500 years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Whittenberg Door. He was protesting some of the things church leaders were doing in his day like selling forgiveness and elevating human traditions above the Word of God.
You see, Martin Luther tried desperately to do enough to be right with God. He struggled with guilt and agonized over his standing before God. One day, while studying the Scriptures, he came across this phrase: "The Just Shall Live By Faith." It changed his life! He realized that Christ had done it all! He just had to receive grace and forgiveness! Wow!
Once he understood this truth, he just had to speak out!
You see, the Roman Catholic Church was in a terrible state. It's hard for us to imagine because the Roman Catholic Church today is not in the same place. In those days, men could buy an office in the church so many non-Christians were in important posts. But even then, many godly men and women were serving in the church as priests, abbots, nuns, and monks. Their hearts were grieved.
The Reformers (Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale) were all members of the Roman Catholic Church. They did not want to live it; they wanted mess cleaned up. Unfortunately, the clean-up did not come in time and now we have many denominations today.
However, we can look back to the Reformation and be grateful for the return to biblical teaching on Salvation, Grace, Faith, and the Authority of Scripture. The Reformation brought us the Five Solas.
The Five Solas
After homeschool graduation, teens need to decide whether they will go to college, apprentice, or go right into the work force.
Many homeschool teens choose to go to college.
While some folks are calling for government-funded associates' degrees, in many career sectors, the tide is turning so that careers that only required a bachelor's degree, now require a master's degree.
If your teen wants to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, nurse, physical therapist, architect, or teacher, college will be in their future.
It's in their best interest to not only prepare them for college studies, but to prepare them for the world of academia. You see, many university campuses have gone from being Christian or tolerant of Christianity to being anti-Christian. Post-Modernism, socialism, and New Age beliefs are often taught as fact, while Christian views are mocked and scorned.
In addition, sex outside of marriage and addictions of all kinds are promoted on college campuses by professors and fellow students alike.
How can we prepare our teens, who feel called to pursue a college education, to excel without compromising their values and beliefs? Rather, in fact, to shine brightly on a college campus?
All of my children have had opportunities to speak up in class, defend the faith, and to share the Gospel privately with several professors. In addition, they have witnessed boldly on the university, planting seeds and introducing friends to Jesus.
What can you do to prepare your teens? Well, I can only share with you what we did to prepare our teens for the world of academia. God will lead you to prepare your own teens, but our ideas may help you.
Talk About What To Expect At College
Don't be limited by what the state requires. Ask God for wisdom of your own family's requirements for graduation. In our house, our requirements for high school graduation are harder than the state's.
Here is what Mike and I require for our children to graduate from our family homeschool high school. Remember that you can count some classes from eighth grade!
Some of these courses will be one credit courses; others will be half credit courses.
There are things we want our children to have investigated and explored before we hand over the diploma and turn the tassel.
There are things that we want our children to study. They can be done in eighth grade or high school; or even seventh grade, if they really learn it well.
Our goal isn't to load our kids down with tons of knowledge, but to introduce them to the knowledge, wisdom, and skills they will need for life.
Storehouse Of Knowledge & Wisdom
One of the blessings of homeschooling in Florida is dual-enrollment for homeschoolers.
What does that mean?
It means that homeschoolers can take courses at local community or state colleges for free. They only need to purchase books.
Some homeschoolers graduate from high school at the same time they receive their Associates Degree from a local college.
What should you look at when you consider dual-enrolling as an option for homeschooling high school? What questions should you ask?
"Grab your folders and let me look through everything," I asked my son.
He was back in a few minutes with six folders, each one belonging to one of his high school courses.
The EZ Folder Method has been a life saver for me in planning, managing, and grading courses.
I purchase an inexpensive 3-prong, 2-pocket folder in a different color for each course.
If you want to be more organized, you use a different color for each subject year after year. For example: blue for history, white for Bible, yellow for science, purple for electives, orange for math, and green for English.
Each folder contains all the information my teen needs to complete assignments in a given course, a check-off list to stay on track, an hours check-off table if we are counting hours, and the requirements to get an A or B or C. The completed work is inserted in the pockets.
I can pick up a folder, glance at the check list, and check the work. Now, I am ready to sit down and talk to my teen about the course. When they start school, they grab their folders and any books and textbooks needed for the course.
Would you like to make an EZ folder?
Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
Homeschooling has been a breeze and you love it: reading aloud, field trips, doing projects together, and learning new things. You are close to your child and enjoy life together.
One day you wake up and there is a new person inside your son's or daughter's body. They look the same--well, a little bit more manly or womanly. But, whoa, he or she is a completely different person. And yet, sometimes, they seem just like they did before.
What is happening?
Welcome to the Middle School years. Bodies are changing, hormones are raging, intellect is sharpening, and emotions are all over the place.
To experience joy and success in Middle School, you must determine to redefine normal for your young man or woman. Middle schoolers are transforming into men and women. That transformation isn't always easy.
Lavish your middle schooler with love and respect, whether they deserve it or not. Make yourself available as a listening ear and be a safe person they can pour their hearts out to.
On the positive side, middle schoolers are entering new phases of thinking, reasoning, analyzing, and other ways of thinking and learning. You can have intellectual and deep conversations with a middle schooler. They have interesting and exciting perspectives--it's so much fun to hear them!
This is the transition time between childhood and adulthood, both emotionally and intellectually.
History is exciting!
History is full of drama, intrigue, and stories.
Studying history is important to know the past, to understand our heritage, so we can plan for the future.
It breaks my heart to see some children and teens learn history in a dry, dreary way so that they end up hating the subject.
How we teach history can often determine if our students will enjoy learning about the past.
My children all love history! I think it's because we had so much fun learning history together.
Let me share how we learn history the fun way!
Travel Back in Time
The internet has completely changed the way we live and relate to one another.
The internet has changed homeschooling for our family. My older kids did not go online much until college, while the younger ones spent their teen years in a world of social networking and Wikipedia.
Young people today email, chat with friends through instant messenger, talk to people in chat rooms, play games, create blogs, create YouTube stations, create websites, and surf the net. They research online and build relationships online.
There is so much at our fingertips today with just a click of the mouse. We can read classic literature, look up how a senator voted, get the latest news, and read our favorite blog.
Yet, is the internet a safe place?
I am sorry to tell you that the internet can be a dangerous place, too. We must protect our children from the criminal and evil activity that takes place online.
We need to protect our children from the following things:
How Can We Protect Our Children?
There I was with a high schooler, a middle schooler, two in elementary school, and a preschooler who wanted to be involved. I felt pulled in so many different directions. I hadn't yet learned to teach literature, writing, arts, music, and history together.
Is it possible to teach all ages together?
Yes it is! You can even teach science together, too. Math, I was never able to do.
One thing I have found in teaching all ages together is that it builds family unity. It is fun to learn together and the togetherness makes it even more fun!
We enjoyed participating in 4H for many years during our homeschooling journey.
It was a wonderful blessing for our family.
Although 4H is a county and state government-run program, we were blessed with so many new friends who supported homeschooling nad encouraged us in our journey. Our 4H group was made up entirely of Christian homeschoolers.
In our group, each mother was also a helper, but the children were able to hold different offices in the club such as president, secretary, chaplain, or treasurer. 4H also exposes children to parliamentary procedure and the different offices of a club. The secretary took minutes, the treasurer collected dues and managed the money, and the chaplain opened in prayer. The children learned to make a motion and second that motion!
How 4H Enriched Our Home School
Let me take you back in time to when my oldest daughter, Katie Beth was 12 and her younger sister Julianna was 9. Jimmy was a newborn baby, Shine was almost 2 and Jenny Rose was 6.
With four daughters to prepare for motherhood and homemaking, I had set aside Thursdays to teach my daughter homemaking skills such as sewing, cooking, baking, hospitality, needlework, laundry, interior decorating, and card-making.
Our homemaking days were precious days. This, of course, was before the hustle-bustle of high school.
For several years I enjoyed my homemaking days alone with the girls. But other years, other homeschooling moms joined me and we have co-oped. What fun and fellowship for the girls as they learned skills that I don't have such as knitting and cake decorating.
Her dear "Lotus Buds of Dohnavur" called her "Amma" which means mother in India. Amy Carmichael rescued children from miserable lives as slaves in Hindu temples, living each day to serve her beloved Savior and to spread His love around India.
Amy Carmichael was born into a godly Christian home in Ireland. But she wasn't completely happy. You see, she wanted blue eyes, but no matter how hard she prayed, those brown eyes would not go away. Years later, as she moved throughout the nation of India rescuing children, she would be grateful for her brown eyes. Blue eyes would have made it hard to hide herself in the crowd.
Amy had a life-changing event with Jesus when she was fifteen and from that time on, a passion burned within her soul to reach the lost and stir believers to greater passion for Christ. She started Bible studies for mill worker girls.
I love having my children turn an essay into a blog post.
It's such a great assignment! Essays and blogs posts are completely different genres of writing. One is often formal, while the other is casual and personable. Essays are often long, while blog posts are short. Blog posts target a specific audience.
Turning an essay into a blog post because it involves summarizing and focusing on a new audience. When you write an essay, it has a thesis statement that you are proving with examples, illustrations, facts, and subjective feelings. Essays are often lengthy. In contrast, blogs posts are short, straight to the point, without any fluff. When you give students a word limit (I often give them a 500-800 word limit), students are often looking at reducing a paper to a quarter of its length.