Monthly Archives: August 2010

FREE Ticket to Tonight’s Schoolhouse Expo

We have a neat opportunity to bless some people with the chance to attend tonight’s LIVE Schoolhouse Expo session with Jeannie Fulbright and Dr. Jay Wile for FREE.

6 p.m. Central – If I Could Do It Over by Jeannie Fulbright

Looking back over our parenting years, don’t we all wish we could have done some things differently? What if someone could give you advice that could help you avoid some big mistakes? Interested?

In this presentation, Jeannie shares her greatest homeschooling mistakes in the hope that it will save you from making those mistakes yourself. She’ll discuss curriculum decisions, dealing with behavior, learning disabilities, sibling issues, and having the right intentions but the wrong focus and being consumed with an avalanche of negative emotions, such as anger, irritability, anxiety, and fear of failure-all brought on by lies she had believed. Jeannie will share stories of the consequences she faced, as well as how our merciful God was able to redeem the years the locusts had eaten and guide her into a vibrant, joyful, and successful homeschool experience.

7 p.m. Central – Be Open-Minded, but Don’t Let Your Brain Fall Out! by Dr. Jay Wile

One of the most important steps in critical thinking is to look at all sides of an issue. It is very easy to get trapped by false ideas if you continue to look at an issue from only one side. At the same time, however, it can be uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) to read the viewpoints of those with whom we disagree.

How does a Christian deal with this tension? Dr. Wile first discusses why it is so important to look at an issue from many different sides, and then he explains how to avoid the pitfalls that could result from a failure to do so. Those who are interested in serious investigations of theological, scientific, or political issues should definitely hear this lecture.

Just enter THIS  CONTEST on the HomeschoolBlogger Front Porch if you can enter tonight’s session between 6-8 p.m. Central.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

A Story for Moms

Sunlight on a Smoky Mountain Stream

Chris Klicka was one of my all-time favorite homeschool speakers and I subscribed to his Caring Bridge website to pray for him and his family as his battle with MS grew more challenging. I was blessed to hear Chris speak years ago in Indianapolis just as I was beginning to battle with fibromyalgia and God used him so clearly to encourage me that God can use us even when our bodies don’t cooperate.

As I read along with Chris’ Caring Bridge site, I felt like his wife, Tracy was becoming a friend.  Her heart for the Lord, her husband, and kids were a blessing to me.

This morning she posted a wonderful entry about her own journey as a mother and what it’s like to be a mom of seven children by herself now. She called it My Motherhood Story  . . . His-Story. I love how she is so honest and transparent as she shares the joys and the challenges that they’ve faced, and how she faithfully lays it all right at the foot of Jesus.

That encourages me! There is nothing too big for Him to handle – not a major illness, not 4 kids under the age of 6, not a scary pregnancy, not an infant in NICU, not a family growing all while daddy is fighting for his life, not the loss of a spouse, or the thought of raising 5 teens and 2 young adults as a single-parent. None of that is too big for Him.

My pain level has been crazy this past week. I don’t know if it’s fallout from our wonderful getaway in Gatlinburg, hormones, the stress of the upcoming Expo and starting back to school, the weather, or (most likely) all of that combined, but honestly when things get that rough, it brings me to my knees. It feels like it’s all just too much for me.

But it’s not too much for Him.

He is right there with me through every bit of this and has a plan in all of it. My pain level is not a surprise to Him. I keep reminding myself that it’s not like He’s just not paying attention while my pain worsens. He’s there with me. He never leaves. He never changes. His mercy knows no end. He has shown Himself to be faithful time and time again, and I know His grace and provision in ways that I’ve never known before.

He is good, even when life is hard. And I’m thankful for people like Tracy who remind me of that.

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Books by Chris Klicka:

Gatlinburg Getaway

For our 20th anniversary, Tony and I decided to head off to Gatlinburg and visit the Smoky Mountains for a few days. Tony’s family used to visit there every summer when Tony was growing up so Gatlinburg holds a pretty special place in his heart. Tony and I had been to Gatlinburg three times over the years – once before kids, once when we only had one, and then the last time was eight years ago with all three boys.

It kind of made the trip even more sentimental as we reminisced over things we had seen and done on our previous trips together and marveled at how quickly twenty years has passed.

After all these years, he’s still my best friend and I love him even more each day. Not once on our trip, did we ever get bored. We just had the best, most relaxing time, just hanging out together.

And I think a part of what makes 20 years so special is how we’ve shared our lives together for so long now. It really is a beautiful mystery how God can take two separate lives and weave them together in a unique tapestry. While we were on our trip, we spent a lot of time being reminded of friends and family. We would be amazed at the beautiful scenery and would think of a friend who we knew would take a zillion pictures there. Or we would walk past an arcade and think of how our boys and some of their friends would love it. Although this getaway was just for the two of us, it was funny just how much of it we spent thinking of friends and family.

It was a great time for counting our blessings, that’s for sure.

One really neat blessing was that when we drove through Cade’s Cove, we actually saw SEVEN black bears. It was simply amazing. I had been praying to just see ONE, but when we saw the first one, there were actually THREE in the tree – a mama bear with two babies. I was just using my iPhone as a camera so you can’t even see the bears in the pic, but I promise they WERE there!

Right after that we saw another bear in a tree, a mama bear and baby walking in the trees, and then the last one was a young bear walking  all alone.  You can kind of see him in this picture.

I can’t even tell you how much fun I had driving around with this guy and just admiring God’s creation. It was such a fabulous trip.

This is the first year that we’ve been able to getaway on a 5 day trip like this, but we are SO thankful that we could do it. We reminisced over our first anniversary that we spent with our dogs and both sets of our parents at my parents’ lake house. We remembered a lot of years where we weren’t able to celebrate much.  And we laughed about the past few years of going to different bed & breakfasts and one quick camping trip.

There’s a lot of memories and shared history in 20 years and I’m so, so glad that I have Tony to share it all with.  One of my friends blogged about her husband the other day and I so appreciated what she said about what her husband’s love and care means to her.

“This one man has found it in himself to shower the love of Jesus Christ upon me in ways which are sometimes a mystery.  I know God here in this place.  I know His love.  It has to be the way Christ loves us, His bride, because it is so good.”

Tony represents that to me too. When I first came to know Christ, what truly drew me was His unconditional love – how He could love me even when I was so undeserving. And I think of how Tony walks a little slower with me these days because of the pain I battle. I think of the things he picks up so I won’t have to bend over. I think of how he is so quick to give me an arm to steady myself and how our boys do that even now without thinking. I think of how he’s never grumbled over the amount of money we spend on prescriptions or supplements, doctors’ visits or tests. Surely he’d rather have that money to spend on other things, but yet, he never begrudges any of it. I think of how he tenderly sympathizes with me when I reach a breaking point time and time again, but he still hangs in there with me.

I was 19 and he was 21 when we married. Although we loved each other like crazy, I can honestly say that the love we had for each other back then was just a drop in the bucket to how we love each other now.  There’s something about sharing a life together that just makes things more rich.

I’ve always loved that saying by Robert Browning, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.

Although I never thought I could love Tony Carter more than I did on the day that I married him,  I realize now how the best truly does lie ahead because of how we will go through it together – cherishing memories, giving thanks to God, loving each other, and trusting God.

And taking silly photos too!

It’s That Time Again

The October Schoolhouse Expo will be here before you know it. Yay!

As the Director of the Expo, I can’t tell you just how thrilled I am to be able to start selling tickets. We have been so blessed with finding great speakers and topics that we think you all are going to love. You can read through this email to get the scoop.

This week really is the best time to buy your ticket whether you want to attend LIVE or just listen in later with the Expo To Go since you can save $5. Plus I really think many of you will want to listen in to the very first preshow next Tuesday night. I’m really looking forward to hearing Jeannie Fulbright share the things she’d change if she could do it over and hearing Dr. Jay Wile encourage teens (and all of us really) to really study different viewpoints so we can boldly defend our opinions on different issues.

Here’s the link if you want to buy your ticket. (And if you click through my link, I earn credit for those sales. Yay!)  Please feel free to share the info about the Expo on your blogs, facebook, and through your support groups.  I really do appreciate it. We’ve been working really hard on getting this Expo together. And let me know what you think about that email. I had to come up with the theme for this one and would just like to hear what you all think about it.

I really am looking forward to the Expo, but it’s always a little nerve-wracking until things get rolling. If you think of it, please pray for our Expo Team, the speakers, attendees, and all of the techy stuff. We have a wonderful opportunity to encourage each other.

May we glorify God in all that we do.

Having Fun with Math

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese proverb

My general philosophy on education is that people learn better when they are having a good time and think they are going to be able to succeed. One of my college professors called it “setting the child up to be successful”.

I always had a bit of a mental block when it came to math. I used to tell my mother that it would be a nightmare for me if I ever had to work in a bank and deal with numbers ALL DAY! My mom always had to help me a lot with my math homework and in high school I even had a tutor. I struggled with math in college too until I took Teaching Math in the Elementary Classroom.  The whole emphasis in that class was on coming up with hands-on ways to teach math concepts and THAT was when I finally began to think that I actually COULD understand math.

As a public school teacher, I was always coming up with some way to involve manipulatives or food into our lessons. I absolutely loved the books like the M&Ms Counting Book and the such. Now they have a TON of books like that:

Another thing that I loved as a teacher and did somewhat with my own boys was starting each day off with calendar time. That was how I basically taught days of the week, months of the year, even & odd, tally marks, counting by 5’s, graphing, groups of 10 and 100, etc… I couldn’t find the exact book that I used on Amazon, but this website has lots of great ideas.

While I was looking for the Calendar Math book, I stumbled across MathArt Projects and Activities.   It is totally different, but looks like it could be a lot of fun too though.

Can you tell that I was having a lot of fun browsing on Amazon tonight?! Ha!

And just watch what happens if you put math manipulative in the search bar.  Oh, the fond memories of teddy bear counters. Sigh . . . good times, good times . . . Now they have a whole tub of different animals.

And I know that I’m not giving you a lot of ideas for the older grades, but here’s the thing: when you start off making math fun and hands-on at an early age, it just makes the whole subject a lot more approachable for those later years. When those kids think of math, they will associate it with something that they can understand and do and will approach harder concepts with a more positive attitude and a firm foundation.

Sometimes it’s easy to slip in the habit of just “working through” a math book. Don’t make that mistake. Even with your older kids, find ways to bring math to life for them. Don’t just do worksheets on square footage, find the square footage of your house. Have them figure out what it would cost to replace your kitchen floor.  Teach your child how to balance their checking account and create a monthly budget. Make physics more fun by letting them build potato cannons and the such from Backyard Ballistics. There’s just so much that you can do. And if you hit on one particular skill that your child is struggling with, just go to your old friend google and look for suggestions being sure to include the words activities or games in your search query.

Here’s to getting our kids involved with math and having a great time with it!