Can your family make a difference in the confusing times we are living in?
Let’s meet Corrie and her family who lived during some significant changes. This Dutch family loved the Lord and lived a simple life going to church and running their own business. Their home was filled with love and laughter. Guests frequented the little home behind the watch shop.
Almost a century earlier, in 1844, Corrie’s grandfather, Willem was approached by a Messianic Jewish pastor who asked Willem to start a weekly prayer meeting for the Jewish people. That was strange because back then there was no nation of Israel, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Nonetheless, Willem began weekly prayer meetings for the Jewish people that continued for exactly 100 years.
Corrie’s parents, Casper and Cor had moved to a Jewish neighborhood in Amsterdam for a short while early in their marriage made good friends and enjoyed joining in many Jewish festivities. Casper also spend lots of time sharing passages of Scripture in the Old Testament such as Isaiah 53 that Casper believed were fulfilled in Christ.
When Corrie’s grandfather died, her father Casper brought his family back to Haarlem and took the helm of the weekly prayer meeting.
Corrie and her sister Betsy never married and remained at home with their widowed father Casper. Corrie started clubs for girls where she taught them crafts and shared the Gospel.
War Breaks Out!
Abruptly, everything changed when invaders from nearby Germany conquered and began to rule the peaceful nation. The goose-step marching sent shivers down their spines when they saw the Nazis marching down the street. People began to disappear; never to be seen again. Their Jewish friends were taken away to concentration camps. It felt like darkness had descended on the land.
When Germany invaded Holland during World War II, Corrie, Betsy, Casper, and the rest of the ten Boom clan, joined the resistance. They housed Jewish people who were fleeing for their lives, until they could find another place to hide out in the country nearby.
Even so, love and laughter continued to fill the little home. Their Jewish visitors might tell stories or play the family piano. When there was danger, the guests had to escape quickly to the hiding place. They worked hard to get the drill down to 70 seconds. They also had to get rid of any evidence of their presence such as a teacup or extra hand of cards.
The hiding place was a tiny secret room. The thick walls of the hiding place were built below the floor so the Nazis wouldn’t find it with a secret entrance through a linen closet. This little family saved the lives of many Jewish people.
When Casper was warned of the danger of hiding Jewish people, imprisonment and death, Casper declared that he felt it a great privilege to give his life to save God’s Chosen People.” Corrie and Betsy shared his heart.
Clash of World Views
The ten Booms faced a collision of worldviews. Hitler led Germany with a wicked philosophy doing everything in his power to make the Jewish people and every other “undesirable” feel debased, humiliated, and hopeless. But he could not overcome love, forgiveness, and mercy, that flow from the heart of God. Corrie and her family recognized the value and dignity of every life, especially the lives of those so precious to our Father God. When worldviews collide, God’s love always wins.
The night of the final raid came on an evening when Corrie was very sick. Betsy answered the door. Though suspicious of the Dutch traitor, she gave him help anyway. He brought back the Gestapo, who arrested all three ten Booms, but those in the hiding place were not found. The soldiers chopped, hacked, and destroyed, but the little hiding place worked! Two days later, members of the resistance were able to get the five people out of the cramped little space and they all escaped to freedom.
The final raid came 100 years to the day that the Willem ten Boom held his first prayer meeting. Coincidence? I don’t think so. This family was in the center of God’s will, though it was not an easy place.
Corrie alone survived the concentration camp, being let out due to an administrative error. She and her family made a conscious decision to forgive. Even the traitors that reported them were both written a letter from the family expressing forgiveness and the love of Christ. Corrie spent the rest of her life sharing her testimony and helping people learn to forgive.
The ten Boom family paid a huge price to resist evil. Yet, because of their heart to obey God rather than man, they saved lives. After the war, Corrie ministered to thousands of bitter souls who learned to forgive from her example.
Glamorous? No. They were just a normal Christian family. Just an ordinary family who trusted God. A family that obeys God can change history. Because of families like the ten Boom, enough Jews survived to make it to the Holy Land and usher in the birth of Israel in 1948.
Don’t underestimate what God can do with your family.
Your family can speak wisdom into the lives of those who are confused and frightened. Your family can teach timeless truths that many Americans have forgotten.
Even if your family is just a place where visitors find love and laughter, think how many lives can be changed by that! You may think you don’t have a perfect family, but your family may be the best example of Christ that anyone has ever seen.
Resources that Help Your Kids Make a Difference
All our online classes and other resources are designed to support your family and help your kids strengthen their faith. Our podcast, Softskills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, provides encouragement and information that will help you homeschool. High school students can learn more about how to defend their faith with our Introduction to Apologetics Course. This is a class students can join for a full year, or for just one semester- we hope you check out the other courses and resources on the website for parents and K-12 homeschooled students.
Meredith Curtis is a writer, speaker, and curriculum creator with Powerline Productions and teaches courses like Who Dun It, at True North Homeschool Academy. A veteran homeschooler, she is mom to five and “Grandy-Merey” to five so far. As a pastor’s wife, worship leader, and teacher she loves to give young people the gift of classic books and a Christian education to see lives changed for the glory of God.
Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16
Christmas is often known as the Season of Light, and for good reason. It is the Season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who brings light and redemption to each dark corner of lives and to this world.
This Christmas season, I would challenge you to share with your family and friends how the transforming power and light of the Gospel and Jesus, changed your life.
In other words, share your testimony
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.” Daniel 4:2
What better time?
Sharing your testimony is like sharing family stories (and I hope you do that, too). Family stories of how your relatives met and married, moved or stayed put, children that were born or perished. These family stories ground your kids and give them a sense of identity and place in history. Even more so, when they hear stories of the faith of their fathers- and mothers!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” 1 Chronicles 16:8
We often forget to share our stories of faith. We dismiss it, thinking others will find it silly, or it will be awkward. Sharing our testimony- or of a time when God showed up in a mighty way in our lives- strengthens our own faith and gives courage to those looking for some. It can be a touchstone that our children refer back to, and it is a simple act of obedience.
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Psalm 22:22
Keep it Simple
It doesn’t have to be complex. It doesn’t have to exploit transgressions. It can be simple.
I grew up in a religious, but not Christian ,home. My father had been an ordained pastor, but grew disillusioned with the pastorate and left the church. Our family attended church when we visited my Grandparents and occasionally on holidays. In high school, my sisters and I walked to our local Methodist Church on Sundays and I attended a Catholic High School. In college, I struggled. I struggled with health issues, and floundered spiritually. Meanwhile, my parents had been invited back into the church by former parishioners and my Dad had gotten re-ordained. During a particularly trying week-end, when I was home from college, my Dad led me in the sinners prayer. I actually prayed that prayer on a dare. A dare to God. If He was real, then He would show up. I can’t describe exactly how He did that, and it is simplistic to say that I went to bed in darkness and despair and woke up to light and hope. But, lIke Mary Magdalen says, in the Chosen, “I was one way… and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between… was Him.” I committed myself to Christ that night and I have been committed since.
Through the years, God has shown up in big and small ways, directing, guiding, leading and exhorting. I don’t struggle with knowing if he exists. To me, that score is settled. The Master of the Universe is alive, present, holy and powerful. He loves His people and has a perfect plan for this world and for all of His creation. He is a good, good father, a gentle shepherd, a powerful adversary, a Holy Lord and a perfect Love. God loves me and He loves you. He knows you by name and you are His. You can come to him- even when you are burdened, heavy- laden by burdens or sin, in despair or full of sorrow, loss and anger. He can take all of that and wash you clean and pure, give you a new name and write you in the Lamb’s book of Life. He is faithful, true and worthy of all praise!
Isaiah 12:4 “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.”
Declare the Deeds of the Lord!
The Psalms exhort us to declare among the peoples the deeds of the Lord.
This Christmas season, let’s declare the deeds He has done in our lives and join in prayer that the light of the living Christ shines brightly in our homes, in the hearts of each family member!
3 Ways Your Testimony Brings Glory to God
Your testimony shows God’s power and love in a way that is personal to you and relatable to your family members
Your testimony allows people to rejoice and praise God together as they revel in the great things He has done for someone that they know and love.
Your testimony is proof that the Adversary, who seeks to kill, steal and destroy from you, is defeated in your life.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:11
This Christmas Season, we pray that the light of Christ shines brightly in your home.
Resources for Your Family
Now that we have encouraged you to share your testimony let us share a personal testimony guideline that will help you structure your personal testimony. This workbook from Powerline Productions will help you keep it simple and meaningful!
How to robot-proof your kids might not be something you’ve thought about. But the future of work indicates that our kids will be living in a technological world: one with artificial intelligence, the internet of things and robots.
Those of us using a Rumba or Alexa in our homes are already embracing a world with robots in our daily lives!
How on earth are we supposed to educate our kids in a way that allows them to compete against technology and robots PLUS fit life skills and the 3 Rs into our homeschool plan?
I’m glad you asked! Because, while we can’t predict the future, we can prepare for it by clearly understanding the strengths and beauty of humanity. Becoming fully “human” is literally, the best way to “robot-proof” your kids.
Look, computers are great at pattern recognition and convergent thinking (critical thinking which uses linear, logical steps to analyze a number of solutions to a problem), but not so great at understanding truth, beauty, and goodness.
Furthermore, computers and robots cannot think divergently (a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions). Robot proofing our kids means we help them fully develop their humanity!
It’s an exciting time in the world. During the 4th Industrial Revolution, things will change quickly, some industries will fail and some jobs will become obsolete. But those willing to fully embrace their unique and God-given human qualities will succeed!
So, to sum up: develop your kids’ humanity: their faith life, people skills, and soft skills.
Here are some practical tips on HOW to develop your kid’s humanity:
Develop your kid’s faith life- teach them about the Bible- how to read, study and meditate on the Scripture, as well as about Church History, how to pray, share their faith, and worship!
A solid liberal arts background will develop academic skills and abilities as well as give our kids a taste of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
Focus on building your kids’ Soft Skills Muscles. Human qualities cannot be duplicated by machines. Soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, along with flexibility and adaptability, time and distraction management, loyalty, integrity, etc.
Emphasize developing your kid’s Creativity! Creativity is going to be a vital skill as we navigate through this 4th Industrial Revolution!
Build your kid’s Critical Thinking Muscles! Encourage them to see “around” a problem and creatively and critically problem solve.
Give your kids opportunities to collaborate in meaningful ways. Team builders are integral to successful families and work environments.
Computers cannot become Culturally Agile, but humans can; teach your kids a Foreign Language! Becoming bi-lingual teaches your kids to think multi-dimension-ally and creatively, build mental flexibility, and allows them to more readily become global workers and students. Furthermore, while robots can translate literal meanings, human nuances in communication are lost to them; we will always need human translators.
Intentionally work to develop your kid’s very human capacities for flexibility and adaptability! Being able to flex and adapt as well as pivot, will serve them well in a global gig economy.
Entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to ensure vocational success in the future with the burgeoning gig economy, so teach them what it means to live and think entrepreneurially!!
Encourage your kids to become auto-didacts (self-learners). Our kids will be working in a fast-paced, global work environment where they will be required to pivot frequently and with ease!
Homeschooling Can Prepare Kids For An Exciting Future
It’s a lot to think about, but a solid educational pedagogy will allow you to give your kids solid academic and soft skills. Add in solid faith-based education and your kids will be set up for future success.
Your kids will be completely robot-proof!
More Resources For You
It’s an exciting world we are preparing our kids for! If you need help pulling it all together, it is our great privilege to come alongside fellow homeschoolers to ensure your academic and future success. Here at True North Homeschool Academy, we offer many resources including Academic Advising, our amazing live online classes, and a Mom’s Membership.
Check out the Soft Skills 101 podcast where we offer tips and solutions for teaching life skills and soft skills every day. Bookmark our blog so you don’t miss helpful freebies, encouragement, and valuable information about home education from experienced homeschoolers and educators. Don’t forget to let us know how we can come alongside you!
(This review, written by Lisa Nehring, was originally posted on the blog Golden Grasses. This product was received in exchange for an honest review.)
Spelling You See brought by the good folks who brought us Math You See, is hands down, FANTASTIC. We reviewed both Wild Tales (Level C) and American (Level D). After homeschooling five kiddos I’ve learned that spelling is a mixed bag in our home. We have some natural spellers, some okay spellers and some “shoot me now, ’cause I’ll never be able to figure this out,” spellers. I would almost count myself in that last category, and I thank God regularly for online dictionaries, and the creator of spell-check.
My mathy girl, age 11, struggles greatly with spelling. We’ve tried other spelling programs, and they’ve left her in tears. She is an excellent writer, but a hurtful comment about what a miserable speller she was, as well as her insecurities about spelling, left her with wounded confidence. With this came the belief that she just wasn’t ever going to “get” spelling. We’ve tried several programs, with success ranging from terrible to hopeful moderate.
Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We received a very slim teachers manual, two workbooks, and a well-packaged set of erasable colored pencils. Both my children were curious about the program straight off, given the pencils.
I had initially signed up to review American (level D). My daughter is a solid and confident reader. Due to a shipping snafu, we receive Wild Tales first, and then later on Americana. She and I looked through Wild Tales and decided to give it a go. Oh, I am so glad we did! Here’s what we found.
First, the layout of Spelling You See…..
Each lesson is formatted the same and divided into five sections; A, B, C, D, and E. The lessons focus on identifying and learning one of the following:
bossy r chunks,
The genius of this program is that the kids identify these areas and circle them. The vowel chunks are always yellow, the consonant chunks blue, etc. In this way, the kids learn to see the words in phonetic “chunks” versus individual letters. The lessons have loads of built-in repetition, and by the end of a lesson, the kids are writing it from dictation.
Wild Tales – Level C
Wild Tales begins with nursery rhymes and has an animal theme. The layout is simple but bright and colorful, and each picture coordinates with the text. While my daughter was far beyond the reading level of Wild Tales, this was a perfect place to start with spelling. From day one, her spelling improved. Not just a little, but significantly. She began writing letters to friends again (something she’s been avoiding since she realized she wasn’t quite up to speed with spelling), as well as leaving little notes around the house and in her Dad’s lunch. It was a joy to see her confidence grow by leaps and bounds!
Americana – Level D
Americana focuses on all things American. Part two even has Mt. Rushmore on the cover (we live in the Territories y’all!). Each day’s worth of spelling reiterates some small snippet of American History. Part of our daughter’s history for the year is to finish reading an American History book used in Co-op last year. Spelling You See’s American ties in beautifully, reiterating simple stories.
One of the things that makes this so successful is that the program is not “grade level” dependent. The student starts wherever they are, gaining mastery quickly and painlessly. My daughter did several components of a lesson a day, blazing through Wild Tales, gaining spelling mastery along the way. In no way did she feel that she was behind or less than. The sentences and stories are complex enough to engage even those way beyond reading-wise.
Each section of a lesson takes about 10 minutes. We did spelling every day because she was highly motivated and enjoyed the lessons. The copy work and dictation are something we have used in English for years, so this was nothing new. Also, the spelling has to do with words the kids would use in everyday language. The focus is on spelling mastery; so there’s not a lot of bells, whistles, and extras thrown in. And for that, I am grateful. I’m all about the simplistic, straightforward, and effective!
How much will I have to spend?
Spelling You See is really middle of the road price-wise. Sure, you can find things cheaper, but for the quality, you really get what you pay for with this program. Below are the prices for each individual level.
Spelling You See is worth every penny. This is a fantastic program for the spelling weary, the visual learner, and those invested in classical methodology. Really this program is perfect for anyone interested in an effective, affordable, excellent spelling program. I’m so thrilled to have found something that has given my daughter the skills she needed to unlock the mysteries of spelling. Major kudos to Spelling You See on being one of the best spelling programs we’ve ever used.
(If you loved this review be sure to also check out our thoughts on Math U See.)
Ever wondered if your homeschooler is prepared for high school? When your homeschooler is about to enter high school you may question a few things:
Where did the time go?
How will you get everything “done” before they graduate?
Will they be accepted to _______ (insert college, votech school, adulthood)?
Will they be successful?
Yep, everything’s getting real.
How can your homeschooler be prepared for high school success? There is so much to think about and so much curriculum to wade through. Not to mention that perhaps you feel like you have to give up the delight directed or unit study approach you took to homeschooling in the elementary and junior high years. Today I will make it easy for you. Here are some skills your student needs to be prepared for high school.
Writing and Presentation Skills
Regardless of what your child ends up doing vocationally, they will be required to do some type of writing and or presentation skills. Before your student gets to high school, they should be able to write a complete and well thought out sentence, paragraph, and 5 paragraph essay. If not, now is the time to really focus on these skills.
Can your student stand up and do a simple 1-2 minute presentation on a subject of their choice? If not, now is the time to find opportunities for them to do so. (Be sure to check out our Speech and Debate Clubs to help with these skills.)
Honing students math skills in junior high is imperative if they are going to succeed at high school level math. Students should easily be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide, manipulate simple fractions, decimals and percent’s, calculate basic grocery story math such as making change and calculating a tip. Deductive reasoning and simple logic should be manifesting themselves in how your kiddos engage and interact with you and the world.
Health and Wellness
Health and wellness skills are necessary for a student to be prepared for high school. Students should be taking responsibility for basic self-care as well as health and fitness. Engaging in sports or working out should be a regular part of their lives. Kids worn out by hard physical exertion are also less likely to argue and bicker and most people enjoy a challenge. (Check out the Goldilocks Principle to learn more.)
We live in a world where pleasure and ease abound. Teaching our kids to discern between good and right activities and entertainment and what is not can save them from heartache, addiction, and more. Teach them to protect themselves with internet and phone filters, having good definitions of wholesome and life-damaging, and being humble enough to have accountability. Helping them find a tribe and a purpose as they enter high school will take a lot of pressure off of them.
We live in a digital world. Your kids need to know some basics like how to keyboard, make their way around google docs, send email and netiquette. Learning simple programming will open options they wouldn’t otherwise have. Also, understanding how to present themselves online as well as protect themselves online will help them navigate online opportunities and challenges more successfully.
Science is all about observing and viewing the world with wonder and awe. Having a clear understanding of the scientific method, how to really study something well, revealing in the marvel and joy of creation- these are all cultivated skills that will hold students in good stead as they face high school and beyond. In a time when cultivated disinterest seems to be a norm, being intrigued not only cultivates awareness, but also gratitude.
Having a clear sense of history by the time one enters high school is a great gift to the student. It orients them to time and space, gives them a clear understanding of other cultures. It can also save them from the academic sin of anachronism, as well as helping them begin to develop empathy and compassion for cultures, people, and places that are not their own. (Check out our Claritas & More program.).
Bible and Theology
Having a clear sense of who one is and who they are in relation to a living God is a gift. Building on basic Bible stories, delving into Apologetic and Church History gives kids an even deeper sense of who they are, their place in the world, and God’s sovereignty.
Soft skills are another way to ensure your homeschooler is prepared for high school. These are things like manners, executive functioning, problem-solving, time and distraction management. Skills that are not easily measured but will allow your kiddo to survive and thrive in the world, despite their vocation or position in life.