Music and Unity

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My vocal cords used to get a work out at least twice a week with a praise and worship session on Sunday morning and another on Wednesday night, but between jobs and traveling the last several years, getting to church hasn’t always been possible. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been blessed to be able to attend church, but boy, o boy has my voice deteriorated! I could really feel the strain!

While I like music, I’m not terribly musically oriented and to be truthful, I find it terribly distracting. If I am talking or writing or even cleaning house and have music on, I’m likely to just stop what I am doing and start dancing! So, I tend to put a low priority on incorporating music into my everyday life. The strain on my vocal cords this last couple of weeks has me thinking I need to change this because music is important!

Several months ago, I was singing in church and I got to wondering why we sing in church. Years before that, I had a vision during praise and worship in which the music being played made up the walls of the temple and we were moving inside these walls. I know the power of music, but why exactly do we incorporate it into a worship service? Until recently, music was something you only experienced if you made it yourself or participated in a group such as church. Is the music portion of the service something left over from the long centuries of no radio or audio equipment? Do we really need it now that we have worship music available 24/7? Yeah, my worship leader friends are probably thinking I’m nuts or some kind of a traitor right now.

This intrigued me, so I started dogging God about it. Soon, I was seeing all kinds of stuff about how music affects the brain. Researchers have found that music has profound effects on the human brain. Memory, speech, creativity, motor control and math skills are enhanced in people who are exposed to music and music training on a regular basis. Unlike most brain functions, music uses multiple areas of both sides of the brain. In other words, it strengthens  the brain through an exercise of unity! That’s the key!

Unity! Not only does music unify the brain, but, in order for people to participate in a group musical experience, they must all get into unity! The musicians, the singers, the dancers, even those who are just observing have to line up their bodies, their minds and their rhythms with each other in order to make the music flow. Music creates an atmosphere of unity that helps people connect to each other and to God in a way that nothing else does. Although I haven’t seen research to prove this, I imagine music acts like a giant magnet on our minds and bodies, aligning them all in one direction. The Bible talks a lot about the power of unity. Someone who is aligned with God can do tremendous things, but when we are in one accord with others, that power is magnified! No wonder we sing in church!

So this weekend or whenever  you gather with other believers to worship, make sure you get there before the music starts. It’s not an optional part of the service. It’s essential to unity! Get there and participate!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

You Don’t Have to be Stuck in a Bad School District | African American Homeschooling

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The other day I was listening to Iowa Public Radio and heard a horrifying account about a school called Normandy High School. Apparently, it is one of the most violent schools in the nation. Normandy High is in the bottom 10% of Missouri high schools based on how the student body performed on the state reading and math exams. The drop out rate is around 40%. The school actually lost its accreditation for a few years and wound up being shut down. Its students were transferred to other schools, but due to political maneuvering, it wound up being reopened with what sounds to me like a bogus accreditation and all those students were once again imprisoned in this failing segregated school.


Fortunately, from what I understand many African American parents are getting this message. The black homeschooling community is the fastest growing segment of the total homeschool community. For any who have not taken the leap yet, let me ease some of your fears:

But I don’t have a good enough education to teach my kids!

  • Educate yourself and teach your kids to do the same. Surely you can’t do a worse job than that hell hole you are depending on now.

But I’m single and/or have to work!

  • Team up with some girlfriends! Create your own mini homeschool co-op to provide daycare and group activities for your kids.

But I can’t afford it!

  • Lots of people homeschool their kids for free or nearly free. I have a PDF book that shows step-by-step how to create an individualized education for your kids using very little time and money. Email me at and we’ll figure out how to get it to you. I’d appreciate a contribution of $3, but if you can’t afford that, let me know. I want your kids out of there. I’ll even be happy to coach some of you by email if you want. I will do all that I can to see your kids set free.

In researching for this post I happened on some links that might be helpful. These are just a few that are aimed specifically at African Americans. I am sure there are many more. If you are Hispanic or Native American, I am sure there are sites out there for you too.

National Black Home Educators

The African American Homeschool Network

Black Homeschool Mom

Why Black Kids Should Be Homeschooled

I have lived most of my adult life out in the boonies, so I don’t really understand all the challenges of city life, but I did homeschool all three of my kids for less than $50/year while working 50-60 hours a week outside the home for many of those years. We were very financially challenged during most of my 20+ years of homeschooling, sometimes making less than $5,000/year with a mountain of debt. I may not be able to totally relate, but if you are willing, I’d love to help.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Defeating Racism | Celebrating and Embracing Differences

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There were a couple of posts I was thinking about writing for today, but over the weekend I promoted this meme featuring a couple of black kids being freed from the classroom. It went viral, which I loved, but it floored me when a couple of people’s reaction seemed to read race into it. Honestly, that was a reaction I never expected!

So today, I want to re-introduce you to my grandson whom I affectionately call, “The Brown One”. Yeah, I know, some people are going to get offended by my nickname, but hang in there and I’ll get around to explaining my motivations! For a while, I was homeschooling him. If you search the archives, you will find several posts featuring him.


First, though, I want to give you a little background about myself. Up until I was in 6th grade, I didn’t know  any people of color. It had nothing to do with segregation. It was a rural area in the Midwest where most of the people were of European descent – mostly German, French, and English. There were a few African-Americans, Mexicans, and Native Americans around, but I didn’t know any personally. Whenever we ran across someone of color, my mother took great pains to stress that these people were no different than us and to warn us against racism. She often told us the story of when she moved to Atlanta as a young child. Having lived up north where there were no people of color to speak of, she was quite confused by the “colored” water fountains. When she first saw one, she thought, “Oh how interesting! Colored water!” but was quickly disappointed when the water turned out to be just the clear variety she was accustomed to. She found the whole atmosphere of segregation and racism very upsetting. It was one value that she made sure us kids picked up!

In 6th grade, a boy moved in from Chicago. He was a real mixture of races. He told us he had African American, Native American, Asian, and Caucasian ancestors in his family tree. He was smart, good looking and a blast to be around. He ran in my circle of friends all through high school and even dated one of my best friends. Through high school, I became acquainted with a few other black people, but I can’t say any of them were really good friends. Then I got married and moved across the river where the population of people of color was less than 0.01%.

Many years later, God set me in an interracial church about 40 minutes away. There I got to know and love several African Americans and developed a desire for an interracial grandchild. Both my older children were considering adoption and my youngest (a teenager then) was attending church with me there. I thought I had a good shot at it, but then we wound up leaving that church and my older two started having babies of their own. After many years, my youngest started dating The Brown One’s mom. On their first date, Belinda tested the waters by announcing that she had a black baby. Jess was delighted. He told her about how I had wanted an interracial grandbaby and the rest is history.

The Brown One is smart, good looking, mischevious and fun to be around. Isn’t God good? He gives us the desires of our hearts!

I love this little boy with all my heart and I want him to know that it’s OK to be who he is even if he is different. As a child, I had a red tint to my hair and freckles. In my neck of the woods, everyone was either blondes or brunettes and no one had freckles. I was teased mercilessly because of it. I want my grandchildren to associate the words about them that might be used to hurt them with my love. I call my little redheaded granddaughter “The Readhead” and my nerdy grandson “The Geek”. I tell them how proud I am of them and that I love that aspect of them.

In the first century, people who followed Jesus were not known as “Christians”. They were known as “People of the Way”. Non-believers chose to try to belittle them by calling them “little christs”. Christian means “Little Christs”. The People of the Way chose to be proud of this taunt and turned it around by owning the name. Those who first coined the term “red neck” also tried to give it a shameful connotation. Instead of bowing to that shame-filled spirit, we chose to own the term. Duck Dynasty is a result.

I know that my grandson will run across prejudice and people who will try to belittle him. My purpose in giving him this nickname is to teach him to be proud of his heritage so that when he does run into ignorant people, he can hold his head up and say, “Yep! I’m brown! I’m of mixed race. I’m whatever term you might choose to call me and my grandparents are red necks! Deal with it! I’m God’s answer to my grama’s desires!

When I chose this picture for my meme, I thought the kids were cute and I also thought it might encourage the growing homeschool movement among African-Americans. Hatred was the furthest thing from my mind.

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

What I Believe | Statement of Faith

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If you follow me, you have a right to know! As a Christian, I’m way too conservative for the liberal church and way too liberal for the conservative church. Hopefully, there are lots of you out there who can meet me in the middle.

  • Jesus Christ is the Word of God manifested in the flesh.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was sacrificed as a ransom for our sin, went to hell and was raised again. He now sits at the right hand of the Father and is coming again.
  • The Trinity is basic to Christian belief. God exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit simultaneously and they are one. Any religion that denies this is not Christian.
  • There is NO way to God but by the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the light. You cannot be good enough to go to Heaven. We are all sinners who need a savior.
  • It is by His NAME that we are saved, but His Name is more than just a combination of sounds, more than just Yeshua or Jesus. His Name is a concept, a principle, a spiritual entity in itself. Its meaning is so much more important than the sounds themselves. The Name means salvation, wholeness, grace, and mercy. Well, there’s a whole lot more to it than that, but my point is that Jesus is the expression of God’s mercy. Therefore. I believe it is possible to know God in one’s spirit without knowing who He is with the intellect. When we get to Heaven, many will be shocked to find people there who were Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Morman, etc. No this is not an “all religions lead to Heaven” theory. I have heard testimonies of people who died and were on their way to hell when Jesus appeared to them and told them to call on His Name. When they did, they were returned to this life. How many does that happen to who don’t come back to life?
  • This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t preach the gospel! Heaven is good! But Heaven on earth is the goal! When people get a revelation of this, miracles happen. Broken hearts are mended. Bodies are healed. Demonic strongholds are obliterated. Fear, lack, and despair no longer have any hold. “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.  Let’s go there!
  • The Bible is the Word of God. There are errors in the translations, but the manuscripts written in the original languages are total truth. All of it. I believe in the cannon we currently have. There are other books that are good to read, but these 66 books are scripture. Whatever doesn’t line up with these is not truth. I know, I know, there’s all that controversy about how we came up with it, but there are so many proofs that these books are indeed the Word of God. You don’t believe God can’t get His message across in spite of a counsel of men? He used pagan kings and prophets all the time. He is able.
  • Holy Spirit lives in those who have made Jesus their LORD and Saviour.
  • There is a baptism beyond water baptism called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where we not only believe, but are immersed in God Himself. Those who live in this baptism have a revelation beyond merely believing. They are vessels of His power, and often manifest miracles. Many speak in tongues, but that is not the evidence. All either speak in tongues or prophesy. They are empowered to be witnesses and live in a way that is a mystery to those who have yet to receive this gift.
  • There are apostles and prophets in the earth today as well as evangelists, teachers, and pastors. The church needs all of them.
  • We can and should meet with other believers as much as possible, however, organized religious structures are not the only place to do this. Homes, restaurants, parks and the internet are equally as valid.
  • God still speaks to people today. We can hear His voice and He listens to ours.
  • Not everything that happens on this earth is God’s will, but He will use all that happens for His glory and our ultimate good. He does not micromanage the world, but He has placed safeguards in the form of consequences to keep those who are hell bent from destroying His creation. In the end, He will prevail and so will we if we choose to follow His lead.

These are the concepts which govern all my other beliefs.

What do you believe?

Educationese | The Art of Making Everyday Learning Sound Really Complicated

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One of the very first things anyone who wants to homeschool ought to learn is how to speak “Educationese”. Educationese is an industry language created by education professionals to categorize, organize and describe learning. It is one of the reasons those who have been through 13 or more years of traditional school feel intimidated when entertaining the idea of teaching their own children, but it’s really just the difference between “interdigitation” and “holding hands”. It’s not hard. Educationese just takes a little creativity and practice. When you incorporate Educationese into your description of your children’s learning, you gain credibility and you will impress your friends and family.

Here’s how:

For two weeks, don’t “do” any school. Just keep a list of the things your kids are doing. Then at the end of each day, see if you can fit those things into educational categories.


Make bed, straighten room: Home-Ec

At breakfast talked about vitamin C in orange juice: Life Science – Nutrition

Devotions: Bible

Watched “Animaniacs” on TV, discussed events and people mentioned: History

Read “Little House on the Prairie” book: American History, Language Arts

Planted seeds for garden: Science

Bike riding: PE

At lunch talked about the Earl of Sandwich: History

Baked cookies – kids did measuring: Math

Played Monopoly: Math

Made Tin Can Pencil Holders: Art

Tree Climbing: PE

Coloring: Art

Help Dad fix car:  Physical Science

Watch News: Current Events

Played Guitar Hero: Music

Chat w/cousin on FB:  Language Arts

Sunday school and church can be counted as Bible, music, and usually art. Club activities such as 4-H or Scouts can be science, social studies or other subjects. Going to the grocery store can be language arts, science, and math if your kids read labels and compare prices. Trips can be social studies. Have your kids follow along on a map and make scrapbooks about the places they visited …

As you incorporate Educationese into your everyday life, your confidence in being able to teach your own children will increase, your friends and family will be impressed and your kids will start complaining, “Mom, you make EVERYTHING into school!”

Life is learning! Go for it!




Ginormous Learning Gap Among Traditionally Schooled Kids! | Basic Food Knowledge Shortage

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At one point in our lives, we ended up on food stamps. Even though we didn’t have money for soap, we ate like kings! We could eat steak a couple of times a week if we wanted to. From then on I wondered why people go hungry when they are on food stamps. Fast forward 25 years – We were doing farmer’s markets and had signed up to accept WIC checks as payment for our eggs and produce. It was incredible. We live in a fairly rural area, but most of the younger people we accepted WIC checks from did not know how to cook fresh vegetables. Many didn’t even recognize what we were selling. We also accepted senior WIC checks. Those folks had no questions about what we were selling or how to cook it. The difference? The older folks grew up with mom at home and learned to cook from her. The young people we saw had no idea because mom wasn’t around and they were shuffled from school to activity and babysitters.  They grew up on frozen meals and ready made stuff from a box. In many schools, home-ec is no longer offered, much less required.  They have no idea how to cook. It’s no wonder people go hungry on food stamps. Those types of foods are way up there on the cost index!

This is probably the biggest learning gap young adults find themselves trapped in upon graduating from school today. Maybe you’re not on food stamps, but if you are in this position, your food budget is highly inflated. Learn to cook from scratch and you will find your food bill plummeting, freeing up your money for other things! Not only that, but you will be healthier. Fresh foods are so much better for you because fresh foods naturally have more vitamins and you can control the types of ingredients used. Highly processed foods contain lots of preservatives as well as harmful substitutes for real food ingredients such as hydrogenated fats and corn syrups.

Another issue I’ve run across is basic food safety. Like the young lady at the farmer’s market next to us who was selling breads stuffed with spiced hamburger with no refrigeration. She was mystified as to why her kids often had diarrhea. She didn’t last long at the market. Not sure if those who were running it got wind of what she was doing or if the health department shut her down, but I felt so bad for her kids because she had no idea!

Don’t let this happen to your kids! Teach yourself if you have to! Take a food safety course. And involve your kids in the process of making meals. Start with a goal of making one meal from scratch each week. Look up “make ______ from scratch” and follow the directions. You might want to have some sort of a ready-made meal available in case of failure, but do it! Then when you get that down, go for more meals each week until the majority of your food is something you cook from scratch.

Don’t forget to count meal preparation time as part of your school work! You can record it as home-ec, life skills or even science!

Living well doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make lots of money. If you trade a little time in for doing it yourself, you can live well for a fraction of what most people think is the minimum.

~God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Homeschooling – It’s Not as Hard as You Think | Parenting One Notch Over

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Homeschooling is hard, but then so is parenting. If you are even close to being a decent parent, you are already doing most of the things a homeschooler does. If you are brave enough to take the plunge, it’s likely you will find that homeschooling fine-tunes your parenting skills, helps you understand how your children think and strengthens your relationship with them. Most homeschoolers who stick it out for a year or two find themselves on the other side of the fence: Sending their children to a traditional school seems like the harder education option.

 If you have a child in a traditional school, the likelihood is that you are already spending as much time or more than the typical homeschool parent spends on educating a child. How can that be? A child in a typical school has to be readied for school every morning, then there’s transport, homework after-school, extra-curricular activities, etc., not to mention all the stress caused by doing these things when the child is tired and overstimulated. I know, I know! If you’ve been educated in the traditional school setting, you probably envision teaching as 6 hours a day of standing in front of a classroom lecturing, with an additional 1-3 hours making lesson plans and grading papers.

Education doesn’t have to be that hard. A traditional school requires 6-8 hours a day including homework and extra-curricular activities, but only an average of 20% of this time is actually spent learning. The rest is spent on organizational and disciplinary matters.  It takes much less time to teach a few children than a class of 20 or 30. The typical homeschool student spends 1-3 hours on school work a day and the typical homeschool parent is only actively engaged in the educational process for a fraction of that time.

“But!” you protest, “Even if it doesn’t take that much time, I don’t know enough to teach my kids everything they need to know!” YOU DON’T HAVE TO! Teaching in traditional schools is based on experts dispensing their knowledge to the unlearned. It is rooted in a time when there was no internet and even books and paper were in short supply. Knowledge was passed from person to person through parents or mentors. If there wasn’t someone knowledgeable about a subject near, learning it was unlikely. Our current school system is an outgrowth of the apprenticeship or college model that followed parental education for most children. We’ve expanded and expanded it until even pre-schoolers are often expected to learn in a manner that worked well for older teens in ages past.

A parent today, who is homeschooling, doesn’t have to be an expert in anything because her role is to help her children learn how to seek out and learn what they need and want to know. There are a multitude of sources of games, books, articles, documentaries and educational materials out there that can be accessed to help you and your children learn what you need and want to know. The only requirement for a homeschool parent to be a good teacher is the desire to learn what you need to in order to help your child learn! If you do a good job, the likelihood is that your kids will take off on their own and learn about all sorts of things that you have no clue about.

Then there’s the matter of money. Traditional schools spend thousands of dollars every year per student. But homeschooling can cost as much or as little as you choose to spend. The average cost per student/year for homeschoolers is around $500, but many, many families whittle that down to less than they would spend on school fees by using libraries and the internet. Personally, I spent less than $50/year teaching all three of my kids. They did as well or better than their public school counterparts. I also had to work full-time outside the home for many of those years, but my kids can all read, write and figure out complicated math problems enough to do their jobs well.

Homeschooling, like parenting, will grow you up! It will take a little more self-discipline, a little more organization, and a little more patience, but all those are things we all need anyway. What better way to develop them than loving on your kids? You will learn how your kids think, what motivates them, what makes their eyes shine … in ways you never would if they go to a traditional school. Not only that, but you aren’t going to have to deal with all the negative socialization that comes with the structure of a traditional school. All the studies point to the fact that adults who were homeschooled for more than 1 year not only do better academically, but they have better self-esteem, are better suited for college, have better employment records, better marriages, and are more likely to be successful entrepreneurs!  It’s worth the effort!

Homeschooling takes a major paradigm shift. It’s a shift away from the rigid industrialized education model back to the home-based parental model that dominated education until 150 years ago. It’s a shift toward a more personal, individual educational model that fits your child instead of forcing your child to fit the system.  It will take a while, a year … maybe even three, but once it’s made, you, like many other homeschoolers will look at the traditional school model and think, “That’s just too hard!”

Who Was Noah’s Wife?

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Back in 1990, I was working a “sit and wait job”. I was helping an elderly man. He needed someone to sit near his bed and help him to the bathroom when he woke in the night. He and his wife were light sleepers so I couldn’t do much other than sit and read. That summer, I read through the Bible 5 times. I got so bored that I decided to dig into the genealogies in the first 5 books of the Bible. I made charts, compared life-spans and looked up the meanings of the names.

The spin most preachers put on Cain began to bother me. The reason I had been taught that Cain’s lineage was included was to show how evil mankind had become. The passage supposedly shows that Cain’s sin led to Lamech’s sin of marrying two wives and illustrates how violently corrupt the world had become. The things that bothered me were:

  • A. It seemed to me that Cain did not get the punishment he deserved. In Genesis 4:13-15 Cain seems repentant and God reduces his punishment.
  • B. Polygamy was not considered a sin in the Old Testament. The two most heralded patriarchs of the Bible, Abraham and David were both polygamists, not to mention numerous kings and other leaders.
  • C. Lamech’s declaration in Genesis 4:23-24 about killing a man that wounded him sounds to me like self-defense. He makes the assertion that if God could have mercy on Cain for murder, then surely God will have even more mercy on the person who kills in self- defense.

When I got into the genealogies, I started to find other things that bothered me.

  • D. The explanation that since all the decedents of Cain perished in the flood, the sons of Lamech had to have been “spiritual” fathers of shepherds, metalworkers, and musicians. I couldn’t find the concept of “spiritual” fathers anywhere else in the Old Testament genealogies.  In fact, the closest thing I found was Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew which traces Jesus to David through his adoptive father Joseph.
  • E. Then there was the daughter of Lamech named Naamah. Women are not mentioned in genealogies unless they are the mothers of very important men.

All this was making me very curious about what had actually happened before the flood. I kept saying to God, I wish I could just talk to Noah! I wasn’t asking to speak to him. I was just wishing. But one night, the heavens above me opened and I could hear the angels singing. I sensed that God was inviting me to come talk with Noah. I started to get up out of my body, but I thought better of it. My life on earth was very harsh at that time and I had small children. I was afraid if I visited Heaven, I’d never want to come back, so I got back down into my body and told God He’d have to get it across to me some other way.

Within a week, I was delving into the genealogy of Esau in Genesis 36. It goes along talking about Esau, his wives and concubines and his decedents.  Then, all of a sudden, it switches to the genealogy of Sier the Hortite. “Huh?” I thought, “What does that have to do with anything?” Further digging revealed that Esau and Sier were in covenant together and the covenant was sealed by the giving of one of the granddaughters of Sier the Hortite as a concubine for Esau.

Verse:22 “And the sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam. Lotan’s sister was Timna.”

Suddenly a light went on! The reference was very similar to Genesis 4:22 “And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.”

I had previously done a lot of studying about covenants. In ancient times in a covenant between two tribes, a common name was often adopted and a marriage between the two families was sealed by the giving of a daughter in marriage to the chief of the other tribe. Noah’s father was also named Lamech and my timelines showed that it was entirely possible for the Lamech of Cain and the Lamech of Seth to be alive during the same time period.

Naamah was Noah’s wife! Why did I think this? Because in ancient times, wives were generally taken from close relatives and they were often “earned” by working for the father of the woman. Noah’s son Shem’s decedents were known as shepherds and nomads. Europeans are for the most part descendants of Japheth.  The most enduring music ever written has come from them.  Ham’s decedents were known for their prowess in war – a superior knowledge of metalworking was essential to them. Lamech of Cain’s sons are listed as “the father of those who live in tents and have livestock”, “the father of all those who play the flute and harp”, and “an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron”

Sherlock, you got it! Naamah went back to her brothers to find wives for her sons. The genealogy of Cain is included because we can trace our beginnings back to two of the sons of Adam and Eve – Seth and Cain.

For many years, I wondered if I had really heard from God. After all, why was I the only one who interpreted this genealogy this way? It was another 25 years before I found anyone else who thought Naamah was the wife of Noah, but thanks to the internet, I have found that there are some ancient Jewish traditions  and rabbis that concur with my conclusions.

The genealogies also seem to point to the general climate just before the Flood. During the time of Enoch, just around the time of Adam’s death, there was a great revival. After God took Enoch to Heaven without death, things deteriorated quickly until there were only 8 people left on the earth who followed after God.

Chapter 6 tells the story of the Nephilim. These were beings who were part angel and part human. I believe Satan had a plan to take over the earth by planting the seed of rebellious angels among men. These “supermen” are probably the Titans of Atlantis. They persecuted believers of the true God as evidenced by the self-defense of Lamech of Cain and the early death of Noah’s father Lamech. All of mankind were forced to worship them or face death. So God intervened.

It’s a tactic Satan has used time and time again – and it’s going to happen again. Matthew 24:37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Timing is Everything! | Teaching for a Good Harvest

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I really want to talk to you about teaching and timing.

I am a farmer’s wife. In farming, timing is everything when it comes to the harvest. If you harvest too soon, the grain won’t be mature or dry enough. The crop will be short or non-existent and what you do manage to harvest will not store well without a great deal of extra effort.

A farmer can do things to ensure that the harvest will be the best it can be: He can plant the seed at the right depth and at the right intervals, He can water, fertilize, and implement pest and disease management procedures, He can cultivate or spray to control weeds, but, he has to look at the crop itself to know when it is time to harvest.

The seed packaging has information about approximately how long it will take for the seed to mature and there are books and charts that can give him a clue as to what to expect, but real life growing depends on the variables of genetics, temperature, sunshine, and rainfall.

Teaching children is very similar. Our industrialized theories of education tend to have us all up in arms if our children aren’t where the charts say they should be. Educational professionals use words like, “at risk” and “learning disabled” to identify children who don’t fit the mold. Most of us come out of that type of a mindset with a deep sense of ineptitude. Grade levels and milestone charts are a tool to use. That’s all. They don’t take into account your child’s genetics, interests or the fact that he’s got allergies that make it difficult for him to concentrate when the cottonwood trees are blooming.

There are things you can do to help them get ready to read, write and do math. You can read to them, play games that help them develop fine motor  and hand-eye coordination, count with them, watch videos and sing songs about letters and numbers, but if you insist that they read or know their multiplication facts by the charts or by what the books say, you can damage your “crop”.

So how do you know when your child is ready? A farmer carefully observes his crop. He looks at the size and the color of the plants. Then, when he thinks it might be ready, he doesn’t just tear in and harvest the whole field.  He cuts a little grain. He tests it’s weight and moisture levels. If it’s not quite ready, he waits a little longer. You too, need to observe your child. Is he understanding that letters have sounds? When he colors does she stay in the lines and use realistic colors? Can he count correctly while playing a board game? Does she have a good grasp on addition and subtraction? If so, try the next step. If your child gets frustrated, stop. wait a few days or a week, then try again. You know your child better than anyone else. Trust what you observe. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you don’t have to stuff your child into the mold.

Fortunately, most kids don’t fall apart if they don’t learn something just as soon as they are ready like farm crops do so don’t worry and don’t push it. They will be far better off in the long run if you just wait until they are ready.

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Jello Brain | How Kids’ Brains Work

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We’ve all been there. You know, that day when you and your child have worked so hard learning something new, like their ABCs or how to do long division. They’ve got it and you are so proud of them. Then … all of a sudden, out of the blue … they can’t remember how to do it! No matter how you hint, cajole, or even threaten, they keep insisting they don’t remember. You know they know this stuff! What’s up? Makes you want to tear your hair out!

But, before you engage in a battle of wills, assuming your child is rebelling and lying to get out of work, I want you to consider another possible explanation. I call it “Jello Brain”.


You see, the brain is made up of about a billion neurons. These little neurons communicate with each other by sending electronic impulses from one neuron to another. When we learn something new, these neurons fire electronic impulses along a new path through the brain cells. When this path is well established, the thing that has been learned is very easy to recall, sometimes to the point of being automatic, not requiring much thought at all. Remember when you were learning to drive? You had to put a lot of thought into every action, but once you learned, driving became almost automatic – to the point where if you are in the passenger seat and you see a threat of crashing, you automatically step on a brake that isn’t even there!


A path on the earth takes repetition, effort, and maintenance for it to become permanent. If I walk across my lawn one time, there will be very little, if any evidence that I’ve been there. But if I walk that same direction every day or many times a day, pretty soon a path will form. The neurons in our brains work in the same way. After a while, these paths become well established and if we really work at them they can become 8 or 10 lane highways!

Adults usually have lots of well-established highways from neuron to neuron, but children are just building them. And they face another challenge – their developing brains are rather “soft”. They have “set”, but are more the consistency of jello when it comes to holding information than the hard earth of an adult brain. Information hasn’t yet been crammed into them and packed down, so a pathway can be destroyed pretty easily. An oncoming illness, not enough sleep, a fight with a brother, or even watching a train race by, can jumble things up enough that part or all of that path is lost, rendering your child unable to retrieve the information.

Yes, your child might just be unwilling to work, but most likely they are experiencing “Jello Brain”. If you pressure, argue or try to shame your child into remembering, you will most likely just end up with a screaming, resentful mess on your hands. It’s better just to chalk it up to Jello Brain and start over. Most of the time it is better to wait an hour or a day or two before starting to rebuild so that whatever is interfering with the learning process has a chance to pass. Do something else and come back to it later.

Hope that helps!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue