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Friday, November 28, 2008

Issue #13, Nov 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #13, Nov 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Faith and Fear, by Teri Brown
3. Letter to a Friend......Structure & Schedules by Heather Idoni
4. Response from a reader about Heather's first "letter to a friend", by Becca Orlowski
5. Fall Activity Links
6. Fall Recipe
7. Kids Praying for Kids by Elissa Wahl
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!

Nice, crisp weather! I love this time of year, and trust me when I
say, I CANNOT WAIT for turkey! But for our kids, this is a great
time of year for neat crafts and activities! See below for some ideas.

It is also the time of year to teach about being thankful! I saw in a magazine today, a "Thanks" Tree....just a branch, stuck in a pot,
with leaf cutouts hanging off of it...each listing something the
person is thankful for...I thought...what a neat centerpiece!

So, lets stop, take some time in this season, to contemplate what our blessings are!

Read on and we pray you are blessed!

2. Faith and Fear
Teri Brown

My son shook my shoulder urgently. "Mama, get up, get up!"

I rolled over and opened one eye.

"A man just tried to get into the house!"

Fully awake, I jumped out of bed and grabbed my robe. It was still
dark out and I hurried to the front window. My husband has been on
night shift for several months and I felt his absence keenly as I
cautiously peered out the front window. My son had been jabbering the entire time.

Apparently he had woke up a little early and had been watching the
Magic School Bus. At ten almost eleven, he always makes his own
breakfast and sits down to watch his favorite science show. After
hearing the doorknob turn a bit and he hopped up thinking it was one
of our cats wanting in. He stopped when he heard several fast taps on the door. The curtains were open about a foot and he looked through them. A man stood at the door and stared at my son. My son stared back. The man carried a flashlight and he nodded his head towards the door. My son told me it looked as if he were saying, 'Open the door little boy.' Then he shook his head and trotted away.

I remember how I felt as I listened to my son recount the story again and again. First scared, then thankful. In hindsight, it was dumb of me to call my husband before calling the police. But my reaction was immediate. When frightened, I reached out to the two rocks in my life, my Lord and my husband.

The police did a walk through of the neighborhood while I praised my
son for his actions and thought about how those same actions would
protect him from anything he was unsure about.

Look before you open the door to anything you're not sure about. 1
Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil
walks about a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

He was also right in seeking the council of an elder before acting on his own. I hope he will continue do so for many years to come. We
prayed together that morning and I realized that God is in control
and that I have to rely on him for all. I am glad of that. Imagine
being out there on your own!

My children were a bit nervous for a week or so after the incident
and we had many long talks about criminals and the justice system,
and the difference between being cautious and being fearful. We can
learn from any situation, especially if we look to the Lord as our

3. Letter to a Friend......Structure & Schedules
Heather Idoni

Dear Beth,

Little by little I am getting some inspiration! : )

What do your children watch on TV? So many attitude problems can
come directly from what's on TV today........maybe with audio tapes
you could begin to wean. And then pray that the TV breaks --- and
don't buy another! LOL

I really think textbooks have primary responsibility for killing the
love to learn in our children. What curriculum have you been using
all these years? My children balked at the textbook approach....and
I didn't blame them!

Reading aloud......there are many books that both your 11 year old
and 5 year old would be interested in. "My Side of the Mountain" can
open many discussions! It is very enjoyable!

Try to do the read-alouds after your daughter is asleep.....let the
boys stay up late as a special treat.....maybe have a special treat
that they have to make in the kitchen together. There is a big
spread in ages, but this might be a very good beginning. Don't *over
plan* anything....and try to do what comes naturally.

My children fight, too. And very frequently....although not
constant. At least 5 or 6 good ones per day though! LOL --- it
drives me crazy too. Sometimes I separate them, but mostly I try to
talk to them constantly about kindness....they know THIS one verse by heart! "Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another as God in Christ forgave you". I will talk a matter to
death.......if it is a serious fight, I will go to all lengths to
make them see how sad they would be if the other brother were to
die. Most of the bickering is just, "Tell him to stop that stupid
noise, Mom --- he's giving me a headache" and fights over Legos. The
Legos go up in the attic after about a week and don't come out again
for a few weeks if that gets too bad. In the past we have listened
to tapes which really teach kindness (through engaging stories) as
well as honesty, integrity, etc. Your 11 year old son would enjoy
Booker T. Washington from Your Story Hour. I'm frequently referred
to as "that Yankee woman"......but I always respond that you'll have
GRIT when I'm done with you!

Structure / Schedule.

I'll tackle SCHEDULE first. We don't have one. We don't live by the
clock at all, unless I'm trying to get to the post office, a 4-H
meeting or Church! : )


We do the animal chores as soon as we wake up......Ben (10) does all
of these. He used to be reluctant about it, but I think now he is
resigned to his fate! He knows the goats and chickens are here for
keeps....and they need to be fed and watered. He has to complete his
morning routine before he can fix breakfast for his brothers. He
also gets to choose the audio tape we listen to in the morning.
Carman (8) must unload the dishwasher in the morning before
breakfast. We do the kitchen together in the evening....usually
pretty late. Ben preps the dirty dishes and loads the dishwasher and
I do the rest of the clean-up. He is also responsible for the floors
being swept and washed....usually once a week! All the boys have to
pick-up off the floor, esp. since Mom can't bend over any more with
the baby coming due in 5 weeks.....

I clean the bathroom.....I just don't want the children doing
that.....too many germs and I don't trust them to get their hands
clean enough when they're done. I guess that is my only point of
service to them. I do fix lunch and dinner, but frequently I will
have Ben or Carman prepare lunch......peanut butter and jelly and
soup are their specialties! Ben also changes the baby's diaper
(except I do the *messy* ones) and he dresses the baby. Carman just
gave Angelo his first shower tonight and was very proud that he
washed Angelo's hair! Ben and Carman both draw baths, fold laundry
and do anything I feel they are capable of. I don't do much at all.
I even have them make my bed in the morning most of the time.
Household and outdoor chores are our major source of structure and

We have NO structure when it comes to education. Each child knows
that his education is a privilege. It is treated as "dessert" in our
home. What free time they get in between chores is theirs for their
education. I frequently pull them away from books or projects or
creative play for a chore, but make it clear they can go right back
to it.

They have pretty much free access to the CD player......and they will enjoy folk music together mostly. They love ballads that tell a tale and to sing together. They wrestle a LOT, but I set a timer. If I don't it will only end when someone gets hurt! It took a long time to get Dad to understand the concept! My husband involves the boys in the gardening and does a lot outdoors with them. Lately the rage has been Frisbee. Carman is very proud today that he taught Angelo how to throw it right! In my book, that one counts for kindness and patience......but I just tell him how pleased I am.

I try to give a lot of freedom with restrictions. For instance, Ben
is staying up late tonight to sit at a campfire outside and visit
with the gentleman who is staying in our trailer for the
summer.....the same one who did the model rocketry with him. I treat
him like an adult with many privileges....when I know he will handle
himself like a young adult should. I know he appreciates this.

I say "no" an awful when I do say "yes", it has more

I am trying SO hard not to glamorize our lives! I am very emotional,
very impatient. I yell at the kids a lot. I am just blessed that
they will turn out better than me! I was a product of a family
which was extremely parents were nonexistent,
abusive and of course --- I went to public school.

My husband and I have been married 13 years....but decided on
homeschooling before our first was born. He is still slightly
uncomfortable with the "no math book" concept, but he is seeing the
benefits slowly but surely.

That's all for tonight.......

Beloved Books -
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4. Response from a reader about Heather's first "letter to a friend"
Becca Orlowski

I just wanted to thank Heather for the beautiful description of her
family's life of self directed learning. I confess that I waiver on
the self directedness. Much of what we do is family directed but I
did add a little structure this year. My son, 6 1/2, and I agreed
on it and we never hold each other to it if we feel like doing
something else.

An example of this would be Greek lessons. We both wanted to learn
Greek (we read D'Aulaire's Greek Mythology and loved it) so I bought
a very slow moving program and he told me what day we should do our
lesson. We both are having a great time with it but we're flexible.
If the time arrives and he's into something else, we skip it knowing
we'll pick it up again next time. The same with violin.
He "scheduled" a violin marathon (playing all the songs that he
knows) at a particular time but if he's not up to it, we don't push
him. He'll even remind me if I've forgotten to do something he was
looking forward to doing.

I don't know what type of family we are. I guess we're not classic
unschoolers but if you knew my son you'd know that it is a challenge
to keep up with him so I have a well stocked home and this included
certain texts. As Heather alluded to, some homeschool children are
accelerated in different areas. My son loves math. We have many,
many games that satisfy him but he wants to learn some things that I
can't just teach him without texts so I'll pull some ideas and make
some games out of them or put up some problems on the board. We skip
around as he is not a sequential learner. We go where ever he
wants. Lately, he's been interested in decimals so we have a game
called Slugger Decimal that satisfies his love of baseball and math.

It has been such a joy learning things together. Most of the
learning we do in this family, we do together. Even my 3 1/2 yo
tries to get in on everything. He listens to the books I read to my
older son. He now wants his own violin. He loves to identify all
the bugs and birds in our yard. He hands us the Bible every morning
and his prayers are as inspiring as my older son.

I guess what we try to do in our family is give purpose and meaning
to what we're learning. So, even when we do something that
seems "schoolish", there is a reason for it. For example, my son
likes to write notes, letters and poems from time to time. When he
asks me how to spell a word, if he can't figure it out, it goes up on his whiteboard where he can look at it at his leisure and he then
asks for "spelling tests" (yes, he really does) He feels good about
his accomplishments. Someone might ask, "How does he know about
tests?" Well, he used to "play school" with neighborhood children
who were in school so it's fun to him to pretend.

Ultimately, I try to reflect on the scripture, "Train up a child in
the way he should go.." I think and pray, how did God design each of
my unique children? What is the path that He has planned for them?
How are they special and different from each other and how can I meet the need of their design? What type of learner is each child? (This has been an extremely important question to answer for my older child as he is a visual-spatial learner and has unique methods of gaining information). When we focus on this in our family, I believe we are pleasing God in our attempt to raise Godly sons in a natural environment-at least that's my goal!!

Becca Orlowski

5. Fall Activity Links

Autumn Leaves - Why do leaves change color in Fall?

DLTK's Autumn Crafts for Kids

A Feast of Thanksgiving Family Fun - Making Thanksgiving Crafts
games recipes loads of fall and thanksgiving items!

autumn -activities


Not Just for Kids! Thanksgiving Fun loads of fun here

Thanksgiving Day Crossword Puzzle

Thanksgiving Activities

Annie's Thanksgiving Just for Kids Page

6. Fall Recipe


1 pumpkin-(5-7 pounds)
6 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 ginger
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Cut a lid from the top of the pumpkin. Scrape all the seeds out of
pumpkin. Mix all the ingredients except for the butter. Pour mixture into the pumpkin. Top with butter. Put the lid back on the pumpkin. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. This will look like a custard. As you serve the custard out of the pumpkin scrape some of the side of the pumpkin with it. GOOD!

7. Kids Praying for Kids, by Elissa Wahl

Someone sent me a link for a freebie...and when I clicked on it, I
found this fabulous site, called Kids Praying for Kids. First let me
tell you my story about experiencing my son's ability for empathy.

I have made a habit of taking my son to the library since birth, and
one day, when he was about four years old, he chose a very poignant
book. It was one of those huge coffee table books, with fabulous
photos...topic...the world's hurting people. It had photos of
starving children, families in war torn areas, homeless folk in our
own country. I was touched to see how much these photos touched my
son, as they also touched me.

Through the years, this book "pops" up in conversation, in our
thoughts, in our prayers, and I continue to pray that it's effects
have an everlasting impact on our lives.

That said, take a look at how this company wants to encourage our
kids to pray!

"Kids Praying for Kids is a twelve-month prayer journal for children
ages 6-10, which tells about kids in desperate situations around the
world. As your children read through the journal, they will learn
about other boys and girls in distant lands and how they can pray for their needs. Plus, there's space for them to record their own
requests and answers to prayer so they can count their blessings.
Kids Praying for Kids is more than just a tool for teaching your
children the power of prayer. It's another way for them to reach out
to a hurting world with the hope of Jesus Christ. And for little
hands looking for ways to help, the results can be life-changing. "

Be encouraged that we can make a difference through prayer!

8. Closing Letter

So, as always, an eclectic issue, designed to ultimately touch your
hearts as parents, homeschoolers, and Christians!

Here are some links to great articles Teri has written, take a peek!

A New Review of A Simple Choice
The book may not be homeschool specific, but it's a book with a lot
of Mom appeal!

Review for Homeschooling on a ShoeString

Field Trip Tips

Review of a Charlotte Mason Education

Next issue look for pre-ordering info for our book!! "Christian
Unschooling: Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ"

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown

9. Subscription Information

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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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