Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Oh no, the world has run out of tacos! What should we do?

A. Check emergency taco supplies
B. Eat emergency taco supplies
C. Panic
D. Fire up that time machine in the garage
E. All of the above

We’ve got to save the tacos! The dragons are here to help. Just keep them away from all that spicy salsa. You remember what happened last time.

Dragons Love Tacos_2_TourInspired by the release of Dragons Love Tacos 2, we asked ourselves this important question: Could we help save the tacos by going back in time to the Renaissance? Did they even have tacos during the Renaissance? What better way to discover tacos during but to visit a Renaissance Faire! My dragons and I piled into our time machine, lovingly called a car, and blasted into the past.

The journey was surprisingly shorter than anticipated, and met with much anticipation. We arrived to discover things looked quite different from what we were used to. We felt a little under-dressed as we were presented at court, but the queen kindly disregarded Dragon w/ Fanour attire and graciously allowed us to peruse her kingdom in pursuit of our goal… tacos!

We got excited when we saw this beautiful creation. It was shaped like a taco, but alas, was not. It’s called a Spanish fan; which was quite pretty, but not fit for eating. It seems you can use them for creating a soft breeze to cool your dragon scales.

Dragon TeaWe did find dragon tea, but tea is not tacos! Our new friends allowed us to take in the lovely aroma, but there is no substitution for our favorite crunchy snack.

Everywhere we went, we asked for help. It seemed no one even knew what a taco was! Much to our surprise, even ingredients for tacos were not to be found. Lettuce, it would appear, is hard to Dragon w/Mancome by. And tomatoes… these people from the Renaissance would not sell us a tomato. There seems to be a rumor about them being poisonous? Imagine that.

After a quick return to court, thanking the queen for her kindness and generosity, we were forced to admit defeat. It seems the Renaissance does not have tacos! Wait… what’s that you say? We’re on the wrong continent! Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?!

A History Lesson: If you and your dragons wish to learn more about tacos and their illustrious history, The Smithsonian has a fantastic article which might come in handy! Who knew this tasty treat has been around since before the 1800’s and was a favored snack amongst minors (the silver kind, not the little ones who mess up our houses).

Don’t Skip the Giveaway!: Enter for a chance to be one (1) grand prize winner and receive a set of Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARV: $17.99 each), or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARC: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos 2

Click the above image to enter our giveaway!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 1, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Tour Schedule: If you and your dragons would like to explore more adventures centered around this fantastic book, check out this incredible list of bloggers showcasing Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Week One:
May 1 – In Wonderland – Jane Austen Taco Hunt
May 2 – The Children’s Book Review – Review
May 3 – A Homeschool Mom – Tacos in the Renaissance
May 4 – Inspiration Laboratories – Tacos in Space
May 5 – Ali’s Book Nook – Dragon Paper Doll Activity
Week Two:
May 8 – The Book Nut – Tacos in Ancient Greece
May 9 – A Story A Day – Tacos During the Civil War
May 10 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Pirates
May 11 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review
May 12 – My Little Poppies
Week Three:
May 16 – As They Grow Up
May 17 – YA Book Nerd
May 18 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Mini Swoon
May 19 – The Plot Bunny – A Dragons Love Tacos Playlist
Week Four:
May 22 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – How to Properly Eat a Taco
May 23 – No BS Book Reviews
May 24 – Mundie Kids –Time Travelling with a Dragon Checklist
May 25 – The Book Shire
May 26 – Artsy Momma

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could go back in history, which time period would you most like to explore?

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My Kids Are Mad at Me

My Kids Are Mad at MeI like being liked, doesn’t everyone? The people I want to like me most are my family. So when my kids are having an off day and decide I’m a convenient target, an entire slew of emotions come into play. How did we get here, and why are my kids mad at me?

Just like us, kids have hard days. It can be all too easy to take on personal guilt when these feelings in them bother us. There is a series of emotions and steps my mind seems to run through every time this happens. Perhaps some of these resonate with you, too?

Getting Over the Hurt – My heart is immediately saddened. The kids are mad because I’m parenting them? My mind can’t seem to compute how they could be upset when I want them to brush their teeth, make their beds, study their schoolwork… The hurt turns to a moment of guilt, wondering if I’m asking too much or doing something wrong.

Seeing Past the Red – Then the hurt turns to anger. I know I’m doing my job and they are making it hard; very hard. My pride kicks in, hating the disrespect being shown and the sharp replies I am receiving when I’m doing my best to remain calm and collected.

Learning to Pray – It’s in the midst of the anger, however, I am filled with the overwhelming need to pray. I don’t want to speak out in anger – while it might be righteous indignation, my reaction affects everything – hurting my children and doing further damage. I’m learning to ask the Lord to speak to their hearts, softening them to His will and obedience. I seek His will in my response and calmness for my heart.

Extending Understanding – While my children shouldn’t have acted out, and consequences will need to be given, the Lord is helping me see through my children’s eyes. Perhaps they have had a busy morning and feel overwhelmed. Maybe they were already frustrated and I’ve unintentionally poked at them. Their actions are not justified, but it’s good to know why this happened so we can move forward and work on removing this barrier in the future.

Holding Firm – Once my children have calmed down, they inevitably feel sorry for their actions. It might take a while, but it always comes around. It would be all too easy to write off their consequences and call it a day; everything is good now. That would be a mistake on my part. While I appreciate their repentance, my children also need to learn justice. It hurts to follow through, but it is necessary and important.

Tying Strings – We could leave it at repentance – it’s not a bad place to stop – but I want more. I need to rebuild the relationship which might be torn or bruised. A hug might be the answer, working together on a project, reading a story, watching a movie, talking during a walk, and more. At times this is harder than others, but worth the effort.

More than being liked, I want to be righteous. This means I need to set a good example for my children in moments of hurt and anger. It also means I need to stand firm in building their character.

When my children are mad, I need to remove myself from the picture, take a step back, evaluate what is going on beneath the surface, and ask the Lord for wisdom. This is not a personal affront, but a personal attack upon my child. The question is will I help or cause more hurt?

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
~ Psalm 103:13

Your Turn!: What is your favorite way to “tie strings” with your children?

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Our April Reads

Our_April_Reads_2017

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! April’s list has a few incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun.

  1. Lindbergh: The Tale of the Flying Mouse (Torben Kuhlmann) – A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times . . . for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places . . . the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly!
    The illustrations are what sell us on Torben Kuhlmann’s books. They are simply amazing. But you’ll love this adorable story about a little mouse with big aspirations. The kids thought this was a perfect read. 
  2. Beautiful Birds (Jean Roussen) – In this stunningly illustrated introduction to the world’s most beautiful birds, Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker pay homage to an alphabet of birds in all their feathery fancies.
    A nature study read for the month, the colorful illustrations were wonderful and definitely helped us explore the world of exotic birds. 
  3. Before After (Anne_Margot Ramstein) – Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. Each spread or sequence of spreads explores a before and after.
    A wordless book I wanted to explore with the kids, this book is perfect for littles or the art of storytelling. 
  4. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts (Maja Safstrom) – Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.
    I’ll be honest, I picked up this book because of the cover itself. It’s adorable! However, I was pleased to find the pages within just as charming. We recently discovered there’s a sequel! This was a great book for nature study. 
  5. Three Swords for Granada (Walter Dean Myers) – In the year 1420, the cats from the kingdom of Spain attacked their foes: dogs led by the cruel Fidorean Guards. Full of bravery and ready to give their lives for their country, the cats begin a swashbuckling journey of swordplay and derring-do.
    As we are studying the Renaissance, this seemed a perfect read for the younger kiddos. Three Swords is a cute book and a fun read. 
  6. None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us (Jen Wilkin) – Jen Wilkin leads us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us – and why that’s a good thing. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realization frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.
    One of my parenting/mommy books of the month, I discovered this read through an Instagram account I follow. Each chapter was a blessing and an encouragement. Grab it, you won’t be sorry.
  7. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) – With humor and understanding, Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair.
    Parenting can be tough sometimes, so this book suggestion piqued our interest. While the overall principles were sound, we were saddened to find the concepts within were not grounded on a moral foundation. While this is not mandatory in writing a parenting book – by any means – we, personally, prefer it. Without Christ, we are nothing. 

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but I know a few of these have been added to our book wish list. Great picture books are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find an incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: Do you have a favorite “wordless” picture book?

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Review: Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”

Drive_Thru_HistoryIf you’re like us, you enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and an 118 page study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a tour of Israel showing us the footsteps of Christ and bringing Biblical history to life. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

Rather than include Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Drive_Thru_SetSnacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions even our youngest was encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

As our review took place around the time of Easter, Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” couldn’t have come at a better time. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. We saw the Church of the Nativity, the Herodium, the Sea of Galilee, and so much more. We followed the gospel message from before Christ’s birth to His resurrection.

Study_GuideOne fun aspect of Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” pertained to Dave Stott’s vehicle throughout the series! Lovingly named “Steve McQueen” by its actual owner, Dave Stotts showed the kids how to make Car-B-Que. We refuse to give away this little tidbit. Watch the series to find out what this is, and why you need to try it!

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series, taking in the beauty and majesty of the Gospel. Our consolation is that three other series exist – Drive Thru History® – “The Holy Land”, Drive Thru History® – “American History”, and Drive Thru History® – “Ancient History”. We’re also excited to discover another series is already in the works which will center on the book of Acts.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could pick the next location for Drive Thru History®, where would you like to go?

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Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons_Love_TacosIf you’re ever in our neck of the woods, you know you’re invited to dinner. What’s on the menu, you ask? Well, tacos of course! Why tacos? Because they’re TACOS!!! I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco? Even dragons know tacos are the best.

You’ll find tacos of all kinds in our home; they’re a family favorite. Our little dragons eat them up. We’ve made everything from chicken and beef, to fish or potato tacos. No matter what kind of tacos we make, one thing is for sure, we always serve our tacos with a fresh batch of salsa.

The Recipe: What is salsa and how do you go about making a batch for your favorite dragon? We’re so glad you asked!

Salsa is a spicy tomato sauce, made from a blend of tomato and your favorite type of chile. Salsa is generally used in Latin American cooking and enjoyed with a variety of dishes, not to mention on its own with tortilla chips.

Salsa (Chile)

Ingredients:
4 Large Tomato
2 Cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeños
1 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon (Chicken)
1/4 Cup of Water

Directions:
On a flat, cast iron skillet – or flat grill – roast your vegetables, including garlic, until nicely toasted. Immediately after roasting, place your vegetables in a plastic container with lid until cooled. (This helps remove the skins easily.) Once cooled, carefully remove the skin from the tomatoes and jalapeños.
In a blender, place your water, Better Than Bouillon, and cloves of garlic. Blend these for a moment to fully incorporate the garlic. Add your jalapeños. Add your tomato, removing any hardened centers. Blend all ingredients by hitting the pulse button on the blender three to four times, with a second between each pulse. Pour into your favorite mason jar, and enjoy!
(Tip: If you’re concerned about the salsa being too hot for your dragons, remove all seeds and veins from the chiles while removing skins. This will give you plenty of flavor but reduce some of the heat.)

The Experiment: We all know dragons love tacos, but serving hot salsa is a no-no. Just how hot is HOT? Let’s try an experiment and explore the wild world of chiles, then see how our taste buds take the heat!

Scoville_List

In our home, our dragons prefer salsa made with Pepperoncini, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles. But, just for fun, let’s see how hot we can take it before we start breathing fire!

Mom is the weakest of all, no surprise. She likes the mildest of the mild chiles. JAG is a little braver, eating salsa which makes his nose itch, but still enjoying the flavor. Little Lady doesn’t really like it at all. Hmmm. T enjoys salsa, but feels the same way Mom does about the heat. Mouse, she’s amazing. She can eat half way up this chile diagram without blinking an eye! And Pop, well he’s the king of us all. Nose itching, eyes watering; he can go three-fourths of the way up the chart and still keep on eating. Wow! Can you stand the heat?

The Giveaway: Now’s your chance! Care to try your hand at winning this adorable book, including a dragon of your own? Enter HERE for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Sets (ARV: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos

(NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.)

And stay tuned because…

The Sequel: Oh, no! It seems tacos have become so popular there will be no more tacosDragons Love Tacos 2 in world as of May 2nd! What will we do? Pre-order your copy of Dragons Love Tacos 2 and help the dragons #SaveTheTacos.

If you’re ever in SoCal, just let us know. Send us an email, place your order, and taco night it will be. Unlike these dragons, however, be prepared for some pretty hot salsa. There’s no sense in doing things half way.

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: What is your favorite type of taco?

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Dwell on These Things…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
~ Philippians 4:8

Dwell_TheseThingsFocus. If I could only focus. Instead, I hear doubt shouting in my ears, telling me this is the last straw; I can’t take any more. Doubt enjoys the company of its cousins, fear and anxiety. They are quickly joined by frustration, which removes the fear only to replace it with bitterness. My mind is a battlefield, and if I’m not careful I’m going to lose this fight. Quietly, gently; I am reminded the battle is not mine alone. I have been given all I need to succeed, if only I choose to dwell on these things.

When I allow the cares of this world to overtake me, choosing not to dwell on what is honorable, I am giving the enemy a foothold. He plagues my mind with anxiety and worry. Yet I choose not to dwell on good things. He diverts my attention to the mess around me, telling me I am worthy of something else. Yet I choose not to dwell on good things. He pushes, pulls, will resort to hitting if necessary or any other form of coercion which will pull me away from the path to which I am called. Yet I choose not to dwell on good things. 

In contrast, when I purposefully choose to focus on what is good in my life, there is no room for anything else. In Philippians 4:8 we are led through a series of ideas – a checklist if you will – upon which our thoughts should dwell. Our minds are to focus on what is true, noble, just, pleasing to think upon, attracts the love of holy souls; whatever is wonderful and Godly.

Too often, however, I allow my mind to be diverted from dwelling on these things. The stress of daily life, the struggles of parenting, the hiccups in marriage, and constant responsibility crowd my head. If I am not careful, the cares of this world leave little room for anything good. I must remember the instruction found here in Proverbs. Truth must take precedence! My thoughts need to be refocused to dwell on the things of Christ. Things which are good.

No matter what my day brings, no matter the chaos which surrounds me, Christ needs to be my center and my focus. I need to choose to dwell on what pleases my Father, and brings me into His presence. Through practice, dwelling on these things will lead to a life well-pleasing to the Lord and peace of mind.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become deeds.
Watch your deeds; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.”

Your Turn!: Is there a Bible verse which helps you dwell on the good when the enemy attacks?

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WHO is the Expert Here?

You must continue to gain expertise,
but avoid thinking like an expert.

~ Denis Waitley

WHO is the Expert Here?Have you noticed everyone seems to just love giving you advice on how you should be living your life? From websites to magazine articles; people you randomly meet at the grocery store to neighbors down the street. Even other homeschooling families seem to have an opinion on how you could be improving or how you ought to be teaching your children. Just who’s the expert here?

When we open ourselves up to receiving information from any and every source, we open ourselves up to trouble. Even those who consider themselves ‘experts’ in a given field are not infallible, nor do they know the particulars of our lives. We need to be very careful about what we allow to influence us and whose advice we are seeking. Anyone who tells us they have all the answers to our problems should be avoided. Christ is the true expert; He is the answers to our struggles.

We ought to seek wise counsel from like-minded Christians who will encourage us in our walk, marriage, parenting, and homeschooling. Listen to the wisdom the Lord has given them. Then, pray over it. The Lord may be doing a mighty work in them, but that doesn’t mean He necessarily wants to do the same work in us! What works for one might not work for another. We should ask the Lord to help us sift through the never-ending stream of information coming into our home, making His paths known and clear.

We should become an expert on our own family. I can begin by studying my husband, learning what blesses him and ministers to his heart. Focusing on our children, giving deep thought to how we can train and disciple them. Seek the Lord above all else, knowing He is the only expert we need.

I want to become an expert of my own life and family. I want to increase in wisdom to better meet my own family’s needs; to be a more loving wife; to be a patient mother; and the best homeschool mom I can be. Frankly, my plate is already full trying to be an expert on my own family, much less be an expert on how to minister to yours! The truth is, this side of heaven, an expert I will never be. But, until I finally go to be with the Lord, I have every intention of seeking that goal.

If you happen to stop over one day and read my blog, or I have the blessing of meeting you in person, I hope one thing always stands out; my heart is to encourage you not to follow me, but to follow Christ’s leading in your life, family, and home. Sure, I may have a word or two of advice on what’s worked for us and what hasn’t. I might even have little tidbits of wisdom to share regarding things the Lord has shown me – and tidbits is just what they are – but I will never claim to be an expert on your life. That job is the Lord’s.

May we all seek wisdom from the one true expert… Christ.

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
~ I Chronicles 16:11

Your Turn!: Are we studying our husbands and children more than we’re spending time elsewhere? It might be time to take stock of our priorities!

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Our Children are Hearing, But Not Receiving

Our Children are Hearing, But Not Receiving“Son, are you hearing me?” His voice filled with agitation, he gives a curt, positive response. I begin again only to find his eyes wandering out the window and his mind engaged in other activity. I gently ask him to repeat what I just said. He gives me back the words, but we both know… he’s hearing, but not receiving.

I do my best to keep our homeschool lessons short and sweet, especially for the younger of my children. Testing their patience is never pretty, and we want learning to be an engaging activity. Something our children love to do, and will continue long after I’m gone. No matter how good a teacher I think I am, there are going to be days when no matter what I do, my children are not going to receive what I’m offering. For one reason or another, they are hearing my words but not taking in wisdom and knowledge. Maybe it’s time I explore the reasons why.

Prayer – I can always tell when I’ve been slacking in my prayer life, tough as it is to admit. I become short-tempered and we start going through motions of doing school instead of actively using this as an opportunity to reach my children’s hearts for Christ. One of the reasons we might be having learning issues is because I need to repent of my disobedience and ask the Lord to meet my children where they are.

I am Over-Burdening Them – Another confession: In my desire to teach my children “everything”, I sometimes try to fit in everything. Now there’s a recipe for danger. Four active kids, too much book work, add an overabundance of lecturing and there you go. A bomb which leaves a hideous mess in its wake.

It’s All Just Words – How much is too much? I wish I knew. Some amount of lesson giving needs to take place. I wish I could say its only different for each child, but it’s not. It’s different for each child, each day of their lives. Some days are better than others. Some days all words fly right out the window and being out-of-doors is a fantastic idea.

They Have a Physical Need – This is a little easier to understand. Lack of sleep, food, water, exercise. There’s a physical reason which requires a physical response. If only all of life’s challenges were this simple.

This Is a Character Issue – Here is a tough one. This takes time, energy, care, and gentleness. This is when everything else stops – and should – so we can get to the bottom of the issue. Are my children experiencing a spiritual attack, or is this an act of laziness; worse, rebellion?

It’s Not What it Looks Like – I had visions of what learning would look like. Eager faces turned in my direction, excited answers and anticipation of lessons. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, this happens sometimes. Sometimes. And that’s not a bad thing. Just because learning doesn’t always look as I imagined, doesn’t mean my kids aren’t learning. It just looks… different.

Turning Hearts, and Minds, is Not My Job – (This one thought deserves an entire blog post, which we might come back to later.) After all is said and done, I need to leave the issue – whatever it might be – at the feet of Christ. If I have done my part by praying over my children, changing learning to meet needs, dealt with physical and character issues, and more, the rest is up to Him. We only need be faithful in what God is calling us do. He will see His work is done.

As a parent and educator, my job isn’t to force my children to receive wisdom. That is impossible. It is my responsibility to lead my children to Christ, by example and deed, encouraging them and training them. It is my privilege to instruct and teach, continually stimulating growth. Reaching my children’s hearts and minds is God’s work.

When I become discouraged or distracted because it appears my children are not learning, may the Lord prompt me to pray and leave it at His feet. May He meet my children where they are; opening their hearts, minds, and ears to hear. May He soften them towards learning and grant me wisdom to teach as He would lead.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
~ I Corinthians 3:6-9

Your Turn!: What helps redirect learning when it appears your children are not receiving?

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The Heart of Why We Homeschool

The following article was written for our monthly school newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are inspired and blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!

….. 

The Heart of Why We HomeschoolUpon consideration, there are probably hundreds of reasons why a person would choose to home school. People pulling their kids from public schools cite poor education, low test scores, large class sizes, lack of good teachers, bureaucracy of schools, lack of individual attention, or the accommodation of individual needs, the prevalence of drugs, violence, alcohol, or other substances. Then we can add the moral side of the equation: peer pressure, the tolerance of that which the Bible calls sin (if not outright encouraging it), trans-gender bathroom laws, a generally anti-Christian agenda, and more.

Any of the above reasons, if not all of them, would be valid reasons to yank your kids from a wolves’ den. For the Christian parent who wants to follow the Scriptural mandates found in Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6:4, Psalm 78, and other locations, it does not make sense to put your child in an unloving, God rejecting setting, in front of teachers bet on the indoctrination of lies and biased material, and then hope that our children turn out ok.

Judges 2:10 gives us the result of parents not actively engaged in the discipleship of their own children, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

We are called as Christians to go and make disciples. God expects us to start at home, and while it is true that none of us can make our child come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, much less choose a life of obedience for them, the blame for a generation rising that does not know lies squarely on the shoulders of the parents. They did not know because they were not taught. That is one issue that we can, and certainly do have a very large part to play.

Deut. 6:7-9 gives us a serious command to teach the Law specifically, though we could apply it to the whole of God’s Word for practicality, to our children.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The command is for throughout the day, not just Sunday morning, or during Bible class, but all day long. When idle (sitting), in transit (when you walk), the last thing we hear before bed (when you lie down), and the first thing we consider in the morning (and when you rise up). Verses 8-9 basically tell us to so arrange it that God’s Word should be ever before us for consideration and reminder.

If we want our children to know the truth, and to be able to recognize (and avoid) the lives of the Enemy, then we must constantly be setting the truth before them. How else will they come to know it? Many of us have heard that banks teach their employees to recognize counterfeit money –not by classes on what to look for – but by constantly handling the genuine. Even when they cannot at first identify why, the teller gets to a point where they know that something isn’t right when they come across a phony bill inserted into the mix. They are taught to follow that instinct, stop, and examine more closely.

May the same be true of our children. Our desire is to so immerse them in the truth of God that when the false comes along they instinctively put up their guard and examine it, seeing where it doesn’t measure up against Scripture. I don’t want my adult son needing me to check his pastor out to see if the man is teaching correctly, I want him to be able to determine that for himself. How else can he teach my grandkids to recognize the truth?

The second reason why home schooling best fits the command to disciple our children is found in the second part of Judges 2:10, “nor the work which He had done for Israel.” It is my belief that our children trust God when they are little simply because Mommy and Daddy do. And when they are little, that is fine. Their faith can, does, and should be able to rest on ours; But I am not planning to raise a spiritual infant, but a well-trained, strong, victorious Christian soldier that is capable of teaching his own kids to be victorious Christian warriors as well.

As our children grow up, the focus needs to expand and go beyond “What did God do for Israel” or “What can God do?” Rather it needs to broaden to help our kids see what God has done for them, and what He has been doing in their lives. God helping blind people to see some 2,000 years ago can be encouraging, (please don’t misunderstand me, it is vital to know that He is able to do all that Scripture records), but how much more unshakeable is our kids’ faith when it rests on the certainty of what God has already done for them? When they come to the understanding that Jesus has never let them down before, it is so much easier to know, believe, and cling to the promise that He never will. They need to grasp that the promise wasn’t just for Lazarus, but for them as well, and that God’s personal track record with them is 100% faithful as well.

I know of no curricula that can teach those life lessons. So, as the school year begins, and the books are opened, remember that you don’t introduce them merely to stories about Jesus, you are introducing them to Jesus Himself; and know that as you do so, your labor is not in vain.

Ensure that your kids learn the life lessons they wouldn’t be taught anywhere else.

That is why we home school.

Your Turn!: Share with us a few of the resources in your home, and homeschooling, which help build your children’s faith!

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Review: Web Design by CompuScholar, Inc.

WebDesign_by_CompuScholarIncFor a while now we’ve debated building our own website. Finding a web designer can be pricey, and online forums can be restricting. So when we were offered an opportunity to review Web Design by CompuScholar, Inc., you know we jumped on board!

Web Design by CompuScholar, Inc., previously known as Homeschool Programming, is an online curriculum teaching students the basics of building a web page. The course is broken down by a multitude of chapters. Chapter topics include Web Tools and Languages, Your First Web Page, Head and Body Elements, Connecting Your Site, and many more. Most chapters contain four to five lessons, an activity, and a chapter test.

Our original intention was to complete a chapter a day, Monday through Friday, but we quickly needed to make adjustments. We discovered CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design is an in-depth course going beyond anything we had yet experienced. Plus, with life being what it is… realistically only a few chapters a week were accomplished. Seeing as we have a year to complete the entire course, this is not a major issue. We found we were able to complete an entire chapter – on average – in a little over an hour. At times taking two hours, depending on the concept being taught.

While it might be tempting to only watch the video portion of the lesson and skip the text lesson, we would highly discourage such a course of action. Text lessons include additional information not covered in the video and help students complete the quiz which follows. In addition, the text lessons will reinforce what was learned in the video. Taking in both methods of learning ensure the student fully understands each lesson and can move forward in confidence. The video lessons are short, helpful for visual learners, and easy to follow. Text lessons build upon the video, once again providing visual aid to learners. Quizzes are extremely short, consisting of five questions, helping the student take measure of their knowledge before continuing on.

As a teacher, I’ve found CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design detailed, methodical, and well-thought out. The online system auto grades all quizzes and tests, saving me time. I need only log into my teacher account and check the progress of my students. As a teacher, I also have access to Professional Development helps such as Teacher Guides, Quiz/Test Answer Keys, and Activity Solutions Guides. These Activity Solutions Guides came in handy further along in our course, as a few of the activities were challenging.

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We had the ability to review the Technical Support department after experiencing an issue with the activity project in Chapter Nine. Even after checking our student’s project against the solution guide, the webpage was still not loading correctly. We submitted a ‘ticket’ for assistance via Homeschool Support and received an email stating our ‘ticket’ was being processed. Within several hours, a helpful support staffer contacted us and requested copies of our files for review. He gently reminded us of the presence of activity solution guides, in case we had missed this option, and offered to review our files for errors. By the next morning we received another email with clearly labeled, highlighted, instructions to fix the issue. Within five minutes the problem was fixed, an error on our part, and we were on our way.

Thus far, CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design is fantastic, if challenging! We found the videos to be very helpful; surprisingly one of our favorite portions of the lessons. Quizzes and tests were simple, if we paid attention to the lessons. One of our favorite aspects of CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design is that students are working while learning. They immediately are able to apply what they are learning, seeing their results as they progress. We found this encouraging and helpful, keeping the students’ interest. CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design will push learners to focus and pay attention to detail. Even the smallest mistakes will result in errors of programming. However, their helpful and knowledgeable technical support team is always ready to help you get back on track.

After only reviewing CompuScholar, Inc. Web Design for several weeks, and long before we’ve completed even half the course itself, we have a new appreciation for those who maintain and build our website. Thus far, we’re about a quarter of the way through our course. We have every intention of finishing. We’ll continue to move at a consistent pace, finishing the class by the end of the year. Maybe then, maybe, we’ll feel competent enough to tackle the tough job of creating our own web page. Maybe.

If you’d like to learn more about CompuScholar, Inc., in addition to Web Design, please visit them at their website. For those new to computer sciences, you’ll want to check out Digital Savvy to learn more about these fundamental life skills! You can also find CompuScholar, Inc. on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what CompuScholar, Inc. has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: How digital savvy are you?

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