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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


Great Expectations                                     February 23, 2011

Greetings!Nancy Carter Picture

Nancy is very busy getting the new members-only Teacher's Toolbox website ready for its grand opening this week. This is an exciting time as we unveil the Teacher's Toolbox website for subscribers to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. This is the perfect time to subscribe, not only for access to the Teacher's Toolbox, but also to receive the 19 gifts in the 2011 Homeschool Gifts Bouquet.


Nancy would also like to remind everyone that the Live Expo tickets are still $10 off for a few short days. The tickets are $29 and will go up to $39 on February 27. Only 300 tickets are left! The first preshow event will be March 15, with the second on April 12. So you'll want to buy those tickets now and save before the price goes up.


Thank you!


~TOS staff



Deborah WuehlerMercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor

I expected my kids to behave at co-op today. Was it the beautiful weather outside or all the friends inside that caused them to crush my expectations? As I looked around, it seemed like all the ones misbehaving had the last name of Wuehler. So much for any slight bit of reputation I might possibly have had. Now everyone knows we are . . . normal.


I think homeschoolers expect a lot of other homeschoolers. I know that I expect a lot of myself. After all, we are trying to prove to the world (and our own private naysayers) that homeschooling produces superior results, not only academically, but socially as well. We expect smart kids with good character to be the result of our homeschooling efforts, so we double our efforts so they don't appear so "normal." But inevitably come the days when the sweet little darlings just aren't making us look so good, and we go home drilling in all the hard facts of life as a homeschooler once again.


But I think you will agree, overall, that these kids are normally smart, really good kids. And we normally see good progress and good behavior. I expect my kids to do their best, and behave their best, and they know it. I don't expect them to be geniuses, but rather to follow where God is leading them, and they know that, too.


The answer to the question of expectations-about whether they are where they should be either academically or socially-is this: We are here together as a family in obedience to God's Word and our own convictions, we are learning together, we are growing together, and one day at a time- one minute at a time-we are making progress. Some days it is too slow for our liking, some days it is too fast. But in the end, what is important is that we are all together under God's blessing and direction.


To keep our focus on what God has for us and not on what others are doing is key. To keep our eyes on what our child is doing and not on what someone else's child is doing is key. To keep our eyes on Jesus when it is too much for us is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus when the progress seems too slow is key. We must all know what God expects of us-and to obey Him is to hold the keys of life. God's Word is the real key to peace of mind in all things:


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3


Trusting Him,





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The Suarez Family

Hey from Gena

Gena Suarez, Publisher of TOS 


When Paulie, now 21 (next month), was 2 years old, we started expecting him to help fold his laundry and take it to his little dresser drawers himself. He loved it! It was his "job," his "chores," and they were very important to do; he was taking these tasks seriously. When he was about 7, his first little sister, Julia, was born, and within two months of her birth, I stepped (hurled myself?) awkwardly out of the van and broke my ankle in two places (man, that hurt). Off to surgery I went and subsequently found myself sprawled out on the couch for several months trying to heal. During those months, because Paulie had been so well-trained up until that point, he naturally assumed a major role in helping during the day with his three young siblings, including a newborn (plus he brought me water or anything else I needed while down). My husband was working long hours, and we depended heavily on our Paulie to help Mom.

Fast-forward to the end of 2007; he was now in his late teens and I was very, very pregnant with his second sister, Sani Hope. Paul and I left him at home, in charge of the kids, for five days while I was in the hospital (there were complications after birth for both Sani and me, so we stayed longer than we had hoped). Our dear friends helped out as well, but for the majority of the time, Paulie was the commander and chief, day after day, night after night. When Paul finally brought the baby and me home from the hospital, I couldn't believe it as I walked through the door. I don't know that my house has ever been so clean. And organized. Paulie had mobilized his siblings into action, and they all came through-with Paulie as their delegator. Amazing.

Now that he's a 21-year-old, we depend on Paulie for a lot. He works for our company and is often our right arm at home with the kids, too. We sure are glad that from the very start we taught him to love his role as our eldest, and that he took that role-that responsibility-seriously. He still does. I don't know; I think it's important to have "Great Expectations" for our kids. If anything, it enforces the fact that they're a part of the team-much needed, much depended upon. They have purpose. God expects much from us as well. He gave us gifts, and He wants us to use them to His glory. If we do, we reap many benefits and are fulfilled in and rewarded by Him-we too have purpose.

Don't be afraid to have them strive, okay? As we strive to obey Christ and love our neighbors, as we strive to get through all the challenges this economy is throwing at us, as we strive to take care of these children in our homeschooling and other needs, let's create an environment in which they, too, are expected to grow up a little and rise to the standard. If done right, it'll only serve to build their character and expose the weak areas (theirs AND ours) to focus on later. Raise the bar-and help them to meet it. And as they do, smile on them as our Father turns His face toward us as we seek to serve and obey Him. Have a great week, everyone.





 Did you hear? Starting in March, Teacher's Toolbox will be a subscribers only benefit.

Teacher's Toolbox

We've built it into an amazing resource you won't want to miss. Don't miss your chance to enjoy exclusive access to our password-protected Teacher's Toolbox filled with endless benefits that are sure to make you smile.


 Subscribe NOW  and you'll receive: 


  • Two years worth of quality educational inspiration in the nearly 200 PRINT pages of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®!
  • Teacher's Toolbox membership and all the exciting new perks that go with it to include daily recipes, worksheets, A Day in History monthly Calendar - but even better, you will have access to EVERY digital back issue of TOS Magazine we have ever produced! Yours free - browse at will.
  • 19 FREE gifts!  It'll feel like Christmas all spring long as these gifts come rolling in and you start using them with your children. Hard copy books, DVDs, subscriptions to learning sites, and more. Click Here to see what we have in progress--it officially launches in March but get in now. There were only 5000 available and already hundreds are GONE.  


Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries


Sitting here in front of my computer, I've been thinking about the topic of great expectations. In my head I've been making lists of what I expect from my children, crossing items out, adding others . . . crossing them out . . . relisting some that I had crossed out earlier.


I thought about boiling it down to my expectation that they must obey me . . . but sometimes they fail to meet that expectation. Right now, my list contains nothing. I've crossed out everything that was once listed or relisted, and now I sit here staring blankly at my laptop monitor.


What do I expect . . . what do I expect . . . what does God expect of them . . . of me?




I really expect my children to disobey, fail, blow it . . . they're children, after all. They don't come programmed for learning, obeying, honoring, and godliness. In fact, they show up at our doorstep depraved, wrinkled, and selfish.


But I expect my children to GROW in the same way God expects me to grow.


So, when I call them and they don't obey, it's my job to help them GROW in obedience. If they can't read now, it's my job to help them grow in reading. I don't get depressed because of their poor behavior (after all, they're children). BUT I expect them to GROW in those areas, as God expects the same of me.


Be Real,





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It's Just Common Sense

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant 


Expectation: A standard of performance expected of someone. When I read this definition, several things struck me. First, that a standard of performance has been set and accepted. For many years, educational standards were just observations of what children commonly learned at different ages or grades. Tests assessed whether a child had learned what most other children the same age had learned. Meeting commonly held standards meant that you generally knew what others your age knew. Since standards didn't seek to accelerate progress, most students did, in fact, match up with their age mates eventually.


Somewhere along the line, those expectations changed from being descriptive (telling what children learned) to prescriptive (telling what children should learn). As you know as a parent, observing what your child knows versus what she should know is an entirely different feeling. One is informational, and the other is stressful. The stress comes because you have to change your child to fit the standards.


For years, Ruth has encouraged us to make curriculum our servant, not our master. The same is true of standards. They can point the way toward topics we may want to teach our children but not dictate the time and place for content. As Ruth reminds us, homeschoolers mostly do better than public schoolers anyway, so we don't need the emphasis on school standards. We can accept that our children are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and respect their Creator's timetable for learning, which brings peace to our view of our homeschooling.


~ Debbie 

Read more from Debbie at


Homeschool Freebies
Molly Green, Econobusters

Molly Green  

I think one of the biggest mistakes new homeschoolers make is that of expecting too much (both of themselves and of their children). This tends to cause a great deal of undue stress and is of little benefit.


That said, I DO think it's important to set yearly, possibly even monthly, learning goals to work toward. I like to sit down with each of my children before the start of each school year and ask them what they would like to learn. Often, their goals are along the lines of learning to tie their shoes or make a grilled cheese sandwich. I think these are great goals and include them right along with those that are more academically oriented.


I just wrote a post over at Econobusters about goal planning and shared some helpful resources for both Mom and students. Please hop on over and check it out. Most of those resources can be easily adapted to homeschooling goals.


However, if you'd like homeschool-specific planning helps, Donna Young has some nice forms for tracking goals and objectives. You can also find a nice, basic form here. I would consider using it monthly or quarterly rather than yearly. ABCteach offers some nice forms for students to use when recording their own goals.


~Molly Green


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Contest Central  

For the month of February, 2011

The Listeners-Tales of Young Americans Series


The lives of slaves depended on circumstances beyond their control. They had nothing to say about whom they would work for or where they would live. They never knew when they might be separated from their children or their spouses. Hoping to learn their fate, they sent small children to hide near the windows of their masters' homes to listen.


The Listeners is the story of three of those children. Bobby, Sue, and Ella May have to help work on the plantation and they each have their jobs, but when the night gets quiet and the master and the mistress start talking in the big house, the little ones have the most important job of all-they have to listen. They listen for their futures and they listen to find out what may happen to their parents. The children find out they will be getting a new overseer, and they are happy because the one they have is a cruel man. They bring this news back to the family. The family isn't so sure that this is good news or bad. (. . .)


As with all the titles in the Tales of Young Americans Series, this is a beautiful, moving book. It perfectly conveys the message that the lives of the slaves were not their own. There was no easy, carefree childhood for them. The Listeners portrays a difficult time in our nation's history in a stirring manner for children. This book is not to be missed and would be a perfect addition to any Civil War study.


Read the rest of the review here. Win this book for your family!



Email Deb with your name and mailing address and the subject "The Listeners" for a chance to win* this book!



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*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the February Contest Central contest running from February 1, 2011, to February 28, 2011. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines
 and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

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