Homeschoolers tend to feel that they have to prove something to the world...or perhaps to themselves...when it comes to THE NEXT STEP after graduation. The challenge of sending our homeschool graduates to college looms over us all during high school. We want our kids to be equipped and ready to conquer when they graduate from our homeschools.
One of my kids did NOT go to college after he graduated, and I am happy about it.
Yup, I am happy about it. Here's why.
It seems to me that in our society college has become a sort of idol. We are tempted to think that if a young adult goes to college and earns a four-year degree, we can feel confident that he or she is now set, secure, and guaranteed opportunities for independence, productivity and respectability in life.
The truth is this (in my humble opinion):
* College is not necessary for many solid career choices (trade schools are an awesome and often-overlooked resource.
* College is not a good fit for some people, especially not immediately after high school.
* College can be a wasted experience if the fit is not right between the student and the course of study.
* College costs a lot of money, and for a student who is not awarded significant scholarship money, the debt incurred can be crippling.
Before you brand me a heretic and bring out the tar and feathers, give it some thought. I am certainly a big fan of higher education (I have two kids in undergraduate school right now, and one in dental school). But college is NOT a guarantee that my child will have a successful adult life.
What provides a guarantee of success in adulthood? A commitment to the Lord and a willingness to obey His perfect plans for each day He gives us is the only place of security.
My son graduated from our homeschool with a number of goals before him, and none of them seemed best served by an immediate application to college. Instead, he pursued a trade with which he can earn money while he explores various avenues for the use of the gifts and abilities God has given him. I believe that, for him, going directly from high school to college would have been a waste of time and money, and a frustrating detour from the path God was revealing to him for the next steps in his life.
If the time comes that my son needs a college degree to continue on God's path for him, I have no doubt that he will apply to schools, take placement tests, gain acceptance in a good school and earn that degree. But in the meantime, it would be a fear-reaction on my part to insist that college is the next step for right now.
Are we trusting God with our kids as they head into adulthood, or are we tempted to bow down before the false security that a college degree appears to offer? What do you think?
Some things that help a non-college bound homeschooler prepare for life is good thinking/creativity/communication skills. These can be developed in a good, but not killer, literature and writing curriculum. Here are some suggestions that we used (all are no fuss, no busywork, fun, but real study guides- affordable, too):
Another important life-prep subject for non-college bound homeschoolers is Human Development (understanding how people grow and change over the lifespan). This is another accessible, no busy-work curriculum written from a Christian worldview.
Ever have one of those homeschool moments when you found out you were doing something right?
When I asked 14-year-old Seth, "What is your favorite book in 9th grade?"
He answered, "That's easy: God's Smuggler!"
7 Sister Sabrina had just finished a study guide on that very book and she was leading Seth's homeschool Great Christian Writers group class.
SO, I asked Sabrina to publish the study guide and I asked Seth to write a very short review of the book. (It ended up that she did an entire year of Great Christian Writers with the local homeschoolers. It was life-impacting for them. Check the study guides here for The Hiding Place, The Practice of the Presence of God, Pilgrim's Progress, Something Beautiful for God, Joni, and Born Again.)
Seth's review of God's Smuggler:
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
God’s Smuggler is an inspiring true story filled with adventure, suspense and faith. It is the autobiography of Brother Andrew. During the Cold War, Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into countries behind the Iron Curtain.
The book is also the story of his conversion to Christianity. Brother Andrew went from rebellious boy, to reckless young man, to great man of God.
God's Smuggler really showed me how much God cares for His children. He kept Andrew safe through many dangers. Every time he passed through a border he would pray what he called “the Prayer of God’s Smuggler”:
“Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture that I want to take to Your children across the border. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.”
Because of Brother Andrew, many people behind the Iron Curtain received Bibles and were shown that God cared about them. You will not want to put God’s Smuggler down.
God's Smuggler Study Guide is a 16-page etext that helps inspire your homeschooler as well as helps him understand the culture and context of the Cold War. The study guide includes vocabulary and terms to know. While it helps solidify student comprehension, it does not deflate his enjoyment of this powerful book
Brother Andrew founded Open Doors in 1955 by smuggling his first group of Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. It has been a powerful and effective ministry since that early trip.
Mission Statement of Open Doors
Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide; We are an organization aimed at strengthening persecuted believers worldwide through community development, Bible & literature distribution, leadership training & education and ministries of prayer and advocacy.
You can download the story of Brother Andrew's conversion from the book God's Smuggler at http://www.opendoorsusa.org
The best (and maybe ONLY) apologetics videos for the entire family: What's in the Bible? by Phil Vischer.
How do I know it is the best? It came recommended by my 32 year-old son, who loved it. Then my 16-year-old, my husband, and I watched 2 episodes non-stop and unanimously decided that it wins for any Bible video series. And that it is not just Bible stories- it is apologetics! AND it was FUN!!
This is the way it happened:
My oldest son took his kid brother to Creation Festival in June. Phil Vischer was there one night showing episodes of What's in the Bible?. My sons watched, of course, because they remembered that Phil Vischer was creator of Veggie Tales- the most important video series of my kids' childhood. (How many Silly Songs can you still sing?)
Afterwards, Micah chatted with Phil about how impressed he was that What's in the Bible had assumed an intelligent audience (even in little kids) AND was taking on apologetics-type topics! Then he dashed home and told his mom. Now, I am a lover of apologetics, so I wrote Phil and asked if I could do a review. And here you are:
1. What's in the Bible is SOLID biblically.
That, of course, is what really matters.
2. What's in the Bible is FUN!
Remember the zany essence of Veggie Tales? Well, What's in the Bible is fast-paced and loaded with goofy characters like: Buck Denver- a narcisstic news anchor, British safari-ers Ian and Clyde, the Sunday School Lady, Chuck Waggin and more.
3. What's in the Bible appeals to all ages.
Even my 16 year-old loved it. In fact, Seth is the one excitedly that pointed out that one of the songs was presented by a couple of his You Tube favorite hip-guys: Rhett and Link(see their song from Volume 1 below).
4. What's in the Bible assumes an intelligent audience.
Smack dab in the middle of goofy songs and skits with cartoons and puppets, there are solid Bible and apologetics lessons with topics like the inspiration of Scripture and why the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Bibles all have a different number of books.
5. What's in the Bible has great production value.
Phil Vischer is the only person I know who could pull off something like this with such spectacular production value. There are cartoons, goofy puppets, interviews, even unabashedly cheesy popsicle-stick puppets, and a flannel graph (that belong to the Sunday School lady and is usually blank)- and it is ALL fun, interesting, full of great information, and WELL-DONE.
6. What's in the Bible has great support material.
Visit their website for flashcards, activities, newsletters, lesson plans and more!
I'd love to work on making this a homeschool co-op subject for my community. Really. It is awesome. Go watch an episode and you'll see....
Here are the You Tube celebrities, Link and Brett from What's in the Bible Vol. 1:
(If my generation had spent a bit more time learning intentionality (and seeking God) in the area of finances, perhaps our nation wouldn't have such economic woes.)
I was given a book for review that is a great for homeschooling parents. The 5 Money Personalities by Scott and Bethany Palmer (The Money Couple) is written by a couple who understands our personalities affect how we handle our finances.
What an amazing thought. Different personalities view saving and spending in different ways. The Money Couple give tips for handling those money conflicts. They say, "There's a reson we take vows to stick together for richer or poorer. Money ripples into every part of our lives as couples... money can test a relationship."
They give tips on creating a useful Money Relationship with each other. They say, "It isn't the differences between you and your spouse that create tension in your Money Relationship. It's the nitpicking, the controlling, and the assuming that cause problems. The good news is that you can change that."
When I began to watch the dvds in Chemistry 101 by Westfield Studios, I wanted to cry.
That's because my son and I had just suffered through a year of chemistry using a supposedly good text for non-science-minded students. It was torture. If ONLY we had had access to Chemistry 101.
I got the opportunity to review Chemistry 101 while I was at the 2:1 Conference in the spring- we were just finishing our year. Oh, well. But let me tell YOU about it:
Chemistry 101 was developed by Wes Olson, a filmmaker and homeschooling father, for his own kids. Now, he is making the curriculum available to homeschoolers beyond his own family.
The curriculum is designed for high schoolers who aren't going to be science majors in college- those who just need a good, Godly foundation in this wonderful subject. If you have a student who is an average high school chemist (versus a college-prep or honors level chemist), you will know first hand how torturous the subject can be.
But not with Chemistry 101. There are 19 "chapters" on the DVDs with syllabus/lesson plans that explain how to use the course (150 hours worth of lessons, activities, and assessments, with lab ideas). If you're like me and download the accompanying guidebook incorrectly, you can pick it up as a pdf online.
The production value is marvelous- well-filmed and presented. The teaching is excellent- not at all dry and boring. It
covers the barebones scope and sequence for chemistry without burdening non-science majors with extra math or useless material. One of the things I like best is that it begins with a historical perspective- a sort of story-telling format, which is good for our family's type learners. It also has some great light-hearted humor (which is good for attention and retention).
In my job as an academic advisor to homeschool high schoolers, I intend to start recommending this course to my average (level 2) high schoolers (those not needing college prep). I will also advise them that they will need to log 30 hours of lab in addition to the dvd course. (No problem, they can just google: Easy Chemistry Labs at Home.)
I think I will have some happier students (and moms).
Wes Olson has also produced Biology 101 and is working on Physics 101.
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
See the Light Art Class DVD #1.
Some things are hard for a homeschool mom like me to teach- like fine arts. I love them in every form (drawing, music, drama) but the gift passed me by.
Fortunately there are some usuable-for-non-artist-homeschool-mom curricula out there. Here are some I recommend. (BTW- this is not a sponsored post.)
I love this one! Using simple drawing activities, it teaches kids to think from the creative side of their brain. It is not a theory book- it is a let's-get-creative book.
My daughter, who got her BA in Photography and Art liked this book so well that she has incorporated it into the work she does now as an art instructor.
Learning how to think creatively is a very important life skill- it is useful in writing, inventing, and problem-solving.
This is another curriculum I love. We used it in co-op as part of our world history lessons. Barry Stebbing takes homeschoolers through art history and gives them hands-on lessons so that they can experience the types of art and ideas from each time period. I loved the projects he assigned.
The program came with cards that had good pictures of the type of art being studied.
I really appreciated being able to key in art with history.
I felt my artistic kids needed some art theory when they hit high school. Not knowing any theory, I wanted someone to teach that for me.
Lifepacs does that.
Not that my kids enjoyed this. They didn't like the lessons, they felt they were uncreative, technical, and boring.
However, they got theory in. (And it didn't kill their love of art, just got them irritated with me.)
I am glad there is good homeschool curricula out there for our kids to get some experience in the world of art.
What do you use to teach your kids art?
While we're on the subject of fine arts, don't forget to download the FREE Christmas Play script from Sabrina (and watch for the launching of our drama department in January)!
Whether we homeschool moms feel creative or not,
We can teach our kids to be creative-
And to have fun. With drama, Sabrina Justison's Introduction to Directingis a great start and it is free!
is a new band with a new release, and we are pretty excited about it at 7 Sisters because two of the band members are 7SistersHomsechool.com kids. Jake Taylor White is my homeschool-grad son, and Seth Tillman is Vicki's homeschool junior. Along with James Mears and Mark Viggiano (also homeschool high-schoolers), they make up this new indie band producing original alternative music with soul-searching lyrics.
Scratch Notes is In Retrospect's first full-length studio album. At Christmastime they released 3 holiday offerings as a free EP through their Facebook page (you can still enjoy that "Christmas with In Retrospect" free EP now if you'd like a little taste of what they sound like).
There is a diversity of musical styles evident on the 12-track album. You can hear the influence of musicians who have inspired the guys, but there are also reggae rhythms, flickers of techno-synth music, a flavor of Israeli folk dances, and soaring bits of old hymns ringing over the lead singer's lyrics, all driven by their solid rock sound.
In Retrospect writes their songs cooperatively. Lyrics touch on the need for real relationship with God instead of hollow religious behaviors, the futility of life in our own strength, the everything-changing grace of God, and more. Songs like Ravenhill, with its Queen-sized anthem finish, and What Feels Safe, with its driving chorus of "Hallelu, hallelu amen" challenge us to examine what we believe and stand up against the lies that will cripple our life in Christ. Vaguely reminiscent of the early Beatles, Turnaround is an upbeat call to turn around and find that we're standing on the solid rock, while the equally uplifting Hope for Rain uses synthesizer to brightly encourage us to wait expectantly for the changes we need in our lives.
The guys love complex music. The chord progression in Vital Signs makes it no easy song to sing, but they stay true to every interval, and when they shift into the blues-heavy "I've got no strength" riff near the end of the song, Jake gets to use his powerful voice at its best. Seth's haunting lead vocal in Conversations , James' driving bass in All is Blindness, and Mark's passionate and precise drumming in Brought to Nothing demonstrate the diversity of musical gifts God has given these young men.
Am I bit predisposed to like In Restrospect? Unashamedly, yes! But regardless of the personal connection I have with the band, Scratch Notes is a solid first effort album from a young band with a lot of talent and a tremendous work ethic. From their early morning practices on Saturdays to their determination to write cooperatively rather than competing with each other's ideas, from their passion to seek truth in their own lives as followers of Christ, to their hunger to share that truth-seeking passion with others through their music, they have shown that they deserve a moment of your time. Take a listen.
Now I am teaching it to my church's Ladies Bible Study on Wednesday nights, and we are ALL thoroughly enjoying it.
In Lioness Arising, Lisa Bevere shares information about the magnificent abilities of the lioness, and shows how these qualities point us to great cooperation with God in His plans to reach a lost and broken world.
The 11-chapter hardcover book explains the vision God gave to Lisa for "awakening" women who are disciples of Jesus Christ, spurring them on to greater understanding of and obedience to His plans for their lives. Her writing is personal, relatable, and easy to understand and apply.
For our Bible Study group we are also using Lisa's DVD series of teachings that accompany the chapters in the book, as well as personal application questions from the paperback "Safari Guide." All of these resources are available on the Messenger International website. Lisa is an engaging speaker, and the production quality of the DVD's makes them pleasant to watch and really sets up our group for great discussion of the material each week. There are too many questions in each lesson of the Safari Guide to fit into our meeting time, but I select a few that lend themselves to group discussion and we focus on those.
Lioness Arising will make you uncomfortable. It will point out the many areas of weakness that we simply allow and excuse in our own lives and in the churches where we gather. But it will not condemn. Lisa's message is one of empowering for obedience to the battle-cry of God; her message makes me eager to reach out in service to those who are need my help, to offer my voice on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, to minister to the widow, the orphan, the outcast and the desperate.
(This is not a sponsored post. We just like to share resources that have been a blessing to us, and this is one of them.)
Have you seen the Spiritual Walk resources available in the 7Sisters EBookstore?
These ebooks are comfortably priced at less than $4.00 (some are even FREE!) and download immediately to your computer desktop.
Click here to see titles like God Meets Me Here, Carry Each Other's Burdens, and Prayer Journals.
You have to keep your spirit full and fit in order to truly guide your homeschoolers, right?
Running on empty leads to burn out- a risk in the long, cold winter. Reading some soul-restoring books, along with a good devotional and prayer time helps!
I have a few authors whose work refreshes my soul: C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer and especially John Eldredge.
I first ran into Eldredge's books years ago, when I had felt a long spiritual dry-spell. Someone gave me a copy of Waking the Dead. It was one of those books that I finished, then said, "I need another run through". Then another. By the end of the fourth read, revival had hit. Praise God!
Then I read Captivating, written by John and his wife, Staci. I read it 5 times in a row while God did some powerful healing work in my soul.
Then I saw John speak at the American Association of Christian Counselor's international convention (I know, oxymoron- but it is awesome to seek God together with 7000 therapists...). John said 2 words that those from my office still quote today: Ask God. Really. God knows, usually we don't. Ask God.
I also implore my homeschooling high schoolers to read Epic to help them understand the story God is writing in their lives.
The Utter Relief of Holiness is not a "Christians, you better behave" book.
It is a book about how to find wholeness and holiness. It is a healing book. Holiness is a relief- utter relief!
I mean, it is a confronting book, too. Confronting if you regard holiness as an outward keeping of the law to cover up an inward broken and dirty vessel. Confronting if you regard holiness as a judgmental vice and doubting a show-you're-cool virtue. Instead, holiness is a blessed relief!
Ask the anorexic young girl how she would feel if she simply no longer struggled with food, diet, and exercise-- if she simply never even gave it another thought. Ask the man consumed with jealousy how he would feel if he woke one day to discover that all he once felt jealous over was simply gone. ... Take the things you struggle with and ask yourself, "What would it be like if I never struggled with this again?".... It would be an utter relief. Absolute, utter relief.
Eldredge looks a Jesus' holiness by observing his character- he blessed little children, ate with publicans and sinners, fussed at the Pharisees. He quoted Jesus on his firm opinions on the necessity of holiness and what Scripture says about our inability to work it up ourselves.
Then he describes a lovely and sometimes painful process of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in his work of wholeness and holiness.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
The process involves acknowledging where our hearts are troubled, that we are allowing something to be in an idolatrous position in our lives (sometimes even our families??) and that we have a choice about what to do with that: repent, run to God, spiritual warfare sometimes... wait- I can't fit the entire book on one post. Get it and read it.
I am already on round 2 of reading The Utter Relief of Holiness. Maybe someone will do a book discussion group with me...
Hope Duffie has a copy of The Utter Relief of Holiness by John Eldredge to give to someone who comments on the post today. So here are some questions to get you started. Have you ever read any of John Eldredge's books? Which ones? Has Eldredge's work ever impacted your life? Which books have you been wanting to read?
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Here's a trailer for the book:
As a graduated homeschooling mom with a BA in Art History, I recently read and reviewed an interesting art history curriculum written by Kristin Draeger, a homeschool mom and veteran art teacher.
American Art History Volumes I & II: Art History Disguised as Fun, accompanied by Drawing American Art Volumes I & II is a fun approach to the early art of this country designed for 3rd through 8th graders. The two volumes, available online at artk12.com, provide a full semester,16 week, overview of American art from the prehistoric period through the 1820s. (Additional volumes will be available in early 2013.) Each book is available in full-color or a less expensive black and white version.
Kristin's philosophy is that learning should be fun. To that end she combines story-telling and hands-on activities to introduce students to some great pieces of art as well as train them in how to interpret art and its window into history and culture. The curriculum contains 4 main components: a text which explains the art period, work, and artist; a “forgery game” imbedded in the text; an art history Bingo game; and the drawing text.
The main text is formatted in a friendly, investigative style. Each chapter appears as a newspaper article in a fictitious newspaper named for the time - “Prehistoric Prattle”, “Boston Brain”, etc. Each article is accompanied by humorous cartoon additions and “sponsoring” advertisements. A nod is given to geography with a map and pin designating the area or city related to each piece of art explored. Using one of the art techniques studied in the book, the author has added a trompe l'oeil tag to each chapter with the crucial facts for quick review by students.
The three other components of the program are all hands-on. The forgery game at the end of each chapter consists of two prints of the work – one accurate and one with missing or changed elements. The student is to compare the two and find the differences. The Bingo game includes glossy, full-color, 8X10 plates of the works in the text and individual student bingo cards with 12 art images each. The Drawing American Art books lead the student step-by-step in drawing a section of the pieces discussed in the main text.
I found the curriculum to be an innovative approach to introducing students to art history. The format and humor of the main text certainly steer clear of the dry “text-booky”approach to teaching. Completely aside from the art images themselves, the look of the text is sure to capture the attention of students. However, I did find some of the humor to be confusing as it refers to elements of the chapter before they are mentioned in the text or makes reference to elements of history or culture which would be lost on students of various ages. Also, the cutesy, tongue-in-cheek, language, alliteration, and silly names become a bit tiresome.
Despite this, the content is surprisingly full and accurate for something aimed at this age level. The works of art are thoroughly explained from both artistic technique and historical and cultural points of view. Included with the art critiques are numerous casual references to interesting historical facts and context. For instance, the writer mentions that the end of the Battle of Princeton was fought inside of Nassau Hall. The teacher could easily use these references as a jumping off point for more thorough history lessons.
Being an art book, illustrations are a key element in this text. Complete samples of each art work studied are included. In addition, most chapters include one or more images of details from the work to draw students attention to elements they might otherwise miss. Although, the less expensive black and white versions of the texts are a nice option, I would not recommend them. Color is such an integral part of art that it is difficult to study it with that piece missing. Also, the forgeries game, I believe, would pose a difficult challenge to students if they could not see the images in full color. Granted, the Bingo game does provide beautiful color plates of the works for reference if one purchased only the black and white versions of the texts.
Overall, Kristin Draeger offers a great American Art experience to add to a child's history education. The style of writing, though not appealing to me personally, might be a good approach for students who tend to get bored with “just the facts”. The humorous elements can be confusing and overdone, but the content is good. Teaching students to appreciate and evaluate the art of different eras will certainly enrich their understanding of our world and culture.
This is not a sponsored post; we just like to pass along ideas for resources that capture our attention!