A Few Observations

This year, our two oldest children are in "real" school. We are homeschooling John, and of course Gideon and Rachel are at home. Now that half the year has passed, I feel like I have a grasp on the differences between real school and homeschool. Here are a few observations...

Real School
gives Mom a break
children respect other adults
children make new friends
we are all worn out at night
family spends a lot of time in the van
family is governed by school calendar
parents make new friends
we all get up early
children deal with boy/girl awkwardness

Mom has no free time
children respect their family
children become close friends w/ their siblings
we all have relaxed evenings
family spends majority of time at home
family operates on our own calendar
parents swim around in a fishbowl
we stay in our jammies all day
children don't recognize the weirdness of the other gender

Notice: positives and negatives on both sides and this is just skimming the surface. My heart is still drawn toward homeschooling because I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. However, as I said earlier, we are not hard-core homeschoolers. We take one year at a time, and try to discover what each individual child needs. All in all this has been (and continues to be) a great experience with real school. The school is superb, the teachers are caring, and the friendships will last a lifetime.


Party Planner

I just read that Megan is planning her daughter's birthday party, and it reminded me of how much I love to do this for my own children. We've had a Dress-Up party complete w/ a nail salon and a fashion show. We've had a Barnyard Puppet party complete w/ a puppet theater and face painting. We've had a Wild About Horses party complete w/ horse rides, cowboy hats, and the horseshoe game. All of these were very low-cost parties to plan, and the kids remember them for years to come.

I love the whole process of it. We have children in every season of the year, and they are allowed to have a big party on their odd-numbered birthdays. (Thereby not breaking the bank for Mom and Dad and teaching them a little patience and expectancy in the process.)

John's birthday is next and this year he gets to have a big party. I, of course, have grand plans for planning the party myself and making it all unique and what not. But, as the kids get older (especially boys) I'm learning they don't care much for the do-it-yourself kind of deal. They want action! I'm a little too much of a girl to provide that of my own volition. Hence, the decision to rent out a party room at one of the popular (loud, germ infested, overpriced, testosterone filled) entertainment venues. So much for creativity. BUT, at the end of the day I'll have nothing to clean up and a little pooped-out boy with a freckled-face grin.


Birth Rate In America Way Up

UPDATE: Check out this article in Time Magazine where the writer attempts to explain why More Is Merrier.

According to this article by AP Medical Writer, Mike Stobbe, the birth rate in the U.S. is way up. Here's an excerpt...

Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years...

Experts believe there is a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty.

Could it be due to perhaps HIGHER education and more informed couples who are realizing the whole "population squeeze" theory is incorrect, and having big families is not a drain on society but rather good for our culture?

The last sentence of his article hints at it, but doesn't elaborate...

The influence of certain religions in those latter regions is an important factor, said Ron Lesthaeghe, a Belgian demographer who is a visiting professor at the University of Michigan. "Evangelical Protestantism and Mormons," he said.


Christianity and Liberalism

As I've mentioned before, I am trying to find my place in the categorized, denominational, seeker-sensitive, relevant, smorgasboard of modern theology. I don't know where I belong, but I know where I don't.

My friend wrote a book review and I wanted to note his thoughts on Christianity and Liberalism ...
Read this book and it will change your world. Preach this and people will call you intolerant, narrow, and divisive. Great. Christianity is what it is. Being steadfast and faithful to the Word of God and to the doctrines it contains is not popular, but it is the difference between life and death. Jesus, Peter, and Paul were not tolerant or broad-minded when it came to what Christianity was (and is) and why it was necessary to believe certain things. Too many people today who call themselves Christians believe that they are believers and love Jesus. The problem is that they don’t hold to what the Bible states, and they believe in a Jesus that is not Biblical.


The Recipe For Kristin

3 parts Genius
2 parts Poise
1 part Charm

Splash of Attractiveness

Sip slowly on the beach

Ok, well that made me smile. I'm not sure I like the fact that there's only a splash of attractiveness, but hey... THREE parts genius aint so bad ;)


Works For Me - Books For Boys

This week at Shannon's, she's hosting Works For Me Wednesday Backwards Edition. Here we ask for your help. I'd like to know what your favorite books are for boys to read (grades 3 and 4.)

For Christmas, we gave our children these books and they have been totally worth the money. But, I know I'm going to need some other wholesome choices hanging around the house for my son to pick up. What do you suggest?


All Done

I finally finished the last book in the novella series by Francine Rivers. She wrote 10 books in all: 5 about Biblical men and 5 about Biblical women. I just recently completed Silas. I am so glad I invested my time in these books. Even though they are a quick read, the books are full of thought-provoking dialogue that sends me back to Scripture time and time again.

The series on women featured historical fiction stories about Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. The men had their turn with stories about Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos and Silas.

My favorite in the women's series was Tamar where I learned to not judge another culture. But then again, Rahab helped me learn about how God draws us all to Him, Ruth helped me learn about devotion, Bathsheba helped me learn about steadfastness, and Mary helped me learn about patience.

My favorite in the men's series was Caleb where I learned about submission. Aaron helped me learn about God's love, Jonathan helped me learn about ties that bind, Amos helped me learn about staying strong through the long-term, and Silas helped me learn about God's precious Word.

I was never intrigued by characters such as Amos and Tamar until I read these books. Now I think about them frequently. Thank you again, Mrs. Rivers for placing these centuries-old individuals into my everyday life. After I've read her books I see Scripture in a whole new light.


Huckabee On Education

Here is the transcript of an interview w/ Mike Huckabee by Terence P. Jeffrey. In the interview Huckabee specifically answers questions about his view of school vouchers, homeschooling, and teaching about God in the public schools. He sounds typically politically blah-blah, BUT he does answer the questions. I could do without all the self-promotion but I guess that's what running for President is about these days. May the Best Marketing Team win!