Author Archives: sage_brush

Hints for Home Schoolers – The Prodigal

So, you’ve done everything right.  You’ve home-schooled for years, surrounded your kids with the love of Christ, and after years of careful tending – your semi-adult child rebels.  And not a little rebellion – we’re talking major rebellion.  I’m not referring to the sullen eight year old who refuses to  finish his math paper – what is on the table here is the child who morally rebels, and may even leave home.  Can this happen in a Christian home school? Yes.  Rarely, but it does happen.

Every person born in the world has the potential for rebellion within them.  One only needs to hear that first NO! out of a toddler’s mouth to believe it.  This is natural rebellion that every parent must quell in their child, or the infant terrible    will grow into an intolerable human being.  But is teenage rebellion “natural?”  Must teenagers rebel?

To answer that question, we must address what causes it.

  • Attention starvation – Ok, you have three younger children that need 100% supervision.  Your 15 year old doesn’t need that much from you – right? Wrong.  The teenager that is “acting  out” is actually “crying out” for attention.
  • Too much criticism from youNEVER  publicly chasten your teen.  Bear in mind that teasing can be taken as mocking, and it is very, very painful.  And please have a tender heart for other people’s teenagers.
  • Be informedAlways make every effort to be fully informed before you make a judgement on something.  Often  kids are so fearful of disappointing their parents they will compound what they have done by attempting to conceal it. 
  • Making assumptions – Both teens and their parents make assumptions about each others’  motivations.  And they are usually wrong!
  • The Golden Child – This is a toughie.  It very frequently happens in multi-child households that one of them will seem “golden” to the other kids.  They don’t seem to get disciplined, their grades are wondrous, they are talented, everyone loves them!  Every person on this earth, including your “un-golden”  child has something they can do well.  Make it a priority to dig for that “gold.”

Alright, you did all that and you still have a rebel.  What now?  Cling to the Word of God like a life preserver in a stormy sea, and heed this promise:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

True story time –

A conservative family with seven children, all raised the in the same fashion, had one child that chose the world.  After twelve years of homeschool and careful nurturing, the unsuspecting parents were greeted by a note and an empty  bed one morning.  Their 18 1/2 year old daughter had simply moved out in the middle of the night.

In her note she said she wanted to “see the world.”  For these parents, it was almost like a death.  For the first time in her life, the parents did not know where she was.  They did not know who had helped transport her, either.  All of her clothing had been taken, so it was clear she had moved out.

This experience was so terrifying for the parents, they called the prayer chain, and began fasting and praying with all of their being.  Days passed, then weeks, then months.  Then years.  Not a word.  The toll on the mother’s health was drastic.  They acted hopeful around each other, but inwardly carried it like a ten ton weight.

The one day, out of the blue, the daughter returned home.  She was a broken person.  She no longer had that sparkle in her eye they all loved.  She looked more like a hunted animal.  And – she was four months pregnant.  But – she was penitent!  She came into the home, and in front of the entire family, got down on her knees and begged forgiveness from her parents, saying that she had already asked the Lord for forgiveness.  And, those blessed, weary parents embraced that child with all the love they could muster, praising God and giving thanks for her safe return.

Did they reprimand her?  No, because they could see that she had already “paid the piper” several times over, and bore scars that would last a life time.  The purpose of this story, is to know that there is restoration for the rebel and their families.  With God – all things are possible.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15: 7

The Lord has promised that if we raise our children in the  “nurture and admonition” of the Lord, even if they rebel, they will return.  The Proverb says that when they are “old” they will not depart from it.  We can know from this that the Lord is in there, somewhere inside them, and they will return to Him.  Amen.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6: 4


Best Bible teaching tools !

Hands down – the absolute best way to teach your children, ages 7 – 13 the Bible.  A Beka Bible Flash Cards.  Beautiful art work, wonderful script.  There are even expanded, in-depth, sections for older students.   Even if you can only buy one of these sets – get the “Salvation Series.”  My kids  said these were their  absolute, favorite part of school.  I have seen them for sale used, so do, do try to get them.



Hints for Home Schoolers – Being a Keeper at Home

Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be. [Phyllis Schlafly]

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2: 3-5

Let’s examine the phrase “keeper at home.”  Some of what could be  termed  – New Age Bible Versions –  have corrupted this passage to say something entirely different.  Merely keeping a clean house – is not being a keeper at home.  The keeper at home is something far greater than is commonly understood.

From the Greek,  “keeper” in Titus 2  is translated from this word –


a watcher, warder, guardian

The same directive was given to Adam in the Garden of Eden – he was to
“keep” the garden.  It means something a great deal more than pruning! The Cheribum was to “keep” the way of the Tree of Life.  With a flaming sword, no less! The same charge is given to women for their homes.  It has ever been the desire of Satan to destroy the family – and one of the ways he does this is by changing God’s Words.  The NIV version changes “keepers at home” to –

to be busy at home

Think I am making too big of an issue over a few words?  The change in context here is of gigantic proportion.  That simple change, in the NIV, as well as others, has influenced Christians for the past generation, to abandon their children to the pagan shrines masquerading as schools, and thrust women into the unnatural role of competing with men.  Even our seniors are being shuffled off to assisted living, because the “keeper at home” is not there to care for the elderly members of the family.  I don’t agree with John Piper on everything, but his commentary here is extremely relevant:

As the keeper at home – you are the guardian of your family.  You are to be ever watchful for the welfare of your home, and its occupants.  There simply  is no more important job in the entire world.  No where, and I mean no where, in the Holy Bible, the inspired Word of God, is this incredible responsibility given to men.  Not in thousands of years of recorded history. 

When you begin each day. have this thought in mind.  You are the watcher, warder, guardian of your home.  Not a mere housewife!  You are the chatelaine of your castle, with all the commensurate responsibilities.  Don’t let the media, politicians, or someone close to you diminish you and your desire to be obedient to the Lord.  Your home is a fortress against the outside world, and you are its keeper!  And the world, under the influence of the evil one, will attack with as much vengeance as an invading army.  He will try to break down your door, infiltrate through a weak spot, smoke you out, and catapult destruction  over the wall.  The war machines you see in the above illustration are nothing compared to what he has in his arsenal. 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6: 11


Ultimate Banana Bread!

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas (usually three)

2 eggs

1/2 cup light olive oil

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Spray 12 cup bundt pan with cooking spray.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Stir just until blended.  Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes!  (very important)  Turn out onto rack to finish cooling.

Now that’s what I call “instant breakfast!”


Hints for Home Schoolers – Finding Forgiveness

Oh – the high expectations we place on ourselves when we begin our home school journey!  And. . oh . . .how we can beat ourselves up if we don’t meet our own expectations.

When we lose our tempers for any reason, sometimes impatient, angry words can come out before we realize it.  If the  recipients of this anger are your children, you may have trouble forgiving yourself.  Sometimes moms feel so terribly over their harsh words, they will even stop home schooling altogether, feeling they are not a good enough person to do this important job.  It is essential that you recognize your sin in losing your temper. That is the first step – the second is to ask God’s forgiveness.

 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1: 9

The third important step is to ask your children’s forgiveness.  Very important for you to be candid with them, to assure they understand that what you did was not right.  This will teach your kids by example, to take responsibility when they are in the wrong. 

Last but not least – forgive yourself.  While some people can hold a grudge against someone else for the rest of their lives, in my experience, many mothers in particular,  guilt themselves into a place of self doubt that can be incapacitating.  When those days come along when nothing seems to be going well – ie: kids are whiny, the house is a mess, the laundry is piled up, you are behind schedule, you feel frumpy, mom-in-law or sister is critical . . .you know what I’m talking about!  Follow the S-T-O-P procedure –

Sit down

Take deep breaths

Open your Bible



Are you going to screw up?  Yes.  Did I?  Yes.  Can you still get a good outcome?  Absolutely!!  Is there such a thing as a perfect home school? NO!

Which brings up the other area of possible reasons you may need to find forgiveness for.  How much mental space do you devote to comparing yourself to others? Especially women you see on television, in  magazines, know from church, internet, or your home school organization?  Either way you come out in that comparison, either feeling superior or inferior – the actual act of  comparison is wrong.  The only One we should ever compare ourselves to is Jesus Christ – and have it be our life’s goal to be like Him in every way.  Time spent comparing yourself and your home school to anyone different is akin to coveting.  The apostles were guilty of making these kinds of comparisons, and were reprimanded by Christ.  If things aren’t going smoothly for you – you may want to consider that you are being chastened for this very thing! 

We don’t need to convince God of our sinfulness – we prove it to Him on a daily basis!  Torturing yourself over something rash you said or did will not help you or your children.  Bemoaning the seeming “inferiority” of your home school is dis-functional, while at the same token, luxuriating in your perceived “superior” home school is self- deception.  Bad day today?  Tomorrow is new!


But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psalm 86: 5


Favorite teaching tool –

I consider this item a must have in any home school.  It is an astounding timeline of over six thousand years – showing incredible detail.  My very learned father tried to sneak it into his suitcase when visiting one time!  (I bought him his own copy for father’s day.)

Raised by a historian, you could imagine I might be a little picky about timelines, but I am unable to detect anything wrong with this chart.  It is printed on stiff paperboard, folded accordion style in gorgeous coloration, and shows major world events as they occurred in different parts of the world concurrently! We used it in every grade level.

Magnificent!  My highest recommendation.  While I bought mine many years ago at a home school convention – it is easy enough to find on Amazon.




Hints for Home Schoolers – Declutter!

Is your lifestyle making homeschool more difficult than it has to be?  Do you spend precious time looking for things when you could be being productive?  I’m going to share a few of the things I learned over the years that kept me sane. We’ll go through each letter of the word de-clutter.

D – is for determination and discipline.  Both  are required to go the long haul in your successful homeschool.  If you are bogged down with too much stuff, too many activities,  too little space, too little money . . . now is the time to determine in your mind to change things.  Make a firm decision to pare down to the truly necessary, which will make room for things like time for meal planning, organized shopping, cleaning, and school work! Don’t wait for a special day to make the determination decision – it should be a life long commitment. 

E – is for excavate and eradicate.  You may say, “Well. that should be obvious!”  But you might be surprised to know how many families have a home school that looks something like this or even worse.  Holding onto garbage, yes – some of your kids drawings are superfluous – will overrun you in no time.  If you are schooling more than two, the paperwork alone can pile up dreadfully in just a week or two.  Determine what is necessary to keep, and pitch or recycle the rest.  Eradicate the unnecessary stuff.  This also applies to clothing and groceries. 

C – is for categorize and contain.  Even if you are blessed to have a dedicated room for school, its a very good idea to keep a separate container for each child’s  work.  Especially records that need to be kept to satisfy state requirements.  One mom I know has a laundry tub for each of her kid’s books and paraphernalia because they do their school at the kitchen table.  The baskets are slid behind the couch when school is over.  No one will spend time looking for their science book if it is in their special container. 

L – is for lists and labels.  One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give you is the notepad one.  Get in the habit of carrying a small notepad and pen in your pocket all day (I wear an apron with pockets) and you will never have to rely on memory again. It will be so simple to just jot down whatever it is, and not even skip a beat while you are pushing someone on the swing,  or working fractions, or making dinner.  Write it down!  The other point to this section is labeling.  Labeling everything, will make organizing a breeze. Even if your kids have a juice cup to drink from during the day – label it.  This goes for their lists of chores as well.  Each one should be written down with their name on it. 

U – is for utilize and unburden.  That may sound contradictory, but the two terms are connected.  If you follow the ideas listed before, you will better utilize your time.  By taking advantage of time saving devices like shower sprayers, certain household chores can become self cleaning.  In addition – using an accredited  curriculum can save hours and hours of lesson planning and stress. 

T – is for timers and tempers.  This is another item I have in my apron pockets.  By timing everything, from tidying the kitchen, to gardening, to reviewing flashcards  – using a timer prevents overload.  Specifically, when a child is not understanding a concept, by limiting the time to 15  minutes, you can circumvent frustration, –  both yours and the child’s. In the same way, anything from ironing to penmanship practice will seem much more manageable when the timer is set.  You simply don’t go past it!  Even morning chores become less arduous when a simple timer is set.

T – is also for taming technology.  I am not one of those parents that shuns technology.  But using it wisely can only be done through diligence and applied balance.  I’ve seen IPads being used as toddler babysitters.  One family  has a beautiful tree-house which sits empty,  as the children while away the hours playing video and computer games.  Technology can be an incredible help in our home schools, and it can also be our greatest enemy. 

E – is for energize and emphasize.  At the risk of sounding like your mother, I’m going to recommend that you go to bed much earlier than you think you should.  When my kids were younger, I tried to hit the hay around the same time they did, because I found it was much easier for me to get up very early in the morning, while they would sleep much easier at night, not thinking they were missing out on something.  There is a ton of evidence to support the idea of adults getting to sleep before midnight.  Most research indicates that the hours of sleep you receive before midnight are twice as valuable as the ones after. If you do this for two weeks, you will be astounded at how much energy you have, and how much you can accomplish with half as much effort.

R – is for rigid and relax.  If you are rigid about purging you will be able to relax in your home.  Rigidly purge paper, clothing, toys, and whatever else is cluttering up your mind and house.  You can see by this picture that the home school can be very organized with very little money.  That goes for the kitchen, attic, basement, and wherever else the stuff tends to pile up. Hooray for de-cluttering your life!!  Amen!!



My favorite basic bread recipe. 

1-1/2 cups water

1 Tbl. light olive oil

3  Tbl. honey

1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt

2 – 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (preferably King Arthur)

1 – 1/4 cup bread flour

1/3 cup vital wheat gluten

2 tsp. active dry yeast

Add all ingredients in the order listed to the pan of bread machine which has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Use the whole wheat setting.  Good for sandwiches, toast, etc.  I make this more than any other kind of bread.  At least three times a week.  Great with just about anything, including peanut butter and jelly.


Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.

Jeremiah 10:6


Hints for Home Schoolers – Socialization?

By far and away, the number one stated objection and obstacle to home schooling is the perceived idea of “socialization.”  Anyone contemplating or actively home schooling has encountered this phenomena.  Often a relative or friend will pucker their foreheads, and ask -“But what about socialization?”  Where oh where did this concept originate?  The Public School System!  That’s right!  Socialization and “self concept” are psycho-babble inventions of the government pagan shrines known as public schools.

“. . . self-esteem is a concept that was born in the school system, and it is best for parents not to overemphasize the self-esteem of their children. Professor Martin E.P. Seligman, in his helpful book The Optimistic Child, discusses how self-esteem has been more and more emphasized in schools during precisely the same years that the youth suicide rate has increased in the United States.   []

From Dr. Larry Edward Shyers research  –  “using a “blind” procedure, found that home-schooled children had significantly fewer problem behaviors, as measured by the Child Observation Checklist’s Direct Observation Form, than traditionally schooled children when playing in mixed groups of children from both kinds of schooling backgrounds. This observational study was reported in some detail in the 1992 Associated Press article. Shyers concluded that the hypothesis that contact with adults, rather than contact with other children, is most important in developing social skills in children is supported by these data.” [ibid]

In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily, into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service, and adulthood, with an eye on eternity. 

[Thomas C. Smedly, MS]

I could regale you with countless statistics, opinions, research,  and true life stories to counter the negative claims about home school socialization, but I will restrict myself to just this very meaningful one, from former U.S. Department of Education researcher, Patricia Lines:

If I didn’t know anything about someone other than their [sic] educational background, I’d rather hop in  a foxhole with a homeschool kid than one from a public school.  The homeschool kid will be a little better educated and dependable.  It’s just the law of averages.  [The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, Bruce N. Shortt, p. 350]

Homeschoolers do not claim the title for close family relationships, but in my experience, I have never seen a severed family relationship in a homeschool family.  But I do know many, many  non-homeschool parents  that have children they don’t speak to, or children that don’t speak to each other, or both.  If I could just let you experience  some of the silly giggling  (laughing at themselves or something we were reading) that went on during our years and years of home school – you would pray that every child in the world could be home schooled within a loving family, instead of being daily subjected to insecure teachers, peer pressure, indoctrination, and academic discrepancies. 

Will your children be considered “unusual” or even strange by their worldly counterparts?  Probably.  Does that matter?  Not in the long run. There is a distinct difference between positive and negative socialization.   If you make an effort to involve your kids in 4H,  a home school activity club, etc., they will undoubtedly meet other “unusual” home schoolers. If kids from Godless public schools are normal, I suggest that you and your critics should be delighted that your kids are weird.  Since God was removed from public schools in 1963:

  • Violent crime has increased  995%
  • Premarital sex has increased 1,000% in 15 year olds, 300% in 16-18 year olds
  • Suicide has increased 300%

Rather than self-esteem, the home school family is concerned with God-esteem.



Jesus first, others second, me last.

Even a two year old can memorize that. . .


My go-to, super easy, lifesaving recipe for barbecue chicken!

1. Spray inside of crock with cooking spray

2. Slice one onion and place in bottom of crock.

3.  Put boneless, skinless chicken breast halves on top of onions

4. Pour some barbecue sauce on chicken pieces

5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high 4-5 hours.

Everyone loves this, even little ones.  You can also substitute sweet and sour sauce with excellent results.  If you are fortunate enough to own two crock pots, throw some baking potatoes in the second crock , and you will have the perfect side for the barbecue chicken!  If you like tender skins, wrap in foil, if you like them crusty, sans foil.  Exact same cooking times  as chicken.  I served this barbecue chicken at my daughter’s rehearsal dinner, and it received rave reviews from young and old.  There is nothing like long, slow cooking to bring out the best flavor.  In addition – very low energy consumption!


14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 Of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,16 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. . .

Ephesians 3: 14-16





Government Tentacles Reaching Into Home Schools

As usual,  the Government finds a way to get at our kids, one way or another. . .

By Lori Higgins

Detroit Free Press Education Writer

The Troy School District will launch a program in September targeted at homeschooled students that will allow them to take high school courses — taught mostly by district teachers — online.

Though it’s not unusual for homeschooled students to take classes in their local public schools, it’s not as common for a district to create a program exclusively for them.

District officials say they were spurred by a belief that there’s a need for such programs among parents who homeschool, and by a need to ensure those parents have access to quality courses.

“We’re concerned about the virtual explosion out there,” said Holly Toggweiler, homeschool liaison for the district.

That explosion, she said, means there’s a “buyer beware” atmosphere in which “you don’t know how good a program is going to be until you’re halfway through it.”

She said the district can ensure the quality of its programs because it will hire highly qualified teachers to teach the courses and has vetted the software providers for courses not taught by Troy teachers.

The program, called INTERSECT, will be free to homeschooled students because the district will receive state funding based on the amount of time they spend in the program.

The classes will be offered in several formats. Homeschooled students can sign up for hybrid courses in which much of the work is done online at home, but they’re required to spend several hours a week in a classroom, working one-on-one with their teachers. They can enroll in online-only courses through popular programs such as E20/20 and Novanet. And they can take art and drama courses — taught to homeschooled students only — in a school building.

The program would be offered to students in Oakland and bordering counties, Toggweiler said.

Read more here.

I’ve got to hand it to them.  This is shrewd, no doubt.  Dangling free classes and perks like drama class will seduce some parents that are feeling even just a little inadequate at home schooling their teenagers.  The district will profit financially from kids that were not on the school rolls, and the government will get a solid chance at indoctrinating the kids before it’s too late for them to turn  them into good global citizens. 




Cass Sunstein – Euphoric Over North American Union

From Cass Sunstein’s WSJ op-ed piece  May 1, 2012 ~ (All red highlighting is mine) and I’ll bet you didn’t know the prez signed another executive order ! (also significant that this was signed on May 1 – Beltaine)

. . . today the president is issuing an executive order, “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation,” with a simple goal: to promote exports, growth, and job creation by eliminating unnecessary regulatory differences across nations.

The order makes clear that we will not undermine American laws or compromise our national prerogatives. But it emphasizes that international cooperation and harmonization can increase trade and job creation, eliminating pointless burdens without creating a regulatory race to the bottom. From now on, an interagency working group chaired by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs [Note; Sunstein chairs this agency-RW]  will be a forum for reducing this red tape. . .

. . .More generally, President Obama has worked closely with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts to create High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Councils with both countries. . .

The U.S. and Canada have already agreed to harmonize their rules with respect to fuel economy, building on a long history of collaboration on national emission standards for new vehicles. . .

The U.S. is also working closely with the European Union to eliminate unnecessary differences in U.S.-European regulatory requirements.. .



No one seems to realize that this has already been accomplished.  It’s just a matter of closing off a few loose ends.  This is why no president – Republican or Democrat – will close our borders . . .  because there are no borders anymore!!!!!

This did not begin with Obama, and it will not end with him.