Proof in the Pudding: An Interview with Melanie Young

I am doing an interview series called “Proof in the Pudding”.

This interview was perfect to start a series by this name. Because I literally got to taste the pudding! My husband and I went to a Marriage Retreat called “Come Away” hosted by Hal and Melanie Young of Raising Real Men ministries. And Hal and Melanie’s sons catered the event! Three of their six sons cooked the food and served it to us in a most excellent way. It was all delicious, and the service was exceptional! We were very blessed by all of their efforts. My husband loved it! Food is definitely the way to his heart. I daresay that might be his dominant love language.

I took advantage of the time I had with Melanie to ask her some questions, and she graciously granted me an interview. I asked her about her philosophy of homeschooling, the overall approach and style she used, and how her children have turned out so far. She is a very honest, candid person, and it was an honor and privilege to interview such a gracious leader in our Christian homeschool movement.

She and her husband, Hal, have written several books, including “Raising Real Men”, and “My Beloved and My Friend: How to Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses”. I bought the second book and am currently reading it. It is very good. You can find many other family, parenting and marriage resources at their website at Raising Real Men.

You can see our interview here:

The Charlotte Mason Method According to Me

The purpose of this post is to describe how I have adapted the Charlotte Mason method to my personality style and styles of my children, our family dynamics, my energy level, my priorities, and my Great Expectations!

The biggest element of our Charlotte Mason education and homeschool method altogether is reading aloud. I discovered this key when I took a closer look at what was working and what wasn’t in our daily homeschooling endeavors. I saw that making my children do workbooks and forcing them to think about what I wanted them to think about was making it feel like a fight every day. It was like I was the evil ogre and they were the poor frightened children who were at my mercy, and making them learn was my weapon against them. That is not exactly what I had in mind when I started homeschooling them, and it’s not how I wanted every day to feel.

I thought about what I enjoyed and what they enjoyed each day, and it didn’t take long to realize that it was the time we spent reading a good book together. I then thought about the different subjects they were learning about just from the stories I read aloud to them. Most of them were from different periods in history, so they were learning about history. Most of them were about different places on earth, different countries, different parts of our own country, different cultures. You know what subject that is, or subjects those are, don’t you? We were covering geography, social studies, social sciences, cultural anthropology (!), and more social type stuff. Not to mention, the elements of a story, good writing, character development, plot development, setting, descriptive writing, too much to mention, right?

And they were interacting mind to mind, heart to heart, with ideas and thoughts of some of the best writers the world has known. Not to mention, the stories and biographies of great men and women who have been greatly used by God and the principles of the Kingdom of God from the books I chose. The inspiration to live a great life for God, wholly committed to Him and being a person of strong character, integrity and virtue were also thrown into the mix. Win, win, win!!!

So that’s my spiel about why reading aloud is such a great thing. And choosing good, living books.

Now onto some other ways that I have adapted the CM method so that it works for us.

We have done notebooking and lapbooking in the past. Some of my children have enjoyed it and thrived with it. Others did it because I asked them to. Most of them keep notebooks of their own, even as they have gotten older. It helps them to keep their stuff organized.

We have done lots of nature study for science. Just look at all of the caterpillar posts on my blog, and you will see how seriously I take the butterfly’s metamorphosis! We have had tadpoles become frogs. We have learned about rocks, minerals, earth science topics, through living books from the library. We watch documentaries. I encourage them and resource them to study whatever science topic they express interest in.

The other branches of science come up according to their interest and through life in general, and we research whatever we want to know more about.

History is sometimes a discussion topic when we are talking about current events. I also have many DVD’s and CD’s that cover history topics.

We have studied History chronologically, biblically, by countries and regions, etc.

We have acted out scenes from different time periods occasionally, too.

I see these activities as whetting their appetite, and giving them a foundation that they can build on and develop according to their interests and needs later on.

Math is always a challenge. I keep trying different things looking for the best method for each child. I make sure they have the basic skills and basic facts memorized, then supplement as they show me more of what they want to do with their lives.

We have used Teaching Textbooks, Life of Fred, CTC math, and Living math activities in the kitchen. My youngest is currently using Master Books Math Lessons for a Living Education, and seems to enjoy that.

We do some picture study, some composer and music appreciation (just identifying a song and its composer) and some study of composers and artists through living books from the library.

We do copywork from Queen Homeschool Supplies and some from Character Italic published by Shaw Family Media since I like to use Italic handwriting with my children.

Copywork can be used to help with handwriting and such skills, but it can also be used to inspire and teach moral lessons. It can be used to help with scripture memorization and study, too.

Narration is an important part of reading aloud. I mostly use it to review what happened the last time we read the story, but it’s a good way of helping them to take the learning and memory to a deeper level than it would have gone without the act of narration. I find that my kids remember a lot better than I do when I ask them to catch us up on what happened last.

I am an educator. I love teaching and learning. But I am not a drill sergeant. I am not the fount of all knowledge. I am a person, and I recognize that each of my children is a person with his own interests, moods, needs, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, callings, struggles, rhythms, routines, and minds that are known only to them and God. I see myself as a facilitator of education, learning, and attaining their dreams and desires. I do not want to be a stumbling block or an obstacle to their gaining skills and knowledge and reaching their own goals, dreams, desires and hopes because of something that a book decided or I decided they needed to devote lots of time and brain space and thinking time to because someone else arbitrarily decided they needed to know it.

So there you go! Take from it what you will. I hope something in all of this may help someone to relax a little more and enjoy the learning experience and lifestyle that we call homeschooling.

Ask the Lord how your philosophy, curriculum (or lack thereof) and routines and habits, patterns and rhythms should flow in your family to bring honor to Him and establish His purposes for each of your children. And may peace and contentment reign in the atmosphere of your home to minimize stress and relationship problems while each of you strives to become all that God meant for you to be.

Building a Godly Family

Building a godly family

 

 

Do you find yourself longing for more in the life of your family? More unity? More warmth? More peace? More of God?

If you build it they will come. Hee hee. Just kidding.

Actually, maybe I’m not.

We Christian mothers have one overriding desire. We want our family to be a godly family. But how can we go about building such a family? It’s more than a dream. We can make this a reality.

 

We need to lay a foundation for this godly family that we desire with all of our hearts. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Is this the declaration that you make in your heart?

If so, start here: Build a close, intimate relationship with God yourself. This involves more than just the spiritual disciplines that you may be familiar with, like reading your Bible and praying so that you can check these off of your to-do list. I’m talking about a relationship with God that is as real, as tangible as your relationship with your husband or your best friend. You need to get to know God. You need to go deep with him. Learn to hear His voice. When you pray, don’t just talk to Him. Listen for what He might be saying to you. This may take some time. And some effort. If you have never done this before and you’re not sure how to go about it, try this. Tell God that you love Him, and then pause and just listen to your spirit. You will probably hear a voice inside of you responding in kind. That is the voice of your Beloved telling you that He loves you, too.

 

Develop and cultivate a deep awe and reverence for God. Worship Him from the depths of your being. Imagine Him seated on the throne of the whole universe. Picture yourself bowing there before Him. Remind yourself of His goodness to you. WORSHIP Him in spirit and truth. Thank Him for His blessings. Let your heart fall in love with Him. Picture Him in all His majesty and splendor looking on you with eyes full of love, smiling on you as a good father smiles on his little girl that he delights in.

 

You have to make time for this and really do it. Sometimes you will hear the Lord call you away from something else to spend time with Him. When He does, make sure you do! You need it! You won’t be sorry. On the contrary, you will be very glad that you did. Spending time in His presence builds you up.

 

The second phase of this building project is to love your husband and honor him. On days when he walks in the door and rushes over to you and gives you a long kiss that melts you and makes you feel like the most loved and beautiful woman, the center of his universe. And on those other days when he doesn’t notice that you’re there. Or worse he complains about everything in the universe and asks what you did all day, why is the house a wreck, and what’s for supper. Even when you feel like screaming at him, telling him what an insensitive brute he is, how hard you’ve worked all day taking care of HIS kids, and how he has ruined the loving welcome you had planned for him by his rotten attitude. Yes, even on those days, honor and love him. I didn’t say this was going to be easy. Pray down blessings on his head. Not, “Lord, get him!”

 

His biggest need and desire is to be respected. Show your love for him by treating him with respect even when he deserves all the wrath you have stored up from all the times he hurt your feelings, ignored you, took you for granted, overlooked all of your hard work, and broke your heart. By praying blessings on him and treating him lovingly, you are giving God room to deal with him. Do your part with all your heart. Build him up. Treat him better than he deserves. Your relationship with him is the bedrock of this family you’re building. Your relationship with God is the foundation and cornerstone, but your house won’t stand if your relationship with your husband is filled with anger and resentment. Also remember that whatever happens to him happens to you. If you want to live a blessed life, you should desire that he be blessed and then do whatever you can to help make that happen.

 

You are a wise woman building your house. Not a foolish woman tearing it down with your own hands. Or your mouth.

 

Now on to the next phase. Love your kids in such a way that they feel loved. Not like they are an obligation or a burden or a pest. Your children need loving, patient discipline and instruction. They also need to know that they are greatly loved and highly valued. You love them more than anybody else in the whole world. Make sure they feel that. Show them affection and kindness in the middle of the messes and frustration that define toddler. Love those kids that seem like they’re only here to give you more work to do and a bad attitude. Love them as they grow up and start thinking they know more than you do and think they learned it on their own without any help from you. Show them you love them by listening to them, responding to them, treating them with dignity and respect, not like they are your property only here to carry out your wishes. Lead them to Jesus by modeling the same attitude he had toward children. Let the children come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Keep at the forefront of your mind that childlikeness is good, and maybe you need to take some lessons from them!

 

Listen to those who inspire you to grow spiritually. If you can find a group of Christians that gathers regularly and love the Lord and their only purpose is to know Jesus and make Him known, then you are truly blessed. If they have good teachers and prophetic teaching and ministry, even better. If they follow the first two commandments – to love God and to love people – then you have found a gold mine.

We find good Spirit-filled teachers and worship leaders online and listen to them together and individually. We read the Bible together as a family and individually. I would encourage couples to pray together. We pray for our kids and just doing that takes us quite a while!

 

Some of my favorite teachers are Lance Wallnau, Todd White (lots of videos on YouTube),  Rick Joyner, and Kim Clement. I have recently started listening to Shawn Bolz, who teaches a lot about giving words of knowledge. One of the best things I do for myself spiritually is worshiping the Lord with good worship music. I love to  worship with Bethel Music. They have a lot of great worship leaders. I especially like to listen to Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, Kim Walker-Smith, and Jenn Johnson. I get touched and ushered into the throne room while worshiping with Cory Asbury, Matt Gilman, and Kari Jobe. I play videos on YouTube and worship along with them.

 

Love God’s word. Use examples in everyday life. Let it flow naturally in your conversations with your children. In situations that come up, especially relationship challenges, ask yourself and your children, “What does the Bible say about this?”. When the little ones argue about a toy and one snatches it away from the other and then they start chasing and hitting, kicking, and crying, sit with them and talk calmly with them about how Jesus wants them to handle situations like that. Ask them what the Bible says. We are to love each other, be kind to each other and put the other person’s happiness before our own. We are to do everything out of love for the other person. There are so many verses about walking in love and dying to yourself. Read a verse to them and remind them that they want to please Jesus. Live what you read about in the Word of God. Speak the Word all the time. Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to read and meditate on for that day. Keep meditating and thinking about what you’ve read throughout the day. Tell your kids about what the Lord is saying to you right now and what you are reading. Ask them what the Lord is saying to them. Ask them if they have had any dreams or any specific words that the Lord is saying to them.

Look for analogies in nature. You can teach the way Jesus did! He told stories about farming: sowing and reaping, seed time and harvest, and looking for signs in nature of the seasons and what is coming next. He used poetic words like the trees clapping their hands, the seas roaring, the mountains shaking, the animals frolicking with joy and many other similes and metaphors, such as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Point out how God made intricate, delicate flowers for us to enjoy and marked many animals and plants with beautiful designs. Remark to your children about how our bodies are so amazing and self-healing because of the way God made them. Notice and call attention to little ordinary things that are marks of a loving Creator who made all things good.

Apply the parables of Jesus to daily life. Make connections between what is happening in your life and the life of your family with the parables that Jesus told. If someone needs help, if you are able to help them, you should, just like the Good Samaritan. If someone doesn’t want to forgive, there are many parables about the power of forgiveness, like The Prodigal Son and The Unmerciful Servant, and Jesus spoke about it in The Lord’s Prayer. I like to let life present the problem and become a teachable moment that you can use to apply the spiritual principle or story from the Bible.

 

 

Pray together. Our family tries to do this on a regular basis. We make sure that we all gather at least once a week. The goal is to do it every evening, but it doesn’t happen when life gets too busy. Sometimes we have to just go ahead and pray with whoever happens to be home. Try to find out what works best for your family as far as time and method. We have a pattern now of saying a blessing over the new day, putting our spiritual armor on and saying The Lord’s Prayer in unison. Then we take turns praying. We have at least 4 people pray each time. You can experiment with different methods and times and see what works best for your family.

 

Worship together. When children are younger, listen to worship songs for children. Or let them hear what you are listening to, and they might like some of those songs, too. Then play often the songs they like throughout the day.

 

Minister to others in your home. Demonstrate to your children hospitality and helping others in need. Invite people to eat with you. Teach them how to be good hosts when someone comes to visit. Pray for friends when they come over. Lay hands on them and pray if the situation warrants it.

 

Give to those in need. Model generosity to your children. And don’t forget to tie it to the Word of God: Give and it shall be given unto you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to give to the poor and to orphans and widows and ministries that you feel are really doing a great work in the earth. Make sure your kids know that you are giving in obedience to what God has told us to do and because you have compassion in your heart. Let them experience the joy of giving themselves. Don’t hinder them when they want to give of their own money or possessions. Encourage a giving heart. I believe that is extremely precious to God and blesses His heart. Help others all around you and give any time you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit. Don’t hold back. God will bless you when you bless others.

 

 

Why Ninja Sheep Should Educate Their Children at Home

This post addresses the 7 Mountain Paradigm that Lance Wallnau teaches about and how we should go secretly into the Education mountain and gain influence over it.

How do ninjas train? Do they go to a large, public institution to be trained? I don’t think so. We are supposed to be ninja sheep, right? So shouldn’t we be trained in a private, separate school instead of a large, public school that happens to be in our neighborhood paid for by taxpayers?

Shouldn’t we have specialized training in spiritual warfare, biblical wisdom, and godly character? And shouldn’t parents be mentors to their own children to help them discover their gifts and talents and callings and election and help them get the training and instruction they need to increase their skills and knowledge in whatever God is calling them to do?

This would be a mini-church in the home. Training the next generation in specialized training centers called home. With mentors called Mom and Dad.

Then we won’t lose so many of our children to liberal, secular humanistic thought. They won’t turn against their parents’ ideas and teaching and beliefs. They won’t be turned into socialists because of being exposed to that teaching day in and day out and propagandized and indoctrinated by professors of socialistic, liberal, humanistic thought. They won’t be swayed or persuaded by professors that ridicule the beliefs of their parents and the generations that came before them. They will be grounded in the faith of their fathers. Or at least they will be more likely to if the groundwork of faith in God has been laid in their hearts by their mothers and fathers every day at home. They will have a foundation to stand on that includes the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

We can train them up in the way that they should go. We can teach them God’s ways and principles. Then when they are older and mature enough to stand against false teaching and temptations of the enemy, we can send them out as arrows aimed at the target that God has set for them. We can shoot them toward the mountain that God has called them to, and they will be more likely to hit the mark than those that have been trained by godless teachers who mock and criticize God and their parents and tell them that their parents are old-fashioned fuddy duddies with outmoded, outdated, obsolete beliefs that are no longer relevant.

This is a summary of my reasons for believing that homeschooling is the best form of education for Christian parents to provide for their ninja sheep children.

Building a Godly Family

Building a godly family

 

 

Do you find yourself longing for more in the life of your family? More unity? More warmth? More peace? More of God?

If you build it they will come. Hee hee. Just kidding.

Actually, maybe I’m not.

We Christian mothers have one overriding desire. We want our family to be a godly family. But how can we go about building such a family? It’s more than a dream. We can make this a reality.

 

We need to lay a foundation for this godly family that we desire with all of our hearts. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Is this the declaration that you make in your heart?

If so, start here: Build a close, intimate relationship with God yourself. This involves more than just the spiritual disciplines that you may be familiar with, like reading your Bible and praying so that you can check these off of your to-do list. I’m talking about a relationship with God that is as real, as tangible as your relationship with your husband or your best friend. You need to get to know God. You need to go deep with him. Learn to hear His voice. When you pray, don’t just talk to Him. Listen for what He might be saying to you. This may take some time. And some effort. If you have never done this before and you’re not sure how to go about it, try this. Tell God that you love Him, and then pause and just listen to your spirit. You will probably hear a voice inside of you responding in kind. That is the voice of your Beloved telling you that He loves you, too.

 

Develop and cultivate a deep awe and reverence for God. Worship Him from the depths of your being. Imagine Him seated on the throne of the whole universe. Picture yourself bowing there before Him. Remind yourself of His goodness to you. WORSHIP Him in spirit and truth. Thank Him for His blessings. Let your heart fall in love with Him. Picture Him in all His majesty and splendor looking on you with eyes full of love, smiling on you as a good father smiles on his little girl that he delights in.

 

You have to make time for this and really do it. Sometimes you will hear the Lord call you away from something else to spend time with Him. When He does, make sure you do! You need it! You won’t be sorry. On the contrary, you will be very glad that you did. Spending time in His presence builds you up.

 

The second phase of this building project is to love your husband and honor him. On days when he walks in the door and rushes over to you and gives you a long kiss that melts you and makes you feel like the most loved and beautiful woman, the center of his universe. And on those other days when he doesn’t notice that you’re there. Or worse he complains about everything in the universe and asks what you did all day, why is the house a wreck, and what’s for supper. Even when you feel like screaming at him, telling him what an insensitive brute he is, how hard you’ve worked all day taking care of HIS kids, and how he has ruined the loving welcome you had planned for him by his rotten attitude. Yes, even on those days, honor and love him. I didn’t say this was going to be easy. Pray down blessings on his head. Not, “Lord, get him!”

 

His biggest need and desire is to be respected. Show your love for him by treating him with respect even when he deserves all the wrath you have stored up from all the times he hurt your feelings, ignored you, took you for granted, overlooked all of your hard work, and broke your heart. By praying blessings on him and treating him lovingly, you are giving God room to deal with him. Do your part with all your heart. Build him up. Treat him better than he deserves. Your relationship with him is the bedrock of this family you’re building. Your relationship with God is the foundation and cornerstone, but your house won’t stand if your relationship with your husband is filled with anger and resentment. Also remember that whatever happens to him happens to you. If you want to live a blessed life, you should desire that he be blessed and then do whatever you can to help make that happen.

 

You are a wise woman building your house. Not a foolish woman tearing it down with your own hands. Or your mouth.

 

Now on to the next phase. Love your kids in such a way that they feel loved. Not like they are an obligation or a burden or a pest. Your children need loving, patient discipline and instruction. They also need to know that they are greatly loved and highly valued. You love them more than anybody else in the whole world. Make sure they feel that. Show them affection and kindness in the middle of the messes and frustration that define toddler. Love those kids that seem like they’re only here to give you more work to do and a bad attitude. Love them as they grow up and start thinking they know more than you do and think they learned it on their own without any help from you. Show them you love them by listening to them, responding to them, treating them with dignity and respect, not like they are your property only here to carry out your wishes. Lead them to Jesus by modeling the same attitude he had toward children. Let the children come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Keep at the forefront of your mind that childlikeness is good, and maybe you need to take some lessons from them!

 

Listen to those who inspire you to grow spiritually. If you can find a group of Christians that gathers regularly and love the Lord and their only purpose is to know Jesus and make Him known, then you are truly blessed. If they have good teachers and prophetic teaching and ministry, even better. If they follow the first two commandments – to love God and to love people – then you have found a gold mine.

We find good Spirit-filled teachers and worship leaders online and listen to them together and individually. We read the Bible together as a family and individually. I would encourage couples to pray together. We pray for our kids and just doing that takes us quite a while!

 

Some of my favorite teachers are Lance Wallnau, Todd White (lots of videos on YouTube),  Rick Joyner, and Kim Clement. I have recently started listening to Shawn Bolz, who teaches a lot about giving words of knowledge. One of the best things I do for myself spiritually is worshiping the Lord with good worship music. I love to  worship with Bethel Music. They have a lot of great worship leaders. I especially like to listen to Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, Kim Walker-Smith, and Jenn Johnson. I get touched and ushered into the throne room while worshiping with Cory Asbury, Matt Gilman, and Kari Jobe. I play videos on YouTube and worship along with them.

 

Love God’s word. Use examples in everyday life. Let it flow naturally in your conversations with your children. In situations that come up, especially relationship challenges, ask yourself and your children, “What does the Bible say about this?”. When the little ones argue about a toy and one snatches it away from the other and then they start chasing and hitting, kicking, and crying, sit with them and talk calmly with them about how Jesus wants them to handle situations like that. Ask them what the Bible says. We are to love each other, be kind to each other and put the other person’s happiness before our own. We are to do everything out of love for the other person. There are so many verses about walking in love and dying to yourself. Read a verse to them and remind them that they want to please Jesus. Live what you read about in the Word of God. Speak the Word all the time. Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to read and meditate on for that day. Keep meditating and thinking about what you’ve read throughout the day. Tell your kids about what the Lord is saying to you right now and what you are reading. Ask them what the Lord is saying to them. Ask them if they have had any dreams or any specific words that the Lord is saying to them.

Look for analogies in nature. You can teach the way Jesus did! He told stories about farming: sowing and reaping, seed time and harvest, and looking for signs in nature of the seasons and what is coming next. He used poetic words like the trees clapping their hands, the seas roaring, the mountains shaking, the animals frolicking with joy and many other similes and metaphors, such as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Point out how God made intricate, delicate flowers for us to enjoy and marked many animals and plants with beautiful designs. Remark to your children about how our bodies are so amazing and self-healing because of the way God made them. Notice and call attention to little ordinary things that are marks of a loving Creator who made all things good.

Apply the parables of Jesus to daily life. Make connections between what is happening in your life and the life of your family with the parables that Jesus told. If someone needs help, if you are able to help them, you should, just like the Good Samaritan. If someone doesn’t want to forgive, there are many parables about the power of forgiveness, like The Prodigal Son and The Unmerciful Servant, and Jesus spoke about it in The Lord’s Prayer. I like to let life present the problem and become a teachable moment that you can use to apply the spiritual principle or story from the Bible.

 

 

Pray together. Our family tries to do this on a regular basis. We make sure that we all gather at least once a week. The goal is to do it every evening, but it doesn’t happen when life gets too busy. Sometimes we have to just go ahead and pray with whoever happens to be home. Try to find out what works best for your family as far as time and method. We have a pattern now of saying a blessing over the new day, putting our spiritual armor on and saying The Lord’s Prayer in unison. Then we take turns praying. We have at least 4 people pray each time. You can experiment with different methods and times and see what works best for your family.

 

Worship together. When children are younger, listen to worship songs for children. Or let them hear what you are listening to, and they might like some of those songs, too. Then play often the songs they like throughout the day.

 

Minister to others in your home. Demonstrate to your children hospitality and helping others in need. Invite people to eat with you. Teach them how to be good hosts when someone comes to visit. Pray for friends when they come over. Lay hands on them and pray if the situation warrants it.

 

Give to those in need. Model generosity to your children. And don’t forget to tie it to the Word of God: Give and it shall be given unto you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to give to the poor and to orphans and widows and ministries that you feel are really doing a great work in the earth. Make sure your kids know that you are giving in obedience to what God has told us to do and because you have compassion in your heart. Let them experience the joy of giving themselves. Don’t hinder them when they want to give of their own money or possessions. Encourage a giving heart. I believe that is extremely precious to God and blesses His heart. Help others all around you and give any time you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit. Don’t hold back. God will bless you when you bless others.