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Friday, May 22, 2015

Josh Duggar Family Scandal and When The Unspeakable Happens Inside Your Homeschool Bubble


This week has been a traumatizing week. Not only did I read the news about Josh Duggar, but something similar happened that burst our little homeschool bubble as well...

My heart is sad and sickened. This doesn't bode well with the entire aspect of bringing up little boys or even allowing a boy grown into a man to raise a family of maturing children. I have a 15-year-old boy, and I am married to a grown boy, called a man. I honestly do not know how I would respond if the news of either of these scenarios played out before me.

I see the news reports. If you haven't, you probably will.

In the case of the Duggar's, it was an act that happened when the oldest was 14. The details are sketchy, but most are reading between the lines enough to realize it involved his younger sisters. But, my question is: Who is the other girl involved? Is this truly something a curious hormone-charged teen boy did and now regrets, or is it truly a problem he deals with still today?  Is it blown up by the media to make Christians look bad, or is it really, in fact, much worse? Is it a forgivable act, or should his wife be concerned about his actions toward their children and take action to protect them?

I have a lot of questions, a lot of uneasiness, a lot of sickening feelings, a lot of anger!  I can only pray and hope that the true victims in this case are considered and helped or protected. It makes me angry that homeschooling and Christians are again in the limelight with a horrifically negative twist shined upon us.

Here's how our personal homeschool bubble burst this week as well:

We were simply playing an innocent game of miniature golf with a group of homeschooled teens when we got the news!

There are many reasons to homeschool, and there are days I'm not really sure where my reasons fall. Ultimately, I believe it's the best option for my family. Though, in making this decision I mistakenly felt as if I was somehow safe from the evils of the world. I was wrong.

I hesitated writing this, but in light of this and now the Duggar announcement, I feel the need to get my thoughts down in print.

Yesterday, I learned that a teacher at our homsechool co-op was arrested for the unthinkable.

I will admit that, after hearing the news, while I spent the afternoon shaking inside - I honestly was not surprised. Upon my first meeting with this family, I sensed something was wrong. And, what I sensed was wrong was what really was wrong. I'm sad that my sensing was right. I really believe that for some unknown reason the Holy Spirit sometimes gives you a secret knowing. Some call it a gut-level feeling. I call it God's whisper of knowledge.

I don't have all of the facts in the case, but what I do know is that the girl involved is a friend of my daughter's. This makes me angry that my innocent daughter now knows second-hand about these horrific acts that are supposed to take place only in the bottomless scum of the population. But, it didn't!  It happened right here inside our little homeschool bubble.

Now a family is torn apart, and a little girl has lost complete innocence at the hand of her father - A man she should be able to trust and call daddy as she wraps her arms around his neck. But, he failed to rise to the respect that title deserves. He failed in a big whopping way!

So, now what!  This family woke up today facing the horror of the consequences that this man's actions caused.

But, my kids woke up today knowing!

So, where do we go from here? I already have issues of not fully trusting anyone. Joining this co-op was a huge leap for me. I did it so my daughter could be with her good friend. In the process, she met other girls her age and the group of girls in this co-op is what drew me back week after week for the sake of my daughter. Now, one of those friends bears the emotional scars and physical ickiness that can't be undone. But, it doesn't stop with her. It wraps and weaves through the entire group of girls who know her. We are all drawn into the pain, discomfort, and ickiness of the situation.

Innocence has been lost!  No!  Innocence has been stolen!

It sickens me, to be honest. If I let it, I will become despondent and lose all hope in anything good. I will be honest and say that it has shaken me, but I remain clinging to the hope of the true Savior, Jesus Christ, in all circumstances. I do believe that this isn't what that Savior ever wanted for either family. I also believe that our reaction to these happenings are not necessarily a time to quote, "He who is without sin..." verses. Different situations, different scriptures are needed. Remember, there are victims who are or were children here.

Humans will fail us. Humans do horrible things. Some humans do horrible things in the name of Christ or contorting what the forgiveness of Christ means. It's tough for me in times like these to remember that what these humans did do not reflect or change who Christ is. All I can do is pray for everyone involved and pray that I am wise enough to act appropriately if faced with either situation on a more personal level.







Weekly Wrap Up - A husband Wife Date Sort of, Teen Mini Golf and Goodbye to Innocence

 


Starting with Friday, May 15 through Thursday, May 21, our week went like this...



Jetsons T-Shirt form our first date (We went to see the Jetsons Movie)


On Friday evening, the Clydesdale horses were supposed to make an appearance at our local minor league baseball season opener, so I took the girls to see my oldest daughter's favorite horse. The weather was on again off again showers, so I knew I was taking a chance on whether or not the horses would be there due to the rain, and sure enough - The horses pulled a no-show, had to cancel at the last minute because of the weather. But, still it was worth the trip.


I got home and got ready to go out on a date with my hubby. Dates for us are few and very far between, and this one can be classified as a date - kinda, sort of.  It was a combination business event/date. The business part came in because we went to see another musician perform at a restaurant where my hubby is hoping to get in to play gigs as well. But, romantic - whoo yes! It is an Italian restaurant in a place called Westport Plaza. The ambiance was amazing with this musician we went to see creating the setting of crooner music of Frank Sinatra and the like. It was amazing, and the rain had stopped and opened up to a beautiful night, minus some humidity making my hair less than gorgeous. Still, we managed a clumsy selfie by the fountains in the beautiful outdoor plaza where the restaurant is located.



Sunday meant church and an afternoon of family time.

And, so starts the week.

Monday - For the most part, we are done with school for the year, but my oldest daughter wanted to finish up her Greek Morphemes book so she can start full force on Latin in the fall. Other than that, the girls planted some more in our garden. They added a couple basil plants and another pepper plant. They're developing a green thumb, and I'm anxious to see what comes of it this year after the summer's heat starts and we're gone.

Tuesday - This was the last of the teen events that a friend and I have been responsible for planning this year through our local co-op. We decided on miniature golf, and the weather was fantastic, actually slightly chilly for May. All three children went and got some PE in and a little bit of social time with friends for the girls as my son was having a non-sociable day and only one other boy showed up that he doesn't have a lot in common with.




GOODBYE TO INNOCENCE

While we were there, getting ready to play a round of min golf, we found out that a family in the co-op is going through some devastating news that is tearing the family apart because of inappropriate behavior on the part of the dad toward his 13-year-old daughter....  The daughter is a friend of my 13-year-old daughter. This kind of news is not supposed to happen among tight-knit groups of Christian homeschoolers. But, it did, and so I was left to explain to my older two teens the gist of what happened - Not something I ever wanted to explain to anyone let alone my two innocent children.  My son was basically angry that someone would do something so unbiblical to their own daughter and was shocked that this kind of story you usually only hear about on the news has happened right here among our little homeschool bubble and to someone we know. My daughter was pretty much appalled and grossed out but wanting to do all she can to be a friend to her friend, the girl to whom it happened. Me - I'm sickened, saddened, and pretty much still shaking though honestly I had an uneasy feeling about the man from the beginning and tried my best to keep my distance and to keep my daughters out of classes that he taught at our co-op. I had even had a sense of this kind of behavior (call that a gut-level instinct if you want. I call it the Holy Spirit allowing me to know for some unknown reason) when I was around this man during the past year-and-a-half, even though the incident has apparently only happened on this one recent occasion last week. My son was in a class this man taught at our local co-op. Since my warning alarms went off upon meeting this man and talking to his wife, I had previously casually questioned my son on a couple occasions after I picked him up from class as to how this man behaved in class. From my son's answers, I was certain that this man had never conduced himself in any inappropriate manner to the kids in his co-op classes. But, I don't know beyond what my son had told me. Regardless - It's a terrible and horrific tragedy that should never happen to a Christian homeschooling family.

Wednesday - My daughter had her second to last dance class for the year, till the fall.  This week they worked on a lyrical dance to the song, Songbird. It was absolutely beautiful.

Thursday - The only thing we have planned is reading, reading, and more reading and hopefully finishing the Greek Morphemes. A lot of schools in our area are ending, so I'm sort of bumming that we didn't take full advantage of the nice days at the park or zoo while they were still empty and not filled with kids out of school for the summer.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so the girls and I went for a walk around our favorite lake and then they played on the play ground for a very short time. Along the path, we got some glimpses of science/nature with baby geese and wild flowers.
































And, this brings us to the weekend which I'll talk about in next week's Weekly Wrap-Up. So far, my plans are to simply finish up on my weekly de-cluttering goals for our basement and move in the direction of beginning to group and price books for an upcoming book sale.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday, May 18, 2015

TOS Review - FishFlix Privileged Species

FishFlix.com Review
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I was thrilled to get a chance to review the Privileged Species DVD from FishFlix.com.


FishFlix.com Review

What is FishFlix.com?

FishFlix.com was started by a Turkish Christian American Dr. Enis Sakirgil who became involved in the making of the film, Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches, which was created to share information with Christians in the western world about the country of Turkey and its wealth of biblical history. He began selling his movie online, and gradually added other Christian films to the site. FishFlix.com is now based in Mora, Minnesota. It partners with a radio ministry in Turkey that is intended to expand the Kingdom of God in Turkey.

FishFlix.com offers Christian movies at discounted prices families can afford  so they can watch uplifting movies together as a family. There is even a section of $5 DVDs, and all orders more than $35 receive free shipping. The movies offered cover a wide array of titles for inspiration, education, and entertainment. The options include titles relating to Children's Christian Movies, Apologetics, Educational films and documentaries, Christian History, Biblical Movies, Dramas, Romance, Action, and so much more.

Order directly from the site, and the DVDs or Blu-ray discs are shipped to you. I received a physical DVD called Privileged Species in the mail for viewing. Some of the rest of the Review Crew received other titles, such as Exploring Ephesus, Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story, Unbroken Legacy of Faith Edition, Flight and Metamorphosis.

What is Privileged Species?


Privileged Species is a documentary presented by the Discovery Institute. The 33-minute film explores whether or not our planet was designed and planned for human beings to live or is it just a random happenstance? The documentary uses physics, chemistry, biology and other acknowledged scientific information to show how the universe was designed specifically to support the life of people. It also delves into exploring elements, oxygen, and water that is needed to sustain this kind of life. Michael Denton is an author and a geneticist who provided information into the scientific studies based upon his work with retinal blindness and genes. Andres Williams narrates the presentations.

It opens up with Bill Nye addressing an audience and saying, "I am a speck!" It then segues into explaining how the cosmos is designed for human life. Just a few degrees off in either direction, and human life would not be sustainable on this planet. 

How Did We Use It?

I put the Privileged Species DVD into my laptop and watched by myself first to decide whether or not I would also share it with my children. After viewing it, I can't wait till my son gets a chance to view it for science because it's right up his alley as my child who loves science but also loves his God and argues that the two are not exclusive of each other.

What Did We Think?

As a Christian and a home educator, I have learned that studying science often ends up revealing more and more about the incredible nature of God. This DVD is another example that backs up how science is all part of an amazing design and not something that just happened. The DVD was fascinating. I loved how it used science to prove and present the facts.

Find FishFlix.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+.

Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below:

FishFlix.com Review

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up - Life is like a box of chocolates banquet, Birthday Teens, Mother's Day and Libraries

Starting with Friday, May 8, we had a busy weekend. It was tipped off with having seen friends we hadn't seen in several years. The weekend was Mother's Day celebrations and my son's 15th birthday - On Mother's Day this year. We made our annual trip down to my parents' church's Mother/Daughter banquet. This year, the theme was, "Life is like a box of Chocolates". A friend of mine from high school youth group gave the talk and did an excellent job of presenting how our life's events are similar to individual pieces of chocolates.











She compared the chocolates you find most delicious to times in our lives that are perfect and blessed. She compared chocolates you find distasteful as the sad times, and chocolates that have a taste that needs to grow on you as times you thought were bad but turned out to be good.

We went back to my mom and dad's house after the banquet and got to get a closer look at my new grand-nephew and let the girls play before heading home in yucky rainy weather that made the trip seem like it took forever.

Sunday, I was awoken to my daughters bringing me a Mother's Day breakfast in bed. It was so sweet.  I had already decided that I wouldn't get much of a Mother's Day celebration because it was also my son's birthday, and I wanted to make his day special. After all - He is the one who made me a mom anyway. So, I was happy the girls thought of me and Mother's Day.  My son had a sore throat when he went to bed, so we waited for him to wake up before deciding whether or not we would go to Pizza Street and celebrate after my hubby got done playing for the worship team and then another gig in the afternoon.

My son did end up feeling well enough to celebrate, and we had a good time at Pizza Street. The girl at the register gave him two free birthday tokens, and my son spent them on letting my youngest enjoy a roller coaster simulator ride. It's funny visiting the arcade at Pizza Street after several years, because my two oldest seemed so much bigger now. It would have been a struggle for them to fit inside the seat of the roller coaster game, and there was a time they both shared the seat.

Bittersweet, but I'm learning how to embrace the good parts of having teens.

As my children grew as littles, I truly enjoyed something about every single phase. While I mourned the passing of one phase, I would be just as thrilled with the new phase. But, somehow teen-age-hood has been a lot more difficult for me to embrace. I really think I'm meant to be a mom to littles, but I'm learning how to be the mom they need me to be as they grow into adulthood. I really do miss my one-on-one snuggles and the attachment that came with nursing three babes. So, now I learn to embrace their independence while they constantly remind me how I need to have amnesia about all the cute things they once did - At least, don't bring these things up in front of their friends or post details online.

And, so the week of May 12 begins.

Monday - We headed to the library to get our fill on books, and got a little closer to finishing Greek Morphemes.

Tuesday - The girls weeded the garden, and I got the treadmill set up in the workout room downstairs.

Wednesday - My oldest daughter had another dance class. Only two more left of this year until the fall. So far, she has been thrilled!

Thursday - One of the things my son received as a gift was money to buy a game developers license so he can put his games on the Steam engine. He has been working to code these games while preparing for the ACT test he will take in a few weeks.

Friday we plan on visiting the River City Rascals home opener just to see the Clydesdale horses while my hubby has a belated dad and dude birthday trip to a retro games arcade.



Weekly Wrap-Up

TOS Review - We The People: Getting To Know Your Constitution from Homeschool Legacy

Homeschool Legacy Review
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I was thrilled to get a chance to review the We The People: Getting To Know Your Constitution from Homeschool Legacy.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Homeschool Legacy Review

Who is Homeschool Legacy, and What is We The People: Getting To Know Your Constitution?



I received my 76-page, 8-week course in digital format. It is intended for students in 4th Grade and up. The lessons are presented in a week-by-week format consisting of between 4-9 pages each and packed full of information and teaching suggestions. The first few pages explain how the book can be used with Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls to earn Merit badges. Obviously, we are a homeschool and not a troupe of girls or boys. However, there is also a page filled with a suggested schedule for using it with your children in a homeschool or family setting.



Each lesson begins with a list of books to find at the library, buy, or pull from your own home library if you already have the books. Even though the study is presented for 4th graders and up, there is also a suggested list of non-reader books.

 

I will tell you that if you are like me and want to cover every book suggestion and not miss a thing - This study will take longer than 8 weeks, which to me is fabulous to spend more time on each individual recommendation rather than to rush through or to simply put the Constitution to memory. I love all of the book lists throughout this study.






It's wonderful how the studies are built upon "living" books instead of textbooks. Every lesson begins with selected reading.

From there, the lessons each have a family devotion, which is very in-depth and gets you thinking and talking as a family, and other activities suggestions. There are links to virtual field trips, hands-on activities, fill-in-the-blank questions, coloring, cutting out and putting together the Constitution words, making study cards, making hoecakes (sort of like a cornmeal pancake), video suggestions, website suggestions, and studies that take you to the Encyclopedia - Like reading about Shays' Rebellion.








How Did We Use It?

I was asked to use it at least 3 times a week. I downloaded the pdf document to my computer to read and print as needed but ended up preferring to access it from my iPhone, and I printed some of the pages to take to the library for book reference as well as cut-out, color, or fill-in-the-blank activity sheets.

I decided that since it is intended for children in grades 4-12 that it would be appropriate to use with the entire family, who range in grades from 3-9, ages 8, 13, and 14. On top of that, my son is now in high school, so he is required to have a unit on the Constitution. I knew this would be somewhat of a challenge because while my youngest is usually on board with just about anything I throw at her in terms of curriculum, my oldest is not and sort of groans at the idea of a unit study. My middle child is very set in her ways of her workbook texts but still willing to give something new a try every now and then. With this mix of learning needs and styles, I feared the worse but was excited about the material being presented.

What I discovered was that this unit study is extremely comprehensive, and so using it every school day is more fitting to our schedule.



I knew right away that the once-a-week family devotion would not be a problem and that my husband would be more than willing to read this devotion instead of his usual devotion for the duration of the eight weeks.

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What Did We Think?

This is a really great way to learn about the Constitution - So much better than simply handing a student the Constitution to memorize. This study really makes it come alive to make it memorable and uses several books and learning styles to spark a real interest. I really appreciate all of the huge plethora of links and books and other learning tool suggestions. Don't be surprised if you get caught up in one book or video or website or activity for hours just exploring one book or one recommended site. This study does more than just present factual information. It gets students interested in learning more.

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Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below:


Homeschool Legacy Review


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