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Friday, November 28, 2008

Issue #12, Oct 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #12, Oct 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Letter to a friend by Heather Idoni
3. Suggestions for Christian Halloween Costumes
4. Alternatives to Halloween Links
5. National Home Education Week Declared
6. Contest Winner! Kids wacky interests!!
7. Family Bible Study
8. Closing letter from the editor
9. Subscription Information
10. Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

Hi all, hope this newsletter is received in the manner it was
sent love and through God!!

So....October!! Fall, beautiful foliage, wonderful weather, and
Halloween. As a Christian, Halloween has had me stumped for years,
maybe you too? The kids want the candy, love dressing up.... but the
holiday itself isn't Christian, worse, it's decidedly pagan.

I think our family this year will dress up in Christian Costumes (see article below for some cute ideas)! One year we did Noah's ark, and it was a huge hit! Why not dress up as characters from the Bible?! In addition, this year, we will go to a church function instead of trick or treating for our treats. I will make up some bags with cute favors, some treats, and for SURE a Halloween Tract! What better way to evangelize in this time, then to surprise the kids with a fun and meaningful way to learn about God!! These are our goals this year, to embrace more of God, instead of the world....won't you join us?

Read on and we pray you are blessed!

2. Letter to a Friend......or How We School
Heather Idoni

<< I am very interested in how you school... Can you take some time
and be specific with me? >>

July 2000

We have actually come a long way in this regard. Most families fall
into "unschooling" by illness, a new baby, a
move.......what happens is that they realize their children have been learning all along (without "school") and actually learning better! It is called delight-driven \education or unschooling or interest- driven education. The best thing to do \is to read a few books about it. I can recommend some if you don't know \where to start.

I could never feel justified in this approach without a very complete library in our home. My oldest is constantly reading and educating himself through the authors he reads. The authors are really the teachers and I choose these "teachers" with great care! He has developed a wonderful and diverse interest in science and history through biographies primarily. Ben is only 10, yet he is reading at a highschool level. He has even started reading G.A. Henty --- which is a bit over my head! Carman, 8, is a reluctant reader. He pours over illustrations and diagrams in books, though, and will read what he needs to for his own interests. He is very hands-on, an incredible artist --- enjoys making things and experimenting. Neither Ben nor Carman are as interested in math as I would like, but they've only lately been taken off math textbooks. I expect the delight with math to return. But they are WAY ahead of their peers with math concepts, esp. multiplication, division and fractions. Just not much paper to show for it! LOL

Angelo --- my 4 1/2 year old --- has been unschooled from the
beginning. He LOVES books and math and will be an early reader if I
leave him alone. He learned all his numbers independently and has
begun figuring out letters and sounds. When I try to do "school"
with him (on occasion I feel obligated) -- he doesn't do as well.

I have to admit, they probably only share with me a small portion of
what they are really learning. Sometimes an entire day will be spent
studying field guides together --- the boys, not me. Sometimes they
will create whole cities with Legos. Sometimes I will find my oldest
reading a history story to the little ones. I just love their
interaction together --- it is priceless.

What is gained here is knowing that nothing is wasted......I'm not
drilling them in *facts* and they are truly learning for the pure joy of learning. I mostly keep out of it --- except when they need
something. Chris Davis of Elijah Company calls this "resourcing"
your children.

Ben wanted to learn touch typing, so I searched out the best software program I could find. My boys have ZERO access to the Internet, but I will search for any book they want to read if we don't have it. Ben especially loves the attention I give to finding all the books by his latest favorite author, whoever it may be. Carman is always looking for arts and crafts books and Angelo thrives on any new picture book.......or the same one over and over and over. But Ben does a lot of reading aloud to's not just me! :)

They have NO television, no computer games. They play a lot of
Legos, chess, battleship, card games.....Dad taught them cribbage and it's GREAT for math. Ben does a lot of cooking and baking and that's great for figuring fractions and following directions.....esp. when half the measuring cups are missing! LOL

His love for cooking has been thriving after doing a 4-H boys'
cooking class. A local adult friend helped him with model rocketry
for 4-H and he learned a lot of hands-on science with that. He is
entering a baby goat, chickens, his rocket and some cookies in the
fair next week.

We have TONS of structure and responsibility in our home, but bedtime is flexible. Chores are strictly attended to. Bedtime is flexible because Dad has to go to work early and will take the 2 1/2 year old to bed with him at 9:30 pm. We often stay up late with a good read- aloud or Mom does computer work (and play) while the boys read or play games that the baby would otherwise have upset. The boys get, on average, about 10 hours of sleep each night. I make no effort to wake them too early. I was very sleep-deprived as a child and I feel this is important to their well-being.

I don't intend to glamorize our life.....we don't do fancy unit
studies or fantastic field trips --- although on occasion we do get
out for fun things like this! We will pursue a subject as long as
the interest is there....and then pick it up again when we have
discovered something new about it.

We listen to LOTS of audio tapes....mostly during breakfast and
lunch. Fiction, history, biographies.....I think listening is a good
skill and the imagination is exercised by seeing the "movie" in our

Angelo, the 4 1/2 year old, brought me a new testament turned to the
Psalms yesterday and asked me to read. I read and read and he never
lost interest. We talked about David fleeing from Saul and David's
dependence on the Lord. This led to his asking many deep questions
about salvation, being "rescued" and our need for Jesus' payment for
our sins.

I would never have traded this unexpected "teachable moment" for
anything. But I doubt I could have planned the curriculum for the
day any better.

In some ways, I can really see the Lord as being the principal of our *school*. I have always drifted toward the natural approaches,
though. I sold the baby crib when our first son was born and put him
in bed with me to nurse. I weaned each baby naturally when the time
was *right*.......this method of education seems to work so
wonderfully --- and we live in a state that requires no records, so I don't even keep a journal.

Our children have consistently impressed adults and I have constantly been amazed at their maturity level. They are really turning out to be like all those homeschooled kids I've always been impressed with! : )

I worried for a while about things like handwriting and spelling.....but the children, over time, are beginning to care about these things on their own. I truly believe that they will know all they need to know when they need to know it. A lot more colleges are seeking not only homeschooled children, but *unschooled* homeschool children.......they see the difference, too!

I've probably shared more than I needed to ......sometimes I feel
guilty that I don't have to put more effort into my children's
education. I _really_ gave up when I started realizing that my 10
year old just simply KNOWS more than me in many subjects. I don't
think I could do any better! And if he needs a textbook someday for
some information, I'll certainly provide it. But he has looked at
history textbooks and laughed about how little they cover a subject.

We read books for the sheer joy......and would never think of doing
any *exercises* at the end of a chapter. We don't use any literature- based curricula. Just seems ridiculous and least what I've looked at.

We don't *do history* in chronological order. My boys' brains seem
well able to put the pieces all together in the proper order. Ben
will tell you with delight about the day he found out that the French Foreign Legion was in Mexico during the Civil War! (At least I think that's what he said.....) He gets frustrated when I can't retain all of the wonderful details he shares with me....

Well, I could go on and on........hope this gives you a picture of
what life can be like. How old are your children and how long have
they been in textbooks? Have they always been homeschooled? The
transition doesn't happen overnight, but it's well worth it.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Beloved Books -
LIVING Books and Audio for Homeschoolers - on the web since 1996!
NEST Independent distributor

3. Suggestions for Christian Halloween Costumes

To help in your quest for alternatives to the traditional Halloween
garb, here are a few cute read the rest of the list, visit Grant's Graceland:

10. Wear a giant tuna costume, carry a calculator and a loaf of bread and go as "the multiplying loaves and fishes."

9. Go as a pair of gnashing teeth, play a continuous tape of nails
on a chalk board and say, "Give your life to Jesus, or get used to

8. Put a sign around your neck that says "Walter", then wear a Wok as a hat and say, "If I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can wok on Walter."

Read suggestions 7-1 at

Here are two more sites that offer biblical costumes for sale, go
ahead and use them for ideas!!

Annies Costumes - Purim & Biblical Costumes

Biblical Themes - Costumes and Props

4. Alternatives to Halloween Links

Annie's "Alternative Ideas for Halloween" Page

Halloween - A Christian Perspective

Halloween -- Christianity and Halloween: Can they co-exist?

Christian Tract for Halloween

Creative Halloween Tract Usage Ideas

American Tract Society

Abigail's Fall Fun Page

Halloween Alternatives - Celebrating the Lord of the Harvest

5. National Home Education Week Declared
Elissa Wahl

(Read on whether or not you are a Michael Farris fan)

Last year, in September, I was blessed to be able to go to the
nationwide homeschool rally held in Washington D.C. It was a FABULOUS time, with huge gatherings of every kind of homeschooler imaginable, from every state imaginable. We congregated on the steps of the Capitol Building to hear speakers, homeschool choirs, and legislators talk about homeschooling. Afterwards, we got to meet with our senators or congressmen to explain to them our lives and our philosophies of education. I thought the time was very well spent, and really brought to many legislators attention issues that affect homeschoolers.

This year, again, Congress has declared a National Home Education
Week. After being involved in last year's campaign to exploit the
topics that face us as homeschoolers, I think this decision was
momentous!! To read more about this resolution applauding

6. Contest Winner! Kids wacky interests!

My 8 yo dd decided when she was about 6 or so that she wanted to
study decay! I asked her why and she said she liked looking at the
trees that were turning into soil in the woods (you know the ends of
the trees that have pulled out of the ground). She said she also
liked how it changes color and the funguses that grow on them. I
thought okay, this won't be hard to find books on at the library.
Ha!! I have only found 1 book on a primary level that even came close to addressing this in the last 2 years.... and she still thinks decay is cool. Only in homeschooling/unschooling could we pursue this interest!

Jennifer wins a years subscription to HELM: Home Education Learning
Magazine; a bimonthly print publication focusing on independent
learning and self-directed education. Read more about HELM at:

7. Family Bible Study

Would your family like to study the Bible together? The Bible Study
Guide For All Ages is a flexible guide through the entire Bible that
was originally designed for the home and is now used widely by
homeschoolers and other families who want God's word to be central in their family life. Time lines and maps, a built-in review system,
visuals, memory-work drills, games and more, are available for
parents to use to increase understanding and enable the family
members to apply the Bible to their own lives.

Brian Baker
Bible Study Guide For All Ages

8. Closing Letter

As always, we accept, and cherish, all submissions for this ezine.
Include any ideas, crafts, special areas of study you may be doing,
anything that would appeal to other homeschooling parents! November's issue will focus on fall, so if you have any neat autumn activities, crafts, trips planned, let us know!

Also, we want to work more on promoting our site and this ezine....
if you have a favorite homeschool/unschool/Christian/parenting site
that you love, please pass it along. We hope to not only build up our site, but get some reciprocal links going on!

The book news we have is: Rewriting/editing has been done, we are
only looking at grammatical changes now! That's impressive we think,
it's on it's way!! More info to come as we get it!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown

9. Subscription Information

Subscribe at :

Unsubscribe at:

10. Reprint Information

Individual authors herein retain their own copyrights. You may
freely copy this entire newsletter or material from this newsletter
in other nonprofit publications (unless otherwise marked in the
article), but you MUST include the author's name and this entire

"Reprinted with permission of Elissa Wahl from Seedling, a
Christian Unschooling E-Zine. For a free subscription, send
any e-mail message to or visit

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