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A few weeks ago I saw a movie trailer about Christmas from a Christian perspective—actually two perspectives. The first I have considered in the past and also have heard from family members and friends on occasion. The second I had never heard before. I’d like to share that perspective with you now, because it is well worth considering.

Before we go too far, we need to consider the fact that this world is broken. Sin perverts and twists everything—even good things. Because of sin, God sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem everything. Although our world is still broken, He promises redemption of our hearts if we trust Him, and eventually He will redeem everything to Himself. Because we are made in His image, we have opportunities to take dominion over the broken things of this world with the intent of redeeming them for His glory in an effort to be salt and light to a world that needs God.
 
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What’s all the buzz about when it comes to critical thinking? Critical thinking is simply evaluating what you are learning about something. As your child is learning new material, he is evaluating and making judgments based on his reasoning skills. That is why it is so very important to ask questions and to allow your child to explore new ideas. But what if he explores ideas that come from a non-biblical viewpoint? Good question!

One of the most outspoken atheists of our time has said, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.” Should we avoid allowing our children to think for themselves? No, indeed not! However, we do need to teach them the truths of the Bible, which is God’s written Word. If he accepts God’s Word as truth, a child is able to develop a biblical worldview. He begins to see the world through the lens of Scripture, including math, science, and other subject areas. He can look at topics such as evolution, politics, and even diagramming sentences in such a way that he can redeem them for God.
 
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There are a lot of buzzwords floating through the air this summer as we consider education. Perhaps you have heard some of these: biblical worldview, critical thinking, joy of learning, hands-on learning, learning styles.

Although these words are common in blogs, articles, and conversations, I wonder if you have had time to ponder the significance of them. What is your worldview? What is your child’s worldview? What does it mean to have a biblical worldview? What are critical thinking skills? Are all curriculums the same as far as teaching these skills? How much critical thinking should my child be demonstrating at this stage of his educational journey? How can I help him? Is he enjoying school? Is he learning at his ability level? Do I know his learning style?
 
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August is a significant month in the life of a homeschooling family.  It is the month where, if you haven’t already, you need to nail down several things related to homeschooling.  Here are ten things to consider.

1. Talk.  With your spouse.  Make it a date but with the specific purpose of discussing her ideas, struggles and goals for the upcoming year.  You need to make this happen and can use this list as a guide.

2. Curriculum.  A great place to start this discussion with your wife.  Help her with the research or discuss the research that she has already done.  Talk to other homeschooling families, use the internet, interact with the curriculum developers, but don’t lose sight of the importance of a product saturated with a Biblical worldview – not just a Bible verse or two tacked on to the end of a lesson.  What about developing academic excellence and critical thinking in your child?  Does the product cover all subjects necessary for a well-rounded education?  How do the various subjects interact with each other?  Who are the authors and what are their backgrounds and qualifications?  Even if your spouse takes the lead in this, make sure you have skin in the game by asking questions and understanding the options before you make a buying decision.

 
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Our family has a seven-year-old dachshund, named Louis, who is a source of both joy and frustration on a daily basis. He has beautiful, shiny, black hair with tan paws, eyebrows, and snout. He loves to go for walks, so a week or so ago I took him for a little adventure down the street to sniff out whatever seemed interesting to him. While he was sniffing at something, I looked over and saw a little twig with two acorn cups still attached. The acorns were gone, but the cups remained.



My mind is constantly turning over blog ideas, so I started thinking about encouraging homeschool parents to get their kids outdoors and explore. Suddenly I had a flashback to my own childhood. I grew up in New Jersey. When I was a very young child I lived in a town where riots were becoming more and more prevalent (it was the mid-sixties, in case some of you are wondering). My parents were very young Christians and had little training in parenting or rearing their children to walk with God, but they had strong ideals for their family. One of those was to raise us in a safe, nurturing environment. So, at the age of eight I moved out to Central Jersey which was much more rural than our previous neighborhood. There were cornfields and cows nearby, but all the trappings of city life were just miles away.
 
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I see you unloading your van, getting your cart or stroller ready to go into the convention. Your children are excited and chatty as you are making sure they have snacks for the walk around the convention center. I see you double checking each little one to be sure he or she is wearing both shoes. Your list of materials to look over is ready, and your family is excited to see other homeschool friends and attend workshops on homeschooling.

As I watch you peruse the convention center, you kindly accept catalogs from vendors and let us interact with you and your precious children. We so enjoy getting to know you and want to help you with homeschool resources. I am struck with the knowledge of the sacrifices so many families make to educate their children at home. This causes me to wonder—what event led you to make the choice to homeschool? Now that you have committed to educating your children, to what lengths are you willing to take that commitment? Have you come to the conclusion that the decision to homeschool is just the first of many on your journey to educate your children? Each child’s educational path is an individual journey in itself.
 
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Steph & Cooper – 1996

At 4:00 PM this afternoon, May 10th, 2014, our second son Cooper received his homeschool diploma along with 21 other homeschool graduates from the Upstate area of South Carolina. The ceremony was all about these 21 students, and rightly so—their hard work and discipline these last 13 years of schooling; their accomplishments in academics, music, sports, community service, leadership and other extra-curricular activities; and those bright future plans that are no longer on the distant horizon but are about to materialize.

There were testimonies and remembrances of co-op teachers, grandparents, siblings, youth pastors, parents and other friends and mentors. It was a great time of recognition and celebration—that’s what you do to put the capstone on this portion of a wall you’ve labored on for all these years. A similar scene will be played out at hundreds of other locations across the country over the next few weeks—homeschool co-ops, Christian schools, private and public high schools. Graduates will take front and center stage for good reason. But as I’ve worked through my own emotions these last few weeks one thing keeps crowding out the other thoughts in my mind: what about mom?

 
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Welcome to the HomeWorks by Precept blog! My name is Sharon Fisher, The TeacherMom, and I will be your host on this blog as we travel together through the journey of homeschooling our children.

First, let me explain who we are and why we want to reach out to you. Precept Marketing Group is a Christian educational resource company that was co-founded in 2002 by the owner and president of Graco Children’s Products. It was created with the purpose of offering the best in quality educational materials and services to Christian schools. The leadership at Precept also recognized from the beginning that homeschooling parents need assistance in securing those same materials, so they created HomeWorks By Precept—a division completely devoted to meeting the educational needs of homeschool families.

Over the past 12 years, HomeWorks has grown to include more than 200 consultants across the US and into Canada, and offers families quality educational products and services. Our consultants are homeschool parents, so they’ve been where you’ve been. They’ve taught BJU Press curriculum, and they are here to help you. Our consultants do more than just assist with your ordering needs—they’re dedicated to partnering with and encouraging you in your homeschooling all year long.
 
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Doing a better job connecting with our homeschool families (and those that should be!)

The homeschool community has increasingly used the internet to learn about home schooling; share ideas; research and compare education aids and curriculum; keep up with legislation that could harm or benefit homeschooling; do every kind of school-work related research for students; and network with other like-minded families. As an organization dedicated to assisting families with homeschooling, HomeWorks needs to be more proactive in using technology to connect with our current customers and reach the thousands of new families that are joining the home school ranks every year.

Over the last year we have been working behind the scenes to grow our knowledge base about web design, analytics, blogging and social media. While digging in, we have discovered some extremely talented people on our team in addition to the outside specialist assisting us on this journey.

It has been said that the best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in that country and culture. I believe the same holds true with technology; so in order to better understand what we need to do and what our customers would like to see from us I decided to jump in and start a blog.
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My consultant has been a great help to me when I need to know quickly what is available for my various needs when they arise throughout the school year. She is such a joy to talk to, and very down-to-earth when sharing her homeschool insight. // Mary K - Westminster, Maryland
 

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