Exercises in Generalizations

There is something remarkably precious about the love and fellowship shared between brothers and sisters in Christ. Last night, our family was standing in the parking lot of our church talking with one of the men on our executive leadership team and his sweet wife.  We were doing some work around the church building, visiting, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.   Then, as usual, we started talking about the church and doctrine.  In our church, doctrine is often discussed.  We love it, teach it, and hold to it.  My husband often reminds the congregation that we not only need to know what we believe, but why we believe it.  Yet, when you talk to a lot of Christian people today, doctrine seems to be irrelevant. Really, is it that important?   I will submit that of course it is; that is unless we want to be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” Eph 4:14.  And yet, it seems like that is just the case.  People are carried about with every (and I mean every) wind of doctrine.

“I’ll believe this, this week.”

“That sounds good for next week.”

“Teach me something new under the sun, I’ll believe it too!”

My husband explains it like this.  Many pastors’ sermons are simply exercises in generalizations.  They do not know the Bible; therefore, they do not teach it to their flock.  Due to this, people are biblically illiterate.  Consequently, they will believe anything (or in some cases nothing at all).  So as a result, people will often shy away from sound doctrine, because it has gotten to the point of sounding foreign to the “average” church-goer.  Could it be that we have reached the time where “they will not endure sound doctrine,” 2 Timothy 4:3?

I am so thankful for all the pastors who hold fast to the faithful words that they, “may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers,” Titus 1:9.     And for the men of God that “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine,” Titus 2:1.  Keep it up!   The Lord is pleased.  There are many out there who are doing just this.  I am, of course, partial to one in particular.  I really love my husband’s preaching.  I have learned so much by the expository, verse by verse, teaching of God’s Word.  And, I’m thankful for the churches that have ears to hear and that truly want to follow God’s precious Word.  Our church is an example of one.   I love our church.  Each and every one of them!  Our people have a heart’s desire to know the Word of God and obey it.  We not only have unity, but our unity is built on the truth (sound doctrine) of God’s Word.

Teaching your Child to Read

The other day, my husband and I were talking with a man who was considering homeschooling.  I shared with him that teaching my children to read was one of the greatest blessings I have had as a mother. (That is aside from leading them to a relationship with the Lord.)  Reading is such a foundational part of life.  It has been said that great men are great readers.  I believe that statement.  Reading allows you to go places you’ve never been.  It opens up the world before you.  It inspires, teaches, and motives people to do great things.  Reading allows you to learn from the past and plan for the future.  These are the reasons I teach my children to read. 

However, the most preeminent reason I teach my children how to read is so they can read the Bible.  Can you imagine not being able to read God’s Word?   Did you know that there are people here in American like that?  A few weeks ago we had a lady in our church get saved.  I asked her if she had a Bible.  She said she did but that she could not read it.  My heart broke for her.  How many people can read God’s Word but choose not to?  That was not the case here.  Listen, it’s not that she didn’t want to read her Bible, she couldn’t.  A person cannot spiritually grow without reading the Bible.  So last night our family went to the local bookstore and bought this new believer an MP3 player with the entire Bible loaded on it.

Reading is so important!  

Because we have placed such an emphasis on reading, my older children are excellent readers.  And Andrew is following up behind them nicely.  Recently, we had the opportunity to review Scott Foresman Reading Street for 2nd grade.  Most of you are probably familiar with Scott Foresman.  When the books arrived I was very impressed with the quality of them.  They are sturdy, hardbacks of just under 500 pages.  The books are brightly colored and beautifully illustrated.  Andrew has really enjoyed reading them.  The books have activities, vocabulary words, and thought provoking questions for the student.  For those teaching enthusiasts, there are even websites available (like this one) with additional Reading Street teacher resources like power points, downloads, and links.

Reading Street is offered for pre-K to 6th grade. The 2nd grade books we reviewed (student edition, volume 2.1 and 2.2) cost $86.97.  Or, you can purchase them individually for $43.47 each.  The cost was a little too steep for our family but this was the only downside of these books.

To see for yourself visit their site.

To see what others are saying about Pearson Education click here.

Disclaimer:  As a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew, I received these books  in exchange for an honest product review.   I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Times Alive! Multiplication Software Review

You know a product is successful when your 2nd grader asks, on a Saturday evening, to play the “Multiplication Game”. This is the experience we had with our newest math review. I received the Times Alive download from City Creek Press.   

I was excited about the product because my daughter needed a little boost in remembering her multiplication facts. Frankly, I get bored doing flash cards and she gets bored writing the facts out. We were anxious to try a different approach.

Times Alive uses stories, movies, songs, and animated pictures to teach children the 0 to 9 multiplication facts. It is silly, colorful, and fun! My daughter enjoyed it and asked several times to play it (instead of doing her math assignments). I always tell my children that their education is not about completing an assignment or staying on schedule. It is about learning. So, I let her. I can honestly say that it has helped.

What I did not expect was my 2nd grader to enjoy it so much. I have only taught a few of the multiplication facts to him this year. But he picked right up on it and can remember as much (if not more) than his sister. Both of the children will continue to use this software throughout the rest of the year.

If you have a child who needs a creative way to learn their multiplication facts, this is the program for you! You can purchase it as an instant download for $44.95 or on CD for $48.95. The program can be used with all your children which makes it an affordable solution!

To see a YouTube Video Sample, click here.

To find out what others are saying about Times Alive click here.

 Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew, I received the Times Alive Download in exchange for an honest product review. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Spelling – Does it matter?

My editor called me today to remind me that I misspelled a word on a survey I posted online yesterday.  (Actually, her title is good friend.)  While we joke about my poor writing skills, it does bring us to a very important subject.  Is spelling really that big of deal?  After all, we do live in the computer age where spell check proves to be most essential.  I find due to my dependence upon the computer that when it comes to teaching my children how to spell, I lack lustre.  (Just trying to be honest here.)

Nevertheless, I do my best to not let the war in my mind transcend to my children.  Spelling is important!  Why?  It is because we will not always have a keyboard under our fingers.  We will not always have access to a computer.  And sometimes even when we do, the computer fails us.  I should not depend upon my computer for everything.  God created us with an amazing computer of our own – our mind.  We should use it.  As His children we should be a testimony of God working in our lives.  And yes!  We should be diligent in all things.  That even includes leaning how to spell correctly.  Why?  Simply because we can use our writing skills to show God’s greatness, bring others to Him, and give Him glory.  I want my children to understand this.  Therefore, I teach spelling!

Now, I cannot speak for all homeschooling parents but I can speak for the many I’ve talked to over the past decade.  And I most certainly speak for this one. 

Teaching your children to spell can be frustrating!

Some children pick up on it very easily.  They always make 100% on their spelling tests.  They love writing their words each day and never struggle with misspelled words.  If this is your children thank the Lord.  If it is not, don’t fret.  You are among a great group of people.

Thankfully, because we do live in a computer age we are blessed with many great resources.  (Did I mention that I love computers?)  One resource that I have used over the years is SpellingCity.

It is free, easy to use, and f – u – n! 

You simply go to their website and enter your spelling words then choose Test Me, Teach Me, or Play a Game.

It is a great way for children to learn how to spell.  After taking an online spelling test, students can print out a report, retake the entire test, or get tested only on the spelling words they got wrong the first time.  And talk about a time saver.  It is a great tool for busy parents who just do not have the time to sit and review spelling words with each child over and over again.

Like I said, I have used SpellingCity before so when I was given the opportunity to review SpellingCity’s Premium Membership I was thrilled!  For a family (up to 5 students) the Premium Membership is $24.99.  In addition to all the great features SpellingCity already offers, with the paid membership you get: 

  • Automatic test grading and student grade book
  • Complete activity tracking of all student activities 
  • Access to their Premium Games
  • Telephone support

So let me recommend SpellingCity.  It is a great resource for all types of people – those who homeschool, teachers (SpellingCity also has a classroom version), parents with children in public school, grandparents who help out with schoolwork, and any child who takes a weekly spelling test.

Does spelling matter?  Yes.  

Does it have to be difficult?  No. 

Can learning how to spell be fun for both parents and students?  Absolutely – when you go to www.spellingcity.com.  To see what others are saying about Spelling City you can go here.


Disclaimer:  As a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew, I received SpellingCity’s Premium Membership free of charge in exchange for an honest product review.   I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

The Upside-Down Trash Can

thimbleIt has rained here all day. This means that my children, not able to play outside after their schoolwork, were rather restless. Then the electricity went out. Living in the forest, we never know how long it will stay out. Therefore, Abigail and Andrew made a tent in the living room out of blankets, chairs and rubber bands. After the excitement of that wore off Aaron broke out the Monopoly game. I was sitting on the couch trying to study my Sunday school lesson while listening to them talk about which game piece they wanted to be. It took me back to my childhood for just as second as I remembered always wanting to be the car. However, playing with my older brother I usually ended up being stuck with the dog or thimble (which no one ever wanted to be). It was then that I heard my son say something about the upside-down trash can. I found this very amusing. To a child who does not know what a thimble is or who has never had anyone explain it to him, it makes perfect sense to call it an upside-down trash can. That’s exactly what it looks like.

This made me think. I wonder what other preconceived notions my children have because I have failed to teach them the truth? While the correct terminology for the Monopoly pieces is not that big of a deal, there are many truths that my children need to be taught that are a very big deal. The most significant truths are, of course, about God and His Word. When the children of Israel passed over the Jordan into the promise land, God told Joshua to take 12 stones out of the midst of the river and set up a monument as a reminder of what great work God had done. That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. (Joshua 4:6-7) It was the parents’ job to pass on the story to their children of how God parted the waters for the second time. It was their job to convey the glorious message that the mighty hand of God works miracles for his children. If they had failed who knows what mixed up theory and incorrect tale the future generations would have passed on.

Likewise, it is my job to pass on the wonderful spiritual truths of God to my children. If I fail to teach my children then they will conjure up their own ideas. Worse than that, Satan and the worldly system greatly desire to impart lies and deception on to these impressionable minds and will work tirelessly to do just that. If I am unsuccessful as their parent to give them Truth bases on God’s Word than what they will be given will be garbage, not fit for even a trash can (upside-down or not).