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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Issue #5 March 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
#5, March 01, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Henry
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown
Contributing Editor: Patricia Moon


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. What Did You Learn In School Today? By Patricia Moon with special guest Sara Moon
3. Meet An Unschooling Family by Susan Dahlem
4. UNSCHOOLING...A Day in the Life by Sharyn R. Kennedy
5. Book Review by Teri Brown A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education By Catherine Levison
6. Charlotte Mason Links
7. Today with Unschooling by Jeanne Musfeldt
8. Contest Entries and Winner....Yummy Recipes!!
9. Closing letter from the editor
10. Subscription Information
11. Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

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

In case you're wondering, married life is going GREAT, but will be better when we actually live together!! Please pray that my house sells quickly and
that our cross-country journey is safe...we will be driving from NJ to NV
starting on March 29th!!

God, as per normal, is opening many doors in my life, and I hope in yours too. Currently I am being called back into the special needs arena.
Exceptional children have always been a passion of mine....I went to college
studying special education, was told I was having a Down's baby, have worked in this field as a caretaker for years, and now, have a glorious stepson, Christopher, who has Cerebral Palsy.

I was recently asked to do a chat on unschooling special needs kidlets. While I was tossing this thought around in my head, I talked to Teri about
including this subject in our book. Almost simultaneously, I received
another unschooling newsletter ( which happened to include a blob on unschooling special we see a pattern emerging??

This too is a subject that needs a voice....IEPs (Individualized Education
Plans) are great...but are they enough?? We are still squashing any interests
our kids may have, if we only go based on the Child Study Teams evaluations. We need to see our kids, not just their abilities, or in this case,
diffabilities!! We were all given interests and likes, dislikes; none of us are the same (Thank You God)

Look through the Bible, see all the times God used people with various
afflictions, diseases, spread his word via miracles. We are
all chosen by God, we are all made in His image..our imperfections are only
such in society's eyes!!

I have not been able to get copyright permission, but if you have the time,
go to this link and read the lyrics to this song..." Don't Laugh At Me " by
Mark Wills ('t Laugh )
They are moving words.

I'd love to hear from any of you about any challenges you all face with your
kids and their learning. This is just one in a million of subjects that needs
to be addressed, and I am so thankful for this e-zine where we can share and strengthen each other!

Read on and be blessed!

2. What Did You Learn In School Today?
By Patricia Moon with special guest Sara Moon

Those are the words that many of us heard at the end of every school day when we were young. I even recall the same words coming out of my own mouth while my daughter attended three months of public school. This week I discovered another of the many joys of homeschooling. It was when I definitely didn't need to ask, "What did you learn in school today?" Today I read her "Kindness" essay and just knew. I knew what she learned, and I knew how and where she learned it.

by Sara Moon, 12

I like it when people are kind by saying something like, "Oh, you can go first," when you're in a long grocery store line. I remember a time when I was in the library behind a lady who had about ten books to check out. I had four or five. She said, "You go ahead, Ill take longer than you." I like it when people are kind without knowing it and you don't expect it.

I recall a sermon that the pastor at our church gave one Sunday. It was about a lady who went into a crowded cafe and bought a bag of crackers. When she looked around to find a place to sit, the only empty seat was at a table where a man was sitting. She got out a newspaper and sat down there. She picked up a cracker and read her newspaper. Then she stared as the man also took a cracker and smiled at her surprised look. As they ate, her look of astonishment kept getting bigger, until only one cracker was left. The man took it and broke it in half, ate one half himself, and gave the other half to the lady. She took it, angry that this man had sat and ate almost all of her crackers, and then only gave her half of the last one. As the man got up to leave he said, "Thank you for the honor." She sat there for a minute, amazed, then got up and gingerly opened her bag to put her newspaper in it, and there she saw her own bag of crackers.

I think that people should make a little more room in their lives for kindness. I know I will.

The ironic thing about this essay is that it was part of our paragraph-a-week
project and Sara veered so far off the length and content of the project that
I had to stretch to recognize the original intent. Typical natural learner,
she read the project guidelines and then went off on her own good idea.

While Sara honed her writing skills with the paragraph-turned-essay, I
realized how much she learns every day, from simply being an aware and active member of her community. This article is a result of what I learned in school today.

3. Meet An Unschooling Family
Susan Dahlem

In our life, we are in a constant state of learning and have found that we fit best into the "unschoolers" category due to the fact that we do as little "time wasting" as possible. We truly feel (from experience of course) that school as the masses know it is a serious waste of childhood and not only contributes to the ills of our society, but has resulted in the mass production of illiterate, unimaginative, uncreative clones of not-so-great minds. If you don't believe me try to get a correct order at your closest fast food place two days in a row. We are trying so very hard to instruct our children to live life, love it...learn from it. Do what they love and love what they do. And NEVER gauge their success by anyone's standards but their own. Financial gain does not = happiness. Our goals from the beginning of our parenting adventure has been to raise our children to be thinkers, as well as doers. We want them to respectfully question authority, to do what is right because it is right, take very little at face value, to have a working knowledge of numbers and their purpose, and to be able to write out their thoughts without hesitation so that they will be understood and their opinions respected. We want them to appreciate art for art's sake, literature or the joy of reading and gaining knowledge, and music just because we don't trust anyone who doesn't love music!! We want them to be able to orally convey their thoughts and opinions as well as being able to write them down so as to demand the respect they deserve.

We have never told any one of our 6 children that they were incapable of
doing anything. We have told them at times they may should try something from a different approach. We have some very confident, strong family members who are people with minds, opinions and choices of their own. Our approach to learning has always been a little unorthodox doing mostly research type learning. You know, getting on a subject and reading, digging and reading some more until your curiosity is satisfied. That is how you retain things...being interested in it. We have NEVER spoon fed our children information and never will. It is a ridiculous tiresome act that is completely fruitless--kind of like trying to teach a pig to sing.

We have a homebusiness that has been very educational for all of us. We have always done things "the hard way" lest there is no satisfaction in doing it!! We have made our own soaps for over a decade but, just found out recently that others are very appreciative of the art of soapmaking and do enjoy having a superior product that was handcrafted. So...Dahlem's Handcrafted Soaps was born. Soapmaking is some of the most satisfying work I have ever done. We make and sell many varieties of soaps and I have written a guide to soapmaking basics called Soapmaking 101. Out of our love for home businesses and due to the fact that my kids think they can do anything they set their minds to, Rachel age 8 has opened her own business called Wild Child. She is making stuff for kids--soaps, body glitter, bath gel, lip stuff. She designed her own business card and brochure and is very busy getting products ready to take to Earth Day 2000 in Baton Rouge in April.

As for the next big family learning experience we are designing our family's
permanent home that will be built on property we have owned for 20 years by only family members. Jerry and I and the older kids are working on the
design and floor plans and hope to begin it in the Summer of 2003...sounds
like a long time until you think about 1997 being "just yesterday". The home
will be a cob know like homes in the British Isles. Handsculpted,
handcrafted --a labor of love. For our family - by our family...and I cannot
imagine the lessons to be learned between now and then.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the
essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. --Thoreau

Susan in Louisiana
wife to Jerry, mom to Zach, Jessica, Nathan, Hannah, Rachel and Ben
Dahlem's Handcrafted Soaps & Sundries

4.UNSCHOOLING...A Day in the Life
Sharyn R. Kennedy

We are in our 8th year of home schooling, our 3rd year of UN schooling. After 4 years of textbooks and other methods we had tried, and the fact that as the children got older, our schedules became more hectic, I started to look into unschooling and natural learning. At first my motive was to find a way to educate them without spending a lot of money and time on lesson plans and other paperwork. As it turned out, the natural way of learning is the way we should have been doing it all along. It never crossed my mind that some would think unschooling is unchristian, and when I heard this opinion, I found it absurd.

I have 3 children. Deborah is almost 15, Matthew is 13, and John is 11, so I
have 2 high schoolers who are UNschooled. I have been using the boys' Boy
Scout handbook for a lot of their learning. Instead of working on merit
badge requirements once a week and at summer camp, we do it several times a week. The handbook lists boocoos of activities. They chose the ones that interested them the most and I made a list. As they complete the learning, they check it off. They also report to their scout master and get credit for what they've done. We've been working on Environmental Science for a while now, as well as small business. The boys are growing a variety of mushrooms to sell at our local health food store. The boys learned a lot about composting, and even carpentry in the process because they built some compost bins. I keep a daily journal of everything we do, just in case the state wants to ''investigate''.

My daughter Deborah is a gifted pianist and artist. We discovered this a few
years ago, but her time had been wrapped up in textbook studies so she didn't blossom until we ditched all that. Today, she is writing her first symphony, consisting of 150 instruments, as well as rearranging various pieces on piano. She also draws and paints, and she has a vast interest in Russia. She's learning the Russian language, as well as history and culture, from some Russian friends of ours. Her goal is to visit Russia in the near future. Well, we'll have to see about that one!:-) She has piano lessons and Russian on Mondays, a 2 hour art class on Wednesdays, and Russian again on Thursdays. Tuesdays and Fridays she writes, paints, does her math, and studies herbology. She also likes Philosophy and classic literature.

We use the Ray's Arithmetic series because they are mostly word problems and require a great deal of THINKING. But...I haven't had to teach them math a lot. I did have to make them learn multiplication tables but everything else they have learned by DOING. They have either watched me (balance a checkbook, comparison shop, measure, etc.) or figured it out on their own (counting money). I include them in banking, shopping, and anything else I do that requires basic math skills. We haven't had Algebra yet and honestly, I never had it either, so I can't teach it. A tutor may be necessary, but for now, their basic math skills are good. They all enjoy reading. I've never had to coax them into reading. Since I'm a writer, I hoped they would pick up the interest and enjoy writing but so far I stand alone in this (smile)! And one other thing...their yearly test results have always been in the 99 percentile...NOT that I think these tests are necessary or prove anything but they are required here.

Most importantly, they have grown in Christ. They have Bible study each day and do youth devotionals, and read works by great Christian authors like C.S. Lewis. Some of our favorite times are the discussions we have. They pop up naturally, not led by a teacher's manual.

Well, that's at least a small part of our unschooling lifestyle. Did I mention I am Cherokee Indian? We have incorporated a lot of our heritage into our lifestyle as well.


Sharyn R. Kennedy

5. Book Review by Teri Brown

A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education By Catherine Levison

Charlotte Mason was an English educator who lived in the 1800s. Her works, Home Education were widely read and her thoughts on education diverged widely from the common thought of her times. The Charlotte Mason method has reinvented itself in the modern home schooling movement and is once again gaining popularity.

What does Charlotte Mason have to do with Christian Unschooling? Charlotte Mason held the belief that the two of the most important aspects of educating a child were instilling a love of learning in the child and knowledge of our Creator. Very much like Christian Unschooling.

Though Charlotte herself advocated a fairly strict schedule, many of her
modern followers are far more relaxed in their approach. Most of Charlotte's methods are easily adaptable in the unschooling home, and can be a part of the educational lifestyle.

There are many good contemporary books available on the CM method, two of the best I've seen are, " Charlotte Mason Education" and "More Charlotte
Mason Education" by Catherine Levison. The author states in the introduction that while there is no replacement for the Original homeschooling series, "The intention of this book is to pull out the "how to" from the philosophy, which can be difficult. Not so you will never have to read Charlotte Mason for yourself, but so that you can begin to apply her insights right away." There are many insights in this book that unschoolers can use in their home and Levison lays them out in an easy to use and appealing way.

The book is laid out with a different subject for each chapter, the author
uses Charlotte's own philosophies of short lessons for children and gives us
short easy to read chapters, especially in the first book, " Charlotte Mason
Education." If you would like your children to be more knowledgeable in
poetry for instance, you turn to the short poetry chapter where the author
explains the method used to teach poetry. Simply read a poem at odd times in the day, and put it on the wall where the child can see it often. What an
unschoolerish thing to do!

Her chapter on Narration explains an excellent way to find out how much your child is retaining from their reading. Narration is the telling back to you what the child has read. The author follows this up with a wonderful chapter on literature, which also includes a reading list of classic literature.

The second book includes a great deal of information on using the CM method for highschool students. This will come in very handy if you have a teen bound for college and has decided they want more structure to their
education. Using the Charlotte Mason method in this case will add structure
to their learning without giving up the freedom of being in charge of their
own education.

Like all books, you have to take what you will use and discard the rest.
Catherine Levison's books are chalk full of easy to use resources that will
add much to the unschooling educational life. If you are interested in
learning more about the Charlotte Mason method, these are the books to use.

6. Charlotte Mason Links

Penny Garner; Charlotte Mason approach to education Lots of articles!!

The ABC's of CM Very, very educational site. For each letter of the alphabet, there is a nice-length dissertation on CM or her beliefs, or a neat book.....very well-put together site!

Lynn's Very Un-Official Charlotte Mason Type Booklist Separated into Birth
through age 5 ; grades K-3 ; grades 4 & 5; grade 6; jr and hs reading lists
;and a parents book list

Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company
A book written by Karen Andreola.

7. Today with Unschooling
Jeanne Musfeldt

Today was another day filled with learning. When the children woke up, they were all excited! Today we had plans to go to a friend's house and help them dig out a storm shelter area under their house. You see, we live in Iowa. Tornadoes are very common in the spring. Last spring, our friends had one too close for comfort. Oh, it didn't do any damage to their house or barn, but it was still too close! My friend ended up taking her children and going to a crawl space under their house for that tornado!

So, after feeding the dogs, cats, chickens, and other assorted animals, we
went to our friend's house. Right away, I was in for a surprise! I don't know what I was thinking when I offered to come over and do this, but she wanted me to climb through a small doorway into the crawlspace area! Oh, man! What have I gotten myself into this time??? So, I lower myself into this area. Ugh! We tell all 7 of our children that they are going to help us. We pair off the girls, and let the 3 boys work as a team. We decided that we are going to have the kids work in 30 minutes on/60 minutes off shifts. We will shovel dirt out of there, and put it in buckets. The children are responsible for toting the buckets of dirt to the dirt pile out back. They decided on their own that it was easier to take 2 buckets at a time and use the wagon.

When each shift was done, they went off to play. Riding bikes, playing tag, and riding the horse were some of the things they did. Of course, there was
also a 2 year old under foot for the children most of the time, and they had to help out with him, too! The moms were busy shoveling out more dirt!

We had lunch with friends, and then the children were turned loose to play.
Us moms were just too dog gone tired after that morning! We sat talking and pouring over the newest issue of Gentle Spirit.

When we came home, the kids popped in a SchoolHouse Rock video we got
yesterday at the library. They watched that, and then ran around the living room, practicing tumbling and singing the preamble to the Declaration of
Independence! There was also, of course, the daily dose of computer time for each child, too.

It rained this afternoon, and they all wanted to go out and play in the rain.
I was a mean mom, and wouldn't let them, since we were all sick just last
week, and it was only about 45 degrees out. But after the rain quit, we did
go out and look for the rainbow. There wasn't one today. :o(

We do a weekly paper route for money for the kids. Today is the day! We had to bag up all the papers. Usually, we just run the route as soon as the
papers come and are bagged. But one of our vehicles isn't working, so we had to wait for Dad to come home with the van.

All too soon, it was time to do the nightly pick up and start some supper before Dad got home. The girls worked on the fried chicken while my son and I did the pick up. After supper, Evan and Dad went out to do the paper route. The girls worked on making cookies for Dad's work. There is a man there that buys cookies from the children each week. More money for them!

Soon, it will be time for baths and Bible study. Then it is off to bed! But that doesn't mean the learning will stop there. We went to the library yesterday, so there is a whole slew of books waiting for the children to read them! I suspect that they will be falling asleep sometime before midnight tonight.

That is ok, though, because we have a quiet day at home planned for tomorrow. What? Us have a quiet day? Ok, there are no plans to go anywhere tomorrow. I stand corrected!

Jeanne Musfeldt
Feature writer for HELM ; Home Education Learning Magazine

8. Contest Entries and Winner- Yummy recipes!!

This contest was for your favorite kid friendly recipes ! The winner receives
a copy of Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month, by Deborah Taylor-Hough (Champion Press, 1999)

There will be no contest this month..stay tuned for next issue!!


Egg In A Hole

1 egg
1 slice of bread
1 tbs butter or margarine
salt to taste

Using a child size cup or glass, cut a hole in the center of the bread. Set
stove eye to medium or medium high, and melt butter. Put bread in pan and
crack egg into the center. Flip bread and egg over when bottom is cooked to
cook other side. salt to taste and eat warm.

Michelle Marie Alcido

My children and I like to make a quick, easy meal with biscuit dough, Lil
Smokies (little link sausages) and cheese. You fry up the Lil Smokies and
then fold them into the biscuit dough with a piece of cheese, bake it at the
temperature indicated on the biscuit wrapper and then eat them with ketchup.

Angela Giles Klocke


1 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup of milk
1 mashed banana

Mix in a bowl. Pour into greased slice tin, bake in a moderate oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool, cut into squares.

It's always a hit in our house - the kids love to make it AND eat it!

Janet in Oz.

When my son, Rob, was in elementary school and in Cub Scouts, we had one day a week which was his to decide on dinner. One week it might be macaroni and cheese which he made, or English muffin pizza. The funniest selection which is personal favorite. (Don't barf, he said it was good)


three slices of white bread, untoasted
four slices of all beef bologna
two slices of American cheese

Spread mayo on one slice of bread
Top with one slice of cheese and two rolled up slices of bologna
Spread ketchup on another slice of bread
Top with one slice of cheese and two rolled up slices of bologna
Cover sandwich with the third slice of bread and eat.

Those nights his father and I had plain bologna sandwiches but whenever Rob's friends came over they all raved about Rob's Bologna Sandwich.

Bea Sheftel

9. Closing Letter

So? What do you think about Charlotte Mason? How about that Bologna sandwich (sorry but GAG). LOL, this e-zine is fun for us to publish, and it has really been a learning experience!

Let's give you a little update on our book! We sent our proposal (big thing
with info about our vision for the book, sample chapters, market information, pr information, and lots of emails showing the interest in this project) to certain publishers we felt would fit our philosophies. To date we have had two rejections...BUT our FIRST response was VERY enthusiastic and we were also approached by someone who works for a division of a very big publishing company for a copy of the proposal. Honest, since day of the inception of this project, we have been blessed by the responses..there are a LOT of us Christian Unschoolers out there huh!!

Now we are actually able to get to the writing!! Many laborious hours have
been put into the proposal, researching how many homeschooling books
libraries across the USA have, to what Bible book stores would be interested
in carrying a copy when published, to support groups that fit our
philosophies. Writing is the last thing to be done!!

As if working on the book wasn't enough, Teri Brown also has a new job, the
editor of the suite101 unschooling site! Check out this link for articles on
unschooling, links and discussion boards.

Our webmaster's computer has decided to croak, sooooooooooo......there will be no new pages added or any major changes. Elissa can still change url's and add/delete, so keep up the great informative emails!! We really appreciate being able to keep our information updated due to all the help you all give us!!

Next month's issue of Seedling will be emailed out approximately one week expect it around April 10!! Trust me when I say my computer will be the LAST thing in the truck, and the FIRST thing unpacked, but even still, life is going to be hectic for a bit.

We're not sure if or what the topic will be next month....send submissions
PLEASE...we'll see where the Lord leads.

Be blessed you all!

Elissa Henry
Teri Brown
Patricia Moon

10. Subscription Information

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11. 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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