Friday, December 8, 2017

Pioneer Homeschooling Mothers

Library of Congress - New York Chapel and Cottages, 1906

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, homeschooling mothers were under the impression that our children would turn out to be model citizens, above temptation, dutiful and kind to parents, faithful church members, and grow up to adore all their siblings. The essays and articles of the times gave us the impression that we would have it easy. It created an idealism which caused a great deal of confusion in our parenting.  At some point, these children, who are like all the other children in loving homes, became teenagers, and times got tough.

There is no formula for easy parenting of teenagers and there never will be.  This is why:  The culture around us is constantly changing. Each new generation of parents is a pioneer of the times.  I will give you some examples:

 In grandfather's day, there was no such thing as television.  When it was first introduced in the home, there were morals and values coming through the programs.  Families on television went to church and said their prayers.  After decades of changes in the media industry, television and movies are rarely without trash and vulgarity.  This causes us harm. Older adults have often said, "As long as you know it is not real, it will be fine to watch." But this type of wisdom, from the 1970's and 1980's, had not been tested on innocent, growing children. As time has gone by, many realize this type of advice was for an adult, not for a child or teenager.  The results of viewing "fluff" and "vulgarity" and "violence" for entertainment is a serious problem. It has caused great harm in our children.  This is something grandfather would never have imagined.

Facebook is a fairly new invention.  It may have been introduced to many families through a child in college. Soon grandma had a profile and then the younger children all wanted one.  It has both good and bad features.  It can cause harm in many ways, especially to children and teenagers.  This too is something grandfather would not have thought was dangerous.

Public schools and colleges are not what they used to be.  A good solid, academic education is much harder to come by. It is not so easy to just send junior to the local elementary school and think everything will be okay.  It is not like it was in the one- room school houses that produced the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I will not even comment on video games, cell phones, and other such things.

Despite all this and many more difficulties in our modern, American culture, we can still be good Mothers and raise good children.

There are many new inventions and ways of living that great-grandmother never would have dreamed.  I love my washing machine, electric stove, and frost-free refrigerator.   I appreciate my computer very much because I had spent many years, as a typist, using both a manual and electric typewriter.  When we have a power outage, here in rural Vermont, I am doubly grateful for our electricity when it comes back on.

There are always going to be innovations, new concepts, and modern inventions.  Yet we mothers would be wise to consider each new thing and see if it is something we will embrace in our own homes.  Is it good for our family? Will there be long term consequences?

 It is similar to how the Amish elders have meetings to come up with their rules for their districts.  They pray about each new thing and discuss if it will be good for their people.  It is okay to reject certain things in our homes.

To combat some of the negative influences on our children and teenagers, I know of many families who do not have a television set.  Others have one only for using carefully selected DVDs.  When I was a child, there was only one television set in the home. It was in the living room. These days, there are sets in all the bedrooms, the kitchen, the living room, in the family van, and even portable ones for using outdoors and while visiting friends and family. It can be found in public places, waiting rooms, and even in some salons.   It is important that mothers make rules and guidelines for their children, thinking of their long-term effects, and not just on today's entertainment value.

Facebook is confusing to me and of small value.  Yet it is highly important to a great many people.  It can be used for good, of course.  But it may not be okay for children.  It may not be okay for young teenagers.  Options might be to not have it at all. That is certainly okay.  Another idea might be to have one "family" account that mom and dad use along with the children. This might protect the children from many dangerous things. It is something each family ought to evaluate and make rules for their own household.

To combat the problem of sliding academics in our culture, we could build up a collection of good, quality literature in our own homes.  It is very easy, these days, to have a home library.  It may take years to build, but it will be used for generations if it is carefully tended.  Encourage reading, help the children with their schoolwork, develop a love of history and a love of learning.

The issue here is that we are raising children, not adults. Too many modern inventions are harmful to children in the long term, even though they may not phase an adult.  It is important to evaluate the good and the bad around us, and not just follow along with the masses.  Your home is a reflection of who you are and of what you value.  No matter what is happening in the culture, you can still have good, kind children.  Take them to church, have daily prayers and Bible time, sing with them, teach them your talents and skills, educate them to the best of your ability.  Do all this with a great deal of mercy, long suffering, patience, and love.  Do this consistently, even if they are having mood swings, grumpy days, or hard times.  The constant routine of goodness will have its positive effect on them over time.

A Mother ought to offer a happy home to her children.  She can play board games, cook, bake, sew, knit, paint, teach, and love being with her family. She can laugh, encourage, pray over her little ones, and lead them to her dear Lord.  She can have a humble and meek spirit with an overflowing aura of the joy of the Lord.  She can do this even amidst trials and troubles.  She can do this despite an ever-changing culture.  A Loving Christian Home has always been the greatest place on earth, in all times, in all places.  

How they turn out, when they become adults, is up to them. You can only do the best you can (as flawed as we all are) with the wisdom you have each day.  You are responsible for their childhood. They are responsible for their adulthood.

 A Mother's job is to do the work.  The result of all this effort is up to God.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Organizing - A Home Without Clutter.

In Case you Wondered - The Secret to a Clean House.

Peace and Simplicity - An Ordinary Life at Home.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Monday, November 20, 2017

A Ten Dollar Birthday

Mrs. White's Parlour in Vermont all ready for a simple birthday

I have been getting my parlour ready for a little birthday celebration with my children and grandchildren.  I have always shared my birthday with Thanksgiving since it happens in the same week.  It is a beautiful time of year when family is expected to visit in just a few days. Often, I seem to neglect to do much for my birthday since the focus is on Thanksgiving.

Very often, we mothers tend to feel disappointed with our birthdays.  This sometimes happens if we are overwhelmed or feeling unappreciated.  Perhaps we don't think our family will remember the day. This is why it is so important to do a few extra things ourselves to make the day special for others.

I want to see the delight in the faces of my children and grandchildren when I serve a special cake for them to enjoy. I want to have special activities or games so they can have a fun celebration.  If we mothers make holidays and birthdays a time of serving our family and a way to bring them joy, we will be so much happier.

We need mothers to bring peacefulness and sunshine to brighten the homes no matter what is going on out in the world. Birthdays are a wonderful time to do just that, even if there is little money available.

Today, I spent just a few dollars to bring some pink cheer to our day.

I spent four dollars at the discount store. I got a pink, plastic tablecloth.  I selected cheerful birthday plates and napkins.  I also bought a small bag of party favors for the grandchildren to enjoy. It is full of those cute noisy things people blow during New Year's Eve.  At the supermarket today, one of my sons bought me a pretty bunch of pink roses from the clearance rack for $3.00. They look simple and beautiful in an old mason jar on my table.

Our simple party decorations

Late this afternoon, some of the grandchildren gave me a lovely homemade present. They had been working with their mother for several days on a hand-sewing project.  Their mother had some pretty fabric and sewed a little decorative pillow. She had the children stuff it with cotton. They had a wonderful time helping her.  They were so happy and proud when they gave it to me. I was delighted!

Tomorrow morning I will bake a white cake from a box mix. I will also use some chocolate frosting and colorful sprinkles over the top to make it cheerful and festive.

I spent less than 10 dollars for the decorations and the cake.  This will bring us all wonderful happiness as we celebrate mother's old time, simple birthday at home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

For those Tough Times - Living in Reduced Circumstances.

Happy times with Little Ones - A Joyful Time at Home.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Friday, November 10, 2017

A Vermont Christmas Tree Farm

Christmas Tree Farm in Vermont, Fall 2017

I wanted to write a post sharing with you a little tour of Vermont. I hope to do this soon since I have a several pictures to share from my journeys this past summer.  I think I will do it in parts since it will be easier for me. I will do it over time, perhaps throughout the coming winter.

Here is the first brief tour - A Christmas Tree Farm:

(Click on any photo to make it larger.)

The photograph above was taken early one morning, as I was on my way into the city to visit one of my grown daughters (who lives 2 hours away).   Each time I drive to see her, I go right by this Christmas Tree Farm.  It is so pretty!

Here you can see their Gift Shop building hidden behind some of the Christmas trees:


This last picture includes the company sign by the road:

I have never been to the gift shop, but perhaps I will stop if I happen to be driving by to see my daughter in December. I would love to see what their store looks like inside!

The next tour I will share:

A brief visit to The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.


From the Archives -

Learning from Mother - A Home Without Clutter.

Happiness in - A Cozy Humble Home.

A Lesson from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Review - Kindergarten Phonics Readers

The following is a homeschool review of "Kindergarten Phonics Readers," published by Christian Liberty Press:

This is a set of four books. I have used these with all of my children and love them.

These are paperback, small booklets. 

They are designed for Kindergarten students who have already learned the sounds and sights of all the alphabet.  They work very well along with the "Adventures in Phonics Level A" program by Christian Liberty Press (my review for this is coming soon.)   

I have worn out sets of these books and have replaced them twice. I am now on my third set.  This was for my five homeschooled children, who are now all grown up. I am currently using a set of these books with one of my grandchildren.

How I used them:

I would work on the first lesson from the first book, a few words at a time. This helped the child understand the concept of sounding out words.  The pictures go perfectly with the lesson.  To begin with, it took us several days to complete the first page.   

The first lesson had words such as:


Then there would be a very short sentence.  The student gained confidence in the very first day and was always eager to continue the lessons.

We would not go on to the next lesson until the child knew every word in the first one. It would take me months to complete book one.  This laid a firm and strong foundation for reading.  The next three books went much more quickly, but we always re-did each lesson over and over again until the child could read very well.

At the end of each school day, I always had the child read for Daddy when he came home from work. My student was so excited to share how well she was progressing in her work.  Dad would also be impressed.  We often showed him, at least once a week, what we were learning in our homeschool. 

The last book in the set contained full paragraphs and short stories. By the time my children completed all four books, they were excellent readers.

My 3 different copies of Book Four in the set of Readers

In the photograph above, on the left, you will see the original copy of book 4. This was published in 1992.   Since I still have it, that will just help show you how valuable I think the book is!

The other two copies of the book, from the picture above, are the updated versions.  One is copyright in the year of 1998, with a "printing" date of 2000.  The newest one has the same copyright of 1998, but with a "printing" date of 2017.

The back cover of the original Book 4 in the set of Readers

The back cover of the updated version of Book 4 in the set of Readers

What is the difference between the original and updated versions?

The stories are mostly the same, with perhaps a few different words.  The new ones have full color pictures to go with each lesson. Both sets of books still work wonderfully. But I personally prefer the plain, original set with the simple drawings. 

Overall, These are Bible - based and a joy to read.  One of the chapters in book four is "The Best Book" about "Sam" who gets the Bible and reads it with his sister.

These books are excellent. All you have to do is sit with your student as if it is story time.  It takes a few minutes each day to teach them to read with these books.  It will help tremendously if you know the phonics rules from the curriculum "Adventures in Phonics Level A" so you can reinforce these rules of reading while you go through the lessons.

Please watch for my reviews on the following products which will work well with these readers:

1. "Adventures in Phonics" Level A

2. Adventures in Phonics: Phonics Sounds and Teaching Tips (Audio CD)

(I will add links to these reviews as soon as I am able to complete them.)

You can find this set of books at the Christian Liberty Press site:

Kindergarten Phonics Readers

  This post is the ninth in a series of reviews I am doing using Christian Liberty Press curriculum.  I hope to do 2 reviews each month as I work with my grandson for Kindergarten. To start with the first post, please see the introduction:

"24 Years of Homeschooling with Christian Liberty Press"

* Disclosure - I received this for review purposes.*

Monday, October 23, 2017

Taking Care of the Home

Library of Congress: A Family Home in 1900.

We had a couple of large trees removed from the property this month. They were dangerously close to our house and became a hazard.   This has left quite a bit of work for us to do. There is much firewood to cut and stack.  The boys use a wheelbarrow to haul stacks of it to the garage, where pieces are then cut to a suitable size for the wood stove.   Since the trees are gone, there is a clear view of a side of our house that I have never really seen.  It is in desperate need of paint, and makes our home look even more shabby than before.

To take care of the grounds, to maintain the house, and to keep things clean and orderly indoors is a tremendous amount of work. But work is good for us and helps keep us healthy.

Indoors, I have been cleaning and organizing my dressing room.  Old files and papers are being discarded.  Bags are being filled up with books I no longer need.  Bookcases are being straightened and made neat again.  It is starting to look better, but will always be a regular task to keep the house in order.

While I was working the other day, the grandchildren came to visit me.  I had stacks of things all over the floor.  I was delighted to have them help me.  Then it was time for a rest.  I had several tea breaks with different members of the family throughout the day.

In the midst of the maintenance work, there are still the daily duties of laundry, cooking, baking, and cleaning the kitchen.  Pacing myself will always be a challenge.  I tend to do far more than I should without taking enough breaks.  This is something I am trying to improve.

Years ago, I remember my mother-in-law visiting us from Massachusetts. She was an excellent housewife and homemaker, and an incredible example to me.  She saw our old house and the many rooms and wondered how I would ever keep up with the work. I wonder that too sometimes!

The weather has been unusually warm.  I walked the property with Mister in the late afternoon yesterday.  We sat on the bench, back by the river, beside my strawberry garden.  It is nice to take breaks.

I have plenty of work today to keep me busy and happy.  We will also have company at different times of the day, which will be wonderful.


From the Archives -

A Happy Marriage - Serving Mister.

The Joy of Grandchildren - I Hear Angels Crying.

Our Neglected Home - The Shabby Garden.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails