Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Field Trip

Earlier in the month, My mother and I took the children on a field trip. The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida in Pensacola had an open house. They had out the wildlife and allowed the visitors to see the animals up close. Usually when we take a field trip we do it on a Monday. We tend to have a better learning experience since there is more individualized attention. This event fell on a Saturday, which meant there were tons of people there. We had a great time learning about how the wildlife sanctuary takes in injured animals and helps them.

Our trip started with a visit to Krystal. This was the first time my kiddies had been to a Krystal; you'd have thought they had gone to the moon, they were so excited. Notice John pointing out the Krystal logo.

We got to pose for a picture with an owl.

People were tossing fish to the pelicans, a common sight in the Pensacola area, but not so much where we live.

This is a deer that the sanctuary took in. The volunteers told us that a family had taken it in as a fawn, but now that he's grown they had nothing to do with it. Likely, he will live in the sanctuary until he dies.

There was also this fantastic little Celtic group called Sweet Prospect. Since the hammered dulcimer is one of my most favorite instruments, I was glad to stay and listen a while. I even picked up one of the CD's and I love it.

My mom holding Josiah who was completely mesmerized!

After spending about an hour enjoying the animals we headed out. I don't think anyone was quite ready to go home, so we made a few more stops.

We took them out to Seville Square to let them run and play. I explained to them that Pensacola claims to be the oldest European settlement in the US, how the first colony was destroyed by hurricane, and that Seville Square was the location of Pensacola's first colonization.

Across the street is one of the oldest church buildings in Pensacola, the Old Christ Church. Though no longer used for worship service, it's still a beautiful and well-maintained building.

Later we traveled to Pensacola Veteran's Memorial Park, which the kids found to be very interesting. They didn't understand everything, but they seemed to somewhat understand the gravity of the memorial.

A sign near the entrance ... very cute.

The wall displaying veterans' names.

Closer photo shows individual names.

It was insanely hot since there was no shade and we were walking about in midday. I think that everyone was glad to get in some air conditioning! But before one more stop.

But, I really wish they would have kept the old building. It was ten million times cooler.

This building was used until 3 years ago. The inside was just as neat as the outside. Everything was perfectly 1960's. It was like walking straight into that era.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

He Is a Reprobate!

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
-Romans 1:28

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So Why Does Your Family Homeschool Anyway? (pt 2)

Typically people would say that our family is not "in the ministry," not in "full-time Christian service," etc. There is no ministry on God's earth quite like the ministry of family. This gets to the heart of the problem with family. By most people, family is not viewed as a ministry, but family fits every definition of a ministry if you contain it to the family and not to the realm of the church, i.e. the pastorate, the mission field, etc. Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary defines ministry firstly as "the office, duties or functions of a subordinate agent of any kind." As a subordinate to Christ, a man performs the duties of a father. Subordinate's definition is secondly defined as "descending in a regular series." As wife and mother, I stand subordinate but not inferior to my husband, supporting him and our ministry together. The children then are subordinate to us and together we labor for the cause of Christ to bring others into the fold of God. This is the first, the very first, ministry given to man: family.

Where does homeschool fit into the family plan? Homeschool is 100% family-centric. There is no rearranging the family's time to fit into putting kids on the bus, taking them to school, attending a PTA meeting, open house, fundraisers, receiving them from the bus, etc. In our homeschool our school week conforms to dad's work schedule. His work week is from Tuesday to Saturday. If they attended a traditional school setting, they would only be able to spend any length of time with their father on Sunday. I could also see how this would hinder our family from attending church services. After all, the only time we all had a "day off" together was Sunday. What I love about being a homeschool family is that I feel like we have the liberty to do exactly what we feel like needs to be done.

Homeschool is more family-centric than just fitting into a schedule. I love that we get the chance to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:6

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

"Teach them diligently unto thy children" The word "diligently" here means to whet or sharpen. It also means provoke, as is in Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Homeschool gives your child the best opportunity to grow up to be a Godly adult. How? It is said in scripture. Children are not to be simply taught, but diligently taught. Every person is always being taught by someone, whether that person is a school teacher, a friend, peer or whomever. It is not enough for me to rear children who just believe in God, just go to church, to read the Bible here and there. No, I want to do everything to give my children the best chance to grow up to be truly Godly, sold-out, surrendered, steadfast, separated and wholehearted. I want them to be all they can be. I believe that it is possible for kids to go astray after being raised in a good home. If my kids grow up and go astray I want my conscience to be clear that I did all that I could to place them in a Godly environment. I want sin to be foreign to them. I want them to fear unrighteousness.

I hear a preacher once say this and I believe it with all my heart:

Exposure brings acceptance.

Friday, September 17, 2010

One Line, One Thought

In this life there are few things that are as gratifying as teaching someone to read.

(by the way, Ethan is much improved. The prescription was licorice root, double dose of Body Balance, and double dose of stinging nettles. Thanks for prayers.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Treating Asthma Naturally

Some long time readers of my blog will remember how it was that we came to using natural medicine. If you don't, you can check my "Adventures in Homeopathy" series. Although Ethan continues to make progress, peanut season is still hard on him. Just the dust in the air from the peanuts being harvested sends him into a tailspin. Normally he can handle the allergies fairly well, but he's picked up a slight cold. Dealing with both is difficult for him.

Last night his chest was very heavy and he's short of breath. I've been throwing everything in the "medicine" cabinet at him. He is some improved today, but is spending limited time outside. If you could find the time, please whisper a prayer for him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So Why Does Your Family Homeschool Anyway?

So Why Does Your Family Homeschool Anyway?
In with the back-to-school spirit, let's do a big homeschool post!

I don't often get the question, "Why do you homeschool." Most of the people who I know go to church with me, are fellow homeschoolers, or they are part of our homeschool fellowship. I truly don't know a lot of people, but I am content with the friends that I have. Maybe that's why I'm not often asked "why homeschool." Then, I think that even with my church friends who do government / private school I think that the reasons are often presumed. The presumption tends to be that we homeschool because we can't afford Christian school and we want Christian education. I guess that answer is a sliver of the reason why, but the reason to home educate encompasses far more than a financial one or one of perspective.

So, do we want our kids in Christian education? Well, I want them educated for sure. Since "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" we know that true education cannot come except it be from God. It can't be done without God. Christians who are government school proponents argue that Christian education begins at the home, which is also true. These proponents seem to imply that as long as Bible is taught at home ... or even less, if you simply attend church ... then education without God is alright. This simply doesn't fall in line with the Bible. Knowledge, as in learning, is always mentioned with God. They are synonymous and cannot be divided. You cannot begin with God and then leave Him at the beginning. Education without God is not excellent education and can never be. For us, this eliminates government school.

We are then left with two options: privatized Christian-esque education and home education. By definition privatized means "to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise." I have no problem with less government control. If your children attend a government school and you have a problem with a situation at the school there is a hierarchy you can follow to take your petitions: the principal, the superintendent, the school board, and on. In a private school, you have no option such as this. If you have a qualm against the school and the principle (who typically will stand by his employee) doesn't see things your way, you have no other appeal. That doesn't set well with me. Private school parents have no way of electing officials or opting to not reelect them. The loudest voice you can have is simply to leave the school.

Rights in education isn't the only problem we have with privatized education; in fact, it is not even the first problem. I previously described the school as "privatized Christian-esque education." It really captures the essence of how I feel about it. It is a business and must be operated as such. I guess it could be argued that it is a ministry, but the bottom line is that, typically, if there are not the funds to meet the bottom line, tuition will be raised. It is the same case in government school, except the tax payers meet the bottom line instead of the parents of the students. I use the improvised term Christian-esque. From the testimonies of Christian school students, they will tell you that the Christian schools are just as worldly as the government schools. The majority of the students "have a form of godliness" that is for sure. You see them on the outside and they look nice, dressed on the edge of modesty. But what about the heart?

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Matthew 23:27,28
These are very strong words, I know. I acknowledge that most of the children in private school are simply a product of home. I also acknowledge that there are some good kids with sincere hearts in private school. My observation from many, many examples is that the kids who want to do right are always burdened down with the world. They are constantly bombarded by worldly habits, worldly dress, worldly speech, and worldly ideology while learning how to put up enough of the façade to appear Christian. How can they be expected to be Godly under these circumstances? I am 31 years old and a born-again Christian for 13 years. I'm not perfect, but I have a desire to be more for Christ. I know that I could not meet my potential for God with such assailment. How can I expect my kids, who are children, to fair better?

My husband and I have had many "what if" conversations. If something happened tomorrow and my husband could not work, we could make our means stretch for a while and we could pray food into our home. There is the possibility that I would have to work until my husband was well. If something happened to me, he may not be able to juggle schooling 4 kids while owning a business. We both agree whole-heartedly that if we had absolutely no other choice and after all other avenues had been exhausted, we would opt to put our children in the government school before the private one. What?! Yes, and if you look at the whole picture you will probably agree.

Our 7 and 5 year olds are being diligently taught of the evils of evolution and exactly how it is contrary to God's word. As they get older, we will begin to teach them how it is "oppositions of science so falsely called." With a godly foundation and with diligent work, the godlessness in the government school can be combated. You would have to reteach history and keep very close tabs on the science curriculum, but you can fight the false teaching the the government school. What you can't reteach is the spirit of hypocrisy. The heart of what I'm saying is this: I am a product of government education, as is my husband. We went to 7 different schools and in each of these schools, even in the elementary level, you know who is the real Christian. Every once in a while, you even have a kid that really stands out for God. I went to school with a few boys who were called into some sort of ministry. I went to school with a few girls who chose modesty ... real modesty. When their extra-curricular activity said they had to wear something contrary to their convictions, they held fast and didn't complain. I can get bogged down in details, but the point is that in government schools you know who and what people are. In the private school, they learn how long to get their dresses, they put that tie on, they can quote chapters and chapters of Scripture, they can recite all 66 books of the Bible in less than 1 minute, but inside they are just like the world! Hypocrisy is ten thousand times more damaging than secularized education!


I've covered why we don't use government school and why we don't use private school. But that's not why we homeschool. Before my husband and I were married, we were in accord on homeschool. It's never been a question nor has it been given a second thought. We were resolved on homeschool long ago. We both believed that it was best. But it was only until we actually began on the homeschool journey that we've come to understand why the homeschool path is better from every angle.

Our homeschool fellowship, which has been the most tremendous blessing on our homeschool journey, has a motto that I've tried to adopt into our home: Godly, guided, guarded. Isn't that what rearing children is all about? If those 3 things are properly nurtured all other points will come together.

1. Godly: you cannot hide who you truly are from your family, provided you have some sliver of a relationship with that family. Example is a louder teacher than anything else. I'm seeing as my children grow how true this is. If they are exposed to Godly examples, teachers, influences then living a Godly life will only be natural.
2. Guided: "a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." This is so true. When children are left to play away from a watchful and loving eye they will go astray. It is his nature, as is my nature. Always we must have an ear and eye out to be ready to gently mold and teach.
3. Guarded: sheltering children is anything but popular. You will be called a child abuser, a wacko, and be told that your kids will grow up to be rebellious and wild. This is so far from Bible truth! I would never ever let my child take his bike and ride down the interstate. How could a toss him into a classroom full of peers who unknowingly attack him with spiritual poison? How can I deeply care for his physical body and throw his eternal soul to the roaring lion? We do not choose isolation, but be do choose sheltering.
From an educational point of view, I believe that a homeschool setting is exponentially superior. But hey, it takes a 4 year degree to educate a child! I am really puzzled, at least in the elementary level, as to why. I own several student and teacher curricula that are used by the schools in my state. If I wanted to teach from them I would have no trouble. Sometimes they go the extra mile to use a fancy term for a common sense idea, but it's not like we're doing physics or calculus here. A says ă. I know there's more to education than that, but I think you get my point. Looking back to my own elementary school days, I remember being so terribly bored. I would whiz through my work, nearly always finishing first. I was always on A/B honor roll. I wish I could add up all the time that I spent daydreaming, doodling, getting in trouble, etc. simply because I had nothing else to do. This would not happen in a homeschool setting. If work is too easy, the pace can be accelerated or new material can be supplemented. If review is not needed in a particular area, it can be done quickly or skipped. If a child is weaker in an area more time can be spent there. This ensures that there are no gaps in learning. It is genuinely personalized education.

There is more I'd like to add, so I'll pick it up with a part two.