January 1, 2014 Edition 

How Can I Improve My School Year?   

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,


How can you improve your school year? Put God first and make sure you and your husband bathe all your plans in prayer. Put everything in His hands, and then get to work!

Today is the last of the holidays, and it's time to think about nestling into the school week and working hard. 

Work hard.    


You know? It's OK to take an extended break sometimes. If you need additional days off too, go ahead. Play games, spend time reading aloud, do a cooking day with the kids, go shopping, start Valentine crafts early, or just get some days of winter activities in outdoors. You already DO work hard. You're a homeschool mom. And your kids are smart--real smart. They are learning to work hard like you and Dad.

Play hard, too.

Have fun with the same kind of passion you give to work. Laugh deeply. Smile big. Take time to just enjoy your day. It was ordained by God, you know. Did you forget? 

Don't forget. He orders our days and even lights the path. And He is not cracking the whip on you. He's just not, Mama. Enjoy this new year and the weeks to come with great gusto. Set your eyes on the Lord who loves you dearly. You have reason to rejoice!   


~ gena


P.S. Check out these articles for encouragement and ideas for improving your school year:


Three Easy-To-Remember Opportunities for Living the Education Life -Karen Andreola


Prayer, Praise, and Pursuit -Sheila Campbell


How Can I Reenergize Our Homeschool if My Children Are Bored or Unmotivated -Zan Tyler

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The Familyman 

Happy New Year!!! Yeah, that was just a little too perky for me, too. I know there are people who just love charging into the New Year, but I ain't one of them. In fact, if I could hang onto this holiday vacation mode for another two or three weeks, I would. But I guess we've got to start sometime and tomorrow or MONDAY is as good a time as any (go with Monday).


I just have a little advice for improving the coming year:

  1. Be real. If you're dying inside, want to vomit each time you think about your lesson plan, or just don't feel very perky . . . then tell someone. Who cares what they might think (they probably feel about the same as you do), just tell them.
  2. Make relationships your priority. Don't focus on the subjects and lessons, but on the children you have the privilege of doing the lessons and subjects with.
  3. Smile more. Use your face as the barometer of your homeschool success. If you're smiling, you're doing well. If your face isn't happy, you're off track.
  4. Don't compare. Just about all comparisons are poison to the soul. Can I be blunt? Facebook is all about comparisons and will not only nibble away the time you spend with your family, but will also skew how you view your husband, children, and homeschool. Can I encourage you to lessen your time on the big blue F?
  5. Sign your husband up for my weekly encouragement for dads. It's just a short little email that I send out to thousands of dads to remind them of what really matters. That way I can encourage him, and you don't have to nag him. It's a win, win!

You're doing a great job. Have a great new year . . . when you start on MONDAY!!!


Be real,



Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Diana wasn't able to write for us this week; she has been very busy for the holidays. You can see all of her latest news on her website Diana Waring Presents. You can also read the article Unpacking the Essentials by Diana from a past issue of TOS.


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Creation Revolution  
"Have you ever wondered just how accurate evolutionists really are?  They are always claiming that evolution is a fact.  Most facts don't change, but the so-called facts of evolution are always changing.
Almost all of things that I was taught about evolution back in high
school and college have long been changed for other facts." 
Read more from the article

Contest Corner 

For the month of January, 2014     


Learning to Sew for Kids, Level 1 from Pixie Candy's Projects


Do your little ones want to learn to sew? I have a little girl who has just been begging for sewing lessons all year long. I had the wonderful privilege to review the DVD Pixie Candy's Projects: Learn How to Sew for Kids, Level 1, by Kids Sewing. It has five beginning projects for kids learning to sew with a sewing machine, ages five and up. It is taught by designer, Katrina Marie and sells for $39.95.


This DVD is set up to teach beginners how to sew. Since it is on a DVD it can be used in a home or school setting. The projects are fun, simple, and things that your little ones will enjoy making. Each project teaches you how to make a pattern first, then gives simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through making it. You'll learn everything from making your pattern templates to marking, cutting, pinning, sewing, turning, clipping, ironing, stuffing, hand sewing, and finishing. The materials needed are outlined from the beginning, so you will be sure to be prepared ahead of time. Projects included on this DVD are: a Hair Bow, Neck Roll, Plush Pillow, Kitchen Apron and a Pretty Purse. The projects are meant to prepare your kids for the next level which includes five more fun projects.


We have made several of the projects on the DVD already. My kids' favorite was the neck roll pillow. Even my son wanted to be a part of this project and enjoyed making it along with his sister. It was simple enough that my kids really could do most of it on their own. They didn't have any experience with sewing before beginning this DVD, so I had to help them with a lot of the actual sewing to help familiarize them with it. They loved choosing their fabric, measuring, marking and cutting their fabric on their own. (Read the rest of the review...) 


 You can WIN this DVD!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Learning to Sew" for a chance to win* this amazing homeschool resource for your family!

In this week's issue:

Writing Tales

Like Creation Illustrated on Facebook
Molly Green

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