Homeschooling

Early On: Nap Day

Children need rest. Moms need rest. These are facts, which are often ignored. When the need for rest is consistently denied, crankiness and grumpiness can easily creep in for both mother and child. One of the most important disciplines that our family instituted was Wednesday afternoon nap day.

Early On: Nap Day {A Vlog Series} www.HisSunflower.com by Rachael Carman

Rules for Nap Day
  1. This is a day and time that is dictated, not voted on. The day and time are clearly determined and established. The time may shift around some, but the day(s) is set in stone.
  2. Everyone chooses a place to be for the designed time period. They must gather books, drawing pads, or some other quiet activity to do. Nothing electronic is allowed; no movies or audio recordings are permitted.
  3. Everyone goes to the restroom before they lay down. Once they have laid down, they are to stay there until Mom (or some other designated person) comes and gets them up.
  4. Getting up and down throughout the ‘naptime’ is considered disobedience. They are not required to go to sleep, but they are required to rest and be quiet so that others can sleep or rest.
{http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVA0lJ_4iro}
Often I would play classical music softly in the background or allow the hum of the dishwasher to lull us while we rested. Weather permitting, taking the rest time outside is not only allowed, it is encouraged. Resting outside in God’s creation while the birds are singing or the rain is fall are especially relaxing times.
When rest time is over, get up slowly. There is no need to abruptly end it. I will usually walk around to where each of the children are resting and see how they are doing. I usually send them outside to walk around and get their blood flowing again. In general, sleeping much past 4:00 p.m. can disrupt a reasonable bedtime routine.
As the mom, I have chosen various activities for myself during rest time. I have used it to catch up on laundry or other responsibilities. I have used it as time to write a few notes or call a friend. But my favorite way to experience nap time is with a good book. For what it’s worth, I have been known to take a nap myself and wake up quite refreshed.
Through the years, I’ve found that the dishes in the sink and the laundry in the dryer are always waiting for me, and I can do them more joyfully after a mid-week nap.
Enjoy this time of rest. We need to take time to relax and be refreshed.
Rachael Carman

Join Me at Teach Them Diligently in Washington, D.C.

Join Me at Teach Them Diligently in Washington, D.C.

Join Me at Teach Them Diligently in Washington, D.C.

 May 15-17, 2014

Thursday May 15 @ 6:30  –  Stop Wrestling and Start Resting
Friday May 16 @ 1:00  –  Overcoming Doubt, Hope Revives
Saturday May 17 @ 1:00  –  Attention: Obsessive-Compulsive, Perfectionist, Control-Freaks: CHILL OUT!
Saturday, May 17 @ 5:00  –  How to have a HEART for Your Kids
Three of these presentations I have given at the other two Teach Them Diligently conferences this year. The new one on the docket for DC is “Overcoming Doubt, Hope Revives”. This presentation is interactive as we discuss several various characters from the Bible and their moments of doubt, how they handled them and how God showed Himself mighty through them. I will suggest 5 warning signs for doubt and 5 strategies for reviving hope! Come and join us as we seek to defy doubt and embrace hope.
We are already here in DC as we just came from the graduation of our oldest son from the King’s College in NYC. We have the other six with us and are enjoying the sites in DC. I will be in and out of the booth at Apologia during the conference since all the kids are with me, but I will make it a point to be at the booth 2-3 Thursday, Friday and Saturday handing out M&Ms in exchange for a Bible verse. We may run into each other in the vendor hall as I look for some treasures for our year. Either way, I hope we will get a chance to talk with you-I’d love to meet you!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Rachael Carman

Early On: Nature Journals

Want to raise a great scientist?
In history some of the best scientific minds were Christian men and women. We have an opportunity to bring up a new generation of excellent scientific thinkers who will use their ingenuity based on the foundation of biblical truth.
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Join me on YouTube for Early On: Nature Journals

The best scientists observe the world around them with keen eyes. They notice patterns and trends that most of us miss. They ask curious questions. They experiment to find answers and are tenacious in their pursuit of understanding.
There are many young students that possess these same qualifications. They notice details, they ask unique questions, and they like to try new ways of doing things so as to understand how things work.
I believe that if we want students to be great science students who apply and engage intellectually, who change the world as a result of their insight and understanding, who acknowledge God as Master of the universe, then we cannot wait until high school to light that fire.
Science must start at the youngest of ages when they are already naturally curious, when they are already doing their own experiments with gravity using their sippy cup, and when they are exploring the world around them with wide eyes, long before they outgrow their awe and wonder of the world around them.
From birth through elementary school we need to expose them to as much of God’s creation as possible. We need to wake them up to the beauty of the sunrise, marvel at the glory of the rose’s loveliness, and consider the miracle of a butterfly’s metamorphosis.
We need to be willing to set aside our reason and understanding and just embrace the miracle of creation. The most important part of this time is to point them to God, to say, “Look what God did.” Show and tell them how God painted the sunset, how He designed the frog, and how He made their body. All of this leads to worshiping Him who alone is Worthy!
One of the primary ways we did this when we were just starting was by creating Nature Journals. We purchased the journals from Miller Pad and Paper. They sell journals that are divided in half with the top blank and the bottom ruled. These journals were the perfect place for my kids to begin their scientific observations of the God’s wonderful creation.
As I describe in the vlog, I started with my kids dictating to me and progressed to them writing themselves. The drawings also progress as sometimes I would help them draw or they would trace something and then eventually drawing themselves.
Often these times of observation were coupled with further reading on that day’s subject, from clouds to rain, trees to squirrels, the ocean to starfish. These were the first books my kids wrote! Now they are some of my most valuable treasures.
Happy journaling!

Rachael Carman

Join Me at OCHEC-OKC Homeschool Convention

My conference schedule continues this weekend with the homeschool conference in Oklahoma City where Davis and I are keynoting. We are looking forward to ministering to families together. We will have four of our kids with us at this conference which we also enjoy. “The Principal-Teacher Principle” will be our kick-off workshop Friday morning. This presentation highlights some fundamental opportunities we can capitalize on in our marriages, as parents and as home educators. We look at these roles as concentric circles which complement each other best when we overlay them. Come learn how!
Join Me at the OCHEC-OK Homeschool Convention Rachael Carman www.HisSunflower.com
Here’s the rest of our schedule following our initial session:
Friday 10-11:      Attention: Obessive-Compulsive, Perfectionist, Control Freaks-CHILL OUT! (Rachael)
Friday 12-1:        APPLES for Teacher (Davis)
Friday 2-3:          Stand by Your Man (Rachael)
Saturday 10-11: How to Die to Yourself and Live to Tell About It (Rachael)
Saturday 12-1:   Family: Our Best Apologia Ever! (Davis)
Saturday 2-3:      How to Have a HEART for Your Kids (Rachael)
Saturday 4-5:      HEART Exam for Dads (Davis)
Again at this conference I will be handing our M&Ms in exchange for a verse of Scripture. The whole family is invited to stop by for a mini bag of one of my favorite chocolate treats. I will be at the Apologia booth on Friday and Saturday 4-5.
All of the outlines for these presentations are available here.
Looking forward to meeting you in Oklahoma City-
Rachael Carman

Early On: 5 in a Row

Are you starting this journey a little unwillingly? Do you feel like you don’t know where to start? Would you like to find a simple, yet engaging curriculum that doesn’t cost very much? Are you wanting something that you can use over and over with your kids (probably even with your grandkids) that they will love?

Early On: 5 in a Row {A Vlog Series} showing you how we homeschooled in the early years. www.HisSunflower.com

Join me on YouTube for Early On: 5 in a Row

Early in our homeschooling journey, Five in a Row (FIAR) was that curriculum for our family. We used Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row volumes 1-3. It is simple, straightforward, engaging, unintimidating, and fun. It encompasses geography, social studies, language arts, science, math, art, and character all using classic children’s books.
When I started, I didn’t even know about classic children’s books. The list of books that the Lambert family assembled to write this curriculum is awesome. Each one has come to be a family favorite. My children have many memories wrapped up in the FIAR library we have accumulated.
FIAR taught me:
1.      about the value of reading time.
2.      how to draw out various subjects from the text of a book
3.      how to set up reading time in our home
4.      about the power of book characters as models to my children
5.      that I could homeschool my children
Helpful Hint: For the geography lessons I made a map board. At a home improvement store I purchased a sheet of pink insulation foam board. At my local school supply store I purchased two laminated maps, one of the United States of America and one of the world.
Using clear packing tape, I framed the insulation board with green wrapping paper and then put one map on each side. We used this “map board” and the story discs which come with the curriculum to map where each story took place. It was great fun to learn geography together this way. As we located the countries or states we would discuss the surrounding oceans, rivers, countries, mountains, and so on.
You can find out more information about Five in a Row here [link]. I know that you and your children will love Lentil, Ping, Mike Mulligan, and many other characters. You will travel to China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Jamaica, Paris, and all across the United States. You will laugh and imagine and hope and dream.
So relax, cuddle up, start reading and learning together. God has some great blessings in store for you and your children.

 

Rachael Carman

 

Early On Everyday Bible

Early On Everyday Bible {Vlog Series} with Rachael Carman of www.HisSunflower.com

Early On Everyday Bible {Vlog Series}

Join Me on YouTube for Early On: Everyday Bible

The One Year Bible Storybook by Virginia Muir  –  Tyndale Publishers
This is going to be a new vlog series, which will run for the next several Wednesdays. Since conference season is now in full swing, I thought I might take a stroll down memory lane and showcase some of the curriculum and tools we used early on.
We are in the middle of a major transition at our house. This next year will be my last with anyone in elementary! I cannot believe it! It went by so fast. As I travel around to various conferences I am meeting so many families who are just starting this wonderful journey called homeschooling. I can still remember how scary that was 18 years ago. There were so many choices. It can be really overwhelming!
So stay tuned, and I will share some things that we have loved.
I believe so strongly in starting off each day in the Word. I want to share my favorite Bible storybook for kids – The One Year Bible Storybook by Virginia Muir  –  Tyndale Publishers. This big yellow book is great! It has survived all the kids. It is dated for your convenience. The Bible stories are written in short summaries and the Bible passages are listed for easy reference. While I do believe in the power of reading directly from the Bible itself, this is a great tool to use with younger children as you progress to them reading from their own Bible.
There are no questions included and no accompanying workbook, but I do not think that is necessary at this young age. I believe it is more important that you are in the Bible together. Reading the whole Bible this way lays a foundation for study down the road. By reading these stories your children will begin to become familiar with the whole context of Scripture.
Sometimes I would allow the children to act out the story we were reading for the day. It helps to make the time in God’s word enjoyable. It should not be dry or boring. They should look forward to reading the “yellow Bible” together.
Whether you use this resource or another one, do make sure you start each homeschooling day in God’s word. There is nothing more important. It is a good example for your children as they grow up to start each day by spending time with God in His word.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6.33
 Rachael Carman

Join Me in Spartanburg, SC

This next weekend, April 3-5, 2014, I’ll be at the Teach Them Diligently conference. It is an honor to minister alongside David and Leslie Nunnery as they serve homeschooling families.

Here is my speaking schedule for Spartanburg:

Join Me at Teach Them Diligently in Spartanburg, SC April 3-5, 2014!

·         Thursday, April 3 @ 5:00 – Stop Wrestling and Start Resting
·         Friday, April 4 @ 1:00 – Attention: Obsessive-Compulsive, Perfectionistic, Control-Freaks, C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T.
·         Saturday, April 5 @10:30 – Stand by Your Man
·         Saturday, April 5 @ 3:00 – Soaring Beyond Survival
·         Saturday, April 5 @ 5:00 – How to have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids
My first session is brand-new for this conference season. I presented it for the first time in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. Come at 5:00 and learn how to walk into the conference weekend more restfully and without as much wrestling.
Friday afternoon at 1:00, you can come and CHILL OUT. This session is for all of the type-A homeschool moms — the ones who need to just relax, enjoy their kids, and let God do what only He can do.
Saturday is going to be packed! We will start out at 10:30 discussing how to prioritize our marriages in the midst of the madness. I promise not to croon the ol’ country song by the same title, but come and remember the importance of keeping your marriage strong.
At 3:00 we are going to look at Numbers 14. Why did the Israelites settle for manna in the desert when God had the Promise Land waiting for them?
Finally at 5:00 we are going to get to the heart of the matter. How to have a HEART discusses the central issues in our motherhood journey.
In addition to these presentations, I will be hanging out at the Apologia booth. I would love to meet you! I am bringing one of my favorite treats to share with you. The Bible says in Psalms 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” In Psalms 119:103, we read “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” In exchange for a Bible verse I will give you a mini bag of M&M’s. You can read more about my M&M’s challenge here at M&M – Meditate & Memorize {Vlog}. Further, you can read about my M&M’s all-year-long challenge here.
May God bless you this conference season.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6
I hope you are planning on attending a conference this year. If you’ve never been to a homeschool convention, I encourage you to find one – Teach Them Diligently is a great place to start! There is nothing like seeing all of the other families who have stepped out in faith to disciple their children for God’s glory. That is what this is all about — glorifying the Father.

 

Rachael Carman

Nashville Here I Come!

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Nashville Here I Come

The Teach Them Diligently conference will be in Nashville, TN this weekend March 20-22, 2014 at the Opryland Gaylord Hotel. I am honored to be just one of a host of speakers who will be there to encourage each audience member on their homeschool journey.
I will be speaking four times:
1)   Thursday 3/20 @ 5:00pm  – How to have a HEART
2)   Thursday 3/20 @ 8:00pm – Soaring Beyond Survival
3)   Friday 3/21 @ 9:00am  – Attention Obsessive-Compulsive, Perfectionistic, Controll-Freaks: CHILL OUT!
4)   Saturday 3/22 @ 5:00pm  – Stop Wrestling and Start Resting
You can see the whole schedule including the room assignments at this link from Teach Them Diligently
The simple outlines for these presentations are available on my Presentation Outline page. You can print them out and bring them with you to the sessions. I would love to meet you. Please come to one of my workshops or to the Apologia and say hello!
I am already preparing and praying through these presentations. Each of them represents a significant lesson God has taught me as we have homeschooled our own children.
HEART” is all about how God showed me that I had allowed my heart to become hardened by the cultural norms.
In “Soaring” I discuss the fact that the wilderness is not God’s plan; the Promise Land is. We need not settle for mere survival when we were made to soar.
The “CHILL OUT” presentation came about as a result of watching numerous moms throw in the towel and give up because they were unwilling to relax.
My last presentation this weekend is entitled “Stop Wrestling and Start Resting.” It is always a thrill to develop a new talk and this one is intensely personal. I believe too many of us waste far too much valuable time resisting and rejecting God’s will and way. I hope you will join me as we explore ways we can embrace the peace that transcends all understanding.
Here’s the deal: I am still learning! I don’t have this whole thing figured out. The way I see it we are on this journey together. God is a patient teacher. He loves us (and our children) more than we can imagine. As we persevere, He walks each step with us. This homeschool choice is so much more than an educational choice. While we are distracted by the academics, He is working on a much deeper level—our hearts.
Far too many homeschooling parents try to do it alone and don’t attend a conference. I pray that God will grant you an opportunity to attend an event in your area. God desires to meet you exactly where you are. That is what happened to us. The first conference Davis and I ever went to changed our lives. Take the time to go. Going as a couple and or family is especially powerful. Together you will encounter other families and speakers and ministries who desire to help you disciple your children for God’s glory.
This weekend I will be at the Apologia booth Friday and Saturday morning from 10:30 – 12:00. I will probably be there other times as well, and I hope to see you. Please stop by and say hello. I’ll have chocolate to share! I would love to hear all about what God is teaching you and how He is showing Himself faithful. We all have a story to tell and I’d love to hear yours. Come by the booth and share it with me, or stop me if you see me browsing in the vendor hall. I would love to meet you!
Check out my complete conference schedule here (link ?). I will be at all four of the Teach Them Diligently conferences in TN, SC, DC, and TX. I will also be speaking at four state conferences: CAPE-NM; CHEC-OK, NCHE-NC, and THSC-TX.
I would appreciate your prayers as I seek to help the weary and encourage the faint-hearted to stand firm, persevere, and continue on.

Rachael Carman

Back In The Saddle – Starting The New Year STRONG

It’s time to get back up on the horse. Don’t know what last semester threw your way, maybe it threw you off course, maybe it just simply threw you, but either way a new semester, a fresh path lies ahead of us all. We are in a new year now. Just like all things seem possible at the beginning of the year in September, now, half way through the year, we get a second start to make some necessary adjustments.

Back in the Saddle - Starting the New Year STRONG! www.HisSunflower.com by Rachael Carman In 17 and a half years I have been thrown, trampled on and left disoriented and discouraged. But I have also had years in which I rode the bull and won the rodeo, years when I never would have dreamed we would have made it through the course or over the obstacles, but we did with His help. We’ve had amazing ups and disappointing downs. There have been years when I wondered what we were doing; I just wanted to give up. Conversely, we’ve had years that I didn’t want to end, the wind was to our back, the sun was shining and the birds flew peacefully over head.

I don’t know where this new year finds you, but here are some things to consider:
What threw you last semester?
What was your greatest accomplishment?
Biggest surprise?
Biggest disappointment?
What worked in spite of you?
What failed miserable?
Where do you need a miracle?
What do you need to set aside for a while?
Where do you need help? Advice?
Who can you call and encourage? Ask for help? Write a note to?
How can you make this a better semester? A more memorable semester?
What can you build on from last semester?
What idols can you tear down?
Where do you start this semester?
My answer remains the same as always: on your knees and in the word. Moms, we’ve got to seek Him first. We are invited to approach the throne of grace with confidence, to bring all of our cares and concerns, all of our fears and frustrations, all of our joys and sorrows to Him.
Before we begin considering how to go forward into the new year, let’s get down on our knees and acknowledge Him for who He is, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Master, Creator, Sovereign of the universe, the Giver of every good gift, the Extravagant Lover of our souls, the First and the Last, the great I AM.
Next, let’s thank Him. Thank Him for the opportunity to be at home with our children, to point them to Him, to teach them diligently, to train them in the way they should go, to disciple and discipline them. Let ‘s thank Him for all of the ways He shows up in our homeschooling when we are impatient or frustrated or tired. Thank Him for going before you, walking with you through each day, and coming behind you each day. Thank Him that He is the great Redeemer, Who takes all of our mistakes, our yelling, our rashness and our impatience and makes beauty from ashes. Thank Him for mercies new every morning, for His desire to mold us, for His will, not ours.
It’s time to look squarely in the mirror; it’s confession time. He already knows, so let’s lay it out there, not for His benefit but for ours. Let’s admit where we are weak and where we need Him. Let’s admit we can’t. Let’s seek forgiveness for trying to do too much, for trying to do anything without Him, for leaving Him out. We need to confess to setting up idols: perfection, self-sufficiency, independence; illusions at best, which only perpetuate our loneliness and pain. Let us as His forgiveness for our legalistic formulas which we substitute for loving faith, for rituals instead of relationships, for our gossip instead of His grace, for cruel judgments instead of contagious joy. Let us be courageous enough to face our junk, to be real, naked, exposed and vulnerable. When we dare to confess we meet Him at the ultimate place of teach ability, of liberation, of hope.
Now, about those challenges and obstacles you’re facing, those ‘impossibilities’ those miracles you need. This is where they go, after the worship, after the ‘thank You’ after the ‘forgive me’, they go here. Now is the time to lay it all out before Him. Now, in light of Who He is, all He has already done, who you are as His child, now, tell Him all about it. Tell Him about all the things you haven’t gotten done, the things you’ve skipped the things that you forgot. Tell Him about the subjects that intimidate you, the multiplication problems that still confuse you, and the grammar that you still don’t understand. Tell Him how unqualified and inept you feel. Tell Him how much it hurts, feel free to cry. Your tears are not wasted at the foot of His throne; they’re valuable. He carefully catches them in a jar as they drip off your chin.
In light of the reality of His glory, goodness and grace, in recognition of His providence, all of the issues, facing the mirror and casting all of your cares on Him proves His burden to be easy, His yoke to be light.
Welcome to the New Year, 2014. Welcome to where He is doing a new thing and where He makes all things new. Welcome to where worshipping Him will inspire your faith, where your gratitude for His provision will trigger your joy, where your honest confession will result in freedom and where your request for help will be fulfilled beyond your wildest imagination.
Let us be bold enough to praise Him who alone is God; there is none other.
Let us be honest enough to thank Him for everything; it’s all from Him.
Let us be courageous enough to confess our sinfulness; we aren’t perfect, not even close.
Let us be brave enough to trust Him with it all, not part, not some, but all; He is Able.
Take the opportunity this new year to get back up on that horse, get back in the saddle. Take a deep breath and head out into a fresh first day.
To quote one of my favorite movie lines: “Adventure is out there!”
Smile and enjoy the ride.
Expect great things.
You won’t be disappointed.
Rachael Carman

Mom’s – We Need Mentors Too!

Mom's We Need Mentors Too

 

Mom’s – We Need Mentors Too!

 

When my husband and I first married, I was climbing the corporate ladder in the wireless world.  Cell phones were new to the market and we had a special niche at our company. That niche separated us from other companies and many of my friends and I were able to climb that ladder very quickly.With that climb came nice pay checks, bonuses, travel and other perks that made life fun.  It also helped me keep my eyes focused on the world.  While we were going to church and thought we were growing closer to God, we were actually growing closer to idolizing my pay check.  Not long after we married, we moved due to a promotion I received and decided it was time to begin a family.

What we didn’t decide is that I would stay home. No, we decided that we would both keep working and I set about finding the perfect sitter.  Honestly, I found her. She was perfect and became a mentor to me. I did not know she was mentoring me at the time. She loved on me, hugged me as I cried and left my first baby and then our second with her. Within two years, we went from not having any children to two.

One day, while I was at work I went to the bathroom carrying my cell phone. I ‘had to have it’ in case someone needed me (as if I was that important and couldn’t handle full privacy in the bathroom.)

As I placed my phone on the counter, it hit me – a feeling of true discontentment came over me and I began to ask myself – was I contributing something of eternal value to others or was I creating a world in which a person couldn’t even go to the bathroom in peace?

That thought and my sitter’s love lead me on a journey to seek truth about God’s Word and His plan for my life. It also led me to quitting my job (which provided 2/3 of our income), and even homeschooling.

Mom's - We Need Mentors Too! HisSunflower.com by Rachael Carman

Over the past 9 years, God has had us on an amazing journey.  As this journey has unfolded, God has placed more women in my life who are stepping up to encourage and mentor women – to be Titus 2:1 women.

That is what we need in this world. We need more women willing to be like my sweet friend who kept my children, but never judged and always encouraged me to seek God.  I still remember my mornings dropping off and afternoons picking up. I remember her smile and hugs. I also remember the day I picked up my children for the last time…  it was the sweetest of my life and we both cried (and still do when we see one another.)Has God brought an unexpected mentor into your life?

Thank you so much to my friend Rebecca for this beautiful post!  ~ Rachael

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Rebecca is a child of God, married to the love of her life, and the mother of three children. She writes about faith, Marriage, Parenting, nutrition and homeschooling at Mom’s Mustard Seed.