Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Heart of Wisdom

We have been asked several times recently for a good "starter" book for new homeschoolers as well as what we use for the Thanksgiving holiday. This is our attempt to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

We've read about many homeschooling ideas, but one book we wish we would have read at the outset is The Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson.

It begins with the Bible as the center of education and adopts it's name from Psalm 90:12: "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

In The Heart of Wisdom Robin covers everything from the Exodus from the public school system to creating your own unit studies. We have enjoyed Robin's well thought out, biblical approach to education and find a real kindred spirit in her pages.

For example, she believes in reading good literature, but states in the section entitled Classics According to Classical Education, page 360: "Would you allow your child to spend time with a person practicing and promoting witchcraft? A book labeled classic does not automatically warrant reading it to our children. God's Word says it is wrong for believers to be yoked together with unbelievers."

Refreshing, biblical and for those that know us well~ the same tune we have been singing for a decade. : ) A classic is only a classic if it lines up with God's Word, amen?

She also believes in tying studies together with a hands-on activity. We love that and so do the children. I thought of her as I pulled an Evan-Moor book this past week (see resource section below) and got cutting and pasting.

Evan-Moor is wonderful for providing those hands-on tools we don't have time to create ourselves. And they are so clever- don't you just love that they make the Mayflower into a book and have the children write the basics of the Mayflower Compact with their own hand? Wonderful stuff- when edited by mom. And it will need some editing.

The Evan-Moor Mayflower boat/book page gave a brief summary of the pilgrim's voyage and ended with "Still they maintained hope for a new life." We asked the girls to add some of their own pages and write why they believed the pilgrims were able to maintain hope. Here is one. Faith thinks verses like Philippians 4:19 and Psalm 121:2-5 may have encouraged their hearts:


Instead of relying solely on Evan-Moor's remembrance of the past, we pulled out our long standing favorite Thanksgiving book by Barbara Rainey (see resource section below). We have used this book for about 8 years. It's one of those fantastic resources you can use again and again and never grow tired of. This added the meat to Evan-Moor's bones. It is filled with interesting history and Bible verses and gives the true account of the pilgrim's struggle and overwhelming desire for religious freedom.

And we added art. The more I read about art and the Charlotte Mason method, the more I enjoy having these types of resources available to my family. For those on a budget, Picturing America by the American Library Association provides FREE downloadable images and lesson plans to teach American History through art, using American artists. This is one of the prints they highlight:

Simple household decorations like the following, the creation of a yearly Thanksgiving play (thanks to wonderful big girls that plan plays, props and costumes!) and a meal at my sister's home are becoming traditions here.

And just a note on the personal side, for those of you dear friends who are waiting to hear from me or have sweetly said that I do not post enough~ thank you. My heart is warmed by your kindness and friendship.

By the grace of God we are enjoying our precious little ones just as you are enjoying yours. And during this season I must continue to limit my computer time and blog posts to one per week. I apologize if that causes me to run behind a bit. I truly value each one of you.

The simple truth behind our delay is, just like you, we have only this one chance to lead little hearts home.

We do not want to miss it...

Thank you eternally for your sweet patience and love.

"After sixty-five days at sea from Plymouth (a total of ninety-seven days from the first launch at Southhampton), the Pilgrims caught a glimpse of their destination, the new land where God would be worshiped freely and- in time- where freedom would flourish.

Shouting for joy and falling to their knees to pray, they celebrated by reading Psalm 100:

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations."

From Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember, pages 26-27


For those of you who have asked about SWR (I think that is 4 now) I am planning to post about how we use SWR soon. Many blessings to you!


1. Evan-Moor History Pockets: Colonial America, Grades 4-6 but truly adjustable for ages K-8. We'll be using only about half of the book for our studies this month. Reproducible.

2. Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey. It's an adjustable story to suit multiple age ranges. There is larger print to cover the general information, geared to younger ages and a smaller font which is written to older ages and covers more mature content.

3. Picturing America by the American Library Association provides FREE downloadable images and lesson plans to teach American History through art, using American artists.

This month our family is highlighting the following paintings in our home: Autumn Landscape- The River of Life, 1923-1924 by Louis Comfort Tiffany, The Veteran in a New Field, 1865 by Winslow Homer and Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California 1865 by Albert Bierstadt

4. The Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson would be a great addition to your Christmas wish list. Robin has also produced another wonderful resource entitled, "What Your Child Needs to Know When" for grades K-8. Maybe you could buy one and a friend could buy one, then you could read and swap.

In the back of "What Your Child Needs to Know When" you are given a couple of very helpful resources. The first is a seven page Character Traits goals list (alphabetized from Appreciate to Virtuous) that gives you a systematic approach for covering character traits.

The other is a check off list to match with the standards for those fearful that there may be holes in their education, but overwhelmed by the state standards web page (and who isn't?). These check off lists make a great addition to your school binder and eventually your student's CUM file.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I so treasure reading your posts and I must say that I admire that you limit your time in posting. It is quite addictive and I have had to start putting limits on myself blogging and it is sooooooo hard! ;) Also, I just recently discovered Evan-Moor products. I had steered clear of much of the stuff in our School Supply Store thinking that most of it would not follow biblical principles... and that may or may not be true... I am new to this. I picked up the Evan-Moor booklet on plants for about 10 cents secondhand and it is sooooo fabulous... and goes perfect with our studies! Thanks for all the resource recommendations!

  2. Thank you thank you Rebecca! These are some great resources and I'm going to at least check out the freebie since we are a bit short on funds these days. That book looks wonderful though, and I may have to buy it ;-)

    As for your time on the computer..I am so with you there. I don't have probably as big a following as you, but I find that my time on the blog posts and responding to emails must be limited. I just can't do it as often as I might desire at times and still give to my little family.

    I do greatly appreciate your words of wisdom and also the gentle friendship we have to some degree begun to develop.

    Lots of love,

  3. Rebecca, I love your reasons for homeschooling and how you seek to lead your little ones home. I am so excited to read those books you have recommended, and I am exceedingly encouraged that you don't blog often. It is so tempting as women in this culture to push our children aside for many other personal pursuits. Praise God you know your purpose!

  4. Amen, amen and amen. Love to you, dear like-minded friend.

    Love in Christ,


  5. Dear Shannon,

    I love to hear from you! Wonderful~ 10 cents resources are the best! You love a bargain just like I do. : )

    Like I said, it will take some editing, but I know you are creative so it may just get your juices flowing. You can peek at some of their resources on line as well and they always have clearance items.

    About priorities, I just have to share this quote with you by Doug Phillips from his "Victories" CD. It paints such a lovely picture.

    In speaking about the missing element and a critical ingredient for the battle of the family...

    "My mission is to remind you that your family is beautiful.

    My mission is to remind you that God is well pleased to see you delight in the humor of your household.

    My mission is to remind you that there is a glory which the Lord has placed around you every single day~ which is looking you in the eye if only you will take a moment to stop and look at it.

    In fact I believe that our lives are filled with a beauty which is so remarkable, and so amazing, so phenomenal and yet we miss it. We miss it because we are moving too fast.

    We miss it because we do not prioritize the things that God prioritizes. Looking in the eyes of our beloved and telling them how desperately we do love them.

    Smelling the aroma of family life and drinking deeply from the font of joy of the household."

    That just encourages me and makes me want to cry all at once!

    This does not mean things will be perfect~ or that things will even go according to plan. It is simply to say that we must stop and look smack dab into those eyes looking at us and enjoy the family that the Lord has miraculously knit together.

    For His glory. Amen? I don't want my children to grow up and remember they saw more of the back of my head (while I was staring at a computer) than my eyes. : )

    Love to you!

  6. Dear Sommer,

    Agreed. I too am really enjoying the opportunity to get to know you better. Finding kindred spirits is always so encouraging.

    I don't know for sure, but I wonder if these books would be at the public library or if your church library would be interested in carrying them? Just a thought.

    Of course, the premise~ keeping God's Word at the center of all is something that I believe you do quite well on your own. Sometimes new homeschoolers can simply feel overwhelmed by the limitless options. I think being on a tight budget can actually be a blessing in that way, don't you?

    Much love!

  7. Thank you Rebecca for your ideas, I was struggling finding good resources. I finally posted our preschool lesson plan on my blog for others to use, because I couldn't find much. And I was SO encouraged by that Doug Philips quote. I needed that. :)
    Here's the link - so others don't have to recreate the wheel. ;)

  8. Dear Debra~

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment. That is a real encouragement.

    I wonder if that temptation is the same spirit seen at the Tower of Babel ("let us make a name for ourselves" Genesis 11:4)?

    David was so wise in Psalm 39:

    "Lord, make me to know my end,
    and what is the measure of my days,
    that I may know how frail I am.
    Indeed, You have made my days as handbreaths...
    certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor."

    Love and prayers. : )

  9. Dear Lisa,

    You have no idea what an encouragement you are kindred friend. I am so blessed by God with your friendship.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Love and hugs!

  10. Thank you so much Ginger! Those are great!

    For some super cute craft and lesson ideas for little ones here's Ginger's link:

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I just want to say I really enjoy all the ladies on here that leave comments!
    Rebecca you have created an environment where we are all able to be encouraged, strengthened , and humbled. Amen? AMEN!!
    Happy Thanksgiving Yall!!
    Kelly K

  12. That Doug Phillips quote is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it.

    I will check with my library and see if they have any of these books. I would have to see whether our church's library would want these books. I may have to make a call ;-)

    I have to admit that I struggle between feeling frustrated when financially strapped and being relieved/feeling blessed. There are times when I am disappointed that I can't buy a resource/tool I would like for our family and then other times, when it is such a relief to keep things simple and be creative. I am finding, though that the latter is more often how I feel these days and perhaps it has been God's tool to keep my focus simple. Having little to work with has also made it easier to see the blessings God has graced us with and to see the beauty of the homeschool community with their encouragement and generosity. God truly has blessed my little family:-)

    Thanks for reminding me that even my lack can be a blessing:-)

    Lots of love,
    Sommer...if I don't speak to you before Thanksgiving, may your Thanksgiving be blessed and full of joy!

  13. Hello Rebecca! It is always a blessing to read your posts, no matter how far between them it may be. :) Amen to only having one chance to lead our little ones!
    Much love to you,
    Saminda xo

  14. Kelly~ Agreed. I really enjoy these ladies as well. Thanks for that sweet encouragement dear one.

    Sommer~ I can relate to that. I often need to be creative, but in the end I am always thankful. Shopping and managing things actually takes a lot of work and attention. I often find that I have the freedom to be quieter and more focused on my family without all the hubbub. : )

    BTW, I have homeschool things I am not using. I can have the girls type up a list and you are more than welcome to use me as a library as well. : ) They don't do me any good collecting dust and it would force us to get together half way!

    Saminda! So glad you are back! Hope you are enjoying your new home! Looking forward to seeing you get settled in. : )

    Many blessings!

  15. "BTW, I have homeschool things I am not using. I can have the girls type up a list and you are more than welcome to use me as a library as well. : ) They don't do me any good collecting dust and it would force us to get together half way!"

    Wow! What a sweet offer :-) Though, I don't think I'd need to be forced to meet with you...though the motivation may help my hubby;-) be willing to drive the distance!

    I'd be excited to look over what you may have that is no longer needed. I'm always trying to look for things that may fit us better. I feel like I am always changing and that my hubby and I are always trying to refine how we teach our children, both about the Lord and their education in general.

    I hope to chat with you soon.

    Lots of love,
    Sommer...hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with your family!