Archive for July, 2010

Parent’s Guide To The Empty Nest

Parent's Guide To The Empty Nest By Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates

Parent's Guide To The Empty Nest By Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates

Are you feeling those “empty nest” blues?  Guide To The Empty Nest by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates is perhaps one of the most helpful books for parents about to begin their “Empty Nest” journey.  If your kids have flown the coop—leaving you dazed about what’s next for you—following these 4 easy remedies can help you battle the feelings of loneliness and emptiness as your kids leave home for college:

Remedy #1:  Learn to let go, but maintain communication. Understand that your role as parents is changing.  Your child is beginning his journey to adulthood, and he will need you to be supportive.  Allow him to make decisions and mistakes. Let him appreciate the value of consequences and the beauty of redemption.  This will prepare him for “adult life”.  Let him live independently, but maintain communication.  Let him decide on his schedule and classes, and even how often he should call you.  The trick here is: don’t overcrowd, or suffocate, him.  Let him come to you in his own terms, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Remedy #2:  Get yourself a good support system. Join a support group, if at all possible.  Talk to other parents whose children recently went away for college, and learn from each other’s experiences.  Don’t hesitate to create new friendships.  You need as much support as you can possibly get at this point.  Like what Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates wrote in the book Guide To The Empty Nest, you don’t have to do this alone.  Always keep that in mind.

Remedy #3:  Find fun things to do instead of worry. Start a new hobby or a creative project, and get yourself busy.  Take that trip you’ve been meaning to for years, but couldn’t because of the kids.  Start painting again.  Volunteer in your community, or start a new business venture.  You can even adopt a new pet if you want!  Do the things you’ve always wanted to, but never had the time or the extra funds to.  This can do wonders for your soul.

Remedy #4:  Stock up on good books and resources.  There are many books, resources, and forums out there like the Guide To The Empty Nest by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates.  We primarily suggest this book because these two authors have navigated through the same territory before with their kids and are now sharing their personal experiences, as well as those of many other parents.  You learn from their mistakes and successes.

Homeschool Curriculum That Works

Saxon Math

Homeschool Curriculum

Finding the appropriate homeschool curriculum can be a bit tricky, but once you find one that fits perfectly with your child’s learning style and pace, believe me, it will be absolutely rewarding.  Studies show that homeschooled kids tend to be more academically advanced, mature, confident, and eager to learn than their peers.  An effective homeschool science or homeschool math program, for example, can teach your children to think outside the box, explore what hasn’t even been conceived, and discover new ways to solve problems much earlier than kids who are publicly or privately schooled.

If you have been researching and planning about homeschooling your children, then you are on the right track!  Preparation is crucial.  It will save you plenty of time, energy and stress in the long-run.  To better help you, we’ve listed 5 Easy Steps on How to Prepare for Homeschool:

Step #1:  Learn everything you can about homeschooling. Read up on everything—from your state’s laws and school district’s requirements, to different homeschool science or homeschool math curriculum available.  Talk to other parents who have experience in or are planning on homeschooling their children.  Not only will you be pleasantly amazed at the many things you can learn from each other, you will also be creating a community of friends for you and your children.

Step #2:  Discuss your homeschool plans with your children. Get them excited about it.  Ask them where they want to go for their field trip, or what science experiment they want to do first.  Get them involved in planning their lessons and projects.

Step #3:  Procure a fun and effective homeschool curriculum. Focus on your children’s interests, and find a homeschool curriculum that fits their personalities best.  Whether homeschool science, homeschool math or any other subject, you need to make sure it’s age-appropriate and tailor-made to satisfy your children’s learning needs.

Step #4:  Stock up on educational toys, games, books, DVDs and school supplies, and get organized. They don’t have to be expensive; what you’re really after is quality.  You also want to get a good supply of flipcharts, coloring supplies, paper, pens and pencils, and make sure they are stored properly.  Make full use of your organizational skills, and don’t allow a bad storage system affect your level of effectiveness and efficiency.

Step #5:  Turn to remarkable and successful members of your community who are willing to share their experiences with your children. Get your kids involved in church and community.  Having different mentors from different fields can be an excellent learning experience for them.

If you’re looking for an age-appropriate, yet mentally stimulating homeschool curriculum, visit NEST Learning today!

Educational Value of Doing Kids Science Experiments At Home

The Science Chef - 100 Fun Food Experiments & Recipes

The Science Chef - 100 Fun Food Experiments & Recipes

There are many kids science experiments you can do with your children at home to hone and develop their skills.  As a matter of fact, you may have already done a few at home science experiments, but you simply didn’t realize it.  When you let your toddler eat ice cream, for example, you allow her to experience its cold, sweet taste; when you explain how plants need water to survive, or how animals have different diets, you give her the opportunity to see and appreciate life.  Science happens all around us, on a daily basis.

And although books are wonderful teaching tools, hands-on experience helps reinforce what theories can’t.  Here are three important tips you need to remember when doing safe science experiments with your child:

Tip #1:  Provide practical experiences. Children are naturally curious.  Learn to encourage and stimulate their inquisitive nature.  Let them explore and discover, and allow them to think and analyze things.  Get them to identify problems, and learn how to solve them.  Give them opportunities to make full use of all their senses: sight, touch, hear, taste, and smell.

Tip #2:  Discuss important learning points. Take nothing for granted.  Make sure to debrief after every lesson and emphasize important points.  Make sure to level with your child and use language, gestures, examples and even familiar faces in driving each point home.

Tip #3:  Make it a fun learning experience. Research shows that children absorb information better when they are having fun.  Don’t worry if your experiments don’t come out the way you planned.  After all, mistakes sometimes lead to great discoveries.  Understand that each child has his own unique learning style and learns at his own pace.

Below are four kids science experiments that are fun, creative, and educational:

The Science Chef:  100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes:   Put on your apron, roll up your sleeves, and teach your child science with The Science Chef—a fun-filled, homeschool science resource that provides tasty answers to chemistry and biology mysteries with kid-tested recipes and food experiments you can perform right in your kitchen!

Butterfly Garden Complete Set:  Discover the wonderful life of butterflies with a complete butterfly kit, and watch 10 butterflies grow before your eyes!  Make the most of your butterfly experience with The Live Butterfly Activity Book that provides activities and resources about ideas.

Scientific Explorer:   Based on science activities that have been found meaningful in thousands of classrooms, Scientific Explorer kits are packed with educational value.  These fun and original experiments encourage creative inquiry and independent critical thinking skills.

Science Experiments Grade 8 DVD:   Learn concepts such as magnetism, static electricity, and chemical and physical changes through safe and economical science projects.  Led by Stanley the scientist as he takes students through LIFEPAC experiments and science projects from beginning to end, this educational DVD helps reinforce what your child learns in school.

To find kids science experiments that your child will love, visit NEST Learning today!

Does U.S. Immigration Debate Have Room For Religious Ethics?

Scriptures from the Bible were exchanged to shed light on religious ethics at a congressional hearing in Washington, as lawmakers and religious leaders debated whether there is an ethical need to reform immigration laws.

Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, argued that a policy overhaul is necessary, and that a comprehensive immigration package with a guest-worker program can help solve the issue.  He cited biblical passages from the books of Matthew, Leviticus and Micah, in crusading religious ethics and the government’s need to take action on the growing number of illegal immigrants in the US.  Southern Baptists believe in upholding the law, he said, but they “also recognize a biblical mandate to care ‘for the least of these among us’ (Matthew 25:34-40), to care for the ‘strangers’ who reside in our lands (Leviticus 19:34), and to act justly and mercifully (Micah 6:8).”

The opposition, led by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, didn’t come to the hearing without his Bible passages either.  It seemed immigration politics required they come with their own.  In calling for enhanced border security and strict enforcing of existing federal immigration laws, Smith quoted Romans 13:17, “Let every person be subject to governing authorities.”   “For those who say that it is immoral or unethical to enforce our nation’s laws, there is [but] one problem: the Bible contains numerous passages that support the rule of law.”

Q:

There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, but is America morally and spiritually obliged to help them?  Should we allow our decisions to be guided by religious ethics, our moral compass?  Are there times when it is just to break the law, such as smuggling Bibles into a country or holding Bible Studies or Church meetings in countries where it is illegal to do so?  Tell us your thoughts!

Purity Rings: Promoting Abstinence

Purity Rings also known as Promise Rings, Christian Rings, Abstinence Rings, and Chastity Rings, have gained so much popularity in American society, especially during the Bush administration in the 90’s.  Its boom was a result of an all-out effort to promote safe sex and prevent STI’s and STD’s.  According to the Chicago Tribune, “Under the Bush administration, organizations that [promoted] abstinence and [encouraged] teens to sign virginity pledges or wear purity rings have received federal grants.”  The Pennsylvania Evangelical Church, for instance, has received more than $1 million from the federal government for its subsidiary, “The Silver Ring Thing,” to endorse abstinence and sell its rings in and outside the United States. 

Historical analysts, however, have traced its history way back to the 1800’s when young ladies wore rings as a promise to their parents, betrothed and church to remain chaste until finally married.  Today, these rings continue to encourage thousands of teens not only in America, but all over the world, to make the same promise.

Anyone Can Make the Same Pledge. In most cases, parents buy Christian jewelry for their adolescent children, but many young adults buy Purity Rings for themselves, too, especially those who have never had sex.  Even “secondary virgins”—those who have had sex, but chose to go back to abstinence until marriage—have also joined in the popular movement.

Love Waits. Whether cheap or expensive, fancy or simple, Purity Rings represent one thing:  true love is indeed patient.  It’s symbolic.  It embodies one’s commitment to abstain from sex until marriage.  And the ring, worn on the left ring finger, is only removed when replaced by a wedding ring.  Some people call it odd, even weird or prudish, but here’s the bare truth—just as much as our youth need advice when it comes to money, career, and education, they likewise require guidance in love, sex, and marriage.  And if Christian Jewelry can provide moral support and help instill discipline, then it surely is well worth the investment.

The Truth about America’s Heritage: Religious or Godly?

Faith of Our Father's DVD

Faith of Our Father's DVD

Independence Day presents the perfect opportunity to think about America’s Godly Heritage and the beliefs that led to the founding of this great nation.  And while there seems to be some confusion about our true roots, the need to understand our history and the elements that contributed to our independence has never been more crucial.  

Is religion the bedrock of our independence, or is it our Godly beliefs that helped form the United States of America?  Did the founding fathers of our nation dream of a religious America, or did they envision a country with religious liberty?  This historical debate continues to mystify the very foundation of America, leaving our younger generation even more perplexed in the process. 

Growing up, most of us were taught that when George Washington was sworn into office in 1789 with his left hand on an open Bible, the words “So help me God…” reverberated across the fullness of the Federal Hall balcony.  Our parents and great grandparents have all admired the inscriptions of the Ten Commandments in the marble of the United States Supreme Court and the bold proclamation “Praise Be Unto God” embedded on a plaque at the top of the Washington Monument.  Even the beautiful stained glass window in the US capitol portraying President Washington kneeling in prayer has constantly reminded us of America’s Godly Heritage.

However, as time passed, it seems even history has changed.  Details, however ostensibly small, have been left out in schools and in homes.  Now, people argue if George Washington even uttered the famous words “So help me God…” during his Oath taking, or if our founding fathers were Christians or simply Deists. 

The good news is, today, we now have at our disposal hundreds of resources that can correct misconceptions about America’s Godly Heritage and/or religious America.  Now we can turn to visually stimulating DVDs such as Drive Thru History, Discovering America’s Founders, Battlefields And Blessings V2-Revolutionary War, and Faith Of Our Fathers to help enlighten us about our founding fathers’ legacy and the true history of America.  With a clear grasp of how our nation came to exist and eventually won its freedom, our children and their grandchildren will be able to shape a future that’s not only progressive, but also morally responsible.  And perhaps in our understanding, we will discover what it essentially means to be an American.

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