September 7, 2016 Edition 
Making History Exciting for Every Grade Level (I know, right?)
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Hey, Mama,

My family loves road trips. And a great road trip can often lead to a history lesson in disguise (shhh . . . don't tell the kids). LOL! There are many ways to make history come alive for everyone in your family, from your preschoolers to your tweens and teens, in addition to road trips--dressing in period costumes, reading historical fiction or non-fiction together, visiting living history museums, creating food from a certain time period, and more. And if you didn't love history when you were in school, you'll be pleasantly surprised how history can come alive in your homeschool.

Plus, remember . . .

We're at midweek, and some of you have had it kind of rough. Finances are tough right now. Marriages are hard at times. The stress is just over the top. And sometimes you feel like, "Wow, if ONE more thing hits, I'm done. Just done."

Don't give up. Instead, take it a day at a time. His mercies are new every morning. So, even if you fail, He does not. And He has compassion and understanding; He knows our frame. Some of us are more frail right now than others . . . He knows. He sees. And He is near the brokenhearted. "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18)(ESV*).

Keep your eyes on Him. Don't waver, because He never does. Model that for your kids, as well. Speak HIGHLY of the Lord you love. Honor Him before them in all that you do.

They will not forget. He is THEIR Lord, too.

Hold up, Mama. His hand is still on your head.

~ gena

*"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

One Year Free_

Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Dear Friends,

Woo Hoo!!! Today I get to write about my favorite subject--history--and my favorite approach to learning--make it exciting!!

The timing on this is amazing, too. Just yesterday, I received this note from one of the students I've been teaching for the past seven months in my online class:

"I never really thought that history could end up being so fun. Before this, I always thought of history as just having to memorize facts and events. But ever since I joined your class, I realized that there was so much more than just facts in history. Being able to study history from a Christian worldview has been amazing as I never fail to see God's hand of love and protection, even in the darkest of times. At the beginning of the year, I wasn't the most enthusiastic student, but right now, history is my FAVORITE SUBJECT and I can't bear to miss the lessons. You make the past so interesting, and I love listening to the discs over and over again and doing all the projects." Christie in Singapore

Notice what she said: "I realized there was so much more than just facts in history."

What does that mean? For many of us, studying history in school meant memorizing names, dates, and places. The better you were at memorizing, the better was your grade. But are "just facts" adequate for our kids to really learn history?

No. A thousand times, no!

History is about people who lived in times past, about their lives, about their cultures, about their choices, about their responses to the challenges of their generations. History is richly populated with the most incredible stories, with the most amazing people, with the greatest lessons for life.

So, what we want to do is open up the door for students--out of the stuffy classroom approach--to the wonders of history. We can do that through reading great biographies and historical fiction aloud to our kids. We can go on field trips to historic sites or museums (make sure your kids are excited about going). We can listen to audio CDs (Christie mentioned how much she enjoyed listening to the "discs"--those are my What in the World?, True Tales, and Digging Deeper CD sets). We can offer them opportunities to do hands-on projects, art projects, and skits; create maps; play games; cook historic food; and more! (Christie mentioned doing all the "projects"; she is doing those in my History Revealed curriculum.)

Finally, Christie pointed out what was perhaps the most exciting (and life-changing) thing we can do: "Being able to study history from a Christian worldview has been amazing as I never fail to see God's hand of love and protection, even in the darkest of times."

Discover the stories of God's faithfulness in history, and then teach it to your children. It's the best part of history! (If you need help with finding these stories, check out my audio CDs and world history curriculum--they are filled to the brim with God's breath-taking timing, provision, and wisdom.)

Remember, stay relational!


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The Familyman 
I love history. I truly see and feel the 'HIS' in history. As a family, we've visited scads of historical sights in our Familyman Mobile/RV. My kids have been just about everywhere that a major, historical thing happened. I love standing on battlefields, in presidents' homes, and in places where significant events happened.

But, not all of my kids love history, and couldn't care less. My oldest has a BA in history and knows more about obscure Civil War generals than their own mothers knew about them. But some of my kids glaze over whenever we talk about HISTORY.

I try to be understanding, because although I LOVE history now, I was in the 'couldn't less' category when I was their age. Honestly, I knew the Civil War had something to do with guys in grey and blue, but that's about it.

Maturing, gaining perspective, and having children changed that. I'm betting that my non-history lovers will gain some of that perspective as they mature and have families of their own.

That said, we still teach history. We certainly don't do it the way I was taught, with thick, boring textbooks filled with dates and quizzes at the end of each chapter. We've used and loved 'living books', engaging stories that take my children to the town of Gettysburg, the flood at Johnstown, and dozens of other places.

They don't just learn about it from an expert, but experience the event as a participant. That's the magic of living books. They take you there.

This year, my wife is excited to try Geography Matters' Trail Guide to Learning (Charlotte Mason/Ruth Beechick style). I know what to expect. I'll walk past the schoolroom and hear Debbie reading aloud to my children as they color or draw or just listen. They may not all be history lovers, but they'll love the stories and the time with their mom. And who knows what they might learn in the process?

Be real,
P.S. Hey, homeschool leaders--Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about the after-Christmas break schedule. Need a winter kick-off speaker for your homeschool group or Valentine's Banquet? Contact me and see if we can work it out.
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Contest Corner 
For the month of September
My family loves a good movie! I, on the other hand, love something that is rich and educational. It can be tricky to find something that makes all of us happy on family movie nights. So, of course, I was more than happy to have the chance to review Beyond the Mask. Included in the bundle was also the CD soundtrack for Beyond the Mask and The Official Illustrated Movie Guide (books make me happy!).

Beyond the Mask is a historical, Christian film full of action and adventure, amazing special effects, and a storyline that leaves you on the edge of your seat. This film takes place in 1775, in England. The mercenary, played by Andrew Cheney, is on the run in the American Colonies after he decides to turn in his resignation to his employers, the British East India Company. Needless to say, when his employer attempts to kill him, he knows he needs to go into hiding. He spends some time as a "vicar" in a village; it is when he meets Charlotte that he truly begins to seek and see his need for God. This is such a great story of redemption--also a reminder that the truth is best, because the past still matters--God is always in the details! There was the message of "redemption, not revenge" and the reminder throughout this film that, "There is only One who can make you new." I do appreciate how there are such powerful lessons woven into this story; at the same time, it is not so deep that only certain audiences can enjoy this. I do believe this is a film that everyone could not only enjoy but truly be inspired by. There was action and excitement, a love story (my boys thought was gross!) along with some humor, and lots of lessons in character and faith. In this one film there really is something for everyone.

We also received a CD of the soundtrack by Jurgen Beck, from Beyond the Mask. This is truly a masterpiece, in my opinion. I love how the music truly enhances the movie yet can also be thoroughly enjoyed separately. I can easily listen to this soundtrack all day long, every day. Such beautiful and powerful music--it brings the story to life!

We also received a copy of The Official Illustrated Movie Guide: Beyond the Mask, by Sara and Shannon Burns. This is a beautifully bound book; the pages are full of lovely design and amazing details that really enhance the opportunities for learning within this movie. Being very fond of history myself, I really appreciated this book and how it provided so many details in regards to various aspects of the movie. There are maps which show the East Indies and the routes taken by trading ships around the world. There is a section that speaks about the account of the assassination attempt from Washington himself. My oldest loved the pages that referenced Windmill Island--fact or fiction--and its role in the making of the movie. From notes regarding the wardrobe and hair styles, these were all so very appropriate to the times. As we read through this book, we were truly amazed at the details that were covered, in keeping with the times, for this film. Even colonial-style desserts were present for the filming of this. Just amazing, the historical accuracy within every aspect of this story. (. . .)

YOU can WIN all three!
TO ENTER: Email Heatheat 
with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Beyond the Mask" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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