Monday, March 25, 2013

Differences Between Boys and Girls and the Value of Tears

My last post was about discussions with our children.  As our oldest quickly approaches adulthood, some of these discussions revolve around personal relationships especially between guys and girls.  Recently, our son has mentioned something about my being "so emotional" on a couple of occasions, and saying "I can't discuss certain things with you because you get too emotional".

After giving it some thought, I sat down with him and explained to him how he sometimes takes the discussions to a point where I need more time to think about it more before I can discuss it further.  To which he responded, "That makes sense.  I thought you were just getting too emotional and angry and that's why you wanted to stop the discussions."

Then I explained to him that he should really consider the fact that females are emotional and that if he plans to marry one day, he needs to be a bit more understanding of that fact.  I explained to him how I have never really been much of a crier, but that as I get older, I cry much easier than I did when I was younger.  To which he responded, "Well, your tears are actually a good thing.  When we are discussing something and you just get angry, it makes me angry and I just want to win the discussion, but when you cry, it's like a check.  It makes me stop and think because I don't want to hurt you."

To me, it appears that my tears cause a sense of protection in him and there is value in that.  The Bible wants men to protect their wives and if tears bring out that desire to protect, in my son, I see that as a good thing, as long as a girl doesn't simply turn the tears on to suit her own purposes, which I have seen some girls do.  True honest feelings are good things to share.

Our oldest son has been a learning experience for my husband and myself as well, for neither of us grew up with any brothers, so neither of us experienced an example of how to parent boys.  Many people have paid us compliments on our boys over the years, and I am grateful to our heavenly Father and his grace because He knows the mistakes we made, but by His grace, our boys are good, young men who look to the Father and His word for guidance.  I pray they always will, and though, I know that my husband and I had a part in teaching them, I truly give the praise and glory to the Lord, for I believe, with my whole heart, that, as the Bible says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

So, I believe that even the mistakes we made along the way, and those we will most likely still make along the way with the other two, will be used for the good because or our love for God, as well as the boys' love for God.

Our oldest son also pointed out that as he has no sisters growing up with him, I am his only example of female behavior.  He really likes the example of Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrell.  He said that knowledge, that men tend to compartmentalize things, while, for women, everything is connected, helps him in understanding us, emotional females too.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Discussion -- A Homeschool Blessing

One thing that I find such a blessing in is the relationships you build with your children through homeschooling.  In the time spent with them, you discuss many things as you teach them, and as they grow, they just naturally discuss things with you.

Our oldest son, for example, can wear me out with discussions.  He is very intelligent and very academic and analytical and so he likes to discuss EVERYTHING!  Though, he can be tiring, and even frustrating at times,   I feel so blessed that he chooses to discuss things with his father and I.  He doesn't take things out to just his peers or buddies he's hanging around with.  I know he still discusses many of the same things with his friends, but I am just so glad that he still wants to discuss things with us.  There are times when he frustrates me because he asks a LOT of questions and I give the best answers I can off of the top of my head, but sometimes I need to take some time to think about what he's asking.  You know, chew on it or mull it over for a while before I can put something into words.  So sometimes I have to stop the conversation and pick it up again at a later time and he doesn't always like to wait.

This child, well, very nearly man, asks hard questions!  He talks to us about ALL KINDS of things -- general, political, spiritual, Biblical, the list goes on and on.  He stretches us!

But I am grateful and blessed that he chooses to discuss with us and values our opinions, even though he rarely agrees with them these days.  It is so good to be able to know his thoughts and opinions as it not only helps us in still offering some guidance, but it shows me how to pray, not just for him, but for our other younger sons.

So, treasure the time you spend with your children while you homeschool them, and be sure you talk with them from little on up.  You won't be sorry you did.  Open communication has long time value.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Do You Know About Worldview and Are You Teaching It To Your Children?

What is worldview?  Everyone has one and it is either in line with God or against God.  Your worldview is how you look at and view everything around you, and how you do that is very much based on your belief system.

Well then, you say, we're fine because we believe in God, but are you sure that you have learned to discern everything around you through that filter?  Remember that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour us and he attacks us in such small subtleties, that we and/or our children can be lost before we even know what is happening.

It is so important to learn how to sift everything that you see, hear, watch, read, listen to through a filter and be sure to throw away the trash and cling to the things of God.  In today's society, we are constantly bombarded with information and entertainment and we need to be sure that we are focusing on the information and entertainment that we believe God would approve of -- information and entertainment that show God's character.

How can you do this?  One way is to study Starting Points Literature.  It is an in depth high school study.  Some middle school students, those who are very studious and academically inclined, would also benefit.  It is worth three high school credits, and it is a life-changing experience.  Our oldest son took the class at a co-op when he was about 12 years old, and to this day, (he is now just about 18), he still talks about that class and how much it meant to him, how much it helped him and how much he learned from it.

I plan to teach it at our co-op for the 2013-2014 school year and to study it at home with our 16 year old son, and when our youngest gets a bit older, I will study it with him as well.

You can find out more about it and purchase it at:

If this is a bit pricey, I suggest you look somewhere like Amazon for the reading materials and only buy what you really need from Cornerstone Curriculum.  That can make it affordable.

I highly recommend this curriculum to anyone who really wants their children to be in tune with God when it comes to what they read, what movies they choose to watch, what music they choose to listen to and what video games they choose to play, as well as other things.  It will have life-long value.  You may even learn more about your own worldview and you may even fine tune your own worldview while teaching/studying this to/with your child(ren).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Great Online Resources from a Christian Perspective

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I work for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  It is the leading homeschool magazine on the market, and it is digital and completely free for you to read.  But, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine doesn't just offer this great monthly online publication loaded with lots of great tips, advice and resources.  They have many wonderful homeschool helps available online.  Several are free and a couple require a reasonable fee.

Here is what you can find:

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine at

The Old Schoolhouse Annual Print Magazine.  This is available in print on newsstands like Hastings, Barnes & Noble,, and Books-A-Million throughout the entire year.  It is also available in a digital format, for those of you who prefer to read things online or on your apps at

The Old Schoolhouse has a Facebook page where homeschool families can ask questions and receive tips from other homeschool families, not just from The Old Schoolhouse staff.  You will find it on Facebook as The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

The Old Schoolhouse has a blog:
Homeschooling with Heart at

The Old Schoolhouse also has great helps and tips for those of you who live on a tight budget and look for more ways to save money through our Econobusters/Molly Green Magazine.  This publication is available as .pdf downloads and requires a low annual fee or you can purchase by issue at

Finally, The Old Schoolhouse has a fantastic website that you can use to teach your children.  They offer every subject for every age plus some great electives for a reasonable annual fee.  You can use this as your complete year's curriculum or you can use what you want as supplemental to your curriculum.  Just go to

So, if you are a computer techie and really want to use the computer or your tablet for your homeschool, I highly recommend these wonderful, Christian-based resources.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Internet: Friend or Foe to the Homeschooler

I've had several people ask me if we do cyber schooling, and my answer is always, "No".  We do use the computer and internet for some things for school, like when we need to research something and find information about something.  I just love books too much to have my children on the internet for all of their school subjects.

I also don't want my children to think they need to be on the computer all of the time.  I want them to want to play outdoors and play pretend things that require use of their imaginations.  I think that this technology age has a place, but I believe it is best in small doses.

I work via the computer, so I spend four to six hours a day on the computer working.  Therefore, I spend, usually one day a week, preparing these blog posts and scheduling them to go out at different times throughout the week because I feel this blog has a place and can be of help and encouragement or even just a source of information for others.  However, I enjoy spending time with my family and reading books, sewing and some other things, so I limit my social time or "fun" time on the computer.  I already explained the blog posts, but I also spend about two hours a week on Facebook and about two hours a week on Pinterest and those things I do after the children are in bed.

I do know that computers, internet, and tablets are being used more and more for school, both in the homeschool realm as well as in the public school systems.  However, the main thing my husband and I want our children to learn is belief, faith and trust in the Lord God, and we want them to learn his word.  We do not want to use ANY resources that teach anything that is contrary to God's word.  Therefore, if we use any websites, especially educational websites for the children for school, I research them well first, to be sure they are not teaching anything we would not want our children to learn.

With more and more companies creating educational websites and apps and making them more readily available by offering them for free or at a low cost, there are many things to choose from.  We choose wisely and set limits, because even though we see technology as a valuable tool, we still see books and, even more so, human contact and attention as more valuable.

So, my advice on using technology in the homeschool, be sure whatever you choose to use fits your families beliefs and faith and use it wisely.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

What do you and your kids know about St. Patrick?  If you're like me, before I started homeschooling, not much.  I simply thought he was a saint that Catholic people held in high regard for something, though I didn't know what.  And, to me, St. Patrick's day, was just about wearing something green, pretending to have some Irish descendants and thinking about the luck of the Irish, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and leprechauns.

Well, that changed, and I am very glad that it did, several years ago, when we decided to find out more about St. Patrick in our homeschool (that's the beauty of homeschooling, study what you want when you want).  I was quite impressed with what we learned.  St. Patrick was definitely someone worth honoring as he was kidnapped from his home in Britain when he was 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd for six years.  He became a devout Christian.  After six years of captivity in Ireland, he escaped and returned to Britain.  He studied for 15 years to become a priest and he then returned to Ireland to minister to Christians already living in Ireland, as well as to convert the Irish, particularly the Druids.

We watched the movie, "St. Patrick:  The Irish Legend" of 2000.  I thought the movie was very well done, and I really enjoyed it.  We don't own it, but I would like to, because I would like to view it again.

Of course, in addition, to studying and learning more history and information about St. Patrick and watching a movie, you can do fun stuff like make an Irish craft, like some shamrock art, make the traditional Irish dinner of Corned beef and cabbage, or just make some Irish soda bread.

Example of Shamrock Art:

Draw or trace a shamrock onto a piece of cardstock.

Cut it out and let your child trace it onto a piece of drawing paper several times, making a sort of collage of shamrocks.  Have your child color them in different green colors and shade of green.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes  
Total time: 50 minutes  
Yield: 1 loaf
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
  • 3 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Measure flour, salt and soda and mix together in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Stir, adding more buttermilk if needed; the dough should be soft, but not wet or sticky.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Turn it over and pat it into a round loaf about 1 1/2 inches high.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of the loaf with a knife. Cut fairly deeply into the bread, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until done. To test, tap the bread on the bottom. It will sound hollow when done.
(Thank you Kelly Rossiter, who posted this on

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Is It Important to Attend a Homeschool Convention/Conference

It is Homeschool Convention/Conference season.  Have you attended one yet?   Are you planning on attending one, or maybe more?

I fondly remember my very first time to attend a Homeschool Convention.  I had contacted a lady that I knew homeschooled her two boys to find out more about homeschooling, when my husband and I felt the Lord leading us to homeschool, though we didn't really know anything about it.  She was excited to help me. She invited me to her home and gave me lots of information, books to borrow and website addresses to check out.  Then she took me along to the big, annual Homeschool Convention that takes place not too far from us.  It lasts for two days, a Friday and Saturday, and by the end of the day, Friday, my brain was on overload.

The homeschool convention had speakers who gave seminars throughout both days and there was a seminar for every aspect of homeschooling:  beginners, those who had been homeschooling for a while, and those preparing for high school, even those thinking beyond high school, as well as  the different styles of homeschooling:  Charlotte Mason, Classical, Delight Directed, Eclectic, Traditional Textbook, Unit Studies, and Online Learning.  I'm not sure there was anything on Unschooling.  I still don't know a lot about that approach, but it's not for us anyway.

Then there was the vendor hall -- WOW!  I never dreamed there were so many different types of curriculum and so many resources available for homeschooling!  The room was HUGE and there were rows upon rows of tables with vendors selling their products.

That evening, after I returned home, my husband and I went out to dinner so that I could tell him about everything I had seen and learned at the homeschool convention, without interruptions.  I still don't know how I managed to finish my meal, because I talked the whole way through dinner, downloading all of the things I had seen and learned, and what I liked and thought might be a good fit for us.

Saturday, my husband and I went to the convention together, so that he could help me make the decisions on curriculum.

I have been going to that Homeschool Convention every year since then.  My husband has gone with me, except for two years, and he enjoys some of the speakers' seminars and exploring the vendor hall too.  Vendor Hall has new things every year, as well as the old stand-byes.

Our first year, we used Konos which is a Unit Study curriculum.  We really liked it, but I had difficulty getting enough out of it for our younger son, though they say it can be used for multiple grade levels.  I do think part of that, though, was that our younger son had a special need, we were not aware of at the time.  (That was taken care of with Vision Therapy a year or two later, Praise God).  Then we went Eclectic for about two years, and then we decided to use Sonlight Curriculum, which we used for three years.  It is Literature-Based and that works very well for us because we LOVE books!  However, I found that I just prefer the Eclectic approach because it's easier to find the things that work best for each child, and because there are so many great products out there that we want to be able to use a bunch of them!

However, back to the topic at hand, the first time we ordered Sonlight, my husband said to me, "Well, now we don't have to spend the money to go to the Homeschool Convention because you have to order Sonlight through the mail and it comes right to your door", because of the many books that come with each Core.  I responded with, "You're kidding, right?  I still NEED to go to Convention.  The seminars and the atmosphere of Convention help to motivate me and get me excited to do this for another year."

So, if you ask me, is it important to attend a homeschool Convention/Conference, I would answer with a resounding, "YES", but I do know one lady who homeschooled three kids from Kindergarten through High School without ever attending one.  I don't think I could do it.  I need that motivation and excitement.  Lately I've been thinking I'll still want to keep attending Homeschool Convention even after I graduate our last child.  Of course, that's ten years away.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sarah Whitcher's Story

In our homeschool, we read a lot of books.  We are a mostly literature-based homeschool.  We love to read our "living books".  What are living books? you may ask.  Well, living books are books that are researched and accurate in their historical, geographical and/or scientific facts but that include a story that may include fictitious characters and a bit of fiction in the storyline.  This brings history, science, and geography to life and makes it much easier to remember the things we are supposed to learn.

Well, our youngest son and I just finished reading Sarah Whitcher's Story by Elizabeth Yates.  It was a great story about a family who settle in New Hampshire in a time when the United States were just beginning.  One day, their daughter, Sarah, wandered a bit too far from the house and was lost in the woods.  What happened is amazing and I was sure a good part of it was fictitious, though it was possible if you know anything about bears.  Well, there is an author's note at the back of the book that verifies the story, which just endeared the story to me even more, because it is so obvious that God was at work.

I recommend this book and you will find it on my bookshelf on my sidebar.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Froze n' yo Cafe

As homeschoolers we have always done our best to function on one income.  Recently, I have taken on a part-time job that I can work from home, working for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  This has been a blessing because just a couple of months after starting the job, my husband was laid off from his job.  This has been a norm with the type of work that he has always done, and unfortunately, this is the third time it has also led to the company he was working for closing its doors for good.  So, he's been out of work since August.  So, I have learned to do many things to cut corners and save on groceries and things, including making a lot more things from scratch.

Anyway, that's all part of a past post, what I want to share is some things we still allow ourselves to do occasionally for fun.  Sometimes we go for a hike, sometimes with the dogs.  Sometimes we go for a drive.  These are free things.  Once in a while we do spend a little money to do something we enjoy and today we took the boys to the Froze n' yo Cafe.  My husband and I had found it a month or so ago when I asked him to try to find it when we were in the area that I had heard it was in.  We found it and went in and had ourselves a treat, so we wanted to take the boys sometime, and today was the day, and we will visit as often as we can, because we love it!

It's a little mom and pop business in Lancaster, PA.  It's a self-serve frozen yogurt shop with lots of toppings and coffee and crepes and more.  Our dear friend, Carol Cargile, owns and operates it, and she and her staff are friendly and welcoming.  They have a great variety of frozen yogurt flavors to choose from, and they frequently change, as do some of the toppings.  So each time you go, you may find something new, and you can always create something new and delicious.  You can even make your own smoothies.


Carol and I

My guys and their yummy frozen yogurt sundaes. 

Mmmmmmm, yummy! 

 They even give you a card that you get punched for each yogurt item you purchase, and after 10 purchases, you get a $5 item FREE!

It has become my favorite place to go for dessert or a sweet treat!  If you're ever in Lancaster County, be sure and visit my friend, Carol at Froze n' yo Cafe and tell her Kelly sent you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Field Trips: Near and Far

The following photos were taken on a spur of the moment quick trip to Gettysburg on a Sunday night.  Since I rarely go anywhere without my camera, I was able to document this little jaunt and count it as a field trip, as the boys did hear a bit of history as we were there and told them what we knew and read some of the signs posted there.  And, since it was a spur of the moment trip on a Sunday evening, you know it's not too far from home.  It was not a planned field trip and we did not see much of Gettysburg, but the boys got a taste of it.  The big boys have been there three times before:  once when the Sunday School Class that my husband and I were a part of got a personal tour from one of our Sunday School classmates who was a Civil War re-enactor, the second time, the same Sunday School classmate took the class back one evening for a Ghost Tour, and we went and toured the Welcome Center/Museum on a homeschool field trip.  This Sunday evening trip, however was the first our youngest has been there, and it was a very cold, windy evening.

My four men bundled up on top of the tower (as far as they could go) and the head just peeking past Nick, is our friend, Ben.

Colonel Patrick "Paddy" O'Rorke was killed in battle on Little Round Top in Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and they put this up to honor his memory. (Notice how shiny his nose is?  Look below to find out why.)

Yes, people rub his nose in the superstition that his Irish luck will rub off on them.

Devil's Den

Then there are vacations, where we go farther from home, but they count as field trips none-the-less, because we always include something educational.  The following photos are from a trip we were blessed to be able to take last month with some good friends from church.  We went to my favorite place (a place I dream of living one day), Williamsburg, Virginia.  It has such rich history.

Nick and Anthony were not thrilled that Mom wanted them to get into the stocks for a photo.  This was outside the courthouse (which was in the process of having a new roof put on).

Chowning's Tavern

The Print Shop

The Shoe Shop

My favorite tavern, King's Arms Tavern

The butcher on his way to . . .

the butcher shop

This lady took some time to speak with us and give us some history about Williamsburg.  She also shared the fact that Colonial Williamsburg is one mile long from William and Mary College to the Governor's Palace.

A beautiful old church.  They still have service on Sunday mornings.  I hope to attend sometime, but we were not there on a Sunday this trip.

I was surprised to see so many green things growing in the garden in February.

We stopped to examine this tree because we found the trunk fascinating.  It didn't seem to have bark like other trees, and it felt much smoother than other trees.  (Who but a Christian homeschool family would stop to study the trunk of a tree when on vacation?)

The boys with a very good friend among some very tall bamboo.

I'm not sure what these gentlemen were making, but they were stripping all of the bark from these tree trunks.

The Governor's Palace and below a carriage arrives at the Governor's Palace.

We also visited the Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia.  They had a tortoise shell that was preserved and you were allowed to crawl into it and take photos.  We were pleased that ALL of the kiddos were good-natured enough to do so for photos.

They had a large earth suspended from the ceiling, and I just had to get Nick (my basketball player) to pose for this shot -- spinning the earth on his finger, like he can a basketball.

Our youngest loved the touch tank area, where a lady would pull different small animals out of a tank and allow him to touch them and see them up close.  This is a spider crab.

This was so fun!  We got Chelsea and her friend Kim to climb into this hollow log, Chelsea with her head out one end and Kim with her feet out the other end, to make it look like Chelsea is really long!

I was in awe of this majestic bird.  I had never seen a bald eagle so close before, and he is just beautiful and proud.

Great Blue Heron

It was a great trip, even though we had quite a bit of rain.  We definitely want to go back again and spend more time and see more Colonial Williamsburg demonstrations.  We also want to visit Jamestown and Yorktown, none of us have been to these two places.