American Schoool
February 3, 2016 Edition 
I Love You to the Moon and Back, but I Can't Take You There (yet)
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family
We often feel guilty that we can't do all the fun things with our children that we see other families doing. Maybe it is due to finances, or illnesses, an overload of work, or maybe we just have a lot of very young children who keep us exhausted. We dream of taking our children to exotic or educational places, while knowing it is not the season for us. This season of staying home can become depressing, especially during the winter. Let's talk about getting out of our own slump of depression, and then consider some practical ideas for home-based fun.
I have struggled with depression, and as real as the feelings were, they weren't permanent. Just a season of low feelings--not a label of who I was. Sometimes it's our hormones fluctuating during pregnancy or nursing, weaning, exhaustion, menopause, or the dreary weather! Here's what helps me:
  • Constant prayer is vital--alone with your God, with your husband, and with your children. Get prayer warriors involved. Praying for others takes the focus off self. (If you are dealing with depression, email us, and we will put your name on our staff prayer list this week. (
  • Study the scriptures. This is like medicine--you have to force yourself to take it, but it will do its work in you. Memorize Scripture like, "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah" (Psalm 32:7).
  • Ask God to wake you up. This could be a spiritual battle, and you have been lulled to sleep by the enemy, whose goal is to pull us into a self-focused, all-consuming passion about how we feel. Ask God to help you get up and obey His commands for your life and family, despite the feelings. "Wake up the mighty men ... let the weak say, I am strong" (Joel 3:9-10).
  • Smile in faith. Praise in faith. Worship music is a must. Rest; eat less sugar and carbs.
  • Shift your focus from those all-encompassing, deceitful feelings to your unwavering God. Accept the fact that you have nothing to give, then give God your nothing, and allow Him to create something from it.
These suggestions have been well tested. When I force myself to do these things, I come out victorious. I know God will deal bountifully with you, as you make the best of the low times. Joy will return.

While you are working your way out of depression, set your children up with some at-home fun days. Tent making, popcorn eating, board game playing, clay modeling, face painting, audio books, or virtual field trip days. (Virtual Field Trips)

I am having one of those days today, so I had the kids cuddle up with me and each read their Bible chapters aloud. Then we put on our Chuck Black CDs and pulled out the LEGOs™ and everyone is creating and listening. The only thing that would top this day for my kids might be a trip to the moon.

Here is one of the first articles I wrote for the print magazine on the subject of Hunger and The Depression. You will learn a little about those resourceful times of the Great Depression and find out where true hunger is satisfied.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


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Raising Real Men    
Long ago, in a career move far, far away, we found ourselves moving to exotic California with a year-old child and not much money. How could we see all the incredible stuff in the Golden State when we couldn't afford hotel rooms and restaurants? I mean, you couldn't take a baby camping, could you?
Yes, we could, and yes, we did. John's baby pictures include hiking in Yosemite, first steps underneath a redwood tree, roaming from Tijuana to the Sierras ... just because we didn't have much money, we weren't going to let that stop us from exploring!
Getting out and seeing things makes learning come alive. Traipsing over battlefields, watching animals interact, seeing the way a business works--all those things make children want to learn, because they realize that the things they're learning make a difference in the real world.
Most of us know that, but going further afield than the local museum or fire station can seem a lot harder. We've found, though, that the fact that you're a single-income household with kids (including babies and toddlers) doesn't nail your feet to the ground. You just have to be creative, and homeschoolers are great at that!
Now that we're authors and speakers, we travel more than ever and we still watch what we spend so we can afford to bring our children along with us. One area ripe for saving money is lodging. Christian hospitality networks have been a big blessing to us; they're usually inexpensive or even free, but they also introduce us to other believers all over the country. Learn more on our podcast here.
Another area we've found where you can save a lot is food. Just stopping at a gas station for soft drinks costs a fortune when you have a big family. We travel with a cooler and a crockpot and we've worked hard to make meals interesting even when we're cooler-diving meal after meal. You can hear some of our ideas in this podcast.
Once you decide you really can afford to take your family on the road, planning ahead can maximize the trip. Look into field trip sites along the way as well as at your ultimate destination. It's tempting to make as many miles as quickly as you can, but taking the time to stop at parks and sites along the way will make your trips more fun and a lot more memorable. Be sure to call ahead and ask for discounts for school groups, and ask if they have any educational material available for teachers!
You might not be able to take your kids to the moon yet, but it's amazing the places you'll go!
Your friends,
Hal & Melanie
We're already planning over 23,000 miles of travel this year, and we'll be visiting as many as 28 states! If you'd like us to stop at your support group meeting, family retreat, or church event, drop us a line at - we're filling out our calendar now! 
The Familyman 
This may just be the weirdest (read: most unique) topic I've ever been given in my many years of writing for The Homeschool Minute. Not one to shrink from doing my duty to encourage homeschooling moms, I'll give it the old college try.
I know you love your children to the moon ... or even beyond, to the soon-to-be-discovered Planet X, and I know you can't take them to the moon (especially since we're no longer going to the moon), but maybe you can do the next best thing--go to the grocery store in your pajamas.
That's right. Don't underestimate the joy of any mundane journey in your PJs. I wish I was the awesome kind of dad who does wacky things like this all the time ... or even once. 
Actually, my daughter was the hero of this tale. My wife and I were having dinner with Diana Waring and her husband Bill (who also plays the tuba). The little kids were in bed by the time we got home, but the next day one of them said to me, "Katherine took us to Dollar General in our pajamas to get ice cream! It was awesome!"
You should have seen the excitement in their eyes ... all over going to the store in their PJs. Why didn't I think of that? It was so easy ... so effective ... so memorable.
Can't take your children to the moon? Then take them to the store in their PJs to get ice cream. Both will be remembered forever.

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Contest Corner 
For the month of February 2016  
Are you ready to eat your homework? Ann McCallum Books can help!

Ann McCallum has a Masters degree in education and has taken to writing fun educational books for children. What better way to pique a child's interest in learning, than through their stomach?
Eat Your Math Homework combines math facts and yummy recipes making your child hungry for more math! How much is Pi? Try some Delicious Variable Pizza Pi and you're likely to always remember!
Eat Your Science Homework turns science concepts into edible treats! Eat your Atomic Popcorn Balls and Black Hole Swallow-ups and your child is sure never to forget these scientific concepts!
Eat Your US History Homework is another yummy course. Newly released, this book brings recipes from back in time to you and your child! What was the favorite treat during Revolutionary War times? What did the Native Americans eat?
YOU can WIN this the book, Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds!

TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Eat Your Math Homework" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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