Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Struggle with Infertility--Part 3

038.JPGTo a stranger, my family appears perfect: Daddy, Mommy, 3.5yr old Princess, and Newborn Prince. We even have a 13 yr old dog, and a 12 yr old cat.  In fact, people have said that to me since I gave birth to our son: "Now your family is perfect". 

They mean well. They aren't trying to offend, but every time I hear that, I cringe inside, bite my tongue, smile, and say, "Thank You". All I really want to do is yell, "MY FAMILY WAS PERFECT 5 YEARS AGO!!!!" 

Before you nod your head, and whisper, "hormones", let me explain myself. You see, I suffer from infertility (IF). Yes, you read that right: I am INFERTILE!! Yes, we are blessed with 2 beautiful children here on earth that are 100% ours. I carried my babies in my womb, a little piece of me, and a little piece of my husband, combined perfectly, by God, into the unique little people they are. I will, however, be forever haunted by my diagnosis. 

I have an official diagnosis of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This basically means my ovaries mature eggs correctly, but 'forget' to release the eggs (I don't ovulate), and the result is that each egg, trapped in my ovaries, turns into a cyst. This causes my testosterone to rise, my progesterone to fall, and all sorts of lovely hormonal imbalances to occur. I also have insulin resistance caused by the hormone imbalances. Basically, my body produces enough insulin, but it doesn't absorb enough to keep my blood sugar within a "normal" range. because of this, I have type 2 diabetes also.

We began trying to start our family in August 2006, and found out we were pregnant in November 2006. We lost that baby on Thanksgiving Day. It took us trying another year until we were transferred to an OB/GYN specializing in IF. After all of the testing, and blood work, I was given my diagnosis of PCOS. We were assured by the Dr that most women respond to medication and that it was possible for me to have a baby. 

I began taking Clomid, a drug that was supposed to help me ovulate. I was given the smallest dose to begin in October 2007, but it did not work. So, in November, the dose was doubled, and it worked: I ovulated. We kept trying, and I kept taking Clomid. Nothing. I began losing hope. I felt broken. I told my husband he needed to leave me, and find someone who could give him a family. You see, Clomid is a nasty little drug that messes with your hormones. I ran the spectrum of anger, depression, optimism, and hopefulness while on it. I am ashamed to admit that I don't remember much of the 8 months I was on Clomid. It is all a hormonal, fuzzy blur to me. My husband will be quick to point out that he still loved me, even though I was acting like a foolish crazy lady...ha-ha! 

In June 2008 we decided to take the next step medically. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This is a procedure where the Dr takes sperm, washes it, and inserts it directly into the uterus where, hopefully, a mature egg is waiting for it. This procedure failed. We tried again in July... also a failure. 

The Dr told us that the next step would be In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Without this procedure, the odds were not in our favor for us to have biological children. We were devastated. We could barely afford what we had done so far, there was no way we would be able to afford IVF! 

It was around this time that we had began going to church. We had both been raised in church, but had not been in church regularly since becoming adults, and hadn't been at all since we had been married. I truly believe that we went through IF to bring us back to God.  I believe that, because we found 'our' church in June of 2008, and became members in August 2008. We finished membership classes the week we found out we were pregnant. 

I know our daughter was a true miracle, because she was conceived without any external medical assistance. We had chosen not to proceed any further in our IF treatments. We had started discussing adoption. And, I had finally given everything to God. All along I had been praying and saying I had faith. I still wanted to be in charge of my IF though. I wanted that control, I wanted to be the one to decide when it would happen. It was only after I finally, completely, and wholeheartedly gave it to God that HE allowed us to conceive. I say we 'gave up' and people perceive that as we had lost hope, but truly, I mean I gave my IF up TO GOD! I clung to the verse in Psalms: He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother to children. Praise ye the Lord. (Ps 113:9) 

We have since been blessed with our son. After trying for 18 months with no medical intervention, we conceived our 3rd baby, but that pregnancy also ended in a loss. After that, I decided that we were done trying. God had other plans, and in December 2011, we found out we were expecting again! Our Little Man was born in August 2012, and he is such a blessing! God provided us with the desires of our heart X 2. 

Just because I have my babies, doesn't mean I still don't have the infertile mindset. I still struggle with hearing about someone else being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I view all babies as blessings, and I rejoice with each announcement, but a little part inside of me still has that feeling of sadness. Sounds silly, especially because I read the last announcement while I was feeding our son. Here I was with the greatest gift, IN MY ARMS, and I still had that twinge of JEALOUSY!! How silly is that? I also have a feeling of guilt. Here I am with 2 babies, and some of my 'infertile sisters' have none! 

It is very difficult, even for me, to know what to say, and how to say it. I will say this though: Sometimes what means the most is a hug, and a sincere, "I've been praying for you". Well meaning advice is usually not appreciated. I have heard, "Just relax, and it will happen", and "Maybe God has other plans", and "Just adopt, then you will get pregnant! I know someones cousins neighbor who had that happen to them!" so many times! These things do not help! When you are going through the journey, it isn't helpful to hear those things from people who just don't get it! I hope that I can be an encouragement to others going through the IF journey, and that God will allow what I say, and my actions to be a comfort to those going through this struggle. May God give all who struggle the desires of their hearts: For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him (1Sam 1:27)

Written by: Rebecca Miller Long

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Struggle with Infertility--Part 2

undefinedMy husband and I had been married for seven years, and we had been praying for a baby. After several trips to the doctor’s, we were referred to see a specialist.   After several different tests were done, the doctor called and wanted to see us at his office.  During the ride in the car on the way over we were both very quiet – praying for a miracle.  Before going in to see the doctor, we prayed together that we would be willing to accept whatever the results would be.  

The doctor that we saw was an older gentleman and was very kind. He also claimed to be a Christian.  He said, “After looking over the test results it looks as if you will never be able to have a child of our own. If you were my children, I would advise you to adopt a child.” 

Our hearts were broken.  We walked out his office, went to our car, and cried.  We cried for the loss of a hope of having a baby of our own.  I felt as if we were being punished by God. I can say that if ever there was a time I felt like I was in the depths of despair, it was then.   

I began to question God foolishly, “Why us Lord?” 

In the days and weeks that followed, every time I would see a baby or hear of someone else having a baby I would instantly begin to cry.  I must have driven my husband crazy. There were several times when I would be out shopping and I would see a young child or a pregnant mother and I would have to walk away with tears rolling down my face.  It seemed to me at this time that everyone that I knew was having a baby.  My heart ached for a baby.  

One day after reading Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of  thine heart.”  I knew that my desire was for a baby, and it seemed as if God had said no, yet my heart still had a strong desire.  It was then that I prayed, “God if it is not your will for us to have a child please change my desire.”
I prayed this prayer every time I felt overwhelmed or defeated.  I was doing my best to accept the fact that, for whatever reason, God in Heaven had said, “No”. I would sometimes think of the verse in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”  

I think one of the things that surprises me the most is how unkind people can be.  Many time people speak without thinking of how their words can really hurt someone.  Well-meaning people say really stupid things.  It was during this time that I had a pastor’s wife say to me, “When are you going to get right with God and give your husband a child?” When this was said to me, I could hardly contain myself. I excused myself and went outside to cry. I begin to pray again, “Lord if it is not your will, please change my desires.” I just hurt all over.  When my husband came and found me. I remember I told him what was said, then we both began to cry. I know it was just one person that said that to us but we felt so alone.  It seemed to us that everyone we know had children. What was wrong with us?!   

In the days and weeks that followed, I really had to fight against becoming bitter: bitter towards God, and bitter towards others who had children. It seemed that when I would be feeling sorry for myself these hurtful words would be ringing in my ears.

Just thinking about that time in our life makes me want to cry again. I think this woman thought that because I worked I had chosen a career over a baby. 

I had a couple of different couples say to us that until we had children our marriage was not blessed of God. I cannot count how many people have asked, “Why don’t you have a child? Are you the problem or is it your husband?” 

How does one respond to mean and cruel statements that people make? I tried to respond with grace.  I would try to put a smile on my face and find a nice way to tell them it was none of their business. 

It is only natural to want to talk about babies and motherhood. However sometimes the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut, and say a prayer for those who do not have children. 

The most encouraging words I heard while going through this time in my life were, “I am praying for you.”  I remember there was a woman in our church who, every time she saw me,  would say, “I’m still praying for you and your husband to have a baby.”  Just knowing that she was praying for me lifted my spirits!  I knew my friends were praying for me.

The author of this blog post wishes to remain anonymous. 

The Lord has blessed them with a daughter, but not in the way they would have imagined. Instead, He allowed them to adopt a beautiful and precious little girl. Please be in prayer for their family as they continue to serve God.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Struggle with Infertility

Have you ever wanted something?  Like really wanted something?  Maybe a car, or a new house?

For me, it was a baby. It has always been a baby.  When I was growing up, we had a Career Night in our children's program at church.  Some kids dressed as teachers or police officers.  I went dressed as a Mom.  To me, a Mom was the best “career” anyone could have.  My Dad worked for his sister, and my Mom was “paid” to stay home with us.  To me, that counts as a career.

When I got married, my husband and I decided we wanted to wait to have kids for the first year.  After that year, we got very excited because we just knew we would get pregnant right away.  After the first month, and being a few days late, I cried harder than I ever had before when Aunt Flo showed up.  That same month, a newly wed couple announced they were expecting.  I was so happy for them, but I was hurting so much inside… a pain the others around me couldn't understand.  But, we thought, “Oh, well, next month is a new month.”  We were told, “It takes a few months for your body to adjust after birth control.”

I love to work with children, and especially babies.  But, because of our struggle to conceive, I struggled to work with children for several years.  After about three years of not working in a nursery, I was asked to volunteer in the church nursery.  I was so excited to hold a baby and play with the kids.  Within minutes of taking in the first baby, someone walked by and, full of good intentions, said, “Are you practicing?”  I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.  Other things were said as well, but most were along the same lines.

My first Mother's Day after we got married was no big deal.  I was still on birth control, so I totally accepted that I wouldn't be pregnant.  The next year, our church gave out flowers to all the mothers.  I wasn't a mother, so I didn't expect a flower, but someone decided I needed to be told I wasn't a mother.  I cried the rest of the day over a comment that didn't need to be made.  The next year, someone sought me out to give me a flower – I still have it.  And again, I cried the rest of the day. 

Each year is different.  Some years, I hide to avoid dealing with my situation. Other years I cry in front of everyone.  This year, I had to leave church because I couldn't control my tears.

After several years had passed and still no baby, I began an internal struggle.  I trust God has a plan, but I don't know what that plan is.  People give me advice, but nothing changes.  God is the only One that can change my situation.

I was a nanny for about 14 months.  It was by far the best job I have ever had!  But this experience taught both of us that we would not be able to foster.  We have seriously considered adopting, but we would not be able to give a child back after caring for it and loving it as our own.  I also will not nanny again.  It has been an almost daily struggle to deal with this unusual loss.  However, I would nanny for Baby Boy again in a heartbeat!!

Cross : cross Stock Photo
Before I go on, I want to clarify a few things.  My pain does not equal anger or bitterness.  I may struggle to keep back my tears, but I am not angry at God or other women who can have children.  Each time a friend or acquaintance announces a pregnancy, I do get excited for them, but also hurt on the inside.  I had to block all the week-by-week pregnancy apps on Facebook because so many friends were expecting.  In order to remain happy for them, I had to remove the constant reminder.

Also, my husband and I did not have insurance until just a few months ago, and did not have the finances to be tested.  We do not know at this point why we cannot have children, or if we simply don't have children.  I did have a medical procedure done a few months before our wedding, and the doctor said there was a 10% chance that I would not have children.  Sometimes, that 10% looks really big!

Through my struggle to conceive, I have learned to trust God more.  My husband can hold me and hurt with me, but he can't change it any more than I can.  Only God can.

I began a study of barren women in the Bible.  You may think of Sarah, Rachel, and Elisabeth, but there are so many more:  Rebekah, Ruth, Samson's mother, and the Shunammite woman.  God blessed each of these women with children that went on to do great things.  There are many promises throughout the Bible specifically for the “barren woman.”  God gave promises to the Israelites about their new land and His blessings on it (Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14).  I love what Hannah said after she gave birth to Samuel, “They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased:  so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble” (I Samuel 2:5).  God also gave promises to barren women in general.  Psalm 113:9 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.  Praise ye the LORD.”

I know that if it is God's will, I will someday have a child of my own.  If it is not His will, then He has a better plan for me.  I do believe God will give me children in His time, but I will trust Him and love Him even if I don't have children.


Written by: 
Pastor's Wife

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Newest, Grandest News :-)


Today I wanted to tell you about our latest news... our newest, grandest news. Exiting as this news is, I'm also a little trepidatious. Let me explain why...

Francis Nichol

In 2005, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby. We were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to God! We were going to have a baby!!!

When our baby was eight weeks, five days old, we had a miscarriage... our first. It was devastating.  So many people tried to help by saying things like, "You can always have another one", "Well, at least you were only 2 months along instead of 8 months", and "Think of all the people who can't have children... You're lucky that you can get pregnant!"

They WERE trying to help... but it didn't help. My heart was broken, my hopes were dashed, and my uterus, which had been carrying a baby... our baby... was empty.

What I really needed was time... time with God, time with my husband, time alone... time to heal. I needed to quit hearing people talk about my baby... my baby... as an IT. My baby was a living person... a very real, living person, not an IT. I needed to be loved, but I needed people to quit reminding me about my loss.

Yes, I know there are people... many people... who suffer from infertility. I know there are people whose arms ache to hold a precious bundle of joy of their own. I knew that then too, but knowing that didn't help me at the time.

Sierra Rennai

We soon got pregnant again, and Sierra was born March 6, 2006... healthy and screaming her lungs out.

Manasseh Ephraim 

A little over a year later we got pregnant again, and that baby is also awaiting us in Heaven. By this time, we had dealt with the first miscarriage. We had learned to rest in God. We had come to realize that in allowing us to lose our baby, God had opened a very special doorway through which we are able to help others who have gone, or are going, through a similar experience.

After we lost him/ her, we named the baby Manasseh Ephraim, which basically means "Let go, and let God". The night we lost the baby, we went to the revival service that was going on at our church, and the preacher preached on how God brings tough times into our lives, but that He always brings us through them and how, on the other side of the valley, we find ourselves closer to God. Isn't it just like God to lay the very message on your heart that you need to hear?! He had based his text in Genesis in the verse where God tells us about Manasseh and Ephraim, thus the name.

Hannah Marie

Soon after, we got pregnant again. After many attempt to come early and forcing Mommy onto bed-rest for 2 months, Hannah came on July 7, 2008 at 10 pounds and an ounce.

Rebekka Ruthann

When we got pregnant a fifth time, I just KNEW we were going to lose this baby too. After all, that was the pattern: lose a baby, have a baby, lose a baby, have a baby... Surly this would be another loss... but we didn't lose the baby! Rebekka was born on July 14, 2011 after an uneventful pregnancy!

Introducing Peanut! :-)

Well, you guessed it... We're pregnant again! Normally, I wouldn't tell people this early, but I've decided to give it to God. What good will worrying do anyway? Prayer, however, is the key. If it's God's will that this baby make it, we'll have another bundle of joy... or two (My oldest has been praying for twin brothers for about a year and a half now... and we all know how God likes to answer the prayers of children! LOL) around Mother's Day. As of right now, I'm due May 13, 2013, but my due date always change to an earlier date, and my babies almost always come late. :-)...

Introducing a New Series!

I wanted to give you that wonderful news, and I also wanted to inform you that I'm going to host a series on infertility on the blog. I'm not sure when the posts will be up. There are a few ladies who are writing about their personal experiences with infertility specifically for this blog, and I'll post them as soon as I receive them! I'm excited about this series, because, although it's a hard topic, it's a problem many women face. We that have children can't really grasp the things they go through or the pain they endure... I'm hoping this series will open our eyes a little more, allowing us to see into the heart of the ladies around us who suffer from this painful condition, so we might know how better to pray for them.

Also, please keep me and the newest Peanut in your prayers as we trudge this wonderful journey again.

If you have any comments you'd like to add, please do. If you are someone who struggles with infertility and would like to write a blog post on the topic, please inbox me on my facebook page,

Thank you all for your prayers, and God Bless!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Unfinished Projects

Many people, when starting a job, don't realize that the completed job will bring them so much satisfaction! I kind of feel sorry for those people who never finish anything. What a sad state that must be, to have so many unfinished projects laying around, staring at you... taunting you... I know what it's like, because I have a few of those myself!

Aren't you glad that when man fell in the Garden that God didn't just say, "Oh well! Guess that didn't work out... Moving on now..."? Aren't you glad that when Jesus was tempted He didn't give up and go Home and leave His sinless time on earth as an unfinished project? I don't know about you, but I am so very happy that Jesus didn't come down off that cross, calling 10,000 angels to come destroy the world and leave our salvation an unfinished project! I'm glad He didn't decide to stay in Heaven with His Father instead of coming back to life and leave our redemption an unfinished project! God is so good!

One of the things we see in Scripture is that, as a homemaker and virtuous woman, we have a lot of mandates upon us. If you're a wife or mother, then there are even more. 

The Proverbs 31 virtuous woman  is hard to find, which is very sad, but she is who we should strive to emulate. A virtuous woman protects the heart of her husband, adds to the finances of the home through hard work, and takes care of her own--even in the middle of the night. She cares for the poor, offering them food and raiment. She makes sure she is modest, even if she has to make her own clothes for that to happen. She isn't idle, but has a clean and very well-run, organized home. She seeks God and teaches Him to her children. She is truly a virtuous woman.

What if this woman left her tasks undone? What is she left all of her duties to become unfinished projects? Odds are, her heart would be straying toward another man and other men would be straying after her as she wore the latest fashion with its skin-tight pants and blouse that shows off enough cleavage to form the Grand Canyon. If she didn't care for the finances of the household, she would probably detract from them instead, being one of those woman who buy everything they see whether they have the money or not. Her servants and family, after working long, hard hours, would come home to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches they made themselves because Mom spent all day on Farmville and is still not at a place that she can stop without losing everything she has worked so hard for. The poor would continue to walk around hungry, naked, and destitute. Her house would look like a tornado had trashed it, and her children would grow up without knowing God or seeing Him in her life. What a sad life for her... for her husband... for her children... To have all of those unfinished projects...

Let's not drop the ball... Let's not leave any unfinished "projects". Keep your eyes on God, your goal on the prize, and your hands busy! Don't let anything... especially your husband and children... fall by the wayside. And... if it already has, pick up the pieces and decide that from now on, you are going to finish every project God sees fit to give you!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Teaching Your Children a Second Language is Vital!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head.

If you talk to him in his language,
that goes to his heart.
(Nelson Mandela)

Is it really important for our children to learn a second language? Why not wait until they are older... you know... High School level... Besides, if they learn a language now, they are going to have to learn a third language in High School since it is required by law in our state that each child have a high school level class in foreign languages in graduate!

We start our children out young. From birth they start learning sign language, and now, at 1, 4, and 6, we are learning Spanish. This is Sierra's (6) second year of Spanish. Why?

Children are able to learn a new language a lot easier if they learn it before they reach adolescence. At these young ages, their brain is still developing, and the language "department" of their brain is still accepting new words and phrases as their "first language". Before adolescence, children learn second languages at an alarming rate and retain it better, because their brain sees it as learning their mother tongue.

Learning another language opens up a whole new world for your child. Learning about a different culture, different dress, different foods and customs... these all add to who a child is. In learning about the different cultures, they also learn to be more accepting of other people, regardless of their race, sex, tongue, creed, or culture.

Teaching them another language... or two, or three, or... invests in their life. With extra language skills, your children will have more opportunities... greater opportunities. Bilingual adults have more of a chance of getting hired. Most colleges and graduate schools, these days, require that a student have at least two years of foreign language under their belt before they will be accepted! Also, being fluent in another language gives your child the unique opportunity of studying abroad.

The sad truth is that out of the 66% of the world's population that is at least bilingual, less than 30% of them have English as a first language, and even a smaller percentage is American. There are people all around us that speak another language, and many of the do not speak English. As the world's population grows, the world is shrinking. Are you going to let your children be unprepared?

You live a new life for every new language you speak.

If you know only one language, you live only once. 
(Czech proverb)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Hi, Everyone!

I thought I would do a quick blog post that will give you a "Behind the Scenes" peek life!

I thought I would give you all a quick "Behind the Scenes" peek into our family life! Enjoy!

Summer was awesome! We wrapped the Summer up with a trip to the free Street Fair that was going on in town. The girls got to play games, get their faces painted, be an "Archaeologist" by using archaeology tools to dig through a tote with sand in it to find hidden Mayan "artifacts", make Mayan "masks" out of paper plates and paper scraps, and build a Mayan "tower" out of Legos. We all had a blast! :)
School is going great! We are started a week early so that we can do half days for two weeks so that everyone can get used to doing school work again :)... me included. This is Hannah's first year being homeschooled, so things are a little bit different for me since I have two being schooled at the same time right now.

Sierra is six years old and in Second Grade this year. She started Preschool at (almost) three and has never slowed down. She is one of those children that just soak up everything they learn and never let it go! I wish my brain worked that good! :) She is doing a self-paced curriculum, Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum, but she has been requiring a lot of attention these first few days... which is why we started with two weeks of half days first. See! Maybe I am smart after all! *Hee hee hee!*
Hannah is four. She started her K-4 curriculum Monday. She is soooo exited to finally be in school! She is just eating it all up! I am praying she stays this exited and teachable all year long! Hannah's curriculum is teacher-taught, as is most K-4 curriculums, but we are loving the one on one time! :)

Rebekka is doing fine so far with being left out of the happenings. She usually plays well by herself, but I was kind of nervous, because she tends to find the most inopportune times to need someone to cuddle with. Have you ever noticed that with your children? Do yours play just fine when you are not busy, then sing a heart-breaking rendition of the "Jailhouse Blues" when you are busiest? Maybe not... but that is my Bekka! :) I love my cuddles and would not give them up for the world... even if I need think I need to be doing something else instead.

Hannah wearing our new practice "boxing"
gloves :) Forgive the fact that she has
grape soda on her face! :)
Sierra, Hannah, and I are starting Martial Arts Thursday. We are super exited, and cannot wait for our first class! We went and bought a used heavy bag (punching bag that stands on the floor) and gloves today so we can practice our kicks and strikes at home! I have been wanting to get back into Martial Arts since we moved from Florida, but we just have not had the time or the money. We are using the Martial Arts this year as an extra-curricular activity in the girls' homeschooling. :)

I have been staying busy with writing. On top of working on finishing up my next book, The Bond of Hearts, my new job through keeps me hopping. In fact, last week, I wrote a total of twenty 500 word articles, two 1,000 word articles, and re-wrote a total of 20,000 words in articles (that just means that they provided me with the research, and I had to rewrite it so it was an article instead of a compilation of research)... I think that was all?... This week, I already finished up the one 1,000 word article and one 2,300 word article! Now I am starting a 300,000 word rewrite that is due Saturday!... *Whew!* I said all of that to say that I am going to try my best to stay on top of the blog and write in it every day, but if I skip a day here and there, I hope you will be forgiving!

God Bless! I hope you all have a wonderful school year, gets lots of cuddles, and smile a lot!

Until Next Time,

Author of The Fanatics

Monday, August 27, 2012

Homeschool Series #4: Extra-Curricular Activities

During the homeschooling years, extra-curricular activities add to your child's schooling. Some states require certain extra-curricular activities, like foreign language and P.E., so be sure to check the laws for your state before deciding what to and what not to do. These laws, listed by state, can be found at or the Homeschool Legal Defense, which is the site I prefer.

Foreign Language 

Many states require all high school students to have at least one year of foreign language study. There are many possibilities for pursuing a foreign language. Rosetta Stone seems to be very good, although it is expensive. There are websites online, like Live Mocha, that offer free classes. Other websites, like Digital Dialects, offer tools and games to add to whatever curriculum you are using.


Arts and crafts add fun and excitement to any school day. There are many ideas for crafts online at Life Tips, A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling, and ABC Teach. Art is normally done once a week. Have fun with it!


Some states require students to have a certain amount of physical education per week. You can check the law for your state on the Homeschool Legal Defense page. Even if your state does not require it, it is still fun and fulfilling. You can create your own P.E. plan (There are many ideas for physical education listed HERE.), or enroll your children in gymnastics, karate, or any other number of programs. P.E. is usually done once or twice a week.


Music is not usually a necessary requirement to graduate, but it is beneficial. Learning music helps build the brain. "Music" can be accomplished through piano lessons (or learning any other instrument), enrolling them in the children's choir at your church, or giving lessons yourself on the mechanics of music.

I know there are other extra-curricular activities out there, and I am sure you can think of a few :). these are the ones we include in our school days. For are learning Spanish on Mondays and Wednesdays. We do Art on Tuesdays, Karate (which is our P.E.) on Thursdays, and piano lessons on Fridays.

Do not go crazy with your extra-curricular activities, but do have at least a few! The idea is to add fun to the school day with something that will be beneficial in life. Be careful not to over-do it, or your school day will be so full of extra activities that you may not be able to complete your school work for the day!

What kind of extra-curricular activities do you do for your children?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homeschool Series #3: How Do I Choose a Curriculum?

After you decide that you want to homeschool your treasures, the next thing to determine is what kind of curriculum you want to use! :) This can be a daunting task, but choosing the best curriculum for your child does not come without its rewards.

All Curriculum Are NOT Created Equal

There are three basic types of curriculum, and deciding which to use depends largely on how your child best learns. Some children are sight-learners, and some are auditory learners. If your child can follow directions easily and get things right pretty easily without needing the task demonstrated, he is most likely an auditory learner. However, if your child needs things to be demonstrated step by step before they are able to complete a new task, then she is most likely a visual learner. 

Knowing which learning style category your child falls into will help a lot when it comes to choosing a curriculum. If your child is a visual learner, they will do best with either a self-paced curriculum, where they read the material themselves, then do the work, or a teacher-based curriculum that has lots and lots of visual tools. An auditory learner will learn best when they can hear someone teaching the curriculum.

Self-Paced Curriculum

This is a curriculum where your child's book has basically everything in it that they need. The student will read the lesson, then answer the questions about the lesson. Most self-paced curriculum comes with an answer key that the student uses to score their own work, although you can score it yourself if you like. 

The downside of self-paced curriculum is that the parent may not be familiar with what their child is learning should they need a question answered. This is not usually a problem in the lower grades, but it can become an issue once they get into the upper levels in Math and English that we, who have not been in school for many years, may not understand or remember!

We use a self-paced curriculum called Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum (LFBC). We really like it, and so does our second grader. There is another self-paced curriculum I also recommend, called Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) This is also a great curriculum. 

Teacher-Based Curriculum

This is a curriculum that is taught to the student by a teacher, namely Momma and Daddy :). Even curriculums that are marketed as self-paced are teacher-based for the Kindergarten year and some of the First Grade year--until the student can read well on their own. 

Teacher-based curriculums have their pros! Mom and Dad know exactly what Billy Bob or Suzy Joe are learning and are able to answer any questions that might arise. This also necessitates a more active participation from the parents, which is healthy for the child (a parent can be interactive in a self-paced curriculum too, but without it being necessary, it can fall to the wayside when life gets busy).

The down side of this kind of curriculum is that it requires extra study hours for Mom... time she could be doing things with her children or around her home. This curriculum also does not give Mom long breaks to get her work done while her child is doing his schooling, like a Self-Paced curriculum does.

Hannah is starting K-4 this year, so she we will be using a teacher-based curriculum for her, of course. We will be using LFBC this year and next year for her, but we may have to switch to a different curriculum for her later since she is an auditory learner. For teacher-based curriculums, I really like ABeka and Saxon (for Math).


There are curriculums, like ABeka, that offer a DVD learning system. In this curriculum, your child will sit in front of a T.V., watching a real teacher in a real classroom teach real lessons. Your child will sit at a desk and do the work right along with the class on the DVD. This curriculum are a good choice for teaching an auditory learner when you are not able to teach them yourself.

Alpha Omega Homeschooling also has a multi-media curriculum. It is computer based learning. Click here to learn more.


You do not necessarily have to purchase a curriculum either! There are many ways out there to homeschool your child for free! If you have not already, I highly recommend that you subscribe to the blog, Freely Educate. She has a whole slew of ideas on homeschooling your child for free! There is also another blog, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, that has a lot of free resources and curriculums listed. Other great sites include: Curriculum Share; Successful Homeschooling; A2Z Home's Cool Homeschooling; and Everything Homeschooling

Don't worry! You will do great! Just pray about it, and God will show you what is best for your family and for your child!

God Bless,

Author of The Fanatics