Friday, August 31, 2012

My Snake Charming Cat

Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion. ~Egyptian Proverb

We came home to find Sharii lounging near the garage, not so unusual, but this time he did not run into the garage as the door opened. Taking a closer look, I saw next to him was a heavy-bodied snake over an inch thick and probably under three feet long stretched out, which is the largest he as caught. It is even the largest I have seen on our property. I thought it was dead and I did not get a picture of it, but I surmised that it must not be poisonous as my cat was still alive, which makes me a bit concerned about any other snakes he might take to hunting down as Georgia is known to have six venomous varieties.

I am not afraid of snakes. Most leave you alone or slither away if possible. I actually like snakes and have taught my daughter to be cautious but not afraid as well. I had lots of other things to do and did not realize my daughter went out determined to save the snake, who quickly was dubbed Mr. Snaky. She proudly displayed him over her head in the backyard saying he was not dead, although Sharii had certainly taken the fight out of him and I doubted he would live. The Princess proclaimed that everything was well as she had put on gloves before picking up the snake...yes, she had gloves on, but only because she was not sure if it was venomous or not.

During lunch her eyes widen after her father told her that the fangs of poisonous snakes will easily go through clothes and gloves. I am hoping that makes her a bit more cautious in the future. I was about to remind her of Eve and the seemingly friendly serpent, but she began recounting the story of my brother getting bitten by a copperhead when we were children to me, as if I had not been there to experience the entire thing personally. It is amusing how her details are always exaggerated and far more dramatic than the actual event was. I should have had her retell about Eve and the serpent just to see how that story would end up.

After lunch she was again outside saving Mr. Snaky. The father of the two girls next door, in the meantime, had taken a closer look and determined it was the non-venomous sort. I think he must have googled--anyway, he works for Google. They believed it was something between a king and rat snake...yeah, well, that really was not helpful at all, but it made him feel better, I suppose. For me, my still-living and healthy cat was the better proof. So, the three girls spent much of the afternoon saving the snake from hunter-killer cat Sharii and slithering into the road. He was easy to catch as his slither was about a fast as a crawl.

In the end, everyone lived...well, at least the last time my daughter saw the snake, he was alive so he is just fine, in her mind. I have my doubts.

~ Thank you, my Lord, for protecting us all, even my cat who cannot google and probably would not even if he could being the spontaneous pouch first, never ask type. Please help my daughter to continue to not fear snakes, but to be more cautious in the future in regards of them also. ~

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lost with Latin

Amor vincit omnia ~Virgil
(Love conquers all things.)

I did not take Latin in school. I wanted to do so, but my aunt warned me that the teacher tended to belittle her students and I had some major low self-esteem issues at that time. My second choice would have been French just because I like the sound of the language, but the French teacher was also my English teacher and her classes were boring. The only language option left was Spanish. I had learned some Spanish on my own from a book when I was eight years old and so I had a head start and the teacher was encouraging and fun, so I enjoyed her class.

When I researched homeschool approaches, I knew that the classical method was what I wanted for my daughter. I felt she would have a better education if she learned Latin and Greek, with French as her modern foreign language. She would like to learn Spanish as well.

I suppose, since I have the all answer books, I do not have learn everything the Princess is learning, but I have been feeling more and more lost with Latin, so I decided that I would do the lessons also. The Princess and I take turns at quizzing each other with the flash cards. She grades my papers and I grade hers, except that she had a head start on Level 4 and I am about twenty pages behind her, so I am working to catch up, although catching up to the same page is not the problem...learning it seems to be.

I was doing fine with first conjugation present active indicative (verbs), but started to lose it with first and second declensions singular and plural (nouns). I mean, really, who made up this language? Why is it that curae can mean "the cares" in nominative case (subject) or "of the care" or "to (or for) the care"? How incredibly confusing! Then there is the disappearing cum meaning "with," as in cum cura meaning "with care," but gladio (notice the lack of using cum) meaning "with the sword." I am not sure which words need cum added and which ones do not. I am hoping at some point there is some rule on this that makes it clear...hoping. I really want to love Latin, to conquer it.

I am doing Greek lessons too, but we are on the same pages in it. She has had years of practice writing the letters and that is my downside, but I do well with the Greek, so far.

Well, I am determined to give Latin another look over before bedtime so vale.

~ My Lord, please open my mind to mastering Latin so I can be more helpful to my daughter. ~

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Autumn Consignment Sale Madness

By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest. ~Agesilaus

I am still around, just very busy. There has been much to do with getting the praise and worship service together each week and being on the church board (and I have not even begun to work on the Missions Ministry, which is why I am a board member). I have been making an effort to stick to my homeschool lessons schedule, although it needs some tweaking, and get back into a weekly routine, but then...

it is that time of year again!

I am considering the quote I chose and if this is sowing frugality, I am wondering why does it feel so enslaving? I am selling in a consignment sale at the end of the week but I had to drop off my things today at 5:00 pm. I spent the better part of the last three days getting everything together, cleaned, put on wire hangers as required, and tagged. It seems the Princess has spurted again. Even shoes we bought just a few months ago are too small! She is still thin but taller and I think finding jeans that fit her waist and are long enough in the leg is going to be challenging.

The thing about consignment sales is that clothes cannot be tried on, so I often get more than I would because I am guessing the fit--although I used to work at a higher end department store in junior clothing and can be pretty accurate at sizing. I usually like to get some things that are bigger than she currently needs for the on-going growth factor.

So, Wednesday night the Princess and I will be shopping the seller's pre-sale and I will pick up my check and whatever is left over on Saturday. Then I get to start all over again with those left-overs and enter them by the 10th of September, Monday, for the next consignment sale for which I registered. I will shop it also on the following Wednesday evening. Thursday morning we will stop at another to shop in the morning and if I have any stamina and money left, we might try to go to another on Friday night, although that one has not been worth it as much in the last couple of years. I used to sell in it, but I the last three years I sold in it I just did not so well in the autumn oddly--spring was usually okay, but the clothes really had to be cheaper than the other sales.

It is worth it though...I think. Well, I have convinced myself of that most of the year until zero hour, at least. I usually break about even on the clothes I buy and the clothes I am selling, although it is getting more difficult to find clothes in sizes that fit the more she grows. I think tween girls wear out their clothes more as they grow slower than younger children but are still more active than teenagers.

Well, time to wrap up my fresh-baked bread and go to sleep. Tomorrow morning we go to the horse barn.

~ My Lord, there are times I wonder about the priorities in my life and about my lifestyle. Please guide me to keep in line with Your priorities and thank you for the opportunities You have provided for me save money here and there. ~

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My New Ministry

There is far more opportunity than there is ability. ~Thomas Edison

Last Sunday
My first time I led the praise and worship time at our church was last Sunday. My husband and I rehearsed on Saturday after the church board meeting, also a first for me as I was voted to lead the Missions Ministry also, but I would not have agreed to take that one if I had known about the praise and worship thing and had I known that a man was returning to our church who was so good at it and had done it before. Well, there is only so much of me to go around.

I am very limited with the music because we sing with CDs, fewer DVDs, or whatever videos I can find online with lyrics. Our church family is so small and sadly lacking in talent presently it seems they are convinced that I am the most likely to have any ability to lead praise and worship, which is really sad! My daughter is the only one who can play piano and she cannot just read and play music yet so she may be able to do a song once every two weeks...maybe. She is also working on the violin regularly. I have strummed a guitar as a teen while in my aunt's Christian band called the "Just-us Singers" and I currently have a 12-string. (Maybe I could get the Princess to play her guitar with me also?) I also have a bowed psaltery that I would like to learn to play, especially for Christmas songs. Singing voices? I may be the best of what is left, which is pathetic, but I know that I will be practicing more so there will be improvement...I hope.

This was my plan:

(This is Not) Where I Belong - YouTube (with lyrics)
Congregation standing
First verse very soft (no singing)
First Chorus (and on) LOUD

Congregation sitting
Here I talked about how I did not feel I was where I belonged yet we were still all family on a journey to our Father. Some did not feel that they belonged here but they are just on a different path to the same destination, our Father. Then I brought around to family and called up the youngest member of our service, a five-year girl, and I asked her if she knew that I was her sister and she did not seem to think so. Then talked about how everyone has the same Father and that we are all sons and daughters of God. Then said the Jesus said we are to love God with all our hear, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves so I would like her to say eight words, "I love our Father and I love you" and teach those words to everyone there, which she did. I then said that if a five-year old could do it then we all could and went into our Meet and Greet time.

Family of God (Chorus only 2x)

Congregation sitting
Announcements (given by another member)

Come Thou Fount

Congregation standing
I Stand in Awe
Second Chorus - Phase out music (voices only) and soften

Very Soft

It was a great plan husband who runs the sound and media, completely forgot to bring down the volume on the last songs and he could not see me because the congregation was standing, so part of the mood was lost. Also there were problems with my mic not being on during a song.

Then our guest pastor asked us to sing the very first song again. I heard my husband groan from the back of the church! He had just turned everything off as she was at the close of her sermon, so she gave him time to get it back up. My mic did not work, but I plowed through it as if it was cracked, dry clay. I write this because that is of what my voice reminded me as I tried to sing it that second time.

However, I received compliments and I think they are planning to keep me.

I received a call on Thursday that the pastor we had scheduled to give a sermon on Sunday (today) had a health issue and would be unable to come, so I was being asked to plan an entire church service of praise and worship. Remember that last Sunday was my very first time and that was only something like 15 minutes of singing. My second time at this and I would need to fill about an hour. I knew my voice would not hold out, so I decided that I would ask the members to share anything that came to mind: a testimony, a poem, special scripture, or just whatever. Five members said they would contribute something and one had a couple of short subjects from which to choose that perfectly fit with the theme. I was excited to see what each one would contribute and it went so very well. My husband and daughter beautifully acted out this skit:

We went from trusting Jesus to a prayer circle to...well, this:

I prayed about the song selection and how to arrange the service. I did most of the planning on Saturday and checked the lyrics against the vocals, because they do not always match. My husband had just bought a new video card for the computer so that it would run uploaded music instead of him having to change our CDs and cause breaks between songs. We sang some beautiful songs, even a two new ones (new to us), Love You So Much and In Christ Alone, that everyone seem to enjoy that I had tried to learn myself on Saturday. When we started today, I was concerned that my estimates on the time was too short, then too long, but it worked out to be just right...I am in amazement over that!

After it was over, I was given many compliments, sincere ones. The best one, though, was when one man said he felt the presence of the Lord. That was the whole point!

~ Thank you, my Lord, for the opportunity to be of service to You and my church, for guiding me, and for being my Lord. For the sake of the members, I ask that my voice improve. ~

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: Cruel Harvest

So the cotton sack, though heavy,
   and the terror of each night,
Did not ever break our spirit;
   we kept Jesus in our sight.
~Fran Elizabeth Grubb (last lines of her poem)

Rarely does a book get under my skin in the way that Cruel Harvest: A Memoir has done. I will never forget it. It is a raw, haunting tale of Fran Elizabeth Grubb's life as the daughter of an abusive, alcoholic migrant worker up to her bold escape at the age of fourteen and her greatest desire to find members of her family to mend their relationships. The book mercifully flashes between her adulthood as each brother and sister is found to her memories of the life they endured before they scattered.

It is a book I found disturbing to read and yet I could barely put it down. The accounts of starvation and abuse of emotional, physical, and sexual natures were sensitively described in just enough detail to wrench my heart and yet throughout it I felt this undercurrent of hope and even joy, because in a flash to her adulthood it is clear that she had not only survived, but conquered her past. Sadder to me was that her father was not her only abuser and I wondered how a child who had so little experience with good people could even recognize goodness at all. Still, while I sensed that all she survived had shaped her early life, a victim is not who she is today. She had found God along the way and had given forgiveness to those who had done what others might see as unforgivable acts against herself and those she loved most.

Finding and connecting with her family members was Fran's dream, one that her husband worked with her to make come true, a dream that she hoped would mend her broken heart for her family. If she lived through it and could write about it demonstrating the joy she has now, then one can endure the discomfort of reading through the abuse to beyond, to receive the blessing of forgiveness I believed Fran wished to share. No matter how bad another can make your life, the true freedom, hope, power, and joy is in following Jesus' example of forgiveness.

Thank you, dear Fran, for writing this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

~ My Lord, I ask that you continue to bless Fran and her family as well as the countless children who have abuse in their lives. May they seek and find You. ~

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

25 Years and Counting

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. ~Oscar Wilde

Yesterday marked my 25th Wedding Anniversary. We went out to dinner at The Melting Pot, which is a high-priced 4-course fondue experience usually taking two hours or more to complete. There are few chooses on the menu but each is exquisitely unique and delicious from cheese to salad to meats and vegetables to chocolate! We tried to remember the last time we had been there. We have a picture of the Princess with us for another anniversary eight years ago, our 17th, when she was three years old, but she remembered the experience very well and has urged us to go every anniversary since.

Memories are such funny things. I would not have remembered the Princess bringing her VeggieTales cup or her struggling with chapped lips on that day without this picture. She was in a phase of licking her lips too often and I was trying to get her out of the habit. Even at three, which was when the "why" stage kicked in, I could reason with her. She was a dream child to take to restaurants, even this one with a hot pot in the middle of the table and taking two hours to finish.

Finances, having taken a big turn downward since that time, kept us away from such extravagance, but we splurged for the one-time Silver Anniversary dinner. We took no pictures of it though; we just plain forgot to take a camera, which happens often when I am more into enjoying the experience than recording it. Today I regret that, however this was not the celebration we have planned. My husband has all these SkyMiles that earn us free flights, hotel stays, and even shows. He wanted to whisk me off to New York this week. I was not as excited about it as he was, but I am warming up to the idea, even though the hotel is way too many stories high for my comfort. We agreed that we would wait until we are debit free with our credit cards and have saved up enough to cover the expenses SkyMiles do not cover, like food.

Otherwise my anniversary day was pretty ordinary, except that my husband has this entire week home for vacation. He needed it just to catch up on things around here (and preserve what sanity I had left, I think). Being that it was Tuesday, we went to the horse barn for the second time this week as the Monday morning person needed us to fill in for her. My husband went as well on Monday, but we have the routine down so well with the two of us that it was difficult to think of things for him to do. Yesterday it was raining and muddy. I had to walk carefully because one of my mud boots has a long cut in it, which kind of defeats its purpose. After the horse barn, we went to filled the gas tank and refill our gallon water jugs at Koger, as we always do on Tuesday.

While waiting my turn to take a shower, I worked on a résumé for a neighbor, who lost his job at the beginning of August. This is the Princess' best friend's family and your prayers for them would be appreciated. They homeschool and the mother works a paid part-time position at their church watching children to make ends meet. At the end of August, ends are ends for them, so I offered to take a look at his résumé, which was the first at-home job I did for several months on our first computer about twenty years ago. It was for a company that helped people find jobs overseas up until the Desert Storm War when the company closed down. I am not an expert, but I got to know that people tend to give too much information that actually works against them in the potential employer's evaluation process. A résumé does not land the job for you, it is just a billboard to get you noticed. Less is more, particularly with how far back the job history goes. You do not need to give them your age and most employers do not call places you worked ten years ago.

While my husband was driving us to and from the restaurant, I finished the book I was reading, Cruel Harvest, which I will be reviewing later. This week I also began looking into redesigning the church website the way I thought it should be done from the beginning as the church board was thinking of hiring someone who did a few other Nazarene churches' sites...I have to say that they may have looked typical for a website about twenty years ago. My problem with the design I did was I tried to please two differing ideas that just did not mesh well together. Since all but one couple in our church is over 45 years old, we need to appeal to a younger crowd, but I could not get everyone on board with my ideas for a website. Things may have changed. My church may be ready for change. We even discussed a name change. Having the mindset that we are a start up church with a new name, new website, and even new sign may be exactly what we need. We already have a new praise and worship leader, so why not just go for it all?

~ My Lord, thank you for 25 years of an extraordinary marriage made up of over 9,000 ordinary days. ~

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Soul Detox

In the purest sense, Christianity is not intended to be one of the world's major religions, but rather it is supposed to be a relationship with the one, true, living God through his Son, Jesus. ~ Craig Groeschel in Soul Detox (2012)

There is so much of Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel that I liked, but I admit, in opposition to the cliché, I was drawn by its simple cover of yellow-gloved hands wringing out a blue sponge. If only cleansing the soul could be as easily done!

However, the cleansing of one's soul requires some work because we live in a sin-contaminated world. Just as exposure to harmful toxins can accumulate in the body causing disease, the toxins of sin accumulate in our souls a little at a time diseasing our relationship with God. The analogy was quite fitting, even the names of the chapters were as interesting as their content was insightful.

Toxic Behaviors
Deception Infection: Telling Ourselves the Truth
Septic Thoughts: Overcoming Our False Beliefs
Lethal Language: Experiencing the Power of Life-Giving Words
Hazardous Waste: Uncovering Our Hidden Sins

Toxic Emotions
Bitter Roots: Digging Up the Destructive Source of Resentment
Green with Envy: Scratching the Poison Ivy of Comparison
Rage Rash: Neutralizing The Acid of Anger
Scare Pollution: Unlocking the Chokehold of Fear

Toxic Influences
Mood Poisoning: Purging the False Promises of Materialism
Germ Warfare: Cleansing Our Lives of Cultural Toxins
Radioactive Relationships: Loving Unhealthy People without Getting Sick
Religion Gone Bad: Tossing Out Moldy Legalism, Spoiled Churches, and Sour Christians

While the author pulls no punches in identifying sinful practices, it is done in the least condemning way and with some confessions of his own. In fact, there is a sprinkling of humor that I found quite engaging with such a serious subject. I also appreciated his stance against legalism:

Some people disagree with me, but I refuse to take a legalistic stance and draw a hard line based on someone else's standards. For example, when it comes to movies, I've heard respected Christian leaders say, "Going to see an R-rates movie is always wrong."… The fact that we're called to discernment and not indoctrination is crucial to understand. The Passion of the Christ earned an R rating for its brutal violence, yet most Christians agree the movie has tremendous spiritual value. But at the same time, there needs to be a line somewhere. As you pray, I believe God will show you where to draw that line.

There probably is nothing new described in this book, but the principles described are well organized without being overwhelming and certainly can be put to use for cleansing one's soul, as suggested. I recommend Soul Detox highly for every Christian.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

I received the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead kit for review as BzzAgent. The first odd thing is that I was asked if I had an extracting type of juicer in opposition to the blender type. I have both a Green Machine and a Vitamixer. I don't know how one could do the program without an extraction juicer so my first question would be: If I already have that kind of juicer, what would be the benefits of this particular program over whatever juicing I am already doing? From that standpoint, I saw no unique benefits.

Getting past that, I tried to put myself in the place of a person eating the average American diet, when I popped in the DVD to watch Joe Cross buying produce from roadside vendors, although I could not help but notice that Joe did not ask as to what pesticides or fertilizer they used on their plants, which was a concern for me. However, there are references to the benefits of organic produce also within the material. Amidst educational and colorful cartoons to add comical relief, Joe describes his plan to fast on fresh juice only for sixty days. Everyone he interviews thinks he is crazy and it is sensationalized with that reality TV flair that is very popular today, so it was entertaining and inspirational in that way. Joe had been ill and overweight for years and after many interviews, he finds Phil who not only has his same autoimmune disease and general health condition but later takes on the same challenge. After their respective fasts, Joe and Phil both look healthier, of course, but they also stress that they needed to make lasting changes in their lifestyles.

I think the Joe Cross' introduction to juice fasting with the RebootYourLife program is wonderful for those who have never considered fasting, who have never considered that they are eating themselves sick, and who do not make the connection between food and illness. He gives an encouraging and informative presentation. I agree with the premise of it, because I was also ill and since have been a health advocate for many years. I have even done many juice fasts and water only fasts over the years including a water-only fast once a day every week. I am well aware of the detoxing and healing benefits of fasting and juicing and organic foods. With this in mind, perhaps anyone reading this can understand that I personally did not find any of the information, juicing recipes, or drinking the juice itself to be anything new or groundbreaking, but I appreciate his style in introducing people to juicing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Went to the Homeschool Expo - Part 3

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. ~Dwight David Eisenhowe

We went to the Homeschool Expo on Friday and…my daughter came home with a new instrument, my husband came home with a new hobby, and I came home broke having spent way, way, way over (yes, three times over) my homeschool budget and I had not bought the one thing I think I would like to get for this year.

The Thing I Think I Want For Homeschooling This Year
As we walked into the doors, my husband asked if I was looking for anything in particular and I was not, yet I was. For one, I was interested in getting information on college dual enrollment programs for homeschoolers. I like the idea of getting one's associate degree about the time one is graduating high school. It makes more sense to me that redundant courses like English for both high school and college be done together, if possible. We are a three years away from the earliest age of fourteen they accept for just one course, but it is something to work towards or we could prepare for CLEP also. I just want to be aware of the options as the Princess progresses.

The other thing I had swimming around in the back of my mind was a bit more vague. It was about how the Princess and I end up at odds over lessons during the day. I was willing to be open to changing course with my approach if it would result in more cooperation and less tween drama. I had been thinking about the three online programs that the Princess has been using this summer to give us both a break. I wrote about them in an earlier post: Oh, Where Can She Be? I like a vocabulary program very much and the grammar one is good for review plus it is a lifelong subscription, but with the third program I am not as impressed as the Princess is. It is called MY Access!

The Princess likes MY Access! best of all because she loves to write and gives her writing assignments to be rated in levels. If she gets advance or proficient ratings, she thinks what she has written is worthy of that rating. Unfortunately, I realized quickly that the program is computer based and cannot really read her work. In fact, it is not much more than a glorified word processor. It makes her change some things in her writing style that does not fit its parameters, so that her writing is more technically right, but not improved writing. I will say, though, that it does point out her spelling and common grammar errors without the drama, so it has been a help for her to get that input from a source other than me.

The one thing I do like about the program is it has a great deal of information about improving writing, although the grading system falls short of its own ideal. I just feel that once she has got the rating she wanted, I still needed to look over the work and show her upon where it could still be improved, which would not effect the rating or even lower it a bit, but reads so much better. She is little more receptive most of the time to my "meddling" with her writing but only if the rating does not go lower.

With those thoughts in my mind at the Expo, I knew that I really need to be focusing in on grammar and her writing this coming year. I bought several composition books so that she would be journaling and taking notes more. That part she is looking forward to doing very much. Which is were my mind was as I first walked into the Expo area and there before me was Teaching Textbooks, a very popular computer based math curriculum.

Being that it is popular is usually enough to make me pass it up, but I thought about how well the Princess was doing with the online programs and how math is black and white. There are many ways to get to the answer, but there is only one answer, much like the vocabulary and grammar programs, but unlike the writing program. I sat down and took a good look at the Teaching Textbooks. I like it very much, but then I like math and I could have learned it from a textbook without the teacher. My inner struggle is that I also love teaching math and I am very good engaging the math resistant child, but when it becomes to a daily struggle, I get worn down. How many times could she not explain back what I just explained, even when I broke it up into baby bites!

Fortunately, (and unfortunately) there were no special Expo deals with Teaching Textbooks, as it always has free shipping, so I was not under any internal pressure to buy it there. I wanted the Princess to play with it a bit, but she was not that interested. When we were about ready to leave I looked at it again and thought about it some more as it is an expensive program compared to what I have. I will say that I also have reservations because even though the Princess is math resistant, she is also advanced. She is at the sixth grade age, but she would only need about a third of grade seven in Teaching Textbooks covering conversions from fractions to decimals and percentages which we were going to start next. In other words, she is very near the Pre-Algebra level and since each level does have built in review I am between which would be the better fit. Also I still have Math Mammoth and Singapore should I see she needs more practice or a different approach.

So, I am thinking that the Princess could teach herself math, although she had a meltdown about that idea because she said she would rather I teach her and that was because she wanted to take notes or journal during the time I am teaching a new concept this year. I showed her with the online demo that she could stop the video and write her notes. I also have seen that while she is more than happy to do many of her assignments independently, math is not one of those. The program would also grade her and she is afraid of getting bad grades in math, perhaps because I will not be giving the right answer by accident to her and because she knows she zones out. I showed her how she can repeat the lecture and when she gets an answer wrong, how it will explain in detail the right answer to her.

I have considered that I could start her in math to bring her up to the Pre-Algebra level, if she and I can come to an agreement about cooperation during math lessons, but my husband thinks we should just get the program now. He observed us working together and realized that with the program she would not have me accidentally giving little "tells" of whether she is right or wrong as she does the problems. (It seems I would be a bad poker player.)

Being that I am torn between the seventh grade and pre-algebra levels, I did some searches trying to find the seventh grade used. I found that the older version does not grade and that the newer version holds its value well, because it is so popular. I could get the seventh level and sell it in a few months to get the pre-algebra level, possibly around the first of the year. Once the Princess is used to it, I think that in the long run, the Princess will find that learning math this way is more enjoyable and less stressful for both of us. I think it will build her confidence in math also (even though I will miss teaching it).

I have not bought it yet though. Today is the first day of public school in my county and the Princess and I are going to celebrate with by going out shopping with one stop at a used book store (we are actually bringing books with us to sell there also) and having lunch at a cupcake shop. We are going to discuss in detail our lessons plans so that we can have agreement, better cooperation, and personal accountability towards her education. At least, that is the plan for today.

~ My Lord, I ask for Your blessing on today as we plan our lessons. I surrender to Your guidance. ~