Posted in Musings

How I Came To Be All Out War


When I started this blog, it was during a time of severe turmoil in my life when I really didn’t think I could hold on much longer. If there WAS anything else that could go wrong, I knew that it probably would, but what I DIDN’T know was whether or not I could come through it with my sanity…

Or my life.

I intended to be completely anonymous and pour out my heart and soul, troubles and woes, the whole nine yards. Someone had given me the idea that since I was a writer, and had been pretty much all my life, that it would be a type of therapy for me. And so All Out War was born.

I’ve said it before, that I am a very private person. I do not put things “out there” for anyone to see, think about, process, hold over my head or try to use against me. Well, that’s what I tell myself. In reality, it may just be that I have trust issues. If there’s one thing that Daddy taught us growing up, it was “Never trust anyone. No one. Do that, and you won’t be hurt nearly as much”.

There’s a whole story in and of itself there, as my Daddy went through a lot of things in his life, the half of which I’ll never really know, I’m sure, as he and Mom were older when my little sister and I are born. He lost his own father when he was only thirteen years old and had to help move the body. There was much death in his life, most of it he witnessed far too close and far too painfully.

But Daddy is the strongest man I’ve ever known.

It may also be that I’m such a private person because I’m that type that not only carries my own hurt, but the hurt of others as well. While I may not cry as much as most people do, my heart breaks all the same. Many times I’ve sat, stony faced, in situations where my guts had been reduced to ashes and rubble. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to deal with some things a little better, and some things a little worse.

And that’s where All Out War was born. That place that said, “GET OUT!” to everything I’ve ever harbored that has ever killed me inside a little. All the things that I’ve ever tucked away in that “hurts too much to talk about” folder waaaaaaaay back in the back of my mind.

On the upside, though, I’ve already gotten out a lot more than I thought I would, in my own way. Even in vagueness there is a kind of solace that can bring a great deal of relief. And I’ve experienced it a time or two.

So. The is how I came to be All Out War. Where it goes from here, I’m not sure, but hopefully to a place of “normality” for a change. A place where I can move on and maybe even help others who have been where I have been. Isn’t that one of the things that God would have us to do with our valley’s and trials? To learn, thank Him for His grace in having seen us through it, and use it to help others? Surely those things we’ve gone through aren’t just for us, are they?

And maybe, THAT, is what it’s all about…being able to use the hurt, the trials, the heartaches, the “been there, done that” stories to keep someone else from having to wallow as long as we have? Maybe.

We’ll see…

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Posted in Faith

A Few Notes On Prayer


I have had prayer on my mind, as it so often is, for days and days now. The enemy constantly tries to make me feel as if my prayers are no good, that they aren’t getting anywhere and that they make no sense to God.

May I just say that the enemy is a liar? Because I DO say that quite often 🙂

So I sat down here tonight, which is usually my bedtime, and decided to do some looking. I compiled a few notes on prayer from the New Testament. I’m not purposely neglecting the Old Testament, but right now, my focus is on what Jesus thought about it and how his followers carried it on. I think that is an important place to start, since we are under grace and not under law (another blog post for another time, if you like)

Pray for those that despitefully use and persecute you. (Matt. 5:44) (Luke 6:28)

Don’t pray like a hypocrite, to be seen by men (Matt. 6:5)

When you pray, enter into your closet and shut the door (Matt. 6:6)

When you pray, don’t use vain repetitions (Matt. 6:7)

Some things don’t happen without prayer AND fasting (Matt. 17:21) (Mark 9:29)

Whatever you ask in prayer, IF YOU BELIEVE, you will have it. (Matt. 21:22) (Mark 11/;24)

When you pray, forgive anyone you have anything against, so God can forgive you (Mark 11:25)

Should a woman pray uncovered? (1 Cor. 11:13)

Your spirit can pray in an unknown tongue (1 Cor. 14:14)

Pray about everything. (Philippians 4:6)

Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17)

Everyone should pray, without anger or doubting (1 Tim. 2:8)

If you are afflicted, pray! (James 5:13)

If you are sick, call for the elders of the church to pray and anoint with oil (James 5:14)

The prayer of faith will save the sick and cause sins to be forgiven (James 5:15)

Husbands, give honor to your wives, as the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of live, so your prayers are not hindered (1 Peter 3:7)

The Lord’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous, but He is against those that do evil (1 Peter 3:12)

Pray in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20)

Prayer is often accompanied by fasting…

Luke 2:37
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Luke 5:33
And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?

Acts 10:30
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Acts 13:3
And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 14:23
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

1 Corinthians 7:5
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
I only posted the one verse for each example, but I encourage you to read them in context and pray and let them become real to you. Many people try to say that fasting is not pertinent anymore, but I don’t believe that is so, otherwise there wouldn’t have been mention of it in the Scripture like this. The Bible tells us that if all the deeds of Jesus were recorded the world would not be able to contain the volumes it would amount to, so if something “made the cut” so to speak, then don’t you think we should pay attention to it? I do!

 

John 20:30-31 … 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 21:25 … 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

This was just some rambling thoughts that I had to get down tonight. Please, feel free to add thoughts and Scripture in the comments. If need be, this can turn into a series, but it’s something I just desire to know so much more about. I’ll be studying on it.

 

Posted in Faith

Hear and Heed


I’m so thankful that I had a Mom who listened when God spoke! Can I get an Amen? I wouldn’t be here if not for her hearing and heeding.

Satan tried to take my life at least twice that I know of, and probably more that I’m not aware of. Two particular instances come to mind, not that I remember them in great detail because I was so young, but they were relayed to me by my Mom…

Once, when I was maybe three years old, we had a dog that was chained to his dog house outside in the front yard. My family was never really a fan of keeping a dog tied up, but we lived in the mountains in Eastern Kentucky and at that particular time there had been sightings of both bears and big mountain cats and my parents didn’t want the poor dog wondering off and getting eaten.

So on one particular day, I went outside to play while my Mom worked in the house. I sat down fairly close to the dog house to play in the dirt and while I sat there, the dog walked around me, several times, and wound up getting his chain looped around my neck. I was helpless and choking by the time my Mom came flying out the door.

She said that she had been working and suddenly God spoke and told her to get outside immediately! When she got out there, she found me sitting there choking, and ran to try to help. She got her fingers underneath the chain and loosened it enough so that I could breathe, but the dog had pulled so far away that she couldn’t reach it without leaving me, which she didn’t feel safe doing either. She said she didn’t know what she was going to do and it was at that time that my brother came walking around the corner, up the holler, and quite unexpectedly. And so I was saved.

Another time, Mom had went to her bedroom to rest a bit and watch TV. I might have been four, or maybe five, at the time. I was playing in the kitchen, apparently as if I were a dog, and had made my own “leash” from a jump rope. I tied the jump rope to the top of the sink and the other end around my neck and when I got down, I slipped. My feet flew back out from underneath me, the rope caught me by the neck and went taut, while my hands wouldn’t quite reach the floor. I was flailing and trying to grab hold of something, that much I do barely remember, when once again, Mom came running in.

Again, God had told her that if she wanted to see me alive to GO NOW! She said I was blue when she got there and saved me.

I shudder to think what would have happened if she had simply thought, “Oh, that’s probably just my overactive imagination,” or “I shouldn’t be such an overprotective parent, that’s what the books say”. Too often, these days, we are led to believe and sometimes taught outright, to suppress any thought that we are hearing God’s voice. What a dangerous time to live!

If you read the third chapter of 1 Samuel, you find the Lord calling to Samuel as a child, but Samuel thinks that it is his mentor, Eli calling him. He goes to Eli who tells the child Samuel to go and lie back down, because he had not called him. But the third time Samuel came and answered the call, Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. This is what Samuel told Eli…

Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak Lord, for they servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:9)

I believe that God will still speak to a person who is willing to take the time to listen. But how many of us actually do that? We live in a time when praying is all about “I, Me, and Mine” but how many people actually tell God that they will listen when He speaks? How many actually put themselves in a place of calm and quiet, where He can even be heard?

I have been very guilty of this myself, and it has been my prayer lately, that if He has something to say, then I will listen. And He never disappoints!

Now I find myself in a place where I’m wondering if what I think I heard was actually what I really did hear, and whether or not it was from Him, or something that I made up in my own mind. I don’t know if that constitutes doubt or not, but I sure hope not. Then again, what I think I heard carries big implications at a time when I already – as my Mom use to say – have too many irons in the fire! I mean, I know that where God leads, He will make a way, so right now I am just prayerfully considering. I dare not be caught saying, “But, God, I don’t want to do that…” because I’ve already told Him I would!

What about you? Have you ever heeded God’s Word on something important? How has it changed your life?

Posted in Faith

It’s A Matter Of LIFE and DEATH!


There is something that has bothered me for a great while now. And it’s hard to explain, especially to anyone who isn’t a Christian, but I will try.
I spend most of my time at home. No, no, that’s not what bothers me 🙂 I gladly accept my position because I know that this is where God has placed me and I love it. I work from home and try to make it a place that’s worth being in for my family. I’m not the world’s best at cleaning house, but I’m not bad 🙂 While there are occasionally dusty picture frames and stacks of laundry that needs to be put on hangers, there isn’t anything you could consider “dirty”, thank God, that’s just how it is.
No, the thing that bothers me – first and foremost – is the fact that there isn’t a church anywhere near that I can go to. Now I know, believe me I know, that that is a loaded statement. I’ve had momentous debates on this subject with a good many people. And of course, everyone has “the perfect church that I should attend”, so they say…
Now, let me stop there for just a moment and say a few words about that. Because it’s something that really takes up a great deal of my prayer time. I often pray and ask God to show me, I mean really show me the Truth, yes, with a capital “T”, because I do not dare want to walk down the wrong path and into a teaching that will pull me further away from His will for my life, further from His Truth, or further from the true Church.
The biggest problem I have with many of the churches that I have attempted to go to is their blatant disrespect for God’s Word. (While the only one I’ve found that I feel right in attending is too far away to go to on a regular basis.) Not that they flaunt these things, and for the most part, I’m not really even sure they realize it, but many churches have a great deal of practices that go against the Word of God. They have put man’s doctrines and traditions in place of God’s and I don’t feel comfortable with it. Even Jesus spoke about it…

Matthew 15:8-10 (KJV) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

And again…

Mark 7:6-8 (KJV) He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

Ok, in this last one, I think Jesus is saying look, you’re putting more emphasis on men’s tradition for the washing of dishes than you are my Word! I wonder sometimes, how many people are truly cast out, or don’t feel like they’re good enough to go to the “House of God” strictly because of these traditions of men?

I have an acquaintance that was telling about how someone told her that she was going to hell for using instruments along with her voice to worship God. Where is this in the Bible? What commandment is she breaking? How has she cast away the grace of the work of the cross by worshipping and singing with instruments? Thank God this did not cause her to lose the footing that she has in her faith in God, but she is in the minority, I do know that.

There are a lot of people out there, with an undying devotion to their “church” (notice the little “c”), who are very quick to tell people that what they are doing will send them to hell, but how much time have they put into prayerful searching of the Scripture? They may really believe that what they are saying is true, but does that release them from the obligation to speak with love to their brothers and sisters?

Now I will add here, that I do believe there is truth in knowing a tree by the fruit it bears, and there are different ways of talking to different people about what they might be doing wrong. The book of Jude says to have compassion on some, making a difference, but some, save with fear, pulling them from the fire (chapter 1). There are certain things that are wrong and can in no way be made right, and the only thing a person can do is repent and turn from that sin, and if we, as believer’s, aren’t willing to tell someone where they are, they may never even know. But that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the traditions of men that pass in churches for absolutes from God – which there are, make no mistake. Jesus said that all of the laws of the prophets hang on two commandments: Matthew chapter 22, to love the Lord thy God…and to love thy neighbor. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but if Jesus says everything can be summed up in this, what do we do with information like that?

Some of the major things I’m hung up on, that I just don’t feel I should be, and that I feel are desperately hindering my walk with God and my carrying out what He wants me to do, give me a lot of grief. I see how the Word gets twisted and how it can be misleading. I realize that, and it grieves my spirit and my heart immensely. It hurts me that each and every denomination believes that THEY are the ones who are right, and everyone else is wrong. Even if the only difference is whether or not they take the Lord’s supper every Sunday, or certain Sunday’s, or not at all.

I have always said that if it’s “in there”, meaning if it’s in the Bible, then I believe it, and if it’s not, I don’t. But there’s a little more to it than that, as it should so happen. Paul talked about a “local church”. Do we even know what that is anymore? I live right across the street from a “certain denomination” but I can’t bring myself to go there, because of their beliefs and how I feel like they think they are the only ones that are right and there is not other way to Heaven. AND I HATE FEELING THAT WAY!! That’s what it all boils down to!

I don’t want to stand on a soap box and tell everyone what they should or shouldn’t be thinking, and I don’t want to assume to know exactly what the Bible says about every little thing that we should do in a service, or in a particular venue. I DO, however, want to be assured in WHAT I BELIEVE, enough to stand up and say why. The Bible says to always be ready to give a reason for this hope that is within you. And that’s what I want to do.

But…

I feel that if I stand my ground on MY beliefs, then I will have to understand why someone else’s belief’s are not accurate, or as dire, etc., etc. I know, that’s probably as clear as mud, but it’s the dilemma I find myself in at the moment. I am certainly no scholar of the Bible. I do not know Hebrew, Greek or Arabic, so I cannot read from ancient texts as Jesus did, and many who came after him. I can’t read the writings of Paul and others, who wrote the Truth after having been with Jesus and knowing first hand what it was all about. So I have to go by these translations, which is another thing the church fights about…

Why is one better than the others? I have been a staunch supporter of the King James Version all of my life, having been raised that way and gone to churches who adhere to that belief. And I still read from it but I can’t help but wonder…why? What started that? It was the 1599 Geneva Bible that accompanied many of our ancestors over here from England before the birth of our country. The Geneva Bible was the first true English translation of the Bible, so why isn’t IT the one that was chosen? The circumstances surrounding the writing of the King James Version are very shady, so I have to wonder if I can really trust it for deep study in searching for THE Truth.

Having said all that, I will also add that I DO believe, with all my heart, that the true and living Word of God can rise above any malicious thought or intent of man, which I believe is what happened with the King James, so I’m not AS worried about that. BUT, the fact still remains that if a person reads another “version”, some well meaning Christians will tell them how wrong they are and might possibly even tell them it will keep them from Heaven. I’m not sure I believe that… even knowing that these newer version do, in fact, leave out many verses and words that change the meanings of whole thoughts in the Bible. And I will NEVER adhere to the belief, as one of the newest Bibles attempts to say, that God was a “she” or worse, a non-gender, or gender neutral being. The Word says – no matter which translation you get your hands on, save for that one new one I’m talking about – that God is our FATHER. Plain and simple.

I also get all balled up about many of the things that make people say, “Well, that was only in the Old Testament” or “Well, that was because Jesus did it, and we can’t,” or “Well, those things went out with the apostles in the Bible…”

I know there are things in the Old Testament that we aren’t bound by anymore because the Old Testament was the place where LAW ruled. Law was never meant to save us, but rather to be a rod by which to measure the fact that we will never be good enough to attain God’s Mercy on our own. That’s why there was a sacrificial scapegoat which the priest brought out, and basically that animal took all the sins of Israel upon itself, per God’s Law, and was sent out into the desert to die, thus making atonement for the sins of Israel for the past year. BUT, Jesus became our “once and for all” sacrifice when He came to Earth in the flesh and died on the cross for the sins of each and every one of us. When he arose, he made a way for us to escape, by paying the sin-debt Himself, in our place. Once we accept that free gift of salvation and the finished work of the cross, His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness and we become joint-heirs with Christ Jesus, and no longer citizens of this world, but of Heaven.

Another example is the Levitical law that forbids certain foods. This was abolished when God showed a sign to Peter who was praying one day before going to preach to the Gentiles (Acts chapter 10). Yes, there are many dietary and health reasons not to eat pork, catfish, shrimp and so forth, but I do not believe that doing so will send a person to hell. May God correct me if I am wrong, which is my prayer about everything that I believe…that if it isn’t the Truth and the WHOLE TRUTH that He would show me and reveal it to me and allow me to share it with others.

So what are some other things that separate churches? What makes one church different from all the others? What makes one church “right” and the others ALLL wrong?

  • Taking the Lord’s supper on the fifth Sunday?
  • Washing one another’s feet?
  • Baptizing the THE NAME of Jesus?
  • Praying to Mary and the saints?
  • Wearing modest clothing?
  • Women covering their heads?
  • Women remaining silent in church?
  • No playing of stringed instruments?
  • Speaking in tongues?
  • Believing in the gifts of healing, tongues, etc.?
  • Believing in the anointing with oil?

There are literally hundreds more. Some are trivial, some are not, but they all separate the Body into buildings that are sometimes right across the street from one another! If we can agree that some things are tradition and some are not, then why can we not all worship in the same building and still be allowed to worship in the way that we have worked out with God? What is to be our measuring stick? And can we use that stick without eventually turning it into a rod of discipline on our brothers and sisters?

Perhaps I’m way off base, but I have felt in my spirit for a long time to write this so may the Lord forgive me if all I’ve done is stirred up dissent! I really, truly am only searching for what is right, what is from God, and what is the most important matters. I pray I am not hung up on a single “tradition of man” that would make Jesus speak to me the way he spoke to those in the quotes above.

Father, I only want to serve You, and follow your commandment to tell others about You. I only want to follow Your Truth and NOT the traditions of men. Open my eyes, open our eyes, that during these trying days when our heart’s almost fail in fear, that we will be strengthened by Your Truth and Your promises, for it truly is “good news” worthy to be shouted from the highest hilltops. And forgive me, Lord, if I have ever led anyone astray with my own depictions and versions of what I think Your Word says. Grant me the eyes to see and the ears to hear what you would say to the Churches. I will not fail to give you the glory, the praise and the honor and I ask it all in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Proverbs 18:21 … Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Posted in Faith

The True Nature Of God – Andrew Wommack Ministries


This is an amazing read from Andrew Wommack’s ministry website. I especially like the way he explains the difference between being “under law” and being “under grace”. So many people today seem to have the idea that we are still under the law and reaping all the same things for our wrongdoings. Just have a read here and be encouraged today by the True Nature of God!

Stacey~

 

Recently the Lord woke me up at 3:30 a.m. with the words, “I have raised you up to change people’s opinion of Me. That will change their lives, and then they will change the world.” Wow! That pretty much sums it up. If people knew how good God is, they would love Him and live for Him. That in turn would solve all the problems of the world. But God has been so slandered that most people don’t know Him as the good God He really is. Why is that? One of the biggest problems is religion’s misuse of the Law. This has done tremendous damage to God’s image. The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). The Law wasn’t inaccurate but incomplete. And if it is not properly applied, it gives a wrong representation of God. Jesus was the perfect representation of God (Heb. 1:3). He said if we have seen Him, then we have seen the Father (John 14:9). He did exactly what He saw His Father do (John 5:19). Jesus showed us that God is love (1 John 4:8). Yet He was constantly accused of breaking the Law. Of course, Jesus didn’t break the Law. He’s the only One who ever truly kept the Law. But the mercy and grace Jesus extended toward people was radically different from the “eye for eye” and “tooth for tooth” of the Old Testament Law. Jesus forgave a woman whom the Law condemned to death (John 8:1-11). Jesus ate and fellowshipped with publicans and sinners, which the legalistic Jews of His day wouldn’t do (Matt. 9:11). Jesus touched the untouchable (Matt. 8:3) and loved the unlovable (Luke 8:2). He showed us grace and mercy, which the Old Testament Law didn’t do. A wrong understanding of the purpose of the Old Testament Law leads to a misunderstanding of the nature of God. Most people believe God gave the Law to show us what we needed to do to obtain relationship with Him. But the Law was never intended to bring us into relationship with our heavenly Father. It was intended to show us our sin and our need for God. It was given to show us how unholy we were so we would despair of trying to earn salvation and just receive it as a gift by faith. It was to turn us from self-righteousness to a faith-righteousness that could only come through a Savior (Rom. 10:3-4). Consider some of the things the Scripture says about the Law: • The Law strengthened sin (1 Cor. 15:56). • The Law was a ministry of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7 and 9). • The Law gave guilt and knowledge of sin, not salvation (Rom. 3:19-20). • The Law made sin come alive, and killed us (Rom. 7:9). • The Law magnified sin and produced hopelessness (Rom. 7:13-25). Why would God give us something with all these negative effects? It was because we were already beaten by… Read More

Source: The True Nature Of God – Andrew Wommack Ministries

Posted in 365 Days of Writing Prompts

The Excitement Never Ends


Back to the prompts for today! This looks like a fun one, so we’ll see how it turns out. At my age, life has settled in to the point that there’s not much that makes me truly giddy, in the I-feel-like-a-kid-again way, and thinking about this prompt now, I realize that I quite miss it! I wonder what happened…?

The prompt is: Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited.

The last thing that got me truly excited was our recent trip to historic Bardstown, Ky. We had planned it for weeks as a getaway for the entire day, just to sight-see and have fun, while at the same time, involving a great deal of places that would bring life to Abby’s recent lessons in US government and history. We were all excited, to be exact, and planned it down to the last jot and tittle.

I remember a few days prior to that Saturday, I had started making mention of it several times each day. I think the family got tired of it 🙂 but they never let on if they did. It had been years since we were there last, so I guess some of the excitement stemmed from knowing what was there and all the things there were to do and see. We visited historic buildings,

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Wickland, Home of Three Governors

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St. Joseph’s Church, the first and oldest Catholic Church in the state, supposedly.
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Back courtyard of the old jail, where the “bars” were made into the building, of the same stone.
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A one-room school house used in the early 1800’s.

a pioneer graveyard,

as well as old country stores and we took as many back roads as we could.

The trip was, indeed, wonderful. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to utilize the campground and stay a day or two, but that wasn’t feasible this time. As the day drew to a close, we wound up taking “the long way around” and went through a few more back roads with a little more history. We wound up going through the town where Jimmy was born and he was able to point out many landmarks and tell stories of yesteryear as he remembered them.

Yes, that was something that really made me so excited that it took a day or two for the excitement to wear off. It went from “I can’t wait until we go!” to “That was such an awesome trip”.

What does it take to make YOU giddy?

Posted in Schooling

Time4Learning Online Curriculum: A Review


Today, I’m going to give a review of the online curriculum that we use for homeschooling: Time4Learning. We are using the high school curriculum, but curricula are available from Kindergarten through 12th grades.

I did a great deal of research before deciding to use Time4Learning. A friend of mine had recently chosen it for her daughter, who is also in the 9th grade, so I had an idea about it before I began my research. But, as with all other things I research, I simply had to do all of the digging I could to make sure there wasn’t something better out there for our own personal situation. And overall, so far as my research could find, there isn’t a better one than Time4Learning.

The first thing to keep in mind with Time4Learning is that it is an on-line curriculum only, not an actual online school. Whether or not that curriculum meets the state standards in your home state is up to you to find out. You are considered the teacher of record and it is up to you to grade assignments that are not calculated through the curriculum itself, like writing exercises and so forth. It is also up to you to keep accurate academic and attendance records as well, as per your state requirements.

One of the main reasons I chose Time4Learning was the ability to pay monthly. With their low rates – $19.95 for PreK through 8th and $30 for high school – there just wasn’t a better option. There are some schools online that are “the whole package”, meaning they are an actual school, they will grade all the assignments, keep track of attendance, and transfer credits if need be. However, these schools have to have the full tuition up front, or payment schedules with approved credit and so forth. Just not the kind of hassle I wanted to go through to get this all set up.

And besides, what if it didn’t work for us? Our daughter is a right-brain learner, which means she’s a very visual learner, and without anything up front from these other schools, I didn’t want to take that kind of chance and be out all that money. Because we’re talking thousands of dollars per year.

With Time4Learning, you actually get the opportunity to see demos of every single class that they offer before paying a single dime. This was another major thing that helped me make my decision. We really liked the way the classes were laid out and how the quizzes were given and it helped us make a truly informed decision. Before purchasing the curriculum, I was also able to chat live, one on one, with a representative as well as email some questions that were promptly answered by the great support staff.

Now that we have been using the curriculum and getting actual hands-on experience with it, I have an even better picture of the whole scope of the program. And here is what I’ve found.

GETTING STARTED

So, after you’ve paid for the first month, you immediately have access to a whole gamut of parent tools…

parent-tools-screen

I went through each and every one of these options with a fine tooth comb before actually setting out to create our own plan. I wanted to familiarize myself with what was available well before we actually started school. However, you don’t want to pay for your curriculum too early. Two to three days ahead will give you more than enough time to familiarize yourself with everything, it’s just that easy to navigate.

After I had found out what was relevant and what wasn’t, for instance we didn’t need a spelling list, I went on to create a student planner. I absolutely LOVE this aspect. You choose which classes you want and then you can enter a starting date and a finishing date, as well as any breaks you plan to take through the school year, and the program sorts every single lesson into weekly assignments. All you have left to do at that point is to select which activities you will do daily.

Here is an example from our Government class. You can see that this week’s lessons are laid out, all I have to do is choose which day I want to assign each item, which I do with the drop down menu, and then you can check it off as done. There is also a place to the side for notes, though I haven’t utilized that very much, personally.

activity-planner-breakdown

This is a great way to see if you’ve missed anything. We have actually had missing assignments and can go back to see, at a glance, what they are so that we can get them done and get back to the normal routine.

MAKING PROGRESS

After a few days, you will want to take a look at your report screen. This tool is incredibly valuable to me as I can quickly see every assignment my daughter has completed, as well as quiz scores, and I input that information into my personal grade book. There are also reports for duration, which tells you the time the student has spent on each assignment, and attendance, which basically just tells you when they signed in and out.

Here’s what the report screen looks like. Notice the drop down menu on the left – that is where you choose which report you’d like, and then it offers other drop down menus based on your selection.

report-screen

I will say here that you do have to be careful with the attendance report. It isn’t always accurate. I’m not sure why, and I haven’t really inquired as such, I just make sure my records are accurate and up to date. So I don’t really rely on this aspect of the program anyway.

Another aspect I’ve come to enjoy is the fact that there are separate logins for both parent and student. The student screens allow them to choose which classes they want to work on and then, once they select the class, all the assignments are in order. So even if they want to work on their own, any time of the day, they can simply log in and go to work.

student-screen

student-screen2

On the left hand side, the “Portfolio” option gives them the chance to quickly view what they have done for the day, week or month, and what scores they have. The writer is where essay type questions are answered and turned in for you to grade. I admit, it does take some hands on experience to get the feel for that, as a parent/teacher, but it comes fairly quickly. And finally, the toolkit has a plethora of great resources for each class listed.

toolkit-algebratoolkit-biologytoolkit-civics

As I said, there are tools for every single class so this list goes on and on. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this little gem until weeks into the program, which is why I wanted to include it here. If you choose to go with Time4Learning, make sure you check these out! 🙂

IN CLOSING

I have had a few minor quirks with this system that I wanted to make mention of before closing out. The first is that every now and again, the system will freeze on my daughter’s student pages. For instance, she can be in the middle of a lesson, clicking from activity to activity and it will freeze and completely stop. She has to exit that page entirely and start over from the login page. It does get frustrating, but it’s nothing that has caused more than a couple of minutes of down time.

Another thing is that there have been a handful of times that quizzes will ask questions that haven’t even been covered yet. We have ran across this perhaps 4 or 5 times in over a month of lessons. That is really frustrating because it often makes for a missed question when in fact, the information hasn’t actually been taught. This was a big problem in algebra on a particular problem concerning fractions. It also happened in a biology lesson when referring to a graph that had absolutely nothing to do with the question asked. Again, frustrating, but not a major deal-breaker in the larger scheme of things.

There might be some instances in which your student may not understand the information as it is taught in the video. We have also had this happen, and my daughter being the perfectionist she is, gets incredibly frustrated with this. In these situations, we always use outside resources and tutoring sites that go really in depth on the subject matter that she didn’t get a good grasp on through Time4Learning. Of course, this isn’t a fault of the program, just a particular learning style of my daughter. It doesn’t happen often, as Time4Learning does a great job in this area, but I thought I’d make note of it, just in case.

CONCLUSION

Overall, and considering all the factors involved, I would definitely recommend Time4Learning to anyone looking for a curriculum for their high school aged child. And while I haven’t had any experience with other grade levels, I’m sure they are just as good.

The content is engaging, easy to understand and laid out in a way that makes the child want to learn. It’s not just a boring informational site, this program aims to make learning fun. Furthermore, it gives opportunities during each lesson to find out if the information is actually being understood. If not, they go back over snippets of the lesson in a different way.

We are very happy with the program and look forward to finishing this year off with great grades!

*****As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

Posted in Schooling

Math, Historically Speaking…


I’ve been searching high and low for ways to teach my daughter math. She is, as I was at her age, behind in math. In speaking with a great many acquaintances of mine, I find that it’s a common thing for children to struggle with math, and so I’ve really been doing my own homework about it all.

I absolutely love Project Gutenberg. For those of you who may not already be familiar with it, it’s a site devoted to making available every book that has a public domain status. If you are a lover of books, and more specifically, of old, old books, then you absolutely HAVE to check out this site. You surely won’t regret it.

Anyway, I love it for so many reasons! I use to teach my daughter from spelling and history books I got from the site and the teaching styles are SO different and make SO much more sense than what we have today that it’s absolutely astounding. To teach from a book rated for a fifth grader in the late 1800’s was about the same as teaching something in high school these days. And let’s not even talk about the spelling words! That’s crazy stuff, but you’ll just have to check it out for yourself as opposed to taking my word for it.

I finally decided to turn to Project Gutenberg after being disappointed by so many of today’s theories for teaching math. I wanted to see how they taught math a hundred years ago, and MAN was I surprised! We’re doing it all wrong, folks!

I realized the difference right away when I saw that yesteryear’s math books were more words and instruction than numbers and figures and so on. Apparently, there is a psychology to math, one that today is not even figured into teaching math. In an hour’s worth of reading, I now understand more about math than I have in my whole lifetime, even with all the tutoring I took both as a child and as an adult in college math classes.

Why did they stop doing this? I don’t have the answer for that, but whoever came up with the idea of forsaking the psychology of math for this common core crap should be reprimanded in the highest fashion.

And did you know that there is an “addition table” just like there is a “multiplication table”? Well, I surely didn’t, until tonight. Apparently it’s something that is only taught in business math, but I am of the opinion that it would greatly help children today. Anything that boosts the mental fortitude in relation to math, which in turn boosts self-esteem and therefore makes better students, is something that should be in every classroom, every time numbers are dealt with.

I may not know very much, currently, about math. But this I do know – there IS an easier way. And to teach it, I must first learn it, and that’s just what I intend to do. If what I’ve learned tonight is an indicator, then I stand to learn a great deal and so does my girl.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. Your visit is appreciated and I do hope you’ll return again. Be blessed, my friends!

Posted in Schooling

My Top-5 Favorite Free Homework Help Sites


Here we are, on the eve of a brand new school year. Everyone is finishing up gathering supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks and other school essentials and the excitement about that first day is mounting!

What better time to get a few ducks in a row concerning homework? I know, teachers never give homework on the first day, so why start thinking about it now? Because, preparation is a great way to keep from falling behind in the first place. So, in lieu of the impending moaning and groaning about homework that is sure to come, I have compiled a great list of online homework helps sites that provide free help.

  1. Free Math Help – I’m just going to go ahead and put this one first, because I know it’s the one my daughter, at least, will make the most use of. And she gets it honest – I’m no good at math. Well, I was good at math, but when they started throwing letters around like numbers, then things got tricky 🙂 !  This site helps with Algebra (pre-algebra through algebra 3), Geometry, Trig and Calculus. They have lessons, games, calculators, a Q&A section, a forum and more. Believe me when I tell you you’re going to want to bookmark this one to keep it close.
  2. Another bookmark worthy site is HippoCampus with over 5,700 free videos in several different subjects from middle school through college. Teachers can even create a free account and customize it for their students.
  3. Khan Academy is an awesome, absolutely free, not-for-profit website that allows students to learn at their own pace and practice on exactly what they’re struggling with. There are no ads and no need to register, however you do need to sign in with either Facebook, Gmail or an email address. There are SO many things to work on: math, by subject or grade level, science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, economics and finance as well as test prep and college admissions. The site will keep up with all your progress, which you can check at a glance on your profile page.
  4. Though it may seem a little busy at first, Discovery Education is another great free site that offers help for students, parents and teachers alike. Featuring homework help, games and interactives and step-by-step webmath, there’s more than one way to get moving towards understanding that homework better. They even have archived webinars, if you’d like to take the time to watch.
  5. Project Gutenberg isn’t actually a homework help site, but I absolutely COULD NOT leave it off this list. It has been monumental to me, as a homeschooler, and I wanted to put it out there in the hands of as many other people as possible. This website hosts over 50,000 public domain books that you can downloaded and read. There are classics, fiction, non-fiction, Bibles, text books and more. You can search by book or just browse the categories, but I bet you’re sure to find something interesting. The great thing is, with all the apps for reading eBooks out there, you can utilize this site from a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone, easy as pie!

So, there you have it folks. My top 5 list of free homework help sites. Do you have a preferred one that you use for your kiddo’s? If so, I’d love for you to leave a link to it in the comments below so I can bookmark it for later use – and maybe even update this post with the goodies!

Also, if you happen onto this post and any of these links are broken, please do let me know so I can take it down. The last thing I want is to offer misleading information.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed day!!