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The World’s Best Husband

Men, do you want to know how to earn your wife’s “World’s Best Husband Award”? Okay, okay, some of you are saying, “It’s automatically me because I’m my wife’s only husband.” You’re right…at least I hope so! But I mean do you want to be that husband about whom all the other wives in the homeschool support group go, “Ooooohhhh, I wish my husband would think of something like that for me!”? Well, here’s the secret: take all the kids with you for a day and give your wife some time alone, in her own house, uninterrupted for several hours of relaxation and refreshment. It may cost you some sanity and some time, but you can create wonderful memories with your children while your wife relishes a bubble bath without some little fist knocking at the door the entire time, or she enjoys reading a book without having to set it down every three minutes to get someone else a juice cup or wipe someone’s nose, or whatever else your loving wife may dream of doing in her own space during a day of unint…

Ta-dah’s, Olive Plants, and Other Musings

Our sixth child, Benjamin, has been the most active and mischievous of all our children. He’s the kind of child who climbs the shelves in the pantry so he can stack soup cans six and seven high; he runs any place he wishes…not walks, but runs; and he goes to sleep kicking his foot against the mattress (but he’ll sleep no more than eight hours at a time, regardless of how active the previous day has been). Sigh. This forty-four-year-old mom is feeling the effects of such an energetic little guy.
Last night, as I was attempting to put Ben down for bed, he kept calling out, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…” Finally, I said, “What is it, Ben?” He promptly pointed to a stuffed animal he had suspended high between the rungs of his crib and sing-songed, “Ta-dah!” Goofball. (He gets it from his daddy, I’m certain.) Of course, I had to chuckle and give him a kiss, thanking him for reminding me why it’s so wonderful to have little ones in the family. And then I thanked God for giving me another olive plan…

One Down, Five to Go….

Fifteen or so years ago, I distinctly remember thinking, “Okay, Lord, I’ll be willing to teach my children at home, at least up to high school.” And then as junior high and high school approached, I prayed, “Yes, Lord, I’ll consider teaching the children through high school. Please, just don’t make me teach them chemistry or government.” Now, over a decade into our actual teaching adventure, I’m standing on the other side of the bank and saying, “I have a high school graduate who survived me as his teacher for twelve years – even through chemistry! How did we get to this point?” Well, it suddenly occurred to me as I was watching my oldest son hugging people and shaking hands with those who were congratulating him on his achievement: We got to this point the same way we got through learning to read, memorizing multiplication tables, and practicing how to write a logical paper; we got here by God’s grace. Did I think that His grace was not sufficient enough to get us through chemistry, …

George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)

He was a native of Germany, but he lived in England for nearly fifty years, even becoming an English citizen. The Queen of England gave him a yearly stipend to keep him in the court as the royal composer. When he died, nearly 3,000 mourners attended his funeral, showing the love and appreciation the people of England had for this man. He was buried with honor in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner. Who was he? George Frederic Handel was a man of musical genius, generosity, and faith.

Handel was exceptionally generous. He sent frequent monetary gifts to the widow of one of his first music teachers, for example. This music teacher, Friedrich Zachau, only worked with young Handel for three years, but Handel never forgot the musical training and appreciation for lifelong learning that Zachau gave him.

Handel demonstrated generosity by frequently directing presentations of Messiah for charitable fundraisers for such causes as a foundling hospital and debtors’ prisons. He cared for widows an…

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at unique moments in the lives of several key composers in musicology. These moments in time are to make the composers a bit more approachable and real to students (and some teachers) who may be a little leery of getting involved with classical music because they feel intimidated by it. We need to recognize that these composers were real people who faced hardships, worked diligently, and had very personal reasons for composing the music they did. Understanding a bit more about their lives makes their music even richer and more enjoyable.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

J.S. Bach was from a large family of musicians, and passed along that love for music and composing to his own children. He had twenty children, so he definitely did his part to continue the musical legacy. Typically, he is referred to as J.S. Bach or as Sebastian because within the Bach family there were fifty-three individuals with the name Johann. In his own family of tw…

World Geography

How do we develop an appreciation for other cultures, establish a solid understanding of where countries are in our world, and encourage our children to distinguish worldviews from other regions of the globe? We teach world geography, of course! Around the World in 180 Days is the resource we have been using this year for social studies. It’s a combination of geography, history, culture, and religion for each of the continents (yes, even including Antarctica).

The course is designed for all ages of student, providing daily questions to answer in each of the four subject areas listed above. In addition, Mrs. Payne has listed extra research project ideas, supplemental reading suggestions, biography lists, and mapping activities for each continent. Separate student manuals may be purchased, or you are allowed to copy the manual for family use. There is a teacher’s answer key supplied for all the daily questions, as well.

We have used Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps for the mapping exercises, …

It was one of those days...

It was one of those days that I had been thinking, “Anytime You want to take me Home, Lord, I’m ready.” It wasn’t anything major, mind you. Rather, it was all the little irritations and frustrations of life that were exhausting me and making me yearn even more for Glory. It was the fussy infant who wouldn’t be quiet unless he was being held; it was the husband leaving me home with all of the children so he could serve as a deacon at church; it was the tears during spelling for my sixth grader; it was my oldest son asking for last-minute help on a college composition; it was my four-year-old yelling for help from the potty; it was the pile of dishes in the sink, and the pile of laundry in the dryer, and the pile of toys scattered all over the house; it was the ungraded schoolwork sitting on the table…. Well, you get the idea. It was a typical day of home schooling (at least at my house). What a day! It was not one of those days I wanted to number as Psalm 90:12 exhorts us to do: “So te…

Taking time to notice

I almost walked by…. I still had the ironing to do, and I had hoped to work on the next day’s lesson plans, so I almost ignored the light in the library when I came downstairs from putting the four younger kids to bed. The Holy Spirit kept tugging me towards the library, however, and blessed me with one of the most meaningful and mature conversations I’ve ever had with my oldest son. We sat and talked about a relationship in his youth group that has been puzzling and troubling him for several months now, and we ended the nearly hour-long conversation with prayer and a hug. Could life get any better? But I almost missed this moment because I was more focused on my own agenda than on the people God has given me to impact (and learn from) on a daily basis. Thank You, God, for being so patient and long-suffering towards me. Help me focus on my family more than my to-do list. The benefits are always so much greater!