Monday, January 23, 2017

Our Week in Review - January 16 through 22

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We're starting yet something else new here at God's Writer Girl. Each week, we will post a review of our week at His Helping Hands Homeschool. This will allow our family and friends to keep up to date with our journey and hopefully encourage and inspire other homeschool families in their journey.

This past week was a little challenging as it was time for my monthly IV infusions. I have a rare Autoimmune and neuromuscular disease, Dermatomyositis, and Immune Deficiency which require me to receive infusions of a blood product called immunoglobulin three days a month for five hours each day. In the midst of it all, we still managed to learn some great things.

Since we started a new semester after our Christmas break, we've begun some new studies. In our Bible class, we are studying Stewardship of God's Earth through SchoolhouseTeachers. My son has been very engaged in the lessons thus far, which is a huge bonus. When your child enjoys learning, it makes the whole process so much easier and more enjoyable for all involved.

This year, we are studying Early American History. One of the curriculums we are using is Drive Thru History via SchoolhouseTeachers. My son not only likes that the lessons tell the history of our country from a Christian world view but also how silly and funny host Dave Stotts is during the episodes. This past week, we learned about Paul Revere and his famous ride and William Penn who founded our home state of Pennsylvania. We are also supplementing lessons from SchoolhouseTeachers Civil Rights Movements lessons as well. Since Martin Luther King, Jr Day was observed on Monday, we spent the day discussing the life of this great man. We also discussed the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, spirituals, coded messages on quilts, and The Drinking Gourd.

We chose to study Biology this year but have adapted it to focus more on the aspect of Animal Science in Biology. This past week, we learned about Animal Classifications from We learned how they determined which animals were likely on the Ark with Noah as we watched Determining the Ark Kinds: How Many Animals Were on the Ark from Answers in Genesis. We also attended a live webinar on Marine Biology from Supercharged Science, which my son found interesting as he learned about the ocean, the special animal life that lives deep in the darkest sea, and the robots that explore the deepest oceans.

For this semester, we are learning about American Folklore in Language Arts through SchoolhouseTeachers. This past week, we discussed what folklore is and how it develops.  We also took a look at spirituals and how they not only gave African American slaves strength to get through tough situations but also contained coded messages for those seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad.

My son has been diagnosed with the learning disability dyscalculia. This has made learning math a difficult challenge for him. We have started a new curriculum this semester called Times Alive.  This program focuses on multiplication tables in a fun way to engage children in repetitious activities that will help them memorize multiplication problems.


Thank you for stopping by to see how our week went. We are linking up to my friend, Kym's blog: Homeschool Coffee Break, for Homeschool Highlights. Please consider checking out her blog and the other posts linked-up there to see what other homeschool families are working on.

Homeschool Coffee Break

Also linking up to Homeschool Blog and Tell at The Homeschool Post.

The Homeschool Post

Finally, linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

God's Writer Girl's Blog

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Words of Hope - Be Still

Words of Hope - Be Still

At some point of our life's journey, we can all use words of hope whispered to our hurting, weary souls because some days life can be disappointing and overwhelming. That's just how life is. I created this blog hop, Words of Hope, for the purpose of being a place where we can gather to encourage one another.

Today, I will be blogging about the words Be Still. It is my prayer that God will use these words to whisper hope to your souls, dear ones.

What Does It Mean to Be Still:

When I think of Being Still, I think of silence, of making the time to listen. Life can be chaotic and messy and finding time to Be Still can become a difficult task. Being Still is such an important task to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes stillness as:

1. Being devoid of motion, sedentary, and not effervescent.
2. Uttering no sound, hushed, quiet, muted, and subdued.
3. Calm and tranquil.

In Hebrew Rapha, in the masculine form, means to allow yourself to become weak, to let go, to surrender. (Hebrew4Christians and Abarim Publications) This is the form utilized in Psalm 46:10 that instructs us to Be Still before God. Knowing the Hebrew meaning for Be Still: to become weak so that God can become strong in us; to surrender to God's infinite wisdom and divine plan; to let go of this world and our sins; puts this verse in an entirely new perspective.

I'd also like to expound for a moment on a few of the synonyms for Be Still. Be Still is synonymous with patience. Yes, that means not only are we to be still but we are also to wait upon the Lord. Sometimes, this can be difficult when His timing is different than ours but His ways far out measure our own. Be Still is also synonymous with rest which seems appropriate since God also states in the Bible to come to Him and He will give us rest. Lastly, Be Still is synonymous with peace. When we make the time to Be Still before God, we often find the peace we need to face whatever life's journey may have in store for us.

What Scripture Has to Say About Being Still:

The Bible has several different verses that instruct us to Be Still.

One of my favorite, go-to verses is Exodus 14:14. How comforting to know that when life is extremely difficult, God is diligently fighting my battle for me and all I need to do is find comfort and rest in His loving , capable arms.

Be Still My Soul by Kari Jobe

Words of Hope Blog Hop Homepage Link:

Please share this link code on your post.
Please use the hashtag #wordsofhope so we can find one another more easily.
Please visit and comment on other participant sites to be an encouragement to them as well.
Please be encouraged!

Words of Hope - God's Writer Girl's Blog

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Words of Hope - Letter A

My dear homeschooling friends at A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool have graciously offered to host Blogging Through the Alphabet: a weekly link-up of homeschool families writing on a variety of topics covering a certain letter of the alphabet.

In keeping with my theme of offering you "Words of Hope," I have chosen to focus on a word each week that will hopefully encourage you and give you strength for the week ahead. This week's letter is A. Our Word of Hope for this week is Adoration.

Adoration means to show respect for, to pay honor to, to worship, to venerate or revere, to hold in high esteem, to have and exhibit a deep love for, to admire, to glorify, to pay homage, to show favor, to delight in, to be in awe of, and to exalt.

The Bible calls us to exalt and worship God: to show Him adoration.

How can we show God adoration? We express our adoration to God through our words and our actions: the way in which we live out our daily lives. It goes deeper the more time we spend intimately getting to know Him better. When we spend time studying God's Word, praying to Him, listening to Him, obeying the Holy Spirit, fellowshipping with other believers, singing songs of worship, the more ardent our love for Him becomes.

When we draw nearer to him through adoration, especially on the difficult days, we find His strength to persevere and His joy breaking through the darkness as His peace settles over us. When we give His adoration not for what He has done but simply because of who He is, His peace comes like the sun shining in the dawning of a new day. At least, this has been my experience.

Be sure to stop by A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool to follow the weekly link-up of homeschool families writing on a variety of topics covering this week's letter of the alphabet - A.

Hopkins Homeschool

Also feel free to share the Words of Hope link-up button below. Remember to stop by monthly to see what words of encouragement my friends and I have to share with you.

Words of Hope - God's Writer Girl's Blog

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Friend, Wilbur Henry, and the Late, Great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

When I was 16, my family moved from rural Pennsylvania to inner-city New Jersey. I went from attending a school comprised of one Black student, one Vietnamese student, one Polynesian student, and a majority of Caucasian students to a school with Caucasian students, Asian students, and a majority of Black students. We had moved to New Jersey to serve at our first church as my father had just retired as a PA State Trooper and taken his first pastorate.

My friend, Wilbur Henry:

The first person to become a dear friend of my family was a sage man named Mr. Wilbur Henry. Wilbur was in his nineties when we met him. He had lived a lifetime and experienced life in ways I never would. Wilbur was a well educated Black man who had grown up during segregation. He had experienced the ugly face of hate and discrimination firsthand. He knew what it was like to be judged not on his worth as a person, not on his merits, not on his talents and gifts but merely on the color of his skin. Nevertheless, Wilbur persevered and made a difference with the life he lived. He became an educator, a community leader, and a church deacon and made a difference in the lives of numerous people throughout his years of living and his legacy continues to this day.

Wilbur Marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Wilbur often partook of Sunday dinners with my family. I enjoyed these special times because not only was he a kind, wise man but he made history come alive for me. During one visit, he told me that he had known the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Wilbur and his wife, Minnie, had met Dr. King on several occasions. According to Wilbur, Dr. King was an intelligent, passionate man. Dr. Martin Luther King and my friend, Wilbur, believed that all people should be treated equally and share the same inalienable rights. For this, they marched on Washington, DC on August 28, 1963. They peacefully made their voices heard and in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed followed in 1965 by the Voting Rights Act.

The Late, Great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Courtesy of Nobel Prize

Michael (later changed to Martin) Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 to Reverend Michael (later changed to Martin) Luther King and Alberta Williams King in Atlanta, Georgia. (King Institute - Stanford University)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would grow up to become a Baptist minister and take over the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Georgia where his father had preached.  About being a preacher, Dr. King stated: "Of course I was religious, I grew up in the church. My father is a preacher, my grandfather was a preacher, my great-grandfather was a preacher, my only brother is a preacher, my daddy's brother is a preacher. So I didn't have much choice." (King Institute - Stanford University)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. attended segregated schools in Georgia during his childhood. He would continue his education at Moorehouse, an all Negro Institute, and later Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania (my home state) where he would be named President of a predominantly white class. (Nobel Prize)

Furthermore, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would become a pivotal member of the American Civil Rights Movement by leading peaceful protests like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, DC. His actions as a social activist would have a lasting influence as laws were enacted. He believed that, "The time is always right to do what is right." (History)

Peaceful Protests:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an effective social activist who believed in peaceful protests. He based his philosophy on the methods of Mohandas Gandhi, a follower of Hindu faith from India who believed in passive resistance. Dr. King's Philosophy of Non-Violence Social Change follows six steps: Information Gather, Education, Personal Commitment, Discussion and Negotiation, Direct Action, and Reconciliation. (The King Center)

In 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as a spokesman for the Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott, which was a peaceful protest to end segregation on buses after black, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on the bus to a white man and was subsequently arrested. (The King Center)

Martin Luther King, Jr. riding a bus during the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Photo Credited to Bettmann and  Corbis

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr led a peaceful march on Washington, DC to protest Civil Rights for all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. Dr. King believed that no man, or woman, should be judged merely by the color of their skin. He made this point clear in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the end of the march. (History) Dr. King declared, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

Martin Luther King, Jr. - March on Washington - "I Have a Dream" Speech
Photo Credit: Julian Wasser

A Lifetime Legacy:

His dream went even deeper. He wanted to impact his world and make changes for the betterment of others. He wanted to leave a legacy for his children and future generations. He wanted his lifetime to be a legacy.

Lessons Learned from Wilbur Henry and my NJ Friends:

While Wilbur taught me history and the value of kindness and determination, I learned a myriad of valuable lessons during my years in Florence, NJ. Although being sandwiched between Trenton and Camden, the town is a very close-knit community with very athletic ambitions and primarily Catholic following. Enter a Christian, teenaged girl in her junior year of high school who couldn't play sports because her knee would chronically dislocate. God, in His ever faithful way, had a plan. I began working with the school's athletic trainer and soon became the lead student athletic trainer for the high school football and boy's basketball teams. My way to "belong" had been established.

In contrast, I didn't realize how I truly did belong until one day when trouble happened. It was after an assembly, two of our Caucasian football players have me cornered and are giving me a difficult time. These guys take pride in making teachers cry. I had never experienced anything so ghastly in rural Pennsylvania. I wasn't alone. I see three of our Black football players coming toward us. They intervened on my behalf that day. They protected me as one of their own.

From Raph, Neil, and Joey, my three heroes, I learned that it is a person's character that matters and not the color of their skin. I learned that kindness and empathy can cross and break down boundaries. I learned to see beyond skin color to the heart beating beneath. I learned that goodness isn't based upon age, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. I learned that hate only exists because it is taught and tolerated. I learned that love and truth can drive out darkness, hate, and evil.

What Will Our Legacy Be?

I don't know about you but I want to leave a lifetime legacy as well. The best way to do that is to love all others deeply, to show empathy and compassion, to be honest and fair, to speak up against injustice, to stand firm in my faith, and to teach my child what is true and just. When life gets difficult, I can't run away or hide. Instead, I must persevere.

We need to be the light and the love that our world so desperately needs!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Goals for Our 2017 Year

Homeschool Goals:

President John F. Kennedy said, "The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth." Personally, I can't think of a better overall goal for our homeschool journey. I homeschool my son, who has diagnoses of Aspergers or high-functioning Autism and ADHD, because I want him to learn all of the skills and knowledge he will need to thrive in this world. I also want him to learn the truths about his nation, the world he lives in, his Christian faith, and a Christian worldview.

Our Homeschool Goals for 2017:
1. Self Motivation
2. Independent Study
3. Positive Attitude
4. Career Exploration

Although my son is 15 and currently studying most material at a 9th grade level, his diagnoses of Aspergers and ADHD provide for some unique challenges in our homeschool journey. If he could have his way, he would forgo lessons all together and play video games all day. To his dismay, that isn't reality nor is it permissible in our household. I know, mean mom, right? (Said tongue in cheek.) Therefore, being motivated to start his lessons, and some days any task, without constant prompting can be a struggle. Knowing that I can't be there to hold his hand forever, I am determined to help him learn how to become self-motivated.

The second goal, independent study, goes hand-in-hand with self-motivation. While getting started is part of the struggle, staying on task is the other. With a diagnosis of ADHD, there was a time when we couldn't even have two pencils on the desk because they would have a conversation with one another and be a distraction.

The third goal, a positive attitude, is always a struggle when your child doesn't see the need for education. Unfortunately, most people with a diagnosis of Aspergers have a high IQ. Because of this, my son feels he knows everything already. I keep reminding him that we continue to learn throughout our entire lifetimes and even his great grandmother, who is in her nineties is still learning. I'll admit that the sometimes daily struggle to get him to have a positive attitude about learning can become weary.

Now that we have entered the high school years, I feel that it is essential to start exposing him to career exploration. One way we will be doing this is through a class on SchoolhouseTeachers that looks at talents, personality traits, and suggests interviewing and shadowing those in various careers of interest.

Life Skill Goals:

Those individuals, no matter where they range in level of function, who have a diagnosis of Autism struggle with life skills. Most children will learn these skills by interacting with those around them and by imitating the adults in their lives. Children on the Autism Spectrum become hyper-focused on things that they live: Star Wars, baseball team statistics, Pok√©mon characters, etc. They can tell you everything and anything about their favorite topic. When it comes to "living life," they need help learning how to do those things.

Our Life Skill Goals for 2017:
1. Personal Hygiene
2. Coping Skills
3. Self-Regulating Behavior
4. Finances
5. Time Management
6. Meal Preparation

Our first goal is personal hygiene. Teenage boys can struggle with this task. Compound that with a diagnosis of Autism and you can be facing a battle. Children with a diagnosis of Autism often don't see the need for personal hygiene. They don't perceive their appearance the way society would nor do they see any importance of taking time away from preferred activities to engage in personal hygiene practices.

Goals two and three go hand-in-hand. Children on the Autism Spectrum can experience "meltdowns" when they become frustrated or overstimulated by the sensory triggers in their environment (loud sounds, noxious smells, bright lights, etc.). To avoid meltdowns, children are taught coping mechanisms: deep breathing, time-outs, engaging in calming activities, talking to a trusted adult, listening to music that will in turn help them regulate their behavior. The goal is for them to self-regulate their behavior and stay calm rather than to act out.

Finances are a difficult challenge. We have worked on counting money for years. Now that my son is in high school, we are working on helping him learn how to budget money. He needs to learn that while we may want to buy new  games we need to make certain we have enough money for food first. Children with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum tend to perseverate on what they want. That tunneled focus can make it difficult to take all other factors into account.

Time management is another challenge area for children with Autism. Again, that perseveration on things they desire or things that are important will take their focus off of everything else. I have lost count of how many times my son has said, "Just one more minute, Mom, while I save my game." Meanwhile, he is still engrossed in the game twenty minutes later because just saving it turned into completing the next challenge and it snowballs from there.

Our final goal is meal preparation. Learning how to prepare simple meals and cooking safety are essential life skills. My prayer is that one day my son will be independent. For this to become a reality, I have to help him build up a toolbox filled with the essential skills he needs to be successful, competent, and confident.

What to Do When Life and Your Goals Don't Cooperate:

Let's be realistic. Life doesn't always go according to plan. In actuality, life often throws us numerous curves, twists, and turns. It is usually on these twists and turns that we learn and grow the most, which is why it is essential that we not give up but rather persevere.

The Apostle Paul encourages us through his example in Philippians 3:14, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Famous scientist, Louis Pasteur, said it this way, "Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity."

Former tennis pro, Mary Pierce, stated, "Sometimes, things aren't clear right away. That's where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead."

James 1:2-4 reminds us to, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV)

Final Words of Wisdom:

Author C. S. Lewis said it best, "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." As we continue on life's journey, we grow, we re-evaluate, and sometimes, we have to change our directions. No matter our age, status, or education level we are always learning, maturing, and transforming. To do that, we need to be brave and embrace the opportunities God provides us. We need to be bold and step out of our comfort zones. We need to be beautiful because our light will shine truth and scatter the darkness. We need to be ourselves because God created us for just such a time as this. He gave us the talents, skills, and abilities we need to handle the tasks He brings before us.

This post is part of the Homeschool Review Crew link-up. You can read about more goals for 2017 on their site.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Words of Hope

One of my goals in writing blog posts is to offer encouragement to others. Recently, I cam up with the idea to create a monthly series entitled, Words of Hope. It is my aspiration to share words that will bring joy, that will remind you that you aren't alone, that will uplift you, that will help you to persevere during the difficult days, and that will bring you comfort and peace on the toughest of days. Who among us couldn't use a little encouragement?

Because of my desire to help you strengthen your faith, I'll be linking up with other homeschool families and fellow Christians in the anticipation that their words will also bring you hope. Be blessed, dear ones.

If you would like to share a post, you are more than welcome to add your link below. I only have a few simple requests.

Blog Hop Rules:

1. Family friendly posts that are uplifting and offer encouragement. I reserve the right to remove your link if it does not comply with the rules.

2. If you have questions regarding this blog hop, please feel free to contact me via one of the contact options.

3. Please share the blog hop code and/or link back to the post using the blog button code below.

4. When sharing your post on social media, please consider utilizing the hash tag #wordsofhope as this will make it easier for us to find you. Then, we can help share your posts as well.

5. Please consider visiting several of the other blogs linked to the blog hop. This is a good way to be encouraged yourself, offer encouragement to others, and hopefully will allow us to bless one another in numerous ways, including increased readership of our blog posts.

6. Be encouraged and encourage others!

The blog hop will run monthly from the third  Wednesday of the month and last two weeks. The first official post will begin on January 18, 2017 and run until February 1, 2017

Words of Hope - God's Writer Girl's Blog

Please feel free to add your Words of Hope landing page to the blog hop link below. We look forward to reading your #wordsofhope