E-journal August 21, 2007

Ever Feel Like This Cat?

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by Ellyn Davis

It's that time of year again. Time to nail down the curriculum we will use in the coming school year. Check out our resources for Choosing Teaching Materials.

Back when you were in school, did you get nervous before a test?

If you’re like me and most everyone I know, the answer is “yes.” It’s been many, many years since I was in high school, but to this day when I get stressed I dream that I am back at Druid Hills High in Decatur, GA and I’m facing a test that will set the course for the rest of my life.

My “test” dreams always have one of two scenarios.

In the first dream scenario I show up for the test only to find out that it’s on a completely different subject than I studied for. Panic sets in because I realize there’s no way I’ll be able to bluff my way through it.

Dream scenario number two is I know I have a test and I feel prepared for it but everything in the world keeps me from getting to the room where the test is. I’ll have a flat tire on my way to school, or I’ll be lost in the hall unable to find the right classroom, or there will be some crisis or emergency I have to tend to. In any event, when I finally arrive at the right room, I’ve missed the test.

Christian counselors have told me that my "test" dreams are subconscious indications that I don’t feel adequate for the challenges I’m facing in my life at the time.

So what has this got to do with home schooling? Well, I’ll tell you.

Around this time of year, every home schooling Mom (or Dad) I know starts getting stressed. It’s time to start school up again for the year and she (or he) feels unprepared. Even with the excitement about getting back into another year of school, there still is an undercurrent of overwhelm.

Why? For the same reason you used to get nervous before a test. You know what you know, but at that moment you were also keenly aware of what you didn’t know.

For most of us it’s what we know we don’t know that is so scary. And that fear never goes away no matter how many tests you’ve aced in the past.

The Stress of Information Overload

Somehow, when we become home schooling parents, we forget the part of us that freaked out before a test in school. But it’s still around. And it drives us to accumulate information and advice whether we need it or not.

We worry about whether we’ve chosen the right curriculum…or whether we’ve set the learning environment up correctly…or if we’re going to be able to handle it emotionally now that we have a new baby…or if our children can keep up...or …..

Rather than getting very clear about what we already know and what we still need to know to do well (like we did when we were students), we chase scattered information from everywhere – considering all sources we think might contribute something that would help us be a better parent, a better teacher, a better home maker, a better organizer, a better whatever.

It's like being unsure what the teacher will put on the test, so you study everything that could possibly come up, even though you know there's no way most of what you're studying will wind up on the test. But just to be sure.... The net effect is we waste our time, our resources, and our energy pursuing new information. And we become victims of information overload.

In business, there is an old adage that says, “A confused mind always says no.” This means that if you give customers too many choices, they become overwhelmed and may wind up making no choice at all. That’s what it’s like with information overload. There are too many conflicting “voices in our head” telling us what we should do to be better and we get overwhelmed. This can produce a "deer in the headlights" effect.

There is an underlying cause for our constant information gathering and its resulting information overload. Believe it or not, it comes down to self-esteem.

You see, instead of trusting what we already know, we’re afraid of everything that we don’t know. It’s this fear that becomes the road that takes us off course. We’re looking at our life as THE ULTIMATE TEST that has EVERYTHING on it. And we've GOT to pass that test or something terrible will happen to us or to those we love.

Doubt creeps in, self-confidence plummets, and energy is depleted. We wind up not really enjoying what we’re doing, because there is always the underlying, nagging feeling that we could be doing it better if we only had more information.

I’m not suggesting that we stop trying to improve our lives and our home schooling, but what I am suggesting is that we take a look at why we get overwhelmed with choices.

Every one of us is bombarded by information. In fact, this has been called The Information Age, because with the advent of the computer entire libraries are available to us at the stroke of a keyboard. Not all of this information is beneficial to your family’s goals.

If you try to absorb it all – if you feel a need to gain and retain all information – it will cause you to question your priorities and values. Sometimes that is a good thing, but often you’re right where you should be and second-guessing yourself based on what your friends, your family, and all the home schooling articles tell you just leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.

The worst thing about the info-overload is that we diminish our ability to discern the great from the good and, in the process, make ourselves mediocre.

The “Deer in the Headlights” Effect

Don’t become a paralyzed home school Mom (or Dad) mesmerized by the flashy headlights of all the information coming at you. You have to push yourself away from the smorgasbord of information and only select what you truly need to enrich your own life and nourish the lives of your children.

It’s time to start trusting your instincts more. You have to be confident enough to work intelligently toward your goal. What you absolutely must not allow to happen is to become paralyzed by the fear of not knowing “everything” and the fear of failure.

Remember: You cannot conquer uncertainty by burying it with more information.

Til next time....


It's that time of year again. Time to nail down the curriculum we will use in the coming school year. Check out our resources for Choosing Teaching Materials.

Resources for rethinking education

I Saw the Angel in the Marble
. When asked how he was able to create such a magnificent sculpture of an angel, Michealangelo replied that he saw the angel in the marble and set him free. This is what we want to so with our children--see the real person inside and set him or her free by developing all that God has gifted each child with. This book is a collection of articles from 15 years of the Elijah Company's catalogs and newsletters and represents the best of Chris and Ellyn Davis.

Turning Hearts: The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis. This set of 8 CDs contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Combination Angel/Davis Seminars Set: both the book and the set of 8 "Turning Hearts" CDs

Building the Home School of Your Dreams. This set of 6 CDs features Chris Davis and Mary Hood and consists of seminars given at a Home School to Home Business Seminar. The sessions cover There is a Bigger Picture by Chris Davis; Moving Away from School at Home; Developing Your Own Scope and Sequence by Chris Davis; Relaxed Home Schooling by Mary Hood; Teaching Elementaries by Mary Hood; and Strategies for High School by Mary Hood.

Books by John Gatto. These books will change the way you think about education. Gatto was a public school teacher for decades and New York's Teacher of the Year, so he has first-hand experience with the effects of public schooling. Not only do his books discuss the major issues about what schooling does to our children, he offers insights into what a true education entails and reflects on our society as a whole and the distorted thinking that leads us to subject our children to an influence that robs them of their creativity and enthusiasm for learning. Gatto's books are "MUST READS." So get these two and read them: Dumbing Us Down and A Different Kind of Teacher

Books by John Holt. Holt's books are wonderfully thought-provoking and give you a real appreciation for the natural learning ability of your children. Read all of these! How Children Learn, Learning All the Time, and Teach Your Own . Also highly recommended: Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School

Endangered Minds by Jane Healy. Subtitled “Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It,” this is truly a significant book. The book's premise is that today's children, bombarded by a fast-paced media culture and with very little interaction with thinking adults, develop different “habits of mind” than children of the past and are therefore unable to tackle the skills involved in learning. Healy clearly explains why our modern lifestyles sabotage the ability to learn and tells us what to do about it. In the companion book, Your Child's Growing Mind Healy discusses how thinking and learning abilities develop for skills like reading, writing, spelling, proper use of grammar, etc. and what parents can do to create the “mind pathways” that enhance these thinking and learning abilities. These books are "must haves."

Resources for choosing teaching materials

Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling. The title can be deceiving, because the book isn't just for those getting started, it's also very helpful to veteran home schoolers who want to re-evaluate what they are doing and the resources that are available to them.

Veteran home educators will dive into a vast amounts of up-to-date information with sections on Field Trips, Conferences, Retreats & Homeschool Days for the Whole Family, and Worldview & Leadership Training for Teens. There's also information on how to find everything from contests, to how to write a winning college application essay. If there were one "top expert" in homeschooling, I would say Mary Pride is it. With her numerous books, Practical Homeschooling Magazine, and website, Mary knows her stuff.

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp. This book does not come from a Christian orientation, but is one of the few books I know that gives you a checklist of what the traditional pre-K through 12th-grade curriculum expects a child to learn year by year and then tells you how to accomplish the same level of learning at home. Home Learning Year by Year also gives guidelines for the importance of each topic, pointing out which knowledge is essential and which is best for more expansive study based on your child's personal interests.

Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field is a guide to equipping your children with the life skills they will need as adults: people/home life skills, time/space organization skills, money management skills, healthy lifestyle skills, spiritual habits, decision making skills, creative skills, and celebration skills. Christine is a home schooling mother herself, and the book is written in such a way that it may be used as a reference point and checklist of desired skills and knowledge to be mastered.

Homeschooling the Early Years
Homeschooling the Middle Years
Homeschooling the Teen Years
Each of these books is a guide to successfully homeschooling the age group it covers. Starting with what makes the age group tick, chapters cover the important aspects of learning, practical ways to approach each subject area, and the many paths to success.

What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know
What Your First Grader Needs to Know
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know
What Your Third Grader Needs to Know
What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know
What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know
What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know
This series of books covers what a child at each grade level should be learning in every subject. The books are great to have around to help you design your own curriculum and make sure you aren't leaving any "gaps." History, language arts, science, and several other subjects are covered in enough detail that the book could become your primary textbook for those subjects, but math is summarized, so further teaching materials may be needed there. As you develop your own "Home School Reference Center" of books you can refer to over and over, these need to have their own place there.

Resources to discover how your child learns best

Find out what your child's learning style is! Developed by the authors of Discover Your Child's Learning Style, this is the most powerful and user friendly learning styles inventory in the world and it is NOW ONLINE! A Self-Portrait™ Profile assesses several aspects of learning style, quickly and simply, in language that is easily understood by everyone. These aspects are: Disposition, Modality, Environment, Interests, and Talents. If you want help in understanding what makes your child "tick" and how your can help him or her learn easier and better (or find out more about yourself), take this easy, quick learning styles assessment test. For more about this learning styles assessment test, CLICK HERE>>

Discover Your Child's Learning Style is a book you need. Period. It has more potential to improve your child's education - and your family relationships - than almost any other book I have ever read. The authors of this book have developed a "Learning Styles Model" of education that helps you discern your child's:
Preferred learning environment
Thinking Style
The book includes handy self-tests. Use these to find out just how each child in your family loves to learn... and what teaching approaches help or hinder his learning style. What a huge difference this will make in your homeschool... and in your family relationships!

Discover Your Children's Gifts will help you uncover your children's natural giftings and personality traits. It helps explain why their personality "quirks" are really evidences of their own God-given gifts. The theological foundation is very sound, making good sense of the main passages on spiritual gifts in a way very few others do. Gifts are broken into 1) Manifestation (sign gifts - 1 Cor 12-14; Acts 2) 2) Ministry (equipping gifts - Eph 4) & 3) Motivational (every-Christian-gifts - Rom 12).

Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos. Every now and then a book comes along that fills in so many gaps in my understanding that I want to tell everyone about it. Dr. Pallodino suggests that one in five children is an "Edison Trait child," meaning he or she has one or more of the following: dazzling intelligence, an active imagination, a free-spirited approach to life, and the ability to frustrate the you-know-what out of others. The heart of the issue is that these children think divergently, while schools generally reward convergent thinking. This book discusses the different types of approaches to life your children may have (dreamer, discover, or dynamo) and how you can most help each type succeed.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. I've always recommended Cathy's curriculum guides as the best out there for choosing teaching materials that "mesh" with who your family is. Now Cathy guides you through the process, offering her "Top Picks" from each subject area.

A major feature of 100 Top Picks is the charts showing the 100 Top Picks in relation to educational approaches, learning styles, and practical features such as prep time needed; design for independent, one-on-one, or group learning; and ease of use for the teacher. Complete reviews of each of the Top Picks provide parents the information they need to make the best choices for each of their children.

The first half of 100 Top Picks covers information that will help you decide your child's learning styles, help you decide what your "Philosophy of Education" is, and help you figure what to teach when. The second half has reviews for all 100 of the top picks. You will gain a lot of insight into what curriculum is available by reading these reviews. She even tosses some extra "Picks" here and there that would've made the list if her book's title was "200 Top Picks".

Be a part of our Home Business Incubator!

At Home School Marketplace we are not just about home schooling. We also want to encourage and support you in developing home centered income.

One of the ways we want to do this is by providing you with the opportunity for involvement in businesses that we and other home schooling families develop.

So for years we have thought about creating a home business incubator that home schooling families can participate in.

What is a Business Incubator?

What is a business incubator? A business incubator is a collection of resources designed to help businesses become established and sustainable.

U.S. statistics show that business incubators increase the survival rate of start-ups from 35 percent to 87 percent. This is very, very good news, considering 90% of small businesses fail within their first five years.

We want to create businesses that allow home schooling families to participate in their development and share in their future profits.

Let me assure you that we are not talking about multi-level marketing and we’re not trying to recruit you into becoming some sort of sales force for an existing business.

We are talking about you helping build a traditional business from the ground up. Not only do we have several really good business ideas that we’d like to build a team around, but there are many of you who have some great business ideas who could really use a business incubator.

If you would like to participate in one of our Business Incubators, please GO HERE NOW>>>

Breaking News!!! The first Business Incubator Call shared our vision for a Home Business Incubator and discussed the strategy that would be implemented. We've had lots of feedback from those on the call telling us how excited they are about the idea. CLICK HERE to listen to this call and understand our vision for a Home School Business Incubator.

P.S. We've had such an overwhelming response we may have to cut off membership until we get teams built and projects up and running, so if you are interested, go ahead and SIGN UP NOW while you still can.

Home Business Resources

Rhea's Entrepreneur Days I've known Rhea Perry for over ten years and seen her heart for helping home school families develop an entrepreneurial mindset and start their own family businesses. She also is very concerned that teens are trained to become entrepreneurs. So for the last five or six years Rhea has held "Entrepreneur Days" where she brings together leaders in different businesses and lets them share their secrets.

There is still time to attend the Entrepreneur Days in Atlanta, so get your act together and go!

If you want to:

1) Create additional income or replace current monthly income

2) Reduce debt to manage monthly bills

3) Work for yourself instead of for someone else

4) Train your children to own their own business so they can become financially free

5) Create a family business that the whole family can participate in

....then this is the place to go!
Find out more about Rhea's Entrepreneur Days here.

Let Your Mortgage Make You Rich.
A friend in my internet marketing group discovered this technique for paying down your mortgage incredibly quickly without making an extra payment or refinancing. Using her method, people are cutting a 30 year mortgage down to eight or nine years. It’s true; without extra payments or refinancing – you could save tens of thousands of dollars - even hundreds of thousands - on what you pay for your home. And the best part is that the book comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don't save more on your mortgage than the book costs in the first 18 months of using the techniques, you'll get your money back.
Find out more about this money-saving book NOW!

Building the Business of Your Dreams
(8 CD Set)
I've had requests for just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar, so have developed a set of the business CDs from that set. It contains 8 CDs and includes sessions on The Entrepreneurial Mind, Multiple Streams of Home Income, Discovering Your Ideal Life and Ideal Business (2 CDs) , Developing a Business Plan (2 CDs), and The Importance of Business Relationships. Plus, there is a very important and insightful interview on Redeeming the Marketplace. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

SALE PRODUCTS! Limited Quantities
30% Off! We only have a few of each of these left.

We have the following WIN books available: The Reluctant Writer, Comprehensive Story Writing, Writing Man 1 & 2, and WIN Twin.

For more information and to place an order,

Home School Resources

I Saw the Angel in the Marble

With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more HERE>>

Turning Hearts: Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/Davis Seminars Set
Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

From Home School to Home Business
(14 CD Set)

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who have attended tell us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Home School of Your Dreams

Building the Home School of Your Dreams is a 6 CD set taken from the From Home School To Home Business Seminar and features sessions by Chris Davis and Mary Hood. Find out more HERE>>

Juice Plus

I want to spotlight a product I've found that has made a real difference in my health. It's called Juice Plus+.

I've always been concerned that my family was never getting enough fruits and vegetables because a lot of times, in spite of my best intentions, breakfast wound up being something quick like cereal and lunch wound up being something even quicker, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I went through periods where I would try and make the meals ahead, but that only lasted a short while. Then I tried getting a juicer, and that lasted an even shorter while because it took three times as long to get the fruits and vegetables ready for the juicer and then to clean it afterwards than it took to make and drink the juice. And I always got stuck cleaning the strainer because no one else wanted to do it.

Then a friend recommended Juice Plus+ to me. It has 17 fruits, vegetables, and grains in capsule form. Somebody has already done the juicing for me, then dried the juice in such a way that all the enzymes from the raw produce is in the capsules, and--big bonus--they are carbohydrate free.

Being the skeptic I am of any kind of health supplement, and wary as I am of any multi-level marketing business, I decided to give Juice Plus+ four months to prove its claims. I started taking two fruit capsules and two vegetable capsules each day (the equivalent of all your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables).

What did I experience? More energy, better skin, hair and nails, and better sleep. And did I mention that I had more energy. A friend of mine started on them at the same time and experienced significant improvement in a long-standing chronic disease.

So that's my story about Juice Plus+. It is an easy, affordable way to make sure you and your children get all the fruits and vegetables they need. And Juice Plus+ even has a children's health program that lets you get the capsules free for children between the ages of six and fifteen. Plus, there is a family plan to make Juice Plus+ even more affordable.

Another bonus is that Juice Plus+ makes a great home business that Moms can run to make money while they're home schooling.

So, check it out by going HERE>>

"The news isn't that fruits  and vegetables are good for you.  It's that they are so good for you they could save your life."   David Bjerklie, TIME Magazine, October  20, 2003

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