Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Quiet Land


This painting was done by an artist named John Sloane. You can see all of his beautiful art work on his web page here.  Your spirit will be blessed with his paintings!  I have a calendar hanging up in our living room with John Sloane pictures for each month. The one posted above is for November. Our oldest son, John Thomas, loves this picture and what it represents to him.
We have watched each of the children go through phases of interests and aspirations.
John Thomas has wanted to be an astronaut, an airline pilot, an architect, the President of the United States, and a Senator representing the state where we live. Needless to say, I am grateful that he no longer wants to be a pilot or astronaut, and just about as pleased with his turning away from politics! He might change again, but I have seen  a major shift as he has become more comfortable in who he really is. Now, he aspires to be a History professor in a small, Christian college (hmmmmm . . . where did he get that notion?). He wants to be married  to a woman who wants to make a home for him and their children. He wants to homeschool. He wants to farm. He wants to be a deacon in his church.  He wants an old farm house with trees all around. He would consider himself rich beyond any measure.
He wants a quiet, country life.
I couldn't be more pleased.  Not only do I love and laud his goals and values, but I am so happy to see the restlessness that plagued him for a while melt away like so much snow on a warm sunny afternoon.
Only the Lord knows our destinies, but I also think that He places dreams and desires on our hearts.
John Thomas struggled for YEARS with his salvation. My husband and I believe that he has been saved since he went into his bedroom closet and prayed when he was 8 years old (he thought he was supposed to do that!). But something began to sift and rattle his assurance and understanding of the Lord.  He felt he wasn't saved. We battled this for so long. Then about a year ago, he took a course that wasn't required of his major. Because John Thomas is leading music at our church, he thought the course would help. It was called "Theology of Worship." It was taught by a wonderful and godly man, Dr. Jon Duncan. Something in the course and in Dr Duncan's teachings touched John Thomas' heart. He was sure of his salvation and comfortable in his relationship with Jesus as never before. I don't know what it was, but it was heaven sent. Since that time, I have seen our precious boy settling
comfortably into who he is and what he wants as a young man of God.
I am praying for our other two treasures that they will find their way as well.
Thank YOU, Lord for having Your hands on us. You send others to bless and guide us.
Thank You, Lord, Thank You.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Some Serious Thoughts About the State of Education


That our Nation's morals, values and character is on a downward spiral is evidenced so very clearly by the changes we see in students. I have noticed a trend in students today, and I thought that maybe I was just growing grumpier . . . maybe the change and perception was internal. But, I heard this change given a name, and it is SOOOOOOOOOO accurate. I feel vindicated in my observations, but it is a Pyrrhic victory--our culture is in grave peril from this trend.
For the last few years, we have all heard the term, "helicopter parents.'  They are the ones who hover around their child as they register for classes (to get the easiest teachers and the classes that will transfer to another school) and then as the grades come in--
they failed their children by not "hovering" when they were young and needed to be taught to work, study and practice honesty in all situations. These parents will argue about grades and try to tell you that their child will lose his financial aid if he doesn't get an A in your course. I saw that in action many years ago in another state--a fellow faculty member if you can believe that. I would go so far as to argue that these parents are less concerned with their children actually learning than with what they earn.  Maybe it is even a different definition of what it means to "earn" a grade. 
This post is really about a dangerous shift from "helicopter parents" to "snow plough parents." 
This term refers to parents who will "plough over" anyone by any means to make sure their child receives the A  he or she deserves. I have seen this more times than I can count.  I didn't realize that others were recognizing it as well. 
Several years ago, one student who did not attend class and failed to turn in assignments earned a failing grade. She was one of two in that class who did not pass the course.. To cover for her lack of effort, she lied to her parents and told them that the professor was "on academic probation for being such a bad teacher and he fails everyone!"  The parent protested to the Administration that this professor, being on academic probation had given her child an unfair grade. That professor, who kept meticulous records of attendance and grades, was able to produce the evidence for the student's failing the course. Do you think that any apologies were offered? None.  Blessedly, we have an administration that gives a fair hearing to everyone. The grade stood, the student went on to another college, and the Professor was heart broken.
The situations at the University of Missouri and Yale wherein imperious students are acting like spoiled 3 year-olds are not isolated. This behavior is the "new norm." They are learning this from their parents and their peers. A's are owed . . . .
I have taught for almost 25 years, and I see this terrible scenario gaining steam. It is as bad in the homeschool and Christian school environment  as in the secular. That fact is appalling. 
I grew up in the days when you got in trouble or had bad grades, your guilt was assumed! You would never dare to lie about a teacher. 
This is a testimony to our overall spiritual condition and the collapse of authority throughout our culture.
Lord, come quickly.

Friday, November 13, 2015

On Our Way to Jamestown and Plymouth


Virginia has been working on a timeline of the great explorers, and she has made some great narrative pages.  Next on the list is an exploration of the original 13 Colonies, beginning with Jamestown and Plymouth (yes, just in time for Thanksgiving). From their we will move into a state study (we have done mini-studies over the years, but I want this one to be thorough and full of lots of information). By the end of the year, she should have a notebook full of information that spans history, geography and a little natural science (we will incorporate a look at the National Parks and their ecosystems as well).  



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sweet Times


One of the blessings of being able to home school is that the children have been able to do some really neat things that public school schedules wouldn't have permitted. John Thomas, Virginia and Dad  went to the Georgia Baptist Convention, basically to hear the TMC musicians and leaders perform as well as to hear a group called The Gettys.  They are responsible for the beautiful song, "In Christ Alone." They apparently specialize in familiar hymns with their own Celtic interpretation. Dear Daughter came home with a CD, and we have all been enjoying the music.
Our Church elected Michael, IVE and JT as messengers (my Baptist friends will understand that). 
James Martin didn't want to go, but I think he would have enjoyed it. The two of us  had a good time with chilli dogs and a table game called "Time Line." It was good for  us to have some time together. 
I was happy though, when everyone was back together.

There's a lot to be learned from books . . .


 . . . but a great deal as well from riding in the van with DAD!
Virginia was saying that he has taken them so many places that were really special.
That's true, but it's a two-way blessing--the kids bless us by wanting to do some of the nerdy things Michael and I love.

Dad loves to have Cece as his navigator!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A World of Books

Those of you who have followed the older blogs know that our family loves Encycolpedia, especially World Book!  One of my happiest thoughts about growing up was that Moma and Daddy bought a set of World Book for the family when they could NOT afford it. These books meant so much to all of us. We have bought used sets over the years at library sales--these older editions are always better than the newer. I think John Thomas' love of learning was jump-started by his green and blue set. We probably paid no more than $10 for them. He still uses them and loves them. 


At the first homeschool convention we attended quite a few years ago, we came upon a vendor selling packages of Britannica, the Great Books of the Western World and World Book for an unbelievable price. We had to pay them in installments, but we bought that set for the kids. I wish you could have been at our house the day they arrived. We use them all the time. 



There's something special about books, about digging through them to find out what you need to know rather than simply "googling." 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Groovy

I really miss the colorful fun of the 70's decor. This is a picture of someone's collector's corner I found on Pinterest  Look at all the records and the Barbie collectables.
I have really enjoyed Pinterest. It is drama-free and absolutely FUN!  I have a Murder, She Wrote board, a James Herriott board, a Vintage Barbie, board and tons of others.
What are you interested in? I bet you could find some great Pins!