Monday, May 23, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Christian Home Educators

I have seen and heard several homeschool moms getting discouraged, burned out, or overwhelmed. I've been there, done that :). I think it's important for us moms (and dads) to encourage one another and learn from one another in our homeschooling journey/adventure! I'd like to share what I've learned... I am still learning and relying on God every single day. I hope what I share here may encourage some.

My "top ten tips" are:
1. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
2. Pray, pray, and pray continually.
3. Instill in your children love for God, passion for His word, and desire to please & serve Him.
4. Focus on building your kids’ character, training their attitudes, and tying heart strings.
5. Lead by example; walk the talk; be real and humble. Give grace and forgiveness (there will be plenty of opportunities to do so :)!)
6. Stay committed to homeschooling; be enthusiastic about learning/acquiring wisdom & knowledge. Remind yourself from time to time why you've chosen to homeschool your kids.
7. Don’t sweat the academic stuff; embrace an eternal perspective.
8. These (whatever struggles you’re facing) too shall pass. 
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23
9. Don't compare yourself to other homeschool moms or compare your kids to other homeschool kids. Each kid and each family are unique. Each has different strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. Encourage and equip your kids to be who God made them to be.
10. Enjoy and cherish your time together (kids grow up so fast). Their relationship with Christ and their relationship with their parents (and siblings if any) are more important than anything else you may accomplish through homeschooling.

"Educating our children includes more than arithmetic and spelling; it includes building character.  No educational pursuit can replace the deep need for a generation of children to be brought up first in the ‘nurture and admonition’ of the Lord." ~Rick Williamson 
                    What Have I Taught?
                  (By Betty DeMers Parkes)

If my children can quote Shakespeare
with feeling and understanding,
but think only of themselves,
then what have I taught?

If they can spell scientific words,
and write 16 page reports,
but have no compassion for other,
then what have I taught?

If they can work algebraic equations,
but do not think of how their words or actions
may affect someone else,
then what have I taught?

If my high schooler gets into Harvard,
but doesn’t have a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ
then what have I taught?

If my children are in the 99th percentile rankings
on all their standardized tests,
but resent being with their family
then what have I taught?

If my nine-year-old reads Tolstoy,
and my seven-year-old knows all the times tables,
but they cannot play together
without hurt feelings and tears,
then what have I taught?

Giveaway: Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak

Charlie Church Mouse SuperPakI received this CD-rom, Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak ($19.99 retail price) which is a 3-game set, including Preschool, Kindergarten, and Early Elementary for ages 2-8 from Left Behind Games. I used it once for a review which you can read here. It's still in like-new condition. My youngest child is 9 so I just want to bless another family who has a younger child(ren). At the same time, you would be helping me, too :). Thanks, everyone, who enters my giveaway!

To Enter (required): Click here to rate my book review of Primal by Mark Batterson. You'll need to enter your email address and then click the link in the email they send you after you rank my review in order to verify your email address; otherwise, your vote doesn't count. Please leave a comment here after you verify your email address.

Deadline: May 31st at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time)/8:59 p.m. (Pacific time) This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Extra entries: 1. Click here to rate my other book reviews. Click on the title(s) you'd like to read and rate. You'll receive 1 extra entry for each extra book you rank.
                     2. Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or NetworkedBlogs.
                     3. Follow me on Twitter at and tweet about this giveaway.
                     4. Share about this giveaway and link to this post on Facebook.
                     5. Join my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook.
                     6. Blog about this giveaway and link to this post. (2 extra entries)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Book Review: The Church History ABCs

About The Church History ABCs

Dramatically converted on the stormy seas, a slave-trader-turned-abolitionist penned the best-loved hymn of the Christian faith. A church father was arrested and martyred for teaching the truth about Christ’s incarnation. Captured by pirates and shipped off to Ireland, a priest baptized thousands of pagans, from paupers to princes. Now who ever said church history was boring?

The Church History ABCs is a fun way for kids to learn about great figures in Christian history. Twenty-six heroes of the faith march through the alphabet, boldly telling their stories in language children can understand. This wide range of characters—men and women from across the centuries, from all over the globe—reflects the breadth of church history and reminds children that these great figures of the past were living, breathing people who lived and died for the glory of God.

About the Author and the Illustrator
Stephen J. Nichols is a professor at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School. He earned a Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has written several books, including Pages from Church History. He lives with his wife and two sons in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Ned Bustard, a graphic artist, has written and illustrated many children’s books, including Ella Sings Jazz, The Story of Sir Galahad, and The Sailing Saint.

This colorful, delightful book introduces 26 heroes of the faith from the Church history to children in alphabetical order, starting from Saint Augustine, Anne Bradstreet, John Francis Xavier, Florence Young, and Ulrich Zwingli. Each hero gets one page filled with his/her interesting facts along with his/her caricature plus pictures that are relevant to his/her life. It's written in first person. I really enjoyed reading the book to my boys (12 and 9). They recognized some of the names such as Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Newton, St. Patrick, Vivaldi, and The Wesleys (John and Charles Wesley) while they had no clue about the others. This picture book is not just for little kids (ages 3-6 as indicated on the back cover). Older kids and even adults will learn something. I had never heard of Hippolytus or Zacharias Ursinus. Do you know who the mother of Augustine was? She even got her own page in this book :). This book is not only informative but also funny; it made my boys and me laugh quite a bit. "My last name means 'bear,' but I don't growl." Who am I? Read this cool book to find out. I was so pleased to find the added information about each hero of the faith in the back of the book. It also shows a list of these people in chronological order from Ignatius (d. 110s) to Florence Young (1856-1940). Readers will learn that these Christ's followers lived their lives radically and fearlessly for God in spite of persecution. I highly recommend it.

- To download activities inspired by The Church History ABCs, visit here.

~ I received this book free from Crossway in an exchange of my honest review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What A Blessed Mom I Am!

What makes me a proud mom? First and foremost, I thank the Lord for blessing me (and my husband) with three precious children! Being their mom is priceless. I am so humbled by what the Lord has done in my children's lives. Yes, proud and humbled at the same time! I am most proud (filled with indescribable joy) that all my three children love the Lord and walk in the truth (God's truth). "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 4) They are living a life of faith, love, and integrity. They are obedient, respectful, truthful, cheerful, thoughtful, and thankful (most of the time :)).

To me, my children's soul, heart, and character are way more important than their accomplishments. With that said, they have accomplished plenty. My 17 year old daughter, Alyssa, loves kids and has a heart for orphans and for saving the preborn. She enjoys volunteering as a teacher's helper in the pre-school class at church. Last summer, for her 17th birthday party, she asked people to give money to help the orphans in Russia, instead of giving her birthday gifts. She was able to collect $200 to give to The Harbor Ministry at St. Petersburg. Alyssa has donated her beautiful dark brown hair three times to Locks of Love to help financially disadvantaged children be able to receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. This year marks the 12th year she has been participating in Steps for Life, an annual fund-raising walkathon supporting the work of the Pregnancy Resource Centers of Greater Portland (PRC). PRC help 8,000 women (and pre-born babies) annually through five Centers by providing free pregnancy tests, comprehensive peer counseling, free Ultrasound (given by RNs), practical help, adoption referrals and real hope (the Gospel message) to those facing unplanned pregnancies. She has raised more than $10,000 in total over the years! Alyssa is also passionate about reaching the unreached with the Gospel. She applied to serve on The Logos Hope, a ship ministry of OM (Operation Mobilization). She desires to be a missionary sharing God's love, hope, and the message of salvation with those who have never heard. Alyssa delights in God's Word. Last year, she participated in the Bible Bee competition. She memorized 800 verses. She placed third in our local competition and qualified for the national competition but decided not to go to Illinois for the national competition due to the expenses involved.

Alyssa is a freelance writer whose work has been published by various online and print publications such as The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Encounter Magazine, Keys for Kids (Daily Devotionals for Kids), and The Kids' Ark Magazine. In addition, Alyssa is an aspiring filmmaker. She has made pro-life videos and a video promoting a mission organization that we love to support. She has entered a few video contests. Recently, she has won first prize ($250) for our state in the "You Are Here" Teen Video Challenge 2011. Her video was chosen to represent the state of Oregon to promote summer reading at libraries. Alyssa uses her time, talents, and treasures wisely for God's glory and for the furtherance of His kingdom. I couldn't be more proud of her.

My 12 year old son, Josiah, has struggled with anxiety disorder but he has come a long way. I'm proud of him for who God made him to be. He is very candid. He always displays wonderful sportsmanship. He tells me he loves me everyday...several times a day. He has a great sense of humor. He is witty and intelligent. At age 4, he started to play chess and then eventually beat even adults. When he was about 6 or 7, he was undefeated in the chess tournament between our homeschool chess club and the local public school's chess club (he played against older kids). He is athletic and he is musically gifted.

My 9 year old son, Isaiah, is a true gentleman. He is kind-hearted and always ready to lend others a hand. He is affectionate and compassionate. He generously gives me hugs and kisses. He is clever, creative, and adventurous like MacGyver. He is mechanically inclined and loves to fix things. Whenever I need assistance, he is the first one I call. He is diligent and hard-working. I'm proud of my "I think I can" man.

By the way, all three of my children excel academically. I'm a proud homschool mom. They've been in the 99th percentile on all their state-required tests. They are quick learners and curious explorers. They make my job easy. I probably could boast about them all day long. However, I want to say it again that I'm so in awe of what the Lord has done for my children, in them, and through them. "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31b)
When my children share, when they chat, play, laugh together, when they help one another, when they apologize to their siblings, when they stand up for their siblings, when they encourage one another, makes this mom's heart proud :). My kids are not perfect but they're perfect for me. You know what? Although there are tons of reasons why I should be proud of my delightful children, I am proud of them no matter what because they are precious gifts from the Lord and He has entrusted me to be their mom! What an honor and a privilege!

~ This is an entry to the Proud Mom contest for a $50 prize sponsored by UPrinting event ticket printing services.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bug Story

5MinutesforMom is hosting a giveaway sponsored by Raid. You can win one of two $500 Walmart gift cards by sharing a funny or creepy bug story that happened to you. This giveaway is open to both US and Canadian shipping addresses. Ends on Tuesday, May 3rd and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 4th.

Here's my story:
Lately, ladybugs have been invading our home, especially our boys’ bedroom. My youngest son counted up to 103 ladybugs in their room at one time. Most of them were dead. One night, he was staring at one ladybug in particular. I asked him what he was doing. He said, “I’m watching a ladybug race.” I went to take a closer look and saw one ladybug taking a stroll on a lamp’s cord. I puzzled, “How is one ladybug having a race?” He replied, “I want to see how fast it takes for it to go around the cord (it was twisted in a loop).” I smiled, “Oh I see!”