Dare To Reflect

Dare To Reflect - The Official How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You? Book Club

Dare To Reflect

How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

Parenting isn’t easy that’s why…

In my new book How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? I write about how God uses those times when we are speaking to our children to speak to us. In the following pages, I present one part of a 3-part dare I present to the readers in this book. I invite you to dare to reflect, then pick up a copy of the book to help you reach your goal of having an even stronger passion for your family as well as stronger longing to grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord.

Love a challenge to do something you wouldn’t have otherwise considered doing?

Love the idea of digging down deep in yourself and demanding more?

Love the opportunity to grow and mature, to develop new habits, get rid of old ones and soar?

As kids we dare each other to touch something forbidden, eat something yucky or do something stupid all in the name of proving ourselves. When we participated we were driven by the desire to be accepted, respected, apart.  The Bible is a great big dare. God invites us. “Dare to trust Me, My love, faithfulness and sovereignty. Dare to live like I AM on the throne. Dare to live thirsty for Living Water, to feast on the Bread of Life, to listen and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, to walk in the Light, to rest in Me. Dare to live a life worthy.”

When we respond, engage He is glorified. When we trust, when we act, when we don’t know or understand or see – He smiles. When we hide or shrink, He implores and draws us. He wants a relationship with us personally. Longs for us to dare to know we can rely on Him, that He loves us.

A dare confronts us, usually makes us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, vulnerable, insecure, even weak. We feel exposed and unprotected. Dares usually cause us to pause and wonder: who knows about it? Do I have to? What difference will it make? Where can I hide?

But taking on a dare invigorates us. We feel a rush of adrenaline, an anticipation of possibilities, the exhilaration of hope. Its as if a fresh wind blows and we can feel it in the air. Change. New.


Dare To Reflect

I’m inviting you today to a dare.

If you accept, you will be changed. Your perspective altered, your thoughts transformed. If you dare to allow it to, this dare will revolutionize your relationships with your children and your heavenly Father.

Depending on where you are coming from, it may sound daunting, unnecessary or pointless. Dare to do it anyway. Dare to try it. Dare to listen, to consider, to explore. It’s a simple dare really.

You are going to need to take some notes, so keep paper and pen handy.

(Tissues might be in order too.)

So – Download the Dare – Buy The Book – and Dare To Reflect!

Dare To Reflect      HMT Buy Now





You’re Invited – Join The How Many Times Book Club

You're Invited - Join The How Many Times Book Club

You’re Invited!

Join the How Many Times Book Club

Hi friends! I’m launching a summer book club and I want you to be a part of it! Dare to hear the still small voice of our Father while letting his words flow through you to soften your heart and your words. We’re in this parenting thing together, friends! It’s exhausting, noisy, precious, frustrating, and so very important.

Because you’re in my inner circle I’m looking forward to spending a little more time together via Facebook chats and videos. We’ll be able to experience the book together, talk about ways we can apply it and cheer each other on as we put it into practice. My prayer is that this book encourages and inspires parents everywhere – will you be one of them?

I’m excited to offer everyone who joins me several fun things:

  • A complimentary ebook: How Many Times do I Have to Tell You?.
  • A complimentary ebook of interactive journal and coloring activities that you can complete with your kids and tuck away as a keepsake.
  • Exclusive access to a private Facebook group where I’ll help you work through some of your questions about hearing God’s words as you read the book. Where we, as a community, will interact, strategize, and share ideas about parenthood and how to overcome some of our challenges.

As a member of the book club you’ll have the opportunity to encourage other parents by:

  • Bringing a friend into the book club! That’s right! Once you are activated into the private Facebook group, you’ll be able to add a friend who you want to dive deeper with!
  • Providing feedback and engage with us via Facebook.
  • Sharing thoughts and insights from the book that you’ve found particularly encouraging. (We have some fun, interactive ideas that we hope you’ll find meaningful)
  • Writing a brief book review on Amazon and/or other retailer site.
  • Spreading the word about the book and how it is impacting your family.

Ready to dive in?! First, make sure you sign up here.
Next, on Friday, May 20th, we’ll select 250 applicants. We’ll notify you via email on Friday if you were one of the 250 applicants.

You're Invited - Join The How Many Times Book Club



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} 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.
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

Read-A-Loud Time: Setting The Stage {vlog}

Read-A-Loud Time: Setting the Stage

It takes more than a good book to have a successful reading time as a family. I will be talking about some of our favorite books in another vlog as well as some strategies for selecting a good book. For today I just want to help you set the right atmosphere for a successful time of family bonding. 

Just as it is important to set the stage for a play with it’s props, lighting, and set, it is important to deliberately set the stage for family reading time. It need not take too long or be elaborate, but there are items that should be considered. These issues contribute to an enjoyable time of learning and imagination.


Reading together as a family continues to be the highlight of our homeschool journey!

 As a review there are two things you need to do before you start:

  • Have everyone go to the bathroom. This is just pre-emptive.
  • Turn the phone off or to stun. Good news: we live in the modern era and they-whoever ‘they’ are-can leave a message! 

Some things you should have nearby:

  • Box of tissues
  • Hot/cold beverage
  • Activities for kids to do quietly: Lego bricks, clay, cross stitch, sketch pad 

Some things you might consider having:

  • Snacks! We love chex mix, pretzels, cheese and crackers, fruit

Another secret to reading time: Don’t rush it.

Try to just relax into it. We have laughed and cried during our read-a-louds.

Truly, friends, reading together has bonded our family in a unique way.

Rachael Carman

Carman Family Curriculum 2013-2014

The Carman Family Homeschool Curriculum for 2013-2014

The Carman Family Homeschool Curriculum for 2013-2014

I am an eclectic homeschooler. Not sure if is an official characterization like classical or textbook or unit study, but it is what I am. Basically I use a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 

Strangely I used to think that I would “figure out” this homeschooling thing, set a pattern, and keep cycling through. But that hasn’t been the case. No, I like to change things up and keep things fresh, even with curriculum we love.

We start our day with Bible. All of the kids have done AWANA. Joseph and Ben are still in a program at our church. In our co-op I am teaching the books of the New Testament. That will include key characters, verses, themes, and words.

Not surprisingly we will be doing the 4th book in the What We Believe series from Apologia entitled What on Earth Can I Do?  We have really enjoyed the other three books and are looking forward to reading this one together.

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

This year we will be tackling world history through our co-op with “Revolutionaries and Reformers” for my youngest three. There are a variety of books the boys and I will be reading together in our read-aloud time each day. Otto and the Silverhand is much anticipated being a previous family favorite.

I will be teaching the high school kids the second half of the Notgrass World History curriculum including the eight corresponding literature books. 

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

For math we use a variety of things. Benjamin and Joseph will be doing a compilation of things including Math-U-See, some Singapore, and I am going to try the Life of Fred. I know that it seems like a bunch but we won’t be doing everything everyday. It is just that they are motivated, so I am going to have a variety on hand in an effort to be prepared. The girls will use Teaching Textbooks pre-algebra and algebra 1. We have used several different curricula through the years. This is just the plan for this year.

I will be continuing to teach writing via letter writing, journaling, free writing, and some basic paragraphs. Though I have Easy Grammar I will not use it daily, but rather as needed. I use Spelling to Read and Write. I cannot explain it, but the kids love it. We incorporate the finger spelling and primarily practice orally. 

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

My boys have been “late” readers. That is to say, they started reading later than the professions think they should. But now being 17 years into the journey, it doesn’t bother me like it did when Charles and Anderson were young. We will be practicing reading in all of the different areas.

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

For science we will doing a wide range of Apologia Science. Ben and Joseph will be doing the new Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics book in the Young Explorer Series. Elizabeth will do Exploring Creation with Physical Science, Molly will do Exploring Creation with Marine Biology and Savannah Anne will be tackling Advanced Chemistry in Creation.

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

It is difficult to list everything we will be doing. There is always laundry, menus, grocery planning, cleaning, responsibilities, yard work, and more. The kids will get to take art and music and participate in choir. In the course of the year we will go camping, hiking, and apple picking. We will plan and host parties and social activities at the house. We’ve found that some of the best curriculum just happens in a family at home—no books required, just time together.

The Carman Homeschool - Our Curriculum for 2013-2014 by Rachael Carman

I’ve linked up this post at the iHomeschool Network “Not” Back to School Hop – Curriculum Week

Rachael Carman

Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

It is that wonderful time of year. The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and the outdoors is calling my name. It is time to grab a good book and settle in for a good read. 

I have not always enjoyed reading — mainly for two reasons. One, I was dyslexic as a child and struggled with reading and comprehension. Second, I didn’t get to choose what I read; I was told what to read. Reading is still a challenge for me, but now I I enjoy it immensely. 

The list I am putting forth is not necessarily ‘current’ as I am behind in most things. Occasionally I come across something that is new, but more often than not, the books on my summer reading lists have been around a while. If you are up-to-date on your reading, I would love to hear about your current suggestions. I’ll stick them in my pile!

First, I love a good biography

Bonheoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elizabeth Elliot

Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot

I also love studying Truth

Total Truth by Nancy Percy

Love the Lord Your God with all Your Mind by J. P. Moreland

Think by John Piper

I will be using literature for a co-op class this fall

1984, George Orwell

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Here I Stand, Martin Luther

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis

My Dad is a prolific reader and I love it when he makes a suggestion. Just a couple of weeks ago he gave me a book by someone we had known years ago. I had other books going, but it jumped to the top of my list at his insistence. Twelve Clean Pages by Nika Maples, was a blessing to read. It inspired me to dig deeper, to reach further, to rest in Him, and to trust Him to find my contentment. The book is what you might call a ‘sleeper’. I highly recommend it. 

I was an English minor in college. After graduating I taught freshmen English in high school for a year. Tragically I didn’t come to appreciate and enjoy the classics until I became a homeschooling mom.

Some of my favorite classics are

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolsky

Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss

Add a few classics to your summer reading list, I promise you won’t regret it. There are some really great characters to meet, places to go and lessons to learn!

Finally, this fall I will be teaching the books of the New Testament, so I am working on reading through the New Testament as often as possible. I want to really get to know the text and the authors so that I can communicate its message to my students. “The word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword….” As I study it this summer, I am confident that the Lord will grow me and teach me.

*If you’d like to join me in reading through the New Testament yearly I’ve created a {free} schedule for you to download – 2013 New Testament Monthly Read Through Schedule!

Let’s be picky about what we put on our summer reading list. Let’s not just read what everyone else is reading; let’s guard our hearts and minds. Let’s be careful what we choose to meditate on. Let’s be intentional about what we think about. 

The books we read shape us. We need to make sure that we are reading books that challenge us. Having an open mind should not be our goal. We need to make sure that our minds are engaged as we read this summer. Let’s practice discernment as we make our selections. 

I’d love to hear your suggestions too!

 Rachael Carman