September 28, 2016 Edition 
 The Path to the Finish Line: College Prep and Life Skills
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family
Some days, it feels as if my young children will never grow up, and ten days feel like ten years. Some days, I blink and they are grown and graduated, and ten years flew by like ten days. So how do we create the best path for our kids from birth to life after graduation?

My goals might be: I want my children to unquestioningly obey God's commands and my commands. I want them to be able to combat the enemy of their souls: the world, the flesh, and the devil. I pray for each one that God will show me how to develop them in their specialized fields. As far as basic training in academics, they should be able to read well, write well, and understand higher math. I consider things such as trade schools, college, apprenticeships, entrepreneurial ventures, or just plain preparation for life. Most importantly, I want them to remember that they are ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

Here are some things to think about in preparing our children:
  • Help with transcripts and portfolios from Lee Binz, Inge Cannon, and Janice Campbell and college prep information from Jeannie Fulbright.
  • Classes outside the home that they can put on their transcript also help them learn how to answer to someone else. Options could be a junior college class during high school, a class by another homeschool mom, or community classes.
  • Find volunteer, community service, missions, or apprenticeship opportunities in their interests and giftings.
  • Prepare them for college writing and note-taking skills. Kim Kautzer has excellent insight on preparing for college writing here.
  • Gap years: Maybe your child needs a year off after high school to consider his possibilities. This is a good time for extended mission trips and volunteer work, or exploring different careers. This gap helps them decide where their passions are and what other schooling they may need to continue in their given direction.
No need to fear, homeschool parents! The Lord is on your side!

"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear..." (Psalm 118:6).



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Raising Real Men    
We've got eight kids, and we've graduated four so far. All four have gone to college, and all four were blessed with major academic scholarships--both our precocious early readers and our sons with learning difficulties!

But we didn't know at the start whether college was in their future, or what they'd eventually study, and therefore, how we ought to prepare them for life beyond our home. Here are some tips that worked for us:

Embrace that only God knows for sure. It's one of the things which makes God who He is--He knows the future, and we don't.

We can still plan ahead with the knowledge we have. Moses told the Israelites, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children . . . " (Deuteronomy 29:29), and Jesus asked, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost?" (Luke 14:28). Work with the information you have, and keep moving forward!

Don't sell your student short. We told ours that since nobody knew where God would eventually call them, we planned to give them as broad an education as they could handle. That way, if their plans changed, they wouldn't regret that they hadn't taken enough math or learned to write better. And even if they aren't heading for college after high school, the wisdom and understanding they gain from their studies now will still enrich them in the future.

Plans do change, after all. Plan on that, too. One of our sons struggled so badly in middle school, we nearly lost hope he would finish strong in high school. In just a few years, though, he got his academic feet under him, set his sights on college after all, and was recruited into his college's honors program.

There is more help available than you know. Whether it's educational tools for high school coursework, application requirements for college admissions, online programs for more challenging classes, or even financial aid for college--and it's true, there are often more scholarship dollars available at private colleges than state schools--there is a world of information and assistance available now. Ask lots of questions! You'll probably be surprised what you discover. We were!

The Psalmist writes that "The words of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them . . . He has made His wonderful works to be remembered" (Psalm 111:2, 4). Every subject we study comes from the hand of God--whether it's math, science, language, history, or the arts--and the better we understand them, the more we will praise Him for His wonderful gifts!

Yours in the battle,

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Building Faith Families

Steve Demme
When I meet people who find out our children were home educated, eventually the discussion will turn to our motivation. They are curious why we chose this method of education; for they see homeschooling as one of the options or alternative forms of schooling. But my response is not what they expect.

I tell them we were training our children to live forever. The finish line for us is to be standing in the presence of God, and as we look to the right and left, see all the members of our family worshiping the Lamb. Teaching our children at home seems to me to be the best preparation for living eternally with God.

While we diligently taught life skills and academic subjects, our first priority was to faithfully read the Word of God as a family, pray together, and be fully involved in our local church. In the providence of God, some of our children did attend college, but our heart was set to "seek first the Kingdom," expecting God to add "all these things" they would need to function well on this earth. 

C. S. Lewis said it well: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." Our aim was to seek God's city, or as the writer of Hebrews says when speaking of Abraham, "He was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10).

Steve Demme and his wife, Sandra, have been blessed with four sons. He is the creator of Math-U-See (God is the Creator) and the founder of Building Faith Families. He produces a monthly newsletter, a weekly podcast, and other resources to strengthen and encourage parents. Learn more about these at
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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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