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I’ve been researching what approach I want to take with homeschooling our little girl. She’s just 3 1/2, so right now we’re simply focusing on reading to her, doing plenty of coloring time, sidewalk chalk, time at the piano tickling the ivories with Mommy, learning that A says “a” and B says “b.” She actually knows the sounds of all her letters now, except usually gets mixed up on Y. She likes to go through the Hooked on Phonics set we’re borrowing from our church.

I’m trying to decide what I like better: Classical Christian home education, the Principle Approach, or an amalgam of whatever I put together at low cost. Our home education budget is probably going to be low. Maybe I’ll just plan it myself using library books and used bookstore books and website helps.

Yesterday we attended a Classical Conversations meeting at the home of a homeschool mom nearby. It seems great in many ways, but it is tuition-based. I like how the weekly 3-hour meetings can provide some social time with other moms and kids, and motivation for what we do at home. Looking over their 2009 catalog, the materials seemed high quality in many ways.

I also have a catalog for the Principle Approach, also known as the Noah Plan. That was very impressive to me. I love how they focus on the Bible at the center of it all, and focus greatly on American history, heritage and literature. But how would I expand on that? I think it needs a lot of expansion. The plan is a framework designed for flexibility for the parents and child, though, I think. If I want to add material on Ancient Egypt, I can, no doubt.

I’ve also been influenced by Victoria Botkin’s CD (mp3, actually) message “Curriculum Advice,” available through Vision Forum. I loved every minute of her 2 talks. I admire the work she and her husband Geoffrey have done raising well-educated young men and women of character who are already having a good influence on other homeschoolers in this country and abroad. Mr and Mrs. Botkin don’t advocate any one approach. They designed their children’s education as they went along, uniquely for each child. In fact, Geoffrey Botkin told me himself that to homeschool well, all you need is a Bible, a pencil and paper, and a library card! Wow. And lots and lots of prayer, I would add!

So, now that I’m pregnant for the second time ever in my whole entire life . . .

(10 weeks and counting! I started showing in the first month!)

I had a very good experience with the hospital my daughter was born at: St. Joseph Medical Center in Orange, Ca. I can’t say enough good things. We were uber-blessed with a kind and gentle labor nurse who was with me from the moment I got in (I was already in the Transition Phase) till the end. My labor lasted 38 hours, but I was only in the hospital for about 3 1/2 or 4 hours (can’t remember) before she came out. I’ll have to put the birth story details on another post. Anyway, what makes me not want a hospital birth this time is just one thing: the episiotomy. This is the unkindest cut. I urged the OB in many appointments not to do this to me. He did anyway. I can understand why–I never got to 10cm dilation. But I also cried for 8 weeks because of it (that’s a wee exaggeration for effect! It hurt for 8 weeks, most of the crying was just in the first month).

So I’d love to have a homebirth with a midwife! But it’s still costly, even though my husband’s insurance will cover a good percentage of it.

So, I began looking into Unassisted Childbirth. I found Laura Shanley’s site, http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com, and became inspired! I think Laura Shanley makes a very good case for UC. Those ladies in the videos make me feel like I can do it, too! On the other hand, some fair and balanced comments from wise families on the Quiverful Digest made me realize it does have risks, and that’s coming from its advocates–families who’ve had multiple Unassisted Homebirths and know that most UC births are totally uncomplicated. I would love to have an uncomplicated UC, but at the same time, I don’t want all the pressure to be on my husband to save the day in case of an unexpected complication. He just wants to catch the baby, and that’s fine with me! We’re praying God will provide the best birthing scenario for us.

After taking a break from blogging for several months, I’m back in the game!

Not only that, our prayers for another child have been answered! That’s right–I’m pregnant with our second child, due December 30th!!  We give glory to our loving God for this special and long-awaited blessing. Our first and only child is 3 1/2 years old, and she’d been asking, “Mommy, I want a brother or a sister.” I often felt pangs of sadness because she’s a lonely child who absolutely adores babies (she always wants me to stop and get a close look when we see a baby in public), but I had been infertile for over 2 years! But God knew best. I had some serious health issues in 2008, and only He knew how that was going to end up straining me for a time. Now that he’s healed me of those health issues, I’m expecting!! Yay!

Here is my reply to Comment #3 in my previous Prop 8 post. The person who made Comment #3 was disagreeing with my statement that, should Prop 8 fail and homosexual marriage remain legal, people would be forced to ask “are you married to a man or a woman?” when they see a wedding ring on the person’s finger. The person felt that was outlandish, because he doesn’t normally ask personal questions of any sort about the person’s spouse when he sees someone’s wedding ring on their finger. I felt my reply should be more visible, so I re-posted my comment below.

Our sex determines the terms of our existence.

At a church picnic on Saturday, I went without my husband and daughter. I was asked: “Where’s your husband?” This came from someone who knows my husband, but it didn’t have to. It may very well have been asked by one of the many people there with whom I had yet to become acquainted. Over time, with legal homosexual “marriage,” the new “morality” would begin to take hold, and people would begin to be told they’re bigoted or narrow-minded if they automatically assume a person with a wedding ring on is married to the opposite sex. This sort of thing has already made its way into our society even at the most conservative levels.

For example, Mormon missionaries (of all people!) asked my husband–right in front of me and my daughter–” . . . your wife . . .–is she your wife?” They didn’t want to look dumb just in case we happened to be one of those “co-habiting” couples who decided to raise a child together, Brangelina-style.

Another example: the public school system, where kids are being taught everyday to accept homosexuality as equivalent to homosexual “marriage,” no doubt more so now in CA now that a few judges decided that was a new “right,” by fiat, and gays are now “marrying.” So with sex ed, and in Health class, schools are basically feeling like they shouldn’t automatically *assume* a youngster was born heterosexual, so they are beginning to teach homosexual activity right alongside heterosexual activity. This is the logical outgrowth of the political correctness of “homosexual rights.”

No one wants to look like an oaf in case they might be talking to an over-sensitive person in an “alternative lifestyle,” who will pounce on them for “assuming” he’s married to a woman. “You shouldn’t jump to conclusions,” we’ll be told. “You wouldn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings,” we’ll be told. Subtle guilt.

Don’t you see how our entire language gets changed around because of political correctness? No longer stewardess, but “flight attendant.” No longer mailman, but “mail courier.” No longer fireman, but “firefighter.” People are so pliable when it comes to the ever-changing rules of political correctness. They will conform their social skills to the new homosexual political privileges sooner or later, should Prop 8 fail.

“A Chritianity which will bear witness to God’s Word in Jesus will be a speaking, thinking, arguing, debating Christianity, which will not be afraid to engage in intellectual and philosophical contest with the prevailing dogmas of its day.”

–Oliver O’Donovan

I say “divisive” quote, because this is the very thing I’ve tried to do in my old church (a Calvary Chapel). I was simply trying to draw people’s attention to a tragically-ignored and misunderstood passage of Scripture (I Corinthians 11:1-15), and see if people wanted to take an honest look at it. But our pastor at that church said that would be “divisive” (without even explaining the meaning of the passage to me). Rather than them even looking at the passage itself, they just looked at “that rag” (their words, not mine) on my head said I was “in Romans 14.” What our pastor meant by this is that I was the “weaker brother” of Romans 14–the brother who hypothetically thinks it’s a sin to eat meat, and therefore in love we should not eat meat in front of him, so as to not offend his oversensitive conscience.

Since that’s how they responded at my old church when I tried to bring up this Scripture, I’ve been VERY HESITANT to bring up neglected Scriptures in our new church. I feel so concerned that I’ll be misunderstood again. Right now everybody there loves me just as I am, which is a great improvement on the last church, and I’m afraid to ruin that. At our church (a URC), I’ve been told I’m “adding to the Scriptures.” That was when I was pointing out from the Scriptures why I am against contraception. I consider “adding to the Scriptures” a grave sin. How do you handle it when you’re just presenting the neglected Scripture verses as they are, and reason from them to their plain and logical conclusions . . . and then hear that you’re “adding to the Scriptures?” Plus, I’ve been wondering if those Bible verses that warn us not to be “contentious” might apply here. So this quote reallly seems to be encouraging me to not shy away from asking Bible questions about difficult passages. . . Yay. I think I’m gaining courage here.

Interestingly, this is printed on a bookmark I picked up for free in our church bookstore (our present church).

I encourage anyone interested in the operations of Doug Phillips and Vision Forum to read “Jen’s Gems.” Here is the story she tells of what happened when she and her family attended Doug Phillips’ home church, Beorne Christian Assembly. I absolutely love the Vision Forum, their ministry, their media/bookstore, and the conferences they provide. I even would happily promote them, since our family has been enormously blessed by the Vision Forum. But the Vision Forum is a separate entity from the Beorne Christian Assembly, Phillips’ home church.

http://jensgems.wordpress.com/2006/12/10/the-search-for-the-perfect-church/

In researching theonomy, I found the story of Jennifer Epstein. I haven’t read every part of the entire site yet, but I’ve read all the parts to “her story.” I don’t want to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater when it comes to theonomy, or when it comes to the things Vision Forum sets out to do, but I just want to say one thing:

After reading Jen’s story, I am SO glad that my husband and I are at a church where the pastor’s power is limited by a duplicity of elders, the large group of elders–and not the pastor–administer the Lord’s Supper to the congregants and decide from whom to “fence the table,” and the URC has a church synod to which any abused or excommunicated members can appeal. I’m beginning to see more and more why it is so important to have these things in place in a church. In the URC–our denomination–every pastor knows that if he does the sort of thing Doug Phillips did in his “home church,” Beorne Christian Assembly, that pastor would have to pay a very high price in his career, and possibly even come close to losing his ordination.

There is no such thing as a perfect church or a perfect pastor. Even the most orthodox and loving pastors, elders or deacons can get on a power trip if they know they don’t have to answer to anyone else. Especially if people start putting them and their family on a pedestal. No one is immune to the temptation. Would I call them a cult, like Jennifer Epstein is suggesting? No. I haven’t seen evidence of that. But they do have a strong following, so I just hope the homeschool Christians who like Vision Forum so much don’t start following any man, and don’t think ill of Jennifer Epstein just because the Phillips family might.

I’ve seen this before, with Calvary Chapel. A pastor sets himself up with a small number of secret elders who just do as he says in everything, and there’s really no accountability, just the appearance of an eldership. In the case of Calvary Chapel–it’s Pastor Chuck Smith, and then every other pastor practically following the same set-up of church leadership with their own CC church plants: basically the senior pastor gets to nix anyone, anything for any reason, without justification, if he wants to, without anyone being allowed to question it. This appears to have happened with Doug Phillips in his church, too. Any man can fall from a pedestal.

http://jensgems.wordpress.com/2006/12/10/the-search-for-the-perfect-church/

I found this in my research on theonomy. Since I have found the articles in Chalcedon Foundation’s magazine “Faith for all of Life” so compelling, and since the leadership (notably my pastor) eschews it so clearly, I’ve decided I need to do more footwork on this. The link is below.

This article is enormously enlightening. It’s entitled “Meet the Theonomists,” and it’s written by someone FAR more familiar with theonomy and theonomists than I am. I think I’ll tread lightly in this arena. I need to keep to my husband’s leadership here, like my Titus 2 “older woman” friend always wisely admonishes me to do. The article in this link is long.

http://theonomists.blogspot.com/