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     The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

August 31, 2011      


Motivation to Teach a New School Year  


Deborah's  Picture   

"New school year? What new school year? Oh, is that what we are supposed to be doing?" Like me, maybe you find yourself lacking motivation for this new school year.


I have so much I want to do and share with my children and yet lack either the time or motivation or energy to do it all or fit it all in. That's when I know I need to cry out to the Lord.


"I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me." Psalm 57:2


God will perform all things for me. All things? Wow. And the kicker is, He often wants to perform those things through me.


"For it is God that is at work in me both to will and to do His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13


So, I guess it's ME that's the problem in this equation. I want to do everything I want to do and nothing God wants me to do. I know that if I seek His kingdom first, everything else will fall into place. This is why I desperately need Him. I need to get back to first things first and then the rest will come into order.


What should be first? When Jesus questioned Peter about his love for Him, he told Peter three important things: Love me, keep my commandments, and feed my sheep. How hard can that be? I say I have the Lord first in my homeschool, but do I really? I recently had to change my schedule to reflect that. I now have morning devotions first thing by myself, and then with my children, before any schoolwork.


Now my part is being obedient to what He gives me the desire to do and then make it happen. We want immediate, complete, and cheerful obedience from our children, yet lack the wherewithal to give the same to the Lord ourselves. It's a wonderful thing that His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.


Are you feeling confident about this new school year? You can have confidence that you are doing the right thing if you are doing the important eternal things, and that God will be in you to perform it.  


"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being . . ." Acts 17:28


"Be confident of this very thing: that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6


We desperately need to pull our hearts back in line, so that we not only honor God with our mouths, but in daily reality with our lives and homeschools as well. We want to teach the fear of the Lord, not just the precepts of men.


"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men . . ." Isaiah 29:13


My new goals for this year: Love God with all I've got, keep His commands, and feed His sheep!



TOS Senior Editor




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In place of Gena this week:

Homeschool Motivation   

by Karen "Spunky" Braun


When I began homeschooling in 1994 with four little ones under age 5, I knew that I was going to be at this for a long time. With each passing day and trial, the potential was there to grow weary and give up. I didn't want to quit. So I prayed and asked the Lord for a vision that would keep me motivated and going strong no matter what was ahead. God did not disappoint. He responded with a word, ART.   


Three simple letters because He knew that, as a young mom, that's about all I'd remember. But they were powerful and packed with meaning.  

A is for attitude,

R is for relationships  

T is for teaching and training


Kept in the proper order, I had a vision for the "work of ART" God was creating in my family. But in the wrong order, they spelled disaster.


As a curriculum junkie, I was tempted to put the Teaching ahead of the attitudes or the relationships. Quickly, I learned that even the best curriculum cannot be taught when my attitude is wrong or when there are conflicts in the home. To put Teaching before Attitude or Relationships would be to create TAR, a sticky mess that would not be easy to work with. So Teaching had to go last. 


As a mom, I knew I wanted our home to be an enjoyable one that fostered good relationships, but I didn't want it to be child-centered. I desired a home centered on Christ. If I put the Relationships ahead of a godly attitude, I would end up with a RAT. And Lord knows, I hate RATS!


No, if God promised a work of ART, then it must begin with me and my attitude.


"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. . . . God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. . . . Do all things without grumbling or complaining." (Philippians 2:5, NASB)


My Attitude must be like Christ. This is all for Him and His good pleasure. Christ didn't grumble or complain . . . or quit.

ART has sustained me nearly 20 years and will keep me going strong until my sixth child graduates in 2021. 


So if you're looking for motivation for the coming year (or decade), seek the Lord and His word for you. He will not disappoint, and at the end of your journey He will say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of my rest."



~Karen "Spunky" Braun   


P.S. Here's a blog post that may help motivate you: 

Climbing Mount Homeschooling





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Coming soon: LETTERS MAKE WORDS  is a MUST HAVE new app for your Apple iPad! It just makes sense!  Learn to make letters and put them together, and your young child is reading! Letters Make Words is easy, fun, handwriting and phonics instruction. It's the latest from Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting.    


Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries

Our superdad, Todd, is super-busy this week, traveling and speaking at various events throughout the country. He'll be back next week, but in the meantime you can go to his website, Familyman Ministries, to see how he's been keeping it real.  




Creation Revolution

Many Christians try to blend evolution and the Bible by claiming that God used evolution as His means of creation. However, the differences between evolution and biblical creation are numerous.


Continue reading What Are Christian Kids Asking These Days?     



The planners for 2011-12 are here! 

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The Five Fathers of Music is a wonderful music history program about the great composers Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Gershwin.


With biographies, poems, teaching games, testing games, worksheets, and listening activities, it is a hands-on, visual, and auditory program for reading age up to eighth


It's Just Common Sense

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant 


A new lunchbox, pack of crayons, and pencils-all things that made the beginning of school seem like a great adventure when I was young. As I would quickly find out, some things may have been different, but most things were the same as I remembered. Still, with each fall's back-to-school ritual, there would always be the hope of a good teacher, new friends, and gaining new skills.


One of the things we did to begin each new year of homeschooling was to go out to breakfast on the first day of public school. Though that may seem extravagant, it set a certain tone for the year that said yes, we are homeschoolers. We are different and we like it. Being out and about on the first day of school also gave us all a great sense of the freedom and liberty our homeschooling granted us-to do things our way, not just the way it was done by everyone else. During that breakfast we would take out notebooks and talk about the plan for the year: what subjects we would study and with what materials, what support group activities we looked forward to, as well as other activities, such as sports or music lessons.


We also talked about our personal goals. We discussed each person's strengths and weaknesses and how we could address or appreciate each. I included myself in this conversation, sharing my own needs as candidly as possible. We would then commit to prayer and encouragement for each other in these areas. The sense of teamwork that would emerge from these breakfast meetings was palpable. We were all on the same team and wanted to appreciate and encourage all family members, not presume upon them. Taking each other's contribution for granted usually opened the door for the enemy to sow division between us and the goals God has given us. In our family, gratitude for one another and what we do keeps the enemy's seeds from taking root. We tried to begin the year with our relationships in mind, knowing that care for each other enabled learning to happen more easily.


What makes a return to study more fun? Valuing each other and the time you have together. Looking forward to the new things you will learn and share. Working together to see good fruit produced in you and in others as well. As you begin your year, you can look forward to these rewards. Oh yes, we also bought new lunchboxes, crayons, and pencils. Some traditions are worth keeping.


~ Debbie



 Learning SpringsWe offer several types of curricula from which to choose: textbooks, online, and project-based. What makes our program unique is that you also receive a complete syllabus, teacher's guide, and answer key for each course. Tests, quizzes, special reports, activities, and much more are detailed in weekly assignments.  


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Contest Central  

For the month of August, 2011   


Andrea Carter and the Family Secret


Andrea Carter and the Family Secret Lapbook With Study Guide


Set in the San Joaquin Valley of California in the fall of 1880, Andrea Carter and the Family Secret is the third book in the Circle C Adventures series. This softcover book of 140 pages provides another installment in the story of 12-year-old Andrea Carter. References to Andi's previous experiences will likely lead a first-time Circle C Adventures reader to her other books and will refresh the memory of seasoned fans. The story line of the book stands alone and is not dependent on the other books in the series, although references to Andi's previous adventures will likely influence a reader to seek out those books. The series is enjoyable reading for students in the "tween" years, those in upper elementary grades and lower teenage years. Although the series is not written exclusively for homeschools, it is written by a homeschooling mother who understands the need for clean, quality reading materials for children. Additional (optional) resources are available through Susan K. Marlow's website: (Read the rest of the review here.)


This review is for the Lapbook With Study Guide that is designed to be used with the chapter book, which must be purchased separately. Designed for children from second to sixth grades, this lapbook is available in several formats. This review is for the printed format, which comes in a thin plastic bag with sticky closure strip. Prefolded lapbook file folders are also available for $1 each. Three file folders are necessary for this lapbook, but they do not have to be prefolded or brightly colored. Standard manila file folders will suffice. You will also need scissors, markers, pens, brass brads, a stapler, and glue to assemble the product.


Included are 47 pages of lapbook components, informational text pages, and instructions for assembling the lapbook. A "Things to Know" page explains the folding patterns for lapbooks, placement of the mini-booklets, and lapbook assembly choices. All necessary instructions are included. Several pages of diagrams are included to show how to make the three-folder lapbook, including detailed, color-coded diagrams specific to this particular lapbook. (Read the rest of the review here.)


Win this set for your family!



Email Deb with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line "Andrea Carter" for a chance to win* this set!



2011-12 Schoolhouse Planners  

*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the July Contest Central contest running from August 1, 2011, to August 31, 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.

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