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Showing posts from 2017

The Most Important Work!

Great Article by Sally Clarkson

I wanted to share this link with you because I know you will be blessed and encouraged by it!

The Lifegiving Table

I am a part of Sally Clarkson's new book launch team for The Lifegiving Table.  This book is out on my birthday, October 3rd.
Sally has long been a kindred spirit even though we don't know each other.  We have shared interests in mentoring, discipleship, training and teaching our children, opening our homes and lives to others.

This book, which I've read a preview of, is my heart too.  We've used our 'table' to build relationships with our children, our families, friends, fellow workers, young people, old people and every age in between.  To share our faith, spread encouragement, help carry burdens.

Sometimes, it has been a full blown Thanksgiving meal with three tables set up.  Other times it has been coffee and dessert.  But all of it has been with the heart of welcome and care and "I want to know you better," or "come celebrate with us!"  

I had a friend say to me, "My heart is to do this but we don't have a nice big table, that I…

Thoughts On Living An Ordinary Life

Today I'm sharing a post that I wrote for my blog Creekside Cottage.

We live an ordinary life.  We work, we cook meals, we wash dishes, do laundry, clean our houses, care for our children, and grandchildren.  For those of us who home educate, we are busy with guiding our children's learning, too!

Sometimes we can feel as if we are not 'doing' anything of value.

Often we feel as if our work and our lives are unseen.  There is a desire in all of us to be seen and to be known.  So much of social media is about this.

There are so many things out there that make us feel as if we must be doing something that is noticed.

 Living an ordinary life is seen as boring. 

 But look at what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-12
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;…

Here Is What We Are Doing For School This Year

We've been on summer break since May 11th.  Monday we will start a new year of learning.  Kyle will be in 7th, Sarah in 10th, and Kamryn, my granddaughter will do some days with us and some days at her home.  She is in 1st grade.
We've had a good summer, did some swimming, the kids played Ultimate every Wednesday, and some of us took a trip to California for a family wedding.  Summer flew by, didn't it?
We've continued to learn this summer, mostly reading, with a bit of math.  We are ready to get back to a schedule.  I always look forward to a new year.
This year we are doing American History.  We use a lot of historical fiction, biographies, extra books like 'A is for Abigail,' by Lynn Cheney.  I have a big gap in ages with having my granddaughter doing history with us, so those books suited to her age will be read with just her, but otherwise we will be altogether for history.  

I like to do a bit of 'morning time.'  This for us means that we pray to star…

Be Intentional

One of the lessons that I learned over my 28 years of parenting was about being intentional. By this I mean that I deliberately made choices in how I would parent the kids God gave to us. 

I came to realize that my kids would not learn manners, or math without me having a plan and doing it.  Having a plan may sound like more than you want to think about this summer, but it can be very simple.

As I may have mentioned a time or two, I don't like things that require prep work.  I want to open a book and get to the science, I don't want to have to pre-read a lesson.

The same is true in my being intentional - I want it to be purposeful but easy.  So I chose a book, a movie, an activity, or just time together with my kids where we could focus on a character trait, or other kind of subject, and then talk about it afterward.

If you want your kids to be kind, then you have to model that and talk to them about being kind, and how to handle it when other people aren't kind to them.  This…

Three Ways To Learn Over The Summer

We are officially in summer mode!  

Our state requires end of the year evaluations.  Both Kyle and Sarah did great and we're looking forward to 7th grade and 10th grade respectively!  

Just because we are done with 'book' learning, doesn't mean that learning gets put on hold over the summer!  This is a great time of year to do things that are educational and yet the kids are just having fun, so they don't think they are 'doing school,' if you know what I mean.

Here are three ways to learn over the summer.

1.  Get Outdoors!  Find a local park with a hiking trail, visit a National Seashore, hang out in your back yard.  All these places provide cool opportunities to find bugs, birds, and other creatures.  They also provide plants, trees and rocks.  All of these things will teach your kids simple classification of animals and plants, what kinds of birds are native to your area, what dew looks like on a garden spiders' web.  

We like the Pocket Naturalist Guides.…

An Encouraging Post, As We End Our School Year

I'm sorry that I've disappeared!  I caught quite a cold.

As we end our school year I want to encourage you to see just how much your children have learned, the progress they've made as individual people.

Its easy to compare our homeschools with our friends homeschools.  Its easy to see so many outside activities that one family does, and compare with the few that you do.

Can I encourage you to look to the Lord for His direction for your family?  He knows just what each child needs.  Maybe one year it is a co-op, but another year it is time to be home together, and let them play a team sport.  Don't get caught in the trap that each child has to do every activity or sport or lesson that they want!

This is especially difficult when you have many small children.  We allowed our kids to do one thing.  They tried team sports and didn't really enjoy them.  A few did riding lessons for a few years.  Most have taken music lessons for several years.  We've tried to be sensi…

Day 180

By law in Pennsylvania we have to do 180 days of school each year.  We could count hours, but that would be harder to track for us, so we count days.

Today is day 180 of our 22 year of homeschooling!

We have four science lessons to finish up, and the kids will keep reading and doing math, but we've finished the required days for this school year.

Its been an interesting year.

We studied the Medieval time period, learned European geography, read a lot of books, Sarah has enjoyed pre-algebra (she does not normally like math), she took an online course through Hillsdale College.  Kyle has improved in his note taking, is doing well in math, loves science (we are finishing up Anatomy and Physiology).

We all enjoyed being back at our co-op this year.

I have a long term perspective on my children's learning.  I know that if they are struggling with a subject, that by the end of the year, they will have made progress.  The tears of earlier months will be long gone. 

The gift of home educatio…

Learning Quote

Mothering Tip

The School Year Is Winding Down

Are you excited? 

 I am!  We have nine days left!

As much as we enjoy home education, we also love our summer break!  Of course, the break is from 'formal studies' and not learning!  We are always learning!

A trip to the creek provides great opportunities to enjoy the water but also to see what kind of creatures live in the water or near it.  What kinds of plants are growing along the banks?  We can practice our rock skipping skills (mine are non existent!).

Gardening allows our children to learn how plants grow, and to enjoy the results of their labor!

Summer gives us more time to slow down and to enjoy each other.  

What are you looking forward to this summer?

The Book That Saved My Homeschool

I found this book 19 years ago and it changed the way I educated my kids forever!

In the years since then I have become friends with Karen Andreola and her family.  Her writings on Charlotte Mason's method of education have been a gift to the homeschool community.  Karen's "Gentle Art of Learning" opened my eyes to see a new way for us to learn at home.  School no longer was a drudgery, but interesting and geared for real learning.

If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it.

Learning Geography The Fun Way

I bought this map set  at our homeschool convention last May.  I finally dug into it this week. 

I bought it because we have been studying the medieval time period for history and I knew it would add a fun layer of learning.  

We really like it!  Sarah and Kyle both got into pinning the country flags onto the board, and we are becoming familiar with where the countries are on the European continent!

These maps come with most of the items you need to make the flag pins, capital city pins, waterway pins, etc.  But you do have to put the pins together!

I did all the country flags by myself but I am going to get the kids involved with the other ones!  I think they'll be motivated to help (at ages 14 and 11) because they really enjoyed doing this activity.

I certainly hope that Pin It Maps will be at our convention again, so we can buy another one for next year!

ps - When you buy your map, you go to their website to download the questions for your map set.  I laminated all of my pages so tha…

Some More Thoughts On Child Training

I had some conversation with my niece yesterday regarding child training, and I want to encourage you with a few thoughts.

First off, God is not surprised when our children sin, but we often are!  I remember so clearly how at times, I did be like "I can't believe that you did this!", to one of my kids.  In the middle of an issue like this one day, God spoke to me by a thought coming into my head and said, "Really?  They are sinners, just like you.  Why are you surprised?"

I have to tell you that moment changed the way I viewed my children.  They were predisposed to sin, because of Adam and Eve, and that we were in the training phase of their lives.  They could learn to obey, make good choices and all the rest, but it wasn't necessarily going to be their first inclination.

Now, some kids are easier than others.  Some are more compliant based on their personalities.  This does not mean that they don't have an inner dialogue going on about whether they want t…

Training In The Early Years

This is a post I wrote a few years ago.  It's still very applicable!

I was texting with one of my sweet nieces last night.  She has young boys and is teaching them at home.  They are learning so much, and having good times together, but this sweet Mama is sometimes overwhelmed with all of the training and teaching, and home keeping duties.

If you find that you are feeling the same way remember this:

"You are in the tough years.  Not enough sleep, constant training, making sacrifices of "you time" in order to meet their needs.  But you must remember that it is a season of life - one that does not last forever!"
As a Mom of six kids who all have been only home educated, I can attest to this fact.  I thought those days would never end, but guess what? They do!  My oldest is now 25 years old, is a Dad and works full time.  My second child is 23 and married.  She works full time too!  The third child is almost 21 and a full time student at a Bible school that is out of …

Sharing A LInk

Today, I am sharing a link with you to my personal blog.

The post there is regarding the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix.  I don't normally do this, but I felt this was an important warning for you all!

Creekside Cottage

Please make sure you pass this warning along to other parents!

The Importance Of Prayer In Our Homeschools

Several years ago, my husband and I went to a prayer conference, which is something we’d never done before.  
I took many things away from that short weekend, that have helped me to focus on Him in my daily life.  The biggest thing is that He wants to be known by us.  He wants to show us how he delights in our faith in Him. Our good God will wield all things in order to teach us what He has for us to learn.  
Everyday I must seek Him, and yet that can be easier said than done, when we are so busy with our families. How can I possibly spend focused time on Him, when I have young children in the home and we are educating them as well?  Not to mention the meals, cleaning, laundry, and hospitality.
I believe that we all have many more hours in the day than we think we do.  We can find the time for the things that are a priority to us.  I admit that this area is a struggle for me. To sit before the Lord with my Bible and take time in prayer.  I am learning to be more disciplined in this area…

Reading Aloud

I have a motto about reading - "If you can teach your child to read, they can teach themselves anything."  The foundation to building readers is reading aloud to them.

As parents we all spend many hours reading books to our children while they are young, some books are read over and over again. (smile) How many of us, continue to read aloud once our children become readers?
In the early years of homeschooling, I began to have all of our children do as many subjects together as possible.  That meant everything other than math, and writing, for many years.  How did we do it?  By reading aloud.  I read our history, science, health, Bible.  We read books about composers and artists.

I'm still reading aloud to my 9th grader and 6th grader.  At their ages they are doing more and more work on their own but we still do history and science together and Bible. 

We also read books aloud as a family that are not school related.  When we read in the evenings its usually my husband,…

Some Encouragement From Charlotte Mason

I home educate using the method laid out by Charlotte Mason, with a few tweaks that work for our family.

Its a wonderful way to grow and learn together, recognizing that our children are not empty vessels for us to fill, but come into the world as whole  persons.

I read a wonderful article yesterday and wanted to share it here.

Personal Initiative: The Most Powerful Habit  It is written by Evelyn Hoey.

Here's an excerpt - 
Mason believed that parents and teachers should practice what she called "Masterly Inactivity" - the art of keeping in the background, ready with a guiding or restraining hand only when these are badly wanted. Parents are to assume this attitude from the beginning. She went on to point out how much a child learns without formal education in the first two years of life, and how we run the risk of supplanting nature and of depriving her of her space and time to do her own work in her own way in our children. 
I hope you'll read the article and I'd love…

Welcome to Homeschool Encouragement!

My name is Deanna Rabe and I am happy you are here.  I'd love to tell you a little about myself.

I have been homeschooling my kids for 23years, that's along time isn't it?  I have been married for 29 years and am the mother of six kids ages 27, 25, 23, 17, 14 and 11.

I've graduated four of my kids and have two still schooling at home.  Sarah is finishing 9th grade and Kyle 6th, so I have a few years left and I am glad!  It's become a way of life for us, and over the years I have found my teaching style, and I work with my kids trying to teach them according to the way they learn.

It wasn't always this way however and many days, in the beginning, my son would be in tears and so would I!  I had so much to learn and learn we did.  Some through trial and error, and some through experienced moms who were an encouragement to me.  We do a Charlotte Mason style education at our home, but I've tweaked it over the years to suit our family.

The best advice I can give you …