Sunday, August 28, 2011

TOS Review #1 - How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am going to be reviewing homeschool products and services as part of This Old Schoolhouse magazine's (found here) Blogger Crew!

As it turns out, I'm due for my first review right smack dab in the middle of my trip out west to visit my family! That's okay, I think I have managed to bring, write down, or actually remember all of my logins, passwords, and even brought my notes with me!

Last month I received the book, "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids" by Rachael Carman, Apologia Press, found here for $13.00.

It is a small, hardcover book, a little more than 200 pages, and I really wasn't sure what to expect when I opened it. I haven't read but a few homeschooling books, and those were all sort of dry, list-making, why-you-should-be-doing-this type of books.

I guess I expected a similar experience with How to Have a H.E.A.R.T., a wheels-to-the-ground, daily routine list of ways to get that experience in my homeschooling mom's heart.

What I found instead was much better. Inside is a guide, really, to how a mother can learn to give her own heart to God, for if she does not rest wholly on Him, her heart will naturally have an agenda outside the plan that God has for her and for her children.

Aside from the introduction, which is the story of how she became a homeschooler, and the encouraging epilogue, the chapters are titled: Have a Heart for the Things of God, Enrich Your Marriage, Accept Your Kids, Release Them to God, and Teach Them the Truth, completing the acronym in the book title.

Each of the chapters have several hard-hitting statements that make you really stop and think about your own life, choices, and motivations as a parent and a homeschooler, as well as some great word picture examples to really set the thought in deeper. None moreso than the Teach Them the Truth chapter. You can tell Carman has dealt with many different types of learners while teaching her seven children; she puts forth the same idea in a few unique ways to help every single reader understand the important concepts! I have a whole bunch of that chapter underlined and notes in the margins. I really enjoyed it!

It is, of course, written from a homeschooling mom's point of view but could very easily be read and appreciated by a father or a teacher! I truly appreciated Carman's delineation of her journey into homeschooling in the introduction, with all of the gritty details and struggles against self along the way. I can relate to that so well right now as I begin this homeschooling experience!

I also appreciated the many word pictures. Some were incredibly powerful examples in nature of the way God is able to work in our lives and those word pictures will stick with me in life as well as in my heart as I homeschool.

One of the features that I did not utilize was the "Heart Checkup" set of questions at the end of each chapter. Oh, sure, I scanned through the questions, but I didn't actually answer them. I'd love to get together with a few other moms and read this together like a book club group and answer the questions within a setting that would encourage discussion.

As I read through the book, I found several things I'd like to share with other homeschooling moms I know, and by the end of the book, I had a list of them that I'd rather like to share the whole book with. I enjoyed the bright, cheerful, encouraging tone of the book as a whole and would recommend it to anyone starting out in the sometimes overwhelming and confusing world of homeschooling.

In the end, the point of "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids" is really - first you must have a heart hid in Christ. There is no way on earth to love your kids fully, freely, and completely without Christ as your Supreme Guide, Friend, Father, and Counsellor. Oh, and He wants to have your heart so bad! Not just to gain your presence in His kingdom, but to gain your children for His kingdom as well!


Apologia Press is a part of Apologia Educational Ministries.

I was given this book to read and use in return for an honest review.

You can find more reviews of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids here

at the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew blog!

Lord, It's August.

And I'm just not ready for August.

The month is going to fly by, I won't be ready for fall, and I just can't seem to get myself organized!


Weddings, packing, flooring, driving, flying, visiting, reviewing... how on earth am I going to do all that and not lose track of anything that needs to be done?

mr. bee

I don't have my curriculum or lesson plans done, I don't even have half of my list ordered, let alone organized!


We're going to be late starting our year! We're going to be behind! My head is going to spin and I'll be grumpy, anxious, full of doubts, and everyone (including me) will question my sanity!

buzzie bee

Wait, what? You got this? Are you sure, Lord, 'cause I'm not used to this sort of thing, this giving it up to You and watching you work things out. I think I'd feel better just spending the next 5 weeks WORRYING. Don't you think that sounds reasonable?

Oh. Yeah. Worrying is not in Your plan at all, is it?

Deep Breath.

Let it go.

He has a plan. He always has a plan, and it's ALWAYS better than mine.


"...consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these..."

"...for your Heavenly Father knoweth you have need of all these things but seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
Matthew 6:28-33

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Driving Me Crazy

Driving anywhere in the T.C. area in the summertime is insane. It's a small city with a population of about 15,000 that gets (according to some) something like 500,000 visitors during the Cherry Festival alone!

Let's just take a moment to reflect upon how traffic patterns are affected by adding that many people to a town of 15,000.

Yes. Are you feeling my pain now?

Sure, the rest of the summer isn't quite so horrid traffic-wise as that, but all the locals know that between Memorial Day and Labor Day driving to T.C. or anywhere near T.C. will cause you headaches and nightmares.

So this is me: driving along in my rickety old get-out-of-debt car, with four kids in the back, all the windows down 'cause there's no air conditioning, wind whipping hair in everyone's faces, and brakes that make the entire vehicle shake like a leaf whenever they're employed.

In T.C. traffic.

I am trying-not-to-be-but-already-am-before-I-left-the-driveway ANNOYED.

And then it happens.

I drive past The Big Sign.

The sign is a new thing, just added this year. It's right off the side of the road, blocking the view of a business or two, big as a billboard, and says ONE THING:


It's an 'Indoor & Outdoor Design' services and warehouse. Lovely stuff.

"Did you hear that?", I yelled back to the kids over the noise.

"Hear what?", they replied.

" was sounding like....", and my voice trailed off as I realized:

It wasn't an audible voice, it was...


That's right, in my HEAD, I was hearing this:

"Err-Howzz" said in my best, deep voice, Governator Himself impersonation.

Whatever "normal" way to say that name is, I CAN'T DO IT!! Every. Stinkin'. Single. Time. I pass that billboard (which is so RIGHT THERE in your face it's impossible not to see) I hear the (former) Governator IN MY HEAD.





I've never seen the Terminator movies and I don't ever plan to, but apparently during those times I've watched one of his other movies... er, my husband watched, I mainly sat next to him with my face buried in a shoulder...I LISTENED. So apparently I've LISTENED enough to his voice to get to LISTEN to it making commentary in my own head.


And who does this, anyway?

What marketing expert decided that this idiotic nod to the txtme generation was a good idea?!

Not only do they not know how to spell or know when to use 'your' vs. 'you're' (vs. UR?), they DON'T KNOW that they don't know these things.

Don't encourage them!!!

Makes me want to go lay the smack down on someone. It'd go like this:

"What on earth were you THINKING?! The sign is obnoxious and not only should you fire the marketing expert or whomever sold this idea to you, you should totally move the sign so the business next to you can see the road again! Lovely store, by the way. Great stuff. Oh! My. Look at that price tag. Gotta go!"

We contiued on our way, stopped at the stores we needed to stop at....

"Don't touch anything!"

"Stop bugging your sister!"

"Please don't hide in the racks, I can't SEE you!"

"Why doesn't this store have CARTS?!"

And then slowly, haltingly, made our way back through traffic towards home.

"Did you hear that?", I yelled back to the kids over the noise.

"Hear what?", they replied.

Oh. Right. Just passing by the sign again.

"Err-Howzzzz", the (former) Govovernator said in my head.


I looked over at the broken compass screwed to the dash of my car, bobbing up and down like a bobble-head every time I pressed down on the brakes to avoid the fudgie doing 25 on a 55 road.

A girl can only take so much.

I reached over, reefed the screw out, and threw the compass out the window.

Okay, maybe I didn't throw it out the window. But I sure thought about it!

* disclaimer: As far as I know, the Terminator is not affiliated in any way with URHOUZZ or any of its furniture makers, shop owners, design team, or *ahem* marketing people.

** another disclaimer: I have received nothing from URHOUZZ for this *cough* honest review of their sign.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Flub, Flub, Flubber

Have you ever played with....flubber?

close up

It's pretty neat stuff. It's this gelatonous, starchy, rubbery, gooey STUFF that kids LOVE to play with. Particularly when their Auntie (say: ON-tee) made it all pinky and glittery, and when it's been sitting long enough to get really gooey.

Harmless fun, right?

Educational benefits outweigh the messy risks, right?

Those sweet faces convince us all of their complete lack of guile, right?!


J's self portrait


So while the girls played oh-so-happily with their flubber at the properly assigned, designated area (aka the kitchen table) and Joshua busied himself with taking the above self-portrait, I stepped outside for just a tad bit of privacy during a phone conversation.

fun with flubber

Children, it turns out, should never be left unsupervised with flubber. Not even with strict rules in place which have always been previously enforced with gusto.

Nope. Should not be left unsupervised.

Unless you like to see your couch looking like....


flubber on the couch

On a good note, a direct, vigorous, immediate scrubbing with straight white vinegar DOES dissolve flubber. Yet another good use for vinegar! Time consuming, yes, but fortunately for the couch, effective.

So, what have I learned?

Well, children should not be left unsupervised while...

oh, wait.

What did I leave my kids doing so I could write this post?

...'scuse me.... I gotta go!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Free Summer Issue of This Old Schoolhouse - Digital Edition!

So I'm not one to usually look at digital magazines and I don't have an ebook reader, so I was hesitant to even click on the link for this. I have to say, though, that I was very impressed with how easy to view and read the digital copy was! Hope you enjoy it, too!

Read It Online Today!

Take a look at the brand new Summer digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is offering this digital issue of the magazine totally free with no strings attached. Enjoy this free gift from TOS—no registration or email address required to view the magazine! Take a peek here. Then share the link with your friends by clicking on the share button at the top of the magazine pages.


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