Friday, February 29, 2008

Proof that People Don't Always Think

I took Daniel with me to run an errand tonight. Just him and me. As we were walking in the store, a family I semi-recognized was walking in. I said hi. The dad looks and me and smiles, then does a double take and looks at Daniel. He looks up at me, smiling, and says: "He's black."
That's all he said. I just said, "Yep, he's black."
The (black) cashier heard all this and was dying laughing.

I've heard lots of funny comments and/or looks, but this one wins.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Western Civilization: Procreate or Perish

Civilization depends on the health of the traditional family.

Therefore, the wise will recognize that the subcultures that survive the demographic collapse will be those that sacrificially embrace natalist values over materialist ones – which is to say, those whose religious convictions inspire them to have relatively large families, despite the social and financial cost.

Like it or not, the future belongs to the fecund faithful.

Does that scare you? It does Philip Longman. In his 2004 book, The Empty Cradle, he warns fellow secular liberals that demography is destiny and that those who want to preserve modernity must start having more children than "fundamentalists."

See this Dallas Morning News article to read the rest.

The article reminded me of a t-shirt I once saw on a friend, the mother of eight blessings. It proclaimed in bold letters: World Domination One Child at a Time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What Punctuation Mark Are You? Tag, You're It!

I'm going to go ahead and say I was tagged by Julie, who just posted this and her deep disappointment in the results. [You don't have to actually tag me, Julie. I knew you meant to.] She'll likely retake the test, cheat, and discover she is exactly who she always wanted to be. But here's mine:

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

This is crazy accurate, although much more flattering than what other people would say about me. Here's who I'm tagging: JennaB, AngelBee, dkt, Liz, Jamie, MusicMommy3, Jenni aka Mommy2MyBlessings, Lisa, and The Herd. If you comment here often, then yes you're the one I'm talking about. (Except for you Jenna, because you never comment here!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Creations

Maya and Isaac gave their lives to the Lord while in Liberia, and they recently asked Kyle to baptize them. The pastor interviewed them, to be sure they knew what they were doing, and their interviews were played for the church just prior to their baptism.

Here's what Kyle said to the church just before their baptism:
Just like Ginger and I've adopted Isaac and Maya to be our son and daughter, because of what they've done--accepted Jesus into their life, God has accepted them into His family. We're very proud of them.

Great Deal on Moody DVDs!

Vision Forum is having a great sale on these fantastic Creation DVDs. The sale extends through this Friday, February 29th. Check it out!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Best How-to CM Books

Judy, you asked and you shall receive. Here are the books I recommend as far as how to implement a Charlotte Mason education:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Day in the Life

I love, love, LOVE Ambleside Online and here's why: it's an impressive liberal (broad-based) education that's easy for me to implement. The site is overwhelming, let me get that out of the way right off the bat. It is. But if you're interested in a free Charlotte Mason style education, keep reading it and talk to other AO moms. That's what pushed me over the edge.

Maya, Elena, Isaac, and Chloe are all four doing Year 2 of Ambleside. (AO Years do not correlate to grades FYI.)

Here's what our day looks like:

While the kids are eating breakfast, I read our Bible study. Then depending on the day, I will read an Aesop Fable, a poem, or play a chapter of an audio book (Librivox is my source for tons of free audio books). Then they take turns narrating back to me. For Aesop, they guess the morale or retell the story. For poetry, they guess the title. For the audio book they retell the story or say what they liked about the story. They typically do copywork while I'm reading. That all takes about 30 min tops.
Then I send all the kids but two to play. Two big kids in charge of 2 littles. We do phonics and math tutor style. I work with one on phonics while the other is doing their math. Then they switch. When those 2 are done, they go play and send the other 2 to work with me. The phonics/math rotation takes an hour at most.

Then all the kids come together for Rug Time: they all sit on the rug with quiet toys (K'nex, legos, magnetic dress-up dolls, coloring books, etc.) while I read to them.
Today I read a chapter of Trial & Triumph (church history) about Charlemagne. Then they took turns narrating. Then I read "How the Camel Got It's Hump" from Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling) and they took turns narrating. Sometimes we act it out or they draw what I'm reading about (these are both types of narration). This took a little over 30 minutes.

On Fridays, we go to a CM Fine Arts Co-Op where we cover Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, Hymn Study, Poetry, Nature Study, and Shakespeare. We don't do any other school on those days.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where Daddy Works

This is the building where Kyle works. The Millenium. It has that neat little distinctive crown on top, so the kids all point it out from a mile away.
Yesterday, Chloe spent a little time at Kyle's office. When we went to pick her up, I had my nephew Max with us. As soon as they all saw where we were headed, they started bragging to Max: "That's where my Daddy works. Isn't it cool?" Then Elena said, in a louder than normal voice: "My daddy's office has a crown on top because he loves Jesus!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quality Time

Last night was Isaac's turn to run errands with me. After dinner, we took off to the grocery stores. (Yes, that was plural. Would you believe I go to several because I'm such a tightwad?!) I have been convicted lately that I'm not being deliberate enough in my parenting, so I decided to make the most of our time together. I asked Isaac a lot of questions and I talked, talked, talked to him. I learned a lot of things I'd never heard before.
Apparently Isaac and Daniel were in the orphanage for a couple months before Maya joined them. (The boys grew up with grandma, Maya grew up with their aunt.) They birthmom was a farmer ( I knew this) and Isaac pointed out all the produce she grew. My first stop is always the Hispanic market; they have all kinds of unusual veggies, several of which Isaac recognized from his mother's farm. He also told me all kinds of stories of Liberia, all were new to me. He remembers when Daniel was born. He said he thought he was such a beautiful baby because his feet were white. LOL!
I told Isaac all about our adoption wait. I told him what all we did in order to get them home and how I felt each time I looked at his picture. And I told him all the things I love about him.
We ended up going to more stores than I had planned because the two of us were enjoying each other so much.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Power of Batting Eyelashes



Clark of the Week - Isaac

This week, we'll be getting to know Isaac Davidson, the youngest of the Clark's four firstborn children. Isaac's birth name was Eric, but he was renamed based on his personality. Isaac means laughter - a perfect fit for him.
Born in Liberia in May, 2001 and lovingly adopted in April 2007, Isaac has now been united with his long lost twin, Chloe. Both six years old, Isaac and Chloe are more alike than different. Both have high energy and high distractability, but Isaac is a true firstborn. He is a perfectionist to the core and although fun-loving and very likable, he is very hard on himself.
The first thing people notice about Isaac is his charming smile. He's always smiling and he's usually laughing. Isaac appears to be gifted in all things athletic. He is great at soccer as that's all he did in Liberia, but he's also a natural in all kinds of sports. He has the metabolism of a race horse, eats like a man, and has more muscle than I've ever seen on a child. Isaac is go, go, go.
Isaac is also a comedian, the class clown of the Clark home school. He's quick-witted, and luckily for him, charming. He is a wonderful addition to the Clark household and all have been blessed to have him.

[The first several pictures in Isaac's slide show were taken in the Acres of Hope orphanage, where Isaac spent a year before becoming an African-American. The first picture was taken when Isaac first saw pictures of his new family, the Clarks. The second is the first picture Kyle and Ginger saw of him.]

Click HERE to see Isaac's journey from Liberia to America.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Avoid the Sickies

Daniel loves his kefir smoothies

My friend, Katie, just posted a great article titled, How to Get Well and Stay Well. Aside from the fact that she didn't mention my favorite miracle herb, GSE, it's a perfect article.
(I don't want you to get big-headed, Katie! I hope you understand.)

Make sure you check out Jenna's garlic tutorial while you're there. Very funny!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Addiction

Notice I called myself a book addict in my profile. Here's what that really looks like:
I was looking at all my new birthday books and trying to decide which one to read first. I decided to start with the shortest, Jumping Ship by Michael Pearl.

I absolutely love this book! It's perfect for giving parents a vision and purpose for parenting. It would be a fantastic book for parents of a teen or soon-to-be teen. About 2/3s of the way through the book, I get a new book in the mail: Unraveling the Mystery of Autism.

I'm intrigued and wanna get a sneak peek to see what it's going to be about. Well, I can't put it down! I read 1/2 of it that day. It isn't just about autism, for those who are wondering why I'd be reading that. It's about how diet, vaccines, and environment affect our health. Very interesting stuff! While I'm in the middle of it, I get an email from the library saying that one of the books I requested is now on hold for me. First chance I get I make a run to go get it. Of course, we pick up a bunch of other books while we're there. I would never go the library for just one book FYI. Here's the book I picked up:

It's a cookbook that's apparently highly desirable as I was 9th in line to get it. I get it home and am flipping through it seeing some decent recipes when I spot a picture of Jerry Seinfeld. I look again at the cover. The cookbook is by Jessica Seinfeld. Ahah! It's only popular because of the author. Oh sheesh! I skim through the recipes while eating lunch. Good concepts mostly--she adds pureed fruits or veggies to every recipe as a way to sneak some nutrition into foods designed for kids. But what's this?? She uses margarine in every single recipe! Good grief! And one of the sidebars has advice from other moms. They suggest negotiation with your kid if he won't eat his dinner. "Just take 4 more bites and you can have dessert!" {{eyeroll}} I put the book back in my library bag to return next time I go.

I tell myself that I'll just go ahead and finish the Mystery of Autism and then I'll go back and finish Jumping Ship. I really need to loan it to a friend who needs that encouragement, so I should finish reading it myself so I can hurry up and give it to her. That day, my friend Karen gives me a big box of books since she won't be needing them when her family becomes missionaries in Russia soon. I was so excited! I unpacked them the minute I got home and put them all in their proper place on my bookshelves. Five new cookbooks on my cookbook shelf, a couple of health books in among my other herbs & health books, several parenting and fiction books that go on the bookshelves in my room. Oh wait, what's this one? Seven from Heaven by the McCaugheys, the testimony of the Iowa family who had septuplets a decade ago.

I bet that's going to be a good one! Wonder what it's like. So I read a chapter while doing something else somewhere in the master suite. I'll just read one more chapter and then I'll get back to the Autism book.
That night I read the first five chapters of Seven from Heaven. I was laughing at myself at this point and telling Kyle: "I can quit anytime!" But just like any other addict, I don't really want to.

[Note: I did put Seven from Heaven away for now. I've got two other books to finish before I can get back to it. But I can't wait!]

Edited to Add: A few weeks later, I picked up Seven from Heaven. Read it in a few days. It was that good!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bible or Magazine?

"You see them on the shelves at the store; they're made to look like those ubiquitous fashion magazine on the racks at every check-out counter. But what's different about this magazine is that it contains a full New Testament, that's interspersed with hormone-charged sidebars designed to "meet teenagers where they are at"...

Some of the most troubling content in the Biblezine is the "Blab" Q&A's. Here are a few more examples of the topics that get brought up as questions throughout this 'Bible':

  • I am 16, and I have slept with five guys. I am a Christian, but every time a guy wants me to have sex, it feels so good to be liked and wanted that I just do it. How can I stop?

  • I have a crush on one of my teachers. He's young, awesome, and so hot. What do I do?

  • How far can you go sexually before you are no longer pure?

  • My little sister has been totally hitting on my boyfriend, and it's really irritating. What can I do?

  • I'm not sure what qualities I should look for in the guy I want to marry - except for good looks and a hot body. Where should I start?

  • My parents have seen my boyfriend and me hug and kiss. Now they think we're going "too far". But we're really not. How can I get them to trust us? (the answer they gave involved "cutting down" on hugging and kissing, not stopping it).

  • My boyfriend and I just had sex for the first time. Now I feel guilty. I don't want to do it again, but he does. What can I do?
Read more about this new fashion Bible here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Protecting Our Daughters

One of my favorite bloggers, Stacy McDonald (co-author of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God) recently wrote a fantastic article about how to protect our growing daughters. Enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I've Overdone It

Tuesday and Thursday, Maya and Isaac take karate. Wednesday night is AWANAs. Thursday, Elena and Chloe take ballet. Friday is our homeschool co-op day. Whew!

Preparing to go to AWANAs. It was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" night. The girls want to be mommies, thus the baby slings. Isaac wants to be a daddy, thus the tie. (Even if it is a Snoopy tie.) They look forward to Wednesday all week. They just love it and they're learning a ton of scripture. This will be the last activity to go.

There is an adage among homeschoolers: The best way to have a stress-free homeschool is to stay at home. Imagine that! And it's so true. The more we run around from activity to activity, the more stressful homeschooling (read: mom) becomes.
I love watching Elena and Chloe in ballet class, and I know that Maya and Isaac love their karate class. Nevertheless, I won't be taking on this much again for a good long while. I've learned my lesson.

Moms, tell me: what are your secrets for not over-committing yourselves?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Secret's Out!

This is my hairdresser, aka my sister, Jamie. She and I both color our hair. In fact, we're getting together tonight to do just that. We both color our hair with henna - an herb. Go figure. But she has chestnut brown hair and I am decidedly red-headed. (I decided that I should be a redhead.) Since I was a young girl, I've always thought I should have been a redhead. It fits my personality. When I turned 21, I started noticing a few grey hairs here and there. I wasn't too bothered by it until a guy noticed it too. He pointed it out, in fact, the rogue! Well, that's when I started coloring my hair. (I was single at the time, and I told you I'm vain.) Here's the prepackaged henna Jamie and I use:

We buy it at Whole Foods Market, but it's also available at Amazon. After researching all the ill-effects from putting chemicals so close to your brain, we decided to go the natural route, since it was working so well in other areas. Once again, herbs have not let us down. Here's what you'd use if you don't have grey:

Although henna is definitely not going to give us brain cancer, it does have a side effect that you should be aware of: it makes your hair grow! Since I've started using henna, I've noticed that my hair grows an average of 3/4 inch each month. Jamie has noticed the same effect. While Kyle is convinced it's a marketing ploy to get us buying henna more often, we're still both sold on this wonder herb.
So I'm here to debunk whatever myths you may have heard about henna. I hope you agree that I don't look like Bozo the clown. And neither does my beautiful sister.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie!


Dear Kyle,

When we first met, I was attracted to you. When we married, I was in love with you. Now, I depend on you. Kyle, you are my rock. Even at the time I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you, I didn't realize how perfect you were for me. You complement me so well (and compliment me so much!)
You have excellent communication skills, where I lack tact. You are patient in areas where I am easily frustrated. You are calm when I am panicked. You are a great listener and problem solver, with the discernment to know which I really need!You are such a blessing to me.
It amazes me that you had the tenacity and patience to be my cheerleader and back massager for hours and hours during labor with our girls. I will always believe that you had the harder job. As a father, you have shown yourself to be loving, generous, and selfless. I look up to you, Kyle, for all the Christ-like qualities that you possess and I desire. In you, I see the amazing love the Father has for me. I love you. . .

More than you will ever know,


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tough Man

Isaac earned his orange (3rd level) belt at the end of the last Tae Kwon Do session, so this session he's been learning to spar. He's positively giddy about it. He came home from the first class informing me that he needed a mouth piece and a cup. Maya said, "Why don't I get a cup?" I told her it's just for boys. With a look of injustice, she turned to Isaac and asked," What is it?"
Without embarrassment, he explained: "It's a special cup for karate, that only boys can drink out of."
That night he and Kyle made a special trip to Wal-Mart, just the two of them. It was a real learning experience!
Isn't he handsome??

Monday, February 11, 2008

No More Overdue Books!

I've just discovered the coolest thing ever for book hogs like myself: Library Elf. It's a web-based program that keeps track of library loans and holds. I told the Elf what library I frequent (I chose from a menu of every US library) and entered my library card number. A few days later I had an email telling me that one of my book requests was in and which books will be due in three days. It's AWESOME! Check it out!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clark of the Week - Chloe

For this week's installment, we'll be getting to know Chloe Anna, the only true middle child of the Clark household.
Chloe was born at home in August, 2001, after dancing and grooving in the womb for nine months. She has the same energy today. Chloe is loud, funny, dramatic, sensitive, and easily distracted. She receives more discipline than most any other Clark, as she does not learn her lesson easily. Her parents joke that after being punished for the same infraction 67 times, she will finally get it and decide to change.
Chloe is a great friend to have, however; she is loving and very generous with encouraging words. Chloe is always the first to offer a word of praise. She would say that her favorite subject in school is reading, but her least favorite is listening to mom read. Sitting still is not her strong suit, so she keeps her hands busy with handicrafts or coloring when she's required to listen and attend.
Chloe is the perfect middle child. She follows her sisters, but she also loves to be the leader. She takes charge whenever she is placed with younger children. Strong-willed as she is, Chloe is a blessing to her family.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Duty, Our Delight

I just received this letter from my friend, Jenny. Really convicted me about our true purpose:

"Mom, why does our neighbors' Mom and her boyfriend act goofy like
this all the time?" Gabriel asked me yesterday as he impersonated

"Because they are on crack son," I explained.

"I can understand why those kids want to come over all the time, it's
so dark over there and so light over here. It's the difference
between Jesus and no Jesus," Gabriel said as his eyes got very wet.

Brad and I have been praying about what Christ would have us do for
our neighbors. There are 7 people living in a tiny 2 bedroom
apartment upstairs and 8 people squished into a one-bedroom
downstairs. The older kids are taking care of the younger ones while
the adults get high; there is neglect and violence. Social services
may or may not make a positive difference, the love of God for sure
will. One of the little girls broke down weeping at the prayer
center a couple weeks ago, interceding for her lost family. Whether
across the street or across the ocean, there are orphans everywhere
in need of the Father of the fatherless.

There are countless scriptures about the necessity of caring for the
poor, the imprisoned, the broken, the helpless. It is our business,
it is our duty, it is our delight. The more impossible something
looks in the natural the better the scene is set for God to show up
with an impossible answer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE books. So when my birthday rolled around, the people who know me best (my family) gave me book money. Woo-Hoo!!! The first chance I got after ripping the cash out of the birthday cards, I dashed on over to Amazon to fulfill all my Wishlist wishes. Now I have a full armload of books, a permanent grin on my face, and lots of reading on my "to do" list.

I also bought Home-Making, which looks fantastic and I'm really excited about, as well as The Created to be His Helpmeet Journey, the companion journal to Created to Be His Helpmeet. (Apparently, Amazon doesn't carry those.)

I've been on a biblical fiction kick for awhile lately. I've just finished reading the Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers and I highly recommend them all. But I'm itching to go back to non-fiction - my all-time favorite.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Making Herbs Simple

The Bulk Herb Store has totally changed and improved their website. If you want to find an herbal remedy for pink eye (Conjunctivitis) or ear infections, just look it up. So easy!
They also have this new DVD, Making Herbs Simple, featured above. Now you can learn all about how to use herbs, while sitting on your couch.
Check it out. I think you'll love it!

Bulk Herbs - Great selection of bulk herbs, books, remedies, and articles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thanks Sis!

Jamie has started a Hymn of the Week feature on her blog that I've really enjoyed. This week, however, she decided to change it up and featured a totally different kind of "hymn." This is a song we learned at church as kids and sang all the time. It brought back memories of my childhood and I had a really good time bolting it out while my kids stared at me like I'd lost my mind. I was having fun!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

The "Me Time" Myth

A good friend wrote this encouraging article, which was recently published on the Ladies Against Feminism website. "Me Time" is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfactional piece of junk psychology. Me Time, by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not WHO we truly are. It tells us that we are someone other than "WIFE" or "MOTHER." It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of those titles. It blames precious little ones and God-given spouses for suppressing us. It points out a perceived "hole" in your world that needs to be filled, a tank that must be fueled up, a monster that will swallow you lest you neglect to feed it precious Me Time. But, it will never be enough.

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Oh, the Things They Say!

Lydia received this big bear as a gift from Pedro. Not being a big fan of giant stuffed animals, I wasn't thrilled. I quickly changed my mind when I saw how Liddy fell in love with it. She called it "Paddy Bear" (Paddington), although it is clearly Winnie the Pooh. I thought it was so funny that I didn't correct her.
I tried in vain to get her to talk about her beloved Paddy Bear, but she decided to get her story straight when I pulled the camcorder out. Go figure!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Playing Hookey

Jamie emailed me last night asking if I wanted to play hookey today and go to the park, since it was going to be in the 80s today. It sounded like a great way to spend a warm Monday, so off we went.
Maya never can get enough time with Lillian. She loves being a junior mommy, and she's so good at it!
And Chloe will take any chance she gets to be the boss of somebody. She prefers hanging out with younger kids, so she can be the leader. Ha!
It was really windy.

I would say this is my favorite little monkey, but that might be misconstrued as racism. He's really cute though isn't he??
Playing "Store". Profits were down today. Way down.
Those are Elena's boots. Don't they look like they're having fun?? She and cousin Max are 10 mos. apart; they love playing together.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Clark of the Week - Daniel

For this week's installment, we'll be getting to know Mr. Daniel Corbin, the second youngest of the Clark family. Daniel was born in Liberia, West Africa in April, 2004. Lovingly adopted in April 2007, Daniel is now a true African-American.

Daniel has such a sweet personality. He is laid-back and easy-going. He's quiet and tolerant. He's had to be quite tolerant, unfortunately, as he put up with quite a bit of abuse from his younger sister, Lydia, in the first few months following his arrival in America. Daniel and Lydia now act like twins; they do most everything together and have a special bond as the babies of the family. Daniel idolizes his brother, Isaac. Isaac has been the one constant in his life, through all the painful changes he's had to endure at such a young age. Because of their birth mother's destitute poverty, Isaac and Daniel lived with their grandmother prior to being relinquished to the orphanage. Maya stayed with her aunt prior to the orphanage.
Daniel is passive aggressive when he decides to disobey. He will silently drop his food on the floor if he chooses to be mad about your saying he can't have hot sauce. More than once his parents realized that he wasn't with them when they left someplace fun. Ginger will say it's time to go and everyone starts walking to the van. Daniel doesn't say anything, but he doesn't move either. It can be frustrating, but it's also kinda funny!
Ginger will still say that Daniel is her sweetie though. He always asks permission before doing anything. He will say in a little mousey voice, with his nose scrunched up: "Can I have more cereal?" So cute! He makes it really hard not to love him. Thankfully, the Clarks really do!
The first several pictures of this slide show were taken when Daniel was still in the orphanage. The last of that set was taken the day they left the orphanage to travel home to the US. They were all very sad to leave all their friends that day. Daniel cried bloody murder when he was handed over to Ginger. He was so confused. In the last 10 months, Daniel has gradually gained a lot of security in his new family. He loves and trusts his new Mommy and Daddy. Kyle and Ginger are equally thankful to have him in their family.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

We Have a Winner!

Jamie won the poetry contest! Congratulations on your great poem!! And per our agreement, you may not post my secrets on any other blog, including your own. Shame on you for humiliating your own dear sister in public. I hope you choke on your coffee winnings. ;)

[Jamie chose Arabian Mocha coffee. She will receive one pound of beans as her prize.]

They Were So Fortunate

This is Nia, my friend, Angel's most recently adopted daughter. Nia is 8 years old and was adopted from Liberia, where she spent a large chunk of her life in an orphanage. Not an Acres of Hope orphanage, where our three were.
Nia has a lot of fears. A LOT of fears. She frequently wakes up in the night terrified and crying. Many mornings, the Pregont family is wakened before dawn with Nia turning on all the house lights to dispel her fears. The other day, Nia gave Angel a glimpse into her life in the orphanage:
"Mother Brown" used to beat children all over their bodies, including the face, and she, herself, was the recipient of such a beating on her backside. Mother Brown would tell children that the witches would come at night and carry the children up into the air to be sacrificed if they didn't obey. Nia told us about 2 children at the orphanage who were supposedly Witch Princesses and Witch Prince, the children of a witch.
After reading this post of Angel's, I was curious what my kiddos had been exposed to while in the orphanage. I do know that they learned a lot of Bible verses and daily praised the Lord at the Acres of Hope orphanage. I also know that Acres of Hope is run with much more love and integrity than most Liberian orphanages.

I asked Maya and Isaac: "When you were at the orphanage, did you ever hear about witches? Did they ever talk to you about witches?"
Maya, thoughtful, said: "Yes. They read us the story of Rapunzel and the witch who wouldn't let her out of the castle."
I waited quietly for more of the story.
I asked: "That's it? They didn't say anything else about witches?"

Maya, Isaac, and Daniel were truly protected. They were so fortunate to be in the care of Acres of Hope, Liberia. The Pregont family takes "adoption as a ministry" very seriously. They are showing Nia the love of Christ. Pray for them. . . and for Nia. To God be the glory.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why We Love Homeschooling

There seems to be a big debate among Christians about homeschool vs. public school; why one is better than the other. Honestly, I just don't get it. We have never entertained the idea of sending our kids to a government-run institution for eight hours a day so that their developing brains can be filled with information that contradicts what we are teaching them at home. We are not of the mindset that our children need to be in the public schools as "salt and light" (aka victims). It's just too dangerous a mission field for our little ones. Jesus started his ministry when he was 30 years old, not 6. We want our children to be brought up with a godly education, so the only options for us were Christian school vs. homeschool.
So, taking public school out of the equation, I'd like to share why we decided to homeschool our blessings:

1. I get to choose what and how they learn.
2. They receive a tailor-made education.
3. They learn with lots of individual attention.
4. They are learning the same things that we believe.
5. Consistency: If we move, they don't have to learn a new teacher's/school's rules.
6. If Daddy comes home for lunch, they don't have to miss it.
7. No waking up early and rushing everyone out the door at 7:30 am.
8. No peer pressure.
9. If we want to take a day off and spend it at the Zoo, we don't need anyone's permission to do so, and we trust the Bus Driver with our safety.
10. We get to vacation during off-peak seasons.
11. No uniforms.
12. No bullies.
13. No popularity contests. In homeschool, everyone likes you.
14. If you don't understand, you get an answer immediately, not 3 days later when your homework is returned with an F.
15. The teacher is on your side. Always.
16. Never have to ask permission to go to the bathroom or get a drink.
17. No classism. Third graders don't look down on first graders.
18. Sibling relationships are much stronger among homeschool families. (this relates directly to #17)
19. No humiliation if you wet your pants or spill grape juice on your shirt. Just change clothes.
20. More real-life experience. (Spending time talking to adults at the tire shop, helping take care of babies, and interacting with children of various ages. You're not just with other 8 year olds all day.)

Statistically, homeschool graduates perform better academically, volunteer more hours in their community, score higher on tests of emotional, social, and psychological development, and are more likely to adhere to the Christian beliefs with which they were raised. But I didn't want to make the list too long. I knew you wouldn't read it all!
Bottom line: We love homeschooling for all these reasons and more.