit:  Wholeheart Ministries

Friday, September 17, 2010

Introducing. . .Chapter by Chapter

I haven't posted in almost a month, but if you read the end of my post on July 27th, you probably have a good idea why. Sickness with this pregnancy has been MISERABLE and overwhelming. I am praying daily to feel "normal" again - you know. . .a day without nausea and vomiting. Ugh.

Anywho, I want to introduce a new series I'll be doing here on my blog called "Chapter by Chapter. In these posts I will be sharing highlights and summaries from some of my favorite homeschooling and parenting books "chapter by chapter". I'll begin with Educating the Wholehearted Child, as I've read this one a few times and have some thoughts prepared to share (plus a newly revised edition is due out this year and I'll be rereading that soon too!). I'll continue with For the Children's Sake, followed by Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, then perhaps A Mother's Heart, and we'll go from there. If you'd like to read along and share your thoughts via the comment link, I'd love to hear from you.

If you have books to suggest, please share those as well! You can see some of my favorites by clicking the "Homeschool and Parenting Favorites" on the homepage.

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