Monday, July 16, 2018

The Blessing of Closed Doors

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Welcome back to the Legacy Homeschool Reflections Podcast.  Today I am talking with my oldest daughter about the blessing of closed doors.  Even when we do not understand the circumstances we know that the Lord is Sovereign and is caring for the details in our lives.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Building Family Libraries Containing Stories of Virtue and Truth Part 2

Hello Friends, last week I posted a blog post titled Building a Family Library of Virtuous Books.  I was really shocked at how many people visited that particular post.  It was an exponential explosion of the number of visits I typically get on a given post.  This really opened my eyes that a lot of people are interested in this topic.  I hope to continue posting ideas on how we can build family libraries, filling our shelves with stories of virtue and truth.

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  This topic is especially fixed in my mind as I am hearing more and more about the liberal agendas the American Library Association is pushing.  My childhood memories take me back to a time where library visits were for the most part a safe and educational experience.  I remember just loving to go to the library and having only good and wholesome memories of my visits there.  
  When I began having babies I really wanted to make good books a part of our family culture, and I took frequent trips to our local library bringing home bags full of fun picture books to read with my little people.  We also attended many story time events where we would enjoy a themed lesson, activities, songs, crafts, etc.  These are sweet memories of times spent with my older children when they were younger.
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  As our family grew, however, library trips became harder as we moved a good distance away from a local library.  So, over time we began building our own family library and quit visiting local libraries as often.  I tried a few times to find a way to make the library still fit into our routine, but it was too much time and effort.  It seemed that we would always lose a book, tear a book or something that would stress me out and cost us money.  Over time we just stepped away from the library.  

  Then last summer we bought a vacation house, in a small town, with a library that is within walking distance from our house.   I was very excited about the potential to visit a library again when we spend time at our vacation house.  I remember visiting this quaint little library and being disappointed that I was having trouble finding the kinds of books I have worked so hard at filling our family library with.  I was seeing a lot of twaddly stories, cartoon and Disney stories, etc. but not a lot of really good literature that stretches the mind and inspires the heart.

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  My oldest daughter also took at trip there one afternoon and came back telling me she just wasn't finding many books she felt were worth reading.  I guess over time we have cultivated an appetite for stories that convey beauty, truth, and virtue.  We are not looking to just fill our minds and hearts with fluff; instead we want the stories we read to grow us and sharpen us.  We have learned to really pick out the worldview in stories and want to read things that give us a correct epistemology, metaphysic, and Biblical ethic.
  Now my point in this post is not to condemn going to the library or to tell you what you should or shouldn't do in your family.  My goal is to raise awareness that if you do visit your local library, you need to be very vigilant and aware of the agendas the ALA has adopted.  I would also encourage you to be vocal and tell your librarians that you do not want to see books that promote lifestyles that are against God's Word sitting next to Winnie the Pooh on your library shelves.  
  Have you heard the recent news about how the American Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children's Literature Legacy Award?  
I found this statement at the website.

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At its meeting on Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness. Please read the background document that informs this decision (PDF). Additional background information is found in the 2018 Midwinter Board Action Request form (PDF). 
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  So while the ALA is seeking to erase history and a sweet story of family values they are deciding to encourage drag queen story times in local libraries to educate young children in their liberal agendas.  I truly cannot even fathom that this is happening.  I wonder what kind of a world am I raising my children in and what will the future hold?  

  This is a link where you can see what is happening in Houston libraries to indoctrinate young children into thinking what God calls perversion is acceptable.  My friends, I just want you to be aware of the agenda the American Library Association is pushing.  This has become what the library is about.  Sadly, I no longer feel that the library is a safe place for my children.
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  I really dislike posting this kind of thing.  My heart is screaming, "Oh God, please save our nation and our children."  My heart feels so heavy and broken over what the sexual revolution, humanism, and atheism have done to the culture.  May we all find hope in praying for God's mercies.  

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  In light of all of this I am thankful that the Lord led our family to begin building a family library of virtuous reading years ago.  Each year we add more books to our family library, and I hope that one day these stories of faith and truth will be passed down to my grandchildren.  The day could potentially come where it might be hard to find stories that convey a Biblical worldview, and so I think now is a great time to be building a library that can be passed down through the generations.  
  Last week I shared some book recommendations, and I want to close out this post by sharing some more suggestions of books you might consider for your family library.  

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Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Just recently we purchased this entire set of missionary and heroes of the faith biographies.  I encourage you to check into it for your family bookshelf.  It is a huge set of books that portray the real lives of men and women who loved God and sought His kingdom.  There is also a similar picture book series for younger children.  You can also get these titles in an audio version.  We bought the entire set, because we want our children to be familiar with the heroes of the faith and inspired by those who gave their all for the cause of Christ.  

Katharine von Bora the Morning Star of Wittenberg

Katharine von Bora: The Morning Star of Wittenberg   -     By: Jenna Strackbein, Shanna Strackbein

  Last year we attended a conference where I came across this beautiful jewel of a book.  It tells the story of Martin Luther's wife, Katharine Von Bora.  It is beautifully illustrated, and shares the story of a devoted wife and mother and how she opened her home to hospitality and encouraged her husband as he played a pivotal role in history.  It is a precious and encouraging story!  

Stepping Heavenward
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"Stepping Heavenward" is a story I read as a young lady, and I have since read it several times.  It makes a great mother/daughter read-aloud as it chronicles the life of young Elizabeth Prentiss and shares her journey into marriage and motherhood.  It is an honest look her struggles through the decades of her life as she learns to submit to and trust her Lord.  Parts will make you laugh, and most women can probably relate to many of her emotions.  I read through it with my oldest daughter some years back and would love to read through it again with my younger girls.  

Hymns for a Kid's Heart

I'm going to give one more recommendation for this blog post, and then hopefully I will be able to continue with this series later.  

"Hymns for a Kid's Heart" is a beautiful series of stories behind the hymns illustrated for children.  It is a series meant to familiarize children with the hymns of the faith.  The books come with a listening cd so that children can learn how the hymns sound.  I think this is a needed resource in our day when many children are growing up not learning the great hymns of the faith.  If you have read my book "Legacy Reflections of a Homeschooled Homeschooling Mama" then you will know that my husband and I are making a real effort to pass the hymns of the faith on to our children as an endowment.  We want our children to have the same friendship with the hymns that we have had.  The hymns have walked with us through various seasons of life and have been a strength to our hearts.  There are some good modern-day songs, but there is something very special about the hymns of the faith that connect us with the wisdom of the saints from centuries past.  I would highly encourage you towards these hymn resources.  
  I hope that you all have a blessed week.  I believe that as we seek the Lord and His wisdom, He will help us to discern good resources to grow our families in wisdom, virtue, and faith.  I would love to hear some of your suggestions for virtuous, faith-building read-alouds.  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Building a Family Library of Virtuous Books

  I am finding that I am receiving frequent questions about book and curriculum recommendations for homeschooling.  In my writing and speaking I tend to focus on my passion to communicate a vision for Biblically based home education and to encourage busy mamas along in the journey.  I am realizing, however, that the topic of books and curriculum is probably something that I should address from time to time, since people are frequently asking me questions pertaining to this subject.

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 I think I am to the point in my personal journey where I have realized that the particular curriculum I use is not as important as how I am doing at engaging with my children and discipling them in Biblical truth.  There are a lot of good books out there, and there are some bad books too.  I really think praying about curriculum choices is so important!  I have found the Lord is ever so faithful to lead and guide my steps as I seek Him in our homeschool planning.  

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  It has been my experience that as I have asked the Lord for wisdom in our homeschool planning that He seems to continue to impress on my heart that I need to integrate more of His Word into our schooling, more character training, more Biblical apologetics, more wisdom, etc.  

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  I believe teaching our families the fear/reverence of the Lord is the proper foundation for all of learning to be built upon.  God's ways are always higher than man's ways.  

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His plan is that we start with knowing Him and let all learning flow forth from that.  I love a quote by John Milton that says:

"The end of all learning is to know God and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him." - John Milton

  So we do not want to teach our children mere academic knowledge, but rather we want to teach them wisdom that will equip them to apply the knowledge in Christ-like ways.  Honestly mere knowledge alone can be dangerous without wisdom.  Men like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin were no dummies.  They had knowledge but they lacked the wisdom to use their knowledge rightly.  Thus they ended up destroying many lives.  

  There is a LOT I would like to say on this topic, but I want to get to some book recommendations here.  Hopefully I can continue this as a sort of series off and on.  :)  

  So, I am just going to share a few book resources we appreciate in our home.  Of course there are far too many to put in a single post, so I am just going to list a few ideas and hopefully I can share more in days to come.  

  When looking for books to build our family library we are looking for stories of virtue and truth that are well written and teach us to see life from a Biblical worldview.  

Because we love to teach our children church history we love this fun picture book! 

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  I believe there is ALWAYS something to be learned by studying history whether it is world history, American history, homeschool history, or church history! 

We have really enjoyed this series of books that highlights heroes of the faith in picture book form. 

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  Some books are so good you go through them multiple times.  We are on our second trip through the book "Parenting with Scripture." This book can be used in different ways, but the way we have used it is as a Bible study.  It goes through different topics alphabetically and gives a full page of Scriptures that apply to the given topic and then discussion questions on the corresponding page.  It is a short way for us to cover many issues and be reminded of what God's Word says on various topics such as anger, bragging, compassion, discernment, etc. 

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"Treasures of the Snow" by Patricia St. John  is another book that we have read more than once!  It is a powerful story of the transformation the gospel of Jesus makes in our hearts and of love and forgiveness.  It is a gem of a read-aloud story! 

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  There are so many books to share, but for this post I am going to end with a set of inexpensive books that I have LOVED for my younger children.  Over the years we have collected almost the entire set of the "Little Jewel Books" series. 
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 These books are published by Rod and Staff and communicate sweet lessons on family relationships, helping,  serving, obeying, working diligently, and developing godly character.  The lessons are wholesome and sweet, and I will always treasure the times I've snuggled with my little people reading these books together.  

  Well, this is certainly just a small sampling of some book recommendations I would offer.  I do hope to write more posts on this topic over time, so stay tuned for future book and curriculum posts.  I encourage you to work at building a family library of stories that convey Biblical truth, virtue, and excellence!  Hopefully some of these books can be passed down to future generations.  Blessings to you all as you read, learn, and grow in your families.