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A beginning homeschooler’s questions/frustrations and a veteran homeschooler’s seasoned answers

Thursday, 12. September 2013 by Renee Ellison

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The mama’s 2 paragraphs of a range of questions/frustrations with homeschooling:
“Do you ever feel like your homeschooling is not enough? - especially for the younger kids? I feel like right now should be a super fun time for me and my son, but it just seems tedious and boring :(  I’m starting to feel like he would have more fun in public school—though I know he would lose all of his academic achievement.  I think that is part of my problem: all the fun kindergarten stuff is far too simple for him.  He is 5 and reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level and id doing math at a 2nd or 3rd grade level, but physically he can only sit for about 15 minutes at a time and his hands get tired very easily.  So, to read a book that is at his level would be like green eggs and ham; he knows all the words but it is too long for him to sit there and concentrate on finishing it.  I guess I just second guess myself a lot.  One day I think we did too much schooling, and the next I think not enough.  Then there is always the thought that we should be doing fun crafts—but I feel like all my creativity has been drained.

“I think I am feeling it all come crashing down because I see my sister’s fridge covered with fun papers that her son brought home from public school, and I feel guilty that we are not really doing any “fun” aspects of schooling.  I know I should not be comparing myself to them, as I know that my son is getting a far better education and the quality time with us—but still it’s hard.  Any words of wisdom to lift my spirits?”

Renee’s response:
As a veteran in the homeschooling movement for over 20 years, it’s apparent from this vantage point that most moms’ problems are not new—and some big picture perspectives can really help.

Re: crafts/fun
When you look at the content of the “fun” artsy-craftsy things kindergartners bring home, you can see that there is not much depth there.  Gluing feathers and sequins doesn’t end up contributing to a “line upon line” “precept upon precept” solid huge heavyweight foundation in the real world.  The pagan world is always involved in replacing profundity with tinsel, glitter, show—often without substance.  In art, the important thing is not to “manipulate stuff” but to teach your children how to see detail and how to draw precisely.  Learning how to draw line drawings via sketching real objects of the real world will create a keenly perceptive “observer”. Sketching cultivates a visual alphabet and language for the child to express himself in at more and more refined levels as he grows in that skill.  Get our booklet/ebook/Kindle book, Teach Your Children to Draw, to see the infinitely superior method of using your child’s time to this end, instead of inordinate preoccupation with artsy materials the products of which inevitably end up in the trash.  Not so, with his progressive sketch notebooks which will grow through the years as his skill grows.

Re: public school
The fundamental flaw of the public school, regardless of how much transitory “fun” is presented there, is that it is anti-God, from K through 12.  When you raise a child with no reference to God—no tether to his life—always giving your child the HOW of life but never the WHY, you raise a “whited sepulcher”—a DEAD person, spiritually.  When such a child graduates from years of indoctrination within such a system he has no anchor with which to interpret all of the vicissitudes of life.  And this is NO GIFT.  Fun gets replaced 12 years later with such emptiness that it leads to thoughts of suicide for many high school graduates. 

If we concentrate only on secular education, because it appears to be fun or because it seems to be delivering more than we can, it is possible to raise a BRILLIANT murderer or robber or….  For the believer, academics is not the only goal.  Raising a HOLY child (who has been taught the necessary academic skills and knowledge) IS the goal.  We are guardians, responsible for raising up GODLY seed from the “womb to the tomb”.  This is our job as parents.  The godly line of godly seed is VERY fragile.  It almost got snuffed out in the Garden of Eden by the killing of Abel.  Seth had to be born to continue the line.  Without Seth, there would have been no Messiah.  And the enemy of our souls continues his stampede to try to wipe out the “seed” by offering secular paganism to us as our answer to education.  Public schools are the high church of secular humanism.  It IS a religion.  Giving way to the temptation to put our children there can be devastating.  The enemy tries to erode our resolve.  Don’t be surprised if the mental debate over this issue is intense in you on some days.  You are in a REAL war for the soul of your child.

Re: pacing
On some days your teaching load seems not enough for the child; on other days it seems to be too much.  This will even out over time as you get to really know your child.  The too-little, too-much academic challenge swings won’t be so wild as he grows.  If you opt for ACE’s curriculum to use as your curriculum work horse, this program allows your child to go at his own pace.  If the material of one pace is too easy, your child will breeze through it and will reach the academic edge of where he really is—then he will slow down automatically.  Always do academics in short spurts; 15 minutes is plenty for a youngster.  The time duration will lengthen/enlarge as the child grows his mental discipline.  A child always learns INTERNAL discipline by many experiences of EXTERNAL discipline, a bite-size piece at a time.  The transition is seamless.

Re: spelling
Spelling is best taught via LISTS only.  This is why you do not need to order word building paces from ACE, or do any other spelling program.  The research is conclusive on this, but those results have not been well advertised by mainstream textbook companies, because they want to sell more books.  All you need is a list of the 1,000 most frequently used words in the English language.  Just hammer that list until they are all mastered, whether it gets done in six months or six years.  Wear the list out until it is mastered.  Presto, you’re done.  Looking up words in the dictionary teaches your child no spelling skills whatsoever.  They learn vocabulary content by reading.  That 1000-word master list is found on the last pages of our Zoom-Type course.  It’s a real gem.  We also have the most important 360 of these given orally on an audio CD with an answer booklet, so mom doesn’t even have to give the spelling tests—the CD does it for you.  Also, an online practice list of the most common 400 English words, formatted in 40 word charts so you can master their spelling and/or test your typing speed, is available as a free download from our website.

Re: curriculum
You can use any curriculum.  If you like what you’re doing, so be it.  But if administering it all has become too exhausting and you are tempted with putting your children back in public school, try ACE.  If you stick with ACE for everything, you’ll put an end to spending your days and hours trying to figure out which is the best curriculum for you to use.  If you settle this issue now, by choosing ACE, you can immediately go revel in your personally new-found freed up time—time that you used to spend textbook shopping and lesson planning.  Go read a good book, take a hike with your child, fix a gourmet dinner, take a luxurious bath, hug your hubby!  There is more to life than schooling.  ACE gets your child educated, as it has in 135 countries with several million children.  It is the easiest curriculum to administer.  You can end your curriculum anxieties today by going with it for everything.  Otherwise, curriculum wonderings and wanderings may well “eat you alive” and you can continually switch programs for 12 years, while concept after concept falls through the cracks during all of those switches/false starts in what you hope is an ever better curriculum.  Get your children on this horse to ride and you’ll ride to triumph with each one of them and never cave in to the impulse to put them in public school. 

May these perspectives help you.

Blessings,
Renee
PS: Get our book of Teachers’ Secrets and Motherhood Savvy (it’s also available in Kindle) if you want more of such ideas.  It took me 25 years to discover all of this. smile

Move, baby, move….

Tuesday, 03. September 2013 by Renee Ellison

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Wanta feel better?  Move, baby, move….
TWEAK your exercise via the latest research….

No matter how pristinely we eat, if we don’t exercise, all bets are off.  Health is 50% eating AND 50% EXERCISE.  Flushing the lymph and pumping the heart is like taking a garden hose to the inside of your body—or taking your “innards” through a car wash.  What would your trash can look like if it was never hosed out?!  That’s what the insides of most people’s bodies look like.  Ugh.  Let’s change that scenario.

Power walking is itIt is the place to BEGIN (and the place to CONTINUE), because most everyone in most any condition can begin it.  Start with a power walk just around your bed, if you have to smile.  Do it 3 X today, then tomorrow four…then around your house…then move it outside…and you’re off to the races of far better health.

Improvements:
I have walked regularly as a habit for a long time, but never have I achieved the results I’m achieving now by just TWEAKING that habit via the latest research.

The latest research is to work HARDER, and shorter. Think of it as spurt exercise.  (Caution: begin slowly and work up to this goal by progressive and consistent increments).  In other words, your goal might be two 20-minute walks a day, walked HARDER.  These are potentially better than one longer one, walked at “half-mast”.

How to tweak your power walk:

1.  Bend your arms at the elbows.  This causes your back muscles to strengthen, to hold UP your bottom arm during the entire duration of your walk, and expands and strengthens your front chest muscles around your lungs.  Experiment with walking both ways (arms down and arms up) and you’ll immediately feel the difference. 

2.  Open your mouth—breathe from there.  This greatly expands your lungs.  By the end of your walk, your neighbors will HEAR you breathe. 

3.  Unlock your hips.  Walk with a slight Marilyn Monroe swagger.  This lengthens your stride, and tightens your pelvic floor by holding your uterus and bladder in a firmer place, via increased muscle strength there.  Unlock those hips.

4.  Pick a portion of street or sidewalk with a slight incline to it, and walk that section over and over. The slight incline will strengthen your heart muscle and cause you to work harder.  Then increase your intensity via speed as you are able.

5.  Drink a half of a lemon in an 8 oz glass of water (grind your lemon, pulp, SKIN and all in the water; I add a smidgeon cayenne pepper, and stevia for sweetener) or an Emergen-C-type electrolyte packet BEFORE you go on your walk, and then follow up immediately with your protein green smoothy drink upon returning.  The amino acids in the protein helps rebuild the torn/catabolic state created via the exercise.  To do the most good, your body needs these building blocks IMMEDIATELY after exercise, so don’t wait.  Also, it needs the electrolytes before, so it has something to fuel this exercise in the first place.

6.  If you hate exercise, and have had no luck with starting a good habit with it, don’t “talk” yourself into exercise.  Instead, lead with your body.  Plop your feet out the front door and ask yourself if you “want to” only LATER.  Get your body in position to walk…i.e. facing the street, out IN the street, heading up the hill…and it’ll “happen”.  Disengage your head.  Drop everything and just go do it.  Don’t argue with yourself.  DO, and you’ll BECOME!

(Caution for women who have just delivered a baby: allow your body a full month before attempting power walking.  Your core is re-positioning and needs time to tighten and realign via the pulling power of nursing.  You’re loose as a goose, til your baby “drinks” you into FIRM realignment.  A veritable miracle!)

Begin power walking and you’ll LOVE it.  After a good month of doing it, introduce resistance training, using only ONE-pound weights.  Resistance training yields VISIBLE results, if that is what you’re after (body sculpturing, thinner waist, beautiful legs, etc.) in far less time than any other exercise.  Begin with only TWO reps or you’ll be sorry.  INCREMENTAL command of yourself is what you’re after.  Easy does it, at first, and then… 

GO, BABY, GO!!!

Filed Under: Nutrition tips

Grappling with seemingly unanswered prayer?

Wednesday, 28. August 2013 by Renee Ellison

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We’ve all had times when prayer seems to be to no avail.  Circumstances reverse, babies die, crops languish, etc.—in spite of prayer.  What might be going on at such times?  There may be something more at stake here than prayers that appear to be unanswered.  Two verses help us to see a bigger picture.

Habakkuk 3:17 (NIV):
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”  Couple that with Job’s famous rejoinder, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15, KJV).

And Hebrews 11:13 (NIV):
“All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them [note: that implies the answers had to exist somewhere in the spirit realm] and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

Some surmising…
We’re told in Scripture that the ancient saints’ faith was credited to them as righteousness (see Romans 4).  Credit means we will collect it at some point.  It is very possible that we’ll see some sort of compounded blessings in the Millennium for promises that we unwaveringly stood on here and now.  There is a difference between unbelief, a weak faith and a strong faith that includes a confidence that at times there is a Job-style glimpse of some dynamics beyond the prayer that necessitate it not being answered now.  Divine restraint is, no doubt, in the prayer mix somehow, for higher ends.

The big test for sure is “Do we believe in His character?”  Do we know deep inside that He desires these things for us—and do we believe it, come hell or high water?  Do we trust that it is in His nature to bless and bless when we are in covenant with Him?  When He loved us unto the point of shedding blood, we must infer that He has certainly given us everything lesser.  (“He who did not spare His own Son but freely gave Him up for us all, how will He not ALSO, along with Him, freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, NIV).  He eventually gives us all things—but in a package somewhere downstream from shaping our character first.  We must believe that, in spite of the bad press the enemy insistently suggests to us and in defiance of our own questions/ our own small and paltry reasonings and “what gives” wanderings.  (As the old hymn goes, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the One I love.”) 

‘Tis a big, big, test going on here.  No doubt, He examines us continually, to see what is in our hearts, as is indicated all over in the Psalms.  Stay the course.  We shall believe only and steadily that He is wonderful.  This is the gold of the universe—the stuff He is after in us.  “All of His promises are YES in Yeshua” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Somehow, in some way, we will see it.  1 John 2:28 says we shall not be ashamed at His coming—ashamed neither of the object of our faith, nor of its rewards.

[Poster courtesy of .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).]

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

To improve your health, clear out the congestion

Friday, 23. August 2013 by Renee Ellison

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Dr. Dean Ornish, a Harvard clinical Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, regularly reverses severe coronary heart disease without bypass surgery.  In his book Everyday Cooking he recommends, “All oils are excluded because they are liquid fat.  Even olive oil is 14 percent saturated fat and 100 perfect total fat.  The more olive oil you eat, the higher your cholesterol level will rise and the more weight you will gain.  If you did nothing more than exclude all oils from your diet…your cholesterol and weight decrease.”

General comments from me:
All diseases have the same root: congestion, clogging, stagnation, toxicity.  It settles in the heart or the liver or the pancreas, or in the joints in the form of arthritis—wherever the individual body is weakest.  Thus, the cure is the same for the basis of all diseases: change the diet, and exercise.

Get rid of the saturated fat.  Sorry, advocates of the Paleo Diet: meat and dairy are full of saturated fat and acid, and offer no fiber.  Those are three strikes against it.  None of these problems are associated with people who make plant-based dietary choices.

Also (if you want to live longer) get rid of the simple carbohydrates: junk food, pastries, all white sugar and fruit juices, and chips.  Replace them with more rice and beans to achieve that full satiated feeling.  The other is knocking you around with too much sugar.

Keep in mind that all food has an emotional component, a strong one that was built by force of habit, so our minds must take hold of self-management.  Just start by veering north deliberately with some grit.  How you feel will be its own reward, if you do.

Side note: if you want to see the effects of fat on a large scale, read this and look at these National Geographic photos of a thousand tons of food waste fat that had clogged London sewers.

Filed Under: Nutrition tips

Financial failure due to ignored fundamentals

Wednesday, 21. August 2013 by Renee Ellison

Image "Fundamentals" are a force to be reckoned with at the base of all economics—and they affect homeschooling families along with everyone else.

The policymakers at the head of the Federal Reserve Board (which has been changing recently at a greater pace than ever before, as they grapple with reducing their stimulus efforts) are looking like a deer in the headlights at this hour, because they vainly supposed that printing money would solve the nation's financial issues. What they hadn't calculated on (via drinking too long at the well of idolizing Keynesian economic idolatry, "as long as you can pay the interest on the debt, you're fine") were the fundamentals of economics.

Fundamentals are the roaring tide of trade that is dictated by a world of independent individuals. No single top-down entity can ever control it or rig it, because there are a host of these fundamentals at work. One of these is people's buying patterns / individuals' buying choices. Sales are sharply down at Wal-Mart because fewer people are buying. And no one can force anyone to buy things.

People buy based on their perceptions of the soundness of the economy (and, based on their decisions as to what they really must have, or really want to have). Printing money does nothing to increase that confidence. There's the rub. What the politicians apparently are short on understanding is that there is an emotional component to all money management that a top-down edict or mandate by a totalitarian state can never bank on. There is also a spiritual component to all money management, by the way. If you abort babies, it isn't going to go well with your finances. The emotions of money and the spiritual verities of money are not to be tangled with. They exist, and it can be like stepping on barbed wire with bare feet if you don't factor them in.

The fundamentals (what 7 billion individuals do, in spite of laws) that shape economies are active on the working end, as well as on the buying end of the economic arena. Nobody can ever force people to become entrepreneurial or productive—which is, of course, the engine that powers the Gross Domestic Product. That happens somewhere in a person's gizzard, in response to incentives. You can't light the entrepreneurial fire without incentives. Printing money (with no hard asset backing ) is no incentive. Moreover, even when there are incentives you don't know who or what kind of numbers of individuals will jump or not jump at the motivation (whether it be lower taxes, less red tape for small businesses, or fiscal rewards for so much productivity).

Economic systems have a will of their own, a powerful will that anything but a free market dares not touch, without horrific fiscal consequences. God's design for economics was two-fold:
***one: to never be in debt for anything. People used to even buy their houses totally without mortgages. That was to be the norm. It would keep an economy true and prices down, commensurate with current and actual work output, or else no house would sell. Houses "found" their sale price on their own.
***and two: to not tamper with a free market, but rather to let it balance itself through supply and demand. Don't touch it. Economies are made up of billions of intricate personal buying and working decisions that are far too complex for any one entity to think that they could ever direct them.

Nonetheless, the leaders of the central economic systems have spurned both principles. We will now, probably quite soon, witness a conversion to a one world currency, another attempt to politically "help" things. The conversion will be nasty, head-spinning, and global, and everyone in the middle will lose personal wealth in the conversion. "Give me your ten bucks and I'll give ten digits." The conversion will be seamless and painless for the powers that be. Only at the store will you scratch your head when you find that it buys far less. Enter the book of Revelation.

So, what should home schoolers do?
    1. Get out of all debt—including mortgage debt, if at all possible.
    2. Develop multiple income streams, and include in them family entrepreneurial enterprises.
    3. Consider whose philosophy you are funding when you make a purchase. For instance, if you don't agree with the values of what is broadcast, don't subscribe to cable tv. If someone you care about is producing a good or service you can use, pay them for it and support their business.
    4. Resolve ahead of time to not accept the mark on the hand or on the forehead that the angel warns us not to take (Rev. 14:9-10 and 16:2), even when it removes you from the world of normal commerce. Instead, barter and trade—and pray.
    5. Study the Greater Exodus (foretold for us in Jeremiah 16:14-15 and Exekiel 20:33-38) and prepare for it, spiritually and practically.


For more on this topic:
Filed Under: Home management tips

College substitutes

Thursday, 01. August 2013 by Renee Ellison

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Here is our lead-pipe biblical guidance, in Psalm 1:

“BLESSED is the man who…
[1.]...walks not in the counsel of the wicked (ungodly professors who believe evolution or teach evolution…it WILL impact your child either way),
[2.]...nor stands in the way of sinners (ungodly college peers raised on TV/movie/video-game violence),
[3.]...nor sits in the seat of scoffers (college classrooms where God is mocked or where He is excluded.
....(nor lies down in the rooms of fornicating or homosexually filled dorms, by the way).

Implied in this Psalm 1 passage is that those who DO go to college full blast, in all of these aspects of it, will miss out on those blessings, and to the degree to which they do those things the Psalmist warns against, they will suffer morally, in small measures or in large.  So, to find the BLESSED path, what do we put in the place of college?

Here is a starter list of substitutes for “doing” college:

This is a list that leads to a victorious life.  So trained, your young adults will be truly prepared for real life that glorifies God.  When they review their lives in retrospect on their deathbeds they won’t see a shameful chapter of four years of close camaraderie with those who defied Him.

***Summit (have them attend either the full semester or the two week summer session).  They’ll learn to support their biblical world-view for the rest of their lives and learn how to think clearly through any new vain philosophy life will throw at them.

***Travel: At a bare minimum, choose a trip to Israel because it is the seat of the consummation of all things, and the center of the coming government in the kingdom.  And choose some third world country: this will teach them to be grateful for any hard bed and any meager food, henceforth.  Also, such a trip to such a land will make them give of their flesh to lift the load (in some meaningful way) of others who are less fortunate.

***Work at progressively conquering role appropriate domestic skills:

Guys:
+ basic understandings and personal skill in carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and car mechanics.  Get short-term personal apprentices in each area, supplemented by DVDs, books, and YouTube tutorials that help them check off the sub-skills of each discipline.  They are going to need these skills when the economy collapses.

Gals:
+ basic skill in all tailoring so that they can do any alteration on their growing children’s clothing someday.  It will be too late to learn it when there are five little ones running around.

+ rudimentary skill in various alternative health modalities; some midwifery skills, massage skills (for relieving the elderly and the sick with comforting touch), herbology, use of essential oils, and first aid.

+ healthy cooking: conquer feeding a family for a week, solo, with no help from mama, and only serving up healthy, great-tasting fare.  Young ladies will have to do this, the week after they marry; they can either be prepared or flail around.  This, of course, after a prior month of much help from mama.  And, host a tea.  Aso, host a full meal for guests, while the guests are in the kitchen talking with you.  Do it.

***Get them physically fit.  Establish this as a habit.  If they are power-walking as a minimum every day, at the same time each day, their feet automatically will go out the door first thing in the morning or at 4 in the afternoon or in the evening, or, or…  Add weight training: begin with one-pound weights.  Do this.  Team sports is not it—but a lifetime habit of keeping oneself physically fit IS.

***Get them a wage-earning skill (via apprenticeship) and book-learnin’ (via the libraries of the world).

***Get them fiscally sound—i.e. saving ....having large bank accounts…growing these funds by the day.  As Proverbs says, “Wealth earned little by little.  The hand of the diligent will rule.”  Deliver them from ever being in debt, for anything, including a house.  Start their own family life living in an RV, if necessary.

***Get them reading an hour a day as a habit for the rest of their lives.  Get it established as a habit, by their doing it now.  Let four chapters in the Bible every day lead the way (that gets you through the Word in a year).  George Mueller read it 200 times, and look what he put on the ground because of it, feeding 10,000 orphans.  Flood the mind with scripture and it will direct the life.  It is a short leash on worldliness.  It will keep the soul in the right place.

***Get them down the marriage aisle, with the right spouse—a God-fearing one, so they can begin to raise up godly seed.  Subtly hover over this; embrace the worldly slur of being a “helicopter parent”!  You BET!  Do what you need to, to get your offspring linked with the right spouse.  Go to gatherings where the God-fearing ARE.  Make the effort.  Make friends with God-fearing families whose young adults are “possibilities.” 

+ Mordecai paced outside the palace gate, to keep his eye on the state of his grown daughter inside.
+ Abraham oversaw the marriage of his grown single son Isaac. 
+ Naomi oversaw the details of getting grown single Boaz and Ruth together. 

GROWN children.  Ag-ED parents. 

As parents, we are trustees of seeing to it that a godly lineage from Seth to Yeshua to us exists. The Devil would love to tangle with you over the point.  If your young adult is starting to get into the wrong relationship, part them.  Take a trip to the moon, or something.  God gave you parental authority for a reason—don’t be bluffed out of it.  The next ten generations will be the result, one way or the other.  The better path, however, is to ensure they don’t get into a wrong relationship.  Be a hedge of protection.  Be watchful, awake, and vigilant.  Stay on duty.  Sleep in the next life, not this one.

Then when your grown ones are married, let go.  Don’t be a controlling parent.  You HAD your turn.  Turn your attention to positive grandparenting.  Smile and applaud those little ones at every chance you get.  A child needs a grandparent’s emotional support.  You become pillars and lead pipes of security in his emerging world.  And when you tell those grandparent stories of your own escapades, make sure that you fashion those tales to a moral end.  The aim of your story is not to share mischief but imbed a moral gem IN the tale, thus fashioning his character by the words of your mouth.  We are trustees of godliness, from the womb to the tomb.

For more on this topic:
+ ChuckingCollege.com
+ Godly Son Checklist
+ Godly Daughter Checklist
+ How Not to Waste Your Youth

Shades of education

Tuesday, 30. July 2013 by Renee Ellison

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There were two kinds of education available to mankind, as early as in the Garden of Eden. There were two trees whose shade one could sit under, permanently.  There were two private schools in Eden, located under the shade of either tree.  You sat under the “shade” of your choosing: the tree of life, or the tree of the knowlege of good and evil.  And so the battle rages down through the ages.  Which tree do I allow my child to sit under from kindergarten through college?  Which tree will I fund?  Which tree will they walk, stand and sit down with?  Psalm 1 gives us all the direction we need.

Education must begin with teaching that the human being is made in the image of God—not in the image of an animal—because the child will act out the implication of either viewpoint for the rest of his life.  You can have either school shootings or refined humanity as your results.

Parents/teachers must work hard, from the child’s earliest age, at establishing a biblical understanding of origins.  The child doesn’t begin with questions of origin and meaning, he begins with context.  The questions are entertained later, according to Deuteronomy chapters 4 through 6.  Getting this context thoroughly understood was the all-consuming agenda of the Pilgrims and Puritans for their entire elementary school curriculum.  They began teaching the alphabet with “A: as in Adam we all die.”  Today, teachers tell children “A is for apple.”  That’s a huge difference in the level of profundities. 

This is why elementary school curriculum must be filled with reality, rather than with reasoning, at that young age.  First, help the child get a lay of the land that IS, rather than tinkering with altered realities and “I don’t think so” ‘s.  We must teach the world as God made it.  Hence, studying facts and figures and geography and real history are all about the world that IS.  They are important lead pipes into which a child is born.  The child must come to see that he is born into a stable and rational context.  As parents, it will take us all of his elementary years to apprise him of that fact.  He must be helped to understand that he was born into both a spiritual context and a material context (a physical world with fixed chemistry and physics; that has unchangeable and predictable principles) that stem from a reasoned, designed, and disciplined core at the center of the universe.  There was a Designer, and the child is the designED.  This is foundational.  This is where real education must start.  This is non-negotiable.

The modern educator does the exact opposite, using child-centered educational theories.  His agenda is that the child asks questions first, and never stops asking them, in a random universe of relativism and big-bang chaos, and having wolves for parents (as children have been taught that Romulous did in Rome).  At least, this is the modern educational theorist’s lofty ideal; what actually happens is that these enlightened educators substitute agendas—replacing biblical doctrines with multiculturalism and homosexual agendas, and replacing capitalism with theoretical communism as the only social constuct worth studying—despite 200 million deaths under those regimes.  Make no mistake, in the new educational theory/setting the child is NOT asking questions, as the modern educators pretend.  The student is instead being indoctrinated.  This is the reason that we should flee from curriculums that are based on evolution as the overall context of what is taught in a class.  All of its fruit will rot, whether it is taught in kindergarten or in college.  The fact that the professors teach evolution at Christian colleges today is not a fringe issue.  Everything stems from either one or the other supposition: either the Almighty ever-existing God is at the center, or evolving man is at the center.  All education has a root.  

Evolution is a tree that will overshadow the entire life, once embedded.   Here is the lynchpin on the evolution vs. special creation debate. Now that we know that all living things have DNA, due to the revelations of the microscope which Darwin did not have, we see that information had to exist before matter in order to direct the formation and propagation and reproduction of all matter via codes.  Therefore, the first thing that was created was information.  Further, it is obvious that all information must have had a designer.  This is no longer negotiable.  It is fact.  If you find yourself still wavering on the point, read the book, The Signature in the Cell. That 700-page book nails it.  To teach life from any other point of view is to base your education on a a vain philosophy.

We have school shootings because the child is relentlessly told that he came from an animal.  Thus, he is a brute at his root.  He is random, without context, without accountability to an eternal God, without judgment at the end of his life, without meaning for his own life now, and without compassion for his fellow man.  He is an evolving animal, utterly self-absorbed.  Enter video games of violence, where brute force is crucial to “making it”.

In Deuteronomy the “living way” is spelled out for us mortals thoroughly in chapters 4-6.  We are not left to figure out how we are to educate our children or what the content should be, on our own.  God told us what to do.  “Teach these things when you rise up and when you walk by the way….”  Teach the children first about eternity and God, and then, “when it be that they ask questions,” reason with them.  From junior high onwards, you carefully entertain the questions.  You explain the relationships of Biblical thought to the world’s vain philosophies.  The children now ask questions in a context, not in a vacuum.

So, why does it turn out that a child needs to know Psalm 23 by memory?  Because it is no gift to that child not to have it when they grow up to cling to on their death bed.  You teach these things, on purpose.  And why is it important to know who Abraham was and who Solomon was?  (I talked with a person the other day who had never heard of Solomon!!!!  99% seem to have never heard of Abraham!!!!  They stare at you with a blank face.)  Because look at what is downstream from those ambiguities.  The student doesn’t get to see what wisdom is, or what sacrifice is.  Not teaching these things sets the child down in the middle of a post-contextual world.  And that sort of world is bewildering. 

The modern man does anything but what God says to do to educate one’s children.  It doesn’t matter what scripture tells me, I want my children to not seem strange; I want them to fit in with the hip world views around them; evolution is not that critical.  The frantic eyes of the modern parent dart in every corner to do it some other way.  And they will reap some other result.

For further reading:
+ The Two Most Common Pitfalls of Home Education, and How to Avoid Them
+ The Right Stuff for K-12
+ Teach Children Basic Bible Doctrine

Purifying our purity as married folks in the workplace

Thursday, 11. July 2013 by Renee Ellison

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Though you as a homeschool mom are most likely focused on your home setting, your husband’s work environment is most likely out in the world.  So, it is a matter of concern for both you and him to uphold high standards of moral conduct out there.  The foundational truth here is from Proverbs 2:11: “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you” (NIV).  To purify our conduct in the workplace, we must begin with a core understanding, that the thing that is at the heart of all affairs is attentiveness.  When a person finds it pleasant to talk with someone of the opposite gender, looks forward to kibbitzing with them, finds it enjoyable to swing by their desk (whether it be once a day or many times a day), agrees to participate in an office lunch (when that extra-interesting office mate is in that crowd), picks their commercial aisles to go to in a place where they work, follows their routes home, chooses pews close to them at church, chooses to be outside at a time when they habitually walk by, thinks about their dilemmas, grows concerned for them, tries to problem-solve for them, attentively listens to them, and—after all that—locks eyes with them,  that person is engaged in defrauding his/her spouse, even if he/she has been doing so unthinkingly.

A good question to keep asking oneself privately in all of our conduct towards members of the opposite sex is “Would I talk this way or act this way if their spouse were in this room with us?”  Therefore, a good attitude is to always be mindful of that person’s spouse invisibly standing at that person’s side.  The more you attract his/her mate to you, the more comparisons are made in that person’s mind (they can’t be helped, they will happen), and the more their emotional bonds begin to subtly shift to you.  What we find is that our kind ways are actually (at their root) unkind.  They nick at the other person’s marriage.  A pattern of this behavior incrementally slows their marriage.  In the end, it may turn out to have been just a delusion that we “meant no harm.” 

Why is dating “out” and courtship now the “in-thing” amongst serious young believers?  It is because we have finally added up that the “picking a mate process” is all about treating the future spouse in holiness.  We came to see that dating defrauds that person’s future mate.  Would I hold hands with someone else’s pouse?  Or lock eyes with them?  No, I wouldn’t think of it!  Then, as a single person, I shouldn’t do it before they are married.  Taking liberties with someone else’s future mate is not loving behavior toward the future mate; it is selfish.  It is what I want, to satisfy me, now.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:6 the Apostle Paul warned about this: “See to it that you do not defraud one another.”  And in 1 Corinthians 7:1: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  Many godly people in the older generation now understand that dating was massive defrauding, over and over.  So, too, the workplace has often become the scene of multiple defraudings in every direction.  It can fall into a kind of emotional adultery.

We must remember that attentiveness breeds responsiveness.  Attentiveness creates in the other person an eager “looking forward to” those increasing interchanges.  A social addiction takes place in the heart.  There may even be emotional butterflies.

Consider how the bar has now been raised among the young men who are serious believers.  (It always existed among the Brethren, Mennonite and Amish.)  Now, in some Messianic circles, young unmarried men will not even talk to young unmarried gals, so no responsiveness can grow.  This new behavior tends to make young gals mad!  They can’t get any attentiveness out of a holy guy!  So, guess what happens in their hearts?  They can’t grow any affection there.  They stay pure.  The ball of holiness is in the man’s court, in the way he conducts himself, before and after marriage.  What he finds is that it is the same dynamic: the control he learns before marriage, he will be called upon to exhibit time and again after marriage.  This is not unreasonable, or un-doable.  We are commanded in the scriptures to possess our vessels in holiness.  Holiness always takes effort.  It is the tougher route.  It shows deliberateness.

To avoid this tendency to create responsiveness in someone else’s spouse, we need to learn to become like a socially refined Texan. He/she has learned the art of swinging by you with the cheeriest of goodwill, tipping the hat, waving, and smiling brightly, but breezing right past you.  You never get beyond the hello.  Such a refined politician, sophisticated social butterfly, artful CEO climber, never asks a thing about your life, yet remains well-liked by everyone because he/she looks good (well put-together), acts confident, and is friendly.  Yet, there is no mistake in his/her deportment that he/she is aggravatingly unavailable.

As we are overly kind to people of the opposite gender in the workplace, in the church, or in the world, we may be guarding our hearts, but there is no guarantee that such a governor exists in the other person’s heart.  “Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16; all verses are NKJV).

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

How to relate with love to a controlling person

Wednesday, 26. June 2013 by Renee Ellison

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How do you relate lovingly toward a controlling person?  For a full discussion of this complex issue see our book (by the same title—available in Kindle, pdf e-book or print format).  In it, we have described a host of invaluable tools that will help you handle this problem while personally maintaining steady composure.

Because we live in a fallen world, we will face controlling people.  Having a ready response to these ensnaring interchanges can greatly mitigate your own suffering in the midst of these unthoughtful interchanges.

To handle a manipulative/controlling person, you must learn to set boundaries.

What is setting personal boundaries all about?
Because you cannot change another person, all you can do is live your own good example and set boundaries.  That means that if the other person behaves in ways that are ungodly, rooted in sin, and selfishness, you tell them that when they propose to do a rash thing, you will be responding with your own better agenda (boundaries).  In other words, let’s suppose your spouse is bent on some ungodliness and says, “I’m going to drink until three in the morning!” Then you can reply, “Well, if you choose that, and it IS a choice, I will not be picking you up in the car in the middle of the night.  I will be sleeping.”

Or if a spouse says that he will be watching an R-rated movie, you respond with “Well, when you do, the children and I will be at the park.” If the other person grows upset with you for having established your personal boundary in the relationship, you will have now exposed self-centered behavior in them.  You have now validated it.

Setting boundaries formally acknowledges and exposes divisions in relationships that already exist (flying undercover—or hit and run dynamics) but that now must be managed.  The false guilt (foisted on you by the other person) will diminish as you continue to set boundaries.

How can I get started, setting boundaries in a relationship with a controlling person?
• Controlling behavior is whatever violates the righteous wishes and well-being of another person.  If you routinely comply with a controlling person’s demands (because he or she is making you feel falsely guilty; you are not experiencing guilt from God for any ungodliness on your part) this will become increasingly inconvenient, painful and costly to you.  Weakness on your part will not make the problem go away.
• God does not make you take responsibility for the ugly or angry feelings that the other person often exhibits because you have set boundaries.  Remind yourself that their feelings are their choice.  They could just as easily learn to accept your boundary, and grow compliant and respectful of your good desires and of your stated boundaries.
• Recognize even subtle controlling behavior.  For instance, a passive aggressive person will routinely dump their problem upon you to solve, attempting to shift the anxiety of their problem upon you, so that you end up carrying a burden for something that you did not initiate.

Conclusion:
Be servant-hearted, kind and loving in as many areas and incidents of life with everyone that you can.  But when someone is sinning, you simply must shift gears to respond to their poor choices with firmness and composure.  They will not mature and you will not mature if you don’t.  (See the full booklet for more strategies and insight).

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Put a lid on the media monster

Friday, 03. May 2013 by Renee Ellison

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Here’s the rub: “The parent’s convenience becomes the children’s addiction.”

If raising children is just too difficult without frequent bouts of resorting to seating children in front of media to give us a rest, we are out of step with history. Abraham raised children without the Internet, as did Noah, yes, even when they were tired.  In fact, parents have routinely raised their progeny without any outside help of any kind for 6,000 years.  Conversely, because Lot caved in to Sodom’s version of the Internet, his family wouldn’t even follow him out of town.

Most of us, as adults, have natural restraints on our personal use of media due to our wholesome childhoods, much of them spent outdoors, filled with “doings”, building forts, playing with wooden train tracks, riding bikes, racing up hills.  This is not true of many children nowadays.  They have been raised on “sittings”.  Screens have been their childhood friends and surrogate parents for hours every day.  Some children don’t even know where the “off” buttons are.  This is an engulfing phenomenon that we as parents simply must limit.

Also, we as adults generally have mature spiritual lives with which to evaluate media.  Our children don’t.  They don’t yet have enough of an experience base with God to make quantum hours in front of media safe for themselves.  Their spiritual lives aren’t yet formed; children are not yet stable in this regard.  They are reeds in the wind.  And a reed is easily broken.  Oops.

Here is the thought-provoking cost of allowing our children an ever-increasing addiction to media, if we don’t get a handle on this, and get a handle on it soon.

1.—Media can waste a phenomenal amount of time.  It often takes you in further than you wanted to go and makes you stay longer than you wanted to stay.  Log in your hours and your children’s for just one week and see for yourself.  Try living a week without any of it and you’ll really see how deep this dependency has become for you, and deeper still and more profoundly for your children.

2.—Social media can foster self-absorption in your child as he spends hours presenting himself, crafting his image, and seeking to be popular rather than to be zealously holy or servant-hearted.

3.—Visual reality begins to replace real reality; graciousness begins to give way to irritation with real family members, because they fall short of the “Photoshopped” idealized friends of virtual reality.  Does your husband prefer a virtual wife to a real wife?  How much time did media steal yesterday at your house, from spending time with other family members or from progressing with household duties?  Real life is difficult.  Doing our duty is often difficult.  Virtual realities, on the other hand, are easily engaged.

4.—Texting creates a jerking autonomic nervous system in the child as he hyper-responds to trivia, looking at texts he receives and urgently and aggressively punching keys to send.  For most children, this has become a truly addicting monomania.  Could it result in nervous tics in the future?  You may want to consider limiting texting time to once a day, rather than allowing full vent to this small physical stress syndrome all day long.

5.—All media usage involves small muscle movements—in contrast to large muscle movements—and shallow breathing as opposed to deep breathing, for hours and hours and hours. Time thus spent takes a developmental toll on a child.  When these hours stack up it can amount to fully half of the hours of a normal childhood—hours that are lost to the more constructive massive physical stimulation and activity.  A nervous system that is chronically strained by this can begin to break down the child’s immune systems.

6.—Looking real people in the eyes lets us understand much about them without ever saying a word; this is absent from electronic communication.  Many youth, so trained, don’t know how to look people in the eyes anymore, especially adults.  And they have forgotten to work on their faces, to make them cheerful, deliberately.  It takes effort to think of gracious things to say verbally to real people.  We are losing ground here, as parents.  We are rapidly losing ground in the training of social graces.  Basic social interchanges may soon become extinct—lost dinosaur skills of our youth.

7.—Many children are becoming more interested in the electronic device at their fingertips than in the real person who is inches away from them.

8.—Oftentimes, social media replaces Bible devotions and basic duties—crowding them out of the life totally. Have we spent as much time in the Bible as with the other media?  Which did we do first thing this morning, at our first discretionary moment?  Have we trained our children to finish doing their duty, first?  Did they tend to duty for the entire day today, prior to embarking into social media?  For that matter, do we really need social media at all?  Of what benefit is it to keep up with a myriad of friends’ emerging thoughts and lives, all day long?  What does that do to the development of our own lives?  How many accomplishments do we actually do, under such conditions?  Is social entertainment preferable to productivity?  To what end?

9.—Social media fulfills a longing for attention, and can feed the flesh.  By it we can easily become hypocrites—posing as one sort of person on the screen and quite another in the here and now.  Are your children becoming secretive over the YouTube videos they watch?  Can you see their screens at all times?  Does the screen face the center of the room you all are in all day long?  We used to be able to see book covers when people read; it was a natural curb to desiring to read wickedness, because we knew that others would see the covers.  Seeing what is absorbing your children at all times is crucial to maintaining their accountability to us as their responsible adults.

10.—Movies are a respond-a-thon, in which passivity trumps initiation time and time again.  When the virtual reality is turned off we awake from our stupor and find that we exerted no godly influence upon our families or our neighbors.

11.—The only way to create visual media is to descend into the material world, and at an unnaturally fast-changing pace.  We must have action shots to hold people’s attention, and to intensify that attention we must change what is seen every two to three seconds.  This totally nixes a reflective mind.  Take a family that has read for ten years and place them next to a family that has only seen movies for ten years, and those families will appear as if they came from different planets; the readers will have oceans more depth to them.

12.—Virtual gaming includes watching violence and actors wearing seductive clothing.  There is no morally neutral gaming.  None.  Also, it dangerously moves the person from being an observer to a being some sort of participant.

13.—Media teaches us contentment and excitement without God.  God is generally nowhere to be found.  This often leads to full-blown idolatry.

14.—The virtual world is not eternal, unlike the real world.  So attuned, continually, we can end up giving away our influence—just as easily as Esau gave away his birthright for a pot of porridge.

In conclusion, get a grip on your children’s affection for media. This is a freight train that has no brakes.  See our article on TV Watching Out of Control and read our past blogs on this topic.  This is a large subject, with many facets you may not have considered in this way.  If you become more fully aware of all of its tentacles by reading these, it may well change your current directions.

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