Friday, February 24, 2017

Literature for Children with a Christian Worldview

Literature for Children with a Christian Worldview

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a love for reading. As Christian parents, we naturally want them to read books that share our worldviews. Below are some great reads from some talented authors. Whether your child reads them independently or you read them aloud together, these books are sure to entertain and educate.

For additional book ideas, check out the my fellow Reviewers posts on the Homeschool Review Crew Blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter F

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter F

This week Blogging Through the Alphabet is focusing on the Letter F. Following my theme of Biblical terms, the word I have chosen to study is Fool. You likely were expecting me to say something like faith. The main story I will be utilizing for this post is the story of Abigail from 1 Samuel 25 in which her husband, Nabal, acts like the proverbial fool and it has a valuable lesson from which we all can learn.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word fool as 1. a person lacking in judgement or prudence 2. one who is victimized or made to feel foolish 3. a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding. Nabal was definitely lacking judgement and he was obviously a deranged person lacking common powers of understanding. In fact, Nabal's name literally means fool, foolish, and senseless in its Hebrew form. (Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary) In contrast, his wife Abigail is wise, humble, and a godly woman. Abigail's name in Hebrew translates to the father's joy. (Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary) She, in deed, was her Heavenly Father's joy. 

Picture of Abigail humbling herself before David

The Story:

The best place to start is with the story of Abigail to give us a foundation to build upon. The story of David, Nabal, and Abigail is found in 1 Samuel 25. David is in the wilderness with his men trying to evade King Saul who has gone insane and wants to kill David. Learning that Nabal, a wealthy man is celebrating the shearing of his sheep, David sends his servants to request food. Sadly, Nabal shows what a fool he is and denies David and his men provisions despite the fact that David is kin and albeit that David and his men had prevented bandits in the area from raiding Nabal. Nabal's refusal angers David and he orders his men to prepare for battle with this ignorant, arrogant man. Knowing what the master had done and fearing David's reaction, a servant runs to Nabal's wife, Abigail and tells her of her husband's folly. Abigail being sage and godly, orders the servants to gather the best provisions and send them in abundance to David and his men while she prepared to follow and beg for mercy. Abigail's swift actions, her willing sacrifice, and her humbleness win David's favor.

Looking Deeper:

Instead of showing his gratitude to David and his men for keeping bandits from stealing from him, Nabal hurled insults at David and refused him food. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) Nabal could have easily provided provisions as he was a very wealthy man. He owned 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. (Geneva Study Bible) Nabal was known for being wicked, evil, a liar, a drunkard, and a cheat in his business dealings. Nabal, in his foolishness and haste, made very poor choices. (Easton's Bible Dictionary) Because of his arrogance and ignorance, Nabal almost lost not only his own life but cost the lives of all of the males living under his roof.

Abigail's Wisdom:

First, Abigail didn't inform her husband of her plans to provide David and his men with the provisions they had requested. She knew he was a sinful, wicked, prideful man who wouldn't approve of her plan. (Geneva Study Bible) Abigail had the servants gather fish, bread, cakes of raisins and figs (sweet meats) and two casks of wine even though her husband had denied them mere water. Abigail gathered the best she had to offer them and not mere leftovers. Furthermore, she sent it in abundance. (Matthew Henry Commentary of the Whole Bible Complete) Abigail sends her servants ahead of her with the food. When she arrives, she falls prostrate at David's feet and begged him for mercy. Her demeanor is submissive. (Matthew Henry Commentary) Abigail's wisdom and kindness soothe David's anger and won her husband reprieve from David's wrath. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) Abigail was willing to take Nabal's punishment. She was willing to sacrifice herself for her husband's sins. (Wesley's Explanatory Notes)

What Happens Next:

Abigail returns home to find her husband drunk and beyond comprehension. When he is awake the next morning, Abigail tells Nabal what she did and how her actions have sparred his life. Nabal is stricken with fear by the mere thought that he narrowly escaped death and goes into a comatose state for tens days before he finally dies. After Nabal's death, David took Abigail as his wife. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) David took Abigail as his wife not only because he was taken by her outward beauty but also by her godliness, wisdom, and humility. (Geneva Study Bible)

What the Bible Says About Fools and Folly:

This post is being linked to Blogging Through the Alphabet. Sponsored by my dear friends at Hopkins Homeschool and A Net In Time. Please stop by their blogs and read some of their excellent posts as well as some of the other blogs linked up to Blogging Through the Alphabet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Home School in the Woods

My son and I recently had the privilege of reviewing HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece (digital copy) from Home School in the Woods as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. This product made teaching World History easy and frustration free and actually engaged my son in the learning process, which is an impressive feat.

Since he was younger, my son has never enjoyed studying history unless it was directly related to him. American History has been his favorite because we live in the United States of America. He gets excited to learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. When we went to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, he looked at me with awe on his face and said reverently, "I'm walking on the same ground that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all walked." Whenever we've tried to work on World History in the past, my son would become frustrated. If we tried to discuss other belief systems aside from Christianity, he would say that Civilization was "stupid."

What makes Project Passport: Ancient Greece different?

First of all, Project Passport: Ancient Greece contains a dozen 3-D projects and over a dozen lap book projects for fun, interactive, hands-on learning. When my son can make a visual project to reinforce what he's been learning, it helps him recall details much more easily and makes learning more interesting. Next, Project Passport: Ancient Greece provides over an hours worth of dramatized audio that takes your child on a tour of Ancient Greece with Graham, your tour guide, and Blaine, your coach driver, with Trojan Horse Tours as you visit Sparta, Athens, Troy, the Olympic Games, and meet various figures from history. These stories place your child in the middle of the action and help history come to life. When my son is engaged in learning, again it makes his retention and recall that much better. Project Passport also has an Interactive Scrapbook Timeline that helps children keep track of important people and events from Ancient Greece.

Samples of our own handiwork from Project Passport Ancient Greece:

Our Greek Soldier from the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport
World History Study: Ancient Greece Unit

Our Trojan Horse from Project Passport Ancient Greece
A Home School in the Woods Product

What Else Should I Know About Project Passport Ancient Greece?

Project Passport: Ancient Greece is geared toward children in grades 3 through 8. Yet, this curriculum can be adapted for use by older students which is what we did. My son is in grade 9 and is classified Special Education. He learns best with hands-on activities and stories that capture his attention. Therefore, this curriculum is a blessing! I plan to utilize the other Project Passports with him next year as we make our way through World History. A class I was dreading has suddenly turned into a class I look forward to teaching. Furthermore, Project Passport provides you with teacher keys, travel tips, lists of additional resources, and a Travel Itinerary with project directions. You can print out what you will need for each day's instruction. This way, you can print out the essentials and save printer ink by not printing out non-essential papers. For example, I typically don't print out directions but keep them up on the computer to read as we progress through the lesson. I do print all of the necessary, hands-on activities my child will be using that specific day. Since my son has a writing disability, I didn't print out the creative writing notebooking pages because he will utilize a computer for his writing. Finally, we utilized the download version of Project Passport, which was quite simple to download and access each portion once it was on our computer. You can purchase a CDROM version if you prefer a hard copy.

We are looking forward to utilizing Home School in the Woods' other HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Units: Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation, which are available now, as well as Ancient Rome, which will be available in 2018, to supplement our World History lessons next year.

To learn more about Home School in the Woods products, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest pages.

You can read more reviews on Home School in the Woods products HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passports World History Unit Study: Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation on the Homeschool Review Crew Blog.

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day - A Reflection on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

George Washington – Facts

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 at his father’s Pope Creek Estate in Westmoreland, Virginia. George’s father died when he was only 11 years old. His mother was known for being a very demanding and controlling woman. George respected and looked up to his older half-brother Lawrence. George had no formal education. However, he read as many books as he could devour and worked to educate himself as much as possible throughout his life.  One of the skills he taught himself was surveying.  Shortly after the death of his beloved brother, Lawrence, George Washington was appointed to the rank of major in the Virginia militia. During the French and Indian War, Washington built Fort Necessity along the Ohio River. It would be the only time in his military career that George Washington would surrender. After the French and Indian War, George married Martha Dandridge Custis. Martha brought not only land and money to the marriage but also two children from her former marriage and George adored John and Martha. Sadly, little Martha died before the American Revolution and John died during the American Revolution where George was serving as the General of the Continental Army. After both the French and Indian War and The American Revolution, George Washington would return to his home at Mount Vernon and work his land as a planter. In 1787, George Washington would once again leave Mount Vernon to serve his beloved United States of America. This time, he would serve as the first President of America. George Washington was the only president to ever be unanimously elected to office by every elector of the Electoral College. Washington was disheartened by partisanship that accompanied the formation of political parties. He felt politics should be about the issues and not personality. Knowing he was aging, George refused to serve a third term as President and returned home to Mount Vernon. George Washington served as President of the United States of America from 1789 to 1797. George Washington died at Mount Vernon, Virginia on December 14, 1799 after too much blood letting due to fever (Matthew March - Cumberland County Historical Society). My son and I had the pleasure of touring Washington's beloved Mount Vernon a few years ago with my brother and sister-in-law,  both of whom are history teachers, and their children. My son was in awe at walking on the same land where George Washington trod.

Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Faith: “George Washington was a member of the Anglican church. He made frequent references to God and the Bible in his public statements and private letters. Personal friends and family members gave accounts of his regular Bible reading, church attendance and moral lifestyle. He personally promoted a project to evangelize Indians that was organized by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. Washington even had a portrait of the Countess hanging in his house. The Countess was one of the leading evangelical ministers of the day. Washington was a ‘Low Church’ Anglican, the branch of the Anglican church that took the Bible literally and would be considered "true" to the Bible by believing Christians today.” (Revolutionary War and Beyond)

More Information on George Washington can be found at: Biography, White House, History, Revolutionary War and Beyond,  and Mount Vernon.

Abraham Lincoln – Facts

Abraham (Abe) Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. In 1817, Abraham’s family moved to Perry County Indiana where they were squatters on government land. A year later in 1818 when Abe was only nine years old, his mother Nancy died. A little over a year later, Abe’s father, Thomas, married Sally Johnston. Both his mother and step-mother were influential in Abe’s life. Not only did he share strong bonds with both women but they also taught him to believe in God and hold firmly to that faith. Abraham Lincoln only received 18 months of formal education. The rest of his education was self-taught. Abe would walk miles to neighbors’ homes to borrow books for reading. At 22 years of age, Abe headed out on his own and made a living by splitting firewood and rail fencing. Abraham Lincoln finally settled down in Salem, Illinois where he held several jobs including shopkeeper, postmaster, and general store owner. In 1834, Abraham Lincoln began his political career by becoming a Illinois State Legislator. During this time, Abe became romantically involved with Anne Rutledge who sadly died of Typhoid before the couple could get married. Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd, who was his exact opposite: from a well-respected family, highly-educated, and exuberant, in 1842. They had four children together. In 1844, Abraham Lincoln became a partner in law with William Herndon. Abe would serve a two year term in the United States House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln would be elected the 16th President of the United States of America with only 40 percent of the popular vote and 180 of the 303 Electoral College votes. Approximately one month after his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln would face one of the greatest challenges any president would ever face: The American Civil War. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all slaves. On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Army of Virginia or the Army of the Confederate States, surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, the Commander of the Union Army, at Appomattox, Virginia effectively bringing the Civil War to an end. Several days later, on April 14, 1865 Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. Lincoln would remain in a coma until his death the following day on April 15, 1865. His body would be carried via a train processional from Washington, DC to Springfield, IL where he would be buried. People came to pay their respects as the train made its way west. My son and I have had the honor of riding along the same train rails that carried Lincoln’s processional train through Hanover Junction here in Pennsylvania.

Lincoln's Home

Abraham Lincoln’s Faith: Abraham Lincoln’s faith has been an issue of great debate over the years. While Abe never joined any specific church, he did attend church services on a regular basis both as a child and while serving as President. It appears that Lincoln didn’t agree with the legalism of many churches. His faith was simply stated: "When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and Gospel, 'Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul." (Great American History) His faith is exhibited furthermore in a proclamation for prayer and fasting on March 30, 1863 when Lincoln stated; “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” (Great American History) Even more remarkable to note is a President on his knees in prayer for our nation: “I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His war, and our cause His cause ... And after that, I don't know how it was, and I cannot explain it, but soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul.” (Great American History)

More information on Abraham Lincoln can be found at: History, Biography, Great American History, and Constitution Daily.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter E

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter E

This week, Blogging Through the Alphabet is showcasing the Letter E. When contemplating Biblical words starting with the letter E, I kept coming back to the phrase "equally yoked." Twice in my lifetime, the verse in 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" has had an significant impact upon my life.

The first time 2 Corinthians 6:14 impacted my life, I was 16 years old. My family had just moved from rural Pennsylvania to suburban New Jersey where my father had just taken his first pastorate. On my first day of school, I bravely wore a Christian t-shirt. As I entered English class, a young man named Calis looked at my t-shirt and boldly asked me what I thought the Bible meant about being unequally yoked. I felt a classroom full of eyes shift their gazes upon me. Calis was black, as were a majority of the students at my new school. I knew what he was truly asking. I knew I was being tested. I spoke more calmly than I felt; "It has nothing to do with race or the color of one's skin. What the Bible means by being unequally yoked is exactly as the verse states: believers or Christians are not to be yoked or married to non-believers. It really is that simple." Then, I promptly turned around to find a seat but not before catching the smile and slight head nod of approval from Calis.

The second time 2 Corinthians 6:14 impacted my life was even more significant. My family had been pastoring a church in the southern portion of Virginia for nearly a year. It wasn't my first time living below the Mason-Dixon line, the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as the line often utilized to demarcate the North from the South during the Civil War. However, it was the first time I would come face to face with a Christian using God's word to justify racism. As I tried to reason with a member of our former church, quoting verse after verse about love, it became evident that neither of us was going to change our positions. My position: God wants us to be filled with love for all of His children and 2 Corinthians 6:14 is not referring to race or skin color but rather about one's belief system while the parishioner was adamant that 2 Corinthians 6:14 was evidence that Blacks and Whites should not even interact. Say what? I was completely blown away! I had not anticipated to face such blatant racism within the walls of our church. How could someone take God's Word and twist it to reflect hatred? To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. My surprise gave way to righteous indignation which then turned to deep sorrow. Sorrow that God's Word was being twisted and sadness that such hate would still exist especially within the heart of a believer.

It isn't merely my interpretation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 that being equally yoked isn't about race nor the color of one's skin. The Greek word utilized in this text of the Bible is Heterozugeo which translates to come under unequal or different yoke, to have fellowship with one who is not equal, the apostles were forbidding Christians from having sexual relations with idolaters. (Greek Lexicon) To understand this verse, one must understand the context under which it was written. The Corinthians had been hanging around with idolaters and they were being led astray from their faith. This is what Paul is admonishing them for in 2 Corinthians 6:14.

It is interesting to note that the exact verb form of "Do not be yoked with unbelievers" is not found anywhere else in the Bible. However, its adjective form is found in Leviticus 19:19, which confers that different types of animals should not be bred together, and Deuteronomy 22:10, which states that ploughing should not be performed with an oxen and a donkey. (Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament)

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge explains that Christians or believers are Holy temples of the living God; therefore, they must flee temptation and the corruptive ways of the idolaters. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary states that "It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane" while Wesley's Explanatory Notes warns against any needless intimacy with unbelievers.

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible goes on to further expound that righteousness: principles of grace and holiness, cannot be merged with inequity. The two have opposite goals and opposite means to achieve their ends. Goodness and evil cannot co-exist in the same space. One will overcome the other. The same is true of light and darkness. For light drives away the darkness as God's truth is revealed.

To be equally yoked, means to be joined together with other like-minded Christians in fellowship, specifically to be married to one other believer in Christ, so that your faith may continue to grow and you will not be tempted to sin.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Words of Hope - Abba

It is my prayer that these words of hope will encourage you and bring you comfort. This month, I decided to take a deeper look at the word Abba. It is a intimate name for God that has become one of my favorite ways of referring to my beloved Father. This week has been a difficult week for me as I have been physically drained by my monthly IV infusions and emotionally drained by the addition of medical diagnoses to my already long list. Words like adrenal insufficiency, adrenal crisis, and Stiff Man's Disease all feel daunting. I'll be honest: at first, I felt very overwhelmed by all of this. Thankfully, my Abba Father, who is always gracious and merciful, whispered quieting words of hope and peace into my soul and heart and I felt His wondrous peace wrap around me like a healing balm exactly when I needed His reassurance the most. Furthermore, He knew I'd need reminded of His deep love for me: His beloved and chosen child at this particular moment in my life. I love watching His mighty hand work all things for my good. I feel cherished. It is my prayer that you, precious one, will come to know God this intimately and feel loved, cherished, wanted, sought, and chosen by God as well.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word Abba has Greek origins from Aramaic translating to daddy. Furthermore, it defines Abba as 1.) An intimate term for God as Father and 2.) A title of honor given to the Deity (God) in the New Testament.

The most interesting fact my word study research revealed is that "this Syriac or Chaldee word (Abba) is found (only) three times in the New Testament (not at all in the Old Testament) and in each case is always followed by its Greek equivalent which is translated 'father.' It is a term expressing warm affection and filial (loving and devoted son or daughter) confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language." Easton's Bible Dictionary

Knowing this intimate term expresses warm affection from loving and devoted children to our heavenly Father makes the term Abba Father that much more special to me. It makes me feel so much closer to my beloved Father.

The three verses where Abba Father are found in the New Testament are Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.  In Mark 14:36, Jesus calls out to his Abba Father in prayer while in the garden of Gethsemane. After telling his disciples that he was overwhelmed and deeply troubled (Mark 14:34), he falls to the ground and prays to God asking for this burden to be taken from him but submitting to God's plan and will for him at the end, which was death on a cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Calling out intimately in prayer to his father when he was entering the most difficult time in his life but which was the purpose for which he was born gives great insight into the depth of love not only between God and His one and only created Son but also into the depth of God's and Jesus' love for each one of us.

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament refers to Abba Father in Romans 8:15 as our "adoption into the family of God." Furthermore, Robertson's refers to Abba Father in Galatians 4:6 as our being God's children chosen with purpose and love by God himself. Wow! Did you catch the significance of that usage of Abba Father in Galatians 4:6? God chose me. God chose you. He chose us with purpose, with certainty, with desire, with a plan, with resolve, with a design, with intent. Our relationship with Him is not a mistake. He chose us with love, with affection, with devotion, with respect, with tenderness, with appreciation, with fondness, with sentiment, with regard. Our Abba Father longs to have an intimate, loving relationship with each one of us.

God's love is amazing! Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed like Jesus or daunted like me. No matter what you are going through, God is right there waiting for you to cry out "Abba Father" and to pour your heart out to Him. When we place our burdens into His hands, our Abba Father can cover us in His loving, healing balm of peace and renewed hope.

Prayer: Abba Father, we thank you for loving us unconditionally and intimately. Thank you for choosing us to be Your beloved children. We are grateful for the example Your Son, Jesus, is for us and for the sacrifice he so graciously made on our behalves. We cry out to you as he did, Abba Father, in our times of overwhelm and trouble and ask that Your love and peace cover us like a healing balm. Fill us with the hope of knowing You are gracious and Your mercies are new every day. Help us to seek Your will always. In Jesus' name, Amen!


I am hosting the Words of Hope monthly blog link-up. Please stop by and visit the blogs of my dear friends who have linked-up their posts below and be inspired by their words of hope as well. Be blessed, dear ones so that you can be a blessing to others!



Friday, February 10, 2017

How We Place Christ at the Center of Our Homeschool

Our faith is a very integral part of our lives. It is one of the reasons we homeschool my son. How do we place Christ at the Center of our homeschool? I'm glad you asked.


I'll start with the most obvious example: Bible lessons. Using various age appropriate curriculum, we work on topic based lessons that will help strengthen our faith walk and increase our knowledge of the Bible.

Language Arts:

Language Arts provides a great opportunity to offer a Christian worldview through various books. For example, the Chronicles of Narnia not only take us on a fun voyage to a different time and a new land all while implementing imagery and themes that point to Christian values. My son loves reading The Prince Warrior series by Priscilla Shirer and The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Not only do I enjoy reading these series with him but I also appreciate knowing that what I'm reading is wholesome.


This year we are studying American History. One of the tools we have utilized is Drive Through History: American History. Host Dave Stotts not only indicates accurate historical facts about our nation's history but he also identifies key Christian points as well. We've also been using the Civil Rights Movement curriculum from as well. Again, I appreciate knowing that what we're reading and watching is wholesome and comes from a Christian worldview.


For Science, we are studying biology/animal science. Science is one educational area where it is extremely important to ensure our lessons come from a creationist viewpoint. This is why we chose Exploring Creation with Biology from Apologia.

When we strive to be in Christ and have Him live in and shine through us, we need to make a conscious effort to place Him at the center of all we do. By placing Christ at the center of our homeschool, my son not only receives an excellent education in a safe environment but he also gets a strong Biblical foundation, good morals, and manners which are sadly lacking in our world today.

To read about how other homeschooling families make Christ the center of their homeschools, stop by the Home School Review Crew Blog.