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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Issue #15, Jan 1, 2001


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #15, Jan 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown
Contributing Editor: Angel Dyke


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Ravenous Readers: tips for growing book worm kids, by Angel Dyke
3. Unschooling, My Definition, by Angela, Unschooling mother in Maine
4. My Story, by Lorie Dunlevy
5. Important Correction on Pre-Orders of "Christian Unschooling" The
6. Cool Site; Christian Families Online
7. New Year, New Start; By Jeanne Musfeldt
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!

Who has snow? Show of hands . I don't out here in lovely Las
Vegas, but my family in NJ sure does! Isn't it just amazing all the
things God planned ahead of time: the seasons, the precipitation,

Well, rest assured, He also has this New Year planned for you. We can plan, we can worry, but "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:20-22

2. Ravenous Readers: tips for growing book worm kids
Angel Dyke

Groaning under the strain of an overflowing laundry basket, I
struggle to hoist my cargo up and onto the counter top. Just another
typical day in our lives, but no it's not laundry day. The librarian
usually chuckles, while patrons at our local library stare wide-eyed, with mouths gaping open at our load of books to be returned. Blushing, I start fumbling to help the check-in process begin. 38, 39,40,41, that should be all of them. My girls just absolutely love the library, but more than that, they LOVE books. I guess it should be no surprise, because I am the same way. On an average both my 10 and 7 year old daughters may read well over 60 books each in a month. Many moms have asked me in utter amazement, "HOW DO YOU DO THAT?" Well, here are a few tips that may help you grow that ravenous reader.

1. Readers are grown, just like plants. I started reading to my
children when they were just a few months old. Now, I am not
advocating baby geniuses, we just looked at pictures and named
objects. Books were plentiful and not put up out of reach. We tried
to look at books daily, if it was just for 1 minute or so. When the
child's interest waned, the books were put up. I never forced books
on my children, and they associate reading with one of the greater
pleasures in life.

2. Talk, talk, talk. To read well, your child need to be able to
communicate well. I have spent literally thousands of hours with my
children at infant and toddler stages explaining details of daily
life. " Now, this is how we sweep with the broom. The broom is made
of straw;.." The more exposure a child has to a diverse vocabulary
the better reader he or she will become.

3. Teach toddlers that books are our friends. I never allowed my
children to destroy our books. To my knowledge maybe 3 books have
been ruined. Upon the first "disrespect" for a book, I would sit my
child down and explain that books are our friends. We would never
hurt a friend, and if we do, we can't continue to enjoy our books. It is a good idea to have a few thicker cardboard books for your little ones to tote around. Inevitably they will fall in love with a book, and it will be a companion for a long season.

4. Read aloud to your child daily. Have a quiet time with books. It
is a wonderful way to bond with your child, and is relaxing after the stresses of a busy day. Make book time a time for family togetherness.

5. Limit television. The more television kids are exposed too, the
less imaginative they become. Dependency on visual stimulation dulls
a child's appetite for good books. Make sure the programs viewed are
only the best, and avoid junk food mental programs that dumb your
kids down.

6. If a child shows signs of being ready to read, let them proceed at their own pace. Help them with a simple phonics program, and letter recognition. When a child has followed the above steps, they can't wait to be able to really read letters. etc.

7. Be an example, if they never see you with a book; don't be
surprised if they aren't into reading. Also, if you sit hours in
front of the tube, they'll do likewise.

8. By age 5, get the child their own library card. You may want to go to story times for preschoolers and start checking books out much
earlier than age 5. I have found that normally by this age, children
are ready for the responsibilities of using a card. Weekly trips to
the library are one of the few childhood joys to be relished.

9. Have as many books as you possibly can. Shop garage sales, book
fairs, library sales and used book stores. Weekly reader clubs are
also a great way to encourage reading.

10. Go out and buy a huge wicker laundry basket, and get ready! It
also helps to get in good with your librarian in case of a few late
fees. Cookies help!!! Oh, don't forget the Ben-gay for that aching
back, those baskets can really make you sore.

Read my articles at Themestream:

3. Unschooling, My Definition
Angela, Unschooling mother in Maine

Today was a great example of what unschooling is for us. My girls
are 4 (Lilly)and almost 6 (Leigh). We got up and they watched
Arthur, then shut the TV off on their own. We stayed in our pj's
till 10 playing, feeding the animals, and looking at the library
books we had to take back today. Part of that time my oldest daughter spent with our calendar in front of her asking when everyone birthdays are and finding holidays and what day of the week
everyone's birthdays are on this year. She also looks up her beanie
babies birthday's on the calendar and compares them to when holiday
are. "Cinders birthday is three days before Easter."

Part of that time I spent cleaning up the house and putting 6
different puzzles they did yesterday back in the boxes. One was a
100 piece puzzle my 5 yo did for the first time alone. She was very
proud, but embarrassed when I mentioned it to her dad.(She is VERY
shy and I can't brag about her without embarrassing her) Off to the
library to return 20 books and take out 23 more. Two are novels for
Mom and the rest children's books. (6 of which were Arthur book which I detest reading but will concede to) The girl's did some puzzles at the library which was next to the section with all the encyclopedia's and books on states. I grabbed one to look at while they did puzzles and Leigh took notice and then went over to check them out. She wanted to read one on GA as her daddy had just come back from there. At first I didn't see one on GA so she selected one from Ohio and Kentucky where he had been a couple months ago. Then Leigh noticed that I had missed the GA book and she took it out we skimmed through it and we checked them out and left.

We got home to a mess we had begun before we left. The girls love to
play cooking. I give them dishes of flour, rice, salt, macaroni,
water, etc. and they mix them all up into a lovely mess and measure
and stir and have a great time. While they continued on this mess I
started reading aloud about GA anything that I thought they might
like. The book was great as it had pictures of peanuts being
harvested and slavery stories, etc. I tried to skim through reading
only what I thought would interest them and Leigh piped up while I
was quiet for a moment, "why did you stop reading?" These are
reference books for goodness sake. Something you can't get a schooled student to sit down and read it you tried. If they had to do a report they would use it and not remember anything they wrote because it was not their interest in the first place. (not to mention that no teacher would ever take one out for a 5 yo, they would steer them to something more age appropriate) When I think of this and realize how much she absorbed from it,I am AWED and truly feel blessed that we found this unschooling path to take. WHY IN THE WORLD do others not see this wonderful less traveled road.

From this point we ate lunch and had to go back to town to my
chiropractic apt. where the doctor adjusts every stuffed animal we
can lug into the office. We had a short visit with Grammy them came
home to read about 10 more of the library books we took out. (3 or 4
were Arthur, grrrrrrrr) Off and on we checked election results and
answered every question the girls asked about the whole ordeal.
There were quite a few. We ate left over spaghetti and cereal for
supper and went off to bed. While we are lying in bed the girls
often ask very thought provoking questions. As much as I would like
to tell them to be quiet and go to sleep, (wanting time for myself) I find the questions to important to ignore and we lay there and talk about what a London bus is and where London, England is. When I
explain to MY five yo where England is, I can say in Europe, near
Ireland, and she understands me perfectly well. Sometimes I wonder
if it is just my kids that are this bright or are they all so
inquisitive when their questions are taken seriously and answered to
the best of our abilities.

Anyway, I thought I would share that for those of you who want to
know what an unschooling day can be like.

Angela, Unschooling mother in Maine to Leigh and Lilly
"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning"

4. My Story
Lorie Dunlevy

I recently had a scary encounter with "school at home" and I thought
this would be a good place to share my story.

Because this is the first year we were legally required to have my
six year old son, Jacob in school I began to get very nervous. I
decided I had better get serious and get a curriculum and a schedule
no more of the educational play stuff for us! So I studied all the
catalogs and spent a ton of money we could not afford ordering all
kinds of texts and workbooks.

Every day as I opened up the lesson plan book the kids would go
running. After I pulled them out from under the bed kicking and
screaming, we would spend the next five hours filling out workbook
pages and looking at silly little books that were supposed to be
teaching them to read.

Their attitudes were horrible, I was depressed and they were not
learning anything. I prayed everyday for God to show me what I was
doing wrong. I felt like God kept saying "Why are you doing school
at home? Why aren't you educating them the way I have shown you?" I
would start to think maybe I should get back to unschooling. Then I
would think of my mother the public school teacher and all of her
lists of things my kids should know. Of course, I could not forget
her campaign of contacting our friends at church to get them to talk
us out of this "homeschool madness." Unschooling was just too risky!

One day a couple of weeks ago I became too ill to "do school." I
pulled out all the educational games and toys and threw them in the
middle of the living room and crashed on the sofa. That day my six
year old taught himself multiplication by studying the wheels of an
old stroller. My five year old took the stroller apart and built a
wagon. I dozed off and woke up to find the older boy teaching his
brother how to write his numbers.

Finally, after six weeks of "real school" and no learning I tossed
the workbooks, started hanging out at the library and the parks and
began educating my kids again. We are all very, very happy.

5. Important Correction on Pre-Orders

We thank everyone who has looked at the website, and encourage those
of you who haven't yet to please do so! Christian Unschooling:
growing your child in the freedom of Christ

We received some inquiries about paying by check/money order instead
of via this site....we got the affirmation from the publishers that
it could be done, and supplied the address. HOWEVER, they moved to
the next building over, and while in most cases the mail was
forwarded, we have heard from a few of you that your checks were
returned. We feel horrible for this trouble :(

Here is the CORRECT address to send checks/money orders for the pre-
order of our book!

Champion Press, Ltd.
13023 NE 99th St, Bldg 7
Ste 207
Vancouver WA 98686

Thanks all!!!

6. Cool Site

Christian Families Online

CFO is the place on the Web where today's Christian families can come for encouragement through articles, devotionals, video, book and music reviews and much more! New content is added each Friday.

The family is the heart of the world...let's help it grow stronger in Jesus Christ!

Lisa Beamer
Freelance Writing and Editing
Editor, Christian Families Online

7. New Year, New Start

Well, here we are, a brand new year!! Did you make some resolutions? I know I did. I even made some for the kids this year!

I knew that with all the snow we have had this past month or so, they would be needing some more direction than usual. Does that mean I am giving up on unschooling?!? Of course not. I am simply helping them to find things that are meaningful and inside. It has just been too cold out for them to even go sledding!

One of the things I have planned for them is chores!! We did a lot
of traveling last summer, and never did seem to get back into the
swing of things, chore-wise, so I have made all new chore lists for
them. They did have a lot of input in this. My middle daughter
likes doing laundry (she didn't get that from me!), so she got that
chore. My son likes doing outdoor things, so he is in charge of the
trash, and shoveling or keeping the yard picked up in the event there is no snow. I am not sure there will be no snow, but you never
know. :o)

Another thing I have suggested to them is a game time each day. I
know that it isn't going to happen EVERY day, and I have discussed
this with them. But it does wonders when I make an effort to sit
down and play some of those new board games they got for Christmas
with them. And those are educational, too!

I still consider this unschooling, even though I am guiding more than I do in typical day to day life. We all agreed this is our part of our new plan for 2001. What is yours? Have a great New Year!

Jeanne Musfeldt

8. Closing Letter

Another month, a new year! Time passes quickly!

We hope you all are being blessed by our endeavors....please remember we need your contributions though! Send in an essay about a cool day, a neat trip, a new support group forming in your area..anything! If it interests you, it will likely interest others.

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown
Angel Dyke

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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