Review: Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit

Manhood Journey Father's Starter KitWe firmly believe in training up children in the admonition of the Lord. We’re constantly on the lookout for resources and materials which help us accomplish this. So when we were offered Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit for review by Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio, you can imagine we were pretty excited to get started.

Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit is a six-week small group father-son Bible study covering the topic of Biblical Manhood. The kit comes with everything needed to start the journey: A stack of “Maprochures”, a group discussion guide, a one-on-one discussion guide for fathers and sons to explore together, and a DVD with introductory videos for all six modules. The kit also came with a bonus free copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You.

For our review, our family was mailed a Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit to explore. When the kit arrived, my son and I started his journey by perusing a ‘Maprochure’ and watching the introductory video on the DVD. While the remainder of the study was done by my husband and son alone, I was drafted to layout how the program works and give my husband a quick rundown of the journey. Once accomplished, the guys set out to enjoy the adventure.

Manhood Journey Fathers Starter Kit2

My husband and son decided to use the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit as a bedtime devotional over the course of our five-week review. At the start of each week, they would watch the introductory video and read from the group discussion guide. During the remainder of the week, a section of the one-on-one discussion guide was covered before bed.

While my husband and son were able to use the starter kit as a nightly devotion, they both mentioned it would have been more fun doing this in a group setting. Unfortunately, my husband’s schedule being what it is, that was not an option. In the future, they would like to go back and do this with a group of guys from our homeschool group. Not doing the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit in a group setting is possible, and done by my guys quite well, however the materials lean in that direction and lend itself to greater possibility in such a setting. Something to keep in mind!

The materials in the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit, themselves, were of good quality. My son enjoyed the ‘Maprochure’, viewing the journey and what lies ahead. The group discussion guide and DVD were easy to follow, well laid out, and brief. However, the one-on-one guide proved a little more challenging for my guys. Unfortunately, my husband struggled with understanding which portions were for himself alone and which he was to share with our son. Thus, little man listened to a fair portion of the guide which was meant Manhood Journey Fathers Starter Kit3for my husband, but no harm done.

Overall, my husband found the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit to be well-paced for young boys and their fathers. The lessons were brief and fit for young learners. Before moving on to a future study, I believe they will attempt to go through the materials once again. This time in a group setting. Here’s praying the Lord brings it all together in His timing.

If you’d like to learn more about Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio, in addition to Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit, please visit them at their website. You can also find Manhood Journey on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to look up City on a Hill on Facebook and Twitter as well!

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what the Manhood Journey   Father’s Starter Kit has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Does your husband have a specific Bible study he’s working through with the kids?

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Waiting For ‘Real’ Ministry to Begin

Waiting For 'Real' Ministry to BeginDo you ever feel as if you’re not moving forward in ministry? You desire to serve the Lord, but where would you find the time? There’s learning which needs to be done, a house which needs to be cleaned, meals which need fixing, and a world of responsibility sitting at your feet the moment you open your eyes each morning. My friends, if you’re waiting for the ‘real’ ministry to begin, it already has!

The ministry which surrounds us daily might not be glamorous; no one outside our immediate family may ever know our name or see the impact we make on the world around us. This does not make our ministry less real. The roles we are currently playing are vital and as real as it gets.

The Ministry of Marriage – The Lord is constantly reminding me that marriage is more than a relationship, it is a ministry. We are connected, but it is a bond which requires work and a call to serve the Lord together. Done right, our marriage will point people to God and His saving grace.

The Ministry of Parenting – We have a unique call to train and disciple the next generation of adults. Positively a full-time role in ministry. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Ministry of Education – As we teach our littles, we have the unique ability to reach their hearts, souls, and minds for Christ. Every lesson builds and strengthens, helping our children increase for God’s glory.

The Ministry of Friendship – We thank God for the few people He has brought into our lives who minister to us in this capacity. That girlfriend who just stops by to say hello? You just made our day. The gentleman who calls to encourage my husband and ask how His Bible study is going? Love that! Where would we be without awesome friends who take time just to ask how we’re doing, and occasionally stop in for a visit.

The Ministry of Edification – We might not have physically met, but our goal here at A Homeschool Mom is to edify everyone who reads these pages. While we’re perusing your thoughts, questions, and helpful tips, we’re often edified. Together, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we use this blogging community to edify one another, encouraging closer relationships with Christ.

Whenever I start feeling as if I’m not doing enough to serve the Lord, I remember a line from Francesca Battistelli’s song, “He Knows My Name“. It’s not important that my name be in lights. I am not living for applause. The God of the universe knows my name and loves me; just as I am, just where I am. He has me here for a reason, and He’s asking me to be faithful with what He’s given.

‘Real’ ministry is here and now. It’s not ten years down the road, it’s not ten minutes down the road. It’s right where I am. The real question is, what will I do with the ministry He’s given?

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

~ Acts 20:24

Your Turn!: Show of hands… Have you read The Ministry of Motherhood?

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How Elected Are Electives?

How Elected are Electives?When our children were little, we had the freedom to flit between interests at will. One month might find us learning ballet, another we would be watercoloring. As our children have advanced into higher levels of learning, we’ve needed to buckle down and choose classes which last an entire year. Mom thinks Latin might be an essential life skill; Pop wants the children to take piano. During all this decision-making, one has to wonder, how elected are electives for our big kids?

I remember back to when I was in high school. Electives were not chosen by the parents, we students chose our classes. You could select from a range of skills: foreign language, drama, music, art, sports, mechanics, woodshop and more. A councilor was assigned to  guide you into which choice might be best, but the decision was up to us. Should homeschooled children be given the same responsibility?

On one hand, I think it is fair to say we know a little more than our children. We have more work experience, life experience, and learning experience. We should be guiding them into which electives they might take. Part of our job, both as parents and home educators, is to lay a strong foundation and teach them to make wise choices.

On the other hand, forced electives quite possibly might kill my children’s desire to learn. Yes, foreign language is an asset. Every university in the US is telling them they need it and benefit from it. But what if they would rather take Russian instead of that Spanish class mom thinks would be more beneficial? What if they want to take coding instead of a spoken language? Hey, it counts!

Instead of forcing electives on my big kids, perhaps I need a new perspective. Together we should be praying over which classes the Lord desires them to take. As a team, we weigh the benefits of each course and the commitment needed. Then, my children need to take responsibility and make a decision.

An important life skill our big kids need to learn is decision-making. This extends beyond which type of ice cream they will eat. They need to be taking part in tough, consequential life choices which affect their future.

As my children continue to grow, I pray they would respect my opinion and hear my advice. I want what is best for them, and desire to help them succeed in life. However, as my littles grow, my responsibility needs to decrease as theirs becomes greater. When they are given a portion of that responsibility, they gain independence, confidence, and wisdom. They are learning to be adults.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”
~ Proverbs 1:5

Your Turn!: Do your children choose their electives?

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So You Think I’m Wrong? (Personal Advice on Offering Objections)

So You Think I'm Wrong? (Personal Advice on Offering Objections)What should be our inspiration for offering correction when we see someone stepping out of line? A heart to see them right with God. A desire for righteousness. If you think our family is making a wrong move, here’s some personal advice on how to offer your objections to our family’s life choices. Hint: It doesn’t involve yelling!

Before overwhelming us with a verbal attack, here are a few solid tips on how to approach us when you think we might be stepping out of line:

Pray for Us – Before approaching us, ask yourself this question, “Is this Biblical wisdom or just your humble opinion?” If the Lord is prompting you to speak to us, kindly pray about not only what you’re going to say, but how to say it. Pray for us as well, that we would receive your helpful advice as it was intended. We, too, want this discussion to go well. It starts with humility and a desire to seek the Lord in all things.

Speak With Us – Please read that again, carefully. Don’t yell at us. Don’t talk at us. Don’t talk over us. And don’t talk about us to other people. We would love to work this out and resolve the issue, but we can’t do that if we don’t speak. Nicely.

Ask Questions – Odds are you have some questions, and we’d love to answer them for you. We understand not everyone is going to agree with our choices and you may want clarity on why we’ve gone in this direction. Just ask, we love sharing why we do what we do!

Show Respect – While we appreciate your good intentions towards our family, these children are our responsibility. You don’t have to agree with our choices, but you ought to respect them. Mocking us, muttering complaints under your breath, and posting on social media is not the answer.

Believe it or not, we appreciate your advice and questions. Our goal is to constantly grow and increase in wisdom. Maybe the Lord wants to use you, and your words are His tool. However, please consider we might already be following God’s plan and doing our best to be faithful. We don’t make our choices lightly or without care. Believe it or not, a great deal of thought, time, energy, and research goes into what we do and how we do it. It might look a little odd to you, but this is a grand adventure and we take it very seriously.  

May we be inspired to not only give instruction with gentleness, but receive instruction in humility; may we direct people towards Christ and His desires, not our own personal opinions and ideals; and may we be granted strength to stand against those who violently oppose.

(Please note: We are not discussing issues of abuse today. Such difficult situations would call for immediate action, not debate. Instead, we’re referring to differences in parenting decisions such as education, discipline, health choices, and the like.)

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Your Turn!: How do you handle unsolicited advice?

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If You Give a Homeschool Mom an Idea

If You Give a Homeschool Mom an IdeaFor the sake of silliness, and all things homeschool… This idea has been stuck in my head for weeks. I thought it was time to finally put fingers to keyboard.

If You Give a Homeschool Mom
An Idea

If you give a homeschool mom an idea,
She’s going to want to do some research.

Once she sets off to research,
She’ll start stressing over what she’s missed.

Because she’s stressed,
She will feel the need to pray.

After God calms her heart,
She’ll want to resume her mission.

Once she’s finished making multiple lists,
She’ll want to get started right away.

To get started,
She’ll need to check her supply cupboard.

Upon looking in her cupboard,
She’ll notice she needs to make a run to the craft store.

Since she’s going to the craft store,
The kids will want to tag along.

On the way to the store,
Mom will recall a book she can incorporate into her lesson.

To get the book,
She will need to stop at the library.

At the library,
The kids will want to check out more books.

With the kids busy perusing reads,
Mom will start jotting down notes for complimentary studies.

Since she’s on her device,
She’ll look at her clock.

Before the day gets away from her,
She’ll rush the kids through checking out.

As she’s checking out,
The kids will be reminded they’re headed to the craft store.

While at the store,
The children will remember they’re out of clay.

Five hundred dollars later,
The family will realize they’re hungry.

After feeding her clan and cleaning the mess,
Mom will want to sit down and put a plan in place.

While checking her email,
She’ll notice a helpful friend sent over an idea.

She’ll read her helpful friend’s idea,
And then she’ll want to do some research.

Silly, but entirely true for this mama. Just when I think I’ve got things on a roll, we come across another spectacular idea I’d like to put into place. There will always be something more to do, a new fact to be learned, and another idea for teaching. I could literally run in circles all day doing nothing but establishing routines and setting about plans.

While the poem is intended to be funny and cute, the truth is I could easily get lost in all the to-dos and fail to simply enjoy the here-and-now. I pray this would not be so.

May the Lord give us wisdom to move forward with new ideas only when He is directing us. May we have ears to hear, hearts to listen, and peace to go forward. May we choose our “Yeses” carefully, and learn to say “No” when needed. May we be able to laugh and enjoy each day for the memories it brings; no matter how crazy they get.

“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”
~ Ecclesiastes 9:7

Your Turn!: Okay… Your turn! “If you give a homeschool parent an idea….”

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The Line Forms on the Left

Fair Line?One interesting phenomena that seems to plague homeschoolers, is the inability to form a straight line! (Laughing)

No matter how hard we try, no matter our intention, five minutes into any field trip, our wonderfully organized students become a mess. I wonder if this is something that is only a bother for us or if other groups also deal with the same complication.

Now I know that some would argue lines are unnecessary in the world of home education, but I am not so sure. If part of our children’s education is to prepare them for adult life, lines should definitely be included.

How often do we find ourselves standing in line? Off the top of my head I can come up with at least ten lines I have to stand in weekly (as much as I would love to avoid them); the library, the bank, the grocery store, the ice cream shop, the DMV, and more!

It seems this simple principle is indeed a necessity for us adults, but for children? I would insist that it is.

When we are attending a field trip with a large group, wouldn’t it be more polite and respectful if our children learned to be organized? It would be unthoughtful if we crowded every walkway or available space wherever we went.

I would also reason that standing in line teaches children more than conformity (which isn’t always bad), it also teaches them patience and order.

Our homeschool group is definitely making an effort to master this skill during the current year. We recognize that people see us and therefore will make a judgement of homeschooling based on how we present ourselves.

While we do not live our lives to please others or justify what we do, we do wish to leave them thinking well of us. We would hate to give more fuel to an already burning fire.

Do you notice other homeschooling groups with this same problem? How do you help your students learn the art of a well formed line?