When I spend time with my favorite home school magazine,
it’s like a visit with a group of my most cherished home schooling mama friends! Yes, we do occasionally have a few dads pop in to share sage thoughts too. Often times, visits face to face are difficult to orchestrate, as lessons, laundry, meals, chicken chores, preserving those 200 (why did I plant so many???) pumpkins and the other necessities of life are forever filling my schedule. Thankfully, I can grab a cup of tea, a cozy blanket and settle in with This Old Schoolhouse for a brief 15 minute read between high school Algebra and 2nd grade reading lessons, after the kiddoes are all tucked in to bed for a longer visit or any time throughout the day when I have a bit of time for respite and refreshment.
That is exactly what “The Old Schoolhouse” is for me: a bit of respite and refreshment. When I come away from a visit, I feel like I have just spent time with a beloved friend. One of those friends that is forever the encourager, support and bit of fellowship I need. The November 2012 issue of “The Old Schoolhouse“
is just that and more. And I didn’t have to put on make up, dip into my gas budget or splurge on a $4 coffee (yes, pumpkin lattes call my name this time of year) for a visit, as this is a free resource that runs on both PC’s and Macs and is available at “The Old Schoolhouse Magazine” or through one of their free apps www.TOSApps.com for portable reading pleasure.
One of the things I love most, is that this online magazine is so full of meaningful articles, it takes me quite a few visits to fully catch up with this old friend. Being one of those super quick reader types, I am thrilled to have to pull out my laptop time and time again throughout the month to fully take advantage of all that is jam-packed between the cover pages.
I found myself engaged from the earliest turns of the electronic pages as I read the opening editorial “Wake Up” by Senior Editor, Deborah Wuehler on page 14. Sleepy, I wasn’t feeling sleepy. Did I need a “Wake Up” call? I thought not, until I read on and was inspired by her words of being “knocked down by life’s tribulations” and finding our hope in the Word of God. She called to me to dig deep in those most difficult of days to “use that little strength (I have left) to praise, worship and cry out” because it is our forever God that “answers, strengthens, and revives our souls.” Thank you dear one for this reminder after I had specifically cried out to Him for just such as this earlier in the day, tears streaming down my face and the only words, the most basic of words said to Him between sobbing breaths, “Help me God! Please help me.” I had felt so alone, yet Deborah reminded me that it is not just me that reaches these points and that yes, He was the one to answer, strengthen and revive me. Oh, I knew this visit was going to get even better with each turn of the page. I mean, He had a message for me right from the start after all.
Once again, He had me right where He wanted me on page 26 with “Refuse to be a Victim:Avoiding the Self-Pity Trap” shared by Denise Mira. I am known for being a woman of patience and strength, as I am the blessed mama to 4 jewels, 2 of which battle debilitating chronic illness, leaving one bed ridden for 9 years who is now regaining health and strength, to her twin sister, now bedridden most of the time since last December. Me, “Self-Pity,” not very often. Yet there was more here and the Word of Life spoke directly to me once again as Denise shared II Peter 1:3 “according…(to) His divine power (God) hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” He has given ME all things for this life that He has called me to. Our days are rarely the idyllic, uninterrupted days of hands on learning, snuggled up reading of living books, nature excursions weekly, because instead we live with IV’s daily, 4 hour doses of medication to keep heart rates from being tachycardic and blood pressure from dropping too low, sandwiched between weekly trips to the doctor. No, this is not how I envisioned it, but it is what He has called me to and His divine power gives me all I need through the knowledge of Him! Oh, how this was just the encouragement I needed this day! Anther friend sent from Him, to be there for me.
Well, I hadn’t even gotten to the “schoolish” articles yet. How could there possibly more just for me? On page 36 Jessica Hulsey reminded me that Unit Studies were not just for my elementary boys, but had a place in my high school girls’ lives. We always talk about our early days of “Five in a Row” unit studies as being some of our most cherished times, on up through hands on history studies culminating in a week of History Camp where we took unit studies to a new level with about 50 kids and parents as we acted out scenes in costumes, recreated Colonial Market Places engaging in the crafts of the era, meals trying foods unique to our time, but appropriate to Lewis and Clark. Could I dare, would I dare to bring this type of learning to our high school studies and perhaps skip an essay or two to bring back living history? Well, Jessica, you just might have given me the courage to do just that.
Article after article, I found my spirits lifted, my soul encouraged and my determination to give my beloved children the education I dream of, inspired once again. “Muses, Music and Memorization” by Amy Barr reassured me that using the tunes of “The Skip Count Kid” can in fact help my son learn his multiplication tables! In the “Music of Language:How Poetry Can Benefit The Aspiring Writer,” by Amelia Harper is see the poetic words of my daughter’s writings coming straight off the pages of great poetic literature! Yes, I did something right! In Susan K. Marlow’s Heroes of the Faith telling of “Chinatown’s Avenging Angel” and the story of Donaldina Cameron I can hardly keep myself from jumping out of bed to share this with my sleeping lover of history! Jennifer Hoskins challenges us that we in fact, might be raising up our own heroes of the faith! What a calling! Something else to pray on and in which to seek His direction.
My “friends” continued to share of the pursuit of poetry, music, using play as another means of education, helpful hints for tackling that Christmas list with gifts that any home schooling family would love to receive, simplifying our days and connecting our children with the cycle of life, frugal tips from Molly Green had me chuckle, as this month I am trading one of our hand raised, heritage turkeys for this month’s piano lessons! Having visited the Amish country in Minnesota while at the Mayo Clinic for a week with my daughter, the articles on the Amish were “Just Plain Interesting” and found me getting out a map to see where the closest Amish communities were to Oregon in hopes of sharing these adventures with my sons now (Megan just peaked her head over my shoulder and said, “Oh, I want to read that when you are done.” Referring to Shannon Swanson’s article, “The Amish:Simplicity and Satisfaction Personified.” I guess she gets the computer next.) Misty West’s “Crunching Through the Cracker Crumbs” reminded me of those early days of home schooling with toddlers. Now it should be something like “Traversing Through the Legos” to reach the reading books! Yes, I even gleaned a recipe on page 116 for “Rachel’s Breakfast Muffins” that I can easily convert to a Gluten Free recipe. The curriculum reviews are so easy to access with just a click on the accompanying link, I was overjoyed, as I have many times found just what I was looking for in the pages of “The Old Schoolhouse.” Besides, reading about curriculum has been one of my passions and encouraged me to pursue an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction at the ripe old age of 23!
So, whether you are just considering a journey down the path of homeschooling, are in the early days with toddlers underfoot or beginning to consider the transition of high school students to their next turn on the home school path in considering colleges and careers (yes, you might have heard a small sob here), “The Old Schoolhouse“ has just the friends you are looking for to support, mentor, encourage and inspire you on this journey. As you saw earlier, there are also articles for students of all ages. My elementary boys overheard their sister and want me to read the articles of the Amish to them too. Hmm…maybe I see a unit study in the making. I am going to pull out that Amish cookbook I purchased in Minnesota and see what we might cook this afternoon and also check out the websites listed for further exploration.
Most importantly, please know that throughout “The Old Schoolhouse,” you will find encouragement from the One who matters most, our Heavenly Father, as the writers of these articles always manage to take it back to Him through The Word of God. Marji McIlvaine reminds us through Luke 16:10 that “It’s the Little Things” that matter most; “faithfulness in the little things is the highest calling.” I truly believe that faithfulness to our little ones is also one of the highest callings. “The Old Schoolhouse” Magazine can help us in our calling of home education to our children as they grow from little to big. Just as I was touched by Mark Hamby’s article “Framed,” as he shows how God used language to frame His communications with us throughout His Word, as exemplified in Psalm 135:1 and 135:21 both beginning and ending with “Praise Ye the Lord.” I was reminded to frame my days with my children, with that which matters most, the word’s of our Heavenly Father. I seek to begin and end each day with prayer to our Creator, the study of His Word and praise and worship to Him! I encourage you to use the framework God gave us in Scripture, as a part of your daily life also and to take the time to have a friendly visit with
to make some new friends today!
~Refreshed and Encouraged from a Visit with Beloved Friends at The Old Schoolhouse~
Disclaimer: I was asked to review the November issue of “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine and share my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.