The Homeschool Minute

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"I so much appreciate receiving these "minutes"! They take a short time to browse through, and I am almost always left with a good 'take-away' thought to chew on. I enjoy the good ideas and insights, and always the encouragement from Todd to enjoy life and not feel guilty or overwhelmed or pressured."


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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


December 28, 2011

Tis the Season: Breathe


Deborah's  Picture


Shopping done. Wrapping done. Cooking and baking done. Cleanup done. Luncheons and parties over. Visitors gone. Christmas . . . done! And now, tis the season to . . . breathe! This may sound elementary, but breathing brings peace and vitality. Just ask someone who can't breathe well and you will find panic and a reaching for life itself. 


When we run out of breath in our life, it means we need to stop, make an effort to relax, and concentrate on just breathing in and breathing out. It is the stuff of life. 


What does that look like in our physical, homeschooling life? It might mean that we take a "breather" from academics a little longer and just relax and find our own breath as we slowly get back to our routine again. It might take a few more days until we can find the renewed vitality to continue the fast pace and strained breathing we face for the race ahead. Just a little hint here: Running a race is not easy. So when you think you have difficulty running this race, then you are in good company with the rest of us. We don't want to be on the sidelines just watching others race; we want to be engaged in this homeschool journey and not give up no matter the difficult breathing ahead.


What does that look like in our spiritual life? God created us and gave us the breath of life. God's breath in us gives us physical life. Just as God breathing His Spirit in us (pneuma = breath or spirit) gives us spiritual and eternal life.


"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7 KJV


"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4 KJV


So when you and I run out of breath, stop, drop, and pray. Ask the Lord to breathe in you and for you, so that you have the ability to breathe out praise to the Lord even in the midst of the often tiring pace and race of life.


"Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 150:6 KJV


'Tis the season to breathe!




New! The Celestial Almanack, from Classical Astronomy. Your monthly guide for learning the constellations and visible planets. Lavishly illustrated, with detailed instructions to help you identify the celestial objects. A great supplement to our Signs & Seasons curriculum. 2012 will be a very exciting year for visual astronomy!   


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Hey from Gena          Gena Suarez

Gena Suarez, Publisher of TOS     


Gena is busy getting ready for the debut issue of TOS's new interactive, digital edition of the magazine, releasing in January. In the spirit of today's topic, "'Tis the Season: Breathe," here's an excerpt from her latest book, Heart and Soul Homeschool Mama . . . Becoming an Uncomplicated Homeschooler, for those of you who are feeling frazzled and need to just stop and take a breath.

Here's what Gena has to say about trying to do it all . . .


"I've just come across a Facebook message sent to me privately by a homeschooler who had some questions about "balancing it all." She said she has four kids she's trying to homeschool and is wondering how I (with my six kids AND a magazine to run) am managing. How do I do it; how do I keep it all together? [Chuckle] This is funny. Me, balanced? Me, organized? I don't think so. . . . So how do I do it all? Like I said, I don't.


"I think I've come to realize after all these years that first and foremost, I want to be a 'heart and soul homeschool mama.' That's all that really matters. My house is a mess (stop by unannounced and I probably won't answer the door--my living room is a disaster). Take a look at my kitchen; normally you will be hard-pressed to find the counters. My couch (what couch--where'd it go?) is overrun by clean laundry waiting (patiently and forever) to be folded and put away. Hey, at least it's clean! My bedroom door stays closed, because, well, never mind. I won't even go there, because to describe the clothes behind closet doors, makeup spilled on the counters,and a toilet that looks a little . . . well . . . not as white as it used to, would just be embarrassing. Seriously. My house is pretty messy. For the most part it's really sanitary, though. I have an obsession with "cleaner wipes," as we call them. My kids are constantly wiping down furniture and doorknobs, tables, chairs, and the counters-when we can find them. I love to cook and wash my hands too many times. We're clean. We're just . . . slobs. . . .


"You already know what you've been called to do, and you're walking securely with the One who loves you most. He has your family in His Palm and your kids are doing fine. Are they perfect? Of course not. Whose kids are? Are you always dressed to kill and ready to throw open the doors of your home to any friend who comes knockin'? Three hot meals on the table with nary the nagging word, day after day? Do you bestow upon your husband a perfect love, greeting him each day paradisiacally with fluttering doe eyes and a sparkling smile? Not really? Okay, good; you're normal. So, strive for betterment always (wherever you're at on the journey); work on your list, taking care of the priorities (heart and soul, my friend!); and keep walking. Your Heavenly Father will never leave you. Walk with Him."




If you don't have a copy of Gena's new E-Book, remember you can get a copy FREE with any $25 purchase in the Schoolhouse Store. Take a look here at some of the specials.



Creation Revolution 


Ever struggled to control algae in an aquarium? Algae not only are a threat in aquariums, but when out of control, they can destroy a coral reef and many other organisms. Ever wonder what God has put in place to control algae in the ocean?


Discover how algae are controlled in the ocean when you read the article God's Algae Control Systems 


The FamilymanTodd Wilson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


'Tis the Season: Breathe!

The simple fact that you're reading this email means you need to hear what I have to say right now.


Are you ready?


"Get OFF this computer right now and get back to having fun with your family!" Not after you check things or log onto Facebook . . . but right now.


And don't even think about doing school until way past New Year's.


That's an order!


Happy new year!


Be real,



It's Just Common Sense 

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant  


Packing up decorations. Taking down the tree. Detoxing from the treat overload. All of these are the signs that the wonderful celebrations of Christmas are coming to a close. We have one last opportunity to gather with friends and family to fellowship and celebrate the new year, then we look, in earnest, toward the responsibilities, challenges, and blessings of 2012.


We serve a wise God who designed just such changes of seasons in our life. When we look back gratefully at what has been, we are reminded that what has just drawn to a close was once a new season as well. The faithful God who brought you into that season will now faithfully bring you into the new season. Every new year is like that for us as mothers and homeschoolers. It is also that way for the things that God calls us to do.


With that in mind, please allow us to share our grateful reflections. Thank you so much for allowing us to share our thoughts, observations, and prayers with you on a weekly basis. We have tremendously enjoyed the opportunity to bring forth the things that God has put on our hearts and in our path. Thank you for so graciously receiving our words and for responding so often with encouraging words of your own. The time has come for a change in seasons for us, so we will be laying down our weekly participation in The Homeschool Minute.


I, Debbie, want to especially thank TOS for giving me the opportunity to participate in this column. It has been my great privilege to work with Ruth, preparing these columns. All our conversations about the topics we wrote on have taken my thoughts on these subjects to a higher level, and I have been so blessed by Ruth's mentorship. It has truly changed our family's life. Not only am I grateful for the inspiration she has shared with me educationally, but also for the amazing example she has laid before me of a godly servant leader. I am so thankful for the discipleship she offered and pray that it will continue to bear fruit for many years.


As you look forward to the coming year, please continue to recall and apply the many words of wisdom and encouragement Ruth has shared through this column. Her articles and books continue to be timeless words of guidance, wisdom, and peace for homeschoolers today. Remember that you homeschool for an audience of One, and it is His approval we seek, not that of the world, or even other homeschoolers. May His grace and strength be abundant for you and yours as you step into 2012 with great confidence in the One who has called you, for He surely will bring it to pass.


~ Blessings,

Ruth and Debbie
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  Schola Publication - 3rd Webinar

Contest Central   

For the month of December, 2011   



Illustory is a kit for creating one's own book. The kit contains instructions, a story web planner, two cover pages, 18 book pages, an order form, 10 washable markers, a postage-paid envelope, and information about completing the book online. The kit price of $21.95 includes one finished book with no return shipping fee. The finished book is a 7- by 9-inch hardcover. There are options for ordering additional copies of your book, making additions to your book, etc. (. . .)


You can make your pictures right on the pages provided, or you can make them on your choice of papers, scan them and insert them into the online pages, and then type your words in at the same time. That is what we opted to do. You can even pick the color of your book cover. This has been an experience I would not have missed for the world. (. . .)

Read the rest of the review here.

Win this resource for your family!

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

2011-12 Schoolhouse Planners  

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

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

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