Monday, February 11, 2013

A Keepsake Gem

Wow, it has certainly been a while since I last posted something.  You know how life gets in the way.  Anyway, I recently came across a poem that just made me stop and think.  It was written some three  hundred years ago by a woman known as Madam Guyon.  She was imprisoned several times and in several places for her religious views, one of the worst times for four years in the Bastile in France.  Her sufferings from the cold, damp walls of the prison along with the confined and contaminated air and other deprivations and hardships took a toll on her health.  She was released but banished to Blois, on the river Loire in France.  However, she has left us with a beautiful poem that I hope will help me when I feel the urge to complain.  If you homeschool, I think this would make a wonderful edition to your childrens' copywork books.


"A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air;
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleases thee.

"Nought have I else to do;
I sing the whole day long;
And He, whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song;
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
But still he bends to hear me sing.

"Thou hast an ear to hear;
A heart to love and bless;
And, though my notes were e'er so rude,
Thou wouldst not hear the less;
Because though knowest as they fall,
That Love, sweet Love, inspires them all.

"My cage confines me round,
Abroad I cannot fly;
But, though my wing is closely bound,
My heart's at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.

"Oh! it is good to soar,
These bolts and bars above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose Providence I love;
And in thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum Ideas

Wow! It's that time again! Summer is almost over, the new school year is upon us, and it is always refreshing to get some new ideas. What worked for you? What worked for this particular child? There is so much out there it can be overwhelming.

Now that I am nearing the end of my formal homeschooling career (I only have one left and this is his last year. He is the middle right one)

I thought it might be helpful to list a few of our favorite curriculums. Maybe they are new to you and would be helpful. I always enjoyed finding out what worked for other families.

History was one of our most favorite subjects and we used many different things. One of our favorites for the elementary years was The Mystery of
History curriculum. You can find out more information about it here.

Grammar was a very difficult subject for me....until I realized that kids
just are not ready for it until jr. high or even high school. Instead of wasting your time in the elementary years, spend that time familiarizing them with the terms (nouns, verbs, etc...) by playing games and fun activities and then when they are ready for it we found that it went much more smoothly. We used the program Analytical Grammar and found it to be most helpful! For more information click here.

A book that was very helpful in studying any novel in literature was a book called "Any Novel" Novel Study Guide. It was very useful because you could use it with multiple children and multiple books of your choice. For more information click here.

Take the fear out of making a Transcript!
If you are looking for a good way to make a transcript go here.

Here are just of few of my favorite websites for homeschool materials:
Well, I hope this helps a little. I have many more favorites so perhaps I will share them on another day.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I almost daily have to ask my children what this term means or what that abbreviation stands for. It seems like with cyber space there is a new addition every day. You almost need a glossary to function in today's texting world or the world wide phenomenon known as facebook. In the last few months I have been hearing people saying things such as "Did they have the DTR yet?" and so once again I go to my kids and ask, "What in the world is a DTR?" Of course they look at me as if I belong in the stone age but they also feel obligated to bring me up to speed and so they tell me: DTR means that it is time to Define The Relationship. In my ancient day and age that usually meant someone was dating seriously and you could soon be expecting an engagement announcement. However, in today's fast moving society people are falling in and out of relationships so quickly it is almost necessary to have a secretary just to keep up on top of it all.

I think that things like facebook and texting have turned what should be taken slowly into something you can post on the internet for all to see. The minute a boy asks a girl out on a date or two, it's time to have the DTR. Then you can immediately update your status level (and this is very important in today's online public society) to the ever popular "In a Relationship" status. That brings everything to a new level and now instead of taking the time to get to know each other, either through courtship or monitored dating, we DTR'ed so now we have to function as an item which places undo pressure on the couple in a way that they are usually not ready or mature enough to handle.

If the truth be known, we are all in relationships...all the time. But it seems that young people feel a need to let everyone know that they are "In a Relationship" because it somehow makes them feel more important or good about themselves. This is sad and destructive. I have seen so many boys and girls get hurt because they had the DTR before either one of them was ready. Then they break up and look for someone else to fill that position so that their facebook page can say "In a Relationship".

If you have to post a status level then I think you should be in a LGDTR.....Letting God Define The Relationship. That means then that in every relationship God is the one steering it; therefore, you can be friends first and see where God is leading. No pressure, no public breathing down your neck, no facebook status to let everyone know if you are still an "Item" or not, no need to rush something that should take time to figure out.

I think I will let my kids know that I just coined a new acronym. Perhaps it will catch on. If it does, maybe they will ask me, "Mom, do you know what LGDTR means", and I will be happy to tell them. In fact, I hope I have been telling them what that means all along.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Word of Encouragement

As the new school year begins and you start reading the homeschooling magazines, and listening to the homeschooling tapes, and fretting over the day to day struggles, there are a few things to keep in mind.
  1. Do it for the glory of God....Not for superior grades, earlier graduation dates, or college at age 16.
  2. The vast majority of children are not concert pianists, violists, or soloists. They are ordinary, special to God, and useful for God's Kingdom.
  3. Most homeschooled kids do not own their own businesses by age 13, graduate from college at age 16 or run for political office at age 19. They are ordinary, special to God, and useful for God's Kingdom.
  4. Not all homeschool families have 14 children, perfectly managed households, and unusually obedient children. They are ordinary, special to God, and useful for God's' Kingdom.
Remember that though there are special and talented and unusually gifted homeschool children and families (and we thank God for them because they flavor our lives and give us models to aspire to), the majority of homeschool families provide the backbone for society and are unassuming, unremarkable, and unexceptional. But we all need to be faithful and diligent....ordinary, special to God, and useful for God's Kingdom.

Educate your children to love God, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and the rest (math, english, history, literature, etc.) will be added unto them. Then they will be special to God, useful for God's Kingdom, and extraordinary.

For more tools to raise godly children see

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Covenant Faithfulnes

My son got married a few weeks ago and again I was reminded of the covenantal faithfulness of God. They chose for their Bible passage Psalm 128 and it was a beautiful reminder of the blessed state of those who fear the Lord.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Thus is the man blessed
who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of
and may you live to see your
children's children.

Peace be upon Israel.

The day was beautiful and I thank you for your well wishes and prayers. Six months ago for Christmas my daughter wrote a poem for me called A Mother's Prayer for Her Son. It is truly the prayer I would pray for my sons and the future husbands (Lord willing) of my daughters.

A Mother's Prayer for Her Son

Lord, I pray my son a house would build
Where every room is by Your glory filled.
May Your word his only foundation be,
And make the faith within an easy thing to see.
O God, when storms against his home do rail,
I pray that You'd his faith prevail.

Lord, I pray my son from evil his heart and home he would defend
And never from Your path, O Lord, allow his steps to bend.
Keep his heart focused relentlessly on You
So that at temptation's coming he can battle through.
May he never once his responsibilities hide,
And always for his family's needs provide.

Lord, I pray my son his family will lead,
And train his children to serve You in thought, in word, and deed.
Give him the wisdom to be the head You desire,
And in the study of Your Word may his heart never tire.
O precious Lord, hold him close to You,
And to Your will may he always be true.

Lord, I thank You my son has been able to see
A model of the man You have called him to be
By the godly example of the man You've given me
His father, by Your grace, has shown him the way,
And in that path, O Lord, I pray my son will stay.

In Jesus' Name,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Warning: Culture Toxic to Boys

I recently heard a statistic that I found very alarming: 70% of young men are not grown up by 30 years of age (up from 30% in 1970) as stated in Newsweek magazine. That is frightening to me as a mother of 3 sons and 2 daughters and a confirmation of the reason why I started Keepsake Curriculum.

Every generation has its issues and I am not one to glorify "the past", but what is true for every generation is the call to get back to the Word of God as our guide for life. It is when we fall away from God's Word that we see statistics like the one above.

I am deeply disturbed that even in Christianity today we are not training our sons and daughters Biblically. It appears more and more clearly that we are using the culture as our standard. We tell our daughters to first and foremost pursue a career when the Bible says,
"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.....Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God" (Titus 2:1a, 3-5). Instead of using that as our guide, we encourage our daughters to seek after a career in anything and everything, including jobs that formerly were held by men...police work, lawyers, military, etc. The Bible says that the beauty of a woman is the "beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4). Pretty hard to show that as a policewoman, lawyer, or soldier.

What this departure from the Word of God has done to boys and manhood has been devastating. A recent study shows that women now receive 58% of the bachelor's degrees given by colleges and universities. The Pew Research Center reports that 28% of wives between the ages of 30 and 44 have more education than their husbands and that women have become a majority in law, medical, and doctoral programs. This has led to an alarming number of "stay-at-home dads" which not only is a deviation from history but is a direct violation of God's plan for the family.

In an article by Kevin Swanson from Generations With Vision he writes that he interviewed Dr. Christine Hoff Somers, the author of a new book called The War Against Boys, who stated that "the modern school is dangerous for boys. It is producing boys that are feminized, awkward, rebellious, or otherwise ill-prepared for life. Only 43% of students attending college today are boys, and that number continues to drop. Schools are increasingly designed for girls. Meanwhile boys are disenfranchised and disinterested. Removing a boy's unique purpose and preparation in life, setting him in a girl's world, and then putting him in competition with girls will only produce devastating consequences for our social and economic systems." Not to mention the fact that it dishonors the God who created them "male and female". (Full Article)

All this has led to a culture of immaturity among young men. Video games, entertainment, and an overemphasis on sports has made Gary Cross, a Penn State University historian wonder "Where have all the men gone?" In his book Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity Cross concludes, "Modern toys have gradually lost their 'expiration dates', the markers that designate the time that children are expected to abandon them after reaching a new developmental stage....their manufacturers design them to blur, even deny this historically essential transition from boyhood to manhood....To be blunt, adult men obsessed with video games are in a state of arrested development because they can't see the difference between a toy and an adult pleasure" (p 223-224). That is quite different from Paul's admonition to the Corinthians, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (I Corinthians 13:11).

The Bible clearly portrays distinct and God-given differences between girls and boys, men and women. As usual, sinful man perverts those distinctions and leads us to discontentment and the crisises we experience today. The present culture is not only toxic to boys but to girls as well. As parents let's not be intimidated by the culture but let's be diligent to use the Word of God as our guide and thereby make a difference in the world around us.

For additional resources and guides see Keepsake Curriculum.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cell phones, Texting and Manners or Raising Godly Children in a Techie World: Part 3

"Don't talk with food in your mouth!", "Don't interrupt when someone else is speaking!", "Son, give your seat to a lady or an elderly person!" We've all heard our mothers instruct us in the art of common and everyday manners. It's part of living in an orderly and polite society. It's called decency.

But what in the world is happening! A loud ring tone interrupts a Sunday worship service, people walk out of a lecture, class, or sermon because "they just have to take this call", and pleasant dinner conversations are halted by a call or a text.

Modern technological marvels and instant communication have made our lives so much more convenient. Mothers feel a much deeper sense of security because their children are "just a phone call away". But where have all the manners gone? Private conversations used to be...well...private. I am amazed at how freely we speak to others about important and private things while a whole host of people are the grocery store, in the restaurant, and in the doctor's office. I am saddened at how many family dinners are spoiled by half the family texting, half the family on their cell phones, and the rest staring into space as they wait for these conversations to end. I am tired of being unintentionally and unavoidably a part of "overhearing" conversations I do not want to be a part of.

Mothers and fathers used to take the time to teach their little ones manners both in society and in the home but when it comes to cell phones and texting, I repeat, where have all the manners gone. Parents, please, before you give your children a phone of their own, make sure they know the proper manners necessary for polite conversation at the proper time and in the proper way. (And it wouldn't hurt for us to set the right example as well.)

Turn the cell phone off at the dinner table or at the restaurant surrounded by friends. It is a time for the conversation to be focused on those who are present. Emergency calls can happen, but are so much more infrequent then the constant communication I have witnessed when dining with friends. Call it what it is....rude! Not only are you halting the conversation, but you are thoughtlessly interrupting the person you are with and making them wait while you focus your attention on someone else. Instead, teach your children to look others in the eyes, to focus their attention on the one they are conversing with, and to truly participate in what they are saying.

Cell phones are an amazing gift from God. In using them let us not forget that people and manners matter. Manners help us to show others that we care about them and they let our children know that there is a polite and thoughtful way to communicate with people. Even if "everybody else" does it, let's be different...let's be thoughtful, considerate, and polite.