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Review: Shaken by Eric Walters

Shaken by Eric Walters

Fifteen year old Josh is off on a mission trip to Haiti with his father and sister, but he does not really want to go.  In fact, he is negative about almost everything, and no wonder.  Despite intense prayer his mother recently died, and Josh is bitter with both God and his preacher father.

But here he is, off to Haiti, and despite his cynicism about everything from his father’s prayers to Christianity itself, he is shocked by real life on the island.  Beginning with the rescue of his little sister’s back pack containing their dead mother’s sweater, and continuing as he gets to know Naomi, Philippe and Louidor, Josh is confronted with a life he never imagined.  And then, there’s an earthquake….

Shaken describes not only earthquake-torn Haiti, but also Josh’s faith.  Near the end of the book Josh says:  “What I do know is that we need to act like there is a God.  That no matter what, we have to try to do the right thing.”  Even though he is not convinced of God’s existence, he ends with “I’ll be taken care of.  I just finished walking through hell.  And even in hell, there was still an angel walking along with me.”

Shaken could shake the faith of a teen reader, because Eric Walters raises hard questions and points out difficult problems.  His conclusions are ambivalent and unsatisfactory.   For example, Josh and his father talk about strengthened belief even though they both wonder about God’s very existence!

However, despite crushing questions, Christian faith is based on actual truth, not only on feelings. (For more about that, see my review of Total Truth.)

Because this book addresses many troubling issues, I cannot recommend it for teens unless someone is willing to work through it with them.  Unfortunately, my teen read it before I did. After I have worked through Shaken with her I will probably be writing about our thoughts.  In the meantime, read this book before you give it to your teens…and if they have already read it, please read it and go through it with them.

On the other hand, if properly discussed Shaken can be an excellent preparation for the challenges our teens will face in the world.

The following books could help with discussions about topics raised in Shaken (links are to my reviews):

Truth Matters This resource directly addresses some of the points raised in Shaken and is addressed to young people.

Clear Winter Nights

Total Truth

True Reason

Beyond Opinion

The Best Things in Life

Four Letter Words

Thriving at College

This is yet another book in the in the 2014 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Works for Me Wednesdays, Booknificent Thursdays, Raising HomemakersFinishing Strong , and Trivium Tuesdays.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from our library and am not compensated for this review in any way.

Curriculum Plans for Grades 7, 9, and 12

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Often my homeschool plans are too ambitious.  Other times they are reasonable, but unexpected things happen.  In fact, last year, for various reasons, we were completely unable to meet our learning goals.

Now, after reading Crazy Busy, I’m deliberately scaling my expectations way, way back as I plan our school year. Hopefully this will lead to a year that is both more productive and less stressful, as I was hoping when I wrote ‘Relax about Schoolwork’ .  It should also make learning more fun for everyone. At the very minimum, it will give us margin in case we again meet unexpected time challenges.

Keeping in mind that God may have other plans, here is what we hope to learn in the next school year.  (Note:  almost all links are to my reviews or blog posts; as usual there are no affiliate links.)

Learning we are doing together:

  • We are continuing our multi-year Canadian history study.     Although we will continue to do a lot of reading as well as learn from movies, museums, and projects, this year we will focus on textbooks as well.    I’m also excited about having the girls make personalized, interactive timelines using Tiki-Toki.
  • Bible: memory and reading
  • Read alouds:  Dutch, history, church history, novels
  • Nature study/walks: with some guidance from Handbook of Nature Study, Ambleside Online, and Classical Astronomy
  • Everyday French: 52 Weeks of Family French, Powerglide
  • Documentaries: Canada: A People’s History; Chemistry 101; Blue Planet; Planet Earth; How Should We Then Live; Amazing Grace; Moody Science Videos; Foundations in Personal Finance; Canadian history and travel videos
  • Movies:  plays, including Shakespeare; other quality movies

Grade 12

Note: Miss 16’s courses may change emphasis depending on what she plans to study in the future.

BibleOmnibus 6; finish Bible book summary project; study several of the following: A House for My Name (Old Testament);  Total Truth, Truth Matters, The Church Preserved Through Fires; 40 Most Influential Christians; Amazing Grace (DVD).

Math: Pre-calculus (Singapore NEM #4 and NAM and/or Life of Fred, Math on DVD Pre-Calculus); Calculus (NAM and/or Life of Fred, Math on DVD Calculus 1); CEMC math competitions; math reading

English:  Literature (Omnibus 6); writing (Format Writing, quick essays); grammar (Our Mother Tongue); How to Read a Book; book club.

Science: Apologia Physics; science reading and reports, Sir Isaac Newton physics competition.

French: Finish BJUP French 2; Begin French Three Years; Rosetta Stone; French reading; Do 52 weeks of Family French as a family.

Dutch: Stories, vocabulary, Rosetta Stone

Canadian History: Challenge and Survival, Canadian History for Dummies, and A Short History of Canada, with a focus on living books, museums, and Canadian history DVDs

World History:  Modern times, ideas, and culture as part of Omnibus 6

Civics:  Christian Citizenship Guide, current events

Logic: Finish James Madison Critical Thinking Course

PE:  Daily exercise

Music: organ; continue to learn basic music history and terms

Guidance and Career:  Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers; Foundations in Personal Finance (DVDs only); review How to Raise Your High School Grades by Half a Point in One Semester

Contests: CEMC math competitions; Royal Canadian Legion poster, essay, and/or poetry competition; Sir Isaac Newton physics competition

Grade 9

Bible:  Write summaries of 16 Bible books; study these same books using Omnibus and Candle Bible Handbook

Math: Complete Key to Algebra; complete Singapore NEM #1 and #2; CEMC math competitions; math reading and reports

English:  Literature ( English Literature for Boys and Girls, BJUP  Fundamentals of Literature) Grammar and writing (Format Writing; Rod and Staff Grammar ; quick essays); dictionary based spelling and vocabulary; How to Read a Book;

Science:  Apologia Biology; Science Roots; science reading and reports

French: BJUP French 1;  Rosetta Stone French; French reading; Do 52 Weeks of Family French as a family;

Dutch: Stories, vocabulary, Rosetta Stone written work

Canadian History: The Homeworks Guide to the Story of Canada, with hints from Modern History Through Canadian Eyes, Canadian History for Dummies, and a focus on living books, museums, and Canadian history DVDs.

World History:  Complete Streams of Civilization 1; study Streams of Civilization 2; (Note: there is a heavy world and church history load due to not completing last year’s work)

Church History: Continue Sketches from Church History.  Begin Trial and Triumph.

Logic: The Thinking Toolbox

Computer: Finish Windows Programming from Kid Coder; also do Game Programming; CEMC computing competition;

Penmanship and copywork:  Poetry from The Book of Virtues and from the Bible

Keyboarding:  Goal for the year:  40 words per minute touch typing

PE:  judo; maybe swimming and soccer

Art:  Picture study from Ambleside Online, related art history reading

Music: Organ, guitar; composer study from Ambleside Online; music history, listening, and concepts

CM learning: composer study, art study, nature study, Shakespeare

Guidance and career:  Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers; Foundations in Personal Finance (DVDs only);  How to Raise Your High School Grades by Half a Point in One Semester

Contests: CEMC mathematics and computer competitions; Royal Canadian Legion poster, essay, and/or poetry competition; track and field

Grade 7

BibleShow Me Thy Ways #6

Math: Complete Decimals, Percents, and Metric Measurement, all from the Key to… Series;  Drill with Math Score; review with Singapore Math 4a-6b and Singapore PSLE study;  math reading and reports. (Note that this will be a heavy math year because Miss 11 is significantly behind but she seems able to do the work now.)

English:  Writing (Wordsmith); Literature (English Literature for Boys and Girls, Pilot Literature 1); Grammar (Rod and Staff Grammar ); spelling (use word lists in Rod and Staff Spelling 6)

ScienceApologia General Science; science reading and reports

French: French is Fun 1; French Rosetta Stone; Do 52 weeks of Family French as a family;

Dutch: Stories, vocabulary, Rosetta Stone

Canadian History: Canadian History:  A Coloring Study Book (an early version of Courage and Conquest) with hints from Modern History through Canadian Eyes and a focus on living books, museums, and Canadian history DVDs; Timeline

Penmanship and copywork: Presidential Penmanship or selections from books we are studying

Typing:  continue with Gentle Shepherd Touch Typing

PE:  judo, maybe swimming and soccer

Art: Artpack 6; Picture study from Ambleside Online, related art history reading

Music: organ, guitar, recorder; basic history and listening and terms

CM learning: composer study, art study, nature study, Shakespeare (Nesbitt, Lamb)

Contests: Royal Canadian Legion poster, essay, and/or poetry competition; CEMC math competition; track and field

For more about Homeschooling in general, you can visit the Carnival of Homeschooling.  For more about classical education, please visit Trivium Tuesdays.

Review: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

I’ve been puzzling how to meet my increasing commitments without losing balance and getting my priorities all mixed up.  In fact, this very week I had to make some major time-related decisions, and I just did not know how.

Then God sent Crazy Busy my way.

Subtitled A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, Crazy Busy deals with the spiritual issues behind busyness.  I know about the practical aspects of time management, having read dozens of books on that topic.  But the spiritual side of this problem, ah, that is a different matter.

Of course, I knew there were spiritual issues at stake.  There always are.

But I did not know what they were, and in this book Kevin DeYoung outlined them so clearly:

  • Pride in all its manifestations, from people-pleasing to perfectionism… to too much posting.
  • Trying to do what God does not expect you to do or, more provocatively, assuming you need to take on His responsibilities.  But ‘not all opportunities are obligations.’
  • Not setting priorities. Since we are finite and cannot ‘do it all’ we need to think prayerfully about what we are called to do.
  • Thinking that your children’s eternal future is in your hands (and for homeschoolers who invest so much in their children, this is certainly a temptation).  Obviously there are (many) things Christian parents need to do, but assuming we have God-like influence on our children is not one of them.
  • Letting screens control you and keep you from being still and alone with God.
  • Refusing to rest or, again more provocatively, refusing to accept that you are human and have limitations.

Obviously, this book is not written for people who are lazy, uncommitted, and unmotivated.  Other books have been written for them.  This book is written for the Marthas of the world, male and female, who have a hard time understanding Jesus’ praise for Mary.  Remember, she sat at his feet listening to him while her sister Martha was crazy busy doing all the work.

How should we understand that?  It’s not that working hard is wrong.  In fact, we are called to work.  Even being crazy busy is, at times, part of our calling.  Here I think of parents of baby twins, of farmers at harvest time, of students during exams.

In fact, serving God in our work is important.  It is what we are called to do.  The vital fact to remember, though, is that ‘the only thing more important than ministry is being ministered to,’ and this is the good part that Mary chose.  This is the good part we often miss when we are crazy busy.

DeYoung’s Crazy Busy was invaluable to me as I planned our studies and activities for the next school year.  I highly recommend it if you are overwhelmed by your to-do list, frantically running from one task to the next.  Even if you are simply trying to plan your commitments wisely to avoid being crazy busy, this book will give you helpful insights.

I just discovered a free study guide to Crazy Busy is available from Crossway Books.  This short workbook will help you apply DeYoung’s insights to your own life.

For those who find themselves much too busy doing good works, I also recommend The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good (link is to my review), an excellent companion to Crazy Busy.

I have also reviewed some hands-on books for over-busy moms who are trying to understand how to bring sanity back to their lives:

Balanced (always pointing us back to God, but also intensely practical)

Tell Your Time (streamlined, short, and 100% practical)

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode (inspiring as well as hands-on)

This is yet another book in the in the 2014 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Works for Me Wednesdays, Booknificent Thursdays, Raising HomemakersFinishing Strong , and Trivium Tuesdays

Disclosure: I borrowed this book and am not compensated for this review in any way.

Bible Study Charts for the Veritas Omnibus Program

 

In order to plan Bible for our school year, I made these two charts.  Since our teens do not study the entire Omnibus program I wanted an overview of its Bible study so I could easily plan their studies.

The first chart shows where in the 6 volumes of Omnibus each Bible book is studied.  It also give details about semesters, week number, and whether it is part of Omnibus’s primary or secondary studies.

The second chart shows the order in which the Bible books are studied, along with the details given in the first chart.  I was surprised at how little Bible is studied in volume 2, but that is because so much of the year’s work is explicitly related to church history and writings about the Bible.

After the charts and in the final column of both I have included some related resources with links to my reviews.

Chart 1:  When in the Omnibus Program each Bible Book is Studied

Bible Book Omnibus Year Primary/ Secondary; semester 1 or 2; week # Other resources
Genesis 1 P-S1-W1
Exodus 1 P-S1-W2   A Cry from Egypt
Leviticus 5 S-S1-W9
Numbers 5 S-S1-W12
Deuteronomy 6 P-S1-W12
Joshua 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
Judges 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
Ruth 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
1 Samuel 1 P-S1-W5
2 Samuel 1 P-S1-W5
1 Kings 1 P-S1-W6
2 Kings 1 P-S1-W6
1 Chronicles 4 S-S1-W10,11
2 Chronicles 4 S-S1-W10,11
Ezra 4 S-S1-W12,13
Nehemiah 4 S-S1-W12,13
Esther 4 S-S1-W12,13
Job 4 P-S1W2
Psalms 4 P-S1W7
Proverbs 4 P-S1W1  Hidden Treasures
Ecclesiastes 6 P-S2-W11
Song of Solomon 6 S-S2-W10 Pure Love
Isaiah 1 S-S1-W16
Jeremiah 1 S-S1-W17
Lamentations 6 S-S2-W3
Ezekiel 6 S-S2-W3
Daniel 3 P-S2-W17
Hosea 1 S-S1-W18
Joel 1 S-S1-W18
Amos 1 S-S1-W18
Obadiah 1 S-S1-W18
Jonah 1 S-S1-W18
Micah 1 S-S1-W18
Nahum 1 S-S1-W18
Habakkuk 1 S-S1-W18
Zephaniah 1 S-S1-W18
Haggai 1 S-S1-W18
Zechariah 1 S-S1-W18
Malachi 1 S-S1-W18
Matthew 6 S-S2-W17
Mark 4 P-S2-W12
Luke 1 P-S2-W8
John 2 S-S1-W12,13
Acts 1 P-S2-W8
Romans 1 S-S2-W10 Knowing God
1 Corinthians 5 P-S1-W18
2 Corinthians 5 P-S1-W18
Galatians 1 S-S2-W9
Ephesians 2 S-S2-W12,13
Philippians 4 P-S2-W13
Colossians 4 P-S2-W13
1 Thessalonians 5 S-S1-W14
2 Thessalonians 5 S-S1-W14
1 Timothy 6 S-S2-W15
2 Timothy 6 S-S2-W15
Titus 6 S-S2-W15
Philemon 3 P-S2-W12 Twice Freed
Hebrews 5 S-S2-W3,4
James 1 S-S2-W11
1 Peter 3 P-S2-W14
2 Peter 3 P-S2-W14
1 John 3 P-S2-W13
2 John 3 P-S2-W13
3 John 3 P-S2-W13
Jude 3 P-S2-W14
Revelation 1 P-S2-W17 Glorious Victory

Chart 2:  Which Bible Books are Studied Each Year in the Omnibus Program

Bible Book Omnibus Primary or secondary Other resources
Genesis 1 P-S1-W1
Exodus 1 P-S1-W2   A Cry from Egypt
1 Samuel 1 P-S1-W5
2 Samuel 1 P-S1-W5
1 Kings 1 P-S1-W6
2 Kings 1 P-S1-W6
Isaiah 1 S-S1-W16
Jeremiah 1 S-S1-W17
Hosea 1 S-S1-W18
Joel 1 S-S1-W18
Amos 1 S-S1-W18
Obadiah 1 S-S1-W18
Jonah 1 S-S1-W18
Micah 1 S-S1-W18
Nahum 1 S-S1-W18
Habakkuk 1 S-S1-W18
Zephaniah 1 S-S1-W18
Haggai 1 S-S1-W18
Zechariah 1 S-S1-W18
Malachi 1 S-S1-W18
Luke 1 P-S2-W8
Acts 1 P-S2-W8
Romans 1 S-S2-W10 Knowing God
Galatians 1 S-S2-W9
James 1 S-S2-W11
Revelation 1 P-S2-W17 Glorious Victory
John 2 S-S1-W12,13
Ephesians 2 S-S2-W12,13
Daniel 3 P-S2-W17
Philemon 3 P-S2-W12 Twice Freed
1 Peter 3 P-S2-W14
2 Peter 3 P-S2-W14
1 John 3 P-S2-W13
2 John 3 P-S2-W13
3 John 3 P-S2-W13
Jude 3 P-S2-W14
Joshua 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
Judges 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
Ruth 4 S-S1-W5,6,7
1 Chronicles 4 S-S1-W10,11
2 Chronicles 4 S-S1-W10,11
Ezra 4 S-S1-W12,13
Nehemiah 4 S-S1-W12,13
Esther 4 S-S1-W12,13
Job 4 P-S1W2
Psalms 4 P-S1W7
Proverbs 4 P-S1W1  Hidden Treasures
Mark 4 P-S2-W12
Philippians 4 P-S2-W13
Colossians 4 P-S2-W13
Leviticus 5 S-S1-W9
Numbers 5 S-S1-W12
1 Corinthians 5 P-S1-W18
2 Corinthians 5 P-S1-W18
1 Thessalonians 5 S-S1-W14
2 Thessalonians 5 S-S1-W14
Hebrews 5 S-S2-W3,4
Deuteronomy 6 P-S1-W12
Ecclesiastes 6 P-S2-W11
Song of Solomon 6 S-S2-W10 Pure Love
Lamentations 6 S-S2-W3
Ezekiel 6 S-S2-W3
Matthew 6 S-S2-W17  Crucifying Morality
1 Timothy 6 S-S2-W15
2 Timothy 6 S-S2-W15
Titus 6 S-S2-W15

 

Resources for Homeschool Bible Study

Candle Bible Handbook

Pure Love (Song of Songs)

Why Christ Came

Scripture Stickies (Bible memory resource)

Crucifying Morality (the Beatitudes)    about the beatitudes

A Cry from Egypt (Exodus, fiction)

The Glorious Victory (Revelation)

Deeper into the Word 

Illustrated Family Bible

Story Bible for Older Children

Hidden Treasures (Proverbs)

Weekly Wrap Up: Rain, Rabies, and Learning

Here you need to imagine a picture of the beautiful orange-edged yellow roses my husband got me yesterday.  Unfortunately, I could not get the picture onto the computer.

In our lives this week

This week was almost the opposite of last week.  Because of rain and cold weather, we did hardly any gardening or swimming.  The girls concentrated on their schoolwork, and we spent time with other people almost every day.  In fact, I cannot recall a week where I did so much listening, and it was good. My husband and I also spent some invigorating hours discussing all sorts of topics with other Christians.

We also went to IKEA (the kids loved the breakfast and the yoghurt cones), polished some of our antique Dutch furniture, and split and stacked many cords of wood.

We have been having issues with rodents.  Due to a recent law, effective poisons are no longer available in Ontario, and we are using traps instead. This week Miss 11 was bitten by a rat that had been trapped but not killed, and now she is suffering through rabies shots.

In our homeschool

Miss 11 is still working on her math.  A friend suggested that she should calculate how much she needed to do each day to be caught up in a year.  “That’s what math is for, you know.  To help you solve your problems.”  Miss 11 did the calculations and has decided she needs to work 90 minutes a day to reach that goal, so we increased her daily math time.  But this afternoon, since we did not let her help with the wood after the next rabies shot, she worked many hours on her metric measurements book.

Miss 14 has successfully completed several chapters of Physical Science this week.  She has also read many more Eric Walters books and one of them, Shaken, is not suitable for teens.  I had suspected as much and put it aside, but she read it anyhow.  I will review Shaken next week and probably post more about it in the future.

Miss 16 has completed her chemistry experiments and now only needs to finish her science reading.  She’s working through The Disappearing Spoon, once recommended by Barb.  She has also almost finished last year’s math and is busy putting together the bibliography for one of her essays on Dante, based on Omnibus V.  She has also been volunteering with a local politician and has found a yard-care job that begins next week.

In our gluten free kitchen… Porridge.  Corn pancakes.  Corn bread.  Quinoa.  Potato salad.  Eggs, scrambled with onions, sausage bits, and green peppers.  Cherries.  Fresh raspberries.  Lots of chicken.  Sausages.  Chard, beets, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, rhubarb, and herbs from the garden.  Soup.  Lay’s chips. Bacon.  Gazpacho.  Rhubarb sauce.  Club soda and fizzy orange juice.

In our gardens and yard

We have had so much rain that the girls did not work in the garden at all, and I only weeded one flower garden.  I’m thankful that we finished most of the weeding last week.

A tree fell down, so the men of the family dealt with that.  They also rented a wood splitter to finish up the log pile on our driveway.  It has been slowly shrinking since late winter, but there was an enormous amount of work to do, and everyone except me pitched in.

Some of my favorite things were

  • Chatting with friends.
  • Watching my girls’ success at learning.
  • Eating cherries.

Questions/thoughts I have…  Life is full of difficult questions.  Sometimes reading is a great escape; sometimes, as in the case of Shaken which my teen read before I did, reading only adds to the questions.

Fitness… I managed almost 10,000 steps most days.  Between the rain and the time with friends, it was not easy to get those steps.  I also started the RCAF XBX program.  It begins very slowly for people my age and, except for the aerobics, is easy for me to do.  I’m replacing the aerobics with my 10,000 steps. Also, I ate well, lost my kilogram for the month, and don’t feel too tired though I was stressed and had difficulty staying asleep.

One of my favorite solutions for stress is to read health books.  Usually I get some good ideas, but for the first time in decades, I read one (Hormone Cure)that told me I was super-healthy!   That sure put a spring in my step.

Some of the things I’ve been working on

  • Summer schooling, planning for next year, and wrapping up last year.
  • Pondering my history of science reading for the next year.
  • Planning Canadian history for next year.
  • Trying to balance my activities and goals for the summer and fall to accomplish what needs doing without becoming tired or stressed.
  • Pondering some of life’s big questions, partly in relation to Total Truth and Shaken, partly in relation to things people have talked about lately. Since I plan to go through Shaken with Miss 14, I will probably soon write about this.

I’m reading… Romans.   I read the Wahls Protocol, Hormone Cure, and Shaken.  I’m also still reading Mendeleyev’s Dream, The Slight Edge, Pascal’s Pensees, A Man Called Intrepid ,52 Weeks of Family French, and The Meaning of Marriage.

Reading Aloud… We’re continuing with Ezekiel.

When my husband is home for meals, we read Isaiah.

I’m grateful for ….  Rain for the garden.  Sunshine.  Books.

Quote or link to share…. From Proverbs 3:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up .

 

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