Our Homeschool Curriculum: 2017-2018

Our Homeschool Curriculum 2017-2018

Homeschool “Christmas” in May

As we’re coming up on the summer, many homeschool families have already been busy selecting, ordering, and planning their homeschool curriculum for the upcoming school year.

Our Homeschool Curriculm 2017-2018

Box Day!

I fall into this category; let’s face it, I love looking at anything that has to do with books and learning.

Changes Happen

For the last two years we have been involved in a Classical Conversations Community, and while it was a great fit for a while, I realize with the changes happening in our family, it is no longer going to be feasible for us.

This led me to look at other curriculums that were better for us during this season of life.

After much prayerful consideration, and hours of researching different possible curriculum packages we decided to continue with CC memory work during our morning routine, and begin My Father’s World: Exploration to 1850 as our spine.

There are so many great books included in this session of the family cycle–which, by the way, I absolutely adore how MFW has a cycle that includes the family–and knowing I don’t have to add anything to it, because it is all included in the package, gives me an extra little pep in my step.

My eldest loves to study history, so it is great to see how excited she is to dive into learning about the early years of our country. She’s equally excited about delving into Botany later in the year. It’s going to be a great experience for our family, and will really focus us on things we might otherwise skip.

I personally am excited about the read-alouds and the book basket. These are things we have always done in our homeschool, but this time I don’t have to search for books that coincide with our studies. MFW has done that work for me. *Inserting a happy dance here*

Go With the Flow

While technically being new to MFW we should begin with Exploring Countries and Cultures, we decided to begin during the time period we’d be studying in CC. We’ll then continue on with 1850 to Present. Our plan is when our eldest is in eighth grade we will study ECC. This will bring my son (who will be entering second grade at that time) into it at the beginning of the cycle.

Our Curriculum 2017-2018-Kids-Wellofaith.com

One more reason to love homeschooling. I get to decide what would work best for my children, because I know them and understand them.

At least as much as anyone can understand their children–especially with “tweens” and “threenagers”.

We’re officially finished with school for the year, but since we are year-rounders, we’ve just moved on to something new and exciting. We’ll officially begin MFW the first Monday after the Fourth of July.

Until then I’ll just (im)patiently wait to begin. 🙂

If you’re a fellow homeschooler, what curriculum have you chosen for next year?

 

Blessings,

Sare Signature

 

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7 Must Have DVD Collections for Our Homeschool: 2017

7 Must Have DVD Collections for Our Homeschool: 2017-- Wellofaith

7 Must Have DVD Collections for Our Homeschool: 2017

Since the LORD put homeschooling on my heart, I’ve become much more aware of how my children spend their time. I’ve also become more concerned about the content they have access to. I want to fill their minds and hearts with wholesome knowledge that will help the mature and grow into productive, Jesus loving adults.

As a mother who loves reading, and wants to instill a love of reading in my children, I try to keep screen time down to a minimum. However, there are still moments in our learning when an educational show can help teach a concept. Especially for my son who is a visual learner.

Let’s be honest here, there are also times when the television makes the difference between peace and calm and me becoming a bouncer for my bickering and fighting children.

In cases like the above,  I prefer my children have access to educational shows instead of the twaddle so often found on television today.

7 Must Have DVD Collections for Our Homeschool: 2017

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7 Must Have DVD Collections for Our Homeschool: 2017

Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible?

Owlegories

Liberty Kids

Where on Earth is Carmen SanDiego

The Magic School Bus

Signing Time

Preschool Prep

Are there any DVDs or collections you and your children love for learning?

Blessings,

Sare Signature

Homeschooling: The Right Choice for Us

We know that at this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. I don't pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is our great calling.

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People who’ve known me my entire life were surprised when I announced that at the end of my daughter’s first grade school year we were removing her from public school (PS), and beginning a new journey. We’d decided after a lot of prayer, discussion, and consideration that we were going to travel on the Homeschool Highway (which, by the way is an excellent book).

Our Reason

Many won’t understand this, but even more people will. As a parent it is our responsibility to do what is best for our children. In our case, we felt that included removing our daughter from the questionable curriculum, associations, and experiences she was having in the public school system. As a first grader she had become far more worldly than any six year old should be.

She and I had many discussions about what she wanted from her education, and honestly, neither her father nor I felt she would receive that in the public school environment.

Where public school is not necessarily *EVIL* and works well for many people, our goal was to allow our daughter the freedom to become so much more than we are. We wanted her to have the freedom to become whoever and whatever she wanted to be.

Where We Are Now

Not much has changed since we made the decision to pull her from public school. We knew then as we know now that during this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. She is thriving, as is her brother who has joined her in a life of continuous learning. We’ve been on this journey for three years now, and it continues to bring blessings to our family.

I don’t pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is still our great calling.

Have you made the decision to homeschool your children? What was the deciding factor for your family?

Blessings,

Sare

 

10 Books to Read for Personal Growth in 2017

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A List of 10 Books for Personal Growth in 2017

 

Each year I compile a stack of books–some paper, some digital– to help me grow as a person. This year I’m particularly excited about my choices. I’m also honest enough with myself to know I might not get through them all. However, I thought I’d share them (in no particular order) with you. Maybe you’ll find a few new additions for your own “to-be-read” pile.

The List

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’ve been known to add more books to the pile as they catch my eye; my husband spends a lot of time fretting over the lack of space we have and my never ending fascination with having my own library.

What are some books you have on your reading list for 2017? Please share them in the comments.

Eviction: Comfort Zone!

An ideal day in my world very rarely includes anyone other than my husband and children. I’ve never been comfortable being in front of a group of people, or really putting myself out there, because ‘out there’ is a very judgmental place. Why then, do I hear the faint pounding on the door of my comfort zone as the local sheriff places the notice to vacate?

I can’t help but wonder how long I have before the bars I so carefully installed are removed from my windows.

For months now I’ve struggled to hear God’s words. The knowledge he was speaking to me didn’t change the silence in my heart. Then, last month while I was working on my Sex Trafficking article for class, I heard a faint whisper. I felt a spark, a slow burn. The LORD is speaking to my heart. I can’t tell just yet what he is guiding me to do, but I have an idea where I’m supposed to begin.

I’m being educated in journalism, a calling I’ve felt for the majority of my adult life, but I’ve struggled to know what I am meant to do with it. I’ve become disillusioned by the SECULAR media, both print and cable, and know I don’t want to work in a field with a moral compass that often doesn’t point to true North.

What does that leave me with? It leaves me with God. It leaves me with the words He gives to me, and the opportunities He provides for me. I want my words to guide people to Him, to His light, and His glory.

Even if that means I am evicted from my Comfort Zone.

I ask you all, dear readers, to add a quick prayer for this journey–that I may have the opportunity to share His love with others through the written word–or whatever other medium He chooses for me.

May the LORD be with you each day,

Sare

Blessings, Sare

Sex Trafficking and the Invisible Victim

This isn’t my usual blog post style, but as I walk with the LORD, the harsh realities of this mortal world hit me. Today, and everyday, let’s pray for these women and children.  If you don’t share anything else, share this.

Walking down a dingy city street, people tend to keep their heads down. They try not to make eye contact with the scantily clad women offering ‘a good time’ to passersby. To many these women aren’t even people. They’re not worthy of acknowledgement, let alone concern. The common belief is women who are on that street chose to be there, and they could leave at any time. The truth is, many of these women are still children who are condemned for making a life altering choice when they’re not even old enough to vote. Society has many names for them; “hookers”, “hoes”, and “prostitutes”. Somewhere, someone once called them “sister”, “daughter”, or “mother”. Our communities should call them victims.

Human Trafficking is the illegal movement of people, for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. This occurs daily, both internationally and within the borders of the United States. Between January 1, and December 31, 2014 the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) received reports of 5,040 cases of human trafficking. 1,581 of those cases involved children, and 974 of those involved sexual exploitation.

In a story covered by the Seattle Times, the FBI rescued 105 victims of sex trafficking and arrested 150 pimps in 76 cities in a three day period during July 2013. Almost all of the girls ranged from 13 to 17 years-old.  Although the majority of the girls were rescued from the larger cities of San Francisco, Detroit, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Denver, the under-age sex trade isn’t exclusive to large metropolitan areas.  Trafficking happens everywhere, but because the public is unaware of the red flags, it goes unnoticed.

Victims don’t always appear to be in need of rescuing, but are in danger just the same. If you or your friends begin dressing less appropriately than before, have unexplained absences from class, show signs of sexualized behavior, display expensive clothing or accessories, has an older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle, or shows signs of gang affiliation those may be warning signs connected to sexual exploitation.

According to recent arrest records in Kitsap County [Washington], 32-year-old  Ricky Lee Grundy Jr. was arrested on charges of Promoting Commercial Sex Abuse of a Minor, Human Trafficking, and Organized Crime. The records indicated that at the time of Grundy’s arrest he was using Backpage.com to prostitute a 14-year-old and 15-year-old out of a hotel in Port Orchard, a city with only one high school and a population of less than 13,000.

When asked how many minors are affected in the Kitsap County community, Sandy Hill of Freedom13.org said, “You know, it’s hard to get accurate numbers, because the law does try to protect them [the minors].”

Traffickers select and groom their victims by finding them at malls, coffee shops, arcades parks, or walking down the street. Any place that young children and teens hangout is prime hunting ground for these men and women. In many cases, traffickers will use young men and women in the same age group as their targets to build trust and create relationships. They’ll approach the children, and strike up a conversation asking pointed questions about their age, family, school, and what their schedules are like.

Children and teens are often easy to manipulate, because they’re young and inexperienced. Their relationships with their parents are either strained or broken; many feel their parents don’t understand them, and their opinions don’t matter. Traffickers know this and use it to their advantage. They offer these girls their youthful dream of family and acceptance, and once the girls have bonded with them, it is a slippery slope into the sex trade.

Sexual exploitation comes in many forms. The women on the street corners selling sex are most often the victims of trafficking. The looks-too-young-to-be-eighteen woman dancing in that club is also likely to be a victim of trafficking, and is too young. Massage parlors and topless barista shops have also been found to be one-stop shops for underage, trafficked girls. The “barely legal” actresses on pornography videos are also potentially the victims of trafficking.

While the girls and women appear to be doing this work by choice, the reality is much different. They’re dancing on that stage, standing on that street corner, or waiting in that hotel room, because they have been emotionally and physically convinced that is what they are for. In their minds they are only worth the money they make for their pimp. In other cases, these girls belong to a gang, and consider their traffickers as family, while they’re sold and traded like property. These girls and women have twisted understandings of what love is. Others are just afraid, because they have been controlled by blackmail and threats involving either bodily harm to themselves or to younger siblings.

We as a society are guilty of perpetrating the victimization of these women and children. Sharedhope.org states that “online pornography is driving the explosive growth of child sex trafficking.” Child pornography has become more than a $3 billion annual industry, and statistics from Demandingjustice.org show 1 out of every 5 pornographic images is of a child; and 55% come from the U.S.

In Washington State the sentences handed down for offenders who are caught purchasing sex with a minor are a minimum of two years, but a recent Seattle area study showed the average offender spent 0.6 years behind bars, and 30% of the offenders received suspended sentences.  However, Washington State is improving. In 2010 the state legislature passed the bill SB6476, revising provisions related to sex crimes involving minors. Since then the penalties for trafficking and purchasing minors has increased. SB6476 imposes the impounding of vehicles used to commit commercial sex abuse of a minor; defendants can no longer claim they did not know the victim’s age; minors are consistently defined as anyone under 18-years-old, and the victims have access to special services and shelters they otherwise did not have.

Human trafficking happens anywhere there are people, and the victims are often far from home unaware of where to go for help. There are victim services located all across the nation, specializing in victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. Several in Western Washington include: Scarlet Road in Bremerton (scarletroad.org), a non-profit organization helping victims in Kitsap and Mason Counties; Rebuilding Hope Sexual Assault Center in Tacoma (sexualassaultcenter.com) works with victims in Pierce County; and the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (seattleops.org), a non-profit organization working with victims in King County.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking in Washington State, there is help. Contact Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN) at 206-245-0782.

Changes in Life

Each new day that dawns brings changes, whether we notice these changes or not doesn’t make them less important. Not every change is HUGE. Not every change makes you stand up and take notice.

Every once in a while, though, a change (or even several) will occur that makes a HUGE and noticeable difference in your life. This year has already been a year of changes, and not all of them have been positive in their nature, even if they have led to positive things.

While each of these major life changes are important to who I am as a person, some of them deserve their own blog post, so I won’t include them here. Today, though, I want to focus on two things that have added a positive spin to my chaotic life.

Not long ago my husband and I contemplated purchasing a home, but as we began the process we quickly realized my student loans were going to be a huge (like $72,000 huge) hurdle. This led to our first aha moment. Even though this wasn’t really a positive thing for us, and it was a huge  disappointment, it came to be a huge blessing.

I started praying for something to come up that would help me use my soon to be finished degree and help me to pay down the student loans before they’re due.

This led to wonderful change number one.

A wonderful opportunity to help service members, veterans, and their spouses was introduced to me, and I have been able to join the team as a freelance writer; creating professional resumes and bios for these members as they transition to life in the civilian world. It has already proved to be exciting, educational, and although not exactly what I had expected, is pretty perfect for me.

The second amazing change to occur happened by chance. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an announcement about Usborne Books and More. I’d heard of them in passing before, but had never really taken the time to look into them. This time, it felt like there was a tap on my shoulder nudging me to check it out.

It didn’t take me long to realize this was something I could truly get behind. As a book worm with a family of avid readers, I’ve always been a huge proponent of engaging children and adults with good books instead of video games. Joining the Usborne Books and More team definitely fits well with my family. I’m excited that these opportunities came just when I needed them to, and I’m so thankful to have the ability to remain home with my children while I work toward paying off those student loans.