When I first starting researching how to homeschool 4 years ago, I found every approach under the sun: Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschooling, Unit-Study, just to name a few. There's curriculum everywhere, websites and catalogs galore. This was good. . . .and bad. It was great because it just thoroughly debunked the myth that no one homeschools or that there just isn't any thing out there for the homeschooling community. Trust me, there's tons and tons of stuff out there for us homeschoolers!! However, it was overwhelming already, and I hadn't even started yet! I didn't know where to begin or how to implement the things I wanted my kids to learn.

Praise God for a good friend of mine who held my hand and walked me through. She started simply by showing me how she homeschools and encouraged me to add and remove according to the needs of my family. She recommended the book, The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. It was and is very helpful to me and many of the things I discuss in this post can be found in greater detail in the book.

Although The Well-Trained Mind is popular amongst homeschoolers (meaning I'm sure most have heard of it), I realize that for many, you either love it or hate it. My family uses it as a guide to classical education, a tool that we can refer to for building a framework for our children's education. It is not the final say in our homeschool. Because we are Christians, there are things we agree with and things we don't. And for what we don't, we substitute with materials according to our Biblical beliefs.

What is a Classical Education?
In general, a classical education is based upon the trivium, which is Latin for "the three ways" to educate. It consists of the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages. The thought is that one stage should be a foundation for the next.

In the grammar stage (1st - 4th grades), the focus is on language, writing, reading, and memorizing the fundamental rules in each subject. During the logic stage (5th - 8th grades), the child is now prepared to reason and analyze, understanding the relationships that exist between what they are learning. And finally, in the rhetoric stage (9th - 12th grades), the child should be able to clearly debate and construct compositions of the subjects they are learning. Click here for a more extensive explanation.

Why "Christian" Classical?
As a Christian family, we believe in a sovereign God and a Biblical worldview. That means that any material that is in direct conflict with God's Word we do not teach as "truth". We try to examine all things in light of the Holy Scriptures and compare it to what God would have us do. We believe that true knowledge and wisdom come from God and that quality education cannot exist without Him. In all of our learning we draw connections between the subject matter and an omniscient God.

Part of our "curriculum" is Bible study and Scripture memory. Here is where the lines between school and life blur because knowing God's Word is part of our daily walk with Christ. But in any case, this is how we begin our school days: reading the Bible at breakfast and reciting Scripture. Click here to see how we do Scripture Memory; it has been a blessing to our family!

Sometimes we do devotions; most of the time we simply read His Word. Sometimes I think we can get so destracted by the various materials that claim to be the "best" at teaching children God's Word that we neglect simply just opening the Bible and reading. My children and I just finished the book of Acts and we will begin reading Romans in January. During Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter we focus our Bible reading on those celebrations.

History is a Big Deal
This is just about my favorite subject to teach because I'm actually a student along with my children. It has been fascinating to learn history chronologically, as the public schools I went to as a child did not present history chronologically. That made it difficult to understand where everything "fit" and why one event was connected to another.

We are approaching history on 4 year cycle, studying one time period per year: Ancient Times; Middle Ages-Early Renaissance; Late Renaissance-Early Modern; Late Modern-Present Day. {{Because there's a lot to cover, so far it's actually taken us a year and few months to get through each period!!}} We begin with the Genesis Creation account and learn Biblical history, right along side secular history. The most exciting thing about this approach is it has helped my children know that the Bible did "happen" and that it is not segregated to its own point in time. There are many wonderful resources that approach history this way. We're using The Story of the World series, along with Biblioplan (which we use primarily for Ancient History).

We are big fans of time lines in our homeschool. We've tried all types and are still figuring out what works for us. We've done them on the walls in our kitchen and our school room and we've done a Book of Centuries. We've also tried a file folder timeline (click here for a video demonstration; start the video at 11:28 for instructions.) We also have a copy of My Big Book of History that we use as a fun reference.

But that's not all. History is woven throughout our curriculum. Much of my children's narration and writing assignments, as well as their literature readings, coincide with the historical time period that we are studying. I've found The Well-Trained Mind and Ambleside Online very helpful in selecting books that are appropriate.

Latin, Art, and Music
Latin is one of those tell-tale subjects that screams classical education. Our family, however, takes a very relaxed approach to Latin. I introduce it in the 3rd grade and we go at our own pace. I have found it to be very useful for word associations in English (i.e. luna is Latin for moon, English derivative is lunar). Latin has also been helpful as my daughter learns Spanish, since Romance languages have their roots in Latin. (Luna, by the way, is also the Spanish word for moon!) We use the Latin curriculum from Memoria Press.

Many classical education models will tie art and music to the historical time period being studied as well. I've found that it hasn't fit so well for my family, especially for art. While we do make time for picture studies and narrations, I don't strain to tie art with history. When we come across an artist in our history readings, we will also look at their works. Most of the time, our art sessions are hands-on (i.e. drawing, painting, crafting, etc.). Here are some websites you can use to view original artwork:
Art Institute of Chicago
Art in the Picture
Chrysler Museum of Art

For music, I recently came across an old college music book of my husband's. Wouldn't you know that it covers musical styles according to historical time periods? And, isn't it great that my husband also kept the music Cd's that accompany the book?! I wish I'd looked at that book 3 years ago! We've been using that this year and it's worked very well. The text is much too advanced for younger students, so I heavily modify the information I read to my children. Then, we listen to the corresponding songs and discuss what we've heard. You can check out that book and CD combo here. (Please note that I own the 2nd edition from 1996 and there are newer editions available. It has a high price point, in my opinion, so I'd recommend buying used or checking for it in the library.)

Classical Education and Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason is another great approach to teaching your children at home. Although I would not classify our educational style as Charlotte Mason, there are definitely some similarities between the two. Here are a few resources I have come across that have helped me to incorporate some of the Charlotte Mason style of educating or understand the differences between Classical and Charlotte Mason:
Classical Education vs. Charlotte Mason: Similarities and Differences
The Classical Side of Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason Method Explained
A Charlotte Mason Companion

Although I am by no means an expert in either method, I will gladly answer any questions you may have as best as I can.
What approach do you use in educating your children? Please feel free to share so that we can learn from each other!

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Welcome Home Wednesdays

A big "thank you" to everyone who supported my post yesterday as I offered a piece of my testimony and how God began to bring me through a difficult situation.  The conclusion of my testimony is being featured at My Joy-Filled Life today:
In January of 2011, my husband and I made some decisions. Some new, some uncomfortable, some unpopular, but all exciting because they were the same--we decided to let go. . . let go of control, which my dear Husband has always said is nothing but an illusion. As one song says, "leave things up to Him Who is capable of knowing that victory is in His name!" Victory is in His Name, His will, His plan, His ways, His timing, not mine. 
We forged ahead, without plans. It was difficult, it was uncertain, it was hard--what is this strange land of leaving things up to Him Who is certainly more than capapable? We decided that we would praise God and be all the more thankful for the children God has given us. If He said 3 children was it, then thank You Lord that we have 3 children. If He said we could conceive again, then thatnk You Lord that you are allowing us the opportunity. We even thanked God (as crazy as it sounds) for the baby we lost, along with all of the struggles and for the pain. Thank You, Lord. We asked forgiveness for our inconsideration and ignorance, our thoughts when couples had no children yet, being so consumed with our own growing family while others grieved over the loss of a baby, or were unable to conceive. We couldn't see because we were self-focused--too much me, not enough Him. . .
You can finish reading the conclusion of A Mother's Confession: Of Sorrow and Joy (Part 2) and how God blessed my heart with joy at My Joy-Filled Life.
Hi Ladies!

Today, I am featured at My Joy-Filled Life, where Sarah runs a series called Mom 2 Mom Mondays: a place where women share their experiences about motherhood in hopes to encourage one another.

Today I am guest-posting my story from the past. Some of  you may recall this when I shared it before, but maybe not. I'm telling it again because through a difficult journey, God has done wondrous things. Here's a snippet:

So much has transpired. . .spiritually, emotionally, physically. . .Where do I begin? I want to share this. . .it may be broken, fragmented, too long, no pictures, but I need to let it out...may God bless someone else who knows this road I've traveled--may He be glorified.
In the Spring of 2010, the Lord allowed my husband and I to conceive. We were excited in many ways, but for many of the wrong reasons. Let me be clear that we wanted each and every child we were blessed to conceive, however, my heart wasn't altogether right. You see, I thought I had something to do with it. Yes, I know, of course I did, but to a very limited extent. Besides my Husband and I joining intimately as one, the rest is up to God.
However, I always thought I could control things. . . control when and where we'd be intimate so I could conceive when I thought I was most fertile. Plan and date and look at calendars on the best times to try, you know, when we were ready. I received and accepted the advice that my children must be "x" number of years apart, so I planned for that. "Eat a special diet, stay away from certain things, stand on your head after intimacy. . .you're sure to conceive." Without going into all the details (at least for now) of the many ways I tried to control things (because there were many ways), I think you get the picture. . .
To read the rest of this post about the ways God changed my heart, please join me at My Joy-Filled Life to read A Mother's Confession: Of Sorrow and Joy (Part 1).

A Bit of My Story

by on Monday, November 18, 2013
Hi Ladies! Today, I am featured at My Joy-Filled Life , where Sarah runs a series called Mom 2 Mom Mondays : a place where women share the...

As women, I think most of us will agree that we are certainly in touch with our emotions. That is the way God, our Creator, made us. And as women, we also know, that sometimes our emotions go from 0 to 100 in a matter of minutes. Often times those surging emotions reflect negatively in our behavior: yelling at the kids, distant to the husband, cold shoulder to a friend, panic, etc. It isn't okay when we let our emotions get the best of us, causing us to respond in ways we aren't proud of.

In Unglued, Lysa TerKerurst explains that our "feelings are indicators, not dictators." No matter how real and sincere our feelings are, they do not get to control how we respond in life. Unglued shows women how to acknowledge what they're feeling without becoming explosive, raging or out of control.

Lysa identifies four ways we can react when our emotions become "Unglued":
  • Exploder that Blames Others
  • Exploder that Shames Herself
  • Stuffer that Builds Barriers
  • Stuffer that Collects Retaliation Rocks
After understanding what reaction type we are, Lysa then gives practical advice on how to deal with our emotions in a God-honoring way. She even gives templates for conversations, based on her own real-life experiences, that show how to respond. The key to every piece of advice Lysa gives is this: as Christian women, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside, Who enables us to have self-control. The Holy Spirit provides our way of escape so we don't have to choose unfavorable responses to the stresses of life.

Normally, I'm not one for "self-help" books because they tend to distract me from the helpful truths already found in God's Word. (Just my own experiences; not a judgment against using self-help books!) However, I would say that, this was a great book, packed with useful and helpful ways to navigate stressful situations. I would recommend reading it!!!

I review for BookSneeze®

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
How does a woman define herself? Is it by her career choice, coffee flavor, the color of her hair, or her educational background? We hear it all the time: I'm a book-lover; I'm a coupon cutter; I'm a lawyer; I'm a teacher; I'm a go-getter. . . .I've heard it all with drive, pride and gusto.

Me? When people ask, what do you do--in other words, how do you define yourself--I say: I am a wife and mom, and I homeschool my kids. Immediately, there is a shift in the atmosphere, hope and expectation deflated.

The questions swirling around in people's minds (which usually come right on out of their mouths) when I give my answer: Just a wife and mom? Is that IT? What else do you do? You can't be serious that your husband and kids DEFINE you? Really? You're okay with that--with being home with your kids, ALL day, while your husband is the one who gets to work? How can you do that every day? What about your education? Are you using it? Don't you want a career? Will you ever send your kids to school or go back to work?

My girls when they were 2yrs. and 7 mo.
Flash back, 10 years ago. My oldest was 7 months old. When asked if I was a stay-at-home mom, I'd say: "I am now, but I'm getting my Master's degree." or "Yes, but I'm in grad school, too." There was no way in the world that I would let anyone define me by JUST being at home with my baby girl. And homeschooling was completely out of the question. At the time, I fully intended to send any child I had to school, any school, just not homeschool. And, do NOT even think of defining me with terms like "house-wife" or "homemaker," which suggest that I am financially dependent on my husband. Don't. you. dare.

When I look back on my attitude, I cringe. Whew! What a work the Lord is doing in my heart. I am so grateful for the godly women the Lord placed in my life at just the right time to kindly show me a different way. I am humbled and so grateful for the opportunity to have the home as my domain.

Fast-forward and now I ask myself, what is wrong with being defined as a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a home educator, a house wife, his wife, their mom? I gladly accept all of those titles and I feel just fine in using them to describe myself. Why?

It is what God has given my hands to do. It is what He gave me time for. To pour out my life for my family, as an act of worship to Him. Each day that I give, it draws me closer to Him, because I realize I can't do any of it in my own strength. I need the Lord to show me how to be a blessing to my family.

The Lord has shown me how my marriage, parenting, and home life are ministries for His glory. In my marriage, my husband and I are to reflect the character of Christ and His relationship with the church; to show that delicate balance of sacrificial love with honor and respect. As a parent, I am to mimic the love that God has for me as His child with my own children; to love, nurture, train, discipline and guide them. And in my home life, I have the awesome opportunity to witness to my children about the love of Jesus, to walk out this Christian journey before their eyes, to show them that when Mommy fails, I turn to God, and He is there to lift me up--while cooking, cleaning, diapering, teaching, and cleaning and cooking again.

In those day to day, sometimes mundane, routine tasks, the Lord is present, rooting the selfishness out of my heart. Oh, ladies, it is a struggle at times. The flesh wants "me" time, alone time, quiet time, adult conversation, shopping sprees, coffee with friends, and the like. The flesh wants to not have to teach the concept of reading, or using the potty, or changing diapers, or reminding kids about manners, or serving a husband a hot meal or taking the time to do and say the same things over and over. BUT, when I yield to the Holy Spirit and lay down my wants for the good of my family, it far outweighs my fleshly desires. I must keep eternity in mind and realize the time that I'm given as wife and mom will effect future generations until Jesus returns. Oh, may I responsibly use this time for His glory!

So, my name is Stacie, I'm a wife to one and a mama to many. And with God's precious grace I stay at home working hard to respect my husband, raise and educate my children, and be a keeper at home, daily.
My kiddos!

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His Wife, Their Mother

by on Saturday, October 26, 2013
How does a woman define herself? Is it by her career choice, coffee flavor, the color of her hair, or her educational background? We hear it...
photo credit
It's October, a lovely time of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is cool, the weather is beautiful, the apple cider is nice, the pumpkins are fat and orange. . .fall, my most favorite time of all. But, with October comes a day our country seems to prepare for earlier and earlier each year: Halloween. I'm serious, I think I saw Halloween costumes with school supplies this year!

So the big question:
How does Halloween effect your family? What do you do?

I realize there are many conflicting opinions, but I want to offer a "safe place" where Christian women can share, without walking away feeling condemned. Many families struggle with this topic each year and I think it is a topic worthy of discussion. So, I'd like to get your thoughts about being a Christian and your choices on Halloween in your home. Sometimes simply sharing (not condemning) can bring clarity to this situation for another sister in Christ. So, I'll go first.

Background Information First:
My husband and I had different experiences as kids.

photo credit
In his home, Halloween was 100% out; no questions, no discussions, no concessions, completely out. Any school events or family functions associated with Halloween were out of the question. PERIOD. So if that meant being the only kid in your class who had to sit in the library while everyone else went to the Halloween party, so be it. My husband has shared with me that he felt his parents "ruled with an iron fist" when it came to Halloween, among other things. ANYTHING dealing with Halloween was a no-go. So for example, if a well-intending neighbor were to share Halloween cookies with my husband's family, they wouldn't have been allowed to eat them because they had jack-o-lanterns on them. As a matter of fact, they probably would have been thrown away. No questions. It's ungodly. Deal with it. My husband explains that as a kid, that was a difficult pill to swallow. As an adult, he understands what his parents were trying to teach him, but says that their approach made him not want to listen to them at all. He hated the way it was done and for his own family, he never wants to be so hard on his children.

photo credit
In my home growing up, we were kind of lukewarm about Halloween. My parents said we didn't celebrate it: we didn't decorate our house, my parents didn't go all out finding the perfect costumes for pictures, and we didn't do haunted houses. But, we were allowed to participate in Halloween events at school and we did try our hands at a jack-o-lantern a time or two. One year, my dad passed out Halloween candy to neighborhood children and I even have memories of trick-or-treating with a neighbor once or twice. But along the way, my parents always explained how Halloween was evil and that's why we didn't celebrate it. As a kid, I  knew that we would never be "that" involved with Halloween, but I was fine with it because I could participate to some extent. Looking back on it as an adult, I feel my parents' approach was conflicting at times, a bit of a mixed bag. For my own family, I didn't want confusion.

What Do We Do In Our Home Now?
My husband and I both agree that we want to do what pleases God. We both agree that we want our light to shine brightly in this world so that others may know Christ. Our convictions on Halloween? We don't celebrate it. Our kids don't go trick-or-treating and we don't pass out Halloween candy. HOWEVER, we have an open, honest, and ON-GOING discussion about our choice not to celebrate it. ANY questions or concerns my kids have, we answer and address, over and over, as many times as they need to talk about it. In those discussions, we talk about Halloween's origins and how SOME people use that day as a reason to practice things that are completely opposite of what pleases God. Just down right evil things. We talk about why that breaks God's heart and why (for our family) we don't want to be associated with it. AND, we talk about the IMPORTANCE of NOT condemning fellow believers who do decide to participate in what many call the "fun" side of Halloween. We do NOT encourage condemnation for the believer.

Do we cover our children's eyes when we pass Halloween costumes in the store? No. (As a matter of fact, I'm considering buying my son an "Iron Man" costume, simply because he loves that superhero. Just not sure I want to pay $12.99 for it!) Do we turn the T.V. off if Clifford is dressed up as a pirate for Halloween? No. Will we not buy the jack-o-lantern cookies when they're marked down to 50% off on November 1st? Uh, no. Do we think we're perfect? Not at all. Do we think this is the only way things can be done? Nope. But these are simply our convictions. We don't want to be extremists and we don't want our children "flipping out" if they see Halloween paraphernalia. It's the world we live in. But, we do want to be clear, firm, and steadfast in our intentions. Balanced.

That is Halloween in my home. What about you? What are your convictions about Halloween? Do you celebrate it? Why or why not?
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
-Romans 8:1

Halloween--What To Do?

by on Saturday, October 05, 2013
photo credit It's October, a lovely time of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is cool, the weather is beautiful, the apple ...

HMJ Logo Landscape 500x337

  • In my life this week…

  • I was added as a Guest Contributor at a new homeschooling website: Our Homeschool Forum. I am so excited!! Do check out the website when you can for encouragement and support along your homechooling journey. Good stuff!

    Aslo, I'm getting my house work back on track and it feels good. September was mostly dedicated to finding a good rhythm in our homeschool schedule and potty training the toddler!! Since those two things are coming along pretty well, I'm able to weave in a better approach to my house work. Exciting stuff, huh?! I even did a little fall decorating!

    Kitchen table--simple center piece

    Top of our old wood-burning stove (not in use at the moment!)
    Want to know how to make a fabric pumpkins, click HERE!
  • In our homeschool this week…

  • Learning about: telling time, outlining, why milk spoils in a warm place, Sargon, King Henry the VIII, Martin Luther and the Reformation, adjectives, capitalizing proper nouns, colors, and numbers, among other things. FUN, FUN, FUN!! I am so grateful that we get the opportunity to homeschool--I learn so much every day!

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

  • If you have old text books from your college days lying around, see if you can put them to use in your homeschool. My husband and I (college sweethearts!) saved a good number of our books. My husband took a music appreciation class and he had a text book that came with a 6 CD set of classical music. Guess what I'm using for our music curriculum this year?!?!?!

    It is a blessing because the book coincides beautifully with our history (classical approach), as it showcases music from the Medieval times to the present. So I am able to discuss with my children what types of sounds and instruments and musical patterns were common to certain styles of music, based upon the time period. We are having a ball with it! Too bad it just sat on my shelf the first 2 years of homeschooling! But now I feel super cool because music is happening in a less haphazard way around here.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

  • We went to the library on Monday and for some reason it was SUPER quiet! I mean, come on, we were in the children's section, so we usually hear a bit of chatter or back ground noise from other little ones. But not this time. My 5 were the only young kids in the entire children's section and the other people looked to be teens or young adults, busily and QUIETLY working at the computer stations. So, of course, this is the day my toddler wanted to pull every book off of the shelf and all of a sudden, the baby hated being in the stroller.

    At first I thought about panicking and then I thought about retreating, and of course all eyes were on me. I sent my girls help me look for a few history books. I had my oldest son give the baby a bottle (the baby was still in the stroller). I gave the toddler a book he could look at and I grabbed history and literature books as best as I could while it seemed everyone was occupied.

    That didn't last very long. The toddler dropped his book--uninterested. The baby drank the last of his bottle and my oldest son didn't know what to do. The girls returned, unable to find some of the books I asked them to look for. Yep, panic and retreat was definitely next on the to-do list--we were just SO noisy and I just couldn't manage to calm everyone down.

    And then the Holy Spirit reminded me that this is my life: a bit noisy, sometimes awkward, sometimes a distraction to others, always full, but none of it is ever without Him. I could either use this moment to reflect His grace or be mad that it wasn't going smoothly. Well, I picked the baby up, told my toddler to quiet down (again) and I took a deep breath. I told the Holy Spirit that I was thankful for all 5 of my noisy children, and then I chuckled at myself because I probably looked funny in that particular moment of "panic/retreat/how do I keep everyone quiet!" But, I paced myself, readjusted my attitude and pressed forward.

    My older 3 went on to find books they were looking for. I managed to get most of the things we needed to supplement for school and we made it through. Nope, the baby never went back into the stroller until it was time to leave (He's 23 pounds, y'all!! Yes, I felt the burn in my arms! LOL). The toddler still was determined to use his outside voice. But, the deal-maker was deciding to continue on with my day, not to get frustrated and trust that God was using me in that moment for some good. Yep, a day in the life at the library!! LOL

  • My favorite thing this week was…

  • Going out to dinner, twice. Thanks, Husband!

  • My kiddos' favorite thing this week was…

  • Donuts!!! My husband was off from work on Friday. Any time he's off of work, it usually that means he buys donuts for the kids during school. Well, daddy didn't disappoint and they were thrilled.

  • I’m cooking…

  • My girls want to make fortune cookies. Today, they spent some time writing out the "fortunes" which are really turning out to be things to make each other laugh. Hopefully we can actually bake the cookies next week.

  • I’m grateful for…

  • This lovely, beautiful, sweet fall weather.

  • I’m praying for…

  • My family.

  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

  • I let them have ice cream after breakfast one morning. It was fun, it was silly, it was totally out of the norm! But, they're good kids and I love them. :)

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

  • This video pretty much sums up the things that go on in my head, too, when someone questions why my children exist (nicely worded, "our family size"), IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN! (Still requesting prayer to respond each time in a manner that pleases God.)

    "Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You." -Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
    Scripture memory is important in the life of a believer, as noted in the verse above, keeping us from sin. The idea of intentionally learning and memorizing Scipture is something that I have taken on with my children since we've been homeschooling. Growing up, I was familiar with many passages of Scripture, and some of them I could quote. The problem was, I couldn't tell you exactly where it was found. I was great at flipping through the book of the Bible I thought it was in, or using that trusty, old concordance in the back! (Am I alone on this or can anyone else relate?!)
    However, I want my children to know God's Word and know it well. I want to be better at knowing God's Word for my own walk with Christ, and so I can lead my chilren in what matters most.
    "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
    -2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
     It is so important to know what the Bible says for yourself. And so we learn, as a family. . .
    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (NKJV)
    So, after some trial and error, copy work, repetition, index cards, mirror writing, research and more trial and error, I finally stumbled upon a system that works for us. I found it through Simply Charlotte Mason. I highly suggest checking out THIS VIDEO for more detailed information on how to implement the system!
    Here are the basics: (*Note: The words in CAPS are the way our Scripture memory box is labled for each Scripture we're learning.)
    • DAILY: We take our time and learn just one Scripture or passage at a time. For whatever verse we're learning, each day, the children repeat the Scripture reference after me and then they listen to me read the Scripture. Then, they repeat the Scripture reference once more.
    • We continue that process until each child (and parent!) has learned the verse word for word. We do not rush. One tip I learned is this: "hiding God's Word in your heart is not a race, it is a lifelong habit." I can't tell you how freeing that was to this Mama's ears, because for some reason I felt like I was "behind" in memorizing Scripture.
    • ODD/EVEN: Once the daily Scripture is memorized, it is advanced to the odd or even section. It is then recited only on the odd or even day of the month. A new daily Scripture is then added.
    • DAY OF THE WEEK: As the cards advance from the odd and even, they then go to a day of the week, in order from Sunday to Saturday. So now, that 1st Scripture learned is recited once per week.
    • DATE OF THE MONTH: Once the cards advance through the days of the week, they then go to a date of the month, numbered 1-30. That very 1st Scripture is now recited one per month.
    • Anytime a verse is learned, you advance it and begin to learn a new one.
    Our Scripture memory box:
    index cards, old storage container, homemade labels
    I am so pleased with this system and am pleasantly surprised with the way we are all learning God's Word, bit by bit. Even my toddler (21 months) chimes in on certain words he remembers! I select verses that speak to my heart, that are relevant to my children's lives, some they've requested we learn and those that are foundational to the lives of believers. If you need help choosing verses to learn, you can find a list HERE. Right now we are currently challenging ourselves to learn the exact words from the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. Here's an example of what Scripture memory looks like in the No Idle Bread household!

    Featured On Cornerstone Confessions

    Welcome Home Wednesdays

    Anyone who knows me knows I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like pickles. It all started when I was about 4 or 5 years old when an older cousin of mine would come to visit. She showed me how to open my mother's Tupperware pickle container. (Who out there remembers Tupperware??) You see, she was a pickle lover, too. Once she showed me that, it was over. I think I had a pickle or two every day until my parents find out! LOL I can still "see" that green Tupperware container on the door of our burnt-orange colored refrigerator in my mind. (Can't you tell I'm a child of the late 70's??)

    Fast forward some years and that love of pickles still hasn't left me. So, my sweet mother-in-law (Mother, as she is affectionately called) and I decided we would make pickles this summer. One morning, she came by and we loaded the kids in the van and drove out to the Amish market. We were looking for fresh pickling cucumbers, dill sprigs, garlic cloves and dried red peppers. While there, we stopped by the pickle counter to taste the many varieties of pickles they have. (Mother and I are kindred pickle eaters!) One of the Amish women shared some of her sister's canning tips when making pickles and we were eager listeners, as neither of us had ever made pickles before.

    Dill sprigs, garlic cloves,
    dried peppers, quartered pickling cucumbers
    Well, we prepared our jars and made our pickling solution by boiling vinegar, water, and salt. We packed each jar tightly with cuccumbers, adding dill sprigs, garlic and peppers.Then we poured the vinegar solution in each jar. Then we boiled the jars again to seal the deal! This is an EXTREMELY condensed version of canning pickles. I am not going to attempt to outline the complete process here, no "how-to's". Why not? I am NOT a pro, and some things we figured out as we went along, and well, I don't want to confuse you. Just know that it was a long, steamy, boiling hot process, with lots of good conversation, laughter, and high hopes that things would turn out well.

    Mother, me, and our first batch of pickles!
    Can't you see how happy we are?
    Don't they look good?
    We let them cool, untouched over night. We ended up with 9 jars and they all sealed correctly. (Yay!) We tried to wait until Labor Day to try them, which means they would have time to sit for a little over 3 weeks, soaking up those yummy flavor combinations. But, we only made it about 2 weeks. We went over to visit my in-laws and this is what Mother said to me, "Lena, (her nickname for me) I made a sandwich yesterday and I really wanted a pickle to go with it! So, I just had to try them since I didn't have any other pickles in the house." LOL!!!

    Guess what, they are SO good. They have a bit of a spicy kick and are so flavorful. I can never eat just one, always 2 (and sometimes 3--I told you I like pickles). They are crisp and give a great crunch. My husband, who is NOT a pickle eater, thought they were really good, too. My mother-in-law shared a jar with some of her co-workers and some of them have offered to pay, asking if they can place an order! :) That's sweet, but I'm not sure about that. . . canning is hard work! :) I've got to practice more before I'd feel comfortable taking orders. {{My hat goes off to the women who came before me (and those even now) who worked the land and canned and preserved to provide food for their families.}}

    It was a fun experience and we learned a lot. Our next canning adventure: apple jelly! Right in time for fall.

    What Joy Is Mine

    We Made Pickles!!

    by on Saturday, September 14, 2013
    Anyone who knows me knows I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like pickles. It all started when I was about 4 or 5 years old when an older cousin of mi...
    As summer comes to a close, I thought I'd share a bit of what we did. Although I felt like the blurry, busy spring gave way to an action-packed summer, we managed to squeeze in a bit of fun.

    For the past few years, we've had a "Summer Bucket List" and this year was no exception, with 26 things they wanted to do. The kids were determined to cross off as much as possible. My favorite request of theirs was #12: Go to China or Hawaii. LOL! While that was out of the question, they were satisfied with going to a yummy Chinese/Japanese buffet in the next town close to us. Anyway, here are some pictures from our summer.
    Graduation Sunday at Church
    JR in the kindergarten graduation ceremony
    Our Backyard Family Cook-Out
    Game: try to move the cookie from your forehead
    into your mouth, using only your facial muscles

    TM was trying really hard!

    Game: Egg Toss--every one is lined up and ready

    My girls were egg toss partners.
    Lots of Time to Play
    Fun at the park

    Lots of swimming

    JD in sunglasses :)
    Baby J hanging out in the stroller
     Historic Colonial Playground
    Farmer son down at the well

    Cute toddler farmer
    TM playing the "apothecary" grinding spices
    The girls found some aprons

    Young ladies preparing & setting up their kitchen table
    JR trying to figure out how to build a wooden bucket
    Boys performing for us
    TM stoking the fire
    Kids outside of a colonial play house

    Sonny Boy Lost His 1st Tooth
    He was so proud!

    Homemade Pickles With My Mother-In-Law
    More to come on this in another post!
     Fun At Six Flags
    Kids with Sylvester & Tweety

    JR and me on the pirate boat ride

    Husband hanging with the "stroller crew"
    while the rest of us are on a ride
    Baby J finally asleep and JD ready to get out
    JD enjoying the splash park

    SJ and TM getting ready for the swing ride
    Teddy bear we won at a water game

    So there was our summer fun. What did your family do for fun this summer?
    My Fabulous Five
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    Good-bye Summer

    by on Saturday, September 07, 2013
    As summer comes to a close, I thought I'd share a bit of what we did. Although I felt like the blurry, busy spring gave way to an actio...
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