Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Life is Labor, and Death is the Transition Phase

This is a repost from my former blog:

November 5, 2009 by Melissa Telling

The whole of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth as it awaits its final redemption from the effects of the fall. ~Romans 8:22

As my grandma lay dying a year and a half ago, I was struck by how her suffering reflected the pains of childbirth. I felt as I watched that she was somehow being "born" into heaven, passing out of the pain of this world to be caught up in the loving arms of her Savior on the other side, as all the angels stood by watching in joyful anticipation. I even had this Norman Rockwell-ish image in my head of the whole event. While it was very sad for all of us, there was a certain beauty in the process.

Yesterday, this thought came back into my head as I was reading from a book called Blessing Your Husband by Debra Evans. After quoting Romans 8:22, Mrs. Evans goes on to say, "Though it is easy on difficult days to forget our ultimate goal, our labor and groans are deeply productive where God’s eternal purpose for us is concerned.  ‘For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18′ "

Not much is said about the symbolism of childbirth in the Bible, but there it is, an answer to the question of suffering and a picture of our salvation, put into words that only a mother could fully understand. That’s just an awesome thought, isn't it, that God is speaking specifically to us who have gone through the pains of childbirth? Just picture the whole of creation groaning in the midst of labor, and then that final moment when the child arrives and there is instant and complete relief, and overwhelming joy. Our labors are over, our sinful natures are gone, along with all the pain that accompanies them. Amazing! And not just us, but someday "the whole of creation" will feel that relief. Don’t you long for that day?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Notgrass (Revised World History) Literature Selections In the Public Domain

First, the good news: The Notgrass company has revised their World History textbooks and brought them up to date. The new version is currently at the printer, and they expect to start shipping the first week of April. 

Now, the bad news: As might be expected with an update like this, several of the literature selections have been changed. This means, if you already own this program and decide to update, you will need to buy some additional literature books in addition to the new textbooks. Actually, it really isn't that bad. The new list consists of just four new books, and two of these are available in the public domain. Five books which were previously included have been dropped from the list, including: Mere Christianity (this is still recommended as additional reading), Pilgrim's Progress, Pride and Prejudice, Heart of Darkness (my daughter was very pleased with this as she HATED this book), and Eric Liddell: Pure Gold. 

4 new books and 5 removed

Purchase Exploring World HistoryExploring World History Curriculum Package

By Ray Notgrass / Notgrass Company
Updated Literature Titles:

  • The Cat of Bubastes   Kindle   EPUB   Audio
  • The Art of War Kindle  EPUB  Audio
  • Julius Caesar   Kindle  EPUB  Audio
  • The Imitation of Christ   Kindle  EPUB   Audio
  • Here I Stand   Kindle  EPUB   
  • A Tale of Two Cities  Kindle   EPUB   Audio
  • North and South  Kindle  EPUB  Audio
  • The Hiding Place (not available for free online)
  • Animal Farm (not available for free online)
  • Bridge To The Sun (not available for free online)
  • Cry, the Beloved Country (not available for free online)
  • The Abolition of Man (not available for free online)
  • Free World Literature Reading Log (coming soon!)

  • *This post contains affiliate links.

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Our Curriculum 2013-2014: Kindergarten

    coloring in the lines at VBS
    My 8th born child is 4 years old. Although we did work on phonics some last year, this will be his first "official" year of school. My philosophy is to start early and keep it fun. Kids absorb so much at this age, and when all their older siblings are learning, they want to participate. 

    His younger sister (the "baby") just turned 2, but I'm sure she will do her best to keep up with him. The two of them are inseparable. She already wants to do phonics every time he does, even though she can't pronounce half of the sounds. 

    *This post contains affiliate links.

    * Songs for Saplings has partnered with Redeemer Presbyterian Church of Manhattan and The Gospel Coalition, to release a new version of the New City Catechism, which contains Questions with Answers music for each catechism question. As you study the catechism's 52 questions and answers (one for each week of the year) you can listen to the corresponding songs. This combination of reciting AND singing the truths of our faith is a great way to teach your kids about God, the world, and the Gospel of Jesus. This resource is available at no cost whatsoever and is accessible as a web page and as a free iPad application. 

    337013: Land Animals of the Sixth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3
    (He will be listening in on his older siblings lessons and participating as able.)

    (He will be listening in on his older siblings lessons and participating as able.)



    counting & cutting
    I'm not sure yet what else we will do. I will update this post as we complete various activities. We will probably do some cooking together too, since he is anxious to learn this skill. 

    See my Pinterest board for Kindergarten Homeschool and Activities Bags/Quiet Books

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    Free Virgin Coconut Oil Book and Green Smoothie Recipe

    Are you looking for a good source for coconut oil? We love Tropical Traditions expeller pressed oil because it is healthy AND it doesn't have the coconut flavor so you can use it in anything. The gold label is also delicious, when you don't mind the coconut flavor- or if you just want to eat it plain. (This actually recommended for people with thyroid troubles.)

    When I first made the switch to coconut oil, I didn't think there was any way I would ever use very much of it. That first gallon lasted us about 6 months. However, as I slowly broke away from using less healthy oils, I've been more and more thankful for the ability to buy such a great oil in larger quantities at a reasonable price. We use coconut oil for almost  every recipe that calls for vegetable oils and shortenings. I also make salves and lotions from it, and even used it as a hair conditioner for a while. It is the best thing for getting rid of craddle cap. Just apply to baby's head, let sit, brush, wash.  

    The grated coconut is very good too. I like to throw a handful into our morning smoothies (see recipe below). In fact, we've been happy with everything we've ordered from them. I especially like knowing that I can trust them to sell a product without hidden "franken-chemical-additive" things. Their blog is a wealth of information for those who are concerned with clean and healthy eating. 

    If  you have never ordered from Tropical Traditions website and use this referral link to make your first purchase, you will receive a FREE book, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. (Yeah! More coconut oil!!)

    FREE Shipping Code : 12138 (valid through 8/12)

    Green Smoothies aka "Pond Scum"

    These taste much better than they look. 

    2 ripe bananas
    2 carrots, cut in chunks
    1 cucumber, cut in chunks
    1 cup steamed kale
    1/4 cup almonds
    2/3 cup Greek yogurt
    1/2 cup grated coconut 
    stevia, to taste

    Place in Vitamix. Add about 6 cups water. Blend until smooth.

    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    Preserving Homeschool Memories With a Yearbook

    At the end of third grade, my parents removed my sister and me from the private Christian school we had been attending and began home schooling. While I eventually grew to like being at home, I still to this day enjoy looking at my old school year books from the private school. I'm sure I would enjoy looking at my home school year books as well, but there aren't any. Nor are there any pictures. Not one single photo to prove that I ever attended school after the third grade. So, when I was paging through an old Teaching Home Magazine and read about the yearbooks someone else had done, I knew this was a tradition I was going to start.

    Memories created while learning at home are just as important as those created in a traditional school environment and have just as much right to be preserved. Just because you are a home educator doesn't mean you can't have a school yearbook. Making a homeschool yearbook is easy and it's almost as much fun as looking at one.

    How Do You Make a Home School Yearbook?

    Making a home school year book is a little more complicated than making a yearbook for your average school. There are no pages of class pictures to fill it with. There's few athletic teams and such. Instead, there are your children. That's wonderful, ofcourse, but it does require a little more creativity. It requires you to think about the things your children will want to remember from their school years and to be active in documenting them. Meaning, whatever they are doing, remember to take pictures.

    Things To Include:

    *Class pictures - I put a family picture on one page along with our theme verse for the year. I also do a separate page for each child. Some years I take a posed picture of each of them, some years I just put in few pictures I have taken throughout the year. Some years we include their signature, hand prints, lists of favorites, things they've learned, reduced copies of art work. One year I pasted pictures of their heads onto bodies cut from magazines to make caricatures.

    *Sports - if your child plays organized sports, make a page or two for that. Add team photos, pictures of games, or a picture of them hanging out with friends after the game. If your home school group has a field day, scrapbook that. Or take pictures of your kids riding bikes, playing tag, and shooting hoops in the driveway.

    *Clubs - Our kids are in AWANA, so we always include a couple of pages with pictures of cowboy night, crazy hair night, grand prix, closing program, etc. If your children are in a church program or scouts or such, make pages for those.

    *Extra curricular activities- co op classes, library or museum programs, music classes, their Sunday school class. Field trips, vacations, special occasions (weddings and holidays) The arrival or first birthday of a younger child.

    *Academics - I do a page for each subject with pictures of the kids working or doing projects or holding their books or dressed in costumes (for history or geography). Sometimes I've also put reduced copies of notebook pages or added journaling about what we've studied. I also have done special pages for things like "________ learns the alphabet" and "We like to listen to stories" (with pictures of friends and family reading to them.)

    *Friends - we always include a page with pictures of friends and family. The definition of "friend" can be as broad as you want to make it. The librarian, the mailman, the kids next door? If it is someone your kids may remember years from now, they would probably enjoy having a picture of them. And years from now when that person is no longer around you may be thankful for the pictures you have of those people you now take for granted. A signature page is also a fun way to collect remembrances.

    The Benefits of a Homeschool Yearbook

    While our school year books are primarily for my children's benefit, they also have some extra advantages. They are a great way to share our lives with our family and friends. They are a great way to show doubters what a wonderful education our children are receiving. They are a good way for me to exercise my creative talents. And looking through books from past years is wonderful encouragement for me as a teacher. It is also a nice review for my children.

    I would encourage you to start this practice in your own home. Sure, it takes a little time, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. I work on ours a little here and there as I have time. I don't try to make it perfect, so my cuts aren't always straight and I may have smudges here and there, but no one really notices. The important thing is just to have something, so put into it as much or as little as you are able.

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