Monday, April 16, 2018

Wildlife options at SchoolhouseTeachers.com


*this post contains affiliate links*



There are two weeks left in the Spring Scavenger Hunt at SchoolhouseTeachers.com and it got me to thinking... what do you do the most of in your homeschool? Do you have one subject you cover every day like maybe reading or math? Or is there one topic your children keep asking you to go back to? 

For us the recurring theme was and still is Nature Study. Next month Arlene will turn 18. In this last year of her homeschooling journey we are still finding ways to add nature learning into our daily learning. Just yesterday afternoon after church we took a short trip to see some birds. What kind of birds? White Pelicans! Yes, truly, we saw pelicans in Indiana! They are known for their migratory stopover in southern Indiana, but Kurt and I saw a flock of about 2 dozen of them here in Central Indiana Thursday evening and we drove the girls by to see them this afternoon. Likely by the end of the week they will have moved on, but in the interim, we got to enjoy them!

On Saturday Arlene, Emily, (17 & 19) and I stopped at Conner Prairie to see some of the new spring babies in the animal encounters area. Emily used to volunteer in this area a lot, and I could tell she was feeling a little blue. So we stopped for some baby animal (therapy) fun. Lots and lots of baby goats and lambs. By the time we left everyone was smiling.

Do you like to regularly take your kids out in nature, or is it a struggle for you? You do not have to live in the country to enjoy nature. We started by taking the girls out into the yard and letting them crawl around when they were less than a year old. I have an infamous picture of Arlene on the wall that shows her eating dirt just before her first birthday. Did it hurt her? No. Is it a funny memory for me? Absolutely! Does she love the outdoors? Yes!

If you are struggling with finding ways to incorporate nature study or biology into your home education routine then why not check out the offerings on SchoolhouseTeachers.com? There is a Nature Journal PDF suitable for any age to use to record their finds. Your 3rd-6th grader might enjoy the Wildlife Adventures course. Your older students could probably learn a lot from the Biology or Botany courses. Or maybe you just want to get better at taking pictures of what you find while you are outdoors? Then check out the 30 week course in photography and learn the skills to work with your camera instead of against it!

Whatever your child's interest, there is probably a course on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that can fill a need. With over 370 to choose from, why not take another look around? Remember, the scavenger hunt is only through April 30th and someone will win a laptop. Others will win a Kindle Fire or a year's membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com
It could be you! But only if you go play and enter!

Remember that next week is the Spring Blog Hop where we will be talking about homeschooling victories! Have a great week - and get outdoors!








Saturday, April 14, 2018

Isaiah 30:15






Repentance and rest, quietness and trust.

I realize that I have been resisting these things that God wants to offer to me, just as He offered it to the nation of Israel. May I choose to repent of my hardness of heart, and find the rest and quietness that He offers. Will you join me?





Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blog Hop coming soon: Home Education Victories




Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop

The Homeschool Review Crew will be hosting its annual Spring Blog Hop from April 23-27.
This year, everyone is choosing their own topic. It's going to be a fun week of peeking into a lot of different families and finding some encouragement for your journey! I've seen the topics list and there will be something for everyone, wherever you are along your adventure, from just starting to almost finishing. :)

With this being Arlene's senior year of high school, I thought I'd take you back through these past 15 years of our family's homeschooling journey and share some homeschool victories. Some may seem small, but in the big picture they have become integral parts of our two girls' growth towards adulthood.

How crazy it sounds when I think about 2019 and being finished with homeschooling. One thing I have learned recently, is that even after they graduate, they still need their Mama (& Daddy!) This is a new stage of life our young adults enter after high school and some loving encouragement goes a long way.

I hope you'll join us each day from the 23rd-27th and find some fun, some adventure, and a lot of encouragement!


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Princess Cut ~ a Crew movie review



Princess cut, romantic drama, dove approved


How do you start difficult discussions with your teenagers? Are there topics you know you have talked about in the past, that you want to revisit, but are unsure how to bring them up again? I think all of us as parents have struggled knowing how to begin a conversation about tough issues. If you are looking for ways to either start or continue the conversation about dating with your young-adult daughters, you may want to check out the movie Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures that the girls and I watched recently.

I am going to give some spoilers here, so if you just want a general overview, we give it a B. There are some characters we wish had been better developed during the 97 minute movie, and some Christian cliches that made the girls roll their eyes. It is a solid movie, and worth the watch for the right reasons, it just could have been better. Princess Cut is a movie to reinforce the idea of waiting upon God for direction, not necessarily a movie to teach the lesson of waiting. Our girls are about to turn 18 and 20, so if they had seen this when they were 15 & 17 they might have scored it a little higher, but not much. On on overall scale, this is a family friendly movie, as there is nothing objectionable that the younger siblings should not see, but we are recommending it for ages 15 and up because once you watch it, you need to have a serious discussion about it. Which things that happen in the movie do you agree with, and which are contrary to your own family's plans or beliefs?

Now, the spoilers...

Grace, the main character, is in her early 20's and on the lookout for Mr. Right. Grace is convinced she will know when she has found him because he will slip a Princess Cut diamond engagement ring on her finger and vow to love her forever. Before you think too harshly of Grace's dream, remember that all girls spend some sort of time daydreaming in those years between 15 and adulthood and/or marriage, and it usually involves guys.

Unfortunately for Grace, the one she thinks might be Mr. Right (this time) - Stewart, turns out to be another dud. Grace is frustrated and a bit angry because she sees all the faults in these young men and wonders if she is ever going to find the right one. She has yet to realize some of the faults may be her own. Thankfully her parents realize that Grace is struggling and her Dad takes time to talk with her about waiting upon God for her future, and about how she needs to let God change her into the person He wants her to be, instead of focusing on finding the right guy. Truer words were never spoken!

At this point Grace decides to break off her dating relationship with her current Mr. Wrong - Jared, and gets a bunch of devotional and bible-study books to read. We see her spending time reading and making notes. Her attitude towards her younger brothers improves and she helps out more at home.

Shortly after this point in the movie our daughter Emily (almost 20) said she wished they had developed this part of the movie better. Instead of just showing Grace journaling her thoughts, Em wished they had shown her getting together with her girlfriends and talking out all of their right and wrong ideas about love, dating, and marriage and focusing instead on the Biblical mandate to trust God for our futures. The problem with that idea for this movie is that Grace's supposed best friend is a horrible influence and obviously living by Christian values.

As the movie continues, we see Grace and her family spending time with their new neighbor, Clint, who turns out to be Grace's Mr. Right in the end. The movie shows a more courtship style of relationship developing, and Grace and Clint are forced to work out some real struggles brought about by the arrival of Clint's ex-girlfriend.

The movie has a happy ending with Clint proposing to Grace and everyone hugging, then a brief look ahead into their married life.

Now our other thoughts

I'm not opposed to courtship as a means of building a relationship that will probably lead to marriage. I think overall it is a safer route than the traditional dating that many of us used in the past to find our spouses.  Courtship can help protect hearts, but it is not perfect either. We are sinful people, even as Christians, and we need to be involved in the lives of our young adult children.

There are some things the girls and I want you to know before watching the Princess Cut.

First up: the girls both agreed that the best situation for watching this movie would be in a family or small group setting where you had been studying God's word and what it says about marriage and/or relationships. There are several good devotional and small group Bible studies available that would help your young adult daughters and their friends have good conversations about healthy relationships. Watching Princess Cut alongside one of these studies would give opportunities to discuss what Grace and her parents did right, and what they did wrong.

Secondly: sadly, this movie does not focus on what to do while you are waiting for God to show you His plans for your life. There could definitely be a better development of the growing up involved while searching for God aspect of the story. Grace's character is naive and self-centered. Both of our girls pointed out that parents should not wait until their teen or young adult daughters are struggling with dating relationships to get involved in their lives. They both were sad that Grace lacked direction in her own life, as evidenced by her focus on the ring she wanted instead of the character of the man who might become her husband, so they found it no real surprise that she did not have any clue about what to look for in a boyfriend. They also wondered at Grace's best friend and her poor influence on Grace's choices, and why her parents had not been more involved along this path as well. We don't choose our children's friends, but we do want to help them understand how they can influence others for good, and how to recognize when their own friend might be leading them astray. During the movie Grace comments that she feels confused about what the right choices are, and while she thinks she knows what her parents would choose, she is not sure if she agrees. This leads me to the conclusion that Grace has not made her parents' faith or morals her own, but is adrift, needing a sure foundation from which to make her choices.

Don't be turned off by our girls' assessment of the movie characters. It is still a solid movie, worth the watch, and worthy of discussion. It might be the wake-up call you need to get more involved in your children's lives. Although most teens and young adults crave the independence that comes with being older, like being able to drive, choosing their own friends and dressing in their own style, they know deep down inside that they still need the dependable guidance of their parents. Spending time tying heart-strings with your children at any age can set the stage for real conversations about all the new situations they face at this age. Learn something from Grace's parents in this movie - about asking for forgiveness when you've fallen short, and about staying involved in your child's life even when they reach adulthood. There is a vast difference between not letting your child grow into an adult and abandoning your responsibilities as a parent. We want to fall somewhere in the middle - where we heed the call of God to gently guide our young adults without trying to run their lives.

Both Emily and Arlene agreed that the character of Dr. Clint Masters should have been better developed. Although we are told he is a Doctor at the local clinic, there is only one brief scene where it shows him doing any doctoring, and it is a pretty weak representation of the medical field.

One point Emily wanted me to stress is that you need to talk to your girls about the movie after it is over. Princess Cut could give some viewers the impression that if you give your life over to waiting on God that you are almost automatically guaranteed to get what you want, as Grace did in the movie. That is not a true representation of how God moves. He is God, not a fairy godmother, and sometimes He tells us "No."

You can purchase the Princess Cut movie on their website, where they also offer three different books about boy/girl relationships for the young adults in your life. If not one of these, please choose an appropriate title form your local Christian bookseller and continue the conversations that a the movie began. Our young adult children need parents who are lovingly involved in helping them grow into the people God designed them to be!

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Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}





Isaiah 30:10-11




Written in the margin of my Bible next to these verses is the note "utterly lost!" No wonder Isaiah often felt bereft of hope. What would you think if the people God had sent you to said this to you? It would be difficult to still show people the love of God.

Do you have someone in your life who remind you of these people Isaiah was sent to? Then take heart and know you are not alone, others have endured the same trials you are undergoing. Choose to love these people anyway!

We are called to share the message of the Gospel (the good news) of Jesus to all the world. Even to those who we think are utterly lost.

Love them anyway!