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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Issue #31, April 6, 2004


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #31, April 6, 2004
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Kit Ward


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Pursuing Our Delights as Home Schooling Moms, by JoAnn Ehlinger
3. Introducing… Assistant Editor, Kit!
4. My Journey to Unschooling, by Cyndi Clack
5. The Home Schooled Year, by Susan McGlohn
6. Ordering info on our book
7. Closing letter from the editor
8. Subscription Information
9. 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!

Seedlings is back! While Teri has had to bow out due to overwhelming
obligations (we all know how that feels!) we are pleased to welcome
aboard Kit Ward.

While I am mentioning changes, please note our new web URL at

We had some technical difficulties that kept me locked out of
maintaining the site for awhile, but updates can now be made.

Many of you may remember that my baby was going through some chilling
medical issues. I am pleased to report that he is doing GREAT! He is
a very active toddler now, about to turn 3! In October he had the
last surgeries to remove the port-a-cath and feeding tube. While he
has some delays, he thrills us daily with his antics. He is 100% BOY.

Well, please read on, and we pray you are blessed!

2. Pursuing Our Delights as Home Schooling Moms
By JoAnn Ehlinger

The alarm sounded; the coffee maker slurped to life, and I dragged
myself out of bed.

My nose guided me toward the aroma of the coffee, and to the
kitchen. I was greeted by a bright-eyed person whom I vaguely
recognized to be my child. Pouring a cup of coffee I nodded and
mumbled sleepily in response to numerous questions.
"Why is the sky blue?
"Why isn't my hair long like my sister's"
"Is it O.K. for the dog to eat rubber bands?"

Having downed my first cup of coffee, I was -- well, sort of ready to
face the day. Where to start? Laundry, make the beds, clean up last
nights art project, find the dining room table, wake the rest of the
kids, eat breakfast, do something "delight-driven" and educational,
fix lunch, eat standing up, play with kids, more laundry, supper,
dishes and eventually bed. But what about *my* delights? With all
this going on in my life, all I need is to add something extra to it,
right? Wrong!!

I suggest that one of the best things a Christian homeschooling mom
can do is to follow at least one of her own delights. In doing this
she stands as a living example of continual delight in the world the
Lord has given us.

Do I hear you thinking, "I can't possibly do something for myself,
when I have to make sure that my children are learning," or, "There
just isn't time; it would be selfish."
If so, I beg to disagree! I believe that the spiritual state of the
mom in the home is vital. Spending time with God is, of course, #1,
but finding time to pursue our own delights should fit in somewhere.

What do you enjoy doing? Think about it: if you had just thirty
minutes to work on something you enjoy, what would that be? Sleeping
doesn't count! Do you like to sew, scrapbook, write, garden, paint,
draw or take pictures? There are so many more areas of interest you
could pursue! Find one that fits who you are and pursue it!!

Maybe it is a new interest. For example, I am educating myself
concerning soap making. I plan to begin making soap this spring. I am
reading about it, creating a notebook and getting antsy for garage
sales so I can collect the equipment I need. I work on my notebook
while my girls are around. They see me reading and they ask
questions. Pursuing your delights doesn't mean you have to exclude
the children. On the contrary, if anything, your passion/delight may
become theirs!

Maybe your delight is something that God has placed in your heart; a
desire to write, or to start a ministry of some kind. Psalm 103:4-5
says who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and
compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your
youth is renewed like the eagles. Delighting yourself in something
you love can be refreshing. It can bring about a renewal of your
spirit and can sweep through the rest of the family.

For starters, just take some time and make a list of things you would
like to do, something that will renew your spirit. Choose something
from the list and go to town!! It doesn't have to be long or
involved, and it doesn't have to be short and sweet. It simply has to
be a delight to you! You are worth it!

God is the potter; our children are His clay; as parents we are the
water and the wheel.

Copyright 2004, JoAnn Ehlinger
All rights reserved

3. Introducing… Assistant Editor, Mary ("Kit") Ward

Hi! I live in Washington state and have three grown sons. I began
helping other people homeschool their children before I had any of my
own, in approximately 1979. In between then and now I have gone from
Calvert School (boxed, complete) curriculum to unschooling, and
obtained education degrees of my own, to boot.

As a '60's teenager I was attracted to all-natural-everything.
Natural learning was the eventual natural outgrowth of this laid-back
style! The world has changed so much in that time! I know I bring a
unique perspective to the lives of many younger moms and I pray it
will bless you as I try to share this here in SEEDLING.

In raising my three sons, for the most part as a single mom, I have
used many different options including public, private, and
alternative programs as well as homeschooling. While I'm
completely "sold" on unschooling, I view them all as tools in our
toolboxes, to be used with prayer. Because every homeschool mom is,
by necessity, unschooling at least herself!

In between SEEDLING issues, if you are interested in discussion
and/or more resources, please feel free to join us at: (e-mail discussion group) (Rest for the
weary - e-zine/tips) (Christian Chat portal for 24/7

Mary Ward, M.Ed.
a.k.a. "Kit"
or e-mail

4. My Journey to Unschooling
By Cyndi Clack

Journey . . . something that suggests moving from one place to
another. That certainly describes our experience with home education.
We have not always been in this place of unschooling, living and
learning. This is the story of how we got here.

As it seems we question everything to do with the status quo now, it
is remarkable that thirteen years ago, we put our oldest child,
Amber, on a bus and sent her off to school because that's just what
you did when your child was five years old. It was during that year,
though several amazing incidents, that God convicted our hearts about
homeschooling. We went to our first homeschool conference in spring
of 1990. The only vendors there were Abeka, Bob Jones, Christian
Liberty, Konos and Lifetime Books and Gifts. We naively purchased
ABEKA and began homeschooling in the Fall of 1990. The next ten years
or so were filled with various school at home programs . . .Abeka,
Konos, Unit Studies and Sonlight.

Of course there was a pattern to our schooling. I had a baby about
every 18 - 20 months during those years. I would get pregnant, be
very tired and sick. The children would pursue their own interests
with my direction from the couch. We read tons of books together and
watched a lot of cool things on TV and had great discussions. The
children learned how to cook, how to maintain the house and how to do
laundry. The baby would be born and a couple months later, I would
panic that we had not done any schoolwork. Off to the book fair to
stock up on curriculum, bring it home, hit the books. Slowly we would
get bored with that and start drifting back into our comfortable
style of living and learning. Then, I would be pregnant again and the
whole cycle would start over.

I never could seem to be totally at peace with unschooling during
that time. I carried guilt that we weren't "doing school" Their
academic growth was narrowly defined in my mind as working through
textbooks, completing workbooks and taking tests. Not to mention that
I had no real understanding of unschooling and didn't believe that a
Christian could be an unschooler. It was ten years of inward turmoil.

When my Amber turned fourteen and was considered in highschool, I
became determined that we needed to get serious about credits. So we
began to tackle the subjects that she would need to graduate,
according to the state. For the most part, Amber went with the flow.
I gave the assignments and she did the work. However, Algebra was a
nightmare. We cried, we screamed, we threw books. But she had to have
Algebra, right?

Let me take a slight turn to tell you some other things that were
going on at the same time. In 2001, we were really being challenged
about our parenting practices. You see, basically, we had parented in
fear. Fear of failure, fear of our children making wrong choices,
fear of the opinions of others. Having a lot of children turns the
eyes of people on you and we were determined to look like the perfect
Christian homeschool family. Legalism ruled in our home. That year we
began to reap what we had sown. The harvest was just what we were
trying to avoid . . . rebellion, anger, deception.

It was during that year, that we realized that what we had been doing
was not working. We began to question everything and we cried out to
the Lord for His guidance. God began an amazing work in our lives. He
began to teach my husband and me about grace and mercy. We were
heartbroken but determined to rebuild the relationships with our
children. I can testify to His faithfulness in restoring
relationships. His grace and mercy are abundant!

In March of 2001, while I was still pondering what all of this meant.
I went to a homeschool conference. I was saddened to see that almost
every speaker advocated a strict school at home program and
encouraged a very legalistic parenting philosophy. All that had
brought us was sorrow. While standing in the booth of Lifetime Books
and Gifts, near tears, I was approached by Tina Farewell, the owner
of Lifetime. She asked if she could help me and I answered in tears
that I just didn't know. She spent quite a while talking to me. I
don't remember a lot of what she said but one thing stuck with me and
started me onto the path of unschooling. She revealed that her
eighteen-year-old daughter had not taken Algebra. She said, "I
determined that my relationship with Elizabeth was more important
than algebra. She can take algebra anytime but if I ruin our
relationship now it may never be restored." Wow! I was stunned! For
the first time, I realized that I had to step out of the box.

You know what the box is: the box that says each of our children has
to take subjects A, B, C, D, etc. And they have only twelve years to
complete those subjects. I realized that the only reason that algebra
was an issue was that someone in some office somewhere decided that
to be well educated my children had to take algebra in the ninth
grade. (Feel free to substitute any subject for algebra). The fact is
that whoever that was didn't know my child at all. But the Creator of
the universe knows my children! He created my children for a unique
purpose and He has equipped them for that purpose. I realized that I
had to step into agreement with the Lord about the destiny of my

I came home from that conference and guess what Amber was doing?
ALGEBRA! I asked her why she was doing it, and she replied, "because
you said that I had to." I told her then that I was lifting that
requirement. If Algebra were a part of the plan for her life, God
would let us know.
I was scared to death!!! This was really radical. My heart was
leading me and telling me that this was the right thing, but I had to
convince my mind.

I spent many months researching unschooling and the history of our
education system. To make a long story short, after finding out what
the purposes of our education system are, I knew that I could not
replicate that in our home any longer. It was a long time before I
would publicly admit that I am an unschooler. My previous
misconceptions and judgments limited my ability to do that. But I
stand proudly today to say that we are Christian Unschoolers, living
a life totally devoted to the will of God and his purposes for our

It has been a remarkable journey. It's amazing that when we started
out, the plan was to teach our children. We have ended up being
taught many things. I am grateful for God's love, grace and mercy
that travel with us. The best part? We haven't arrived yet . . . the
journey continues.

Cyndi Clack, child of the King, wife of Chris and Mommi to Amber, 19;
Katie, 17; Justin, 14; Molly, 12; Stephen, 11; Drew, 9; Gracie,
8; Noah, 6 and Logan, 4.

5. The Home Schooled Year
By Susan McGlohn

Many things in life are cyclical: infancy to adulthood, spring to
winter. This fact of life shows itself in the posts on our statewide
homeschool e-mail list. New members flood in at about the same time
each year, and I enjoy the watching the seasons of the homeschool
year unfold, marked by the questions asked on the VA Eclectic
Homeschooling List:

~*~August~*~ Anxious posts appear as to
"What is `the best' curriculum?" and
"How do the Standards of Learning apply to home schoolers?" and
"How do we prepare for testing in the spring?" and
"Do I have to test my kindergartner?" and
"What if we don't score high enough?"

~*~September~*~ Posts about play groups and park days rise to the

~*~October~*~ Enthusiastic posts float in about how great home
schooling is and how much fun it's been the first two months,
and "Why didn't we do this years ago?"

~*~November~*~ The public schools have issued their first report
cards. New list members inquire, "Should I pull my kid out now or
wait until Christmas break?" "What is deschooling?" "How can I teach

~*~December~*~ Posts ask, "How many days after I pull my child out
do I have before submitting my Notice Of Intent?" "Can I pull him out
before I receive approval?" "What curriculum should I buy?"

~*~January~*~ New Year Resolutions abound to really "buckle down
with renewed spirit". Ski trips fill their rosters, and the indoors
types look for software and book suggestions.

~*~February~*~ In February, posts get a bit more specific, asking
about how to teach certain concepts such as fractions or phonics; or
they have some really great resources and links to share. Early in
the month, some new members are those disillusioned with the mid-year
public school reports, or have just realized their high school
student may not graduate on time after all, in spite of their own
hard persistence. "If I have to work this hard, why not be in charge?
What is this I hear about a book called The Teenage Liberation

~*~March~*~ "Is it too soon to test our kids?" "If I pull my kids
out now, do I still have to test them at the end of the year?" State
convention queries trickle in with the spring rains.

~*~April~*~ Members mention field trips to the bay to look for
sharks' teeth, park days, and play groups. Even the more traditional-
style home schoolers take the "unschooling" days off to combat the
cabin fever of the past few months.

~*~May~*~ Talk of standardized testing and proof of progress is in
the air, along with flower pollen and bees buzzing and birds
singing. "Where can I order a diploma?" "What if my children don't
score high enough on the test? Can I retest them?"

~*~June~*~ "Does anyone school through the summer?" Used curriculum
sales abound.

~*~July~*~ "Is there still time to submit testing results?" "When is
the deadline for the NOI for the next school year?"

~*~August~*~ Here we are, right back to August, realizing that we
have lived, and loved, and learned through another entire year of
home education. For some, the question, "What is the best
curriculum?" will be met by the knowing grin of a now-seasoned home
educator, and a ready keyboard to tap out suggestions of "options"
for the newbies, where last year there had been only a knotted,
puzzled brow.

The above is an adaptation of an article which originally appeared in
the VHEA Newsletter, and has been shared here by kind permission of
the author.
copyright © 2004 Susan McGlohn, all rights reserved

6. Ordering Info on Our Book

In case anyone has forgotten, we have actually written and published,
a book! Christian Unschooling: Growing Your Children in the Freedom
of Christ, is available nationwide.

We are found at, Barnes & Noble ( ) , even
To read an excerpt of the book, please go to our publisher's website:

7. Closing Letter

Well, we pray that this issue has touched you...please feel free to
forward this ezine in its entirety to any who might be interested.

As our time is drastically limited, by homeschooling, health and
other issues…Seedling will be going to at least bi-monthly issues.
Hopefully this will take off some of the time pressure. We pray it
can remain a blessing and serve as a reminder why we have chosen to
homeschool. Please send in submissions!!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Kit Ward

8. Subscription Information

Subscribe at : or email:

Unsubscribe at: or email:

9. 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

© 2004 SEEDLING, Elissa Wahl, publisher; all rights reserved.

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