Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"You just gotta read this" Find of the Day

     The link below connects you to a great article found in "Baptist Press" today.  The title is: "Raising Children Without Raising Your Voice".  You will find it to make a whole lot of sense.  (The low-down: we have to be disciplined if we want our kids to be. Yikes.) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When Education "Sneaks" in

     Years ago, I read in a homeschooling book about how homeschoolers naturally become interested in subjects/projects and pursue them on their own without the need for parental involvement.  I had even talked to a homeschool graduate who said she would work hard to finish her studies, so that she could then work on her personal projects (4-H) in the afternoon. 
     I wondered how or if this would come about.  It seemed out-of-reach, especially since my boys were younger at the time I first heard about this wonderful "phenomenon".   Recently, though, I have seen this come to fruition in our home.  Both of my boys--completely on their own--have become both passionate and experts in their "field of study".  What a joy it is when your child knows more than you do about a subject (other than Star Wars!). 

Here is my youngest (a Lego engineer) filling out a notecard for a Lego-building contest.  He has done this totally on his own; reading the directions and following instructions. 

This is one view of his original creation for the contest.  I cannot even beging to imagine thinking up something like this (or having the patience to complete it)!  We plan on sending off the picture(s) today.

This is my oldest (a passionate ornithologist).  He took up "birding" about a year 1/2 ago.  He's got quite the "life list" now...over 80 bird species I think.  My dad, who is a wildlife biologist is amazed at his knowledge.  Sometimes he is up before the rest of us, to get a chance at seeing the birds. 

Writers Inc
This is a book I  bought several years ago as a reference book for home education/college purposes.  My oldest (the ornithologist) is also very passionate about being a writer.  Again--completely on his own--he has been doing research for months.  He is re-reading books he thinks are especially good; he then takes note of what he thinks makes them exceptional.  He has also been studying the book pictured above. 
     There is a bit of overlap in my boys' interests.  They both like and are interested in what the other is. I've just highlighted what stands out to me as their passions/expertise. 
     It sure is exciting for me as a homeschool mom to see education "sneak in".   I'm not even sure exactly what I did to create the environment for this to happen.  It may just be the very nature of home education and the flexibility it affords.  (I know "homework" would cut out a lot of Lego building time and rushing out the door in the morning would really put a damper on primetime birdwatching!)  :)   
      For tradtionally schooled children, summer can be an especially great time to pursue interests and passions as well.  I believe a determined child, no matter the method of their education, will be unstoppable at pursuing their own "field of study". 
I'd love to hear from your family and how education "sneaks" into your home! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

My View from the Front Pew~One way to grow as a Christian

     Yesterday my preacher husband's sermon title was "Together".  (Based on 15: 1-2, 22-32)  One of the together things we can do as a church is serve.  My husband shared that if you are not serving, you cannot grow in your faith.  (I wanted to shout a hearty, "AMEN!"---but, I thought better of it and just nodded my head.)
     I have lived this whole idea of serving leading to a deeper faith and closer relationship to Jesus Christ and know it to be true.   In serving God in the local church, He has stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of.  The Lord has brought me to prayer as I sought His counsel and will.  Some of the closest friendships I have came from serving alongside people in the church. (I always look forward to serving alongside someone "new", because I know we will form a bond that can only come from serving our Lord together.)  In preparing to teach children God's Word, I have had to study first.  When disappointments come with serving, (and they will!) I have learned to lean on the Lord...and to be reminded that HE is the only one I need approval from.
     Each of these times my faith has grown and has been stretched.  What deepens my faith the most, though, are those "God moments".  ...When I get to lead a child to Christ...When my former Bible Drillers return to watch and encourage the new Bible Drillers...When more than half of our congregation shows up for a day-long mission trip...When I teach Preschoolers a story from the Bible and see a "light" go on.... When a family come to visit our church for VBS, and years later they are still there...serving!

     If you are not currently serving in your local church, why not pray about doing so today?  

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Tube Find of the Day....Bikinis (or not)

    Last night I received the "What to Bring" list for my son who goes on a youth retreat this weekend.  In the list our youth pastor asked the girls to wear one-pieces or tankinis only.  As a mom of two boys, I am so thankful for girls who dress modestly and a youth pastor who encourages it.  This morning I came across the video below (see link) that gives several reasons for girls/ladies not to wear a bikini.  One of the most compelling arguments the speaker talked about was the fact that if a guy walked into a girls locker room and the girls were all in their underwear--the girls would all scream and run for a towel to cover up.  When a guy looks at a girl in a bikini, he sees the exact same thing (and I say in some cases less!) as if she was in her underwear.   Something to think about.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exciting News at jpmt!

     I'm thrilled to announce that I am now part of This Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Homeschool Review Crew!  I've been reading this very infomative and entertaining homeschool magazine for years; now I'm a part!  In the near future, I'll be posting reviews of homeschool products.  My boys and I are excited to give these products a try, and let you know how they worked for us.


Monday, May 14, 2012


     I hope all of you fellow moms out there had a great Mother's Day!  Last year my Mother's Day was a bit of a "doozie".  It's been a year now, and I can finally bring myself to talk about it. ;)  Typically, most favorite thing on Mother's Day is to enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors with my husband and two boys.  I like to find a big oak tree, spread out a big quilt, eat sandwiches, and drink IBC Rootbeer.  (Chocolate is also involved!)  Last Mother's Day before leaving for the park--we had a bit of an incident.  The picnic basket and cooler were packed.  I went to put them in our mini-van, but then realized that I didn't have the keys. So,  I left them behind the van while I went inside to get them--but somewhere along the way the whole idea of getting keys and putting our picnic in the van got lost.  When my dear husband asked if I was ready to go, I said, "Sure, go ahead and back the van out of the garage."  
     I think you can guess what happened.  I was still inside when the travesty occured.  My husband came inside, first telling me no one had been hurt.  (Okay, I was glad for that.)  But I could tell that whatever it was, it wasn't good.  After my husband told me that he had crushed the picnic basket, I remained calm-since I realize Mother's Day is all about just being with my family and I just said, "That's okay, honey, you didn't mean to." I pretty much freaked out.  Even though my husband was not at fault, I really needed someone to blame. 
     You see, this picnic basket is pretty special.  My sweet hubby bought it from a crafter in the mountains of N.C. when we were dating and we took lots of picnics together.  There are ring stains on the top of it that I cherish because they are from where we put our drinks when we used it like a table. (Back when it was just the two of us.)  I was just so devastated that our beloved picnic basket was ruined.  In my frustration, I lifted the lid of our big trash can to throw away the obviously unrepairable object.  My husband stopped me.  He said, "Letha, your daddy can fix this."  I really had not considered that--and wasn't sure it was possible.  I just left it there on the garage floor. 
     Later, I did give my dad the picnic basket.  It was in shambles.  I really wish I had taken a "before" picture.  My dad is pretty amazing.  He was able to use all the same parts, and lots of wood glue to repair it.  There was one tiny piece of wood he never found (it's probably lodged in the rear bumber of our van).  He added a few screws, and ta-da!  My dad restored my picnic basket. It now works like it was intended to. I'm so glad I did not give up and throw it in the trash! 

     My smashed and broken basket reminded me of how we are sometimes.  Our souls hurt.  Our souls are burdened. (Maybe if feels like the weight of a mini-van)  Our souls are sinful.  We come unglued. (Like I did last Mother's Day.)  God wants to restore us.  He wants to make our souls right with Him.  He is the God of all Comfort. 

"...He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Psalm 23: 3

          You see, this picnic basket is pretty special.  My husband bought it when we were dating.  It is handcrafted by a mountaineer in N.C.  It has seen many a delicious picnic.  And to make it even more beautiful-- it was crushed by our mini-van, then beautifully and lovingly restored by my daddy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Reading Excitement

     The other day I was having a conversation with a few moms about the need I had to find good books for my boys to read this summer.  (They've already read just about every book in the house.)  Lo and behold-- Sonlight (our homeschooling curriculum) came out with these great summer reading packages/lists!  We finish "school" in a few weeks, and we're gonna need these!

     You might also like these older posts of mine where I mention some of our favorite good books: http://www.justpitchingmytent.blogspot.com/2012/01/votes-are-in.html  or http://justpitchingmytent.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-top-picks-for-summer-or-anytime-read.html

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cutting Costs in the Laundry Room

I wanted to share one of the simple ways I literally "cut" costs in the laundry room.

As I go through my dryer sheets, I simply cut them in half!
It works great.  The only time I might use a whole sheet is if
I'm drying a really fuzzy blanket or something.  My box of dryer sheets lasts a
really long time!  (It's also good therapy-- cutting those dryer sheets.  I say to myself,
"Oooh, I've outsmarted those dryer sheet manufacturers again!")

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Preschool Sunday School: Miriam Helped her Family

The boys and girls had a fun time weaving a basket, just like the mother of baby Moses did.
(The black t-shirt smocks are from playing in the water...
the preschoolers built things with Legos and Duplo blocks to see if they would float.)

Such busy helpers!

After our Bible story, we found Baby Moses, Miriam and their mom in the picture.
Then we connected the dots to make a basket for Moses.

Puzzle and book center today


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free May Issue of "This Old Schoolhouse Magazine"

     The May issue of "This Old Schoolhouse Magazine" is now available here.  I just love this homeschooling magazine!  It has something for everyone, no matter your style of homeschooling.  As I was reading through all the different articles written by a wide range of homeschoolers, I was thinking, "Which homeschooler am I?"  I think I'd say I'm "Literary Homeschooler" with a good touch of "Classical". 
     One of my favorite articles is: "The Promise of Education Technology".  It caught my attention because I often cringe at the thought of children (and adults) spending so much time in front of a screen.  (I just heard today on the news the average child spends 7 hours a day in front of a computer, TV, phone, or video game screen!)
     Two quotes from the article really stood out to me: "....the best tools for giving our children a quality education are the simplest ones: books, paper and our time." and "Read widely and deeply."