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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Issue #19 May 1, 2001


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #19, May 1, 2001
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown
Contributing Editor: Angel Dyke


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. I Dreamed of being a Teacher by: Karen Lovett
3. Update Info on Our Book
4. To Test or Not to Test? by Elissa Wahl
5. Testing Links
6. Contest Entries and Winner.....Healthy Recipes!
7. New Unschooling EMag
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 ... in love and through God!

Is it getting hot where you all live?? It has come pretty close to
the triple digits here this last week! I'm not ready for this though.
Good thing God has all things planned, if left to me, I'd either
forget or reject....especially things such as high heat!!

For those wondering about my newest addition...he is wonderful. Elias
is a month old now, and he's picked up two pounds, putting him at
nine and a half! Yes, he keeps me busy feeding him often. His
brothers are getting used to him, but it is clear everyone loves him
to death! Me, I have to wonder what the word "sleep" is...since it's
been so long . Seriously though, he sleeps with us, so
nighttime feedings require a minimum of pain and they are not needed
as frequently as in the first few weeks. Thanks to everyone who
covered us in prayer and thanks for all the congratulations!

Anyhow, this month I thought I'd touch on the subject of standardized
testing. It's getting to be that time of year and some of you may be
starting to feel panicked.

Please read on, and we pray you are blessed!

2. I Dreamed of being a Teacher

by: Karen Lovett

All my life, I dreamed of being a teacher. I longed to learn as much
as I could and to share it with young, eager minded children. I saw
myself going to college and getting a degree and going to a school
every morning. I was going to be the best teacher that any child
ever had.

Well, that dream faded quickly when I got married right out of high
school. We were young and just didn't make the money to allow me to
go to college. When a year later I had a baby and was divorced, I
felt that my dreams were pipe dreams that never would come true.

So I put my dreams away and looked for a job that wouldn't require my
child and I to be charity cases any longer than necessary. Once I
got on my feet a little better, I did go to college for a little
while. But after all that time, I figured that I could never have my
dream job, so I chose a different major.

Over the years, I have attended college rather sporadically. Real
life kept getting in the way. And in the mean time, I spent hour
upon hour working on learning as much as I can. I would learn
anything that I could. If I was working with computers, I would read
all the technical books I could. I would work with them until by
trial and error and a lot of reading, I would figure out how to do
what I had been trying to learn.

Over the years, the desire to learn returned. So did my previous
secret desire to write. I spent several years trying to convince
myself that I really shouldn't believe in my dreams. After all, who
was I to think that I could have such lofty dreams as to be
intelligent and to be able to write.

I continued to let real life get in the way. By the summer that I
had three kids and was the typical ball mom, I was convinced that my
dreams would never become reality. I was a mom. I wouldn't have
traded that job for anything in the world. So I filed my dreams away
once more.

Then at one of the many ball games I attended that summer, I got to
talking to another player's parents. What made me talk to this
particular person on that particular day, I am not about to try to
figure out. But I did talk to her, and I am very glad I did.

That one discussion, opened up the flood gates and my river of
passion for my dreams returned with full force. I felt like I had
been hit by a tidal wave. My head was spinning like a tornado from
all the new knowledge that I gained from that one conversation. I
had found the key to unlock the door to my dream of teaching.

You see, this family was a family of homeschoolers. In the small
town in which we lived, homeschooling was virtually unheard of. But
each game that I was around this family, I grew more and more
interested in this thing called homeschooling. Eventually, I came to
understand that there had been a very good reason that I had decided
to talk to that family that day so many games ago. I wanted to

Could I do it? I mean, I don't have a teaching degree. Is it
required? How do I find out? Well, the first thing I did was get
out my trusty yellow pages and look for a phone number. Sure it
would have been much easier to ask the other parent, but then, I was
afraid of looking totally stupid.

So I spent a couple years, researching, calling, reading, and praying
that my fears would be relieved and I would find the answer to my
question of should I try homeschooling for my children.

I'm not a person that goes around telling everyone of my religious
preferences, and I have made more than my share of mistakes. Through
the years, however, I have had a feeling when I should do something.
I had that feeling about homeschooling. Of course, I tried to ignore
it until I had to have it shoved down my throat. No, I'm not smart
enough to take a very strong hint. You have to just knock me down
with it.

My daughter got sick. Nobody could explain it. Every morning she
would wake up and pass out before she could go to school.
Eventually, the school system and doctor, thought that I was doing
something to cause it. So I turned to my trusty friend, my
computer. I got online and I started doing research into educational

I searched the wonderful information filled web until I found the
answers I needed. I found a way that I could be a teacher. No, I
wouldn't be going to the school every day, I would be living there.
No, I wouldn't have a teaching degree, but I found out that I didn't
need one.

Wait, I didn't need one. How on earth did I think that I possibly
could do as good of a job at teaching as a trained professional?
Gee, had I really lost my marbles this time? I had a good friend
that was a teacher. She went to school for years to get her degree.
How could I expect to learn everything I needed to know without going
to college for years also?

I discovered the answer in reading. I began reading all the
information I could about homeschooling. I saw where common everyday
folks homeschooled. I met teachers that quit teaching to
homeschool. I got to know these people and found that they were not
so very different from me.

We all loved our children and wanted what was best for them. We
wanted our children to have the best possible education. We wanted
it so bad that we were willing to give of our time, energy, and love
to ensure that they got the education that they deserve.

The teachers that I knew that didn't understand homeschooling,
thought I was crazy. I personally didn't care what they thought. I
knew that I was just as smart as they were. After all, their books
have all the answers right? Oh, wait, if their books have the
answers, then why do they go to college for so long?

Well, walk into any classroom in any school today and you will see
why. The public school teachers go to college to learn how to teach
and to manage their students. They are taught methods of teaching
and controlling the children in their classroom. They are taught how
to motivate the children. They are taught these things that we do
instinctively as mothers.

Why are they taught these things? Well, my opinion is that the idea
is for the teachers to all be as similar as possible. Since we are
all unique individuals, there will always be differences. There will
always be teachers that have the exact same training, that are
totally different as teachers.

Some teach from the books. They take the classes and they learn how
to do their job. And to them, it is just that, a job. But then you
will have others that teach from the heart. To them, it isn't a job,
but a passion. They can't do anything but teach. It would be
sacrilegious for them to do anything else.

That is the same passion that most homeschoolers experience. They
have to teach. They can't not teach. Even if or when their children
was still in public school, they would take extra care to give their
child a learning rich environment. They would take the time to help
their child learn what they needed to. They went the extra mile.
When they take that passion and go with it and homeschool their
children, they all prosper. The child is giving a wonderful, loving
environment to learn in. The parent gets to fulfill their desire to
teach. So I finally got my dream. I am a teacher. I didn't go to
college and get a degree. I found that the degree may have made me
capable of teaching in a school classroom, but I have a much more
important job. I get to guide my children through the wonderful
world of education. I get to watch their passion for learning grow.
Hopefully one day, I will get to help them turn to teaching their
children in the same wonderful way that I have found for my kids.
Who knows, maybe being a teacher is their dream too.

3. Update Info on Our Book

Well, all of the pre-orders have been sent out and we have already
started receiving positive feedback. We also are now available at for the Title, Christian Unschooling, or our last
names, Brown or Wahl. We are so excited to be so accessible. Please
continue to send in feedback!

4. To Test or Not to Test?

To test or not to test, THAT is the question! Often this very thing
weighs on homeschooling parents minds, for various reasons. Some may
need a reassurance that their kids are "on track", some may have just
pulled a child from public school and wish to determine a starting
level for their work at home, and some people live in states that
mandate testing.

Whatever the reason, there are still some truths behind standardized
testing that must be seen. The biggest thing for me, is that it is
aimed at testing that "cookie cutter " education that I shy away from
to begin with! There is not much "standard" in my son's education.
Can it measure his knowledge of child development? His empathy for
others? How about his imagination?

The simple fact is, tests are made to see how the masses are learning
their grade-appropriate curriculums. It doesn't matter whether Jimmy
has a learning delay that has impeded his progress in reading, or
that 8 yr. old Susie has a 10th grade math ability...none of this can
be seen.

Further, since schools are nationally "graded" based upon their test
scores, teaches must teach TO the test. Spoon feed them all the
necessary components to do well on these things.

For those of you forced by your state to test, before you
panic....find out some crucial information.
1) How often you must test (often it is every 3rd year)
2) Who must get the results (some states say test, and just hold onto
the results...)
3) What percentile must be achieved...usually it is something
braindead like 33%..heck, in CO it is 13!! yes you must score above
the 13% in order to remain hsed.
4) What are the repercussions if % is not reached? Child "held
back" , sent to ps, or required next year to show a substantial

If you do test, I don't think the whole year must be spent teaching
to the test Get ahold of a test preparation booklet or CDROM and know
what subjects might come up and just incorporate them into your daily

At no point, would I ever say testing is wrong....blanket statements
rarely help anyone. Testing is wrong for my about that
statement . If you do choose to test, or are forced by the
state to test, I respectfully ask you to remember that the results do
not indicate overall life achievements.

5. Testing Links

To test or not:
Achievement Testing Articles....a collection of to test or not,
On Standardized Testing
Problems with standardized tests

Where to buy tests:
A list of places to buy from

6. Contest Entries and Winner... Healthy Recipes!

Energy Fruit Balls (use organic ingredients if possible)

10 Pitted dates
1 C Sultanas
1/4 C rolled oats
1/2 C dried apricots (soaked 1 hr)
1/4 C sesame seeds

Mix together in food processor, if mix is too dry add a little water.

Roll in balls and roll in coconut.

Store in fridge.


Sarah in New Zealand (Te Kauwhata)

Hi! My kids and I would like to enter one of our favorite
Cool Slushies:

1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (can use any berry, but this is our
1/2-3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup yogurt or 1/4 cube of tofu (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice (can substitute another favorite juice)
2-4 tbsp honey (to taste)

Blend all ingredients until smooth, but thick. Should be thick
enough to
eat with a spoon. Hint, if using fresh berries, add 1/2 cup ice.
This can
be made as a smoothie by adding more liquid ingredients or no ice if
fresh berries.

Amy Madtson (mom), Zach (9) and Nick (6)

Drumroll please......And the winner is...

Applesauce-Granola Cookies
(adapted) makes 42 cookies

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (health food
stores have this)
2 cups granola
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat honey, butter, vanilla and egg in
large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon.
Stir in applesauce. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto
ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until almost no
indentation remains when touched in center. Cool 1 to 2 minutes;
remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Janice Stallings

Janice will receive Leanne Ely's New book, Healthy Foods: An
Irreverent Guide to Understanding Nutrition and Feeding Your Family
Well. Also included with the book is a unit study that will help
teach the children about nutrition.

7. A New Unschooling EMag

I got this information in an email and thought I'd pass it along. I
checked it out and it is valid!! But, don't join them and ditch us

" THE UNSCHOOLER is a weekly email newsletter by author and
homeschooling mom, Suzannah Harris. Unschooling is child-led learning
supported by an enriched home environment. Forced learning is a young
method of education that doesn't work. Instead it produces children
and adults who feel out of touch with the real world and their value
in it. Unschooled children develop their innate talents and feel
productive from the start. There is nothing wrong with a child's
ability to learn. Our awareness of, and faith in, the natural and
undeniable human desire to learn, create and produce will help
us stand on a strong belief in our children and how they are an
integral part of our world, from the day they are born. This weekly
column presents any and everything about the unschooling way. To
subscribe, send an email to:
. "

8. Closing Letter

Those of you who are in the midst of reading our book, we pray it
touches you. Those awaiting'll be there soon!!

For awhile there, submissions were virtually pouring in....they've
slowed down now and we need to hear from you all. You need not be a
writer. Honestly, we are just looking for normal everyday happenings
that you would be comfortable sharing. Also, if you know of any new
unschool or unschool friendly support groups, drop us a line!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown
Angel Dyke

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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