Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where Has Oprah Taken Us?

WHERE HAS OPRAH TAKEN US? International Edition: The Religious Influence of the World's Most Famous WomanFrancis Schaeffer’s thesis in “How Shall We Then Live” is all about determining the spirit of the age in which you’ve been born and responding from your Christian world view. If that’s the case then “Where Has Oprah Taken Us: The Religious Influence of the World’s Most Famous Woman” should be required apologetics reading for every Christian in the West. Mansfield takes us through an overview of Oprah’s Spiritual Development as well as the Spiritual Development of our culture in the past 50 years. He clearly and sequentially shows the spiritual, moral, logical and cultural pitfalls of both in a tone that is thoughtful and kind.

Mansfield outlines the Four Pillars of Oprah Winfrey’s Brand of Faith:
1.    Religion and Spirituality are 2 different things (vs. spirituality is defined by religion)
2.    Opposing religions can be casually blended (vs. the inherent claim in every religion that demands certain exclusivity).
3.    Religions can be re-defined at will (vs. theologies and terms being defined and understood).
4.    All true religions enhances self (vs. the “hero” story of all traditional religions in which there is nearly always a call for man to focus on a venerated being or some force beyond themselves).

Mansfield then goes on to outline the 7 Principles of Oprah Winfrey’s Philosophy
1.    Reality is “Thin” – that the seen world is not really as it appears; it is not a fantasy but it is not reality either.
2.    If there is a God, it may be no more than “energy”; human thoughts channel this energy, ergo human thought is the most powerful thing in the universe.
3.    Thoughts shape reality; the irrefutable Law of Attraction; human thought can literally transform the physical world.
4.    The universe intends only good; it is benevolent and loving. Humans create what is perceived as evil through their destructive thoughts and actions.
5.    Destiny rules-the universe has chosen you for a purpose. It is up to you to actualize your purpose.
6.    The only ethic is love. Positive energy, feelings, and vibrations that are warm, affirming and tender allow a person to live wisely and lovingly in the world.
7.    Experience trumps truth. Truth is replaced with the word “valid” and the measure of every belief and practice is how effective it is in creating meaningful experience.

Mansfield outlines spiritual strongholds that are so ingrained in our culture they seem Christian. This book illuminates the spiritual devastation that Oprah is preaching to millions of her viewers in a way that is decidedly Christian, decidedly compassionate and decidedly humble.  Again, I’d call this required reading for every Christian in the west.

On a personal note, this book basically dilineated the philsophy that my dad, a self-proclaimed "radical liberal" espoused for years. Growing in the shadow of this philosophy did not give me a secure sense of place or trust in the world. In fact, just the opposite. Just my personal .02 worth.
For more information on Stephen Mansfield, whom some critics are claiming as "one of the nation’s most respected voices on religion and culture,” go to the Mansfield Group.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's Graduation Season 'Round Here


The big news in our house this week is that KB will be graduating on Monday with a degree in Cosmetology- WOOT! She's had several job offers already but was holding out for the one she wanted, in the town she wanted (where she'll be attending school in the fall) and landed it today. The double good news is that she'll be able to work this summer and start the nursing program in the fall with a client base already established. And she put purple peek-a-boos in her hair. Cute and happy. Winning combo!


The other big news is that Miss. R. will be graduating in 14 days from a B.A. program. The announcements have been sent and last class attended. Yes.

School this week included lots of math. Feeche is over a hump (woot!) and finally cruising again. Another chapter down in Math and Human Anatomy. Mock trial is in full swing, copy writing is finishing up, and Latin is going strong. I checked his 2nd story for Creative Writing (one of the classes I teach to a group) and was impressed with the complexity. Now he just needs to nail the basics. Cub and Flower  worked hard on Math and Writing this week. Flower memorized another poem, and both did a lot of drawing. Latin and Greek are almost redundant and Cub is bummed that Greek is over in a week. Flower did lots of R&S Grammar. She and Cub have been reading lots of Jean Craighead George and Marguerite Henry. Love that.

We are about 50 pgs from the end of History of the Medieval World. It's been a great 600+ page read. The strength of the book is that it's a great general timeline of the Medieval world. SWB (Susan Wise Bauer) does a great job tying in what's going on throughout the world, so it's not just a cruise through Europe. Love that. And it really helped that the kids were so familiar with The Story of the World before we began. The focus of SWB's thesis is who holds power and how was it legitimized. Because of that it can be a bit depressing reading chapter after chapter of political maneuvering, cheating, stealing, mauling, killing and murdering. Holy Mackerel, it's rampant in history. SWB writes with her usual wit and tongue in cheek charm. We've loved it and will love moving on to lighter fare when we are done.

It's gardening season. Meaning the weeds are up and taking over the yard. Spinach and lettuce are up and the seedlings on the porch are thriving. We have planted and planted and planted out here, killed weeds, put in trees, mulched, composted, babied everything, pruned, buzzsawed and it still looks like Wild America. When I commented on the fact to KB the other day she incredulously demanded, "Don't you remember what it looked like when we moved out here?!" I don't think I do. It's been a busy decade.

I love not being sick. One of life's simple pleasure's. Felt so good today I went on a walk with the kids. Feeche and Cub jogged and every 40 yards or so Feeche had Cub do sit ups, challenge push-ups (3:1), jumping jacks etc. The folks going home on our road  had a good laugh at our expense. We are always happy to provide amusement for others. It's what we do.

Don't forget to check out the Apologia Give-away, going on through May 5th. Sign up HERE.
Exploring Creation with Physics Video Instruction DVD
And submit your great homeschooling articles to the Carnival of Homeschooling by going HERE

How was your week?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stone Wall

O.K., it's tile, but Tile Wall just doesn't have the same ring to it, wouldn't you agree? 

 The 2nd floor bathroom tile surround has been consuming every spare minute (precious few that there are) of dh's time. The framing was finished with water worthy drywall, painted with hydro-bain twice, measured, re-measured, and again measured. Full scale paper models of the walls were created, various tile designs were considered, tile cutter was rented, tile cutting commenced, more supplies were purchased, mounting began.

Even though he's kissing 50, dh still likes to play in the mud. Let's just call it "house therapy."

We are going plain and simple on the pattern. We have a 4" wide patterned tile on it's way, which will go where the tile stops right now. A glass shower door and the cube windows will make this not-so-big bathroom feel light and airy.

Cutting the tile to make room for plumbing was tedious but dh got it just right. The opposite wall has cut-outs for shampoo and shower essentials.

One small step for mankind. One huge step closer to a finished house.
Whatdya' think?

Carnival of Homeschooling!

I have been sick, sick, sick. Between the coughing, wheezing, inability to breathe, fever, chills, blinding headache and general malaise I have done barely enough to get by this week. The good news: My kids are older and have been taking care of things generally and

I am hosting the Carnival of Homescholing this next week!
 In case you don't know, the carnival is a weekly get-together of homeschoolers from all over to bring you practical tips, wisdom and encouragement on homeschooling. I'll be posting the Carnvial next Tuesday. YOU can do a couple of things between now and then; Check out past carnivals (see icon on my side-bar), submit a great article to this week's carnival, spread the word to your blogger friends so that we can make this one of the best carnivals ever!

Send entries to:

Include the title and URL of your blog; the title and URL of the post you are submitting to the carnival and any comments. And don't forget to post a carnival icon on YOUR blog!

You can help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images.

Carnival of Homeschooling


Carnival of Homeschooling


Carnival of Homeschooling 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Closing In on the End of the Year

This week felt like  a full and productive week of homeschooling. We have just a few weeks left of co-op, Landry Academy and Tutoring Center and will be wrapping up Latin, Greek, Pre-law, Copywriting, History, Creative Writing, Pre-Chem, and the younger girls writing (combo of IEW and WWE). We'll be finishing FF, WWS I, Alg II  in May and June.
Feeche is doing a mock trial for pre-law over the next 2 weeks and has been having a great time writing and arguing his case. The on-line classes have been a blast!
 My plan is to have finished The History of the Medieval World by then as well. We have about 80 pages left so I think it's do-able. There's been a lot packed into SWB's hefty tome and my goal for the notsolittles was to give a more comprehensive over-view than SOTW. They did recognize quite a bit from the hours of listening to SOTW that they've done. We've also been memorizing the orange VP cards (title and dates) and then the kids each take a card, read it, study it a bit and then I quiz them on their card. I love those VP cards. I just with their were add- ons (PaxRoMomma that I am).

Dh is working hard on our 2nd floor bathroom. It's been hydrobained twice, turning it a lovely shade of pea green. We have ordered tile. He has cut tile. We have spent a small fortune. It will be beautiful. We choose a 4 inch decorative strip called "Prairie Wheat" to off-set the simple pattern off-white tile we are doing the surround with. Can't wait to have a shower on the 2nd floor!!

October Baby
KB and I went to see October Baby last night. Great flick, well told story. Worth the price of admission to support family friendly movies, that aren't animated or just plain foolish.

Our car crisis's of last week have been taken care of and paid for. For the price we paid we could have taken a really nice family vacation at a resort somewhere exotic. Not that I don't love working vehicles.

Physics 2nd Ed. Exploring Creation with 2-Book Set
Don't forget to sign up for the Apologia Physics Textbook and DVD give-away! I am loving the fact that there are more and more resources for home-schooling high school these days!


Feeche had an absolute BLAST at Challenge last week. I love this part of Timothy Group's vision statement:
 "We combine specific armed forces training with Biblical teaching to forge an elite warrior for Christ."

This one's for Mae and KB ; )

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Apologia Review & Give-Away

Did I tell you that I had some awesome curriculum give-aways going on this spring? This month's give-away is for those of you love science, Apologia, have high-schoolers or need a little help with upper level math/science.  Apologia has graciously agreed to give away an
 Exploring Creation with Physics textbook and DVD
to a Golden Grasses Blog reader this month. Details on how to sign-up are at the end of this review!!

Physics 2nd Ed. Exploring Creation with 2-Book Set

As a busy homeschooling mom I appreciate having affordable, excellent resources at my disposal that take difficult subjects and make them accessible to us at home. Exploring Creation with Physics is just that.

Exploring Creation with Physics, 2nd Edition Textbook and DVD is set up in the same manner as the other high school texts. There are 16 units, formulated to take 2 weeks each, On Your Own questions, Review Questions, and Practice Problems. In addition there are lab experiments to complete, with lab supplies listed in on the appendixes; Solutions and Test Manuals are in a separate booklet.

The new Video Instruction DVD with instructor Rusty Hughes is a welcome addition to challenging subject. The DVD guide is broken down by module. Each module has a combination of helpful Power Point slides that give multiple lectures for each module, printable notes from the lectures, including 20 hours of physics instruction. Hughes stresses the importance of the student actually completing the experiments themselves in order to count this as a lab course and having watched him complete a few, they become very do-able. For more information about the program, check out:

Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry; basic Trigonometry functions
“This college-prep physics course is designed for the student who has completed algebra and has had an introduction to the definitions of sine, cosine, and tangent. It provides a detailed introduction to the methods and concepts of general physics, heavily emphasizing vector analysis; this text is ideal preparation for a university-level physics course. It provides the student with a strong background in one-dimensional and two-dimensional motion, Newton’s laws and their application, gravity, work and energy, momentum, periodic motion, waves, optics, electrostatics, electrodynamics, electrical circuits, and magnetism.”

How to sign up for this great give-away (Both the DVD AND the TEXTBOOK!!), sign up to follow Golden Grasses and leave a comment. Then go to Apologia's FB page and "Like." If you are already a friend of this blog- Thank-you! Just leave a comment to indicate that. Last day for sign-ups will be May 4, with the winner announced May 5. 

For more great give-aways, check out Giveaway Day 

My dear Wormwood

I'm partial to Jack. He's the man. And one of my very favorite authors. I've read several of his books several times. KB and Feeche were quoting The Screwtape Letters last week  and I realized it's been years since I've read it and it seemed like a  great idea.
Lewis uses a series of letters between Screwtape, a tried and true higher devil to advise Wormwood, an underling, on the best ways to secure the soul of "The Patient." The writing is full of wit and humor with a healthy dose of "real life" theology thrown in. Lewis takes on a lot on in the slim little volume: religion, education, the media, the secular and the post modern. All done with brilliance and biting wit. Love that.

One of my favorite discussions in the book is about what is "real." As a long time homeschooler I have oft been the recipient of this discussion, having been accused of keeping my children from the "real world" (by implication insinuating that educating at home via private tutoring, a time honored method of the wealthy btw, is "fake.").

"The general rule which we have now pretty well established among them is that in all experiences which can make them happier or better only the physical facts are "real" while the spiritual elements are "subjective"; in all experiences which can discourage or corrupt them the spiritual elements are the main reality and to ignore them is to be an escapist. Thus in birth the blood and pain are "real", the rejoicing a mere subjective point of view; in death, the terror and ugliness reveal what death "really means"....(Lewis goes on and gives several other examples)...The creatures are always accusing one another of wanting "to eat the cake and have it'' but thanks to our labours they are more often in the predicament of paying for the cake and not eating it. Your patient, properly handled, will have no difficulty in regarding his emotion at the sight of human entrails as a revelation of Reality and his emotion at the sight of happy children or fair weather as mere sentiment."

If you are someone seeking to understand the spiritual, this is a great book to start with. If you are a Christian that is discouraged, or in the midst of a trial, this book will give you fresh perspective.If you are just looking for a great read, this book will not disappoint. If you like biting satire, Lewis, post war England, apologetics or brilliant writing, you'll love this book. It's required reading 'round here. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Doin' the Aussie




Feeche spent the middle of last week in Georgia participating in Challenge Staff Training with the Timothy Group. He was thrilled to be offered a staff position and can't wait to go back in October. If you are looking for a true-blue challenge for your Man2B you should really consider some of the training the Timothy Group is doing. Bruce Stansbury, President,  is a former A.F. Ranger Trainer, a man of vision and a personal friend. I can't recommend this program highly enough!

Timothy Group

Mission Statement:

The Timothy Group is a faith based non profit organization. We combine specific armed forces training with Biblical teaching to forge an elite warrior for Christ. The Timothy Group graduate values human life at home and abroad and is willing to be a living sacrifice so that others may live to know their Creator.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Power of Print

"Reading is the ultimate weapon,
 destroying ignorance, poverty,  and despair before they can destroy us. A nation that doesn't read much doesn't know much. And a nation that doesn't know much is more likely to make poor choices in the home, the marketplace, teh jury box, and the voting booth. And those decisions ultimately affect an entire nation- the literate and the illiterate."

Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Monday, April 16, 2012

What will be obsolete in 2020

This is several months old but intersting perspective from educators on what they hope becomes obsolete! A lot of it sounds like private mentoring/tutoring/homeschooling.

Love the thought that Teacher's Unions would go by the way-side. Bring on the guilds and take it to the next level- past monopoly!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekly Report-ish


Pinned Image
Drove Feeche 3 hours away to the airport for an early morning flight on Tuesday. Car overheated 20 minutes from airport. We sat on the side of the road for a while, missed the flight, spent the day getting the car looked at, dropped ds at airport at 4 p.m., completely ignoring the necessity of getting up at 4 a.m. The good news is that the airport didn't charge for the missed flight and the car drove home just fine.


More fun with cars on Friday. Blown tire.Way blown. Blown out. Good thing the mechanic couldn't fit in working on our other car (see *1* above) 'cause dh had to come and pick us up off the high way.

Got some school done this week and last- mainly math, Latin, science. Been spending a ton of time quizzing Cub on Latin and chem facts. We might actually get the periodic table memorized before the year is ovah!

Reading Screwtape Letters- maybe 4th time through. Brilliant each and every time. Great truths for such a time as this. Lewis is brilliant- straightforward, clear and timely. And not a swear word amongst his many great books. Refreshing.


Pinned Image


our porch :). Yes.
I'm thinking I need a list of Porch Rules for summer porch sitting.

2 Cars Down in 3 Days

Dropping Feeche at the airport on Tuesday saw us doing a little road-side sitting as our car overheated. Dh was taking it to the mechanics yesterday in the morning but they couldn't fit it in. Good thing cause we needed him to come and pick us up after a little tire blow-out. I've been grounded from driving 'cuase I supposedly keep breaking the cars. Hmph.
Praising God for His protection. The tire blew on the highway, going 70mph, surrounded by traffic.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Iced Drinks Dirt Cheap

Starbucks  Frappacino
 I don't love Starbucks. Miss. R worked there for a while and one of the perks was a pound a week. Great designer beans that were burned on purpose. Not to mention the fact that I think I can trace my bout of high blood pressure back to Kamodo Dragon .That aside, I'm happy to take their recipes, use beans purchased on the cheap at World Market (coupon, plus the gourmet club, plus the bean club) and make something as wonderful as this:
(Recipe from SquawkFox, picture from Moi)
  • 1 cup double-strength Starbucks coffee OR 3/4 cup fresh espresso (cold) I use our stove top espresso make from World Market. $15 and easy to use.
  • 3/4 cup milk (low fat, 2%, whole or whatever)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cups ice
  • Secret ingredient: Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps Frapp from separating). Or, just drink it so fast that it doesn't have time to separate.
Grape-Fruit Smoothie

We also like smoothies and make them for breakfast several times a week. Home-canned grape juice (grow the grapes yourselves-lots of free fruit and vines for crafting!) and frozen fruit (tropical blend- love the mango and pineapple! We get it at Sams 6 #'s for 10 bucks). Whirl and serve.

What are your favorite summertime recipes?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012



I'm still reading, though my reviews have been few and far between. To make up for it I offer you two:

Sister, by Rosamond Upton. A murder mystery- it's really not my fav genre, though I've read a ton this year already. (hey, I'll count this as a "mini-challenge!"). Like Sayers, Upton uses the murder, and the mystery, to talk about a whole lot of other things; bio-chemical medicine and ethics, familial relationships, grief, loss, control, and ultimately love. A beautifully woven story with a surprise ending. So surprising, in fact, that I had to go back and re-work some things in my head- in that way it reminded me of the Dekker's Three ends. The other thing I loved about this book was that it was a series of letters written to the protagonists deceased sister. Grief is clearly a theme here, and Upton writes with tenderness about the unique grief of losing a sibling.

Product Details
Laura Ingalls Wilder (LIW): A Writer's Life by Pamela Smith Hill.I've been in several discussions over the past couple of years about the legacy left behind by both the  Ingalls's and Wilder's. There's a whole group of people out there who can't stand Pa, think Rose Wilder Lane (RWL) wrote the books and that Laura is a shame and blame Almanzo for losing the farm in the Territories. Wow. Call me gullible but I still like love the series, read them for the fourth time out-loud this year, and find it all a fascinating look into a time and place that still touches us, if only vaguely. Hill's take on LIW's work is that she is clearly the author, RWL, was a brilliant editor and the relationship between the two was...complicated. RIL, imho, had some personality issues, including plagiarism. This was a documented before she actually plagiarized material from her own mother. A fascinating look at a family system which included TWO best selling and ambitious authors. I thought it would be a dry, tedious read, but not at all. A great look at both a writer's life, and family systems.  Incidentally, the author, Hill, got her start writing in South Dakota. Love that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Porch Seaon II

Way last year I posted about painting the porch and promised pictures. This week-end the kids and I did some spring cleaning. The porch, which ends up being winter housing for some of our outside animals, and the repository of tools, projects, and materials, got a clean sweep. It's the perfect room, south facing, light and airy. We spend hours out here reading, eating, chatting, talking, star gazing.

The floor is painted dark evergreen. The first time we painted it (my mil, KB and I) I choose barn red and loved it. It was definitely time for a change though, and we all really like how very peaceful the deep green is. The rocker was a gift from dh after we found out I was pregnant with our first baby. The couch is from Craigslist. They asked $600 for it and ended up giving it to us for free. (love those kind of deals - "God shopping" my friend Jannelle calls it).

Here's a view of the whole east side- the sun was brilliant as it set! The little table Flower is drawing is 20 years old- a gift from Grandma and Grandpa for one of our older girls'  birthday. It took a beating in the fire and we've sanded down the top and kilzed it. I have big plans for it so check back this summer.

I'm a plant girl- have I told you that before? We had to throw away or give away all of our houseplants from the fire (scorching and then living in a hotel for a month necessitated it). But, my collection is growing again... front and center is the most delicious lavender. In the back is a housewarming gift from my green thumbed sweet friend, Cyndi, then a baby Coleus. On the plant stand (garage sale find) is a Christmas Cactus and violet.

This is the west side of the porch. We have a wall length built in. The cupboards match our kitchen and have 3 deep drawers. So far the west side of the porch has been the staging area for projects, as well as the cutting and sanding area last winter. It's still a bit of a mess.

Across from the cubbies; an extra kitchen cupboard that is the acting potting table. More berry bushes on top- part of my evil edible landscaping plan.

And finally, the view from the porch. Our yard is bordered by a decades old 40 foot lilac hedge. Our crab apple is finally getting some height and you can barely see the flowing shrub out front, next to a red oak. The ash is coming down soon. The property was sorely neglected when we moved in and taking down old trees, weeding and dredging up ancient farm implements (along with tripping over tens of yards of barbed wire) have been just as much part of the reclamation project as planting new trees and bushes.

It's hard to believe that just over 2 1/2 years ago this porch was FULL of smoke and noxious orders. Another area of redemption in our lives. And it's just as lovely irl as in the pictures!

Need more Monday inspiration?

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

The Trumpet Will Sound!

The trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, 
and we shall be changed! 
He has Risen indeed!
Even for the likes of us!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homeschooling High-School

A recent question about high school on a homeschooling board asks what veteran homeschoolers would do if they could start over with high school.

We've graduated 2 and have a rising senior. Here's the deal- there are so many more options than there were even a couple of years ago and they are expanding. Because of that homeschooling high school is easier and more effective than ever before. My .02 about planning high school at home:
1.    Maximize your resources.
2.    Don’t switch around if you have something that works well (Unless you have an amazing opportunity),
3.    Give your kids a lot of exposure to various opportunities (help your kids find them, interview, be selective)
4.    Pick subjects that teach what they claim to teach.
5.    Be realistic about your abilities.
6.    Be realistic about your kids abilities.

This year ds (jr) is involved in co-op (chorale, art, history unit study), on-line classes (pre-law and copywriting), Tutoring Center; private tutoring (creative writing, Latin, Alg. II), classes at home (history, science), Great Courses & other DVD’s (Shakespeare GC), Bio, Chem). 

This year he's also had the opportunity to travel to GA to campaign, go to Challenge and Back to D.C., and is going to TP Nationals and Challenge staff training in the next several weeks.
He was involved in Drama Camp, Shakespeare Camp and the Festival of One Act Plays last year and this. He works 1 day a week as a farm hand, goes ballroom dancing twice a month and helps with the house re-build projects/gardening and has a serious work-out schedule.

He works, in part, to fund his traveling and travels to fund his sense of adventure. The drama is a great rhetoric exercise (public speaking/performance, memory work) not to mention fun, and has been used to supplement lit. Ballroom dancing/work-out = gym. Challenge, TeenPact events are 2-fers because they are serious apologetics/faith building programs in addition to exposure to politics.   

My plan for my kids has been to give them as many opportunities as make sense and we can afford and have a clear college prep program. We do pass on some opportunities, we don’t participate in every single social event. Our kids don’t do youth groups. We do a lot but we also don’t do a lot. That is part of the challenge for high school-determining where your time and energy should be, what opportunities you have where you live. Our life in NM (activities for our older girls) was very different than the activities/opportunities our 3 younger kids have.

If you have areas of weakness (for me soph and up math and science) bite the bullet, hire a tutor, get on-line, or take classes at the local high school. We tried program after program after program for math for our older girls and the result was that the both feel inadequate about math and didn't get a solid, sequential scope of upper level math. It would have been far less expensive to just hire a tutor every week than switching around.

I see true value in finding something and sticking with it. We are using LoF for math. You can find lots of discussion on-line about the adequacy of it (or not) but we are sticking with it. Our math tutor thinks it's just fine, our son is moving forward, if we change (again, since we had to change and lost time from the fire) that is time not spent moving forward. Otoh, last year ds had the opportunity to take Chem. from a scientist. Adios Apologia, hello Prentice Hall and stellar Chem. teacher.

I also think the idea that every subject needs to be “Christian” is a bit odd. I’ve always taken the approach that I want the curriculum to teach the subject it claims to teach; Bible verses at the top of a math page just seems odd to me and confusing. The vote is in and multi-tasking doesn’t work. I also stay away from vendors that integrate their doctrine in to the curriculum. It’s not that we don’t have a doctrine, it’s just that I don’t really want it taught pedantically. The exception to this, for us, is Rod and Staff grammar.

My kids are not brilliant but they are all pretty smart. They probably won’t go Ivy League. Most of them have more linguistic ability than symbolic. I focus heavily on writing/speaking, lit, history, (my strengths) while my dh does a lot of science exploration, apologetics, strategy focus with them (far less structured, more along the lines of mentoring). If dh was homeschooling, they’d probably all go into a science field because his love and passion for science is catching. Since his pesky day job keeps him pretty busy, they are stuck with moi. As it is they all have a very solid grammar of science. For areas we have resources, ability in, I expect them to move beyond the grammar stage.

I do look at and glean from catalogs each year but the siren song of “new, new, new” can outweigh common sense so I stick with a few vendors that fit with my pedagogy and choose from them. For me, that limits choices, saves money and gives me a piece of mind because I’m not always seconding guessing and wondering what we are missing.

I am also over switching mid-year if things don’t “work” or don’t fit with my kids “learning style.” I believe in learning styles, ages and stages and all of that  (I have a Master’s degree in Human Development) but I also believe that kids need to shore up areas of weakness. This might take more time on my part, but switching curriculum's, catering to a child is costly, too (btdt). I’ve found that generally things don’t work when I am not directing, discussing or involved in what the kids are doing. In other words, it’s rare to find a truly awful curriculum and common to find homeschoolers who want the curriculum to work magic for them. The reality is, in order for homeschooling to “work”, you have to show up.

In conclusion, I'm doing some things just the same for my younger kids as for my older (lots of opportunities, great lit, college prep classes) and totally different (more outsourcing of academic courses) with my younger kids. It's exciting to see the homeschooling world expand and grow and the opportunities that we can offer our kids, and afford, grow with it.

What are you planning for High School?