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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
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"The Teaching Home Back Issues" is the
subject line of the e-mail accompanying and sponsoring this newsletter.

        You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.
        The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #64
        Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

        January 23, 2004  /  Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
    The Priorities of "School"
    Home Schooling Helps Smooth the Rough Edges
    Commitment Leads to Improved Organization and Patience
    If I Only Had a Brain
Recommended Resources
     Janome Sewing Machines
     Structured Writing
     Creation Illustrated Magazine
     Little Cottage Home School Books


     In this issue we have chosen to reprint four letters
contributed to The Teaching Home magazine by home-school mothers.

     The common theme they all reveal is that as home schoolers,
we are ordinary, flawed people in the process of being trained by
our heavenly Father, even as we in turn train our own children.

     We hope that the testimonies and experiences of these four
ladies will inspire you, as they have us, to keep on keeping on and
to put first things first, all the while that we trust and obey our
wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.

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The Priorities of "School"

     We should all attempt to approach the education of our
children with an open mind.
     By that I mean, let's let go of the preconceived ideas of
what schooling should be.  Pretend there are no such things as
institutionalized education or typical courses of study.  Start
with a blank slate.  Here are our children; now as godly parents,
how and what are we to teach them?
     I once read in a dictionary that the word "school" came from
the Greek word "schole," meaning "spare time devoted to
learning."  A group of young Greeks who would listen to teachers
in their spare time were called a "schole." This group was eager
to learn about science and history.
     As home-school parents, are we spending our precious time
teaching and emphasizing those things which should be considered
spare-time enrichment?
     I have separated what I consider essential learning from
spare-time activities.  I divided learning into four categories.

1.  Eternal Values
     The first category is eternal values.  This is obviously of
first importance to the Christian home.
     Included here are character development, attitudes,
behavior, and personal spiritual growth.
     So the time we spend dealing effectively with such issues as
lying, disobedience, or grumbling is time I consider well spent.
     I also consider learning to read as a priority because of
being able to read God's Word.  Reading the Bible and praying
together with our children is a very important part of the day.

2.  Practical Living Skills
     My second category is practical living skills.
     This section would cover daily chores, child care, and
vocational skills.
     Along with these, we need to teach basic math and writing
     In our home, learning to do chores well and with a good
attitude comes before "schoolwork."

3.  Spare Time Activities
     The third category, then, is space time activities or
"school."  School activities include lessons in science, history,
or geography.  Others are penmanship, art, music, physical
education, and creative play.
     If we have lots of time, there are friends, field trips,
games, or good books.
     Of course, our goal is to become more efficient and
cooperative so we have lots of spare time to enjoy together.

4.  Total Waste of Time
     I have added a fourth category just for fun.  My kids
couldn't wait to hear about this one.  They figured this would be
the best.  Not so.
     Number four includes anything I consider to be a total waste
of time -- fighting, complaining, and 99.9 percent of TV viewing.
     Also daydreaming if work isn't done; if it is, dream on!
     Another waste of time is doing schoolwork or chores with a
bad attitude.
     Obviously we strive to avoid number four!

How This Helps Me
     This outline helps me keep my day in focus.  I can stop and
ask myself:
* Is this worth our time?
* Are we using priority time on spare time activities?
* Am I pushing to fill in blanks and workbooks and failing to
   discipline for wrong attitudes?

     Our goal is to keep school in its proper perspective and not
let it take priority over the more important lessons in life.
     As Christian home schoolers, we all say a godly upbringing
is the priority.  But day to day, what do our children see us
fretting about?  Are we sending them a mixed message?
     I believe that if we are faithful in the first two categories,
God will bless us with right learning experiences and guard
us from wasting our time on those activities that have less
or no value.

by Vesta B., Washington

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     Schools" is a color-coded, step-by-step, proven
     curriculum for teaching academic writing to grades
     6-12.  Structured Writing was developed by a homeschool
     mom while teaching homeschool students.

Home Schooling Helps Smooth the Rough Edges

     Let's admit it, none of us are perfect.  We are all in the
process of being changed into His likeness.

     Home schooling has brought me face to face with the
undeniable sinful qualities of selfishness, jealousy, self-pity,
impatience, joylessness, laziness, and probably several others I'm
not currently wanting to admit or look at.

      I suspect that one reason people don't home school when
presented with persuasive and compelling arguments is because we
really don't want to deal with these ugly, but real, character

     At a recent mothers' meeting, we discussed how home
schooling our children is like intensive therapy.  We are
confronted by our worst traits as we work out our relationship as
teacher and mom with our children.  In our dealings with our
children, these ugly characteristics often show up.

     Yet if we are willing, God can gradually smooth the rough
and jagged edges of our personality and character.

by Marilyn M., Colorado

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Commitment Leads
to Improved Organization and Patience

     When people learn that I am the mother of five children,
ages 4 to 11, and that I am home schooling four of them, they
invariably make one of two statements, or both. They say,
"You must be an organized lady," or, "I could never do that;
I don't have enough patience."

     I have to admit that I am not naturally an organized person.
I work at it, and I still don't feel organized. But God has used
these children and home schooling to develop some organization
in my life.

     I have found that it's much easier for everyone if we stay
ahead of things and somewhat prepared before they happen (like
meal times and Sunday morning departures).

     If you ask my children, they could tell you whether I have
enough patience or not! But God has asked me to do this, and He
does not always ask me to do what is easy or what comes

     I am encouraged many times by I Cor. 12:9,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

     Also Philippians 4:13,
"I can do all things through Christ
Who strengthens me."

     He will give me what I need for the tasks He asks me to do
if I will but obey Him and take His grace.

     It takes commitment, not just to my husband, to my children,
or to home schooling, but most importantly to God Himself as Lord
and Master of my life. He is the only one who could make me
organized or patient, and He's still working on me!

by Cara H., British Columbia

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If I Only Had a Brain

     This morning I stood trance-like, staring at the glowing red
slots in the toaster, only vaguely aware that something was
amiss. Through the fog a small voice at my side said gently,
"Mom, you didn't put the bread in!"

     At that moment I was forced to accept the awful truth that
had been nagging at me like a fruit fly for years. I have no
brain. My head is stuffed with fluff.

     My husband reminds me (frequently) of the time he found me
standing on a chair in the kitchen staring off into space,
humming to myself, and fiddling with my wedding ring.

     I had climbed up there to look for something on the top
shelf of the cupboard (it isn't easy being short). Once I got up
there, I forgot what I was looking for and didn't see any point
in getting down until I remembered. Apparently, while waiting for
it to come back to me, I just sort of "checked out" for a few
moments, and that's when I was discovered.

     Fellow home schoolers, give me some support here. I'm not
alone in this, am I? From what I hear, this brand of brain
dysfunction is pretty common among home schoolers. It's time we
gave in and admitted that we march in step with Winnie the Pooh.
We are "bears of very little brain."

     For logically speaking, would any woman in her right mind
give up her "self-fulfillment" to stay home and do a job that she
is already paying the state to do for her? This society can
barely tolerate a woman who stays home with her infant. But
school age children? Really!

     We are often asked to prove that we can teach as well as the
public schools. That's like asking David to prove that he can
fight as well as Goliath. I'd ask the skeptics to stop weighing
the armor and take a body count!

     I Corinthians chapter one tells us that God deliberately
chose what appears to be foolish in order to confound the wise. I
don't know exactly how this works, but I know why: "that no flesh
should glory in His presence" (verse 29).

     Well, in my dreams, someday the academic community will wake
up. Someone from the U.S. Department of Education will announce
with great fanfare, and in the presence of network microphones,
that home schooling is not only an acceptable method of teaching
children, it is the best method!

     However, if I never hear words of affirmation from the
watching world, I have a greater hope. Oh, that someday the Lord
of Hosts will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful

by Wendy L., Maine.

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God's Love for You
     A loving God is seeking a personal relationship with you and your
family through faith in Jesus Christ, His substitutionary death for
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     "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
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